A gripping ride-along with a small-town detective in the midst of a national security crisis.

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THE ARARAT ILLUSION

A fast-paced political thriller set during the Reagan presidency.

In Minier’s debut page turner, Vietnam veteran Lt. Michael Page works a fairly routine job with the Santa Barbara Police Department until someone murders the American ambassador to Turkey. When Michael first became a cop over a decade ago, he was called to a hotel where two Turkish consuls were murdered. The connection to the recent event is not lost on him, and soon he receives notes from the unknown madman, threatening to assassinate more federal officials. Dubbed the Poet Killer for his foreboding notes sent to police, this terrorist, who signs his notes Antranik, delights in the morbid game he plays and seeks a place in history. Antranik looks to be retaliating against Turkey’s Armenian genocide of 1915. Persistent Michael tries to decipher Antranik’s poems to figure out where he plans to strike next so he can catch the assassin before more casualties occur. After another prominent figure falls victim, the stakes climb even higher. Even the president isn’t immune to the dangerous Antranik as the suspense rages on in this what-could-have-happened roller-coaster ride based on the actual assassination of two Turkish diplomats in 1973. As the manhunt continues, Antranik’s allegiances and reasons come into question, and his connection to the Russians causes panic among government officials who fear nuclear war. The investigation brings Michael to Lela Drew, a disappointingly one-dimensional love interest who is a graduate student of Armenian history. When romantic feelings develop between them, their lives become entangled, putting them both in danger. The characters are a bit clichéd and predictable, but they are appropriate in this cop drama. It is clear that Minier knows his characters and their world, effectively conveying their nuances, with the exception of Lela. Minier’s simple, engrossing style works well with a narrative rich with historical details. The author skillfully weaves a substantial web of deceit, murder and mystery.

A gripping ride-along with a small-town detective in the midst of a national security crisis. 

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0615531939

Page Count: 342

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Jan. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2013

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An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.

THE AUTHENTICITY PROJECT

A group of strangers who live near each other in London become fast friends after writing their deepest secrets in a shared notebook.

Julian Jessop, a septuagenarian artist, is bone-crushingly lonely when he starts “The Authenticity Project”—as he titles a slim green notebook—and begins its first handwritten entry questioning how well people know each other in his tiny corner of London. After 15 years on his own mourning the loss of his beloved wife, he begins the project with the aim that whoever finds the little volume when he leaves it in a cafe will share their true self with their own entry and then pass the volume on to a stranger. The second person to share their inner selves in the notebook’s pages is Monica, 37, owner of a failing cafe and a former corporate lawyer who desperately wants to have a baby. From there the story unfolds, as the volume travels to Thailand and back to London, seemingly destined to fall only into the hands of people—an alcoholic drug addict, an Australian tourist, a social media influencer/new mother, etc.—who already live clustered together geographically. This is a glossy tale where difficulties and addictions appear and are overcome, where lies are told and then forgiven, where love is sought and found, and where truths, once spoken, can set you free. Secondary characters, including an interracial gay couple, appear with their own nuanced parts in the story. The message is strong, urging readers to get off their smartphones and social media and live in the real, authentic world—no chain stores or brands allowed here—making friends and forming a real-life community and support network. And is that really a bad thing?

An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7861-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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