Skip to main content
Displaying 1 of 1
Holy ghost
2018
Please select and request a specific volume by clicking one of the icons in the 'Find It' section below.
Find It
Map It
Large Cover Image
Trade Reviews

  New York Times Review

HO-HO-??, kiddies. Here comes Bad Santa with another gift sack filled with mysteries, crime stories and body parts. Ugh, what's that gooey red stuff dripping out of Santa's bag? Not to worry, just some melted candy canes. Now, on to this year's rundown of the best Good Books for Bad Grown-Ups. MOST ORIGINAL MURDER method: For lashing a guy to his wheelchair, sealing his mouth with superglue and tossing him into a river, a Christmas angel goes to Ken Bruen's IN THE GALWAY SILENCE (Mysterious Press, $26). Better double the angels, though, because there are two victims - twins, no less. SOFTEST HARD-BOILED PRIVATE EYE: That would be Isaiah (IQ) Quintabe, Joe Ide's brainy P.I. from Los Angeles, who is paid for his services in casseroles, cookies and reindeer sweaters. In WRECKED (Mulholland, $27), the detective accepts a painting from a beautiful client who hires him to find her mother. But this modest missingpersons case leads to a vengeance drama involving an electric cattle prod with enough volts "to knock a steer sideways." MOST UNPRINTABLE DIALOGUE: Lots of competition here, but the angel goes to John Sandford's madly entertaining Virgil Flowers mystery HOLY GHOST (Putnam, $29). Virgil, an agent with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, brings a wry sense of humor to the miraculous when the Blessed Virgin pays a visit to a church in Wheatfield, making a bundle of dough for the tiny town. CREEPIEST SETTING: No contest! Anne Perry wins that one with her latest Victorian mystery, DARK TIDE RISING (Ballantine, $28). William Monk, commander of the Thames River Police, takes us to Jacob's Island, a place "like death," where rotting houses are slowly sinking into a "thick, viscous mud that sucked anything of weight into itself, like quicksand." MOST CUTTING WIT: Sara Paretsky's V. I. Warshawski walks away with this angel. In SHELL GAME (Morrow, $27.99), the Chicago P.I. slips into an office after hours by posing as a maid, reasoning that "anyone who's cleaning up after you is part of your furniture, not a person." Needing a foreign language to hide behind, she improvises with the lyrics to "Vissi d'arte." TOUGHEST PUZZLE: I dare you to match wits with Keigo Higashino. Giles Murray's translation of NEWCOMER (Minotaur, $27.99) presents Higashino's fabled Tokyo Metropolitan Police detective, Kyoichiro Kaga (he of the "razor-sharp mind and bloodhound nature"), with a series of minor enigmas wrapped around a brainbusting central mystery: Who murdered a woman with no enemies? PRETTIEST LANGUAGE: That makes two angels for Ken Bruen, whose Irish roughneck, Jack Taylor, talks like an angel himself - only dirtier. IN THE GALWAY SILENCE (Mysterious Press, $26) gives this hotheaded detective good cause for rage, being a fictional treatment of, among other things, a notorious case of systemic fetal death and infanticide in Irish convents. BEST MILEAGE FROM A ROLLING STONE: There's no moss on Jack Reacher. In PAST TENSE (Delacorte, $28.99), Lee Child's peripatetic hero wanders with a purpose, all the way to his father's birthplace in Laconia, N.H. Reacher's search for his roots in this sad old mill town ("a horrific tableau of clouds of smoke and raging fires") is surprisingly sentimental, but brace yourself for the subplot. BEST CHARACTERS OUT OF THEIR DEPTH: What better definition of George Pelecanos's great guys, so human and so doomed? In the man who came uptown (Mulholland/Little, Brown, $27), Michael Hudson emerges from prison a bona fide bibliophile, thanks to the librarian who turned him away from crime and onto books. But this can't last when bad friends realize they need a good guy to drive a getaway car. BEST NATURE STUDY, RED IN TOOTH & CLAW: Delia Owens speaks softly in WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING (Putnam, $26), a tenderly told first novel that begins in 1969, when two boys on bikes come upon a body half submerged in a swamp. The rest of the story reveals how the corpse got there and why we might wish it had never been found. MOST COLORFUL CHARACTER NAMESJames Lee Burke is rightly admired for his lush Louisiana bayou crimescapes. But ROBICHEAUX (Simon & Schuster, $27.99) reminds us of his talent for naming locals like Baby Cakes Babineau and Pookie the Possum Domingue, along with a contract killer called Chester Wimple. ("Sometimes people call me Smiley.") LOUDEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Half the members of the Los Angeles Police Department's bomb squad are blown to smithereens in Thomas Perry's THE BOMB MAKER (Mysterious Press, $26). "Bombs were acts of murder," Perry allows, but "they were also jokes on you, riddles the bomber hoped were too tough for you." WEEPIEST WEEPER: Wounded World War I veterans and grieving widows make up much of the shrunken population of the town of Wolfpit, encountered by Inspector Ian Rutledge in THE GATEKEEPER (Morrow, $26.99). Charles Todd's hero, himself a victim of shell shock, is one of the moodiest detectives in the genre. COOLEST DEBUT: By their taste in music shall ye know them. Joe King Oliver, a New York private eye who makes his debut in Walter Mosley's new crime novel, DOWN THE RIVER UNTO THE SEA (Mulholland/ Little, Brown, $27), went into prison with a love of classic jazz masters like Fats Waller. He emerged with a taste for the tormented sounds of Thelonious Monk. MOST SIMPÁTICO DETECTIVE: Donna Leon's Venetian policeman, Commissario Guido Brunetti, bares his bleeding heart in THE TEMPTATION OF FORGIVENESS (Atlantic Monthly, $26) when he aids a woman whose 15-year-old son is taking drugs. He advises her to cook dinner for her children, "to show them you're all right and life is normal." CRUELEST MURDERER: Jeffery Deaver indulges his singular flair for ghastly irony in THE CUTTING EDGE (Grand Central, $28). HIS killer unkindly murders couples at their happiest moments - when, say, they're buying an engagement ring or picking out a bridal gown. Don't plan your wedding until you've read this one. NASTIEST TWIST: The F.B.I. agent in Michael Koryta's HOW IT HAPPENED (Little, Brown, $27) is double-crossed by a fiend who leads him to a false dumping ground of murder victims. "The Bureau rarely fires agents," a colleague pitilessly reassures the disgraced agent. "We just bury them." QUIRKIEST SLEUTH: Charlie Parker, John Connolly's private eye, is chronically depressed, which makes him both endearing and unpredictable: "If there's trouble, he'll find it. If there isn't trouble, he'll make some." That predilection suits his heroic role in the woman in the woods (Emily Bestier/Atria, $26.99) as the savior of battered women. MURDER MOST BESTIAL: Poachers are killing black bears in the Turk Mountain Preserve in rural Virginia, which riles Rice Moore, the nature-loving hero of James A. McLaughlin's BEARSKIN (Ecco/HarperCollins, $26.99), a loner who finds the "complex social network" of bears far more interesting than the human dynamics at the local bar. MARILYN STASIO has covered, crime fiction for the Book Review since 1988. Her column appears twice a month.

