A historical episode artfully adapted in a bleak tale that offers glimmers of hope for women discarded by society.

DANGEROUS WOMEN

Alas for the hopes of an ardent young reformer aboard a shipful of women convicts when one of them is attacked.

In April 1841, the Rajah leaves London for Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania). Onboard are nearly 200 women convicted of petty crimes and sentenced to transportation to the other side of the world. With them are Capt. Charles Ferguson, master of the Rajah; a pious but stern clergyman; the jovial ship’s doctor; and the 23-year-old matron of the prisoners, idealistic Kezia Hayter. She hopes to build a community among the women by choosing 18 of them to assemble a quilt to present to their new home’s governor when they arrive. In a series of temporal jumps to and from the past, the near past, and the present of 1841, Kezia’s life and the lives of the convicts—some of whom have known nothing but poverty and degradation, some grieving for the families they had to leave behind, a few who were allowed to bring their children with them—are stitched together. When Hattie Matthews is stabbed, Kezia helps the captain, the parson, and the doctor interview the seven witnesses to the event. Some of them recall Hattie’s fear that she was being watched, others the swatch of fabric in which was embroidered a warning for Hattie to keep silent. What none of the investigators know is that one of the convicts is an imposter who stole the identity of another prisoner in a desperate attempt to escape the gallows. Her fear that someone onboard may recognize her makes her the obvious suspect in what might well yet be a murder—and forces her to turn to the one person who could be her undoing.

A historical episode artfully adapted in a bleak tale that offers glimmers of hope for women discarded by society.

Pub Date: Feb. 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-09957-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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THE SANATORIUM

A hotel built on the grounds of a sanatorium has more dead bodies than paying guests.

A police detective on sabbatical after flubbing a case, Elin Warner travels with her boyfriend, Will, to Le Sommet, a remote, glass-walled, five-star hotel in the Swiss Alps, at the invitation of her estranged brother, Isaac. Isaac is throwing a party to celebrate his engagement to Laure, assistant manager at the hotel, which has been the focus of local controversy due to its shadowy history. Elin's creepy feelings about the trip are quickly confirmed as a storm cuts off access to the mountain, a receptionist is kidnapped, a dead body is found in the snow, and Laure disappears. As overloaded, grisly, and ultimately silly as Pearse's locked-room debut may be, the biggest mystery is how Elin ever made it out of the police academy. As she slowly reasons her way through the unfolding situation, her deductions of even the most obvious points appear in italics—"That means Laure has another phone." "This…it isn't an accident. She's been killed. This is murder"—as do what seem to be the protagonist’s questions to herself about how to move things along. "So where could they have gone?" "So what are my next steps going to be?" "She examines the glass balustrade in front of her. Can I get over it?" What Elin can't get over is a tragedy in her childhood for which she holds her brother responsible; it comes up every few pages until being resolved with a not-too-believable twist that may or may not be retwisted in a mystifying epilogue. Fortunately for Elin, she does have a few insider tricks up her sleeve. "She knows that there is an app called Find My iPhone...it would show the last location where it had a signal." Wait. Why are you laughing? This is a thriller!

Oh, dear.

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-59-329667-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: yesterday

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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Hitler may not live, but Heil Hitler is alive and all too well.

THE KAISER'S WEB

The rise of a neo-fascist with deep roots in the Third Reich pulls not-exactly-retired Justice Department agent Cotton Malone back for a 16th round of international intrigue.

A specter is haunting Europe. No, not the coronavirus but Theodor Pohl, an insurgent German nationalist who’s set his sights first on toppling long-serving chancellor Marie Eisenhuth, then on making the Fatherland great again—really, really great. Barely have Malone and his lover and comrade in arms Cassiopeia Vitt dusted themselves off from their leap from their mortally wounded plane in Poland on a single parachute than ex-President Danny Daniels is packing them off to Chile to investigate rumors that Adolf Hitler, Eva Braun, and Martin Bormann didn’t all die in that bunker in 1945; at least one of them escaped to South America with billions in Nazi gold. The trip to Chile produces some eye-popping revelations and whittles down the cast, but instead of settling matters for good, it propels Malone and Vitt to South Africa for further investigations among people determined to be left alone until their time has come. Meanwhile, back in Germany, the chancellor realizes that she’s being undermined by not only Pohl and his ruthless acolyte, Josef Engle, but her xenophobic husband, Kurt Eisenhuth, whose past is even more checkered than she knows. Cannily mixing historical research with florid inventions that fill in gaps and sometimes fly in the face of the available evidence, Berry presents an ominously up-to-date world whose frenzied nationalism is a direct descendant of the Thousand-Year Reich.

Hitler may not live, but Heil Hitler is alive and all too well.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-2501-4034-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: Nov. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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