Fiction & Literature Book Reviews (page 1751)

A CLASSIC CHRISTMAS CRIME by Tim Heald
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 15, 1997

"Stocking-stuffers by H.R.F. Keating, Liza Cody, Catherine Aird, and editor Heald round out this dose of Christmas in July."
With virtually the same team as in Heald's Classic English Crime (1991)—only P.D. James, Mike Seabrook, and Nicole Swengley are new to this volume—Heald manages to field a much stronger lineup of homages to Christmas Ö la Christie. Read full book review >
BALANCING ACT by Anita Richmond Bunkley
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 15, 1997

"Fast-moving and realistic, though readers will wish that Bunkley had found ways of tempering all its somber business with other kinds of liveliness in characters and events. (Author tour)"
Bunkley (Starlight Passage, 1996, etc.) has toned down her tendency toward purple prose, but, ironically, while the writing's vastly improved in this new outing, the plot could use some livening up. Read full book review >

THE STARLITE DRIVE-IN by Marjorie Reynolds
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 15, 1997

"An accomplished debut."
The discovery of a skeleton evokes memories of a 1950s summer roiled by passions, innocent and profane, and redeemed by abiding loyalties. Read full book review >
THE OBSESSION by Catherine Cookson
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 14, 1997

"A lesser effort, then, but never count out the Cookson- addicted. (Literary Guild alternate)"
Cookson's hyperventilating, unbuttoned tales of (usually period) Tyneside passion ricocheting among the social classes in (generally) northern England (The Year of the Virgins, 1995, etc.) were good fun. Read full book review >
ROOM 13 by Henry Garfield
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 13, 1997

"A wooly screamfest that's also a backhanded tribute to the power of dead white male authors."
Forget Up the Down Staircase. Read full book review >

BIRDS OF PREY by Wilbur Smith
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 12, 1997

"Though Smith's 27th novel brims with his characteristic love of African flora and fauna, the clunky prose, tawdry sex scenes, and trite plotting make this well-researched, fast-paced epic nearly unreadable."
South African writer Smith leaves the Egyptian sands of River God (1994) and The Seventh Scroll (1995) to deliver a breathlessly plotted, clichÇ-clogged swashbuckler of English pirates harrying Dutch traders off the Cape of Good Hope in 1667. Read full book review >
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 12, 1997

"All the others could well follow."
It's no wonder Gordianus the Finder solves so many of these nine cases in a single flash of insight. Read full book review >
THE NEW LIEUTENANT by Philip McCutchan
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 12, 1997

"Altogether, a robust, lively narrative, refreshingly frank and convincing."
Third volume in the adventures of the redoubtable Tom Chatto (Apprentice to the Sea, 1993; Second Mate, 1996), who, having experienced the last days of sail and the early years of steam in the British merchant marine, now plunges headfirst into modern warfare, as the commander of a ship serving as a decoy in the Mediterranean in the early years of WW I, intended to lure German U-boats into the open. Read full book review >
WILD DESIGNS by Katie Fforde
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 11, 1997

"Altogether, a considerable improvement over the author's debut."
British writer Fforde (The Rose Revived, 1996) returns, this time exhibiting a spirited sense of humor, a light touch, and a real sense of how families work. Read full book review >
HEAT LIGHTNING by Leah Hager Cohen
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 11, 1997

"A radiant coming-of-age story in which every character rings true. (First printing of 25,000)"
A first novel by the already much-praised Cohen (Train Go Sorry: Inside a Deaf World, 1993; Glass, Paper, Beans, 1996) stuns with its lean, unadorned artistry as it limns the tale of two preadolescent sisters in their search for the truth about their parents' death, their own past, and the connection that binds them together. Read full book review >
THE DEVIL'S CAROUSEL by Jeff Torrington
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 10, 1997

"Colorful, yes, but little in this view of factory life is new, and the episodic style, while it does offer vivid stories and characters, works against Torrington's greater strength as a realist, his ability to catch the dense particulars of working- class neighborhoods and life."
The hapless lives and hard times of Scottish autoworkers are the core of Torrington's follow-up to his 1992 Whitbread-winner, Swing Hammer Swing! (1994), though the zest and wit that marked that earlier debut novel appear only fitfully here. Read full book review >
THE SUMMER HOUSE by Alison McLeay
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 10, 1997

"Another period piece from McLeay (After Shanghai, 1996, etc.) with, once again, more life and intellectual energy than most."
An agreeable period story in the Masterpiece Theater tradition as an upper-class girl details her encounters with nouveau-riche neighbors in their lakeside mansion where passions flare, parents betray, and true love prevails. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Emma Straub
author of MODERN LOVERS
May 30, 2016

In Emma Straub’s new novel Modern Lovers, friends and former college bandmates Elizabeth and Andrew and Zoe have watched one another marry, buy real estate, and start businesses and families, all while trying to hold on to the identities of their youth. But nothing ages them like having to suddenly pass the torch (of sexuality, independence, and the ineffable alchemy of cool) to their own offspring. Back in the band’s heyday, Elizabeth put on a snarl over her Midwestern smile, Andrew let his unwashed hair grow past his chin, and Zoe was the lesbian all the straight women wanted to sleep with. Now nearing fifty, they all live within shouting distance in the same neighborhood deep in gentrified Brooklyn, and the trappings of the adult world seem to have arrived with ease. But the summer that their children reach maturity (and start sleeping together), the fabric of the adult lives suddenly begins to unravel, and the secrets and revelations that are finally let loose—about themselves, and about the famous fourth band member who soared and fell without them—can never be reclaimed. “Straub’s characters are a quirky and interesting bunch, well aware of their own good fortune, and it’s a pleasure spending time with them in leafy Ditmas Park,” our reviewer writes in a starred review. View video >