Fast-paced and sex-crazed; a wild ride for the protagonists and their fans.

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Blood & Roses Series Book One

DEVIANT & FRACTURE

From author Hart (Fallen, 2014, etc.) comes an erotic crime novel featuring an unlikely pair of heroes.

Though a commanding emergency room resident who states “I’m most at home in my scrubs,” Sloane is a young woman willing to prostitute herself for a night if it will help find her missing sister. Somewhat inexperienced, she finds sex with a stranger arousing: “I’ve never felt anything like this before. It feels…incredible.” The man behind the incredible experience is Zeth Mayfair. Working as muscle for a criminal organization run by an English rough named Charlie, Zeth is no stranger to violence. He is, however, not without his scruples. Alarmed that Charlie has begun trafficking in young women—as opposed to just drugs and other less objectionable crimes—Zeth is suspicious of his longtime boss. When a trip to the emergency room reunites Zeth and Sloane years after their initial encounter, the two embark on a quest, filled with erotic pauses, to find Sloane’s sister. Sexual, violent and swarming with biker gangs, trauma patients and a troubled girl named Lacey (as Zeth laments, “I’ve got fifteen minutes to get home before Lacey officially freaks the fuck out”), the story moves at top speed. Coercing the initially virginal Sloane into all sorts of acts ranging from public masturbation (“I am not masturbating in a public restroom, buddy!” Sloane initially insists) to explicitly described orgy attendance, the goal of finding Sloane’s sister tends to take a back seat to more X-rated scenes. While sections with gangsters can prove stereotypical; e.g., a Mexican gang lord asks, “Going somewhere, ese?” readers interested in myriad graphic bedroom activities will not be disappointed: Sloane and Zeth may hail from different backgrounds, but their combined erotic charge is irresistible.

Fast-paced and sex-crazed; a wild ride for the protagonists and their fans.

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2014

ISBN: 978-0992597122

Page Count: 180

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Dec. 30, 2014

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Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

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THE VANISHING HALF

Inseparable identical twin sisters ditch home together, and then one decides to vanish.

The talented Bennett fuels her fiction with secrets—first in her lauded debut, The Mothers (2016), and now in the assured and magnetic story of the Vignes sisters, light-skinned women parked on opposite sides of the color line. Desiree, the “fidgety twin,” and Stella, “a smart, careful girl,” make their break from stultifying rural Mallard, Louisiana, becoming 16-year-old runaways in 1954 New Orleans. The novel opens 14 years later as Desiree, fleeing a violent marriage in D.C., returns home with a different relative: her 8-year-old daughter, Jude. The gossips are agog: “In Mallard, nobody married dark....Marrying a dark man and dragging his blueblack child all over town was one step too far.” Desiree's decision seals Jude’s misery in this “colorstruck” place and propels a new generation of flight: Jude escapes on a track scholarship to UCLA. Tending bar as a side job in Beverly Hills, she catches a glimpse of her mother’s doppelgänger. Stella, ensconced in white society, is shedding her fur coat. Jude, so black that strangers routinely stare, is unrecognizable to her aunt. All this is expertly paced, unfurling before the book is half finished; a reader can guess what is coming. Bennett is deeply engaged in the unknowability of other people and the scourge of colorism. The scene in which Stella adopts her white persona is a tour de force of doubling and confusion. It calls up Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, the book's 50-year-old antecedent. Bennett's novel plays with its characters' nagging feelings of being incomplete—for the twins without each other; for Jude’s boyfriend, Reese, who is trans and seeks surgery; for their friend Barry, who performs in drag as Bianca. Bennett keeps all these plot threads thrumming and her social commentary crisp. In the second half, Jude spars with her cousin Kennedy, Stella's daughter, a spoiled actress.

Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-53629-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

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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