From Publishers Weekly
An intelligent and stubborn heroine who's just emotionally vulnerable enough to be empathetic lifts this novel from Gardiner (China Lake
), a Californian now living in London making her U.S. debut. Dr. Jo Beckett, a forensic psychiatrist (or deadshrinker), performs psychological autopsies to uncover the truths behind grisly crimes. Recruited to consult on the possible suicide of prosecutor Callie Harding, who drove her BMW off a San Francisco bridge and struck an airport minivan on the road below, Jo discovers this accident is the latest in a string of high profile murder-suicides. As Jo and the SFPD's Lt. Amy Tang dig deeper, they uncover the Dirty Secrets Club, a shadowy group of citizens whose members include a noted fashion designer and a football star, both of whom committed very public suicides. Still coming to terms with her doctor husband's recent death, Jo struggles to pinpoint the club's origins, realizing that a former member may be systematically driving the remaining members to their deaths. Gardiner should win new fans on this side of the Atlantic with this adrenaline-filled thriller. (June)
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*Starred Review* San Francisco forensic psychiatrist Jo Beckett doesn’t cut open victims’ bodies. She dissects their lives. It’s her professional duty to determine why the dead get dead. This time around, Beckett just might be in over her head. Residents of San Francisco, already edgy from recent earthquake tremors, have become further unhinged by a series of provocative—and very public—murder-suicides. They’re tied to the Dirty Secrets Club, a group that promises anonymity to high-profile citizens aching to confess their sins. U.S. Attorney Callie Harding was the driving force behind the club until the night she drove her BMW off a city overpass, ending her life and those of three others. The word dirty was scrawled in red lipstick across her upper thigh, a clue that ultimately leads Beckett and diminutive SFPD detective Amy Tang to a sadistic psychopath with vengeance on his mind. Beckett and Tang are close to collaring the culprit when Jo receives a threatening letter detailing a dark secret of her own. This is the U.S. debut for Gardiner, an American who makes her home in London. Stephen King has raved about her in print, and she proves more than worthy of that praise in this twister of a tale teeming with thrills and chills. --Allison Block