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

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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THE COLDEST WINTER EVER

Debut novel by hip-hop rap artist Sister Souljah, whose No Disrespect (1994), which mixes sexual history with political diatribe, is popular in schools country-wide. In its way, this is a tour de force of black English and underworld slang, as finely tuned to its heroine’s voice as Alice Walker’s The Color Purple. The subject matter, though, has a certain flashiness, like a black Godfather family saga, and the heroine’s eventual fall develops only glancingly from her character. Born to a 14-year-old mother during one of New York’s worst snowstorms, Winter Santiaga is the teenaged daughter of Ricky Santiaga, Brooklyn’s top drug dealer, who lives like an Arab prince and treats his wife and four daughters like a queen and her princesses. Winter lost her virginity at 12 and now focuses unwaveringly on varieties of adolescent self-indulgence: sex and sugar-daddies, clothes, and getting her own way. She uses school only as a stepping-stone for getting out of the house—after all, nobody’s paying her to go there. But if there’s no money in it, why go? Meanwhile, Daddy decides it’s time to move out of Brooklyn to truly fancy digs on Long Island, though this places him in the discomfiting position of not being absolutely hands-on with his dealers; and sure enough the rise of some young Turks leads to his arrest. Then he does something really stupid: he murders his wife’s two weak brothers in jail with him on Riker’s Island and gets two consecutive life sentences. Winter’s then on her own, especially with Bullet, who may have replaced her dad as top hood, though when she selfishly fails to help her pregnant buddy Simone, there’s worse—much worse—to come. Thinness aside: riveting stuff, with language so frank it curls your hair. (Author tour)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-671-02578-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Pocket

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1999

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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A LITTLE LIFE

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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