Robotham’s crime thrillers are at the top of the genre’s food chain.

CLOSE YOUR EYES

Beleaguered clinical psychologist Joe O’Loughlin’s back as Robotham pits the brilliant, battered, and world-weary shrink against a killer who’s not above stalking Joe’s own family.

Joe, who struggles with Parkinson’s disease, has worked hard to keep himself in the lives of his two daughters, Charlie and Emma. His estranged wife, Julianne, who's facing surgery in connection with her newly discovered cancer, has softened a bit toward Joe, and he’s hoping it will open the door to a reconciliation. Meanwhile, Joe’s helping police in England's West Country unravel the horrifying murder of an attractive mother and her college-bound daughter. Elizabeth Crowe was found butchered in their sitting room, while daughter Harper was discovered upstairs in her bedroom, laid out like Sleeping Beauty. Further investigation reveals that mom—who was stabbed 36 times—was into a sexual fetish called “dogging,” in which strangers meet and have sex in public places. While Detective Chief Superintendent Veronica Cray grows impatient to resolve the killing, Joe and his perennial sidekick, retired cop Vincent Ruiz, discover that Elizabeth’s death bears more than a passing resemblance to other killings in the area. Meanwhile, police fume while Milo Coleman, a former student of Joe’s who initially consulted on the investigation, captures the press by calling himself "the Mindhunter" and releasing confidential details. As Coleman spills secrets police hoped to keep quiet, Joe and Ruiz narrow the field to six main suspects. Before it’s all over, they'll have only minutes to figure out the killer’s identity and location before Joe loses everything that’s precious to him. As usual, Robotham turns in a tightly written story that’s flawlessly plotted, although past experience should have told Joe that letting his family become involved in his cases never turns out well. But Robotham's writing is so smooth and his characters so well-drawn that readers can forgive him almost anything.

Robotham’s crime thrillers are at the top of the genre’s food chain.

Pub Date: April 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-316-26794-6

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Mulholland Books/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

The characters are paper thin, the plot twists mostly telegraphed, but the betting here is that the Baldacci army will once...

DELIVER US FROM EVIL

In Baldacci’s 19th (True Blue, 2009, etc.), boy and girl monster-hunters meet cute.

Evan Waller, aka Fadir Kuchin, aka “the Butcher of Kiev,” aka “the Ukrainian psychopath,” is one of those deep-dyed villains a certain kind of fiction can’t do without. Serving with distinction as part of the Soviet Union’s KGB, he joyfully and indiscriminately killed thousands. Now, many years later, posing as a successful businessman, he’s vacationing in Provence where, unbeknownst to him, two separate clandestine operations are being mounted by people who do not regard him with favor. Reggie Campion—28 and gorgeous—spearheads the first, an ad hoc group of monster-hunting vigilantes. Studly, tall Shaw (no first name supplied) is point guard for a rival team, shadowy enough to leave the matter of its origin ambiguous. While their respective teams reconnoiter and jockey for position, studly boy meets gorgeous girl. Monster-hunters are famous for having trust issues, but clearly these are drawn to each other in the time-honored Hollywood fashion. Shaw saves Reggie’s life. She returns the favor. The attraction deepens and heats up to the point where team-members on both sides grow unsettled by the loss of focus, singularly inopportune since, as monsters go, Waller rises to the second coming of Caligula—ample testimony furnished by a six-page, unsparingly detailed torture scene. In the end, the stalkers strike, bullets fly, screams curdle the blood, love has its innings and a monster does what a monster’s got to do.

The characters are paper thin, the plot twists mostly telegraphed, but the betting here is that the Baldacci army will once again show the stuff it’s made of.

Pub Date: April 20, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-446-56408-3

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Avon A/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2010

Did you like this book?

POP GOES THE WEASEL

After a flight in fantasy with When the Wind Blows (1998), Patterson goes to ground with another slash-and-squirm psychokiller page-turner, this one dedicated to “the millions of Alex Cross readers, who so frequently ask, can’t you write faster?” By day, Geoffrey Shafer is a charming, 42-year-old British Embassy paper-pusher with a picture-perfect family and a shady past as an MI-6 secret agent. Come sundown, he swallows a pharmacy of psychoactive pills, gulps three black coffees loaded with sugar, and roams the streets of Washington, D.C., in a battered cab, where, disguised as a black man, he rolls dice to determine which among his black female fares he—ll murder. Afterwards he dumps his naked victims in crime-infested back alleys of black- slum neighborhoods, then sends e-mails boasting of his accomplishments to three other former MI-6 agents involved in a hellish Internet role-playing game. “I sensed I was at the start of another homicide mess,” sighs forensic-psychologist turned homicide-detective Alex Cross. Cross yearns to catch the “Jane Doe murderer” but is thwarted by Det. Chief George Pittman, who assigns sexy Det. Patsy Hampton to investigate Cross and come up with a reason for dismissing him. Meanwhile, Cross’s fiancÇe is kidnaped during a Bermuda vacation, and an anonymous e-mail warns him to back off. He doesn’t, of course, and just when it appears that Patterson is sleep-walking through his story, Cross nabs Shafer minutes after Shafer kills Det. Hampton. During the subsequent high-visibility trail, Shafer manages to make the jury believe that he’s innocent and that Cross was trying to frame him. When all seems lost, a sympathetic British intelligence chief offers to help Cross bring down Shafer, and the other homicidal game-players, during a showdown on the breezy beaches of Jamaica. Kinky mayhem, a cartoonish villain, regular glimpses of the kindly Cross caring for his loved ones, and an ending that spells a sequel: Patterson’s fans couldn’t ask for more.

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 1999

ISBN: 0-316-69328-6

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1999

Did you like this book?

more