A skillfully spun yarn of murder and mayhem, if one that sometimes plods.

SOMETHING TO HIDE

George delivers a fresh installment in her Lynley/Havers procedural series, this one more politically charged than most.

“Dominique’s white and she thinks white, which is to say most of the time she doesn’t think at all because she doesn’t have to think. She never thought we might be better off if we hired someone without marshmallow skin, no offence.” So says an embittered mixed-race filmmaker who’s been paired, much to her disgust, with a White photographer to document life in the Black African and Black British neighborhoods of London. There’s a hidden undercurrent to the story, which speaks to George’s title: Especially among the Nigerian community, female genital mutilation is widely practiced in order to transform young girls “into vessels of chastity and purity for men.” A young Nigerian Briton named Tanimola Bankole is being packed off by his bigamous, bullying father to marry such a “suitable” bride in the homeland; other characters have undergone or are slated to undergo the procedure, carried out in illegal butcher shops in the mews and back alleys of Peckham, Lewisham, and thereabouts. DS Havers is on the case, following the trail of victims with the help of a White reconstructive surgeon and advocate. So is DCS Lynley, flummoxed by the fact that one of his detectives has been murdered after she set to work on the FGM beat—and that a senior officer in the Metropolitan Police seems somehow to be involved in her killing. George’s story is too long by a couple of hundred pages, with strands that go pretty much nowhere (that of the photographer being one). Still, for all the cultural sensitivities involved in the premise, she handles the details thoughtfully. Was it a basement butcher who killed the inspector? A senior officer? A disgruntled sibling? Mystery buffs will be pleased that, having followed a winding path strewn with red herrings, they won’t be likely to guess at the murderer’s identity until the very last pages.

A skillfully spun yarn of murder and mayhem, if one that sometimes plods.

Pub Date: Jan. 11, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-59-329684-4

Page Count: 704

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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Well-done crime fiction. Baldacci nails the noir.

DREAM TOWN

An old-fashioned gumshoe yarn about Hollywood dreams and dead bodies.

Private investigator Aloysius Archer celebrates New Year’s Eve 1952 in LA with his gorgeous lady friend and aspiring actress Liberty Callahan. Screenwriter Eleanor Lamb shows up and offers to hire him because “someone might be trying to kill me.” “I’m fifty a day plus expenses,” he replies, but money’s no obstacle. Later, he sneaks into Lamb’s house and stumbles upon a body, then gets knocked out by an unseen assailant. Archer takes plenty of physical abuse in the story, but at least he doesn’t get a bullet between the eyes like the guy he trips over. A 30-year-old World War II combat veteran, Archer is a righteous and brave hero. Luck and grit keep him alive in both Vegas and the City of Angels, which is rife with gangsters and crooked cops. Not rich at all, his one luxury is the blood-red 1939 Delahaye he likes to drive with the top down. He’d bought it with his gambling winnings in Reno, and only a bullet hole in the windscreen post mars its perfection. Liberty loves Archer, but will she put up with the daily danger of losing him? Why doesn’t he get a safe job, maybe playing one of LA’s finest on the hit TV show Dragnet? Instead, he’s a tough and principled idealist who wants to make the world a better place. Either that or he’s simply a “pavement-pounding PI on a slow dance to maybe nowhere.” And if some goon doesn’t do him in sooner, his Lucky Strikes will probably do him in later. Baldacci paints a vivid picture of the not-so-distant era when everybody smoked, Joe McCarthy hunted commies, and Marilyn Monroe stirred men’s loins. The 1950s weren’t the fabled good old days, but they’re fodder for gritty crime stories of high ideals and lowlifes, of longing and disappointment, and all the trouble a PI can handle.

Well-done crime fiction. Baldacci nails the noir.

Pub Date: April 19, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5387-1977-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

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REMINDERS OF HIM

After being released from prison, a young woman tries to reconnect with her 5-year-old daughter despite having killed the girl’s father.

Kenna didn’t even know she was pregnant until after she was sent to prison for murdering her boyfriend, Scotty. When her baby girl, Diem, was born, she was forced to give custody to Scotty’s parents. Now that she’s been released, Kenna is intent on getting to know her daughter, but Scotty’s parents won’t give her a chance to tell them what really happened the night their son died. Instead, they file a restraining order preventing Kenna from so much as introducing herself to Diem. Handsome, self-assured Ledger, who was Scotty’s best friend, is another key adult in Diem’s life. He’s helping her grandparents raise her, and he too blames Kenna for Scotty’s death. Even so, there’s something about her that haunts him. Kenna feels the pull, too, and seems to be seeking Ledger out despite his judgmental behavior. As Ledger gets to know Kenna and acknowledges his attraction to her, he begins to wonder if maybe he and Scotty’s parents have judged her unfairly. Even so, Ledger is afraid that if he surrenders to his feelings, Scotty’s parents will kick him out of Diem’s life. As Kenna and Ledger continue to mourn for Scotty, they also grieve the future they cannot have with each other. Told alternatively from Kenna’s and Ledger’s perspectives, the story explores the myriad ways in which snap judgments based on partial information can derail people’s lives. Built on a foundation of death and grief, this story has an undercurrent of sadness. As usual, however, the author has created compelling characters who are magnetic and sympathetic enough to pull readers in. In addition to grief, the novel also deftly explores complex issues such as guilt, self-doubt, redemption, and forgiveness.

With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

Pub Date: Jan. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5420-2560-7

Page Count: 335

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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