Polished prose, lovable recurring characters, and a stunning revelation make this a mystery to savor.

PAST LIFE

Aector McAvoy fans, rejoice! The highly regarded Hull police officer is back in a searing exposé of buried secrets.

When a fortuneteller is found murdered and mutilated, Detective Superintendent Trish Pharaoh and her team catch a case which, for Aector, turns into a devastating replay of the past. Twelve years ago, Aector’s future wife, Roisin Teague, an Irish Traveler and the apple of her powerful father’s eye, was staying with her aunt, clairvoyant Eva-Jayne Puck, to keep out of the way of a vicious feud between her family and a rival clan. When someone killed and mutilated Eva-Jayne in her own apartment, Roisin barely escaped. Aector learned from a CCTV image that Roisin, whom he’d been unable to forget after having "half killed" some men who’d raped her several years earlier, was a witness to Eva-Jayne's killing. Instead of turning her in, he searched for her, and she helped him survive a vicious attack by the hired killer known as Cromwell. Now married to Roisin, a conflicted Aector lives with the false belief that his father-in-law killed Cromwell. Roisin, who knows better, has recurring nightmares she refuses to discuss with her husband. Now Cromwell’s come for revenge, using Aector and Roisin’s children as bait. Aector goes rogue to protect his children, who are caught up in a case that has become ever more complex and brutally dangerous.

Polished prose, lovable recurring characters, and a stunning revelation make this a mystery to savor.

Pub Date: Dec. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-7278-9092-4

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Severn House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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A top-class cozy infused with dry wit and charming characters who draw you in and leave you wanting more, please.

THE THURSDAY MURDER CLUB

Four residents of Coopers Chase, a British retirement village, compete with the police to solve a murder in this debut novel.

The Thursday Murder Club started out with a group of septuagenarians working on old murder cases culled from the files of club founder Elizabeth’s friend Penny Gray, a former police officer who's now comatose in the village's nursing home. Elizabeth used to have an unspecified job, possibly as a spy, that has left her with a large network of helpful sources. Joyce is a former nurse who chronicles their deeds. Psychiatrist Ibrahim Arif and well-known political firebrand Ron Ritchie complete the group. They charm Police Constable Donna De Freitas, who, visiting to give a talk on safety at Coopers Chase, finds the residents sharp as tacks. Built with drug money on the grounds of a convent, Coopers Chase is a high-end development conceived by loathsome Ian Ventham and maintained by dangerous crook Tony Curran, who’s about to be fired and replaced with wary but willing Bogdan Jankowski. Ventham has big plans for the future—as soon as he’s removed the nuns' bodies from the cemetery. When Curran is murdered, DCI Chris Hudson gets the case, but Elizabeth uses her influence to get the ambitious De Freitas included, giving the Thursday Club a police source. What follows is a fascinating primer in detection as British TV personality Osman allows the members to use their diverse skills to solve a series of interconnected crimes.

A top-class cozy infused with dry wit and charming characters who draw you in and leave you wanting more, please.

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-98-488096-3

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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Slow moving and richly layered.

THE SEARCHER

A retired cop takes one last case in this stand-alone novel from the creator of the Dublin Murder Squad.

Originally from North Carolina, Cal Hooper has spent the last 30 years in Chicago. “A small place. A small town in a small country”: That’s what he’s searching for when he moves to the West of Ireland. His daughter is grown, his wife has left him, so Cal is on his own—until a kid named Trey starts hanging around. Trey’s brother is missing. Everyone believes that Brendan has run off just like his father did, but Trey thinks there’s more to the story than just another young man leaving his family behind in search of money and excitement in the city. Trey wants the police detective who just emigrated from America to find out what’s really happened to Brendan. French is deploying a well-worn trope here—in fact, she’s deploying a few. Cal is a new arrival to an insular community, and he’s about to discover that he didn’t leave crime and violence behind when he left the big city. Cal is a complex enough character, though, and it turns out that the mystery he’s trying to solve is less shocking than what he ultimately discovers. French's latest is neither fast-paced nor action-packed, and it has as much to do with Cal’s inner life as it does with finding Brendan. Much of what mystery readers are looking for in terms of action is squeezed into the last third of the novel, and the morally ambiguous ending may be unsatisfying for some. But French’s fans have surely come to expect imperfect allegiance to genre conventions, and the author does, ultimately, deliver plenty of twists, shocking revelations, and truly chilling moments.

Slow moving and richly layered.

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-73-522465-0

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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