Reed (The Choice, 1991, etc.) varies the David-and-Goliath scenario that's worked so well in his previous legal thrillers by making David just a little more powerful and setting him an even tougher goal. Maverick defense attorney Dan Sheridan's job is not just to get the client off, but to avoid the indictment that will destroy his livelihood and good name. Did prominent surgeon and IRA supporter Dr. Christopher Dillard kill his frequent companion, Angela Williams, and dump her body miles from her opulent apartment? The police and the DA's office (senatorial hopeful Neil Harrington and his avid top prosecutor, Mayan d'Ortega) say he did; a lie-detector test that Harrington and d'Ortega refuse to accept or duplicate says he didn't. No sooner has Sheridan, already no friend of Harrington, taken Dillard's case than the DA enlists the Feds in an attempt to link Sheridan and Dillard to Boston kingmaker Sonny Callahan in a series of indictments for conspiracy, bribery, and racketeering. An old friend in the DA's office manages to warn Sheridan that his phones are tapped, but not that his new legal secretary, Sheila O'Brien, is actually an undercover FBI agent. Watch Harrington and Co. cook up scheme after scheme to catch clean-cut Sheridan taking a bribe. Watch Sheridan and O'Brien falling for each other as she sees what he's made of. Watch d'Ortega convene a grand jury that'll rule on the merits of the prosecution's case without the benefit of any evidence or cross- examination by the defense. And watch (Reed's hallmark) the pressure mount on two lone innocents, the cop who finds out a fix is in at the DA's office and the green pathologist who slowly convinces herself that her alcoholic boss is lying about the cause of death. Although the IRA apparatus is unconvincing and the ending drags, eavesdropping on these legal eagles trying to one-up each other to death is still sinfully entertaining.

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 1994

ISBN: 0-517-59433-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1994

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An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.


A group of strangers who live near each other in London become fast friends after writing their deepest secrets in a shared notebook.

Julian Jessop, a septuagenarian artist, is bone-crushingly lonely when he starts “The Authenticity Project”—as he titles a slim green notebook—and begins its first handwritten entry questioning how well people know each other in his tiny corner of London. After 15 years on his own mourning the loss of his beloved wife, he begins the project with the aim that whoever finds the little volume when he leaves it in a cafe will share their true self with their own entry and then pass the volume on to a stranger. The second person to share their inner selves in the notebook’s pages is Monica, 37, owner of a failing cafe and a former corporate lawyer who desperately wants to have a baby. From there the story unfolds, as the volume travels to Thailand and back to London, seemingly destined to fall only into the hands of people—an alcoholic drug addict, an Australian tourist, a social media influencer/new mother, etc.—who already live clustered together geographically. This is a glossy tale where difficulties and addictions appear and are overcome, where lies are told and then forgiven, where love is sought and found, and where truths, once spoken, can set you free. Secondary characters, including an interracial gay couple, appear with their own nuanced parts in the story. The message is strong, urging readers to get off their smartphones and social media and live in the real, authentic world—no chain stores or brands allowed here—making friends and forming a real-life community and support network. And is that really a bad thing?

An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7861-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.


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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