STORMY WEATHER

A hurricane, passing over southern Florida, leaves in its untidy wake the usual Hiaasen carnival of knaves and fools. Listen up now, because there's going to be a quiz on how the hurricane changes everybody's plans. Animal farmer Augustine Mojaki suddenly finds himself on the road hunting down a covey of escaped snakes, monkeys, rare birds, and the occasional water buffalo. Advertising exec Max Lamb, determined to spice up his honeymoon with bride Bonnie by videotaping the storm's devastation, falls into the clutches of Skink, a demented one-eyed kidnapper. Edie Marsh, who came to the Sunshine State planning to seduce and file rape charges against one of the younger male Kennedys, joins forces with a recent manslaughter alumnus to fake an insurable accident, but then lucks into smarmy trailer salesman Tony Torres's plot to scam his own insurer and, incidentally, his estranged wife. Tony is in turn urgently sought by professional goon Ira Jackson, bent on avenging the mother who died in one of the double-wides Tony guaranteed would withstand gale-force winds, and by Ira's trailer-park neighbor Levon Stichler, bereft not of his wife but of the urn containing her ashes. Jim Tile, the black highway patrolman sworn to protect Skink's anonymity—did we mention that the maniac kidnapper is also a former governor of Florida?—gets derailed when his intimate fellow officer Brenda Rourke is savagely beaten after a routine roadside pullover—as if anything routine ever happened in this riotously corrupt world. And don't worry about the cast members: When they wear out, Hiaasen just slips new ones into the deck. Here's the quiz, then: Is a new bride abandoned by her husband more likely to find happiness with a peripatetic zookeeper or the husband's kidnapper? Lacks the powerfully satiric center that gave Strip Tease (1993) such an edge, but sinfully madcap all the same. If you're not laughing by page six, you need a complete checkup.

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 1995

ISBN: 0-679-41982-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1995

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There are unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story.

TELL ME LIES

Passion, friendship, heartbreak, and forgiveness ring true in Lovering's debut, the tale of a young woman's obsession with a man who's "good at being charming."

Long Island native Lucy Albright, starts her freshman year at Baird College in Southern California, intending to study English and journalism and become a travel writer. Stephen DeMarco, an upperclassman, is a political science major who plans to become a lawyer. Soon after they meet, Lucy tells Stephen an intensely personal story about the Unforgivable Thing, a betrayal that turned Lucy against her mother. Stephen pretends to listen to Lucy's painful disclosure, but all his thoughts are about her exposed black bra strap and her nipples pressing against her thin cotton T-shirt. It doesn't take Lucy long to realize Stephen's a "manipulative jerk" and she is "beyond pathetic" in her desire for him, but their lives are now intertwined. Their story takes seven years to unfold, but it's a fast-paced ride through hookups, breakups, and infidelities fueled by alcohol and cocaine and with oodles of sizzling sexual tension. "Lucy was an itch, a song stuck in your head or a movie you need to rewatch or a food you suddenly crave," Stephen says in one of his point-of-view chapters, which alternate with Lucy's. The ending is perfect, as Lucy figures out the dark secret Stephen has kept hidden and learns the difference between lustful addiction and mature love.

There are unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story.

Pub Date: June 12, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-6964-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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A LITTLE LIFE

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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