A worthwhile thriller, primarily for fans of military action.



In Ortega’s debut thriller, a U.S. Navy SEAL commander finds his personal life shattered by a kidnapping.

Ryan Williams is fiercely devoted to his fellow SEALs. As this novel opens, he throws himself on a grenade to save them during a firefight with terrorists who previously made an attempt on the life of the president of the United States. The grenade never goes off, but those seconds awaiting death haunt him long after he returns home. But as he considers retirement in order to devote himself more fully to his family, his children are kidnapped by members of a South American drug cartel. He realizes that he’ll need to use his considerable military skills to mount a rescue. Indeed, Williams is nearly superhuman in his talents and virtues: An expert marksman, he earned a black belt in karate at 14 and holds a fifth-degree black belt in the traditional Japanese art of ninjutsu. He also seems completely devoid of vices. These traits may make it hard for readers to develop very much empathy with him. Although over-the-top heroes aren’t unusual in thrillers, this book’s first-person narration amplifies the problem, as Williams often mentions how wonderful he is. Early on, the prose is sometimes unpolished: “We had advised the president that we didn’t think it was wise and that it was a very unsafe idea.” However, once the real action begins, these problems melt away. The prose becomes crisp with excitement, the pace quickens, and Williams finally becomes human, now that he’s facing a personal dilemma beyond anything he’s encountered in war. What’s more, Ortega infuses the action scenes with realism and adds a dark element to the final outcome that elevates it beyond the action genre.

A worthwhile thriller, primarily for fans of military action.

Pub Date: July 2, 2014

ISBN: 978-0615895444

Page Count: 266

Publisher: Infinitude Publishing

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2014

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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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Cheerfully engaging.


From Australian Moriarty (The Last Anniversary, 2006, etc.), domestic escapism about a woman whose temporary amnesia makes her re-examine what really matters to her.

Alice wakes from what she thinks is a dream, assuming she is a recently married 29-year-old expecting her first child. Actually she is 39, the mother of three and in the middle of an acrimonious custody battle with her soon-to-be ex-husband Nick. She’s fallen off her exercise bike, and the resulting bump on her head has not only erased her memory of the last 10 years but has also taken her psychologically back to a younger, more easygoing self at odds with the woman she gathers she has become. While Alice-at-29 is loving and playful if lacking ambition or self-confidence, Alice-at-39 is a highly efficient if too tightly wound supermom. She is also thin and rich since Nick now heads the company where she remembers him struggling in an entry-level position. Alice-at-29 cannot conceive that she and Nick would no longer be rapturously in love or that she and her adored older sister Elisabeth could be estranged, and she is shocked that her shy mother has married Nick’s bumptious father and taken up salsa dancing. She neither remembers nor recognizes her three children, each given a distinct if slightly too cute personality. Nor does she know what to make of the perfectly nice boyfriend Alice-at-39 has acquired. As memory gradually returns, Alice-at-29 initially misinterprets the scattered images and flashes of emotion, especially those concerning Gina, a woman who evidently caused the rift with Nick. Alice-at-29 assumes Gina was Nick’s mistress, only to discover that Gina was her best friend. Gina died in a freak car accident and in her honor, Alice-at-39 has organized mothers from the kids’ school to bake the largest lemon meringue pie on record. But Alice-at-29 senses that Gina may not have been a completely positive influence. Moriarty handles the two Alice consciousnesses with finesse and also delves into infertility issues through Elizabeth’s diary.

Cheerfully engaging.

Pub Date: June 2, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-15718-9

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Amy Einhorn/Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

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