A gripping tale that will leave readers wondering what death-defying feat the hero will perform in the next series entry.


Be careful what you wish for is the message at the heart of this techno-thriller.

In this second installment of Levin’s (Not So Dead, 2017) series, technologist Sam Sunborn is “living” in the virtual world he shares with his partner, Frank Einstein, where their essences have been residing since both were killed by terrorists. But Sam has to find a way to assume a physical form after his son, Evan, is kidnapped by henchmen of The Cub, the younger brother of a terrorist killed in the series’ first volume. That’s because The Cub has nefarious plans to attack the United States, and he needs some way to take Sam and Frank out of the picture. So Sam and two associates use an untested technique to place his consciousness inside the body of Juan Valiente, a drugged inmate at a Mexican asylum. The problem is that Juan’s consciousness is also still inside his body. They have to find a way to coexist: “We’ll figure this out.…I’ve made some mistakes and this might be one of the bigger ones, but for now we’re in this together,” Sam asserts. Sam/Juan works with Department of Homeland Security agents Rich Little and Michelle Hadar to rescue Evan and determine and disrupt The Cub’s plan, which involves sabotaging the American food supply. The most terrifying part of Levin’s narrative is that most of the science he employs is now feasible, other than shifting people’s essences in and out of a virtual world. But when the action hums like it does here, readers won’t stop too long to ponder the technology. Sam and his allies have to play catch-up with The Cub, who has the advantage of having a hacker inside the DHS. Unfortunately, Sam moves a lot slower in his new body. Fresh allies are introduced while others are lost. This novel reads much shorter than it is, as the author keeps his ample cast of characters on the run trying to prevent doomsday. This is another winner for Levin that admirably balances the pluses and minuses of scientific advances in the service of good and evil.

A gripping tale that will leave readers wondering what death-defying feat the hero will perform in the next series entry.

Pub Date: Nov. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-578-41768-4

Page Count: 374

Publisher: Time Tunnel Media

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2019

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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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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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