More slow-burning than most of Slaughter’s shockers, this one will still rattle you down to your bones.


A Georgia prison inmate’s offer to unmask a phone-smuggling operation in return for reopening his pedophilia conviction leads Slaughter’s regulars into an eight-year-old case that strikes all too close to home.

Daryl Nesbitt insists to Will Trent and Faith Mitchell, of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, that he was railroaded by Grant County Detective Lena Adams and that the sexual images of children on his computer were fruit of the poisonous tree that should never have been admitted into evidence. He certainly didn’t attack Grant Tech student Rebecca Caterino, brutally assault her, and leave her for dead; the real scandals are that Lena, the ranking detective on the scene, didn’t realize that Beckey was alive till GBI medical examiner Sara Linton realized it half an hour after the police came on the scene and that after Lena sent Leslie Truong, the fellow student who found Beckey’s body, walking back to campus, Leslie was raped and murdered before she arrived. Not only are there horrors aplenty along the trail of what looks like a serial killer who may still be notching two victims a year, but revisiting the earlier crimes gives Slaughter, through a series of extended flashbacks, a chance to relitigate the breakup of Sara’s marriage to late Grant County chief of police Jeffrey Tolliver, who headed the investigation that sent Daryl Nesbitt to jail. Slaughter, renowned for her shocking opening sequences, this time reserves the horrors for her unflinching descriptions of the multiple assaults, some of which result in fates worse than death for the victims, and for Sara’s confrontation with a killer who’s both monstrous and all too human.

More slow-burning than most of Slaughter’s shockers, this one will still rattle you down to your bones.

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-285810-8

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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Light on suspense but still a solid page-turner.

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When a devoted husband and father disappears, his wife and daughter set out to find him.

Hannah Hall is deeply in love with her husband of one year, Owen Michaels. She’s also determined to win over his 16-year-old daughter, Bailey, who has made it very clear that she’s not thrilled with her new stepmother. Despite the drama, the family is mostly a happy one. They live in a lovely houseboat in Sausalito; Hannah is a woodturner whose handmade furniture brings in high-dollar clientele; and Owen works for The Shop, a successful tech firm. Their lives are shattered, however, when Hannah receives a note saying “Protect her” and can’t reach Owen by phone. Then there’s the bag full of cash Bailey finds in her school locker and the shocking news that The Shop’s CEO has been taken into custody. Hannah learns that the FBI has been investigating the firm for about a year regarding some hot new software they took to market before it was fully functional, falsifying their financial statements. Hannah refuses to believe her husband is involved in the fraud, and a U.S. marshal assigned to the case claims Owen isn’t a suspect. Hannah doesn’t know whom to trust, though, and she and Bailey resolve to root out the clues that might lead to Owen. They must also learn to trust one another. Hannah’s narrative alternates past and present, detailing her early days with Owen alongside her current hunt for him, and author Dave throws in a touch of danger and a few surprises. But what really drives the story is the evolving nature of Hannah and Bailey’s relationship, which is by turns poignant and frustrating but always realistic.

Light on suspense but still a solid page-turner.

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5011-7134-5

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

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Stone’s least indulgent adventure in years. Never say never!


A new client spells nothing but trouble for Stone Barrington and himself.

Now that he’s sold his family business for $250 million, Shepherd Troutman has come to New York to spread his wings. And it’s hard to imagine any person in fiction or real life better able to help him spend gobs of money than Stone. Before he can start signing those checks for the Bentley and the suite at the Carlyle Hotel, though, Shep has to get rescued from outside Stone’s Turtle Bay home, where a masked thug has beaten him senseless, and from any suspicion of having strangled the nameless call girl who turns up in his suite at the Carlyle—an episode that makes him think twice about that particular purchase. As the attacks continue, it becomes clear that someone has it in for Shep, and the someone, under the fig-leaf disguise of a Delaware corporation, is Russian mobster Gregor Kronk. There’s no negotiating with Kronk, Stone’s security advisers tell him after he’s spirited Shep and Roderick Troutman, the father who faked his own death in order to avoid involvement, out of New York; the only sane strategy is to give him what he wants, a series of patents worth another $250 million. Naturally, this perfectly reasonable advice grates on Stone, and the battle between good and evil is on once again, this time with two pleasing novelties: a plot twist most readers won’t see coming (and some won’t believe even after it arrives) and a focus, increasingly rare in Woods’ thrillers-by-the-yard, on actually unfolding a single sustained narrative with limited interruptions for sex, posturing, upscale spending, and loose ends.

Stone’s least indulgent adventure in years. Never say never!

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-33169-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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