An action-packed international tale with Christian overtones and strong characters.

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THE THIRD TRUMPET

From the Last Eulogy series , Vol. 2

In this paranormal thriller, a retired military commander races to save the world.

At the outset of this sequel, the United States is in tough shape. Massive weather disasters strike with alarming regularity; unemployment remains in the double digits; inflation is rampant (a loaf of bread costs over $5); and the country faces an incredibly divisive presidential election. This gloomy state of affairs is further darkened by three deadly assaults that happen in rapid succession: U.S. ambassador and consummate Washington insider Winston Tarmac is blown up in his limousine; Saleem Nasir, the prospective chief of staff to rising Republican star and presidential candidate Thomas Maro, is incinerated in his jeep; and Rio DeLaurentis, a political activist who’s just gone viral with a video in which she berates Congress as a bunch of “moronic a-holes,” is supposedly killed when a missile takes down her private plane. Rio and her retired colonel brother, Giacomo, are the children of Paolo DeLaurentis, whose accurate visions of the future before his death fueled the first installment of DiVerniero’s (Messenger From God, 2013) series. The attempted assassination of Giacomo’s sister (readers learn immediately that she survived and is in a coma, although almost everyone in the story thinks she’s dead) propels him into a continent-hopping mission to prevent what he’s seen in a vision of his own: the assassination of the U.S. president, plunging the world into even greater chaos. The key moments of that disaster were all foreseen by Paolo before he died, and periodically throughout the gripping book those prophecies are doled out posthumously in letters he left behind for his children. These missives predict in more or less specific terms incidents that begin to combine into a Christian end times picture that will culminate with something called “the last eulogy.” “This is the time,” Giacomo explains, “when we are given the last chance to right the wrongs before darkness falls upon us.” But before such apocalyptic events begin, there’s plenty of taut, Tom Clancy-style international intrigue to unfold, involving everything from a violent militia group called the Fighters for Freedom Brigade to the villain of the previous volume, Dr. Colin Payne, whose long shadow extends over the plot of this sequel. Giacomo is DiVerniero’s main action-hero focus for the global machinations because he has those posthumous notes guiding him as well as tantalizing visions of the future. But the author is here writing at the top of his form, and the book is filled with other enjoyably realized characters, particularly the hapless and overmatched American president, Arthur Waldron; his equally harried vice president, Jerry Richardson; and Maro, the son of a Muslim woman and a Coptic Christian man. Characters are constantly getting threatening phone calls from the sinister forces lurking behind the scenes as DiVerniero expertly ratchets up the plot’s tension before the fast-paced climax.

An action-packed international tale with Christian overtones and strong characters.

Pub Date: Dec. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-64237-408-7

Page Count: 478

Publisher: Gatekeeper Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2019

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Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

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THE VANISHING HALF

Inseparable identical twin sisters ditch home together, and then one decides to vanish.

The talented Bennett fuels her fiction with secrets—first in her lauded debut, The Mothers (2016), and now in the assured and magnetic story of the Vignes sisters, light-skinned women parked on opposite sides of the color line. Desiree, the “fidgety twin,” and Stella, “a smart, careful girl,” make their break from stultifying rural Mallard, Louisiana, becoming 16-year-old runaways in 1954 New Orleans. The novel opens 14 years later as Desiree, fleeing a violent marriage in D.C., returns home with a different relative: her 8-year-old daughter, Jude. The gossips are agog: “In Mallard, nobody married dark....Marrying a dark man and dragging his blueblack child all over town was one step too far.” Desiree's decision seals Jude’s misery in this “colorstruck” place and propels a new generation of flight: Jude escapes on a track scholarship to UCLA. Tending bar as a side job in Beverly Hills, she catches a glimpse of her mother’s doppelgänger. Stella, ensconced in white society, is shedding her fur coat. Jude, so black that strangers routinely stare, is unrecognizable to her aunt. All this is expertly paced, unfurling before the book is half finished; a reader can guess what is coming. Bennett is deeply engaged in the unknowability of other people and the scourge of colorism. The scene in which Stella adopts her white persona is a tour de force of doubling and confusion. It calls up Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, the book's 50-year-old antecedent. Bennett's novel plays with its characters' nagging feelings of being incomplete—for the twins without each other; for Jude’s boyfriend, Reese, who is trans and seeks surgery; for their friend Barry, who performs in drag as Bianca. Bennett keeps all these plot threads thrumming and her social commentary crisp. In the second half, Jude spars with her cousin Kennedy, Stella's daughter, a spoiled actress.

Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-53629-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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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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