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

Othello Greene

THE STORY BEGINS

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

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TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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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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