by Bobby K. Green ‧ RELEASE DATE: Dec. 5, 2012
Irresistible lead characters will likely draw fans and leave them looking for a third adventure with Rob and Mike, despite...
Establishing an airfreight business between the U.S. and China becomes a struggle for money and power in the second volume of Green’s Easy Money series (Company of Deceit, 2001).
Aviation veteran Capt. Saunders is starting a freight airline with flights to China and hires pilot and business owner Rob Marshall to locate planes. He and his assistant and friend, Mike, travel to California and soon realize that the proposed company, still in the process of being financed, needs more than just aircraft, and that some of those involved are dodgy individuals more interested in politics than aviation. Green’s novel is a character-driven work. Returning stars Rob and Mike are solid leads, particularly Mike, whose Cajun charm shines when the novel visits his home state of Louisiana. He gives the romantically invested Kathy a tour of the French Quarter. The villains are appropriately disreputable, including the enigmatic and possibly mob-connected Mr. C; an attorney who’s also the company’s CFO; and a governor who doesn’t trust or want Rob and Mike’s assistance. The sometimes unclear plot engages less than its characters. The bad guys are unmistakable—they’re greedy and devious—but their actions merely slow the bankrolling of the airline and don’t provide much dramatic conflict. One of the few potent scenes doesn’t occur until near the end of the story. In addition, the generally well-written narrative sometimes sags in its descriptions of mundane action. For example, one scene describes everything the governor’s aide does while driving: signaling, turning, rolling down the window and watching a gate open. There are rarely indications of time passing, e.g., Rob’s love interest, Sharon, agrees to call him, and his cellphone rings in the very next sentence. Missing or extraneous quotation marks can render dialogue hard to follow. Unless, of course, it’s Cajun Mike speaking: “There’s sho’ a lots of swamp water and cypress trees down there.”Irresistible lead characters will likely draw fans and leave them looking for a third adventure with Rob and Mike, despite the novel’s slow spots.
Pub Date: Dec. 5, 2012
Page Count: 212
Review Posted Online: Jan. 24, 2013
Review Program: Kirkus Indie
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by Hanya Yanagihara ‧ RELEASE DATE: March 10, 2015
The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.
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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
Page Count: 720
Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2014
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015
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by Harper Lee ‧ RELEASE DATE: July 11, 1960
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
Page Count: 323
Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960
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