A convincing, complex cyberthriller.

Impala

A computer programmer becomes the target of international criminals in Diamond’s (Warren Lane, 2015) thriller.

Russ Eugene “Genie” Fitzpatrick, now approaching 30, works as an app developer in Richmond, California, in the San Francisco Bay Area. Russ used to be a programmer with fellow code-nerd Charles Allen “Hatter” Taylor in San Francisco, but the two haven’t seen each other in four years. Hacker Charlie got into deep trouble in the underground “dark web,” and while he had the FBI on his tail, he also had multiple women on the string, including his latest muse, Cali. “You’re just as devious as I am,” he once told Russ. “Only I embrace my inner deviant….And you run from yours.” But Russ stops running from aberrance after Charlie’s car goes off a cliff and his body is found, charred, with a bullet hole in the skull. Soon Russ gets heavily involved in a world of code cracking and head cracking, linked to an online market for illegal and/or stolen items called the Twilight Bazaar, known as “the ATM of the dark web” for global criminal organizations. After its servers suddenly go down, international thugs think Charlie may have given Russ an encryption key to the site—and its millions of dollars. Russ, however, is less concerned with money than he is with Cali; his heart goes vroom when he first sees a photo of her in front of a cherry-red Impala. Along the way, she tells him, “You dwell on the details….Most people let the little things slide.” The same could be said of author Diamond himself, who gets all the little things right, as well as the big ones, in this riveting novel. Details, such as the sound of silver bracelets jangling at a key moment, the thirst for a Mountain Dew after a rough night, and the moldy smell of a cheap motel blanket, complement the main action. The dialogue, too, is right on the bitcoin when the characters are sober—and also believably unfocused when they are drunk or high, which is fairly often.

A convincing, complex cyberthriller.

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9963507-3-0

Page Count: 260

Publisher: Stolen Time Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2016

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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A LITTLE LIFE

Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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