A somewhat unexciting supernatural tale, hampered by awkward prose.




Ehrlich (World War Four and the Catholic Empire, 2014, etc.) returns with a novel about the end of the world, in which demons clash and humans face danger from all corners.

As this long novel begins, Karl Laforce of the City Defense Forces is going back to college by train, leaving the big city behind him. Another student explains that this unnamed university is the right place if Karl is looking for “a new resurrection from the toil of life.” He and other characters adhere to the politics of National Socialism, and often talk about the Reich, the importance of the “Volk” and the dangers of Asiatic Bolshevism. But it turns out that there are far greater threats in world. Not only is this “pristine countryside” targeted by some of the same criminal forces that terrorize other parts of the country, but there are also other, darker forces at work in the surrounding forest. Two demons are fighting a war on Earth: One is Merihem, who creates zombies, and the other is Abaddon, who’s said to be one of several Antichrists. It comes as no surprise that the demonic zombies soon become a problem for Karl, as well. This could have been the start of an engaging adventure story, but readers may have a hard time connecting with the characters here, who mostly speak in odd, stilted prose: “As the pure white Swan of Lohengrin is everlasting and eternal in the cadence of our hearts music so I shall faithful be unto you.” There’s also plenty of distracting technical specifications for guns, binoculars and other equipment. Overall, the setting is vague and dreamlike: The pub near the university, for instance, is called the “University Pub,” and its proprietor is “the Publican.” Readers familiar with World War II history may find some character names of interest, as several of them belong to Nazis who died in the Beer Hall Putsch of 1923. (The book is also dedicated to several real-life Nazis, such as SS member Col. Jakob Grimminger.) However, the novel’s many odd aspects never come together to create a unified effect.

A somewhat unexciting supernatural tale, hampered by awkward prose.

Pub Date: July 31, 2014

ISBN: 978-1500317720

Page Count: 374

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2014

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An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.


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.


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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