LOST TIME

From the Between Two Evils series , Vol. 2

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

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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A LITTLE LIFE

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

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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. 21, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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MAGIC HOUR

Wacky plot keeps the pages turning and enduring schmaltzy romantic sequences.

Sisters work together to solve a child-abandonment case.

Ellie and Julia Cates have never been close. Julia is shy and brainy; Ellie gets by on charm and looks. Their differences must be tossed aside when a traumatized young girl wanders in from the forest into their hometown in Washington. The sisters’ professional skills are put to the test. Julia is a world-renowned child psychologist who has lost her edge. She is reeling from a case that went publicly sour. Though she was cleared of all wrongdoing, Julia’s name was tarnished, forcing her to shutter her Beverly Hills practice. Ellie Barton is the local police chief in Rain Valley, who’s never faced a tougher case. This is her chance to prove she is more than just a fading homecoming queen, but a scarcity of clues and a reluctant victim make locating the girl’s parents nearly impossible. Ellie places an SOS call to her sister; she needs an expert to rehabilitate this wild-child who has been living outside of civilization for years. Confronted with her professional demons, Julia once again has the opportunity to display her talents and salvage her reputation. Hannah (The Things We Do for Love, 2004, etc.) is at her best when writing from the girl’s perspective. The feral wolf-child keeps the reader interested long after the other, transparent characters have grown tiresome. Hannah’s torturously over-written romance passages are stale, but there are surprises in store as the sisters set about unearthing Alice’s past and creating a home for her.

Wacky plot keeps the pages turning and enduring schmaltzy romantic sequences.

Pub Date: March 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-345-46752-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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