This terrorist tale reads like a thrilling but extremely violent action movie, with some intriguing twists in plot and...


Othello Greene


A debut novel offers the broad scope of a Hollywood blockbuster, with two formidable, high-tech groups at war.

In the very first scene of this book, the titular hero is beaten and maimed, calling into question how the rest of this tale could possibly play out. Lt. Othello Greene, the leader of America’s top special-ops team, has been captured by a high-tech terrorist group calling itself the Global Supremacy Federation, headed by a deeply evil man named Genesis. Greene, forced to kill a comrade for the sake of mercy, is tossed into a pit of hyenas, his torture broadcast to millions worldwide as a demonstration of power. But a renegade band called The Disciples of Khidar, a Muslim group that vows to help the oppressed, saves him. The Disciples are also high-tech, and use that technology to heal victims of war. They have tracked Greene and believe him to be sent by Allah for a greater purpose. As the GSF destroys more of the globe, killing world leaders and ravaging U.S. cities, a man named Khan tends to Greene and converts him to Islam by showing him his former religion, Christianity, is based on lies. U.S. President Heather Cotton tries to defy the GSF, but it quickly becomes clear the group has outthought the West and its allies and possesses superior technology; the world remains bent to the terrorists’ will until Greene can rejoin the fray. Baltimore tells a parallel story every few chapters of Greene’s high school years as an academic and sports star, and his relationship with his mother and his best friend, Kojo. The tales are on a global and local scale, and both lines benefit from that strategy. There are some fantastic twists involving supporting characters, especially in relation to a subplot about a mole in Cotton’s cabinet. But the trajectory of Greene’s story in both tracks can be a bit predictable at times. He wins the big game and The Disciples convert him to Islam fairly handily. The book, close to 800 pages, could have been streamlined. Baltimore has a real talent for writing an action scene and casting good and evil in bold relief in his characterization. But this is not a novel for the faint of heart; the violence can be intense. To further prove how sinister Genesis is, the narrative delivers a graphic depiction of child rape, which he orders to intimidate an ally who betrays him.

This terrorist tale reads like a thrilling but extremely violent action movie, with some intriguing twists in plot and philosophy.

Pub Date: July 4, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9971524-0-1

Page Count: 780

Publisher: Jourstarr Quality Publications

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller


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

Did you like this book?

More Hallmarkiana, from a shameless expert in the genre.


High-stakes weepmeister Sparks (A Walk to Remember, 1999, etc.) opts for a happy ending his fourth time out. His writing has improved—though it's still the equivalent of paint-by-numbers—and he makes use this time of at least a vestige of credible psychology.

That vestige involves the deep dark secret—it has something to do with his father's death when son Taylor was nine—that haunts kind, good 36-year-old local contractor Taylor McAden and makes him withdraw from relationships whenever they start getting serious enough to maybe get permanent. He's done this twice before, and now he does it again with pretty and sweet single mother Denise Holton, age 29, who's moved from Atlanta to Taylor's town of Edenton, North Carolina, in order to devote her time more fully to training her four-year-old son Kyle to overcome the peculiar impediment he has that keeps him from achieving normal language acquisition. Okay? When Denise has a car accident in a bad storm, she's rescued by volunteer fireman Taylor—who also rescues little Kyle after he wanders away from his injured mom in the storm. Love blooms in the weeks that follow—until Taylor suddenly begins putting on the brakes. What is it that holds him back, when there just isn't any question but that he loves Denise and vice versa-not to mention that he's "great" with Kyle, just like a father? It will require a couple of near-death experiences (as fireman Taylor bravely risks his life to save others); emotional steadiness from the intelligent, good, true Denise; and the terrible death of a dear and devoted friend before Taylor will come to the point at last of confiding to Denise the terrible memory of how his father died—and the guilt that's been its legacy to Taylor. The psychological dam broken, love will at last be able to flow.

More Hallmarkiana, from a shameless expert in the genre.

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2000

ISBN: 0-446-52550-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2000

Did you like this book?