A powerful, quintessentially American work from a debut writer whose skills extend far beyond his experience.

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AN ADIRONDACK LIFE

A teenage love triangle is the catalyst for murder in this mystery set against the backdrop of the Adirondack wilderness.

Freed makes his stunning debut with a novel that is grand in scope but intimate in its execution. The story follows a trio of teenagers who meet in the tiny fictional community of Henoga Valley, deep within New York’s Adirondack Mountains. The two boys, John David and Jack, who have been friends since childhood, are both legendary local athletes. Their personalities, however, couldn’t be more different. John David is quiet and inclined to spend his free time hunting, hiking and exploring the vast wilderness. Jack, on the other hand, is gregarious and known equally for his intelligence and charm. Into their lives enters Emily, a precocious girl with few friends who captivates both boys. At the end of their senior year, Jack is found stabbed to death, and John David is identified as the chief suspect after he flees into the woods, setting in motion a course of events that will not be completely resolved for another 15 years. The setup may sound familiar, but Freed proves himself to be both a subtle observer of his characters and a deft manipulator of plot. In this compelling novel, readers will need to hang on until the last few pages to fully understand what has happened. But what really sets this debut apart is the way its rich setting entwines with the lives of its characters. Readers will feel like they’re walking through the dense, damp, impossibly lush Adirondack wilderness, as Freed joins a proud tradition of writers who have found an aspect of the American character reflected in the local landscape. Dialogue is occasionally a challenge for Freed, but the other elements are handled so carefully that readers likely won’t care if these teenage voices sometimes feel inauthentic.

A powerful, quintessentially American work from a debut writer whose skills extend far beyond his experience.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 347

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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A persuasive, valuable addition to the ongoing immigration reform debate.

SHOW TRIALS

HOW PROPERTY GETS MORE LEGAL PROTECTION THAN PEOPLE IN OUR FAILED IMMIGRATION SYSTEM

A highly organized, informative discussion of the immigration system in the United States.

In this politically charged environment, Afrasiabi manages to broach the volatile issue of immigration in a well-rounded, surprisingly effective framework that combines case studies, historical research, statistical analysis and personal anecdotes to detail the current issues and propose solutions. Invocations of Kafka, “The Twilight Zone” and “Alice in Wonderland” prove warranted as illustrations of the often surreal circumstances that confront immigrants facing deportation. Immigrants usually lack access to quality legal representation, while their situation can be made doubly difficult due to language barriers and significant cultural differences. Afrasiabi incorporates his work with colleagues and students at the Chapman University School of Law to deftly weave together the facts of several compelling cases and their underlying legal issues, with a genuine sense of suspense as readers wonder if justice will be truly be served. Occasionally, though, the narrative becomes overwrought—two federal laws passed in 1996 are “dark storm clouds depositing their sleet”—although, considering the life-changing effects of court decisions, it’s difficult to overstate the ramifications: extralegal rendition of individuals with pending cases and the de facto deportation of native-born children whose parents are deported. Afrasiabi also addresses the legacy of various anti-alien laws in California, as well as marriage equality for same-sex couples when one partner is a noncitizen. As the subtitle asserts, Afrasiabi employs his additional experience in the field of property law to contrast the stark differences between immigration judges and constitutional judges, like their qualifications, vetting processes and even the oaths they take. His arguments culminate in seven concrete reforms proposed in the conclusion. In order to make the immigration system more just and effective, Afrasiabi claims the solutions are closer than we may think; we can implement procedures and safeguards already in place within the constitutional courts.

A persuasive, valuable addition to the ongoing immigration reform debate.

Pub Date: May 1, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 249

Publisher: Kurti Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 7, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2012

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Despite this, Walkley’s beefy prose and rousing action sequences deliver a thriller to satisfy any adrenaline addict.

NO REMORSE

Walkley pits CIA agents against a maniacal Saudi prince intent on starting World War III in this debut thriller.

Delta Force operative Lee McCloud, aka Mac, finds himself in Mexico, trying to rescue two teenage girls kidnapped by a drug cartel. But things go from bad to worse when the villains don’t play by the rules. Framed for two murders he didn’t commit, Mac has two options: go to prison or go to work for a CIA black-op group run by the devious Wisebaum, who hacks into terrorists’ bank accounts and confiscates millions of dollars. However, there’s more going on than meets the eye; Saudi Prince Khalid is in possession of nuclear canisters, with which he hopes to alter world history. Khalid also dabbles in trafficking young women, and harvesting and selling human organs. When Wisebaum’s black-op team targets Khalid’s father, the action becomes even more intense. With so many interweaving subplots—kidnapped girls, Israeli undercover agents, nuclear weapons and a secret underwater hideout—it could be easy to lose track of what’s going on. But the author’s deft handling of the material ensures that doesn’t occur; subplots are introduced at the appropriate junctures and, by story’s end, all are accounted for and neatly concluded. Mac is portrayed as a rough and ready action-hero, yet his vulnerabilities will evoke empathy in readers. He finds a love interest in Tally, a hacker whose personality is just quirky enough to complement his own. All Walkley’s primary characters are fleshed out and realistic, with the exception of Wisebaum—a malicious, double-dealing, back-stabber of the worst ilk; the reader is left wondering about Wisebaum’s motivations behind such blatant treachery.

Despite this, Walkley’s beefy prose and rousing action sequences deliver a thriller to satisfy any adrenaline addict.

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0980806601

Page Count: 412

Publisher: Marq Books

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2012

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