A weekly look at the best new crime, suspense, and detective fiction. Remember to read with the lights on.
By Peter Heller (Penguin Random House)
Working out of her tiny apartment in hipster Brooklyn, this investigator-of-a-certain-age (68) combines patrician, sweater-set style with certified CIA moves and firearm know-how to surprise everyone from rowdy motorcycle gangs to gun store clerks to her son. Finding missing persons is her speciality, and, with the occasional help of her partner and a rolling oxygen tank (she quit smoking, but not soon enough), she investigates the mystery of a young woman whose wilderness photographer father disappeared when she was a little girl. As she treks to Yellowstone National Park, where the father was presumably mauled to death by a grizzly bear, she realizes that someone is following her and will do anything to prevent this case from being solved. Heller based the charming character of Celine on his own chic gumshoe mother. The you-are-there descriptions of the national park show Heller’s experience writing for publications such as Outside and National Geographic Adventure. The writing reflects Heller’s feelings about his family — shimmering with emotion in places and giving characters a realistic depth. Celine isn’t your typical gumshoe book, but this well-written and suspenseful adventure will make you hope this is the first in a series.
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