A virtuoso performance even by Connelly’s high standards.

THE LAW OF INNOCENCE

Mickey Haller, the Lincoln Lawyer who’s mostly played second fiddle to his half brother, Harry Bosch, in recent years, gets a most unwelcome star turn when he’s arrested for murder.

The evidence is neck-deep that Haller’s ex-client, chronic con man Sam Scales, was dumped into the trunk of the attorney’s trademark car and then shot to death inside his garage as Haller slept above—or, as prosecutor Dana Berg, a true believer in Haller’s guilt, maintains, watched it all from a lot closer. The noose fits so tightly around Haller’s neck that it’s got to be a frame-up, but why, and by whom? Identifying the most likely perp as Louis Opparizio, a Vegas mobster Haller made look guilty on the stand nine long years ago, doesn’t clear things up. It just leads his law partner, Jennifer Aronson, and his investigator, Cisco Wojciechowski, to the FBI investigation of BioGreen Industries, a firm in which Opparizio owned a major stake, and up against FBI agents Rick Aiello and Dawn Ruth, who make it clear that they have no intention of complying with the subpoena issued by Violet Warfield, the meticulous and fair-minded judge trying the case. As Haller plots his own defense, sometimes from within a jail cell, sometimes when he’s out on bail, he’s haunted by the old adage about how any lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client. Of course Connelly’s not going to convict his franchise hero of murder; of course Opparizio and the FBI are mixed up in the case; of course there’ll be loose ends left hanging. None of that matters. For sheer courtroom inventiveness and suspense, Haller has never shone brighter.

A virtuoso performance even by Connelly’s high standards.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-48562-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2021

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A superficially gripping but psychologically unconvincing thriller.

SLEEPLESS

In present-day Germany, a woman burdened with the darkest of secrets from her brutal childhood becomes an unwitting participant in a fatal game of murder and deceit.

“You become normal by doing normal things,” Nadja Kulka’s therapist tells her, and for the most part the technique has worked. Nadja has a good job in the office of one of Berlin’s most successful lawyers and a secure if barren personal life. “I’m the woman who sits at the open window of her kitchen when she sees that her neighbour has friends over again on a Saturday night,” she explains. Social gatherings cause Nadja acute anxiety, and when the novel opens, she is in the grip of a panic attack that causes her to faint at a gas station and then to flee back onto the motorway, fearing that onlookers may have called the police. But why? And why is she wearing a blond wig? In this feverish, relentlessly tense novel, the answers to those and many other questions lie tangentially in Nadja’s past—to which the narrative cyclically returns—but more immediately in a sudden act of violence into which she is cruelly drawn. As dastardly events unfold, we are kept on edge not only by the author’s initially skillful evocation of Nadja’s troubled consciousness, but also by the novel’s restless shuttling between past and present. The eventual cinching together of near and distant events is clumsily handled, however, and the denouement utterly overwrought. A parallel plot involves the yearnings of a young woman who longs to escape her hometown backwater, embarks on an affair with a married visitor to her family’s inn, and pays a terrible price for her longings. Rather than enriching the novel, however, this drama, though potentially engrossing, seems more like a distraction.

A superficially gripping but psychologically unconvincing thriller.

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-82479-0

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

A CONSPIRACY OF BONES

Another sweltering month in Charlotte, another boatload of mysteries past and present for overworked, overstressed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan.

A week after the night she chases but fails to catch a mysterious trespasser outside her town house, some unknown party texts Tempe four images of a corpse that looks as if it’s been chewed by wild hogs, because it has been. Showboat Medical Examiner Margot Heavner makes it clear that, breaking with her department’s earlier practice (The Bone Collection, 2016, etc.), she has no intention of calling in Tempe as a consultant and promptly identifies the faceless body herself as that of a young Asian man. Nettled by several errors in Heavner’s analysis, and even more by her willingness to share the gory details at a press conference, Tempe launches her own investigation, which is not so much off the books as against the books. Heavner isn’t exactly mollified when Tempe, aided by retired police detective Skinny Slidell and a host of experts, puts a name to the dead man. But the hints of other crimes Tempe’s identification uncovers, particularly crimes against children, spur her on to redouble her efforts despite the new M.E.’s splenetic outbursts. Before he died, it seems, Felix Vodyanov was linked to a passenger ferry that sank in 1994, an even earlier U.S. government project to research biological agents that could control human behavior, the hinky spiritual retreat Sparkling Waters, the dark web site DeepUnder, and the disappearances of at least four schoolchildren, two of whom have also turned up dead. And why on earth was Vodyanov carrying Tempe’s own contact information? The mounting evidence of ever more and ever worse skulduggery will pull Tempe deeper and deeper down what even she sees as a rabbit hole before she confronts a ringleader implicated in “Drugs. Fraud. Breaking and entering. Arson. Kidnapping. How does attempted murder sound?”

Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9821-3888-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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