PositiveThe Associated PressAs usual with this series, the characters are well drawn and the suspenseful plot takes some surprising twists. However, the author’s prose, which is usually first-rate, falters when he writes about basketball. In the acknowledgements, he credits a high school basketball coach with helping him understand the game, but the descriptions of practices and tournament games are clumsy and sometimes hard to follow.
RaveAssociated PressDead by Dawn, the 12th novel in Paul Doiron’s unwaveringly superb series about a courageous, battle-tested Maine game warden ... Doiron draws on both meticulous research and his own wilderness experiences in Maine to give the struggle an unmistakable feeling of authenticity. And as always in a Bowditch novel, the prose is as sharp as an arrow and so lyrical that it sometimes borders on poetry.
PositiveThe Associated PressParks has taken a risk with this novel. It works only if readers can suspend their disbelief enough to swallow its central premise. Rather than present DeGrange’s power as paranormal, the author offers a pseudo-scientific rational for it that may not satisfy some readers. Those who can accept it are in for a treat. The story is inventive, well written, fast-paced, and filled with twists. And chapters alternating between Nate’s and Jenny’s points of view add depth and tension.
PositiveThe Associated PressA serial killer suddenly reappearing after being dormant for decades is an overused trope of both crime novels and TV cop shows. So is having the detective on the case targeted by the killer. In other words, Schaffhausen’s new book starts off with two strikes against it. When the book’s climactic confrontation takes place in an abandoned mental hospital — something else we’ve seen too many times before — that seems like strike three. And yet, there is a lot to like about this novel. Harper, the latest victim, was a member of The Gravediggers, a group of amateur sleuths obsessed with cold cases. Her notes on her investigation of \'The Lovelorn Killer,\' interspersed with the main narrative, are an artful touch ... Schaffhausen builds the suspense chapter by chapter, and the tale’s clever twists will keep readers guessing, often wrongly, till the end ... Her prose style, which has always been precise and clear, has taken a leap in this book, turning both grittier and, occasionally more lyrical. And, as usual, she excels at character development — even with minor characters ... the portrayal of Vega’s relationships with her parents, her siblings, and her fellow-detective former husband, as well as the sudden reappearance of the boyfriend she’d loved in high school, give the story a human touch often absent in novels marketed as thrillers.
Sarah Stewart Taylor
PositiveThe Associated Press... a fast-paced, tension-filled yarn filled with twists the reader is unlikely to see coming. Taylor tells the story in a lyrical prose style that is a joy to read. She excels in vividly portraying both the rural Ireland and Long Island settings and in developing memorable characters including D’arcy’s partner, Dave Milich, and her troubled daughter, Lilly ... The only off note is occasional references to events in The Mountain Wild that are difficult for readers to fathom unless they have read the first book in the series.
PanThe Associated PressNine pages of source material cited in the back of the book indicate that Tapper, best known as a CNN anchor, researched 1960s Hollywood to give the tale an air of authenticity. It didn\'t, although it did result in a blizzard of name dropping ... Except for the Marders and actress Janet Leigh, Tapper puts the stink of the place on nearly every character to such a degree that it\'s difficult to care what happens to any of them. Meanwhile, the prose rarely rises above graceless and the plot is so far-fetched and convoluted that it is difficult to follow.
PositiveThe Miami HeraldThough not a particularly stylish writer, Schaffhausen spins her yarn with clear, concise prose that keeps the plot moving at a torrid pace. But as usual in this series, the most compelling part of her story is the fragile relationship between the protagonists.
PositiveThe Associated Press... the plot is so byzantine that it borders on incoherent. And that’s OK ... Both Chandler and Mosley amply reward readers with the beauty of their prose and with the world views of their iconic heroes, men of honor struggling to do right in an unjust world.
RaveThe Associated Press... a sharply-written, tension-filled yarn full of twists readers are unlikely to see coming. The most compelling element, however, is the character of Frankie, a recovering alcoholic whose obsession with the missing is a penance of sorts for the burden of guilt and grief she carries over a past trauma that took the life of a man she loves.
RaveAssociated PressIf fans of Perry’s novels think the plot of Eddie’s Boy, closely resembles the last two butcher’s boy books, they’d be right, but the saving grace is in the differing details, including how Shaeffer confronts the challenge of engaging in combat with a fit but aging body ... And there is certainly much to admire in the skill with which Perry works, from his flawless plotting to his tight and muscular prose style.
PositiveThe Associated PressConnelly’s novels have long been distinguished by his mastery of the complexities of the justice system including an ability to get police and courtroom procedures exactly right. Combine this with a cast of well-drawn characters, writing as precise as a Patek Philippe watch, and a propulsive plot, and the result is one of the finest legal thrillers of the last decade.
PositiveThe Associated PressThe change in authors is subtle but detectable. For one thing, the technologically averse Reacher has acquired a cell phone. For another, the hero has become a bit chatty, talking more with other characters and telling readers more about his thinking, including how he maps out hand-to-hand combat in advance with thugs who outnumber him ... Despite the change in authors, the writing remains tight and the non-stop action is as propulsive as ever.
