An often engaging thriller told in an atypical but wholly distinctive style.


In Edey’s placid debut thriller, a woman’s body washes ashore in Canada and her daughter and son-in-law are determined to find those responsible for her death.

An officer of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police calls his former colleague, Stanley Watson, to tell him that an unidentified female corpse has been found on a Nova Scotia beach. Police rightly suspect that it’s Stanley’s terminally ill mother-in-law, Marion, whom Stanley and his wife, Chelsea, had reported missing from her European seniors’ home. Chelsea travels to Sherbrooke to commemorate where Marion was found with a plaque. In a flashback from nearly a year earlier, an enigmatic woman named Lee plans to create a clinic for the wealthy elderly (like Marion), but it’s clear that she has darker motives: Her funding comes from a man with possible mob ties, and the surgeon she plans to hire is a literal butcher. This thriller is more invested in the conception of the crime and its consequences than the crime itself. The second chapter, which takes up nearly half of the book, is told primarily from Lee’s perspective as she discusses putting the clinic together and, eventually, reveals her ultimate goal. The author takes an intriguing approach, however, opting never to show the actual commission of the murder, instead jumping forward in time to show Stanley as he learns who may be behind Marion’s killing. Edey can deliver indelible turns of phrase, such as when he describes a woman greeting Lee with “cold displeasure.” However, some metaphors are less apt, as when Lee, at one point, sports a “hedge-apple smile.” The story’s structure deftly covers the psyches of both the victims and perpetrators, although lengthy passages, focusing on single characters, make it easy to predict when, for example, Stanley’s 12-year-old granddaughter will return to the story.

An often engaging thriller told in an atypical but wholly distinctive style.

Pub Date: June 26, 2014

ISBN: 978-1460201923

Page Count: 328

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2014

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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. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.


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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