An engaging, light read spiced with Big Easy irreverence.

A PLACE UNCHANGED

From the New Orleans Mystery series , Vol. 3

In Sanchez’s (Exploration’s End, 2018, etc.) third mystery-series installment, thespian and part-time sleuth Jeff Chaussier returns to New Orleans, prepared to marry his fiancee—before their world turns upside down.   

Jeff wakes up next to his girlfriend, Bryna, still disoriented after a flight from London following an acting tour. He evidently overindulged in liquid courage during his trans-Atlantic journey—or was he drugged? When the doorbell rings, Bryna heads downstairs and, within moments, someone kidnaps her. Frantic and naked, Jeff runs into the street, but she’s nowhere to be found. He calls the police, but when a rookie cop talks disrespectfully about Bryna, Jeff becomes violent, leading to his arrest. After his release, the distraught hero goes on a lengthy drunken binge that lands him in the hospital. Because Jeff is the narrator of this tale, readers, for better or worse, share his detox experience as well as his recovery with the help of friends in a support group. The section describing Jeff’s delirium offers a visceral portrait of his temporarily tortured psyche, but it also indulges in a lengthy tangent. Finally, healed in body if not quite in soul, Jeff embarks on the journey to rescue Bryana. Fortunately, many people who have his back, including his three brothers, Charley, Space, and BroBoo; New Orleans Police Capt. Ramirez; and other longtime friends. He also gets the protection of a mysterious, powerful family whose daughter and granddaughter he helped return in the previous series installment. Once Jeff gets his mojo back, there’s enough action to keep the narrative interesting, including a few shootouts. The large, diverse, and eccentric cast also provides plenty of amusing entertainment throughout. Although readers will certainly benefit from reading the series in sequence, Sanchez does his due diligence in catching readers up on past events, and as a result, the novel can be enjoyed as a stand-alone. The author ends the story with a surprising cliffhanger, leading fans to the next installment.

An engaging, light read spiced with Big Easy irreverence.

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-72380-777-0

Page Count: 244

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2019

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ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH

While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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A touching family drama that effectively explores the negative impact of stress on fragile relationships.

A WEEK AT THE SHORE

A middle-aged woman returns to her childhood home to care for her ailing father, confronting many painful secrets from her past.

When Mallory Aldiss gets a call from a long-ago boyfriend telling her that her elderly father has been gallivanting around town with a gun in his hand, Mallory decides it’s time to return to the small Rhode Island town that she’s been avoiding for more than a decade. Mallory’s precocious 13-year-old daughter, Joy, is thrilled that she'll get to meet her grandfather at long last, and an aunt, too, and she'll finally see the place where her mother grew up. When they arrive in Bay Bluff, it’s barely a few hours before Mallory bumps into her old flame, Jack, the only man she’s ever really loved. Gone is the rebellious young person she remembers, and in his place stands a compassionate, accomplished adult. As they try to reconnect, Mallory realizes that the same obstacle that pushed them apart decades earlier is still standing in their way: Jack blames Mallory’s father for his mother’s death. No one knows exactly how Jack’s mother died, but Jack thinks a love affair between her and Mallory’s father had something to do with it. As Jack and Mallory chase down answers, Mallory also tries to repair her rocky relationships with her two sisters and determine why her father has always been so hard on her. Told entirely from Mallory’s perspective, the novel has a haunting, nostalgic quality. Despite the complex and overlapping layers to the history of Bay Bluff and its inhabitants, the book at times trudges too slowly through Mallory’s meanderings down Memory Lane. Even so, Delinsky sometimes manages to pick up the pace, and in those moments the beauty and nuance of this complicated family tale shine through. Readers who don’t mind skimming past details that do little to advance the plot may find that the juicier nuggets and realistically rendered human connections are worth the effort.

A touching family drama that effectively explores the negative impact of stress on fragile relationships.

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-11951-3

Page Count: 416

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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