SUMMER'S REASON

Another barely fictional account (``the criminal activities portrayed are happening in real life, today'') of malfeasance in the Sunshine State, courtesy of police chronicler McDonald (the nonfictional Under Contract: A Cop Hired to Kill, 1992, etc.). It looks like blue skies ahead for motorcycle patrol officer Jessie Summer after she breaks up a jewel robbery, leaving one thief dead. She's temporarily reassigned to Homicide to follow up the case, and laid-back local mobster Dominic Tatari offers to swap her some info on an unsolved homicide if she'll deliver $300,000 to some tough Latinos his son Dom is mixed up with. Jessie makes the payoff, but returns to find Tatari killed, no-good Dom in charge of his father's interests, and herself in the middle of a mess that gets worse every time Dom flexes his muscles. He moves from drug smuggling, prostitution (through his strip club, Dreamland), and kiddie porn to the main event, child slavery, with the help of his ruthless Philippine connections—all while cultivating his squeaky- clean relationship with Rapier Marine CEO Tiffany Eastin (also the beneficiary of a timely parental demise) and her brother Jack. In a Chandleresque departure from McDonald's generally gritty realism, the upscale Eastins turn out to be the kinkiest couple of all: Tiffany invites Jessie over to her pool with a photo session cum seduction in mind, and she's constantly squabbling with Jack about who's going to be the real best friend of the Philippine girl scheduled to be delivered to them. A second fit of John Wayne heroics with a hostage-taking pornographer in a crowded store sends Jessie back to patrol duty, but never fear: She'll overcome official back-stabbing and her traumatic memories of her own childhood abuse to finish off whatever villains haven't already wiped each other out. A cops-and-robbers thriller so chockablock with subplots, walk-ons, and unfocused revulsion that it reads like an unedited brainstorming session for a whole season of Miami Vice.

Pub Date: Oct. 14, 1994

ISBN: 1-55611-409-5

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Donald Fine

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1994

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TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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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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