Cover image for Night work : a Kate Martinelli novel
Night work : a Kate Martinelli novel
King, Laurie R.
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Publication Information:
New York : Bantam Books, [2000]

Physical Description:
339 pages ; 24 cm
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Laurie R. King, creator of San Francisco homicide detective Kate Martinelli, has been praised byThe New York Times Book Reviewfor her "taut pacing...air of menace...superb characters." Now the author ofA Grave Talent(winner of the top mystery awards on both sides of the Atlantic),To Play the Fool, andWith Childcontinues the series with a crime novel as disturbing as it is riveting. After her last harrowing case Kate is more than ready for routine police work and a newfound serenity with her longtime lover, Lee, and their circle of close friends. Until one night when her pager summons her to a scene of carefully executed murder. Half-hidden in a clump of bushes lies a well-muscled corpse, handcuffed and strangled, a stun gun's faint burn on his chest and candy in his pocket. The only person who might have wanted airport baggage handler James Larsen dead, it seems, is the wife he repeatedly abused--who recently left him for a women's shelter. But her alibi is airtight, her physique frail, and her attitude less than vengeful. Kate and her partner, Al Hawkin, are stumped. Then a second body turns up--also zapped, cuffed, strangled...and carrying a chocolate bar. It is that of Matthew Banderas, a software salesman convicted of one rape, suspected of many more. Yet, despite the newspaper headlines, Kate and Al can establish no personal link between the victims and cannot rule out coincidence. But in the midst of an unpromising investigation, Kate has another cause thrust upon her by her friend, feminist minister Roz Hall. Investigators have already called it an accident, but Roz is convinced the young Indian bride was actually murdered--and when Roz takes up a crusade, no one can deny her. As Kate wrestles with the clash between her personal and professional lives, a third killing draws her and Al into a network of pitiless destruction that reaches far beyond San Francisco, a contemporary-style hit list with shudderingly primal roots. Winner of the Best First Crime Novel Award from both the Mystery Writers of America and the British Crime Writers' Association for the first book in the Kate Martinelli series,A Grave Talent, Laurie R. King has created a body of work that transcends genre classification and has fully broken out into the mainstream, novels which have the intensity and depth of superb literary work, spiced with harrowing suspense. Winner of the Best First Crime Novel Award from both the Mystery Writers of America and the British Crime Writers Association for the first book in the Kate Martinelli series, A Grave Talent, Laurie R. King creates novels that have the intensity and depth of superb literary work, spiced with harrowing suspense. -->

Author Notes

Laurie R. King is the bestselling author of "A Darker Place," four contemporary novels featuring Kate Martinelli, and five acclaimed Mary Russell mysteries. She lives in northern California. Her newest book is the ninth one in the Mary Russell mystery series, The Language of Bees.

(Publisher Provided) Laurie R. King is a mystery writer, who holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in theology. Her first novel, Grave Talent, was published in 1993 and won the Edgar Award for Best First Novel. Since then, she has written over twenty books including the Mary Russell Mysteries series, the Stuyvesant and Grey series, the Kate Martinelli Mystery series, A Darker Place, Folly, and Keeping Watch. She has also co-authored a number of nonfiction works and anthologies including Crime Writing, The Grand Game, and Studies in Sherlock.

Laurie's title, Dreaming Spies, is a 2015 New York Times Bestseller.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

In San Francisco, two men have died in bizarre circumstances: stunned into submission with a taser gun, they're handcuffed and strangled to death, then "decorated" with pieces of candy. Both victims had bad records with women--one was a rapist, the other abused his wife. When a third victim dies after his young wife is burned to death, it becomes clear that a vigilante is at work. It's up to SFPD cop Kate Martinelli and her partner Al Hawkin to solve what has become a high-profile case. The trail leads to a bizarre goddess-worshiping cult whose idol is the Indian goddess Kali, a man-hating, bloodthirsty warrior who makes Genghis Khan seem benign. The cult's Web site contains a "hit list" of men nationwide who have abused women, and the three San Francisco victims are on it. King's Martinelli series isn't as popular as her Mary Russell novels, but it's a solid choice for those who like tough female cops. The feminist slant of this story will also draw readers interested in women's issues. --Emily Melton

Publisher's Weekly Review

The multitalented King (O Jerusalem, etc.) has not published a Kate Martinelli novel since 1996's With Child, so fans aplenty have been waiting for the next installment in this acclaimed series. San Francisco police detective Kate and her partner, Al Hawken, first introduced in the Edgar-winning A Grave Talent, have been called in to investigate the murder of a man who turns out to have a long record of beating up his wife. The wife, who took refuge at a battered women's shelter, has a rock-solid alibi and there are no other obvious suspects. Meanwhile, a group of feminist vigilantes called the Ladies of Perpetual Disgruntlement has been exacting wickedly funny acts of minor revenge against men who physically abuse women. Kate has a sneaking sympathy for the work of the Ladies, but when more bodies of abusive men start turning up, it looks as though someone--some woman--in San Francisco has taken the ultimate step in vengeance. King brings her theme of women's rage against abusive men together with a focus on goddess worship, especially in Indian religions. Kali, the Hindu goddess of destruction and creation, figures largely in this dense and suspenseful tale. As in her powerful thriller A Darker Place, King's ability to turn esoteric religious concepts into key narrative points makes this a highly unusual--and memorable--novel. It suffers a bit from talkiness, but even so, it's a compelling, effective piece of writing. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

