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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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. 21, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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Dated sermonizing on career versus motherhood, and conflict driven by characters’ willed helplessness, sap this tale of...


Lifelong, conflicted friendship of two women is the premise of Hannah’s maudlin latest (Magic Hour, 2006, etc.), again set in Washington State.

Tallulah “Tully” Hart, father unknown, is the daughter of a hippie, Cloud, who makes only intermittent appearances in her life. Tully takes refuge with the family of her “best friend forever,” Kate Mularkey, who compares herself unfavorably with Tully, in regards to looks and charisma. In college, “TullyandKate” pledge the same sorority and major in communications. Tully has a life goal for them both: They will become network TV anchorwomen. Tully lands an internship at KCPO-TV in Seattle and finagles a producing job for Kate. Kate no longer wishes to follow Tully into broadcasting and is more drawn to fiction writing, but she hesitates to tell her overbearing friend. Meanwhile a love triangle blooms at KCPO: Hard-bitten, irresistibly handsome, former war correspondent Johnny is clearly smitten with Tully. Expecting rejection, Kate keeps her infatuation with Johnny secret. When Tully lands a reporting job with a Today-like show, her career shifts into hyperdrive. Johnny and Kate had started an affair once Tully moved to Manhattan, and when Kate gets pregnant with daughter Marah, they marry. Kate is content as a stay-at-home mom, but frets about being Johnny’s second choice and about her unrealized writing ambitions. Tully becomes Seattle’s answer to Oprah. She hires Johnny, which spells riches for him and Kate. But Kate’s buttons are fully depressed by pitched battles over slutwear and curfews with teenaged Marah, who idolizes her godmother Tully. In an improbable twist, Tully invites Kate and Marah to resolve their differences on her show, only to blindside Kate by accusing her, on live TV, of overprotecting Marah. The BFFs are sundered. Tully’s latest attempt to salvage Cloud fails: The incorrigible, now geriatric hippie absconds once more. Just as Kate develops a spine, she’s given some devastating news. Will the friends reconcile before it’s too late?

Dated sermonizing on career versus motherhood, and conflict driven by characters’ willed helplessness, sap this tale of poignancy.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-312-36408-3

Page Count: 496

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2007

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