SORROW BOUND

An introspective detective’s involvement in a series of brutal crimes is both professional and personal.

DS Aector McAvoy is a shy but physically impressive Scot with a Romany wife. Many of his colleagues are angry with him for bringing down a dishonest cop, and he’s been required to attend six sessions with a police-approved counselor. The sessions are not going well, but Detective Superintendent Trish Pharaoh, McAvoy’s boss at Serious and Organized Crime, still has complete faith in him. Half the unit is investigating the violent escalation in crime linked to a mysterious new group taking over the drug trade in and about Hull. McAvoy and Pharaoh, in the other half of the unit, are on the trail of a serial killer. They suspect the killings are revenge for what the killer considers a miscarriage of justice. Sebastien Hoyer-Wood, a well-connected young man, had committed a series of violent rapes he forced the victims’ families to watch. But when he was caught, his college friend, now a psychiatrist, managed to get him committed to a posh mental home rather than jail. Now a number of people who saved Hoyer-Wood’s life when he was severely beaten by a victim’s husband become targets of the killer. Using blackmail as a tool, the drug kingpin meanwhile catches several police officers in his web. McAvoy himself becomes a target when his wife, Roisin, beats up a dealer who is attacking a friend accidentally in possession of some drugs and takes the money the dealer initially offered as a bribe before he lost his temper. Even though he and his family are is serious danger from the enigmatic drug kingpin, McAvoy can’t let go of the complicated murder case.

Compelling characters and a knotty mystery make the third from Mark (Original Skin, 2013, etc.) stand out from other procedurals.

Pub Date: July 3, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-399-16820-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Blue Rider Press

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Too much drama at the end detracts from a finely wrought and subtle conundrum.

THE WOMAN IN CABIN 10

Ware (In A Dark, Dark Wood, 2015) offers up a classic “paranoid woman” story with a modern twist in this tense, claustrophobic mystery.

Days before departing on a luxury cruise for work, travel journalist Lo Blacklock is the victim of a break-in. Though unharmed, she ends up locked in her own room for several hours before escaping; as a result, she is unable to sleep. By the time she comes onboard the Aurora, Lo is suffering from severe sleep deprivation and possibly even PTSD, so when she hears a big splash from the cabin next door in the middle of the night, “the kind of splash made by a body hitting water,” she can’t prove to security that anything violent has actually occurred. To make matters stranger, there's no record of any passenger traveling in the cabin next to Lo’s, even though Lo herself saw a woman there and even borrowed makeup from her before the first night’s dinner party. Reeling from her own trauma, and faced with proof that she may have been hallucinating, Lo continues to investigate, aided by her ex-boyfriend Ben (who's also writing about the cruise), fighting desperately to find any shred of evidence that she may be right. The cast of characters, their conversations, and the luxurious but confining setting all echo classic Agatha Christie; in fact, the structure of the mystery itself is an old one: a woman insists murder has occurred, everyone else says she’s crazy. But Lo is no wallflower; she is a strong and determined modern heroine who refuses to doubt the evidence of her own instincts. Despite this successful formula, and a whole lot of slowly unraveling tension, the end is somehow unsatisfying. And the newspaper and social media inserts add little depth.

Too much drama at the end detracts from a finely wrought and subtle conundrum.

Pub Date: July 19, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5011-3293-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scout Press/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

Fans of smart horror will sink their teeth into this one.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

THE SOUTHERN BOOK CLUB'S GUIDE TO SLAYING VAMPIRES

Things are about to get bloody for a group of Charleston housewives.

In 1988, the scariest thing in former nurse Patricia Campbell’s life is showing up to book club, since she hasn’t read the book. It’s hard to get any reading done between raising two kids, Blue and Korey, picking up after her husband, Carter, a psychiatrist, and taking care of her live-in mother-in-law, Miss Mary, who seems to have dementia. It doesn’t help that the books chosen by the Literary Guild of Mt. Pleasant are just plain boring. But when fellow book-club member Kitty gives Patricia a gloriously trashy true-crime novel, Patricia is instantly hooked, and soon she’s attending a very different kind of book club with Kitty and her friends Grace, Slick, and Maryellen. She has a full plate at home, but Patricia values her new friendships and still longs for a bit of excitement. When James Harris moves in down the street, the women are intrigued. Who is this handsome night owl, and why does Miss Mary insist that she knows him? A series of horrific events stretches Patricia’s nerves and her Southern civility to the breaking point. (A skin-crawling scene involving a horde of rats is a standout.) She just knows James is up to no good, but getting anyone to believe her is a Sisyphean feat. After all, she’s just a housewife. Hendrix juxtaposes the hypnotic mundanity of suburbia (which has a few dark underpinnings of its own) against an insidious evil that has taken root in Patricia’s insular neighborhood. It’s gratifying to see her grow from someone who apologizes for apologizing to a fiercely brave woman determined to do the right thing—hopefully with the help of her friends. Hendrix (We Sold Our Souls, 2018, etc.) cleverly sprinkles in nods to well-established vampire lore, and the fact that he’s a master at conjuring heady 1990s nostalgia is just the icing on what is his best book yet.

Fans of smart horror will sink their teeth into this one.

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68369-143-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Quirk Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

more