A wickedly sleazy small-town mano a mano political thriller pits a naive yuppie lawyer against a homicidal cracker in a vicious southern Texas race for the US Congress. When the perennially elected, gratuitously corrupt, good-old- boy Congressman George ``Hurricane'' Hammond literally falls off his horse and dies of an all-too-convenient heart attack, his straw-dog Democratic rival, nice-guy attorney Mitch Dutton, wakes up to the possibility that he just might be Washington-bound. He's not exactly a cookie-cutter candidate, though—his marijuana- puffing wife Connie has strange friends; the couple is childless- -and Mitch had anticipated a clean, honorable campaign. That last part changes when Shakespeare ``Shakes'' McCann, a white-haired scallywag with bad skin, determined to be in Hurricane Hammond's boots come November, enters the scene. In McCann, newcomer Richardson, who previously penned the film Die Hard II, has a delightful southern-fried snake-in-the-grass who so sincerely believes that the best man wins in politics that he eagerly murders, blackmails, and even seduces Mitch's wife to challenge his opponet's lead. Among the figures involved in this frequently hilarious duel to the death are Mitch's spineless spin doctor, Fitz Kolatch, who runs the campaign from an ex-brothel; loathsome newspaper reporter Hollice Waters; ``gazillionarie'' backer Vidor Kingman, and seductive campaign aide Rene Craven. These and other vile schemers, all out to buy, or at least rent, Mitch's idealistic soul, contrast wonderfully with the cheap hypocrisies of the brain- dead electorate of Cathedral Island, a pompous Texas seaside resort town that becomes the microcosm of a political system that, as Richardson describes it, furthers the careers only of the crazy, the homicidal, or the stupid. Occasionally gory, darkly cynical, over-the-top political slam-dunk, with comic portrayals of campaign tricks so dirty it's amazing that they're legal. (First printing of 125,000; film rights to Imagine Entertainment)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-380-97314-6

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Avon/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1996

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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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