May 15, 2017 Booklist 21 www.booklistonline.com
minds. Not only that, he can influence people’s
thoughts, and even insert his own into their
heads. So, from one mind to another, Smith
tracks down the bad guy by stealing the one
thing people think can never be stolen: their
thoughts. Farnsworth, best known for the
President’s Vampire series (which began with
2010’s Blood Oath), is a genuinely gifted storyteller, able to take a fantastic premise and
build onto it a story that feels not just plausible
but completely natural. We totally believe that
John Smith is a real person (it helps that the
story is told in the first person), and we totally
believe that he really can read minds. A fine
genre-bender. —David Pitt
The Fourth Monkey.
By J. D. Barker.
June 2017. 416p. HMH, $26 (9780544968844).
A serial killer has been terrorizing Chicago
for more than five years. He targets those he
believes have done wrong, abducts a loved one,
and then systematically sends their ears, eyes,
and tongues back to their family with the final warning—Do No Evil. The so-named
Fourth Monkey Killer has finally been tracked
down. Or rather, it appears, run down—hit
by a bus on his way to deliver a severed ear to
a construction magnate. However, the killer’s
identity proves difficult to determine, his body
offering only a dry cleaner’s receipt and a handwritten diary, leaving the police to determine
where he has stashed his latest victim. Passages
from the disturbing diary, detailing the killer’s
childhood, alternate with chapters following
the investigating officers. Though set in Chicago, the references to local landmarks fall a bit
flat, lacking the easy scene-setting of Sara Pa-retsky or J. A. Konrath. Nevertheless, this is an
engaging, beat-the-clock follow-up to Barker’s
horror debut (Forsaken, 2014). —Karen Keefe
By Dan Newman.
June 2017. 254p. Diversion, paper, $14.99
(9781682308103); e-book (9781682308097).
Did you ever daydream yourself the hero
who foils a plot to murder the boss’ daugh-
ter? The old man, shimmering with gratitude,
naturally will make you his vice president.
Roland Keene, the narrator of this chilly exer-
cise in sociopathy, pushes the fantasy along by
manipulating people into staging a crime that
goes horribly wrong but still gives Keene what
he sought: a reporter’s post on a mighty Chi-
cago newspaper. But he isn’t finished. Before
a few more chapters have gone by, Keene has
outmaneuvered or flat-out betrayed his col-
leagues, and he’s jetting the world as on-camera
talent for a TV network. By now readers may
sense they’re watching a reboot of Patricia
Highsmith’s blandly evil Ripley. Same ceaseless
scheming, revealed in the same oddly affectless
monologues. Planning a death or considering
lunch? Same tone. But Keene is haunted by
something a mentor said: leave enough bod-
ies, and one will “come back to haunt you.”
The working out of that prophecy provides the
creepy finale to this expertly done study of a
reptile brain at work. —Don Crinklaw
By Lotte Hammer and Søren Hammer.
July 2017. 384p. Bloomsbury, $28 (9781632867490);
e-book, $19.99 (9781632867513).
This is the fourth Copenhagen detective
Konrad Simonsen thriller (after The Vanished,
2016) from Danish sister and brother Lotte
and Søren Hammer. Simonsen is as brilliant
yet fallible as ever in a piece of Nordic noir
that will leave readers chilled to the bone, even
though it is set in spring and the thaw is on.
Female remains are found by a hunting dog at
a lake in a forest north of the city. The investigation runs head-on into the sex-trafficking
underworld and its upper-class connections.
The Lake scores highly as both a police procedural and an enthralling, sometimes appalling
study of depravity and heartlessness. The Hammers’ coppers are good and genuine people, in
sharp contrast to the baser elements that lurk
in the corners of Danish society. The ending is
left somewhat open for the continued pursuit
of one of the most deplorable characters, although many readers are likely to feel that this
is one psycho we don’t need to hear from again.
