Capably written, consistently thrilling science fiction.

RD #13

Biological terrorism forms the complex crux of Hiltz’s fast-paced, exhilarating debut.

A grisly opening chapter jumpstarts the action as the shadowy “Moone” and his henchmen survey—and set fire to—a village in southwest China that has been horrifyingly decimated by a flesh-eating disease and terrorized by mutated vermin. One year later, widower and Army veteran George Munson and his beautiful daughter Denny are getting settled in their new San Marino, Fla., home following the violent murder of beloved wife and mother Beth, back in Miami. Their safe, new life isn’t without complications; George’s secret, burgeoning love affair with neighbor Dawn Nichols rocks his already emotionally fragile daughter. His engaging career as a music engineer for an aging Latin pop star takes a back seat when a seemingly overnight influenza outbreak quickly quarantines the city. Returning home from vacation, young friends Jim, Eric, Manny and Manny’s girlfriend Kara are ordered to stay inside. Impatient hero George, however, sneaks out and vigorously interrogates a FEMA operative who reveals the “flu” epidemic is actually a man-made, highly contagious, lethal “genetic retrovirus,” the antidote of which is unavailable to the general public. Knowing they’ve all been infected, George leaves his family in search of the cure. Putting his former Army surveillance experience to good use, he stealthily sneaks onto top-secret military property, stumbles upon a germ warfare lab full of human and animal medical experiments testing, among other variations, the “Red Death #13” microbe, and desperately searches for the antivirus. Meanwhile, the Jim, Eric, Manny and Kara converge with Denny and Dawn in an effort to escape the crazed, bloodthirsty zombies that have seemingly taken over San Marino. Hiltz’s forceful narrative aptly powers George’s race against time as the virus spreads globally and his daughter is kidnapped by evil kingpin Moone in the rousing conclusion. Though scenes involving the four youths have a rushed, underdeveloped quality, Hiltz’s writing ability is promising and his creative imagination sets the stage for further high-tension adventures.

Capably written, consistently thrilling science fiction.

Pub Date: Nov. 18, 2010

ISBN: 978-1456352301

Page Count: 310

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2011

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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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Thoroughbreds and Virginia blue-bloods cavort, commit murder, and fall in love in Roberts's (Hidden Riches, 1994, etc.) latest romantic thriller — this one set in the world of championship horse racing. Rich, sheltered Kelsey Byden is recovering from a recent divorce when she receives a letter from her mother, Naomi, a woman she has believed dead for over 20 years. When Kelsey confronts her genteel English professor father, though, he sheepishly confesses that, no, her mother isn't dead; throughout Kelsey's childhood, she was doing time for the murder of her lover. Kelsey meets with Naomi and not only finds her quite charming, but the owner of Three Willows, one of the most splendid horse farms in Virginia. Kelsey is further intrigued when she meets Gabe Slater, a blue-eyed gambling man who owns a neighboring horse farm; when one of Gabe's horses is mated with Naomi's, nostrils flare, flanks quiver, and the romance is on. Since both Naomi and Gabe have horses entered in the Kentucky Derby, Kelsey is soon swept into the whirlwind of the Triple Crown, in spite of her family's objections to her reconciliation with the notorious Naomi. The rivalry between the two horse farms remains friendly, but other competitors — one of them is Gabe's father, a vicious alcoholic who resents his son's success — prove less scrupulous. Bodies, horse and human, start piling up, just as Kelsey decides to investigate the murky details of her mother's crime. Is it possible she was framed? The ground is thick with no-goods, including haughty patricians, disgruntled grooms, and jockeys with tragic pasts, but despite all the distractions, the identity of the true culprit behind the mayhem — past and present — remains fairly obvious. The plot lopes rather than races to the finish. Gambling metaphors abound, and sexual doings have a distinctly equine tone. But Roberts's style has a fresh, contemporary snap that gets the story past its own worst excesses.

Pub Date: June 13, 1995

ISBN: 0-399-14059-X

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1995

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