The illusions of a family and its close-knit town constructed and demolished on a truly epic scale.

THE KINGDOM

The latest stand-alone from the chronicler of Inspector Harry Hole puts all the murky, violent twists on brotherly love that you’d expect from this leading exponent of Nordic noir.

Roy Calvin Opgard has always been joined at the hip to his kid brother, Carl Abel Opgard, though not in the ways you’d expect. Carl was clearly his father’s favorite, and years ago he left Norway for Canada, where he made quite the reputation as an entrepreneur, while Roy stayed behind to run a petrol station his dreams merely stretched to owning. When Carl returns to Os, it’s with a beautiful bride, Barbados-born Shannon Alleyne, and an ambitious plan to build the Os Spa and Mountain Hotel on land the brothers inherited when their parents plunged to their deaths in the prized Cadillac Raymond Opgard bought from conniving Willum Willumsen. But there’s more to Carl’s noble-sounding scheme to finance the project by distributing ownership shares among the townsfolk than he lets on. And Carl’s return to his hometown unearths long-simmering tensions between the brothers and threatens to reveal long-buried secrets about the deaths of their parents, the disappearance long ago of sheriff Sigmund Olsen, whose son, Kurt, now holds the sheriff’s job, and the checkered sexual histories of both Carl and Roy. Nesbø peels away the secrets surrounding Carl’s project, his backstory, and his connections to his old neighbors so methodically that most readers, like frogs in a gradually warming pan of water, will take quite a while to realize just how extensive, wholesale, and disturbing those secrets really are.

The illusions of a family and its close-knit town constructed and demolished on a truly epic scale.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-65541-1

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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The story is sadly familiar, the treatment claustrophobically intense.

A FLICKER IN THE DARK

Twenty years after Chloe Davis’ father was convicted of killing half a dozen young women, someone seems to be celebrating the anniversary by extending the list.

No one in little Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, was left untouched by Richard Davis’ confession, least of all his family members. His wife, Mona, tried to kill herself and has been incapacitated ever since. His son, Cooper, became so suspicious that even now it’s hard for him to accept pharmaceutical salesman Daniel Briggs, whose sister, Sophie, also vanished 20 years ago, as Chloe’s fiance. And Chloe’s own nightmares, which lead her to rebuff New York Times reporter Aaron Jansen, who wants to interview her for an anniversary story, are redoubled when her newest psychiatric patient, Lacey Deckler, follows the path of high school student Aubrey Gravino by disappearing and then turning up dead. The good news is that Dick Davis, whom Chloe has had no contact with ever since he was imprisoned after his confession, obviously didn’t commit these new crimes. The bad news is that someone else did, someone who knows a great deal about the earlier cases, someone who could be very close to Chloe indeed. First-timer Willingham laces her first-person narrative with a stifling sense of victimhood that extends even to the survivors and a series of climactic revelations, at least some of which are guaranteed to surprise the most hard-bitten readers.

The story is sadly familiar, the treatment claustrophobically intense.

Pub Date: Jan. 11, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-2508-0382-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

A CONSPIRACY OF BONES

Another sweltering month in Charlotte, another boatload of mysteries past and present for overworked, overstressed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan.

A week after the night she chases but fails to catch a mysterious trespasser outside her town house, some unknown party texts Tempe four images of a corpse that looks as if it’s been chewed by wild hogs, because it has been. Showboat Medical Examiner Margot Heavner makes it clear that, breaking with her department’s earlier practice (The Bone Collection, 2016, etc.), she has no intention of calling in Tempe as a consultant and promptly identifies the faceless body herself as that of a young Asian man. Nettled by several errors in Heavner’s analysis, and even more by her willingness to share the gory details at a press conference, Tempe launches her own investigation, which is not so much off the books as against the books. Heavner isn’t exactly mollified when Tempe, aided by retired police detective Skinny Slidell and a host of experts, puts a name to the dead man. But the hints of other crimes Tempe’s identification uncovers, particularly crimes against children, spur her on to redouble her efforts despite the new M.E.’s splenetic outbursts. Before he died, it seems, Felix Vodyanov was linked to a passenger ferry that sank in 1994, an even earlier U.S. government project to research biological agents that could control human behavior, the hinky spiritual retreat Sparkling Waters, the dark web site DeepUnder, and the disappearances of at least four schoolchildren, two of whom have also turned up dead. And why on earth was Vodyanov carrying Tempe’s own contact information? The mounting evidence of ever more and ever worse skulduggery will pull Tempe deeper and deeper down what even she sees as a rabbit hole before she confronts a ringleader implicated in “Drugs. Fraud. Breaking and entering. Arson. Kidnapping. How does attempted murder sound?”

Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9821-3888-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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