A solid, sexy thriller that should appeal to romance and crime-drama fans alike.

Out of the Storm

A debut novel mixes elements of mystery and romance to tell the story of a detective who must stay focused on her work in the heat of a passionate and unexpected encounter.

Isabelle “Isa” Carte is an ambitious and steel-nerved career woman, as the reader learns from the very beginning when she reacts with indifference to her long-term boyfriend leaving her for another woman. She is too preoccupied with her job as a detective to have time for romance. But when the body of her ex-boyfriend’s new lover is found in the river in Winnipeg, with Isabelle’s name written in lipstick on her forehead, she cannot deny that she is deeply disturbed. Encouraged by her work partner, Hank Curtis, she decides to hide out with her German shepherd, Jack, in her family’s lakeside cabin in rural Ontario for one week. Frustrated that she cannot play an active part in the investigation, her attention is soon diverted when she meets a rugged mountain man named Alec Reed. She’s initially suspicious of the handsome stranger (“She should try to figure out who Alec Reed was and what he was all about, if nothing else, to rule him out as a suspect....For her own safety, she should probably learn more about who he was and why he was here”). When a passionate relationship between them unfolds as quickly as her stalker continues to kill, Isa is torn between her work and her newfound love. The fiery combination of zealous romance and thrilling crime mystery makes the novel an absorbing and fast-paced read. Told in the third-person omniscient, the story flits among the perspectives of Isa, her new lover, and the killer. But as gripping as the murder mystery plotline is, so is the tragic family history of Alec, which is revealed to the reader long before he tells Isa. The author often uses the appropriate analogy of a storm to describe her protagonist’s unrelenting tumult: “nature seemed to be cleansed after yesterday’s storm…so much peace and beauty around Isa, but so much turmoil going on within her.” In addition to the rounded character development, there are moments of pure, uncensored sensuality that should give fans of romance and erotica welcome goose bumps. But the subsequent conclusion to the investigation will likely leave readers disappointed.

A solid, sexy thriller that should appeal to romance and crime-drama fans alike.

Pub Date: Feb. 17, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4602-7661-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: April 22, 2016

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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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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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