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New York Times Review
Horowitz follows up this feat of ratiocinative razzle-dazzle with a lovely bit of code-breaking executed by Inspector Athelney Jones of Scotland Yard, a laughingstock in "The Sign of Four" but redeemed here as a staunch disciple of the master and his methods. After meeting cute over a dead body fished out of the Reichenbach Brook, the two detectives team up in pursuit of a criminal mastermind lately arrived from America with three henchmen, intent on joining forces with Moriarty. "They were not gentlemen," one British villain observes of his American counterparts. "They paid not the slightest attention to the rules of sportsmanship and civility." Worse than that, the Yanks import a level of violence rarely seen in Britain. Notwithstanding the intensely atmospheric late-industrial-age English setting, the brutal action is U.S.A. all the way. Jones and Chase work so well together that they consider setting up their own private practice. "London needs a new consulting detective," Chase assures his companion. Despite the mutual admiration, they aren't all that convincing as cerebral sleuths on the order of Holmes and Watson. They actually make better action figures, moving purposefully from quiet private clubs in Mayfair to the chaos of the London docks, ever alert for characters (isn't that John Clay from "The Red-Headed League"?) and clues (where did that poisoned dart come from, if not Pondicherry Lodge?) shrewdly plucked from the Holmesian canon and strewn throughout the story to make us feel smart for spotting them. THE ISRAELI AUTHOR Liad Shoham takes no prisoners in asylum CITY (Harper, $25.99), which presents a shocking account of immigration policies in Tel Aviv, a destination for waves of asylum seekers from Africa. Michal Poleg, a young social worker with the nonprofit Organization for Migrant Aid, accuses certain "loathsome" members of the Knesset of a "relentless campaign" to deport the refugees. But shortly after filing a formal complaint, she is murdered, which forces this ugly business out into the open. As translated from Hebrew by Sara Kitai, Shoham's narrative style is so free of nuance that it undercuts the force of his argument. But a brief look at the miserable conditions in a women's shelter or a stark account of how Bedouins prey on migrants crossing the Sinai Desert is more revelatory than all the melodramatic plot twists. And despite her rants against criminal predators, Michal understood that "when the government doesn't provide basic services, a vacuum is created, and that vacuum is filled by all sorts of scum." regional authors have an understandable tendency to smarten up the neighborhood and make things look nice for visitors. Not so CB McKenzie, whose first mystery, BAD COUNTRY (Thomas Dunne/ Minotaur, $24.99), says it all in the title. The part of Arizona where he sets his novel is rough territory, close to the Mexican border and in the direct path of illegal immigrants making their way across the Sonoran Desert. "This was one of the emptiest places in the world, but there was still a lot to look at," in the opinion of Rodeo Grace Garnet, the protagonist of this bleak but elegantly told story. Long departed from the professional circuit and currently living off crumbs as a private investigator, Rodeo rooms with his decrepit dog in a desolate region where someone has been dumping dead bodies and everybody thinks he's the one to clean up the mess. McKenzie's voice is as dry and gritty as desert sand, just right for scouring this harsh landscape of cheap motels, run-down trailer parks and Indian trading posts selling polyester blankets. LIKE HIS HOMETOWN, Detroit, Amos Walker is on the skids. In YOU KNOW WHO KILLED ME (Tom Doherty/Forge, $24.99), Loren D. Estleman's case-hardened private eye is fresh out of rehab and none too steady on his feet. A friend on the police force throws him a pity job, doing some legwork on a murder case in Iroquois Heights - with the proviso that he keep his nose out of the investigation. But Walker never graduated from obedience school, and he's soon conducting terse, tongue-in-cheek interviews with a rogues' gallery of "nosy neighbors, gossip addicts, cranks, pranksters, ax-grinders, attention hounds and fruitcakes" who all want to get their hands on the $10,000 reward money offered by a local church. For readers who mourn the passing of the classic American private eye who drinks hard liquor, ogles the dames and cracks one-liners out of the side of his mouth, Walker's your man. And the sweet part is that he's the genuine article - a decent guy trying to do an honest job in a society that no longer shares his working-class ethic or values his skills. Except, of course, for us.
Library Journal Review
From the best-selling author of The House of Silk comes a cunning new thriller. The year is 1891, Sherlock Holmes is presumed dead, and so is the villainous James Moriarty. Pinkerton Detective Agency's Frederick Chase, on the tracks of an international criminal mastermind, arrives in Europe only days after the fatal incident at Reichenbach Falls. There he makes the acquaintance of Scotland Yard's Insp. Athelney Jones, a man now well versed in the arts of deduction and ratiocination. Together the two return to a London inhumed by criminal activities. Without the assistance of the great Sherlock, will the detectives be able to uncover the ringleader and restore the peace in time to prevent a personal tragedy? Verdict Fans of Horowitz-and as the creator of the popular television series Midsomer Murders and Foyle's War, he has many-will be eager to get their hands on this meticulously researched and skillfully executed literary thriller. A fiendishly plotted exploit sure to bedevil staunch Sherlockians and fans of the popular BBC series (Sherlock) alike. [See Prepub Alert, 7/14/14.]-Liv Hanson, Chicago (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
In this disappointing follow-up to Horowitz's brilliant first Holmes pastiche, The House of Silk (2011), Sherlock Holmes appears only in passing, in a prologue in which narrator Frederick Chase, a Pinkerton operative, details the plot holes in Watson's account of the fatal encounter between the great detective and the Napoleon of crime at the Reichenbach Falls in 1891. Chase is on the trail of Clarence Devereux, an American Moriarty, when news reaches him of the tragedy in Switzerland. Chase believes that Moriarty and Devereux had been in contact, and he travels immediately to Meiringen, where he winds up teaming with Scotland Yard's Insp. Athelney Jones, who displays an unexpected gift for Sherlockian deduction. After decoding a message setting a meeting between Moriarty and Devereux at London's Café Royal, Chase plans to impersonate the master criminal. As a pair, Jones and Chase are but a pale shadow of Holmes and Watson. Agent: Jonathan Lloyd, Curtis Brown (U.K.). (Dec.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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