Fiction & Literature Book Reviews (page 1809)

HALEY, TEXAS 1959 by Donley Watt
Released: Nov. 15, 1999

"Watt is a capable stylist, but he needs a subject."
Two deeply disappointing, pallid novellas, identified as fictionalized autobiography, by the author of the story collection Can You Get There from Here? (1994). Read full book review >
CHRISTMAS POEMS by John Hollander
Released: Nov. 13, 1999

"As with any bright scatter beneath the tree, this one has its disappointments and redundancies, but the spirit of the collection is generous and has a delightful quality of surprise."
An anthology of Christmas poetry, from Milton to Schnackenberg, that gives an appealing twinkle to many familiar ornaments by hanging them with a tasteful selection of contemporary pieces and older, often neglected works that deserve the fresh polish they receive here. Read full book review >

MIRACLE by Connie Willis
Released: Nov. 9, 1999

"Put this at the top of your Must Buy holiday shopping list."
The witty author of the splendid, multi-award—winning Doomsday Book (1992) and its quasi sequel, To Say Nothing of the Dog (1997), here collects a sheaf of six yuletide tales she's published annually in Asimov's magazine, plus two previously unpublished stories. Read full book review >
BROKEN WINGS by John Douglas
Released: Nov. 9, 1999

"Even so, Douglas and Olshaker keep the pages burning. (Author tour)"
Douglas, the FBI's famous Mindhunter of Thomas Harris's novels, has collaborated with Olshaker on four previous nonfiction books about profiling serial killers and other baddies (The Anatomy of a Motive: The FBI's Legendary Mindhunter Explores the Key to Understanding and Catching Violent Criminals, p. 770, etc.). Read full book review >
HIGH TIDE by Jude Deveraux
Released: Nov. 9, 1999

"Should float to the top like a bar of soap in a hot tub."
The latest from megaseller Deveraux (Rembrance, 1994) hits on a cleanly written meet-cute opening sure to hook her readers for the distance. Read full book review >

THE MENTOR by Sebastian Stuart
Released: Nov. 9, 1999

"As Charles's own beloved mentor, a saintly writing teacher retired from Dartmouth, tells him: Too commercial. (Book-of-the-Month Club alternate)"
Stuart's high-rent, low-plausibility debut thriller pits three New York sharpies against one another to see who can be most ruthless. Read full book review >
RHAPSODY by Judith Gould
Released: Nov. 8, 1999

"Even with the dropping of some upscale labels you won—t find in Jackie Collins, a fairly lackluster kitchen-sinker."
Once again, Gould (Till the End of Time, 1998, etc.) brokers soapy transactions among the very rich and gorgeous. Read full book review >
THE VOYAGE by Philip Caputo
Released: Nov. 8, 1999

"The novel isn't especially shapely, but it's been scrupulously researched, strongly imagined, and painstakingly hammered together: those who plunge headlong into its dark waters will not soon forget the experience. (First printing of 40,000; Book-of-the-Month alternate selection)"
Comparisons with Melville and Conrad will occur to readers of this pungent tale of perilous maritime adventure—a notable departure for the author of Exiles (1997), etc. But the story is also about family unhappiness, its closest analogues (as the last line implicitly acknowledges) to be found in Faulkner's brooding studies of overweening ambition, pride, miscegenation, and madness. Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 5, 1999

"Intelligent, sensitive, and unflaggingly honest: a novel deserving of its place among the chronicles not only of that war but of its era."
A never exaggerated and always engaging first novel that explores the whole of a Vietnam GI's life, by Kirkus contributor and former Booklist editor Mort (the collections Tanks, 1987;The Walnut King, 1990, not reviewed). Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 4, 1999

"Readers who aren't immediately glutted, and persevere through the calculated blasphemies and obscenities, will gratefully savor the fruits of Ducornet's hothouse imagination."
It's been a good year for the dark and satanic Marquis, what with a major biography and translations of his short stories and letters from prison—and now this fetchingly perverted novel from America's answer to Angela Carter (and perhaps Isak Dinesen), the author of such baroque fiction as The Complete Butcher's Tales (1994) and Phosphor in Dreamland (1995). Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 3, 1999

"Begiebing undoubtedly tried to do too much here, but readers who accept his story's eccentric pacing and unusual texture will be grateful for his efforts."
An American woman's awakening to her vocation as artist and freed spirit is the subject of this impressively researched and detailed, if undramatic, historical by the author of The Strange Death of Mistress Coffin (1991), etc. Begiebing's eponymous heroine and narrator begins her story "in captivity," in 1839, after she's been abducted by Joseph Dudley, the scapegrace son of a wealthy Massachusetts mill-owner who's commissioned the young widow, a gifted "traveling painter," to execute portraits of his family. Read full book review >
GLYPH by Percival Everett
Released: Nov. 1, 1999

"A smart, rollicking sendup, but to grasp it all requires patience and an insider's knowledge of the deconstructionist game—making it a story not for everyone."
Grabbing academia where it hurts the most, by its swollen, unintelligible poststructuralist theories, the prolific Everett (Frenzy, 1997, etc.) uses a most unlikely foil: a genius baby who reads and writes but refuses to speak, striking fear into his parents and all those who kidnap him for their own nefarious ends. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Brad Parks
author of SAY NOTHING
March 7, 2017

In Brad Parks’ new thriller Say Nothing, judge Scott Sampson doesn’t brag about having a perfect life, but the evidence is clear: a prestigious job. A beloved family. On an ordinary Wednesday afternoon, he is about to pick up his six-year-old twins to go swimming when his wife, Alison, texts him that she’ll get the kids from school instead. It’s not until she gets home later that Scott realizes she doesn’t have the children. And she never sent the text. Then the phone rings, and every parent’s most chilling nightmare begins. A man has stolen Sam and Emma. For Scott and Alison, the kidnapper’s call is only the beginning of a twisting, gut-churning ordeal of blackmail, deceit, and terror; a high-profile trial like none the judge or his wife has ever experienced. Their marriage falters. Suspicions and long-buried jealousies rise to the surface. Fractures appear. Lies are told. “The nerve-shredding never lets up for a minute as Parks picks you up by the scruff of the neck, shakes you vigorously, and repeats over and over again till a climax so harrowing that you’ll be shaking with gratitude that it’s finally over,” our critic writes in a starred review. View video >