A clever, funny mystery peopled with captivating characters that enhance the story at every quirky turn.

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THE MAN WHO DIED TWICE

Osman follows The Thursday Murder Club (2020), his supremely entertaining debut, with an even better second installment.

Coopers Chase, an upscale retirement village in the British countryside, is home to the Thursday Murder Club, which consists of shrewd, deadly former spy Elizabeth Best, retired nurse Joyce Meadowcroft, psychiatrist Ibrahim Arif, political activist Ron Ritchie, and three honorary members, fixer Bogdan Jankowski, DCI Chris Hudson, and Police Constable Donna De Freitas. A letter from a dead man plunges Elizabeth and her friends into a dangerous case involving local crooks, the Mafia, and MI6. The letter is signed by Marcus Carmichael, whose corpse Elizabeth had seen pulled from the Thames years earlier, but it turns out to have been written by Elizabeth’s ex-husband, Douglas Middlemiss, who knew that name would get her attention. Douglas isn't dead, but he's still in a spot of trouble involving stolen diamonds and an angry go-between who holds valuable items for a variety of crooks. When a group of teenagers steal Ibrahim's phone and then kick him in the head after he falls down, the group plots revenge, little knowing that the two problems may soon become one. When Douglas and his handler, Poppy, are shot dead, the group must race MI6 and several vicious crooks to neutralize a number of killers and find the diamonds. Elizabeth, who knows so much about Douglas, is assigned to decode the clues he left behind, but each of her seemingly innocuous friends has skills that enhance the group’s ability to survive and place blame where it belongs while covering up a myriad of minor offenses.

A clever, funny mystery peopled with captivating characters that enhance the story at every quirky turn.

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-98-488099-4

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

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Generations may succeed generations, but Sandford’s patented investigation/action formula hasn’t aged a whit. Bring it on.

THE INVESTIGATOR

A domestic-terrorist plot gives the adopted daughter of storied U.S. Marshal Lucas Davenport her moment to shine.

Veteran oilman Vermilion Wright knows that losing a few thousand gallons of crude is no more than an accounting error to his company but could mean serious money to whomever’s found a way to siphon it off from wells in Texas’ Permian Basin. So he asks Sen. Christopher Colles, Chair of Homeland Security and Government Affairs, to look into it, and Colles persuades 24-year-old Letty Davenport, who’s just quit his employ, to return and partner with Department of Homeland Security agent John Kaiser to track down the thieves. The plot that right-winger Jane Jael Hawkes and her confederates, most of them service veterans with disgruntled attitudes and excellent military skills, have hatched is more dire than anything Wright could have imagined. They plan to use the proceeds from the oil thefts to purchase some black-market C4 essential to a major act of terrorism that will simultaneously express their alarm about the country’s hospitality to illegal immigrants and put the Jael-Birds on the map for good. But they haven’t reckoned with Letty, another kid born on the wrong side of the tracks who can outshoot the men she’s paired with and outthink the vigilantes she finds herself facing—and who, along with her adoptive father, makes a memorable pair of “pragmatists. Really harsh pragmatists” willing to do whatever needs doing without batting an eye or losing a night’s sleep afterward.

Generations may succeed generations, but Sandford’s patented investigation/action formula hasn’t aged a whit. Bring it on.

Pub Date: April 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-32868-2

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2022

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Plenty of pain for the characters, plenty of thrills for the reader.

CITY ON FIRE

A blistering novel filled with anger and bite.

Danny Ryan is a dockworker in Providence, Rhode Island, who’s “faithful like a dog” to his wife, Terri, of the rival Murphy clan, and sometimes does some less-than-legal errands for his father-in-law, John. He wants more out of his life and wants to “not owe nobody nothing,” but nobody ever leaves Dogtown. One day at the beach, he sees “the goddess who came out of the sea” and who “has a voice like sex.” Terri's brother Liam Murphy accidentally-on-purpose touches the woman’s breast, which sets off a chain reaction of events in which bullets fly and f-bombs and their ilk swarm like cicadas on nearly every page. You know, you just don’t touch a made guy’s woman, and the goddess is going out with Paulie Moretti. The Providence press gleefully reports the other-side-of-the-tracks bloodletting among men who supplement their wages with hijacking trucks and boosting heroin. So Danny wants out with his wife and son, but—well, it’s complicated. Chances are they’ll have to live and die in Dogtown. And, oh yeah, Danny loathes his rich mother, who tries so hard to make amends for abandoning him. The characters are as vividly described as some of them are vile: One guy “never met a job he couldn’t lose.” John Murphy is “the king of an empire that died a long time ago. The light of a long-dead star.” At the ocean, Danny observes that the “whitecaps look like the beards of sad old men.” A Murphy declares, “That Ryan blood….It’s cursed.” But the Murphy blood isn’t exactly touched by angels either. And then there are the Morettis, all of them trapped in a cycle of crime and violence, just looking for an excuse to go to war. One difference between Danny and some of the others is he’s never killed anybody. Yet. Meanwhile, a planned heist might just solve some financial problems for whoever survives all the betrayals.

Plenty of pain for the characters, plenty of thrills for the reader.

Pub Date: April 26, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-285119-2

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

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