Not a strong stand-alone novel, but compelling enough to keep the series’ readers hooked.

LOST TIME

From the Between Two Evils series , Vol. 2

In this second sci-fi novel in a series, a time machine accident puts a man in a precarious future, where he struggles to find his place.

After arriving in a strange new world with nothing but a towel, Diego Nadales barely survives a fall from a treetop, where his time-travel capsule delivered him. He was supposed to be sent back in time from 2025 to 2005, on a mission critical to the Earth’s survival. But instead, he arrived in an alternate version of Earth in 2048, near Kirk Biodome in Colorado. Amazingly, Diego can survive the “Outside” without a protective suit, despite the fact that the Doomsday Virus nearly destroyed all mammalian life years ago. Survivors shelter in domes designed by David Kirk, whom Diego remembers as Dave Kirkland, his fiancee Isabel “Iz” Sanborn’s manipulative ex-husband. As Diego heals from his broken bones, he mourns Iz and his wasted effort to save his world, but he forges new friendships. Slowly, Diego becomes close to his doctor, Lani Kai, who’s scarred physically and emotionally. He also finds new purpose by exploring how his immunity to the virus can aid the community—and he gets new hope when a mysterious note advises him that Isabel is alive, back in his home universe. A trip to a biodome on Chesapeake Bay may provide answers, but then things go horribly wrong. Orton (The Last Star & Other Stories, 2017, etc.) does a good job of providing exposition and backstory to link this outing with the first installment, Crossing In Time, and it will be pleasing for readers to finally learn Diego’s fate. The romance between Diego and Lani is much less compelling, though—largely because the author presents Lani’s issues so melodramatically. Luckily, Orton handles the science and worldbuilding well, and her characterization of other players is more successful. Lani’s daughter Shannon—a brilliant, curious teenager with a genius for tinkering and somewhat naïve enthusiasm—nicely illustrates how the younger generation grows up in biodomes. The book introduces new mysteries and ends on a cliffhanger, which will whet readers’ appetites for the next installment.

Not a strong stand-alone novel, but compelling enough to keep the series’ readers hooked.

Pub Date: July 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-941368-10-7

Page Count: 202

Publisher: Rocky Mountain Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 24, 2019

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TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

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

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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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