Readers who enjoyed Presidential Intentions won’t be disappointed by this action-packed sequel.



A political thriller that explores the grim consequences of a cataclysmic terrorist attack on Washington, D.C.

In his sequel to 2014’s Presidential Intentions, Wood (101 Things I Want to Say…The Collection, 2013, etc.) brings back Samantha Harrison, a one-time Republican candidate for president. Now Hillary Clinton occupies the Oval Office, and Harrison has lost her bid for a U.S. Senate seat in Virginia. With her once-bright political future now murky, Harrison considers exiting public life for private pursuits. However, Gov. Eric Cantor of Virginia presents her with a new opportunity: veteran congressman Frank Wolfe plans to retire, and he wants Cantor to install Harrison as his replacement. She quickly accepts, which instantly reintroduces her into the Washington political fray. Meanwhile, in a continuation of a plotline from the previous book, an Iranian plan unfolds that aims to bring the U.S. government to its knees. Harrison soon finds herself challenged like never before, both as a leader of a hobbled country and as a mother grieving the death of her son. The depiction of the hateful, calculating lead terrorist, Kazim Maalouff, is chilling; at one point, for example, he explains the inner logic of terrorism with a dark calculus: “No doubt you will never understand our cause. Violence is something America abhors unless they’re the ones dispensing it.” It’s not necessary to read the first book to appreciate the action of its sequel, but it will certainly help to gain a fuller understanding of the protagonist. The first installment rigorously develops the character of Samantha, revealing her political inclinations and worldview, while the sequel forces her to test the efficacy of those views in a crisis. This sequel is just as politically sharp, but it packs a more powerful dramatic punch. In the first book, for example, the terrorism took a back seat to domestic political intrigue, but this installment revolves around terrorist activity and even crescendos with it. Overall, this is a gripping read for political junkies of all partisan inclinations given its topical nature and its use of real-life political figures and issues.

Readers who enjoyed Presidential Intentions won’t be disappointed by this action-packed sequel.

Pub Date: June 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1508806318

Page Count: 207

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2015

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Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

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Inseparable identical twin sisters ditch home together, and then one decides to vanish.

The talented Bennett fuels her fiction with secrets—first in her lauded debut, The Mothers (2016), and now in the assured and magnetic story of the Vignes sisters, light-skinned women parked on opposite sides of the color line. Desiree, the “fidgety twin,” and Stella, “a smart, careful girl,” make their break from stultifying rural Mallard, Louisiana, becoming 16-year-old runaways in 1954 New Orleans. The novel opens 14 years later as Desiree, fleeing a violent marriage in D.C., returns home with a different relative: her 8-year-old daughter, Jude. The gossips are agog: “In Mallard, nobody married dark....Marrying a dark man and dragging his blueblack child all over town was one step too far.” Desiree's decision seals Jude’s misery in this “colorstruck” place and propels a new generation of flight: Jude escapes on a track scholarship to UCLA. Tending bar as a side job in Beverly Hills, she catches a glimpse of her mother’s doppelgänger. Stella, ensconced in white society, is shedding her fur coat. Jude, so black that strangers routinely stare, is unrecognizable to her aunt. All this is expertly paced, unfurling before the book is half finished; a reader can guess what is coming. Bennett is deeply engaged in the unknowability of other people and the scourge of colorism. The scene in which Stella adopts her white persona is a tour de force of doubling and confusion. It calls up Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, the book's 50-year-old antecedent. Bennett's novel plays with its characters' nagging feelings of being incomplete—for the twins without each other; for Jude’s boyfriend, Reese, who is trans and seeks surgery; for their friend Barry, who performs in drag as Bianca. Bennett keeps all these plot threads thrumming and her social commentary crisp. In the second half, Jude spars with her cousin Kennedy, Stella's daughter, a spoiled actress.

Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-53629-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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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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