ULTIMATE WEAPON

An animated thriller, originally published in the United Kingdom in 2006, that promises ample entertainment for Military...

Two veterans of the British Special Air Service reluctantly join forces to rescue the beautiful young scientist at the center of their lives.

U.K. bestselling author and former SAS commander Ryan (Firefight, 2008, etc.) taps into his military experience to create riveting action sequences. Unfortunately, the plot can’t support the velocity of Ryan’s writing. His hero is Nick Scott, a disgraced Gulf War veteran broken under torture. After the death of his wife, this defeated soldier hires himself out to protect Algerian oil rigs, sending what money he can to his daughter Sarah, a gifted Cambridge University physicist. Just as he’s arrived home to London in early 2003, he finds that Sarah has disappeared, leaving an unlikely 100,000 pounds in her bank account. Scott’s search is paralleled by the experiences of SAS soldier Jed Bradley, Sarah’s off-again boyfriend. His first mission is to lead a bloody raid on a suspected weapons facility, trying to find WMDs to justify the invasion of Iraq. Following the money in Sarah’s account, Nick discovers an implausible scenario involving his daughter’s invention of a viable cold-fusion method and a sinister cabal of scientists and terrorists who have secreted her away to Baghdad. “You know my daughter’s been kidnapped by Saddam Hussein?” asks Nick in one of several dated references. Against all logic, Nick and Jed are chosen by their government’s intelligence service to lead a hell-for-leather raid on the Republican Palace to save Sarah. Ryan’s continental debut doesn’t match the substance of Andy McNab’s Nick Stone novels, but its breathless pace and frenetic firefights make for an engaging diversion.

An animated thriller, originally published in the United Kingdom in 2006, that promises ample entertainment for Military Channel junkies.

Pub Date: Feb. 3, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-60286-050-6

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Weinstein Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2008

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A LITTLE LIFE

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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THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

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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