A smart, highly detailed entry in the techno-thriller genre.

CYBER WAR I

Computer-security analysts stumble upon plans for a cyberstrike that could immobilize the United States in Mahoney’s debut thriller.

After a security breach involving user IDs, Cyber Business International’s investigators trace the source of the hack to one of its clients, the Arabian Nights Casino in Macau. Rob Warner, who leads CBI’s incident-response team, heads to the Asian territory to investigate. It turns out that Justin Peters, a CBI network administrator there, had been doing work for the casino when someone accessed his privileged user account and wreaked havoc. Rob, however, is suspicious of the casino’s director of cybersecurity operations, Edmund Ho; he may have a grudge against the casino that stems from his demotion after a cyberattack that crippled the local network by flooding it with traffic. Further investigation reveals other players, which leads CBI to predict a similar attack in the United States. But a larger conspiracy may be at play—which would explain why an assassin is targeting Rob. Mahoney’s acronym-laden technological jargon gives his novel an air of sophistication. For example, he intelligently defines terms such as “botnet” and “exploit kit” by context, generally via dialogue between Rob and others, such as Rob’s friend and colleague Bill Johnson. Myriad plot elements along the way keep the tale exciting, including the actions of an American spy and more than one hired killer and a Las Vegas–set final act in which many characters converge. Some oddly structured sentences slow the story down, though, as when Rob questions “flirting with guidelines, well ethics, shoot, the law, like he did in Macau.” The novel also includes little information about its protagonist’s personal life, although it’s abundantly clear that his job is putting a strain on his marriage.

A smart, highly detailed entry in the techno-thriller genre.

Pub Date: Nov. 26, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5323-2588-5

Page Count: -

Publisher: Lobo Media

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2017

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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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TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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