A rousing, if sometimes unlikely, tale of terrorism and trauma.

Crossing the Red

A BEAR KOTAH NOVEL

A debut thriller tells the story of a veteran haunted by his past who attempts to foil an extremist plot.

A veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Jim “Night Bear” Kotah prefers to keep to himself as he attempts to reconcile the traumas of his past. “Sometimes I don’t want the ghosts to leave me, not ever,” he says of the people he lost in the wars. “But they won’t let me rest. I just need to give it a rest and get on with my life.” Bear has been largely absent from the buffalo spread run by his Comanche relatives in southwest Oklahoma, but when neighboring rancher Ramiro Jenkins goes back on an agreement to lease the Kotahs’ land, Bear’s cousin comes to ask for the soldier’s assistance. Bear is reluctant to intervene—an old ranch-related romantic wound exists for him beside his psychological ones—but when one of his cousins is killed mysteriously on Jenkins’ land, Bear feels compelled to investigate. What he uncovers goes much deeper than a mere family feud: Jenkins is the ringleader of a gang of Latin American malcontents bent on seeking revenge for America’s imperialist sins. Allying themselves with other world forces that wish to harm the U.S., Jenkins and his crew concoct a plan involving small ships and high-tech mortars striking petrochemical complexes in Galveston Bay. Bear will do all he can to prevent the attack, but first he must find a way to quiet the ghosts of his past. Gibson, a talented storyteller, spins his tale with a level of assurance that keeps the reader with him. While many of the characters and plot points question the limits of credulity, the author executes them in a way that mostly keeps the doubts at bay. Both Bear and his antagonist, Jenkins, make for unusually compelling versions of genre archetypes, and while Gibson mostly retreads familiar territory, there is enough here to make the novel a memorable one. Perhaps more important, there is enough to breed interest in further Bear Kotah adventures.

A rousing, if sometimes unlikely, tale of terrorism and trauma.

Pub Date: May 31, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5245-0392-5

Page Count: 318

Publisher: Xlibris

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2016

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ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH

While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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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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