Police procedures, psychological thrills and gothic romance beautifully woven into one stunning story.

THE LIKENESS

From the Dublin Murder Squad series , Vol. 2

The discovery of her murdered doppelgänger leads a Dublin detective to insert herself into the victim’s life.

Cassandra Maddox, the Irish cop introduced in French’s In the Woods (2007), gets an urgent call from her homicide-detective boyfriend Sam O’Neill. She is to drop everything, disguise herself and hustle to a murder scene that has clearly left Sam shaken. His distress is understandable. The corpse in the abandoned cottage outside the depressed suburban village of Glenskehy is a dead ringer for Cassie. Stranger still, the name on the victim’s ID is Lexie Madison, the same name Cassie used during a long, dangerous, undercover operation. Before she was stabbed, Lexie was one of five residents, all Trinity University students, living in Whitethorn House, a mansion inherited by one of the students. Frank Mackey, Cassie’s tough supervisor from her days in undercover, thinks the best bet for solving the Lexie murder case is to withhold news of the death from the public. This way, Cassie can pose as Lexie and perhaps get to the bottom of what happened. There are enough clues to Lexie’s life in her phone camera that Cassie, against Sam’s better judgment, takes the challenge. Several days later, armed and wired for sound, Cassie is dropped off at Whitethorn, where she is taken back into what proves to be a very tightly knit group. There is dark, brilliant Daniel, who owns the house, gay Justin, clever Abby and beautiful Rafe. Using the formidable acting skills that made her so successful in undercover work, Cassie seems able to convince the friends that she is Lexie. As she begins to reconstruct the events leading up to the murder, she finds herself sucked into the group, and her loyalties begin to shift.

Police procedures, psychological thrills and gothic romance beautifully woven into one stunning story.

Pub Date: July 21, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-670-01886-4

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2008

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Too much drama at the end detracts from a finely wrought and subtle conundrum.

THE WOMAN IN CABIN 10

Ware (In A Dark, Dark Wood, 2015) offers up a classic “paranoid woman” story with a modern twist in this tense, claustrophobic mystery.

Days before departing on a luxury cruise for work, travel journalist Lo Blacklock is the victim of a break-in. Though unharmed, she ends up locked in her own room for several hours before escaping; as a result, she is unable to sleep. By the time she comes onboard the Aurora, Lo is suffering from severe sleep deprivation and possibly even PTSD, so when she hears a big splash from the cabin next door in the middle of the night, “the kind of splash made by a body hitting water,” she can’t prove to security that anything violent has actually occurred. To make matters stranger, there's no record of any passenger traveling in the cabin next to Lo’s, even though Lo herself saw a woman there and even borrowed makeup from her before the first night’s dinner party. Reeling from her own trauma, and faced with proof that she may have been hallucinating, Lo continues to investigate, aided by her ex-boyfriend Ben (who's also writing about the cruise), fighting desperately to find any shred of evidence that she may be right. The cast of characters, their conversations, and the luxurious but confining setting all echo classic Agatha Christie; in fact, the structure of the mystery itself is an old one: a woman insists murder has occurred, everyone else says she’s crazy. But Lo is no wallflower; she is a strong and determined modern heroine who refuses to doubt the evidence of her own instincts. Despite this successful formula, and a whole lot of slowly unraveling tension, the end is somehow unsatisfying. And the newspaper and social media inserts add little depth.

Too much drama at the end detracts from a finely wrought and subtle conundrum.

Pub Date: July 19, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5011-3293-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scout Press/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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Greed, love, and extrasensory abilities combine in two middling mysteries.

LABYRINTH

Coulter’s treasured FBI agents take on two cases marked by danger and personal involvement.

Dillon Savitch and his wife, Lacey Sherlock, have special abilities that have served them well in law enforcement (Paradox, 2018, etc.). But that doesn't prevent Sherlock’s car from hitting a running man after having been struck by a speeding SUV that runs a red light. The runner, though clearly injured, continues on his way and disappears. Not so the SUV driver, a security engineer for the Bexholt Group, which has ties to government agencies. Sherlock’s own concussion causes memory loss so severe that she doesn’t recognize Savitch or remember their son, Sean. The whole incident seems more suspicious when a blood test from the splatter of the man Sherlock hit reveals that he’s Justice Cummings, an analyst for the CIA. The agency’s refusal to cooperate makes Savitch certain that Bexholt is involved in a deep-laid plot. Meanwhile, Special Agent Griffin Hammersmith is visiting friends who run a cafe in the touristy Virginia town of Gaffers Ridge. Hammersmith, who has psychic abilities, is taken aback when he hears in his mind a woman’s cry for help. Reporter Carson DeSilva, who came to the area to interview a Nobel Prize winner, also has psychic abilities, and she overhears the thoughts of Rafer Bodine, a young man who has apparently kidnapped and possibly murdered three teenage girls. Unluckily, she blurts out her thoughts, and she’s snatched and tied up in a cellar by Bodine. Bodine may be a killer, but he’s also the nephew of the sheriff and the son of the local bigwig. So the sheriff arrests Hammersmith and refuses to accept his FBI credentials. Bodine's mother has psychic powers strong enough to kill, but she meets her match in Hammersmith, DeSilva, Savitch, and Sherlock.

Greed, love, and extrasensory abilities combine in two middling mysteries.

Pub Date: July 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-9365-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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