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Baksheesh (Bribes)

BOOK 5 OF THE SPIES LIE SERIES

More wild, violent adventures in the world of international espionage.

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In the fifth installment of the Spies Lie series, former covert operative Cassandra Sashakovich is finally ready to settle down with her family, though a plot to start World War III threatens to pull her back into danger.

At the conclusion of the fourth installment, GrayNet (2014), Cassie had barely survived being shot by an assassin determined to collect a bounty placed on her head. As she recovers both physically and mentally, Cassie, her boyfriend, Lee, and their adopted teenage daughter, Ann, plan for a new life in a new city under new identities. Hopefully, none of their old enemies—many of whom are still hungry for revenge—will find them. Cassie decides to sell her consulting agency, The Swiftshadow Group, to the Israeli mercenary Avram Shimmel and to finally put her obsession with great food to good use by opening a restaurant. Yet an obstacle arrives in the form of Amos Mastoff, the U.S. vice president who becomes president when the president-elect is assassinated the day after the election. Mastoff plans to make Christianity the sole religion in the world by wiping out Israel and the rest of the Middle East via a few well-placed suitcase nukes obtained from a Russian arms dealer. The Swiftshadow Group must utilize all of their very special skills to stop Mastoff and his cronies before they wipe out half the world. To do that, they need Cassie’s talents as a hacker. Author Kane shows no sign of running out of wild plot twists and corrupt figures out to destroy Cassie, not to mention the world. Eagle-eyed readers might spot one or two inconsistencies from the previous books, but for the most part, readers will be swept away on the tidal wave of sexy, espionage-laced prose. Ann, Cassie’s teenage daughter, remains the weak link among the large ensemble of colorful and incredibly damaged characters; she has her adopted mom’s knacks for hacking and wild sex but none of the charisma that makes the audience root for Cassie. However, Ann’s unfortunate presence is pleasantly counterbalanced by the reappearances of some seemingly forgotten central characters from the pre-Cassie books in the series.

More wild, violent adventures in the world of international espionage.

Pub Date: June 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-9862321-2-1

Page Count: 316

Publisher: The Swiftshadow Group

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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A LITTLE LIFE

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. 21, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

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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