A fast-paced, light read likely to appeal to fans of the walking dead and post-apocalyptic action thrillers.


Gleason (Ravagers, 2016, etc.) splices together adventure, horror, and a threat to the survival of humanity in this novel.

Jonah is a former soldier and somewhat recovered drug addict. He convinces a group of cohorts, including his best friend, Eric, and ex-wife, Sharon, to accompany him on a vacation to his old Army stomping grounds in Germany. All told, there are six of them. That doesn’t last long, because while they may have come in search of fun, something horrific finds them instead. They’re called molters, and they infect and use human hosts to reproduce. Jonah’s Army training is the best chance the band has at surviving (“Jonah could feel his friends crumbling. He knew to expect childlike behavior from them....People were unpredictable in a time of crisis. Jonah knew he had to stay strong for everyone, no matter what”). But the molters have already decimated an entire military base, the same one Jonah had been stationed at years before and the place the group decides to seek shelter in, hoping it is safe. The problem is, as far as anyone knows, the molters could be everywhere, and safety might be a distant dream for all of humanity. Indeed, the new reality might just be a nightmare. The horror elements of the narrative are decidedly prominent, incorporating moments of terror, suspense, and the unknown. But the action-thriller aspects are stronger. The molters are scary, but they can be fought and, sometimes, gruesomely killed. Overall, the story proceeds in a highly cinematic manner, with short scenes within larger chapters. And as with a horror movie, it doesn’t pay to get too attached to any of the characters, since they’re all targets. Perhaps because of this, none of the players (with the possible exception of Jonah) come across as terribly well-developed. The sketchy plot, too, often seems to take a back seat to action sequences. These sequences, however, do exactly what they need to. They’re well-written, engrossing, and pack plenty of verisimilitude. For some readers, that may be enough. The molters aren’t zombies, but they still should please aficionados.

A fast-paced, light read likely to appeal to fans of the walking dead and post-apocalyptic action thrillers.

Pub Date: April 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5302-7125-2

Page Count: 188

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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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

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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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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