An evocative but challenging and elliptical novel about a young girl’s post-traumatic disaffection.



Orphaned artist Eva Merchant, who makes art from discarded doll parts, is herself a fractured being in Keirstead’s debut novel.

After a short opening scene of gun violence between an unnamed man and woman, readers meet a 20-something woman who has just “mastered her nonchalance.” She arrives in a dilapidated building, where she connects with a man named Neil, and they have a tense conversation that reveals that they have an ongoing sexual relationship and that he’s previously given her money. In a series of episodic sequences, including flashbacks, readers learn that the woman, Eva Merchant, met Neil, an English rock star and recovering drug addict, when she was 15; they met at a cafe where Eva and her older sister, Elaine, worked following the death of their parents in a terrorist attack. Neil brings the girls and Eva’s childhood friend, an aspiring musician named Roland, into his band’s wild lifestyle. Elaine drifts away to work for a mysterious business magnate, but Eva remains attached to Neil. As years go by, Roland grows jealous, gets involved in his own terrorist-type activities and then disappears; Elaine vanishes as well. By novel’s end, an explanation for Eva’s detached demeanor (as well as the violent opening scene) fully unfolds. Keirstead adopts an ambitious, impressionist approach to her story, which makes the plot hard to follow at times. Some readers may hunger for more specifics about time and place and more details of the underlying plot. Eva often comes across as a somewhat vapid entity rather than a “talent” that readers should care about. However, readers who commit to Eva’s dreamlike, “stuttering” state may find that the novel slowly gathers steam as an effective mood piece.

An evocative but challenging and elliptical novel about a young girl’s post-traumatic disaffection.

Pub Date: May 5, 2013

ISBN: 978-1300461616

Page Count: 378

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2013

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



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


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.


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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