A complex thriller that offers intense romance and suspense.

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BOOK OF MATTHEW

HOUSE OF WHISPERS

When a serial killer strikes a Missouri plantation, a slave and her lover discover they must outwit a cunning and devious psychopath in this historical novel.

Matthew Colburn is the scion of a prosperous Missouri family. His parents hope he will become a doctor and carry on the family legacy as owner of their plantation with a wealthy bride by his side. Matthew dreams of training as an architect and pursuing a romance with Sarah, a beautiful slave on the plantation. Sarah is attracted to Matthew, but because of their positions in society, they feel romance is an impossibility. In the spring of 1850, a mystery unfolds when Mali, a teenage slave, disappears one evening. Her sister, Anna, initially believes there is an innocent explanation, but then she also vanishes under curious circumstances. At the same time, Matthew and Sarah face a crossroads in their friendship. Matthew’s parents want him to wed his spoiled cousin, Francesca, while two potential suitors ask for Sarah’s hand in marriage. Unable to deny their feelings, Matthew and Sarah elope, but their happiness is fraught with danger. When two more people disappear, the Colburns discover a killer is in their midst, a murderer with a special interest in Matthew and Sarah. This series opener from DuBois (A Tale as Old as Time, 2018, etc.) is a richly detailed historical thriller brimming with intriguing, well-developed characters and a fast-paced plot that offers a plethora of surprising twists and turns. Matthew is a dynamic and multilayered hero. Devoutly religious, he objects to slavery and strives to treat everyone with respect and dignity. This sentiment extends to his dealings with Sarah. Despite his attraction to her, he refuses to take advantage of his position to coerce her into a physical relationship. This restraint helps create and maintain the romantic tension in his connection with Sarah. He is complemented by Sarah, an intelligent and strong-willed woman who tries to avoid any negative repercussions for his family because of their liaison. The author successfully balances the romance with a gripping murder mystery that, while violent, is never gratuitous.

A complex thriller that offers intense romance and suspense.

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-973100-17-1

Page Count: 233

Publisher: Time Tunnel Media

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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A strange, subtle, and haunting novel.

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THE GLASS HOTEL

A financier's Ponzi scheme unravels to disastrous effect, revealing the unexpected connections among a cast of disparate characters.

How did Vincent Smith fall overboard from a container ship near the coast of Mauritania, fathoms away from her former life as Jonathan Alkaitis' pretend trophy wife? In this long-anticipated follow-up to Station Eleven (2014), Mandel uses Vincent's disappearance to pick through the wreckage of Alkaitis' fraudulent investment scheme, which ripples through hundreds of lives. There's Paul, Vincent's half brother, a composer and addict in recovery; Olivia, an octogenarian painter who invested her retirement savings in Alkaitis' funds; Leon, a former consultant for a shipping company; and a chorus of office workers who enabled Alkaitis and are terrified of facing the consequences. Slowly, Mandel reveals how her characters struggle to align their stations in life with their visions for what they could be. For Vincent, the promise of transformation comes when she's offered a stint with Alkaitis in "the kingdom of money." Here, the rules of reality are different and time expands, allowing her to pursue video art others find pointless. For Alkaitis, reality itself is too much to bear. In his jail cell, he is confronted by the ghosts of his victims and escapes into "the counterlife," a soothing alternate reality in which he avoided punishment. It's in these dreamy sections that Mandel's ideas about guilt and responsibility, wealth and comfort, the real and the imagined, begin to cohere. At its heart, this is a ghost story in which every boundary is blurred, from the moral to the physical. How far will Alkaitis go to deny responsibility for his actions? And how quickly will his wealth corrupt the ambitions of those in proximity to it? In luminous prose, Mandel shows how easy it is to become caught in a web of unintended consequences and how disastrous it can be when such fragile bonds shatter under pressure.

A strange, subtle, and haunting novel.

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-52114-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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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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