The stakes are higher than ever in the latest chapter of this outstandingly entertaining vampire series.

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The Last Sunset

From the The Cowboy and the Vampire Collection series , Vol. 4

In this fourth book in The Cowboy and the Vampire Collection, Lizzie, Tucker, and the others will have to put aside their differences when an ancient enemy emerges from the shadows.

It’s been a lonely two years for Tucker in Wyoming. He still has his dog, Rex, and his survivalist friend Lenny, but he now has his intellectually disabled brother, Travis, to look out for. And without Lizzie around, Tucker can’t overcome his feelings of hurt and betrayal. Those emotions have haunted him ever since Lizzie abandoned their love and traveled to Russia to become queen of the vampires, owing to her ability to create new bloodsuckers, a power the others have lost. But unknown to Tucker, Lizzie communicates with Travis, who connects with her via the Meta, the otherworldly plane where all vampires’ consciousnesses go during the day. Things haven’t been easy for Lizzie either. Enforcing the Coda, which stipulates that vampires may only kill evil humans, has made Lizzie unpopular in certain circles. Having enemies is “the natural state of existence for vampires,” her adviser Rurik tells her. But in the last few years, an ancient Egyptian death cult, the Canopic Guild, has gathered strength and recruited new members. Led by the charismatic Brother Jed, the Guild has discovered a way to block vampires’ consciousnesses from returning to their bodies at sunset. The implications are chilling, presenting a threat the undead have never faced before, “a slaughter against which we have no defense.” Bullet-riddled and blood-soaked, this installment smartly weaves a narrative between the threads left loose at the end of the last book while sprinting through its action-propelled plot. The writing team of Hays and McFall (Just West of Hell, 2015, etc.) keeps getting better and better. As the tension builds, the estranged lovers will have to work together to protect the ones they love and find a way to prevent the Guild from sacrificing the world in the name of its ancient god. But Tucker is a proud man, and Lizzie still believes her decision to desert him was for the best. At times graphically violent, provocatively sensual, and even existential, this novel maintains the series’ reputation with a thrilling page-turner that will satiate its readers’ desires for compelling action conveyed through a saga of undying love.

The stakes are higher than ever in the latest chapter of this outstandingly entertaining vampire series.

Pub Date: June 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9974113-0-0

Page Count: 357

Publisher: Pumpjack Press

Review Posted Online: May 7, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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A strange, subtle, and haunting novel.

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THE GLASS HOTEL

A financier's Ponzi scheme unravels to disastrous effect, revealing the unexpected connections among a cast of disparate characters.

How did Vincent Smith fall overboard from a container ship near the coast of Mauritania, fathoms away from her former life as Jonathan Alkaitis' pretend trophy wife? In this long-anticipated follow-up to Station Eleven (2014), Mandel uses Vincent's disappearance to pick through the wreckage of Alkaitis' fraudulent investment scheme, which ripples through hundreds of lives. There's Paul, Vincent's half brother, a composer and addict in recovery; Olivia, an octogenarian painter who invested her retirement savings in Alkaitis' funds; Leon, a former consultant for a shipping company; and a chorus of office workers who enabled Alkaitis and are terrified of facing the consequences. Slowly, Mandel reveals how her characters struggle to align their stations in life with their visions for what they could be. For Vincent, the promise of transformation comes when she's offered a stint with Alkaitis in "the kingdom of money." Here, the rules of reality are different and time expands, allowing her to pursue video art others find pointless. For Alkaitis, reality itself is too much to bear. In his jail cell, he is confronted by the ghosts of his victims and escapes into "the counterlife," a soothing alternate reality in which he avoided punishment. It's in these dreamy sections that Mandel's ideas about guilt and responsibility, wealth and comfort, the real and the imagined, begin to cohere. At its heart, this is a ghost story in which every boundary is blurred, from the moral to the physical. How far will Alkaitis go to deny responsibility for his actions? And how quickly will his wealth corrupt the ambitions of those in proximity to it? In luminous prose, Mandel shows how easy it is to become caught in a web of unintended consequences and how disastrous it can be when such fragile bonds shatter under pressure.

A strange, subtle, and haunting novel.

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-52114-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

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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