A fast-paced crackerjack tale, solidly plotted and a pleasure to read.


A team of adventurers searches through time for a missing Nobel prizewinner.

Former Army Intelligence operative Bill Culloden is asked by hedge-fund manager Jonah Markowitz to find physicist Henry Bryson, who was working on a trading algorithm to beat the markets. Along with Markowitz’s son, Ray, Culloden heads to Boston to question Bryson’s wife, Juliet, who discloses that she and her husband became millionaires—by sending buy orders for Walmart and Cisco back in time. It seems Bryson is dead—he died around 2,000 years ago in Jerusalem on a time-travel mission gone awry. After obtaining Bryson’s exact coordinates at his death, Culloden, Markowitz, archaeologist Dr. Robert Lavon and lovely Sharon Bergfield head back to the Jerusalem of Jesus’ time, where they encounter some lethally efficient Roman soldiers not completely convinced by their back story. The team crosses paths with Pilate, Herod and Jesus, as they fight to survive in a time of leprosy, torture, gladiator combat and crucifixion—and possibly corroborate the resurrection, if they live long enough. Among the book’s strengths, and there are many, is placing the reader at the scene of the days surrounding one of the most significant events in our history. The author creates scene after scene of people taking care of everyday business—bathing, preparing food, conducting religious ceremonies, caring for the sick. Another plus is a cast of characters motivated by the joy of discovery, rather than money, lust, fame or any of the typical self-serving interests. While the plot incorporates events surrounding Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion, the tale never dissolves into a simple retelling of the Gospels. Once the action starts, it never lets up until the final page. Some nifty state-of-the-art gadgets would do James Bond proud, including an ear-bud all-language translator and a bandage that, after healing near-fatal wounds, disappears into the flesh. Although the story unfolds from Culloden’s viewpoint, this is an ensemble play, requiring that each character eventually take center stage. It all comes together beautifully for a satisfying, nick-of-time conclusion.

A fast-paced crackerjack tale, solidly plotted and a pleasure to read.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0983841128

Page Count: 396

Publisher: David M. Epperson

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

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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 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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