Best in its disturbingly timely portrait of the police’s “blue wall” fortified to repel even the most intrepid crusaders.

BONE CANYON

The bones found in the San Fernando Valley’s Hueso Canyon send Robbery­-Homicide Detective Eve Ronin up against the very last people she wants to tangle with.

Stalked by Hollywood producers and writers who want to put her high-profile debut case onscreen or create a TV series around her and criticized as a camera-chasing diva by resentful colleagues, Eve would love to have the bone fragment horror screenwriter Sherwood Minter finds on the edge of his property be a routine discovery. But forensic anthropologist Dr. Daniel Brooks quickly unearths more bones and identifies them as those of Sabrina Morton, who vanished six years ago shortly after filing a rape complaint that was investigated by Detective, now Assistant Sheriff, Ted Nakamura. When the evidence indicates that Sabrina’s rapists were most likely officers in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Eve, who feels as if “I’ve already become a television character,” faces some tough choices about how far she should push the case and whom she can trust. The mystery deepens when Dan, as Eve now calls him, finds part of an 11th finger in Hueso Canyon. Clearly Sabrina’s body wasn’t the only one left there. How are the victims connected, and what hope do Sabrina’s embittered parents have of getting justice for their long-forgotten daughter? When her fellow cops regard her with suspicion and everyone else around her, from her neglectful mother to her long-absent father to the veteran agent trying to get her to take a meeting, wants a piece of Eve, it’s hard to see how she can focus enough to solve the case—especially given the last-minute trick Goldberg has up his sleeve.

Best in its disturbingly timely portrait of the police’s “blue wall” fortified to repel even the most intrepid crusaders.

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5420-4271-0

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

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Terrifying, primal, and very, very tense. Read it with your heart in your throat—but read it.

ONE STEP TOO FAR

Frankie Elkin, a miraculous finder of missing persons, seeks a man who wandered into the wilderness and was never seen again.

Last seen rescuing a missing teenager from the gritty streets of Boston, Frankie embarks from a bus in Ramsey, Wyoming, drawn in by the story of hiker Timothy O’Day, who's been missing for five years, and the last-gasp efforts of his father, Martin, to search for his remains. Frankie has some regrets about leaving Boston, but she's called to find those others have given up on. She manages to finagle her way on to the search party, which in addition to Martin includes a local guide; a search-and-rescue dog and her handler; a Bigfoot expert; and Tim’s friends, who were in the woods with him when he went missing. In the years since, they’ve moved on with their lives, but they are carrying guilt and secrets about the night Tim disappeared. As they all head into the unforgiving wilderness, it quickly becomes apparent that someone is deeply threatened by this effort to find Tim’s body. As she endeavors to draw the truth from each member of the search party, Frankie can tell that she's in over her head, and not only because she’s an inexperienced outdoorswoman. Could Tim still be alive and looking for revenge, or is there a more dangerous secret that someone would kill to protect? Gardner is incredibly skilled at developing tension and suspense; she’s equally skilled at slowly revealing complex characters and their secrets. Both gifts reinforce each other in this novel. If Frankie is out of her element, so are we: It’s not often that a thriller so deeply casts us into the darkness of both nature and the human heart.

Terrifying, primal, and very, very tense. Read it with your heart in your throat—but read it.

Pub Date: Jan. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-18541-4

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 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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