Spencer gives Monika Paniatowski the send-off she richly deserves.

THE FINAL BEAT OF THE DRUM

Spencer bids farewell to her best-known franchise.

It’s been years since retired DCI Monika Paniatowski has assembled her team in the public bar of the Drum and Monkey, and time has treated each member with a characteristically heavy hand. Jack Crane, rendered unfit for service when a suspect he was subduing gouged out his eye, teaches literature at the University of Central Lancashire. Colin Beresford, father of five, works a gentleman’s farm with his wife. Monika spends her days keeping company with Zubrowka Polish vodka, having given up her dream of becoming a grandmother. Her daughter, Louisa, has become Chief Superintendent Rutter, wildly successful but childless; her son Thomas is a Catholic priest; and his twin brother, Philip, is in a detention center awaiting trial for assault. Only Kate Meadows has done something noteworthy, leaving the force to become director of Overcroft House, a shelter for battered women. After years of finding pleasure in pain as Zelda, mistress of the night, she now protects women whose pain is anything but consensual. The murder of the husband of one of the shelter’s residents by someone skilled in the art of S&M presents one of the knottiest of Spencer’s patented heads-I-win, tails-you-lose dilemmas. If Kate’s alter ego is discovered, she’ll lose her post, but if the crime goes unsolved, the shelter may close. Spencer’s dialogue is crisp as ever: Monika notes wryly that Beresford’s home-brewed beer “tastes like a diabetic tomcat has peed on a dead hedgehog.” But readers will most likely anticipate missing Monika’s matchless gift for solving the unsolvable by means unimaginable even as they cheer her final victory.

Spencer gives Monika Paniatowski the send-off she richly deserves.

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-7278-5064-5

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Severn House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2023

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Not the best of Connelly’s procedurals, but nobody else does them better than his second-best.

DESERT STAR

A snap of the yo-yo string yanks Harry Bosch out of retirement yet again.

Los Angeles Councilman Jake Pearlman has resurrected the LAPD’s Open-Unsolved Unit in order to reopen the case of his kid sister, Sarah, whose 1994 murder was instantly eclipsed in the press by the O.J. Simpson case when it broke a day later. Since not even a councilor can reconstitute a police unit for a single favored case, Det. Renée Ballard and her mostly volunteer (read: unpaid) crew are expected to reopen some other cold cases as well, giving Bosch a fresh opportunity to gather evidence against Finbar McShane, the crooked manager he’s convinced executed industrial contractor Stephen Gallagher, his wife, and their two children in 2013 and buried them in a single desert grave. The case has haunted Bosch more than any other he failed to close, and he’s fine to work the Pearlman homicide if it’ll give him another crack at McShane. As it turns out, the Pearlman case is considerably more interesting—partly because the break that leads the unit to a surprising new suspect turns out to be both fraught and misleading, partly because identifying the killer is only the beginning of Bosch’s problems. The windup of the Gallagher murders, a testament to sweating every detail and following every lead wherever it goes, is more heartfelt but less wily and dramatic. Fans of the aging detective who fear that he might be mellowing will be happy to hear that “putting him on a team did not make him a team player.”

Not the best of Connelly’s procedurals, but nobody else does them better than his second-best.

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-48565-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Penny will have you turning the pages as fast as you can to see how she'll manage to tie everything together.

A WORLD OF CURIOSITIES

Welcome to Three Pines, the idyllic-seeming Canadian capital of murder.

At the heart of Penny’s series of mysteries set in the tiny Quebec town of Three Pines is the relationship between Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, the empathetic and capable head of homicide for the Sûreté du Québec, and his headstrong second-in-command, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, now also his son-in-law. Gamache has a talent for finding officers who’ve been languishing in their previous jobs and turning them into trusted allies, and Penny has frequently mentioned the way Beauvoir had been “banished to the basement” in an out-of-the-way bureau and that there was something “lean and feral…something dangerous” about him before Gamache swooped in and brought him to the homicide squad. Now, in her 18th installment, Penny flashes back to the case that brought the two men together. A woman named Clotilde Arsenault has been found dead in a remote lake, and Gamache shows up at the local detachment to investigate the case himself. Clotilde had two children, 13-year-old Fiona and Sam, 10, and it turns out she had been prostituting them. In the book’s present-day strand, Fiona is graduating from college after having served time in prison for killing her mother; Gamache and his wife, Reine-Marie, have supported her, almost folding her into their own family, but they’ve never trusted Sam, who will also be at the graduation ceremony. This chapter in Penny's chronicle of Three Pines contains all the elements that she sometimes divides up between different books: There's a cozy-feeling present-day mystery concerning a hidden room Fiona discovers by looking at the roofline of Myrna's bookstore, and the strange painting found inside; the harrowing story of how Gamache and Beauvoir cracked the case of Clotilde's murder; and a story of corruption within the institutions that are supposed to be protecting us. The plotting is complex and the characters as vivid as ever, but the opportunity to watch Gamache and Beauvoir's relationship develop is what makes this book one of Penny's best.

Penny will have you turning the pages as fast as you can to see how she'll manage to tie everything together.

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-2501-4529-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: Nov. 29, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more