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Could this be the last Frieda Klein mystery—that mysterious, driven psychotherapist who prowls the streets of London at night and has been stalked by the charming, villainous Dean Reeve through 7 previous books? Here a naive graduate student, Lola, has chosen Frieda as her dissertation subject and gets in way over her head as Reeve leaves a trail of corpses all connected with the city’s underground rivers to lead Frieda to their final showdown. I was ready for the peculiar comfort of a well-crafted thriller and this one did the trick.
Frances is not a happy camper: money worries and a crashed relationship, so when she runs into bigger-than-life Elaine, this might be a temporary solution. She didn’t realize how clingy and intrusive Elaine would be when she invited her home. She procures said sedative from her dealer but it works all too well. Elaine is now frighteningly comatose and not in a position to fork over the promised cash. I wasn’t rooting for any of the characters (thought I felt sorry for poor deluded Elaine) but the book is weirdly funny which is why I stuck with it and ended up having fun. London setting.
Short stories, mostly about disconnections and all over the map. Montana: a standoffish cowgirl and her boss who wreaks vengeance when she falls in love with an artist. Competition and veiled nastiness among the literati. In the catacombs under Paris. Over-the-hill in Hollywood. And a dystopian story you know will end badly because the artists’ birth and death dates in parentheses all end in 2035. These stories are beautifully constructed, fleshed out with exquisite attention to detail. They may not warm your heart but they’ll certainly get your attention.
The protagonist has a variety of names and disguises to keep him under the radar as he makes deliveries for a dispatching firm, many of which are pretty suspicious. A young woman contacts him on his many burner phones; he’d always believed access was blocked. She claims to be his daughter and has many siblings out there, all from a long-ago sperm bank deposit. And there’s something in his DNA that’s very valuable. Conspiracy theories abound, he’s forced on the lam, and…well, no spoiler alert here. He also has a pit bull, Flip, who’s quite a character. I have a taste for dystopian adventures and this was intriguing and diverting.