Exuberantly tasteless, and—here and there—almost as much fun to read as it probably was to write.

FAT WHITE VAMPIRE BLUES

The silliness quotient frequently exceeds toxic levels in this nevertheless entertaining debut about some New Orleans night people Anne Rice seems to have overlooked.

Newcomer Fox reveals his inspirations in epigraphs from Rice herself (mentioned in passing herein as “Agatha Longrain”) and John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces. And his protagonist, centenarian-plus Jules Duchon, is a dead (sorry, undead) ringer for Toole’s Ignatius C. Reilly. You see, Jules, whose victims eat the world’s richest food, is a clinically obese vampire in desperate straits. He has lost his, uh, fulfilling job as a coroner’s assistant, his adipose “blood parent” Maureen (a.k.a. disco stripper “Round Robin”) has dumped him, Catholic guilt gnaws at him, a two-timing dame named Veronika, who packs garlic spray and holy water, has him in her sights, and jive-talking black vampire “Malice X” is down on Jules for “poaching” in X’s territory. When his house is torched, Jules, who moonlights (so to speak) as a cabdriver, enlists the aid of cross-dressing buddy Rory “Doodlebug” Richelieu (who’s both Jules’s creation and his mentor: don’t ask), shape-shifts as needed, enjoys an amorous encounter with a stray dog, engages Malice in a mock-epic showdown at the latter’s casino, and eventually gives Veronika exactly what she’s been asking for. This Blues strikes numerous discordant notes, but Jules is a highly companionable antihero, and Fox does stage such irresistible scenes as his fruitless interview with stiff-necked “high muckety-mucks in the undead community” and a wonderful confession scene in which Jules tells an understandably thunderstruck priest, “I ain’t exactly been the greatest Catholic the last eighty years or so.”

Exuberantly tasteless, and—here and there—almost as much fun to read as it probably was to write.

Pub Date: July 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-345-46333-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2003

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

BAREFOOT

Privileged 30-somethings hide from their woes in Nantucket.

Hilderbrand’s saga follows the lives of Melanie, Brenda and Vicki. Vicki, alpha mom and perfect wife, is battling late-stage lung cancer and, in an uncharacteristically flaky moment, opts for chemotherapy at the beach. Vicki shares ownership of a tiny Nantucket cottage with her younger sister Brenda. Brenda, a literature professor, tags along for the summer, partly out of familial duty, partly because she’s fleeing the fallout from her illicit affair with a student. As for Melanie, she gets a last minute invite from Vicki, after Melanie confides that Melanie’s husband is having an affair. Between Melanie and Brenda, Vicki feels her two young boys should have adequate supervision, but a disastrous first day on the island forces the trio to source some outside help. Enter Josh, the adorable and affable local who is hired to tend to the boys. On break from college, Josh learns about the pitfalls of mature love as he falls for the beauties in the snug abode. Josh likes beer, analysis-free relationships and hot older women. In a word, he’s believable. In addition to a healthy dose of testosterone, the novel is balanced by powerful descriptions of Vicki’s bond with her two boys. Emotions run high as she prepares for death.

Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

Pub Date: July 2, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-316-01858-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2007

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

More about grief and tragedy than romance.

FRIENDS FOREVER

Five friends meet on their first day of kindergarten at the exclusive Atwood School and remain lifelong friends through tragedy and triumph.

When Gabby, Billy, Izzie, Andy and Sean meet in the toy kitchen of the kindergarten classroom on their first day of school, no one can know how strong the group’s friendship will remain. Despite their different personalities and interests, the five grow up together and become even closer as they come into their own talents and life paths. But tragedy will strike and strike again. Family troubles, abusive parents, drugs, alcohol, stress, grief and even random bad luck will put pressure on each of them individually and as a group. Known for her emotional romances, Steel makes a bit of a departure with this effort that follows a group of friends through young adulthood. But even as one tragedy after another befalls the friends, the impact of the events is blunted by a distant narrative style that lacks emotional intensity. 

More about grief and tragedy than romance.

Pub Date: July 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-34321-3

Page Count: 322

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more