T. Jefferson Parker
PositiveThe Associated PressFans of detective stories are likely to prefer the first Roland novel, The Room of White Fire (2017), over the fourth and latest installment, but apocalyptic conspiracies involving powerful forces fit the current national mood, and Parker certainly has the writing chops to pull this sort of thing off ... Although the story drags a bit at times, the plot is suspenseful and Parker’s writing is first rate, as is to be expected from a writer with 25 mostly excellent crime novels and a remarkable three Edgar Awards in his resume.
Hank Phillippi Ryan
PositiveThe Associated PressAs Ellie’s investigation reaches a climax, the true identities and motives of the characters are revealed in a series of improbable twists, some of which readers nevertheless are likely to see coming. In the closing chapters, the tale teeters on the preposterous, but Ryan, a veteran thriller writer with five Agatha Awards to her credit, holds things together most of the way with her fine prose, vivid characterizations, and an uncanny ability to keep all the balls in the air. A working investigative reporter herself, Ryan skillfully explores the consequences of deception and the dangers inherent in violating journalistic ethics. In the end, however, readers are likely to find the last few twists preposterous.
PanStar Tribune... Mike Lupica gets Robert B. Parker\'s Fool\'s Paradise off to an agonizingly slow start ... he strays from Parker\'s style with a lot of long, discursive paragraphs, and his attempts to reproduce Parker\'s bantering dialogue often falls flat. The end result is an unexpected disappointment.
PositiveThe Associated PressFrench spends the opening chapters of The Searcher, her eighth book, skillfully fashioning her complex characters and vividly portraying the harsh beauty of the landscape ... there’s less suspense in The Searcher than in French’s earlier novels. However, readers who share her interest in exploring the lives of flawed and compelling characters will find much to love here, including prose as vivid and poetic as you are likely to find anywhere.
RaveThe Associated PressFans of the Longmire series will be pleased that many familiar characters ... Johnson excels at introducing his series characters to new readers without boring longtime fans with details they already know. The plot is not as dark as the last few Longmire tales, but as always, a suspenseful one unfolds at an appealing pace and the prose is first-rate.
PositiveThe Philadelphia InquirerThis novel is something of a departure for Doiron. The lyrical descriptions of the natural world that have distinguished his previous novels are less in evidence this time, and the suspenseful, fast-paced plot has more twists and turns than usual in a Mike Bowditch novel ... Meanwhile, Charlie’s daughter, Stacey, Mike’s first true love, resurfaces, complicating Mike’s relationship with fellow warden Dani Tate. The last chapter warns that Mike’s always tumultuous love life may be headed for more trouble in the next installment of the Mike Bowditch saga.
PositiveThe Associated PressWith a former newsman’s nose for the truth, Clavin has sifted the facts, myths, and lies to produce what might be as accurate an account as we will ever get of the old West’s most famous feud.
RaveABC NewsDon Winslow, whose work includes a dozen of the finest crime novels written in the last 20 years, displays all of his strengths, including propulsive narration, compelling characters and a tight, staccato writing style, in Broken,a collection of six remarkable novellas ... The tales, three of them appropriately dedicated to Elmore Leonard, Steve McQueen, and Raymond Chandler, all unfold at a torrid pace that will leave readers both satisfied and wishing for more.
RaveThe Associated Press... an homage to classic mystery stories that offers both the charms of a puzzle mystery and the bleak atmosphere of a noir ... The flawed main characters are well developed, the New England settings are vividly drawn, and the twists keep coming in this suspenseful, ingeniously plotted tale.
RaveThe Associated Press... both a cleverly plotted mystery and a touching account of a wounded veteran trying to rebuild his life ... With these two beautifully realized protagonists driving the action, Dundas delivers a fast-paced plot filled with unexpected twists. Their small town is vividly portrayed, and the writing is superb throughout, occasionally verging on poetry.
RaveThe Philadelphia InquirerFleischmann tells his story with such skill that it is hard to believe this is a debut novel. The characters are well-developed and memorable, the rural Alaska setting is vividly portrayed, the plot is loaded with unexpected turns and the unrelenting suspense creates a growing sense of dread. Best of all, the author tells the tale with the musical prose of a literary novelist at the top of his game.
PositiveThe Associated PressAs McGill schemes to deliver the letter, the threat of violence looms over every page, but action fans may be disappointed that the gunplay, including a final act of retribution, occurs offstage. The charms of this short novel lie in Mosley’s memorable characters, his portrayal of the world McGill inhabits and the author’s uniquely lyrical writing style.
