A sharp tale of government and terrorism fortified by an exceptional POTUS protagonist.


Samantha “Sam” Harrison must lead the United States against coordinated nationwide terrorist strikes in this political thriller, the final installment of a trilogy.

Returning for her third appearance, Sam’s now the 46th U.S. president, defeating Hillary Clinton’s bid for a second term. Sam’s first year in office, 2021, is burdened by rumors of terrorist attacks in America. These are exacerbated by Iranian religious leader Ali Khamenei’s viral YouTube video, a speech in which he declares a jihad against the U.S. as well as Britain and Russia. What’s anticipated unfortunately comes true: simultaneous suicide bombers in multiple cities wreak havoc, resulting in thousands of deaths. Sam, who gets advice from former presidents (the Clintons), has a plan involving a potential deal with Russia and making nice with patronizing Vladimir Putin. Meanwhile, Richard Haddad, deputy director of the CIA’s National Clandestine Services, has leeway to track down suspects, even domestic, which Sam may or may not be aware of. Haddad gets a solid lead following the unexplained disappearance of Chief of Staff Zachary Watts, while fed-up Idaho citizen Mark Steinberger, wanting answers for the mass killings, looks in Washington, D.C., ultimately zeroing in on Sam’s congresswoman daughter, Amanda Harrison-Donnelly. Sam’s more than proven herself throughout Wood’s (Presidential Declarations, 2015, etc.) trilogy, a strong political figure who’s overcome tragedies, like her husband’s death. But the story spotlights numerous strong female characters, including Amanda; SEAL-trained limo driver and bodyguard Sara Friedman; and even—in a small role—veteran “no-nonsense judge” Carol Ann Vogel. Wood generally forgoes detailing characters’ physical attributes but molds individuals via personalities; old-school Haddad, for one, loathes using social media as part of his investigations. Much of the plot’s relayed through dialogue, but an unmistakable cynicism of Washington politics prevails. Most notable is political spinning: the president’s staff covers up an “incident” by accusing an innocent man of attempted assassination. Grimmer moments are impossible to miss, from devastating explosions to scenes of torture.

A sharp tale of government and terrorism fortified by an exceptional POTUS protagonist.

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5375-9062-2

Page Count: 344

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2017

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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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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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