A masterful tale that illuminates terrifying creatures in Caribbean lore.

GREYBORN RISING

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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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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A LITTLE LIFE

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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TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

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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