A masterful tale that illuminates terrifying creatures in Caribbean lore.


In Sandy’s debut fantasy novel, the last surviving member of a Trinidad-based group must stop evil from sweeping civilization.

Trinidadian Le Clerc is a member of the Order, which hunts paranormal menaces from a magical realm called the Grey. On a recent mission in the Paria forest, Rohan—along with his cousin Dorian; his grandfather Isa; and fellow Orderman Kimani—battled the werewolflike lagahoo. All the members of the group were killed except for Rohan despite the fact that all had enhanced senses, stamina, and reflexes. Now he’s the last living member of Stone House, which works alongside Wood and River Houses under the guidance of the Watchers’ Council. They keep track of breaches from the Grey into humanity’s realm, known as the Absolute. (A third realm, the Ether, contains heaven and hell.) The morning after laying his relatives to rest, Rohan patrols the trails surrounding Stone House. He’s shadowed by Voss Prakash, who was sent by the Watchers to protect Rohan until he can appear before the Council to report on Isa, Dorian, and Kimani (whose body, it turns out, is missing). At the Council’s behest, Rohan and Voss join forces with Lisa Cyrus, an inexperienced seer. Together they must stop Lucian, an “obeah man,” or sorcerer, who wants to merge the Grey and the Absolute, pitting humanity against primal forces. Sandy crafts a ghoulish tale from elements of Caribbean folklore and shows a great love for gory action. History plays a vital role, as well, as scenes set in the early 19th century depict plantation culture and add weight to the brief appearance of Katharine, a helpful “soucouyant,” or blood-drinker. Characters such as Tarik Abban, a young pickpocket, and Clarence Jeremy, a terminally ill sex worker, represent more realistic horrors of city life. The author truly excels, however, in his meticulous plotting involving supernatural elements. Artifacts such as teleportation boxes and creatures such as the gigantic Moongazers generate entertaining mayhem. There are also moments of unnerving prose, as when “Fat grubs with black beady heads” were “hitting the ground...like rain on leaves,” which make this an unforgettable read—and Sandy, a name to watch.

A masterful tale that illuminates terrifying creatures in Caribbean lore.

Pub Date: July 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-73382-993-9

Page Count: 332

Publisher: Caribbean Reads Publishing

Review Posted Online: Sept. 7, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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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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