Although a bit too enamored of the traditions and myths surrounding the Texas Rangers, Bean (Lorena, not reviewed, etc.) does a commendable job in this action-filled adventure set in the East Texas oil fields in the 1930s. The story opens with the murder of hapless wildcatter Bill Dodd on the eve of his registration of a mineral-rights oil lease. Dodd's murder is simply one more violent act in the virtually lawless environs of the east Texas fields, and local authorities ignore it. Texas Ranger Lee Garrett is told to quietly investigate the killing, in response to Dodd's widow's complaint that he was killed by people who wanted to steal the lease. Almost immediately, Garrett discovers that there's more to the case than a simple act of murder and robbery. Tracing Dodd's associations through a prostitute, Molly Brown, Garrett begins to connect the nefarious dealings around the drilling rigs to organized crime in New York. In the meantime, another ranger, Roy Woods, is working with Treasury agents to shut down bootlegging operations in the nearby piney woods. Soon the two rangers are brought together. They tie corrupt officials to Eastern gangsters and discover that the real power behind the crime wave may be none other than Texas oil tycoon H.L. Hunt. Garrett's investigation is complicated by his growing love for the somewhat mysterious Molly. Tension increases as debates between Garrett and Woods over how lawmen should conduct themselves divide the two Rangers and seem to forecast future changes in policies and procedures long held sacred by the rough and ready Rangers. Though burdened by clichÇ, a plodding plot, and a tendency toward the sentimental, the novel holds the reader's interest, thanks to Bean's deft hand at character development and his knowledge of the period. The climactic action scenes are well constructed, and the dialogue, though often repetitive, is natural and true to the time and place.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-312-86062-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Forge

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1997

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An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.


A group of strangers who live near each other in London become fast friends after writing their deepest secrets in a shared notebook.

Julian Jessop, a septuagenarian artist, is bone-crushingly lonely when he starts “The Authenticity Project”—as he titles a slim green notebook—and begins its first handwritten entry questioning how well people know each other in his tiny corner of London. After 15 years on his own mourning the loss of his beloved wife, he begins the project with the aim that whoever finds the little volume when he leaves it in a cafe will share their true self with their own entry and then pass the volume on to a stranger. The second person to share their inner selves in the notebook’s pages is Monica, 37, owner of a failing cafe and a former corporate lawyer who desperately wants to have a baby. From there the story unfolds, as the volume travels to Thailand and back to London, seemingly destined to fall only into the hands of people—an alcoholic drug addict, an Australian tourist, a social media influencer/new mother, etc.—who already live clustered together geographically. This is a glossy tale where difficulties and addictions appear and are overcome, where lies are told and then forgiven, where love is sought and found, and where truths, once spoken, can set you free. Secondary characters, including an interracial gay couple, appear with their own nuanced parts in the story. The message is strong, urging readers to get off their smartphones and social media and live in the real, authentic world—no chain stores or brands allowed here—making friends and forming a real-life community and support network. And is that really a bad thing?

An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7861-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.


A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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