Cameron’s energetic potboiler could draw readers in—or exhaust them.

BONE RATTLE

A deputy U.S. marshal stationed in Alaska is challenged by a handful of serious cases and a complicated home life.

When a big archaeological dig grinds to an abrupt halt at the discovery of a rattle that could be worth half a million dollars, the handful of men on hand debate their next move, wary of upsetting their boss, Harold Grimsson, or his dangerous right-hand man, Dollarhyde. Grimsson, who owns the Valkyrie Mine Holdings, is on his private island south of Juneau being warned by two corrupt state senators that he’s in danger of being connected to the criminal Hernandez brothers, currently on trial for financial fraud. Little do the senators know that Grimsson murdered his first wife or that Dollarhyde killed the dig site employee who wanted to halt the operation. While all this is unfolding, Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshals Arliss Cutter and Lola Teariki are hauling in some grittier perps. Their takedown of drug dealer Jarome Pringle and his stripper girlfriend blossoms into a tense chase and a major bust with several more arrests. Other cops deal with a body on a frigid gravel beach. Cutter’s home life is going through some growing pains. After four marriages, he’s now helping his late brother's widow, Mim, raise snarky twin teenagers and harboring sad memories from his past. Dollarhyde’s thirst for violence seems unquenchable. Cameron’s colorful procedural has epic scope; each change of setting seems to bring a new set of characters and a new subplot with its own wrinkles. Plot threads sprawl and tangle with the abandon of a soap opera. Until the tale settles down to focus on premier villain Grimsson, keeping it all straight is a challenge.

Cameron’s energetic potboiler could draw readers in—or exhaust them.

Pub Date: April 27, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4967-3208-8

Page Count: 456

Publisher: Kensington

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

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Enjoyable storytelling by two masters of the craft.

22 SECONDS

Lindsay Boxer faces a ton of trouble in the latest entry in Patterson and Paetro’s Women’s Murder Club series.

Senior crime reporter Cindy Thomas is writing a biography of Evan Burke, a notorious serial killer who sits in solitary confinement in San Quentin. She’s kidnapped by thugs wanting her to talk about her best friend, Lindsay Boxer, who’s an SFPD homicide detective and the story’s main character. San Francisco has a restrictive new gun law, and gun-totin’ folks everywhere have their boxer shorts in a twist. A national resistance movement has formed—Defenders of the Second—whose motto is “We will not comply.” They find it outrageous that the new law makes it illegal to own a gun that can kill 50 people with a single clip. Meanwhile, lots of bodies show up: A young girl disappears and is later found dead in a ditch, and ex-cops are found dead with their lips stapled shut and “You talk, you die” written on their foreheads. An inmate is found hanged in prison. And “a massive but unspecified load of military-style weaponry was en route from Mexico to the City by the Bay.” In a “frustrating, multipronged case,” there’s a harrowing shootout memorialized in a video showing “twenty-two of the scariest seconds” of Boxer’s life. She’s an appealing series hero with loving family and friends, but she may arrive at a crossroads where she has “to choose between my work and [my] baby girl.” The formulaic story has unmemorable writing, but it’s entertaining and well told. You probably won’t have to worry about the main characters, who have thus far survived 21 adventures. Except for the little girl, you can expect people to get what they deserve. It's relatively mild as crime novels go, but the women characters are serious, strong, and admirable.

Enjoyable storytelling by two masters of the craft.

Pub Date: May 2, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-49937-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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Top-drawer crime fiction. The authors are tough on the hero, but the hero is tough.

THE RED BOOK

Patterson and Ellis put their characters through hell in this hard-edged second installment of their Black Book series after The Black Book (2017).

A young girl is one of four people gunned down in a “very, very bad” K-Town drive-by shooting in Chicago. Police are under intense political pressure to solve it, so Detective Billy Harney is assigned to the Special Operations Section to put the brakes on the gang violence on the West Side. His new partner is Detective Carla Griffin, whom colleagues describe as “sober as an undertaker” and “as fun as a case of hemorrhoids.” And she looks like the last thing he needs, a pill popper. (But is she?) Department muckety-mucks want Harney to fail, and Griffin is supposed to spy on him. The poor guy already has a hell of a backstory: His daughter died and his wife committed suicide (or did she?) four years earlier, he’s been shot in the head, charged with murder (and exonerated), and helped put his own father in prison. (Nothing like a tormented hero!) Now the deaths still haunt him while he and Griffin begin to suspect they’re not looking at a simple turf war starring the Imperial Gangster Nation. Meanwhile, the captain in Internal Affairs is deep in the pocket of some bad guys who run an international human trafficking ring, and he loathes Harney. The protagonist is lucky to have Patti, his sister and fellow detective, as his one reliable friend who lets him know he’s being set up. The authors do masterful work creating flawed characters to root for or against, and they certainly pile up the troubles for Billy Harney. Abundant nasty twists will hold readers’ rapt attention in this dark, violent, and fast-moving thriller.

Top-drawer crime fiction. The authors are tough on the hero, but the hero is tough.

Pub Date: March 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-49940-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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