A crime caper with an original idea that falls short on nearly every other level.

Fly Diamonds

Dober (AmEarth, 2015, etc.) offers a story of familial revenge involving an ingenious diamond heist.

After his father’s death, Juan Luis Merlo lives in San Diego, where he works as a waiter at The Savory Yolk and sends most of his money to his mother in Tijuana, Mexico. Juan blames his family’s misfortune on Tickell Insurance Products Corporation (TIPCO), which fought his father in court for years over a settlement after a fire destroyed his toy factory and his family’s future. After TIPCO delivered a token payment, Juan’s father died. TIPCO then ruled Juan’s father’s accidental death a suicide and refused to pay any life insurance benefits. Juan has spent years concocting the perfect crime to avenge his father, and the plan involves robbing diamonds from TIPCO client Quayles Jewels, using 35 trained carrier pigeons fitted with tiny pouches. On the appointed day, Juan’s plan works flawlessly—except that one of the birds doesn’t make it out of the store. The police then attach a GPS tracker to the pigeon and set it free. This heist tale’s plot moves briskly and is full of surprises. However, it’s marred by poor execution. The dialogue is often improbable; for example, as cops head to the crime scene, one of them says, “Come on, Ivory, somebody could be in danger!” There’s also a lot of telling and not much showing: “He then became extremely guarded and made sure his mom wasn’t in on his plans.” Some word choices are inexplicable (“Cliff swirled past slow cars”) and the Spanish dialogue is accompanied by a complete English translation, rendering it irrelevant. Overall, Dober’s characters are one-dimensional with the single exception of Juan, who has a realistic back story and motivation.

A crime caper with an original idea that falls short on nearly every other level.

Pub Date: April 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9965491-5-8

Page Count: 208

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2018

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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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ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH

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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