A delicious blend of romance and thriller that goes down smoothly.

THE BARTENDER

An amoral grifter chooses the wrong person to victimize in this novel told from multiple viewpoints.

The titular character in this third book by O’Sullivan (The Patsy, 2018, etc.) is Olive Fairbanks. Olive, 26, is an intelligent, attractive wannabe writer who is tending bar to pay the bills in Los Angeles. She has always been unlucky in love until handsome Austin Jenkins walks into her bar, The Belly Flop. The chiseled Southerner sweeps Olive off her feet. Austin seems too good to be true, and he is. Con artist Becca Poe is blackmailing Austin with a video from high school. Her plan is to have Austin trick Olive to get inside the mansion of Barry Gant, the bar owner who has long been infatuated with the bartender. Becca has learned that Barry keeps hundreds of thousands of dollars in his home safe. This home invasion would be under the pretense of Austin wanting to open a bar and seeking Barry’s advice. Becca’s scheme works flawlessly. Her thuggish accomplice, Chet Watkins, knocks out Olive and kills Barry. Then Becca shoots Austin and Chet. She steals more than $600,000 but leaves behind $75,000 to fool investigators into thinking that the robbers, Olive, and Barry killed one another. Her big mistake is that Olive, who Becca thought was dying, survives Chet’s attack, and the bartender wants to discover the truth. O’Sullivan has created a winning protagonist in Olive, who grew up as a Nancy Drew fan and is determined to figure out how she was used in this scheme that left Barry dead. “Bad seed” Becca proves Olive’s ideal foil. Spineless Austin is caught in the middle, falling for Olive but doomed as Becca’s pawn. Employing multiple voices is O’Sullivan’s very effective narrative device in this engrossing tale. These include not only the three main characters, but also Richard, the desperate detective whom Olive hires to help her track down Becca. Having each describe the action helps readers better understand the players. Let’s hope the author brings back intriguing bartender/detective Olive for another case.

A delicious blend of romance and thriller that goes down smoothly.

Pub Date: June 20, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-9992956-3-2

Page Count: 279

Publisher: Big B Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

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

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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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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