An evocative and beautifully written tale of hardship, love, and kinship.

THE ECHOES

Yearning for the good old days? This cleareyed look at life in 1920s Appalachian Ohio may change your mind.

Sheriff Lily Ross has suffered her share of hard times in her quest to solve crimes. Maybe her perfectionism is why her mother hesitated to tell her that Lily’s adored brother, who was killed in World War I, had a child, Esme, with a now-deceased Frenchwoman. After years of secret communications between Lily’s mother and the French family, Esme’s on her way to live with them. Meanwhile, the largely poor rural area eagerly awaits the opening of an amusement park built by wealthy Chalmer Fitzpatrick, who served with Lily’s brother. In the background lurks a long-running feud over the land on which the park is built. A second-sighted woman’s prediction of a drowning in the park’s fishing pond comes disconcertingly true. Around the same time as the death, which is no accident, a baby is left on Chalmer’s porch. Lily’s friend and deputy, Marvena, recognizes the infant as one a poor local mother wet-nursed in an attempt to put food on her own children’s table while her physically abusive husband is unemployed. Lily finally learns about Esme when the child does not arrive as arranged, presumably because she’s been kidnapped. While working the murder case and searching for Esme, Lily uncovers a lot of nasty secrets about people she thought she knew. Trying to accept a new picture of her brother while hunting a killer and kidnapper, she leans on the network of strong women she’s developed over the years.

An evocative and beautifully written tale of hardship, love, and kinship.

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-2506-2342-3

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: Dec. 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2022

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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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A compelling take on the classic whodunit.

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THE MAID

The shocking murder of a public figure at a high-end hotel has everyone guessing who the culprit might be.

Twenty-five-year-old Molly Gray, an eccentric young woman who's obsessed with cleaning but doesn't quite have the same ability to navigate social cues as those around her, loves working as a maid at the Regency Grand Hotel. Raised by her old-fashioned grandmother, who loved nothing more than cleaning and watching Columbo reruns, Molly has an overly polite and straightforward manner that can make her seem odd and off-putting to her colleagues despite her being the hardest worker at the hotel. After her grandmother's death, Molly's rigid life begins to lose some of its long-held balance, and when the infamous Mr. Charles Black, a rich and powerful businessman suspected of various criminal enterprises, is found murdered in one of the rooms she cleans, her whole world gets turned upside down. Before Molly knows what's happening, her odd demeanor has the police convinced she's guilty of the crime, and certain people at the hotel are a little too pleased about it. With the help of a few new friends (and while fending off new foes), she must begin to untangle the mystery of who really killed Mr. Black to get herself off the hook once and for all. Though the unusual ending might frustrate some readers, this unique debut will keep them reading.

A compelling take on the classic whodunit.

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35615-9

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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