  Publishers Weekly Review

In bestseller Sandford's wickedly enjoyable 11th outing for Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension agent Virgil Flowers (after 2017's Deep Freeze), Wardell Holland, the maverick mayor of Wheatfield (pop. 650), and his 17-year-old sidekick, John Jacob Skinner, decide the town needs an economic boost, so they contrive for the Virgin Mary to appear at St. Mary's Catholic Church, with one of Skinner's many sexual conquests, Jennie Fischer, in the Mary role. The Marian Apparition succeeds in bringing flocks of tourists to Wheatfield. Then sniper-like shootings that wound two citizens threaten the bonanza. Flowers's subsequent investigation turns up suspects ranging from a few would-be Nazis to a farmer/gun range owner and Jennie's porn-loving boyfriend. When the shootings turn deadly, Flowers gets help, which he badly needs as he comes to realize that he must outwit a clever killer who proves one of his maxims: "If it's criminal, it's either stupid or crazy." Sandford's trademark sly humor shines throughout. Agent: Esther Newberg, ICM. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Summary
Virgil Flowers investigates a miracle--and a murder--in the wickedly entertaining new thriller from the master of "pure reading pleasure" ( Booklist ) <br> <br> Pinion, Minnesota: a metropolis of all of seven hundred souls, for which the word "moribund" might have been invented. Nothing ever happened there and nothing ever would--until the mayor of sorts (campaign slogan: "I'll Do What I Can") and a buddy come up with a scheme to put Pinion on the map. They'd heard of a place where a floating image of the Virgin Mary had turned the whole town into a shrine, attracting thousands of pilgrims. And all those pilgrims needed food, shelter, all kinds of crazy things, right? They'd all get rich! What could go wrong?<br> <br> When the dead body shows up, they find out, and that's only the beginning of their troubles--and Virgil Flowers'--as they are all about to discover all too soon.
Librarian's View
Displaying 1 of 1