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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LAST ORDERS

Britisher Swift's sixth novel (Ever After, 1992 etc.) and fourth to appear here is a slow-to-start but then captivating tale of English working-class families in the four decades following WW II. When Jack Dodds dies suddenly of cancer after years of running a butcher shop in London, he leaves a strange request—namely, that his ashes be scattered off Margate pier into the sea. And who could better be suited to fulfill this wish than his three oldest drinking buddies—insurance man Ray, vegetable seller Lenny, and undertaker Vic, all of whom, like Jack himself, fought also as soldiers or sailors in the long-ago world war. Swift's narrative start, with its potential for the melodramatic, is developed instead with an economy, heart, and eye that release (through the characters' own voices, one after another) the story's humanity and depth instead of its schmaltz. The jokes may be weak and self- conscious when the three old friends meet at their local pub in the company of the urn holding Jack's ashes; but once the group gets on the road, in an expensive car driven by Jack's adoptive son, Vince, the story starts gradually to move forward, cohere, and deepen. The reader learns in time why it is that no wife comes along, why three marriages out of three broke apart, and why Vince always hated his stepfather Jack and still does—or so he thinks. There will be stories of innocent youth, suffering wives, early loves, lost daughters, secret affairs, and old antagonisms—including a fistfight over the dead on an English hilltop, and a strewing of Jack's ashes into roiling seawaves that will draw up feelings perhaps unexpectedly strong. Without affectation, Swift listens closely to the lives that are his subject and creates a songbook of voices part lyric, part epic, part working-class social realism—with, in all, the ring to it of the honest, human, and true.

Pub Date: April 5, 1996

ISBN: 0-679-41224-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1996

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Dated sermonizing on career versus motherhood, and conflict driven by characters’ willed helplessness, sap this tale of...

FIREFLY LANE

Lifelong, conflicted friendship of two women is the premise of Hannah’s maudlin latest (Magic Hour, 2006, etc.), again set in Washington State.

Tallulah “Tully” Hart, father unknown, is the daughter of a hippie, Cloud, who makes only intermittent appearances in her life. Tully takes refuge with the family of her “best friend forever,” Kate Mularkey, who compares herself unfavorably with Tully, in regards to looks and charisma. In college, “TullyandKate” pledge the same sorority and major in communications. Tully has a life goal for them both: They will become network TV anchorwomen. Tully lands an internship at KCPO-TV in Seattle and finagles a producing job for Kate. Kate no longer wishes to follow Tully into broadcasting and is more drawn to fiction writing, but she hesitates to tell her overbearing friend. Meanwhile a love triangle blooms at KCPO: Hard-bitten, irresistibly handsome, former war correspondent Johnny is clearly smitten with Tully. Expecting rejection, Kate keeps her infatuation with Johnny secret. When Tully lands a reporting job with a Today-like show, her career shifts into hyperdrive. Johnny and Kate had started an affair once Tully moved to Manhattan, and when Kate gets pregnant with daughter Marah, they marry. Kate is content as a stay-at-home mom, but frets about being Johnny’s second choice and about her unrealized writing ambitions. Tully becomes Seattle’s answer to Oprah. She hires Johnny, which spells riches for him and Kate. But Kate’s buttons are fully depressed by pitched battles over slutwear and curfews with teenaged Marah, who idolizes her godmother Tully. In an improbable twist, Tully invites Kate and Marah to resolve their differences on her show, only to blindside Kate by accusing her, on live TV, of overprotecting Marah. The BFFs are sundered. Tully’s latest attempt to salvage Cloud fails: The incorrigible, now geriatric hippie absconds once more. Just as Kate develops a spine, she’s given some devastating news. Will the friends reconcile before it’s too late?

Dated sermonizing on career versus motherhood, and conflict driven by characters’ willed helplessness, sap this tale of poignancy.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-312-36408-3

Page Count: 496

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2007

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