An enjoyable, sexy, light mystery with likable characters.

EXPLORATION'S END

From the New Orleans Mystery series , Vol. 2

An actor and amateur sleuth returns to the Crescent City to deal with a family complication in this second installment of a series.

Jeff Chaussier has been away from New Orleans for the past few years, plying his trade on the Midwestern theater circuit and trying to keep himself distracted from thoughts of Bryna, the girl he left behind: “Really, it was my reluctance to face her hurt and anger that kept me far up the Mississippi.” Now, his mother and Aunt Marie are worried that Jeff’s cousin Cal, Marie’s son, is in some sort of trouble. He is enrolled at a university, is involved in a theatrical production, and may have a girlfriend. But “his behavior had changed and he had become secretive. He kept odd hours and his comings and goings were erratic and hard to chart.” As Jeff begins nosing around, he finds himself immersed in another chaotic and dangerous caper that includes a very tempting gastronomic tour of New Orleans’ hidden treasures. He seeks help and advice from his family and an impressive array of quirky friends, including an ex-Marine and his wife, also a former Marine, who own and perform in a female impersonator club. Everybody seems to know something but no one offers enough clues to solve the Cal puzzle. And, of course, there’s the beautiful Bryna, whom Jeff finally seeks out only to discover her with a baby girl. He assumes she has moved on without him. Add in drug dealers flooding the city with their wares and a mysterious missing young woman, not to mention an abundance of reasonably tasteful bedroom scenes, and the tale delivers plenty of action to keep the novel engaging. While the story has a few loose threads, Sanchez (Lit by Lightning, 2014, etc.) creates appealing characters and vivid images, his prose elevated by a flair for the absurd: “A cigar and a Marine tattoo did not go well with a blonde wig and mascara, but Tommy was between shows.” Still, many female readers are likely to find Jeff’s frequent playful slapping of Bryna’s naked derriere (she always “yelps”) less than amusing.

An enjoyable, sexy, light mystery with likable characters.

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-72380-970-5

Page Count: 267

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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