A rugged, indelible heroine headlines a riveting tale.

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STATUS: MISSING

In Maroney’s debut techno-thriller, a U.S. task force investigates a series of missing planes.

Maj. Megan Sloan of Air Force Intelligence manages the Drone Theory task force. Three planes have vanished in the last year, and the team theorizes that someone somehow hacked the aircrafts’ onboard computers. A few years back, the Iranian government recovered a lost American drone and sold the technology to other countries. Sloan was a part of the failed mission to retrieve the drone—a mission she only narrowly survived. She gets her chance to possibly end the hijackings when she receives a satellite phone call from Secret Service Agent Liam Donovan. He’s traveling with a nuclear-arms negotiating team, and someone has hacked the plane’s controls, redirecting it to Pyongyang. North Korean leader Choi Min-ho is probably responsible, but it may be someone wanting America to blame North Korea and retaliate, thereby starting World War III. In either case, Sloan and the task force set out to regain control of the plane as well as locate the remote hijacker to prevent a potential catastrophe. Maroney generates action with abundant dialogue; characters work under intense pressure and time constraints, and their rapid-fire communications require quick decisions and concise details. Friction among characters further bolsters the tension: Donovan, who’d had a previous relationship with Sloan, left her for dead during the botched mission, and a hacker working for Choi covertly tries aiding Americans. The story, inspired by the real-life disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, is realistic—the task force doesn’t always save everyone. Regardless, Sloan is tenacious and coolly nonchalant: “I took a couple of rounds a few years ago. Messed some stuff up pretty bad. They patched me together. Said I was good to go.”

A rugged, indelible heroine headlines a riveting tale.

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-73278-393-5

Page Count: 304

Publisher: State of Mind Publishing

Review Posted Online: March 7, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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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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THE VANISHING HALF

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.

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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