A breakneck historical thriller.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2014

Coral Hare


In Lee’s debut World War II thriller, a young agent infiltrates the Japanese atomic bomb program.

Mina Sakamoto, code-named Coral Hare, is no ordinary teenage girl. Born and raised in Honolulu, she learns medicine from her father, a doctor, and also becomes proficient in several languages. Her life is changed forever on Dec. 7, 1941, when Japan bombs Pearl Harbor and Mina’s beloved father is killed. As a skilled Japanese-American linguist, she’s uniquely suited to join the U.S. government’s Office of Strategic Services—first as a translator and later as a spy posing as a young nurse. After three years of fieldwork in Asia, Mina is already battle-hardened at the age of 17, but her greatest test is yet to come. Japan is making dangerous progress in its atomic bomb program, so Mina must travel behind enemy lines to Tokyo and mark an atomic facility for destruction. In the process, she encounters Col. Tetsuo Matsui of the Imperial Japanese Army, the man in charge of the program who’s also known as the Butcher of Bataan; she gains his eternal enmity by causing the firebombing of Tokyo. From Japan to northern Korea to Borneo, Mina witnesses horrifying violence and leaves a trail of bloody destruction as she races to stop Japan from building an A-bomb and dropping it on the United States. With her Japanese schoolgirl uniform, arsenal of weapons and exclamations such as “Aloha, bitches!,” Mina seems more suited to the graphic-novel or comic-book format; so do the secondary characters, as the good guys are all good, and the bad guys are all bad. However, even if this thriller seems a little too enamored of its own protagonist, it moves at a whirlwind pace. Every time it seems that Mina is about to catch a break and wrap up her adventures, another crisis sends her back out in the field, regardless of her life-threatening injuries. The story also delivers a submarine chase, a Tommy-gun–wielding priest and even a shark attack.

A breakneck historical thriller.

Pub Date: March 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-9914800-0-5

Page Count: 450

Publisher: Caleb Lee

Review Posted Online: April 21, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet


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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet


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

Did you like this book?