A taut tale of a global attack that’s both gripping and frighteningly plausible.



In this techno-thriller, a Russian oligarch’s elaborate cyberplan threatens to generate chaos on a worldwide scale.

When Washington, D.C., reporter Rebecca Taft covertly meets with a hacker, all she has to show for it is a cryptic list of dates. But she quickly realizes the dates correspond with terrorist strikes, and the latest two imply future attacks. She gives the information to U.S. government agencies, which already have some intel. Agents, for one, have their eyes on shady American attorney Frank Cooper, who recently met with arms dealer Philippe Lamont. But the U.S. wants Cooper’s boss, a Russian whom the agencies have yet to identify. Readers know he’s Constantine Petrenko, who’s spearheading the planned assaults. The Russian has numerous people in his employ, though the most alarming may be Paula Janković. The hacker is in the process of perfecting The Selfish Ledger, which amasses individuals’ data in order to predict and even control behavior. Despite the fact that Taft and the U.S. agencies know the specific date of the first strike, they’re oblivious as to where or what it will be. And no one in any country is prepared for the full extent of the attack. Though character discourse constitutes the bulk of Wood’s (Asshole Attorney, 2018, etc.) novel, the story moves at a frantic pace. This is primarily due to perpetually shifting perspectives, as Petrenko’s scheme involves a multitude of players. Regardless, some characters stand out, particularly sleazy Cooper, who drinks martinis at any time of the day, and Janković, whose skills at digital manipulation make her more menacing than Petrenko. Exhilarating action finally emerges once the tale reaches the anticipated date, which entails surprising deaths among established characters. But the most unsettling aspect of Wood’s story is its believability; not only is The Selfish Ledger a real-life concept, but the villains’ easy manipulation of people via social media is a convincing turn. The ending, though definitive, leaves room for a sequel.

A taut tale of a global attack that’s both gripping and frighteningly plausible.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-73352-531-2

Page Count: 282

Publisher: Plum Bay Publishing, LLC

Review Posted Online: June 18, 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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