Herein, an effort by Davis (The Princess and the Pauper, Silk Lady, etc.) to meld the crime and glitz fiction genres, using as glue a Kama Sutra of kinky sex, a sampan full of off- kilter characters, and an exotic backdrop—Hong Kong, ``a city on the edge, emotionally and geographically,'' approaching its l997 unification with mainland China. Hong Kong Police Superintendent Clement Leslie is unmarried, devoted to serving his Queen; he's a man who prefers old Fred Astaire movies to pornography, and is probably too sensitive for his job, which, as this book opens, includes surveying the remains of two white teen-agers who have been sexually abused and brutally murdered while making love in a park. The dead girl's mom, classy Maggie Evans, a designer of jade jewelry, blames herself for her daughter's slaying, since she herself is Hong Kong's most inexhaustible nymphomaniac. Meanwhile, to the city on the edge come: recent widow and song-writer Claire Black, easy prey of the British ``toyboy'' and hare-brained financial schemer James Bingham; Louise Felder, a tough-skinned, foul mouthed Hollywood agent who represents an Asian ex-porn star and who does her best to infuriate the Hong Kong Mafia; and Erica Thorn, beautiful bait in a trap set by a group of angry Philadelphia divorcÇes to catch a rich man and then suck him dry via Erica. And that's only a few of the people in this over spiced stew that wastes most of its time introducing readers to its characters' sex obsessions, leaving the murder plot to go bad before it ever ripens. When Leslie at last pulls the culprits out of his hat, they turn out to be the teen-age members of an Asian tap dance club! Davis hasn't managed to infuse her no-show plot with sense or suspense or to create characters worth caring for; in fact, the only thing there's no dearth of here is soft-core porn.

Pub Date: May 14, 1991

ISBN: 0-446-51584-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1991

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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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