by Elizabeth Meyette ‧ RELEASE DATE: Oct. 3, 2016
Readers may wonder whether there’s anything the tenacious investigator can’t handle—while eagerly awaiting sequels.
A schoolteacher takes a second stab at sleuthing when a possible ghostly presence at an all-girls academy is compounded by a definite murder in this mystery.
Jesse Graham’s understandably horrified when her precarious thunderstorm drive ends with a body in the road. Turns out it’s only a dummy with a dreadful but grammatically incorrect message, “Your next,” written on it, a potentially dangerous prank from one or more of the students at nearby St. Bartholomew’s. The next day is Jesse’s first day as the new English teacher, just three months after moving to Seneca Corners in upstate New York in the summer of 1968. Jesse suspects the school’s haunted, based on inexplicable sounds of drums in the locked basement, as well as a now-familiar sensation, having contended with a ghost in her own home. That spirit, however, was benevolent, whereas the one at school is, Jesse believes, more threatening. Looking for clarification regarding the prank and the basement gets Jesse nowhere, as it seems no one wants her snooping or making inquiries. The mystery deepens when, at a gathering, someone fires a shot at Jesse, and later there’s another body in the road—a human one this time. A missing student and a suspicious death subsequently confirm an unmistakable menace, who may next be targeting Jesse. As in Meyette’s (The Cavanaugh House, 2016, etc.) preceding novel, the likelihood of a phantom doesn’t unnerve as much as it augments the mystery. Learning who the ghost is, for example, takes precedence. The dense plot’s undeniably riveting, even its melodrama: Jesse, fresh from a horrid relationship, has two worthy suitors in affable construction worker/company owner Joe Riley and dashing equestrian coach Scott Stanton. She’s also determined to be self-reliant, despite her recent discovery that she’s heir to a fortune. Jesse’s an indelible protagonist, never afraid to say what she’s feeling but readily acknowledging when she may have hurt someone—like emphasizing Joe’s a friend in front of Scott. Unfortunately, though thriller components generate suspense (for example, what exactly is happening in the school’s tunnels?), an explanation near the end isn’t wholly satisfying and leaves behind quite a few questions.Readers may wonder whether there’s anything the tenacious investigator can’t handle—while eagerly awaiting sequels.
Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2016
Page Count: 324
Publisher: Boris Publishing
Review Posted Online: Jan. 30, 2017
Review Program: Kirkus Indie
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by Hanya Yanagihara ‧ RELEASE DATE: March 10, 2015
The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.
Awards & Accolades
Best Books Of 2015
National Book Award Finalist
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
Page Count: 720
Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2014
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015
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by Harper Lee ‧ RELEASE DATE: July 11, 1960
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
Page Count: 323
Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960
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