Lots of local western New York color mixes with amusing characters in a mystery sure to delight.

A Buffalo-area restaurant owner and her feminist grandmother are an impressive sleuthing duo.

Lydia Wienewski has an overwhelming amount of work to do, so it’s not surprising that she forgot to enter an international cooking competition with her specialty pierogis. Her father is recovering from a stroke, so she’s still helping in the family butcher shop, which lost customers after a murdered man was found in the backyard smoker. Lydia’s Lakeside Café and Bakery, where she showcases Polish American food, is consuming her every waking hour as it slowly builds clientele, to the extent that she’s been camping out there to save the time she’d spend driving home. Considering that she dropped out of a prestigious Canadian baking school over disagreements with Madame Delphine Chenault and a short fling with her son, Pierre, Lydia is gobsmacked to see Madame at her restaurant, full of compliments and the revelation that she’s one of the judges at the competition. Lydia is back together with Stanley, her longtime boyfriend, a budding lawyer who helped when she and Grandma Mary solved the smokehouse murder. After staying overnight in the cafe, she and Stanley find Madame’s body on the rocky Lake Erie shore below the cafe’s deck—and then Lydia finds her grandmother parked in a station wagon with her boyfriend, police Detective Harry Nowicki, and learns a bit too much about their private life. Since the cafe isn’t in Nowicki’s area, they call the Acorn Bay police, but not before taking photos of the scene. Once again Lydia and her free-spirited Grandma Mary are suspects in a murder case and don’t hesitate to investigate.

Lots of local western New York color mixes with amusing characters in a mystery sure to delight.

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2024

ISBN: 9781448311422

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Severn House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2023


The most richly accomplished of the brothers’ pairings to date—and given Connelly’s high standards, that’s saying a lot.

Harry Bosch and the Lincoln Lawyer team up to exonerate a woman who’s already served five years for killing her ex-husband.

The evidence against Lucinda Sanz was so overwhelming that she followed the advice of Frank Silver, the B-grade attorney who’d elbowed his way onto her defense, and pleaded no contest to manslaughter to avoid a life sentence for shooting Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Roberto Sanz in the back as he stalked out of her yard after their latest argument. But now that her son, Eric, is 13, old enough to get recruited by local gangs, she wants to be out of stir and at his side. So she writes to Mickey Haller, who asks his half-brother for help. After all his years working for the LAPD, Bosch is adamant about not working for a criminal defendant, even though Haller’s already taken him on as an associate so that he can get access to private health insurance and a UCLA medical trial for an experimental cancer treatment. But the habeas corpus hearing Haller’s aiming for isn’t, strictly speaking, a criminal defense proceeding, and even a cursory examination of the forensic evidence raises Bosch’s hackles. Bolstered by Bosch’s discoveries and a state-of-the-art digital reconstruction of the shooting, Haller heads to court to face Assistant Attorney General Hayden Morris, who has a few tricks up his own sleeve. The endlessly resourceful courtroom back-and-forth is furious in its intensity, although Haller eventually upstages Bosch, Morris, and everyone else in sight. What really stands out here, however, is that Connelly never lets you forget, from his title onward, the life-or-death issues behind every move in the game.

The most richly accomplished of the brothers’ pairings to date—and given Connelly’s high standards, that’s saying a lot.

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2023

ISBN: 9780316563765

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2023


It's hard to read but hard to look away from.

When two women who share a birthday meet, a journalist becomes the subject of her own true-crime mystery.

On their 45th birthdays, Josie Fair and Alix Summer meet at a pub and discover they were born not only on the same day, but in the same hospital. Alix is a successful journalist, and Josie convinces Alix that her story is worth telling: Josie met her husband when she was 13 and he was 40. “I can see that maybe I was being used, that maybe I was even being groomed?” she confesses to Alix. “But that feeling of being powerful, right at the start, when I was still in control. I miss that sometimes. I really do. And what I’d like, more than anything, is to get it back.” From this premise Alix creates a Netflix series, Hi! I’m Your Birthday Twin! which investigates Josie’s life as she reconciles what happened to her as a teen and seeks a new path. With the story unfinished, the narrative unfolds in the present tense, with prose that jingles like song lyrics: “He turns to see if the girl is behind him, and sees her wishy-washy, wavy-wavy, in double vision through the glass windows of the hotel.” Alix is both intrigued and repulsed by Josie, but she initially gives her the benefit of the doubt. After all, Alix’s husband, Nathan, has a drinking problem, and Alix knows what it’s like to be reluctant to leave a bad situation. But Josie seems more interested in being part of Alix’s seemingly glamorous life than she is in fixing her own, and when three people end up dead and Alix’s life is turned upside down, the evidence points to Josie—and turns the TV series into a murder mystery. Transcripts from Alix’s interviews alternate with the narrative, offering increasingly varied perspectives on Josie’s story as told by her neighbors, friends, and family members. With so many versions of events, the ending shatters, leaving readers to decide whose is the truth.

It's hard to read but hard to look away from.

Pub Date: Aug. 8, 2023

ISBN: 9781982179007

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2023

Close Quickview