Outlaws become patriots in this imaginative, suspenseful what-if story.



In this novel, Bonnie’s and Clyde’s deaths are faked so that they can save President Franklin D. Roosevelt from an assassin.

In 1984, a Texas newspaperman named Royce Jenkins, who typically covers obituaries and cattle shows, gets the scoop of a lifetime: the true story of Bonnie and Clyde, who—the woman claiming to be Bonnie says—didn’t die in the famous 1934 shootout. Instead, their deaths were faked, and a woman calling herself “Sal” gave the outlaws a second chance at life, saying “This moment is when you get one last chance to rise above your past….I see two people with the unique talents to do a job we need done.” And that job is to prevent Roosevelt’s assassination by wealthy industrialists Percival Stubbs, Angela Dunthorpe, and Archibald Farquist, who oppose FDR’s social welfare plans and have already attempted to kill him. Another attempt is planned, so Bonnie and Clyde—now Brenda and Clarence Prentiss—have 10 days to discover and stop the next assassin. They come up with a dangerous plan to infiltrate the conspirators’ organization, identify the assassin, and keep FDR safe. Along the way, they discover that they enjoy making a difference: “Probably we were fighting against the wrong things before, robbing those little stores and banks,” says Bonnie. Hays and McFall (The Last Sunset, 2016, etc.) make their Depression-era tale timely with reflections on wealthy fat cats and a rigged economic system that still ring true: “ ‘They need us to believe some fairy tale that we can improve our lot if we just work hard enough and save careful enough,’ Bonnie said. ‘But we can’t—not when everything is stacked against us. Not the way things are.’ ” A few references are too contemporary, such as “Trust, but verify,” a Russian proverb made famous by Reagan. Overall, though, Hays and McFall call out authentic historical and biographical details. More than that, the story is an exciting ride, with tight corners, narrow escapes, and real romantic heat between Bonnie and Clyde.

Outlaws become patriots in this imaginative, suspenseful what-if story.

Pub Date: May 15, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9974113-3-1

Page Count: 300

Publisher: Pumpjack Press

Review Posted Online: March 23, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2017

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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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More about grief and tragedy than romance.


Five friends meet on their first day of kindergarten at the exclusive Atwood School and remain lifelong friends through tragedy and triumph.

When Gabby, Billy, Izzie, Andy and Sean meet in the toy kitchen of the kindergarten classroom on their first day of school, no one can know how strong the group’s friendship will remain. Despite their different personalities and interests, the five grow up together and become even closer as they come into their own talents and life paths. But tragedy will strike and strike again. Family troubles, abusive parents, drugs, alcohol, stress, grief and even random bad luck will put pressure on each of them individually and as a group. Known for her emotional romances, Steel makes a bit of a departure with this effort that follows a group of friends through young adulthood. But even as one tragedy after another befalls the friends, the impact of the events is blunted by a distant narrative style that lacks emotional intensity. 

More about grief and tragedy than romance.

Pub Date: July 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-34321-3

Page Count: 322

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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