Acting jobs in New York aren't the most reliable source of income, and so Dana Coakley fills the time between TV ads for coffee by doubling as super of her Upper West Side building. As a super she's naturally interested when things go wrong in other buildings, but she finds Travis Williams's story hard to believe. The surly kid from an alternative school tells her that his building, an SRO called the Harrison, was torched (to the tune of ten fatalities) by a friend of a friend of a friend—and this last friend, the only potential witness, can't go to the cops because he's been the victim of a timely drive-by shooting. Putting on her actress hat—despite this debut novel's title, she puts in almost no time as a super—Dana makes a series of increasingly nosey, and dangerous, forays into the rarefied world of Mitchell Brandon, the sharklike developer who'd been interested in the Harrison site. Before you know it, she's getting razzed by her sidekick, socialite book editor Peggy Woodruff; pushed around by the D.A.'s office; and beaten up by thugs who threaten her with worse. Dana's masquerades—she tries to be all things to all men in order to pump at least some of them—are often amusing, as is her banter with Peggy; but they're not enough to compensate for the pokey pace and lack of mystery. A lackadaisical slice of downscale New York chic, whose dependably bright-eyed heroine deserves fewer fits and starts.

Pub Date: June 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-312-15651-0

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1997

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Eleven-year-old Ben has acquired a best friend with a somewhat mysterious past. Although he likes and admires Ring, an unusual boy who quickly shakes up his placid life, Ben realizes that Ring is extremely grudging with details about his history before he and his parents moved to town. Ring, tall and skinny, as opposed to Ben, a self-described runt, is an avid bird watcher, an enthusiastic runner, and has an uncanny ability to charm those around him—both adults and kids. Events inexplicably come to a head when Ben, Ring, and their families spend the afternoon having a picnic on a pretty spot next to the town's river. After lunch, Ring walks to the bank of the river and keeps walking until the water covers his head. Even after a week, Ben refuses to accept what must seem obvious to everyone else—that Ring has drowned. But when Ring's parents disappear, too, Ben suspects that something is up. And when Ben hears a TV news report about a runaway boy who's been spotted hitchhiking on the highway, Ben is sure that Ring is still alive. Although the plot is implausible and many of the secondary characters too deliberately colorful and quirky, Ben is an extremely appealing and engaging narrator. Young readers will identify with him, a much more realistic character than the idealized and overwritten Ring. Certainly not a "must have" for the middle-grade library, but an interesting enough story. (Fiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83581-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2001

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The third Kat Colorado novel (Katwalk, Katapult), a contrived affair, replete with Meaningful Chapter Headings, that concerns weepy Paige (formerly Pearl) Morrell, who hires the sardonically edgy Kat to find her unknown mom—her granny, who has just died, brought Paige up and said nary a word. The usual p.i. statistics- dredging discovers granny's twin daughters, Opal and Ruby, one now heading up an Omaha future-trends consultancy and the other squirreled away in a care facility. Are they lying about who's who, and does it relate back to their late teen years and one girl's illicit romance and the other's departure for the East? Paige's fiancÇ, yuppie Paul, nearly kills Kat to get her to drop the investigation, and Derek, the business brains behind the trends company, romances her into virtual slow-wittedness. Two more deaths later, Kat unravels an unsurprising identity switch, turns a goodnight kiss into a shootout, and stares unblinkingly at Paige's crocodile tears. A calculated rendering of p.i. conventions, readable if not particularly original.

Pub Date: March 16, 1992

ISBN: 0-385-42095-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 1992

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