A lively combination of mystery, romance, and gemology that will appeal to fans of Jane K. Cleland and Paige Shelton.

RUBY RED HERRING

A fabulous gemstone is a magnet for murder.

In a rousing series debut, Gardner introduces 25-year-old Avery Ayers and her sister, Tilly, a high school senior, who are still recovering from the deaths of their parents in a car accident almost a year ago. While their Aunt Midge is sharing their suburban New York home, they also use her apartment in Manhattan, where Avery has taken her parents’ place at their art and antiques appraisal business. When a note in their father’s handwriting is slipped through their mail slot, they’re all deeply disturbed. The note says, "You must decline the contract. Your life is at stake." The note may refer to a job Avery is planning to start that day, authenticating a stone for the Museum of Antiquities. The stone, owned by a reclusive man who claims to have found it at a flea market in Munich, may be a priceless ruby or a much less expensive spinel—and it might even be a famously missing ruby from the museum's most important piece, the Emperor's Twins medallion. Avery discovers that her parents had worked on authenticating the remaining ruby eye in the Emperor’s Twins medallion just before their deaths and notices odd things such as the fact that the case of her parents’ deaths has not been closed by the police. Avery receives another mysterious note telling her to find someone named Art at the museum. Art Smith turns out to be a remarkably closemouthed police detective masquerading as one of the guards protecting the gem. After searching through the papers her parents stored at home, Avery is attacked and her aunt’s dog injured by a violent intruder. Now she can only trust her family and the attractive detective as they work to solve the puzzle of the ruby and discover who is willing to kill for it.

A lively combination of mystery, romance, and gemology that will appeal to fans of Jane K. Cleland and Paige Shelton.

Pub Date: June 8, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-64385-659-9

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Crooked Lane

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 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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Crave chills and thrills but don’t have time for a King epic? This will do the job before bedtime. Not that you’ll sleep.

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LATER

Horrormeister King follows a boy’s journey from childhood to adolescence among the dead—and their even creepier living counterparts.

Jamie Conklin sees dead people. Not for very long—they fade away after a week or so—but during that time he can talk to them, ask them questions, and compel them to answer truthfully. His uncanny gift at first seems utterly unrelated to his mother Tia’s work as a literary agent, but the links become disturbingly clear when her star client, Regis Thomas, dies shortly after starting work on the newest entry in his bestselling Roanoke Saga, and Tia and her lover, NYPD Detective Liz Dutton, drive Jamie out to Cobblestone Cottage to encourage the late author to dictate an outline of his latest page-turner so that Tia, who’s fallen on hard times, can write it in his name instead of returning his advance and her cut. Now that she’s seen what Jamie can do, Liz takes it on herself to arrange an interview in which Jamie will ask Kenneth Therriault, a serial bomber who’s just killed himself, where he’s stowed his latest explosive device before it can explode posthumously. His post-mortem encounter with Therriault exacts a high price on Jamie, who now finds himself more haunted than ever, though he never gives up on the everyday experiences in which King roots all his nightmares.

Crave chills and thrills but don’t have time for a King epic? This will do the job before bedtime. Not that you’ll sleep.

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-7890-9649-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Hard Case Crime

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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