For readers who dream of hit men whose barks are worse than their bites.

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SHADOWS IN DEATH

The savage gutting of a wine-and-spirits heiress in Washington Square Park brings Lt. Eve Dallas up against a baleful killer with both eyes firmly fixed on her husband and his family.

Wine distributor Jorge Tween shows so little emotion over the death of Galla Modesto, the wife he obviously married for her family’s money, that Eve and her partner, Detective Delia Peabody, instantly conclude that he’s behind her death. Since his home-monitoring system gives him a cast-iron alibi, it would be clear that he hired a contractor even if Eve’s husband, Roarke, hadn’t recognized a balefully familiar figure first staring at him, then running from the crime scene. The hit man is Lorcan Cobbe, an enforcer for Roarke’s late mobster father back in Dublin who’s convinced that he’s Patrick Roarke’s illegitimate son and that the billions Roarke made before and after he walked away from crime to marry Eve ought to be his. “This is almost too easy,” says Peabody, and she’s absolutely right. Once Eve and Peabody, in the most predictably entertaining sequence of this installment, have extracted a confession from Tween, it’s all Cobbe, all the time. Although the presumed killer has been a suspect or a person of interest in no less than 443 murders, his obsession with destroying Roarke and his relatives seems to lead him to act as incautiously and amateurishly as his client, and with a lot less excuse. Even the final sequence, in which Eve and Roarke take down the allegedly indestructible Cobbe, then turn him loose so that the two ancient antagonists can duke it out with bare fists, is comically anticlimactic.

For readers who dream of hit men whose barks are worse than their bites.

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-25-020723-4

Page Count: 368

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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Slow moving and richly layered.

THE SEARCHER

A retired cop takes one last case in this stand-alone novel from the creator of the Dublin Murder Squad.

Originally from North Carolina, Cal Hooper has spent the last 30 years in Chicago. “A small place. A small town in a small country”: That’s what he’s searching for when he moves to the West of Ireland. His daughter is grown, his wife has left him, so Cal is on his own—until a kid named Trey starts hanging around. Trey’s brother is missing. Everyone believes that Brendan has run off just like his father did, but Trey thinks there’s more to the story than just another young man leaving his family behind in search of money and excitement in the city. Trey wants the police detective who just emigrated from America to find out what’s really happened to Brendan. French is deploying a well-worn trope here—in fact, she’s deploying a few. Cal is a new arrival to an insular community, and he’s about to discover that he didn’t leave crime and violence behind when he left the big city. Cal is a complex enough character, though, and it turns out that the mystery he’s trying to solve is less shocking than what he ultimately discovers. French's latest is neither fast-paced nor action-packed, and it has as much to do with Cal’s inner life as it does with finding Brendan. Much of what mystery readers are looking for in terms of action is squeezed into the last third of the novel, and the morally ambiguous ending may be unsatisfying for some. But French’s fans have surely come to expect imperfect allegiance to genre conventions, and the author does, ultimately, deliver plenty of twists, shocking revelations, and truly chilling moments.

Slow moving and richly layered.

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-73-522465-0

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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An unmissable thriller.

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THE CHAIN

For every child kidnapped, another must be taken. Otherwise The Chain will be broken.

Thirteen-year-old Kylie is waiting for the school bus on Plum Island, Massachusetts, when a man and a woman pull up wearing ski masks. Her brain tells her to run, but she doesn’t make the correct split-second decision, and she is taken at gunpoint. Her mother, Rachel, then receives a call that she is now part of The Chain. She must pay a ransom and kidnap another family’s child, and then that family must do the same for her daughter to be released. No law enforcement, no politicians, no journalists. The Chain cannot be broken or the children—her child, her Kylie—will be executed. While Rachel scrambles to get the money together (even though it isn’t about the money, she is told) and pick a child to steal, it becomes clear that she is being tracked and her every move is being monitored. She can’t do this, she must do this, she is now a completely different person who has done this. Inspired by the “exchange kidnappings” that take place in Mexico and the old-school chain letters of his childhood, crime novelist McKinty (Police at the Station and They Don’t Look Friendly, 2017, etc.) takes what at first seems like a fantastical scenario and imbues it with all the terror, stress, trauma, and messiness of reality. At once a commentary on social media, greed, revenge, love, and true evil, and written with an almost lyrical quality, this book will have readers searching for more McKinty titles to devour.

An unmissable thriller.

Pub Date: July 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-53126-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Mulholland Books/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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