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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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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