OF WEE SWEETIE MICE AND MEN

Knockabout journalist Dan Starkey leaves the mean streets of Belfast for a season of even more violent insanity in the world of professional boxing. Meet Bobby ``Fat Boy'' McMaster, the heavyweight champ of Ireland. Haven't heard of him? That's just the reason Bobby's mentor, Geordie McClean, needs to hire Starkey to do public relations for Bobby's upcoming world championship bout with Mike Tyson (!) and write a book about it all after the champ's given Bobby, a wee sweetie who reads novels and has a sly sense of humor, a decent burial in New York. It looks like a great chance for Starkey to make some money and get out of the war zone he covered so hilariously in Divorcing Jack (1995) while enjoying a much-needed second honeymoon with his estranged wife Patricia. But Patricia, pregnant by her married lover, isn't about to book passage for the New World, so Starkey packs a few clean shirts and takes off with Bobby's entourage for the Big Apple, where Bobby will run rings around Tyson in a joint press conference and immediately incur the wrath of the Sons of Muhammed, a splinter group as violent as the Provos but a lot more inept. Then Bobby's wife Mary is kidnapped, presumably by the Sons of Muhammed, and Starkey is dragged into the fray by two heavyweight ex-NYPD detectives who dwarf even the Fat Boy. But how can Starkey really be sure that it's the Sons who are behind the snatch, when Bobby, training in Provincetown, has also managed to antagonize the gay community, the IRA, and the ferocious sparring partner who keeps threatening to end his career before he even makes it into the ring with Tyson? More relaxed and less wildly funny than Divorcing Jack or Cycle of Violence (1996)—but then that's what you'd expect when the brutality is only a game.

Pub Date: May 1, 1997

ISBN: 1-55970-376-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Arcade

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1997

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH

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?

TRUE BETRAYALS

Thoroughbreds and Virginia blue-bloods cavort, commit murder, and fall in love in Roberts's (Hidden Riches, 1994, etc.) latest romantic thriller — this one set in the world of championship horse racing. Rich, sheltered Kelsey Byden is recovering from a recent divorce when she receives a letter from her mother, Naomi, a woman she has believed dead for over 20 years. When Kelsey confronts her genteel English professor father, though, he sheepishly confesses that, no, her mother isn't dead; throughout Kelsey's childhood, she was doing time for the murder of her lover. Kelsey meets with Naomi and not only finds her quite charming, but the owner of Three Willows, one of the most splendid horse farms in Virginia. Kelsey is further intrigued when she meets Gabe Slater, a blue-eyed gambling man who owns a neighboring horse farm; when one of Gabe's horses is mated with Naomi's, nostrils flare, flanks quiver, and the romance is on. Since both Naomi and Gabe have horses entered in the Kentucky Derby, Kelsey is soon swept into the whirlwind of the Triple Crown, in spite of her family's objections to her reconciliation with the notorious Naomi. The rivalry between the two horse farms remains friendly, but other competitors — one of them is Gabe's father, a vicious alcoholic who resents his son's success — prove less scrupulous. Bodies, horse and human, start piling up, just as Kelsey decides to investigate the murky details of her mother's crime. Is it possible she was framed? The ground is thick with no-goods, including haughty patricians, disgruntled grooms, and jockeys with tragic pasts, but despite all the distractions, the identity of the true culprit behind the mayhem — past and present — remains fairly obvious. The plot lopes rather than races to the finish. Gambling metaphors abound, and sexual doings have a distinctly equine tone. But Roberts's style has a fresh, contemporary snap that gets the story past its own worst excesses.

Pub Date: June 13, 1995

ISBN: 0-399-14059-X

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1995

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more