A gripping and well-crafted tale of prisoners and guards.


In this graphic novel, a group of prison guards attempts a heist against the backdrop of the March on Washington.

Baltimore’s Jessup Penitentiary, 1963. A former prison guard finds himself an inmate, and he has a story to tell. Kendrick Robinson was part of a family of prison guards, including his uncle Marcus and his cousin Francis—called Freckles for his light complexion. When one of their fellow guards is injured, Francis suggests they attempt to steal the score of mouthy former hit man Sid Scisiani, who is about to get paroled. Kendrick warms to the idea after learning he’s been drafted for the Vietnam War—he needs the cash to flee to Canada or buy a new identity. When Sid gets out, Kendrick and Francis follow him to his homecoming job—and learn that his first mission back is to assassinate the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Now Kendrick and his comrades need to plan a heist and save the celebrated civil rights leader at the same time. Meanwhile, back at the prison, a group of prisoners has escaped, including one White supremacist who would like nothing more than to settle a score with his Black prison guards. With the help of artists Oliveira and Dunbar—whose work evokes the bleak superhero comics of the 1980s—Walker spins a cinematic story that propels readers from panel to panel. “People in prison love to talk,” begins Kendrick in a nonchalant opening monologue right out of a Martin Scorsese movie. The words drift incongruously over scenes of inmates fighting and rioting: “There’s nothing more popular...given the other options....Just ask for an opinion...and cons will come running.” The book blends issues of race, civil rights, and prison reform in a way that is cogent while still providing an entertaining, guns-blazing crime story. The tale questions what sorts of behavior count as ethical while driving at a larger, societal morality embodied by the words of the very man whose assassination Kendrick is trying to prevent. Despite the darkness, the story manages to find its way to an ending of hopefulness—though not quite in the way readers will expect.

A gripping and well-crafted tale of prisoners and guards.

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-71914-473-5

Page Count: 153

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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A well-turned, if predictable, installment in the popular series.


With the United States the “closest [it’s] been to war” in a lifetime, intelligence operative Jack Ryan Jr. faces stiff odds in trying to avert disaster with China.

Trouble with China begins brewing (yet again in the Clancy books) with the rendition of a Chinese scientist and the killing of his American brother, a specialist in machine learning. With a sniper attack on the German outpost of The Campus, Ryan’s “off-the-books” agency, and the downing of an American plane over the South China Sea, U.S. efforts to recover a Chinese undersea glider capable of detecting a $3 billion American stealth submarine are in jeopardy. Things look especially grim with the capture of crash survivor John Clark, Ryan’s boss and a close compadre of his father, President Jack Ryan Sr. With Ryan Sr. still shaken by the abduction of his wife a year ago and Ryan Jr. doubtful of his abilities as a team leader, it's up to intelligence director Mary Pat Foley to calm the waters with her expertise and strong will. One possible outcome is a Chinese attack on Taiwan. In Bentley’s third outing in the series, it takes a while to get past cookie cutter stuff: Many pages go by before the reader knows what all the tense language, chase scenes, and international travel are about. But the book's cool, checkerboard efficiency eventually takes hold. And the streaks of vulnerability that run through the Ryans impart a human dimension that most such thrillers lack. Bentley also takes pains to distinguish the novel from fake fiction: “Unlike in the movies, getting struck by a rifle round moving at several thousand feet per second was not insignificant.”

A well-turned, if predictable, installment in the popular series.

Pub Date: May 23, 2023

ISBN: 9780593422786

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2023

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Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.


Another sweltering month in Charlotte, another boatload of mysteries past and present for overworked, overstressed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan.

A week after the night she chases but fails to catch a mysterious trespasser outside her town house, some unknown party texts Tempe four images of a corpse that looks as if it’s been chewed by wild hogs, because it has been. Showboat Medical Examiner Margot Heavner makes it clear that, breaking with her department’s earlier practice (The Bone Collection, 2016, etc.), she has no intention of calling in Tempe as a consultant and promptly identifies the faceless body herself as that of a young Asian man. Nettled by several errors in Heavner’s analysis, and even more by her willingness to share the gory details at a press conference, Tempe launches her own investigation, which is not so much off the books as against the books. Heavner isn’t exactly mollified when Tempe, aided by retired police detective Skinny Slidell and a host of experts, puts a name to the dead man. But the hints of other crimes Tempe’s identification uncovers, particularly crimes against children, spur her on to redouble her efforts despite the new M.E.’s splenetic outbursts. Before he died, it seems, Felix Vodyanov was linked to a passenger ferry that sank in 1994, an even earlier U.S. government project to research biological agents that could control human behavior, the hinky spiritual retreat Sparkling Waters, the dark web site DeepUnder, and the disappearances of at least four schoolchildren, two of whom have also turned up dead. And why on earth was Vodyanov carrying Tempe’s own contact information? The mounting evidence of ever more and ever worse skulduggery will pull Tempe deeper and deeper down what even she sees as a rabbit hole before she confronts a ringleader implicated in “Drugs. Fraud. Breaking and entering. Arson. Kidnapping. How does attempted murder sound?”

Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9821-3888-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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