King is a versatile writer: while her Mary Russell mysteries take place in the days of Sherlock Holmes, Night Work, the fourth in a series starring police detective Kate Martinelli, is a contemporary novel set in San Francisco. Known abusers of women are turning up dead with candy in their pockets. A group of vigilante women who call themselves Ladies of Perpetual Disgruntlement are suspects, as is Roz Hall, a feminist minister. Woven into the plot are discussions of women's rage and vengeful goddesses including the Hindu goddess Kali. The idea that some vindictive women are committing serial murders is chilling, but the surprise ending is somewhat disappointing and seems unlikely. Narrator Alyssa Bresnahan handles the characters well. Recommended for all public libraries. Patsy E. Gray, Huntsville P.L., AL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



It is a place of skulls, a deathly place Where we confront our violence and feel, Before that broken and self-ravaged face, The murderers we are, brought here to kneel. KATE MARTINELLI SAT IN her uncomfortable metal folding chair and watched the world come to an end. It ended quite nicely, in fact, considering the resources at hand and the skill of the participants, with an eye-searing flash and a startling crack, a swirl of colors, then abrupt darkness. And giggles. The lights went up again, parents and friends rose to applaud wildly, and twenty-three brightly costumed and painted children gathered on the stage to receive their praise. The reason for Kate's presence stood third from the end, a mop-headed child with skin the color of milky coffee, a smile that lacked a pair of front teeth, and black eyes that glittered with excitement and pride. Kate leaned over to speak into the ear of the woman at her side. "Your goddaughter makes a fine monkey." Lee Cooper laughed. "Mina's been driving Roz and Maj nuts practicing her part--she wore one tail out completely and broke a leg off the sofa jumping onto it. Last week she decided she wasn't going to eat anything but bananas, until Roz got a book that listed what monkeys actually eat." "I hope she didn't then go around picking bugs out of tree trunks." "I think Roz read selectively." "Never trust a minister. Do you know--" Kate stopped, her face changing. She reached into her pocket and pulled out a vibrating pager, looked up at Lee, and shrugged in apology before digging the cell phone out of her pocket and beginning to push her way toward the exit and relative quiet. She was back in a couple of minutes, slipping the phone away as she walked up to the man who had been sitting on her other side during the performance and who was now standing at Lee's elbow, watchful and ready to offer a supporting hand in the crowd. Lee's caregiver spoke before Kate could open her mouth. "What a pity, you're going to miss the fruit punch and cookies." She rolled her eyes and said low into Jon's ear, "Why it couldn't have come an hour ago . . ." "Poor dear," he said, sounding not in the least sympathetic. "'A policeman's lot is not a happy one.'" "If I find you a ride, would you take her home?" "Happy to. I'll be going out later, though." "She'll be fine." Now for the difficult part. "Lee," Kate began. "Sweetheart?" but groveling did not prove necessary. "You're off, then?" "I'm sorry." "Liar," said Lee cheerfully. "But you've been a very brave honorary godmother, so now you can go and play with your friends. That was Al, I assume?" Kate and her partner, Al Hawkin, were on call tonight, and in a city the size of San Francisco, a homicide was no rare thing. She nodded, hesitated, and kissed Lee briefly on the cheek. Lee looked more pleased than surprised, which Kate took as a sign that she was doing something right, and Kate in turn felt gratified beyond the scope of her lover's reaction--their relationship had been more than a little touchy in recent months, and small signs loomed large. She stepped away carefully, looking down to be sure she didn't knock into Lee's cuffed crutches, and walked around the arranged folding chairs to congratulate Mina's adoptive parents. They were surrounded by others bent on the same purpose--or rather, Roz was surrounded by a circle of admirers, this tall, brown-haired, slightly freckled woman who was glowing and laughing and giving off warmth like (as one article in the Sunday Chronicle had put it) a fireplace of the soul. When she had read that phrase, Kate had wondered to herself if the reporter really meant that Roz was hot. She was, in fact, one of the most unconsciously sexy women Kate knew. Kate hadn't seen Roz in a couple of weeks, but she knew just looking at her, the way she gestured and leaned toward her audience, the way her laugh came and her eyes flashed, that Roz was involved in some passionate quest or other: She seemed to have grown a couple of inches and lost ten years, a look Kate had seen her wear often enough. Or it could have been from the fulsome praise being heaped on her by the other parents--all of whom, it seemed, had seen a television program Roz had been on the night before and were eager to tell her how great it had been, how great she had been. Roz threw one arm around the school principal and laughed with honest self-deprecation, and while Kate waited to get a word in, she studied the side of that animated face with the slightly uncomfortable affection a person invariably feels toward someone in whose debt she is and always will be, an ever-so-slightly servile discomfort that in Kate's case was magnified by the knowledge that her own lover had once slept with this woman. She liked Roz (how could she not?) and respected her enormously, but she could never be completely comfortable with her. Roz's partner, Maj Freiling, stood slightly to one side, taking all this in while she spoke with a woman Kate vaguely remembered having met at one of their parties. Maj was short, black-haired, and--incongruously--Swedish; her name therefore was pronounced "my," forming the source of endless puns from Roz. Most people who knew Roz assumed that her quiet partner was a nonentity whose job was to keep house, to produce brilliant meals at the drop of Roz's hat, and to laugh politely at Roz's jokes. Most people were wrong. Just because Maj spoke little did not mean she had nothing to say. She was the holder of several degrees in an area of brain research so arcane only half a dozen people in San Francisco had ever heard of it, and they in turn were not of the sort to be found in Roz's company of politicians and reformers. It seemed to Kate a case of complete incompatibility leading to a rock-solid marriage, just one more thing she didn't understand about Roz Hall. Kate looked from one woman to the other, and gave up on the attempt to reach Roz. Maj smiled at Kate in complicity as Kate approached. Kate found herself grinning in return as she reached out to squeeze Maj's arm. "Thanks for inviting me," she said. "I was going to come to the party afterward, but I got a call, and I have to go. Sorry. Be sure to tell Mina she was the best monkey I've ever seen." Excerpted from Night Work by Laurie R. King All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.