Box, C.J. The Highway. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Jul. 2013. 400p. ISBN 9780312583200. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250031921. F
Cody Hoyt, a former investigator with the Lewis and Clark County, MT, sheriff’s office, is on the trail of two missing girls. Supposedly on their way from Colorado to Nebraska to visit their father over Thanksgiving, Danielle and Gracie Sullivan are actually driving to Montana to visit Danielle’s boyfriend, Justin, who is also Hoyt’s son. The girls’ reckless behavior and car trouble put them in the path of a killer who drives an 18-wheeler. Although Cody’s erratic conduct and evidence tampering led to his firing, he embarks on a search for the girls at the request of his son and former partner Cassandra Dewell. Then Cody disappears, and Cassandra steps up to search for him. She soon stumbles across evidence of psychotic killers, police corruption, and scenes from the dark underside of transient society. Her tenaciousness serves her well and the results are explosive. VERDICT Drawing on characters introduced in Back of Beyond, Box’s stand-alone weaves together subplots into a nonstop, action-filled race against time. Rolling down the superhighway of suspense, this thriller will leave readers breathless.—Patricia Ann Owens, Illinois Eastern Community Colls., Mt. Carmel
Hayder, Mo. Poppet: A Jack Caffery Thriller. Atlantic Monthly. May 2013. 400p. ISBN 9780802121073. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780802193582. F
An unsolved crime has become a thorn in the side of Det. Jack Caffery as the anniversary of the disappearance of a model named Misty gets plenty of newspaper coverage and her loudmouthed drunken mother blames Jack, who had been assigned the case, for failing to find Misty’s body. So when a phone call comes in from a staff nurse at the Beechwood psychiatric unit, reporting strange happenings, patients inflicting harm on themselves, a bag full of menacing dolls, and sightings of the spectral Maude, Jack is on the case. It seems that these happenings coincide with the accidental release of an inmate with a horrific homicidal past. VERDICT Hayder’s latest installment in the Jack Caffery series (after Hanging Hill and the Edgar award–winning Gone) is a creepy, twisty thrill ride that doesn’t stop and will give you the shivers if you dare to read it at night. This is another winner.—Marianne Fitzgerald, Severna Park H.S., MD
Holt, Jonathan. The Abomination.Harper: HarperCollins. ( Carnivia Trilogy, Bk. 1). Jun. 2013. 448p. ISBN 9780062264336. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062267023. F
This beautifully complicated thriller, the first of a trilogy that is set primarily in Venice (both the real city and a perfect 3-D virtual re-creation), follows three protagonists as they investigate the murders of a woman dressed in priest’s vestments and of another who had made a Freedom of Information request at a military base in Italy. Carabiniere captain Kat Tapo follows clues that lead first to a deserted island near Venice, once a cemetery and later the site of an asylum, where mysterious symbols match the tattoos found on the woman priest, and then to a website, Carnivia.com, where identities are hidden behind carnival masks. Holly Boland, a U.S. Army second lieutenant, unearths possible NATO involvement in illegal activities that stoked the wars in the former Yugoslavia during the 1990s. And Daniele Barbo, a brilliant but mentally unsettled hacker, enters the world he created, impenetrably anonymous, in an attempt to save himself and help the two women as they face attempts to silence them forever. VERDICT A brilliant blend of fascinating story lines, serious issues, impeccable research, gripping intrigue, and engaging characters, Holt’s debut is eminently satisfying from start to finish. Highly recommended for readers who enjoy intelligent thrillers (think Joseph Kanon). [See Prepub Alert, 12/13/12.]—Ron Terpening, Univ. of Arizona, Tucson
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The following titles are reviewed in the February 1 print issue. Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.
Deaver, Jeffery. The Kill Room: A Lincoln Rhyme Novel. Grand Central. Jun. 2013. 448p. ISBN 9781455517060. $28.99; ebk. ISBN 9781455517077. F
Gardiner, Meg. The Shadow Tracer. Dutton. Jun. 2013. 368p. ISBN 9780525953227. $26.95. F
Kelly, Mary Louise. Anonymous Sources. Gallery: S. & S. Jun. 2013. 352p. ISBN 9781476715544. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781476715568. F
Moggach, Lottie. Kiss Me First. Doubleday. Jul. 2013. 336p. ISBN 9780385537476. $25.95. F
Smith, Dan. The Child Thief. Pegasus Crime. Jun. 2013. 368p. ISBN 9781605984407. $25.95. F
Steinberg, Hank. Out of Range. Morrow. Jun. 2013. 352p. ISBN 9780062080530. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062080547. F
Stevens, Chevy. Always Watching. St. Martin’s. Jun. 2013. 352p. ISBN 9780312595692. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250031891. F