The gold standard in espionage fiction.

BOX 88

Karma comes calling for a veteran spy.

An eerie prologue set on Dec. 21, 1988, recounts the crash of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie from the perspective of Gaby, a young American passenger who doesn’t survive. Cut to present-day London, where veteran intelligence officer Lachlan Kite receives a phone call telling him that his childhood friend Xavier Bonnard has killed himself. His phone is being tapped by a cadre of MI5 agents intent on ferreting out the significance of Kite’s involvement with the mysterious Anglo-American intelligence group BOX 88. Though their surveillance is comprehensive, the agents haven't reckoned on Kite becoming the target of a surprise attack, but he's soon kidnapped and thrown into a cell by a group of determined Iranians led by businessman Ramin Torabi. Captivity becomes the catalyst for Kite to engage in a soul-searching reevaluation of his life and career. Going all the way back to Kite’s adolescence, author Cumming lays the groundwork for the moral decisions Kite faces in his intelligence career. The unravelling of the events surrounding Xavier’s suicide is a key component of this painful reminiscence. So are the aftermath of the Lockerbie tragedy and the subsequent shocking secrets surrounding BOX 88. Cumming keeps the suspense high; not only is Kite imprisoned, but his captors are threatening his pregnant wife and their family. The plot—anchored in full-bodied portraits of a small cast of characters confronted with the inescapable way the political and the personal are entangled—is intricate but coherent, taking readers down a chilling road of recent history, vividly depicted. The result is a believable plot undergirded by complex characters and profound questions.

The gold standard in espionage fiction.

Pub Date: Jan. 11, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-61316-273-6

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Mysterious Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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Light on suspense but still a solid page-turner.

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THE LAST THING HE TOLD ME

When a devoted husband and father disappears, his wife and daughter set out to find him.

Hannah Hall is deeply in love with her husband of one year, Owen Michaels. She’s also determined to win over his 16-year-old daughter, Bailey, who has made it very clear that she’s not thrilled with her new stepmother. Despite the drama, the family is mostly a happy one. They live in a lovely houseboat in Sausalito; Hannah is a woodturner whose handmade furniture brings in high-dollar clientele; and Owen works for The Shop, a successful tech firm. Their lives are shattered, however, when Hannah receives a note saying “Protect her” and can’t reach Owen by phone. Then there’s the bag full of cash Bailey finds in her school locker and the shocking news that The Shop’s CEO has been taken into custody. Hannah learns that the FBI has been investigating the firm for about a year regarding some hot new software they took to market before it was fully functional, falsifying their financial statements. Hannah refuses to believe her husband is involved in the fraud, and a U.S. marshal assigned to the case claims Owen isn’t a suspect. Hannah doesn’t know whom to trust, though, and she and Bailey resolve to root out the clues that might lead to Owen. They must also learn to trust one another. Hannah’s narrative alternates past and present, detailing her early days with Owen alongside her current hunt for him, and author Dave throws in a touch of danger and a few surprises. But what really drives the story is the evolving nature of Hannah and Bailey’s relationship, which is by turns poignant and frustrating but always realistic.

Light on suspense but still a solid page-turner.

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5011-7134-5

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 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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