Based on true events that leave their untidy mark everywhere.

MOVIELAND

Maverick Detective Eve Ronin and her partner, Detective Duncan Pavone, land a case that threatens to push back Duncan's retirement date, currently two weeks away, if it doesn’t kill them first.

Water district bureaucrat Wallace Ewell insists the two detectives for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department find the thief who’s been crashing into his break room and stealing mostly valueless stuff. He’s good and annoyed when the two are called away from the scene to investigate a shooting. Activist blogger Zena Faust has been wounded and her lover, yoga instructor Kim Spivey, killed by shotgun fire in Malibu Creek State Park. Since there’s no way to trace the bullets, Eve and Duncan focus on the other forensic evidence their colleagues are able to extract from a scene the public is clamoring to get back into—and on possible motives that lead them to movie producer Curtis Honig, whom Kim accused of sexual predation years ago before some straight women he’d assaulted got the law to take his behavior seriously, and to millionaire Paul Banning, whose property adjoins the park. The discovery that a dozen earlier people had been shot, none of them fatally, in the park over the past 18 months fuels rumors of a Malibu Sniper, and the shooting of Calabasas city councilman Clark Netter in a car filled with cash enlarges the suspect pool and makes the case even more urgent. The number of unrelated perps, several of them minor characters who come and go in a flash, turns out to be so extensive that the ending, or endings, is inevitably a letdown except for Duncan’s triumphant taunt: “Vomit doesn’t lie.”

Based on true events that leave their untidy mark everywhere.

Pub Date: June 21, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-6625-0065-7

Page Count: -

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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Enjoyable storytelling by two masters of the craft.

22 SECONDS

Lindsay Boxer faces a ton of trouble in the latest entry in Patterson and Paetro’s Women’s Murder Club series.

Senior crime reporter Cindy Thomas is writing a biography of Evan Burke, a notorious serial killer who sits in solitary confinement in San Quentin. She’s kidnapped by thugs wanting her to talk about her best friend, Lindsay Boxer, who’s an SFPD homicide detective and the story’s main character. San Francisco has a restrictive new gun law, and gun-totin’ folks everywhere have their boxer shorts in a twist. A national resistance movement has formed—Defenders of the Second—whose motto is “We will not comply.” They find it outrageous that the new law makes it illegal to own a gun that can kill 50 people with a single clip. Meanwhile, lots of bodies show up: A young girl disappears and is later found dead in a ditch, and ex-cops are found dead with their lips stapled shut and “You talk, you die” written on their foreheads. An inmate is found hanged in prison. And “a massive but unspecified load of military-style weaponry was en route from Mexico to the City by the Bay.” In a “frustrating, multipronged case,” there’s a harrowing shootout memorialized in a video showing “twenty-two of the scariest seconds” of Boxer’s life. She’s an appealing series hero with loving family and friends, but she may arrive at a crossroads where she has “to choose between my work and [my] baby girl.” The formulaic story has unmemorable writing, but it’s entertaining and well told. You probably won’t have to worry about the main characters, who have thus far survived 21 adventures. Except for the little girl, you can expect people to get what they deserve. It's relatively mild as crime novels go, but the women characters are serious, strong, and admirable.

Enjoyable storytelling by two masters of the craft.

Pub Date: May 2, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-49937-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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Top-drawer crime fiction. The authors are tough on the hero, but the hero is tough.

THE RED BOOK

Patterson and Ellis put their characters through hell in this hard-edged second installment of their Black Book series after The Black Book (2017).

A young girl is one of four people gunned down in a “very, very bad” K-Town drive-by shooting in Chicago. Police are under intense political pressure to solve it, so Detective Billy Harney is assigned to the Special Operations Section to put the brakes on the gang violence on the West Side. His new partner is Detective Carla Griffin, whom colleagues describe as “sober as an undertaker” and “as fun as a case of hemorrhoids.” And she looks like the last thing he needs, a pill popper. (But is she?) Department muckety-mucks want Harney to fail, and Griffin is supposed to spy on him. The poor guy already has a hell of a backstory: His daughter died and his wife committed suicide (or did she?) four years earlier, he’s been shot in the head, charged with murder (and exonerated), and helped put his own father in prison. (Nothing like a tormented hero!) Now the deaths still haunt him while he and Griffin begin to suspect they’re not looking at a simple turf war starring the Imperial Gangster Nation. Meanwhile, the captain in Internal Affairs is deep in the pocket of some bad guys who run an international human trafficking ring, and he loathes Harney. The protagonist is lucky to have Patti, his sister and fellow detective, as his one reliable friend who lets him know he’s being set up. The authors do masterful work creating flawed characters to root for or against, and they certainly pile up the troubles for Billy Harney. Abundant nasty twists will hold readers’ rapt attention in this dark, violent, and fast-moving thriller.

Top-drawer crime fiction. The authors are tough on the hero, but the hero is tough.

Pub Date: March 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-49940-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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