A thrilling tale that deftly merges sci-fi and Western concepts.

MIGUEL TRAVELER

McFatter delivers a complex, philosophical look at the fringes of humanity, memory, and civilization in this debut sci-fi Western.

Miguel Morgan has lost everything—more than once. He’s been taken out of suspended animation by a “Woman in Black” named Alice and her enigmatic master, The Kind Man, and forced to confront how the world has changed since he was put in a stasis pod in 2012. Now Miguel is utterly lost; he’s alone, without the other 46 people who were placed in stasis with him. He remembers little of his life and the old world, before civilization was reduced to its current wasteland, known as the Outfar. But his body and mind, thanks to the stasis process, are stronger than ever. This is fortunate, because he’ll need every bit of his strength, skill, and burgeoning psychic abilities to survive in a harsh world filled with strange and frightening technology, desperate people, and ghoulish cyborgs. When Alice leaves him at a ramshackle settlement, he attempts to help the people there and uncover the mysteries of his past. The resulting revelations threaten to shake the very foundations of this new world. The novel offers an appealing sci-fi tale, featuring humanity on the brink of destruction, managing to survive in the face of impossible odds. What sets it apart, though, is the incorporation of Western genre elements. It’s easy for post-apocalyptic tales to get lost in the weeds of the causes of the apocalypse and the monstrosities left behind, not to mention descriptions of abandoned metropolises. McFatter, however, approaches the setting as a lone frontier—harsh and unforgiving but also beautiful. The narration, and Miguel’s voice in particular, really helps to sell this idea, lending a folksy charm and grit to the more fantastical elements. All in all, the tone and style transform an otherwise competent apocalyptic yarn into a unique treat, boding well for future entries in the series.

A thrilling tale that deftly merges sci-fi and Western concepts.

Pub Date: Jan. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-980293-02-6

Page Count: 448

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: April 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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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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A steamy, glitzy, and tender tale of college intrigue.

THE CHASE

From the Briar U series

In this opener to Kennedy’s (Hot & Bothered, 2017, etc.) Briar U romance series, two likable students keep getting their signals crossed.

Twenty-one-year-old Summer Heyward-Di Laurentis is expelled from Brown University in the middle of her junior year because she was responsible for a fire at the Kappa Beta Nu sorority house. Fortunately, her father has connections, so she’s now enrolled in Briar University, a prestigious institution about an hour outside Boston. But as she’s about to move into Briar’s Kappa Beta Nu house, she’s asked to leave by the sisters, who don’t want her besmirching their reputation. Her older brother Dean, who’s a former Briar hockey star, comes to her rescue; his buddies, who are still on the hockey team, need a fourth roommate for their townhouse. Three good-looking hockey jocks and a very rich, gorgeous fashion major under the same roof—what could go wrong? Summer becomes quickly infatuated with one of her housemates: Dean’s best friend Colin “Fitzy” Fitzgerald. There’s a definite spark between them, and they exchange smoldering looks, but the tattooed Fitzy, who’s also a video game reviewer and designer, is an introvert who prefers no “drama” in his life. Summer, however, is a charming extrovert, although she has an inferiority complex about her flagging scholastic acumen. As the story goes on, the pair seem to misinterpret each other’s every move. Meanwhile, another roommate and potential suitor, Hunter Davenport, is waiting in the wings. Kennedy’s novel is full of sex, alcohol, and college-level profanity, but it never becomes formulaic. The author adroitly employs snappy dialogue, steady pacing, and humor, as in a scene at a runway fashion show featuring Briar jocks parading in Summer-designed swimwear. The book also manages to touch on some serious subjects, including learning disabilities and abusive behavior by faculty members. Summer and Fitzy’s repeated stumbles propel the plot through engaging twists and turns; the characters trade off narrating the story, which gives each of them a chance to reveal some substance.

A steamy, glitzy, and tender tale of college intrigue.    

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-72482-199-7

Page Count: 372

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

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