Recommended for fans of Jussi Adler-Olsen,
Stefan Ahnhem, Jo Nesbø, and, of course,
Henning Mankell. —Jane Murphy
The Last Cowboys of San Geronimo.
By Ian Stansel.
July 2017. 208p. HMH, $23 (9780544963399).
After killing his older brother, Frank, Silas
Van Loy looks at the lifeless body and notes
his “clean heart shot.” Aside from remembering
that Frank once shot him, too, Silas makes no
effort to justify his action. He simply saddles
his favorite horse to make his getaway—
without the “foggiest notion” of where he’ll go.
When Frank’s wife, Lena, learns of his death,
she, too, saddles up and rides off, determined
to kill her brother-in-law. It’s a classic tale of
murder and revenge in the Old West, but this
one is set in affluent, sophisticated, present-day
Marin County, California. Flight and pursuit
on horseback is a contemplative enterprise,
and Stansel lets Silas and Lena recall their lives.
Both recall the brothers’ inheriting a ramshackle stable and how Frank turned the stable
from western to English riding to appeal to
Marin’s horsey set. Both acknowledge that Silas’ understanding of horses and horsemanship
was superior to his brother’s. And both recall
the fistfights and rivalry that spanned decades.
Stansel’s portrayal of violence and loopiness in
one of the world’s most beautiful places makes
for an unusual but captivating crime story infused with western tropes. —Thomas Gaughan
By Chloé Esposito.
June 2017. 336p. Dutton, $16 (9781101985991); e-book,
Alvina Knightly has lost her job and her apart-
ment in London on the same day. Her identical
twin sister, Beth, has been begging her to visit
her in Sicily, so with nothing holding her back,
Alvie goes. Armed with her dildo—which al-
most gets confiscated at airport security—Alvie
boards the plane, arrives, and is picked up by
Beth’s hot husband. It turns out that Beth has
an ulterior motive, wanting
to swap places with Alvie for
one night. However, the eve-
ning ends with Beth dead in
a pool, leaving everyone un-
der the impression that Alvie
is Beth. Alvie embraces her
new life and all the wealth
and glamour that come with
it—including Mafia connections, affairs, and
more. Esposito comes on the scene at break-
neck speed in this debut, combining sex, drugs,
and a bloodlust that is never satisfied. Alvina
is a character that readers won’t soon forget—
funny, fierce, and fabulous. The sex is hot and
the murders are intense, as Alvina learns that
killing is what she was born to do. This is first
in a projected trilogy, and readers will clamor
for the next two books faster than you can pull
the trigger on a gun. —Erin Holt
Murder in Mayfair.
By D. M. Quincy.
July 2017. 320p. Crooked Lane, $26.99
(9781683312253); e-book, $11.99 (9781683312260).
In the terribly class-conscious Regency period, Atlas Catesby, the youngest son of a recently
designated baron, and his friend, the Earl of
Charlton, are returning to London from Bath
when they must stop in suburban Slough to
repair a thrown horseshoe. Hearing a commotion in the public square, they investigate—and
Atlas ends up purchasing the wife of a local
landowner, who had put her up for sale to the
highest bidder. They continue on to London,
installing Mrs. Lilliana Warwick at the home
of Atlas’ sister. Lilliana claims to have no family
and desperately misses her sons, whom her husband had claimed, but she’s oddly frightened
when they pass a certain royal carriage in the
park. Then Mr. Warwick turns up dead at his
haberdashery off Bond Street. The Bow Street
runner assigned to the case hints first at Atlas’
guilt, then Lilliana’s. Atlas loves a puzzle and
works at this one, unearthing startling truths.
The first of a new series, this historical mystery
will appeal not only to cozy readers, but also
to lovers of Regency romances. —Karen Muller
Perish from the Earth.
By Jonathan F. Putnam.
July 2017. 336p. Crooked Lane, $25.99
(9781683311393); e-book (9781683311409).
Putnam’s second in his Lincoln and Speed
mystery series (These Honored Dead, 2016) is
an entertaining and well-researched murder
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