A captivating and intimate look at injustices in the judicial system.

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BURNING JUSTICE

From the Help Innocent Prisoners Project series , Vol. 6

A dedicated lawyer works to exonerate an innocent woman on death row for the murder of her three children in a legal thriller by the author of The Good Twin (2018).

In the late 1990s, Becky Whitlaw was a young working-class mother in Glen Brook, Texas, when her husband, Grady, was killed in an auto accident. Nine months later, a 23-year-old widow with two toddlers and a new baby, Becky feels old and exhausted, and her life seems out of control. She even wonders sometimes if she wouldn’t be better off if her children had never been born. When her house is consumed by flames with her children inside as she sobs on the porch, “It’s my fault,” it doesn’t take long for investigators to conclude that she set the fire herself. In spite of her denials, she is charged and brought to trial and, after only two days of testimony, convicted of murder and sentenced to death. Years later, Dani Trumball, an attorney for the Help Innocent Prisoners Project, learns of Becky’s case and agrees to try to get her a new trial, in hopes that new evidence will prove her innocent of starting the fire that caused her children’s deaths. While juggling her own family challenges, including adjusting to a West Coast life after a cross-country move with her husband and two children, Dani works tirelessly to unearth old leads and witnesses, all the while knowing that even her best efforts might not be enough. A veteran author of novels about legal injustices, Green is a masterful storyteller, and her narrative fascinates from the first page to the last as she describes the uphill battle faced by those who try to prove the innocence of convicted felons. In addition to providing educational and electrifying details of Dani’s investigation and court battles, Green gives empathetic attention to the details of the attorney’s personal life, drawing parallels between Dani and Becky as wives and mothers and creating a tale that combines courtroom and family drama.

A captivating and intimate look at injustices in the judicial system.

Pub Date: April 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-9881980-4-3

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Yankee Clipper Press

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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It's almost enough to make a person believe in ghosts.

HIDDEN PICTURES

A disturbing household secret has far-reaching consequences in this dark, unusual ghost story.

Mallory Quinn, fresh out of rehab and recovering from a recent tragedy, has taken a job as a nanny for an affluent couple living in the upscale suburb of Spring Brook, New Jersey, when a series of strange events start to make her (and her employers) question her own sanity. Teddy, the precocious and shy 5-year-old boy she's charged with watching, seems to be haunted by a ghost who channels his body to draw pictures that are far too complex and well formed for such a young child. At first, these drawings are rather typical: rabbits, hot air balloons, trees. But then the illustrations take a dark turn, showcasing the details of a gruesome murder; the inclusion of the drawings, which start out as stick figures and grow increasingly more disturbing and sophisticated, brings the reader right into the story. With the help of an attractive young gardener and a psychic neighbor and using only the drawings as clues, Mallory must solve the mystery of the house's grizzly past before it's too late. Rekulak does a great job with character development: Mallory, who narrates in the first person, has an engaging voice; the Maxwells' slightly overbearing parenting style and passive-aggressive quips feel very familiar; and Teddy is so three-dimensional that he sometimes feels like a real child.

It's almost enough to make a person believe in ghosts.

Pub Date: May 10, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-81934-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2022

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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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