PositiveThe New York Journal of Books... a clever and likable lead detective, a supporting cast of both hardworking and lazy cops, wisecracking (and occasionally ribald) station house banter, a smattering of quirky characters, a fast pace, a faithful depiction of investigative techniques, and a writing style as precise as a sniper’s rifle ... Goldberg based Lost Hills on a real murder case. His interviews with detectives and blood spatter analysts who helped solve it clearly contributed to the book’s authentic portrayal of police work ... Ronin proves herself more than worthy of her job title with an astounding and selfless act of heroism...She also proved herself worthy of a series of future Ronin novels the author has planned.
RaveThe Associated Press... supremely entertaining ... The plot combines the intricacies of caper movies such as The Thomas Crown Affair and To Catch a Thief with the creepy sensibility of the hit TV show Dexter ... Readers who know how caper stories usually work will have little doubt who is going to win this cat-and-mouse game, but the agent\'s fine detective work succeeds in unearthing the influences that turned Wolfe into the man he has become ... is both an exciting crime story and a revealing exploration of the psychology of a master criminal. The writing is tight and vivid, the characters are convincingly portrayed, and the action is nonstop.
Gar Anthony Haywood
RaveThe Associated PressLike the first six books in the Aaron Gunner series, this dark, brooding tale will remind readers of classic Southern California crime novelists Philip Marlowe and Ross Macdonald. Haywood’s tight, no-frills prose is outstanding, and he does a fine job of developing the characters who inhabit Gunner’s poor side of town.
RaveThe Associated Press... a heartbreaking blues song of a novel, employing beauty to evoke despair while reminding readers that even in the darkest of days, there might also be light ... begins with a 16-page prelude that serves as an allegory for the novel to come and is as fine a piece of writing as you will read this year.
PositiveThe Associated PressBox’s characters are well developed, his writing is vivid, the tension runs high, and the plot unfolds at a rapid pace.
RaveThe Associated Press... [an] alternately depressing, inspiring and slyly funny tale ... The unfolding plot snags a dozen main characters in a web of duplicity, human misery, betrayal and murder that Atkinson skillfully relates from multiple points of view ... As always in a Kate Atkinson book , whether it’s the Brodie series or her mainstream novels, the pleasures derive from her mastery as a storyteller, her skillful character development and the beauty of her quirky and poetic prose.
PositiveThe Associated PressLike a lyricist, Laird Barron excels at manipulating the tones and cadence of language. Like a Gothic novelist, the mood he creates is often bleak ... Coleridge is terrorized by a black wolf in dream sequences that are evocative of early Stephen King. But unlike Barron\'s first novel, most of the violent action occurs offstage.
MixedThe Associated Press...another action-packed thriller ... This is the sort of thing you might get if Dr. Frankenstein sewed John Wayne’s head onto Wonder Woman’s body, gave the fearsome creature an unlimited supply of bullets and dropped it into The Da Vinci Code ... As always in this series, the plot has links to an old case investigated by one of [Strong\'s] ancestors, and the cartoonish portrayals of violence resemble what might happen if Quentin Tarantino and Marvel’s creator of Venom got wasted on cocaine and put their heads together ... Land’s fans are in for another wild ride.
PositiveThe Toronto StarPowerful and troubling ... The novel, written in muscular, fast-paced prose, portrays torture, assassinations, mass murder, police payoffs, mass incarceration and political corruption from Guatemala to Washington, D.C.
Thomas Christopher Greene
PositiveThe Portland Press HeraldA taut, well-written thriller, but this novel is more than that. It is also both a textured examination of the lies people tell to those they love and a reminder that it is never easy to escape the traumas of a troubled childhood ... The pace is crisp, the surprises keep coming, and there are two big ones that readers are unlikely to see coming.
RaveThe New York Journal of Books...an extraordinary series that blends the tropes of locked-room mysteries, noir thrillers, and girl-detective stories with a touch of far-eastern mysticism thrown in ... Gran moves seamlessly between the three threads in her quirky, original writing style.
T. Jefferson Parker
PositiveThe Associated PressMilitary drone operators know they are dealing in death, but there is something oddly impersonal about killing from such a distance. For those who are hunted, it doesn’t feel that way. T. Jefferson Parker asks readers to think about that as he unleashes non-stop action in Swift Vengeance .... the new series succeeds not only in entertaining but also in challenging readers to ponder the circle of vengeance unleashed by the Iraq war and America’s seemingly endless war on terror.
PositiveThe Associated PressThe book’s title is in the past tense because in this tale, the line between civilization and savagery doesn’t hold ... The result is a chilling tale of vengeance that ends well for no one. It is well told in a voice that is lyrical in its descriptions of the region’s natural beauty and graphic in its depictions of violence and death, but isn’t a book for fans of thrillers or who-done-its in which the good guys always win.
RaveThe Washington PostI Am No One reads like a collaboration between spy novelist John le Carre and Franz Kafka, the early 20th-century master of alienation and existential anxiety. It’s at once a beautifully written slow-motion thriller, an unnerving story of fear and paranoia, and a cautionary tale about the perils of spy satellites, security cameras and electronic surveillance by faceless government bureaucrats.