DEADLY FORCE

IN THE STREETS WITH THE U.S. MARSHALS

Stroud is back in his territory of true-life heroes and villains (Lizardskin, 1992; Iron Bravo, 1995) in this crackling story of a US marshal. Agents for Marshals Service, the least well known of the law enforcement agencies, are hell-bent on proving that they can walk the walk and talk the talk. In recent years, having been given the job of tracking down dangerous fugitives, they have gotten much more attention. The marshal at the heart of this book, Luke Zitto, carries the gun he took from a homicidal fugitive he helped bring down: It's meant, Stroud suggests, to be his talisman against the bad luck that seems persistently to follow him. There is, for instance, the loss of his wife, Margot, and his stepson: While Luke was working for the Witness Protection Program, Margot took up with one of the witnesses (a white-collar criminal), and she and her son pulled a disappearing act of their own. Loss seems to prevent Zitto from becoming close to anyone. His fellow marshals call him ``the Snake'' because of his cold, solitary nature (it comes in handy, though, when otherwise tough criminals have to be interrogated). Written like a screenplay, with frequent jumpcuts, a number of first-person passages, and too many one-sentence paragraphs, the narrative sometimes trips itself up by striving to be so very tough. But the record of Zitto's pursuit of two insanely violent fugitives—the Yellow Man, who kills with a hatchet, and Paolo Rona, a brutal rapist—is relentless and gripping. The large cast of supporting characters can be confusing, but Stroud keeps the action moving, and the portrait he paints of an aging, lonely lawman, although it's a familiar one, is poignant all the same. Large doses of blood, guns, and creeps, served up with Stroud's characteristic mettle.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-553-09994-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Bantam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1996

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This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

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BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

NOTES ON THE FIRST 150 YEARS IN AMERICA

The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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