This is a rollicking adventure with religious, philosophical, and technological overtones; for science fiction die-hards.

The Dark

WE ALL HAVE OUR DEMONS

When a dimension-hopping spacecraft ventures beyond the boundaries of the universe, literally ending up nowhere, strange and disturbing events play havoc with it.

Carr (Messages, 2013, etc.) has a real talent for constructing living, breathing characters: Cermeno, a Queeg-like captain with a questionable past who, through nepotism, has bumped De Vegas, a more competent officer, to second-in-command; Jervis, a womanizing reporter; Teal, a drunken priest; and Nunn, a disfigured loner. Add to this a pedophile and a crew with a surfeit of jealousies, gripes, and motives; toss them all aboard untested space-faring technology heading off into the unknown and….What could go wrong? After a tantalizing, action-filled prologue, Carr takes time to establish these volatile characters. He cleverly uses a mission press conference to quickly introduce the cast before sending them on their way. The craft, aptly named the Santa Maria, makes use of a new technology harnessing the science behind supernatural phenomenon such as a poltergeist, which are caused by dimensional glitches. It works flawlessly on the way. Once the ship leaves the universe for a perfect vacuum, however, all hell breaks loose. In a quantum nothingness where anything can happen, everything does, from personal demons come to life to interdimensional kidnappings. As systems fail, the crew dwindles, and survivors must overcome one impossibility after another. Part sci-fi, part psychological drama, part zombie apocalypse, the thrillfest starts early and continues till the end. The author slowly showcases his cast, lighting them from different angles. Nunn is first given her own extended scene interacting with her cat and Wilson, the computer she designed. But Carr can also sum up a character like Cermeno in a few brush strokes: “his slightly self-deprecating humor—a tactic with which he was not totally comfortable but that his consultants assured him would be good for his image.”

This is a rollicking adventure with religious, philosophical, and technological overtones; for science fiction die-hards.

Pub Date: May 30, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-692-43602-8

Page Count: 300

Publisher: Premonition Media

Review Posted Online: July 24, 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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Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

BAREFOOT

Privileged 30-somethings hide from their woes in Nantucket.

Hilderbrand’s saga follows the lives of Melanie, Brenda and Vicki. Vicki, alpha mom and perfect wife, is battling late-stage lung cancer and, in an uncharacteristically flaky moment, opts for chemotherapy at the beach. Vicki shares ownership of a tiny Nantucket cottage with her younger sister Brenda. Brenda, a literature professor, tags along for the summer, partly out of familial duty, partly because she’s fleeing the fallout from her illicit affair with a student. As for Melanie, she gets a last minute invite from Vicki, after Melanie confides that Melanie’s husband is having an affair. Between Melanie and Brenda, Vicki feels her two young boys should have adequate supervision, but a disastrous first day on the island forces the trio to source some outside help. Enter Josh, the adorable and affable local who is hired to tend to the boys. On break from college, Josh learns about the pitfalls of mature love as he falls for the beauties in the snug abode. Josh likes beer, analysis-free relationships and hot older women. In a word, he’s believable. In addition to a healthy dose of testosterone, the novel is balanced by powerful descriptions of Vicki’s bond with her two boys. Emotions run high as she prepares for death.

Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

Pub Date: July 2, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-316-01858-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2007

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