Fallout: A V.I. Warshawski Novel by Sara Paretsky (William Morrow, $27.99, 448 pages)
The latest V.I. Warshawski mystery (the 21st in the series) moves away from V.I.’s usual stomping grounds in and around Chicago to Lawrence, Kansas in the heart of the Midwest. As the tale begins, V.I. has been hired to find two missing persons, a former movie star and a trainer at the local gym who also happens to be a videographer. Emerald Ferring and August Veriden disappeared the week prior without leaving an itinerary or contact information. August’s cousin, Angela Creedy, and V.I.’s young friend, Bernardine Fouchard, are adamant that something awful has happened.
Author Paretsky explores the racial and regional biases within the area surrounding Lawrence. She takes a 360-degree view that includes the clergy, the military, university cell biologists, and private industry. There are flashbacks to the mid 1980s when protest by local militants included encampments at a Minuteman missile silo. Paretsky lets fly with her views on the cruel actions taken to cover up the serious harm inflicted on innocent civilians. V.I. and Paretsky are on the case!
Fallout will be released on April 18, 2017.
No Place to Die: A Novel by Clare Donoghue (Minotaur Books, $27.99, 372 pages)
Clare Donoghue has developed a relatively new mystery series featuring London police officers Jane Bennett and Mike Lockyer. No Place to Die is the second installment in this classic British police procedural set in present day London. Bennett is the featured character in this tale. The way she is portrayed brings to mind Maeve Kerrigan in Jane Casey’s crime novels. The diabolical nature of the crimes to be solved by Bennett is reminiscent of Peter James’ Roy Grace series. There are the typical British words and phrases liberally used throughout the text – bottom of the garden, fringe (hair bangs), etc.
No Place to Die includes victims buried alive that need rescuing in very short order. Each chapter examines the action from various characters’ viewpoints. Jane Bennett is dealing with her absentee boss, Mike Lockyer, who was traumatized by their prior case. Jane’s son, Peter, is autistic. Jane must rely on the assistance of her somewhat helpful mother who steps in to care for Peter when casework calls Jane away after school hours. Life is not easy!
Poisonous: A Novel by Allison Brennan (Minotaur Books, $25.99, 354 pages)
Back in the USA on the west coast we meet Maxine Revere, an investigative reporter who is contacted by an 18-year-old developmentally disabled boy named Tommy. His half-sister died as the result of a fall from a cliff in Corte Madera, California more than a year ago. Ms. Revere, or Max as she is known, becomes entangled in the issues of a very dysfunctional family. There are the usual matters of jealousy and bickering that happen among teens. When you add divorce and remarriage by the dad to a woman who has her own teenager, there’s bound to be trouble.
Allison Brennan has had over 20 novels published since 2005. Poisonous is her latest. Clearly, Ms. Brennan is very good at character development as well as weaving plot threads. The book is engaging if not a bit challenging. Perhaps the array of relationships that sometimes confused this reviewer could have been simplified with a chart of the characters. That aside, I’m unable to resist enumerating the parallels between Ms. Brennan and myself. They are threefold: we both reside in the same community; each of us has worked in government; and we share an astrological sign.
I look forward to reading more of her books.
Review copies were provided by the publishers.