A dark, imaginative, and enchanting tale of spirits and unlikely heroes.

A GRIMOIRE DARK

A young woman must face her destiny in Quinton’s (The Phoenix Stone: A Dark Beginning, 2019, etc.) horror novel set in 1963 New Orleans.

Teenage Delphine “Del” Larouche was practically raised in an orphanage, but now she’s old enough to strike out on her own. Eager to live a life on her own terms, she finds herself a job and begins to plan her future. But when strange killings with ritual elements that defy logical reasoning start causing widespread fear, Del latches onto the case with intense fascination. What she doesn’t realize is that evil forces of nightmarish proportions are gathering strength. When she makes a startling discovery about her own past, she must make an agonizing decision: give up the life she’s dreamed of—or embrace her fate and an uncertain future. The Big Easy setting is a perfect background for a paranormal novel, and the author does a great job of emphasizing the city’s distinctive features to increase tension; cemeteries, swamps, and dimly lit streets all serve to enhance the plot. Some of the dialogue, however, may cause readers to struggle. In an effort to make the characters sound realistic, the author emphasizes their Louisiana accents, but at times it's distracting and hard to read, as when a local police captain calls private investigator Frank Morgan and asks, “Frang, leesen, I was wond’ren could you run a call fer me?” That said, the idea of a showdown with evil spirits in New Orleans will likely be enough to keep readers interested, and there are plenty of intriguing side characters who add layers of complexity to the story. Witnessing Del’s transformation from timid young woman to confident investigator is immensely satisfying, particularly in the book’s second half. The author also makes his admiration for Edgar Allan Poe apparent with several melancholy poems between chapters—a nice touch for fans of classic literary horror.

A dark, imaginative, and enchanting tale of spirits and unlikely heroes. 

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-73277-233-5

Page Count: 398

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2019

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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A LITTLE LIFE

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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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

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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