Kirkus Reviews –
A serial killer eludes a cop and a psychiatrist. Even LAPD homicide consultant Alex Delaware, a child psychiatrist who labors hard not to be judgmental, is nauseated by the gory handiwork confronting his good friend Detective Milo Sturgis: a corpse with her guts strung about her like a necklace. And she's only the first victim. There will be five in all, seemingly with nothing in common except their killer's obsessive mayhem and the paper adorned with a large question mark slipped beside their bodies. Much theorizing by Alex and much legwork by Milo determine that the killer and his victims may first have collided at the now defunct Ventura State Hospital, where the mentally unbalanced were incarcerated and the most untreatable of the lot consigned to the Specialized Care Unit. But privacy issues prevent them from examining old patient files, and psychiatrists who could offer information waffle. As the bodies pile up, Milo loses favor with his bosses and Alex has to wonder if he's misread some interviewee's remarks. Slowly, the men arrive at the same conclusion: the serial killer has a partner. Is one the mentor and the other the mentee? Did they bond at Ventura and begin their killing years later, after the closing of the hospital made revenge (for what?) possible? Clearly, an unraveling of the havoc will require a return to the Ventura site, with lingering aftereffects for both Alex and Milo. Fans of this long-running series ( 2011, etc.) will get exactly what they've come to expect: a thoughtful Alex, a mildly sarcastic Milo and a well-constructed plot, although here the final sequences seem more in keeping with TV melodrama than Kellerman's usual product.
The Thief (Isaac Bell Series #5) by Clive Cussler and Justin Scott
On the ocean liner , two European scientists with a dramatic new invention are barely rescued from abduction by the Van Dorn Detective Agency's intrepid chief investigator, Isaac Bell. Unfortunately, they are not so lucky the second time. The thugs attack again-and this time one of the scientists dies. What are they holding that is so precious? Only something that will revolutionize business and popular culture-and perhaps something more.
For war clouds are looming, and a ruthless espionage agent has spotted a priceless opportunity to give the Germans an edge. It is up to Isaac Bell to figure out who he is, what he is up to, and stop him. But he may already be too late . . . and the future of the world may just hang in the balance.
Trail of the Spellmans (Spellman Files Series #5) by Lisa Lutz
Kirkus Reviews –
America's most dysfunctional family of detectives (The Spellmans Strike Again, 2010, etc.) are up to their deerstalkers in another gaggle of featherweight cases. Even though the Spellmans have assigned themselves animal nicknames to make coded communications among themselves easier, they still can't conduct coherent conversations. Adam Cooper wants Isabel, the Gopher, to follow his sister Meg. Margaret Slayter wants Izzy's father Albert, the Tortoise, to follow her husband Edward. Harvey Blake wants Izzy's kid sister Rae, the Weasel, to follow his daughter Vivien. Walter Perkins, convinced that something will go wrong in his house every time he leaves, wants Izzy to keep checking on it. Izzy's mother Olivia, the Eagle, can't follow anyone because she's immersed herself in so many crazy hobbies (pottery, yoga, crocheting, Russian). Sydney, the 18-month-old niece of Izzy's brother David, is too young to follow anyone, but not too young to call everything she sees or wants "banana." Just in case this sitcom zaniness seems incomplete, there'll be unexpected roles for Gertrude Stone, mother of San Francisco police inspector Henry Stone, whom Izzy presciently refers to as "Ex-boyfriend #13" even as she's sleeping with him, and for Al's mother Ruth, the inimitable Grammy Spellman, along dozens of Izzy's winking footnotes, which are likely to leave readers first amused, then bemused, then sleepy. Through it all, the clients and their trifling mysteries are hard-pressed to compete for attention with the regulars, who spend far more time battling each other than battling evildoers. Lutz's title couldn't be more apt.