Another intelligent and exciting superpowered thriller.

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DIVISIBLE MAN

THE SECOND GHOST

From the Divisible Man series , Vol. 3

A man with the powers of flight and invisibility uses them to help investigate a sex-trafficking ring in this third novel in a series.

Five months ago, Will Stewart, 33, a regional pilot for Essex County Air Services in Wisconsin, survived the crash of his small plane—an accident that remains unexplained. He’s still waiting for a medical evaluation to clear him to fly again and restore his pilot’s license; his neurologist, Dr. Doug Stephenson, is concerned about some imaging results, which show a tangled, wiry structure in Will’s brain. But what Stephenson doesn’t know—and what almost no one else knows—is that the accident left Will with a strange and wonderful gift that he calls “the other thing”: He can become invisible and float in the air. Over the past months, he’s been perfecting a set of hand-operated propulsion devices that give him more control over his ability, which he’s used in two previous adventures to help his 20-something wife, Andrea “Andy” Taylor, a police detective, solve crimes and rescue innocents. Now, one night in early December, Will and Andy are having a rare date night when they get an emergency page from teenage Lane Franklin. She’s in on the secret, as Will used the other thing to save her from abduction a few months before; now his abilities are desperately needed to prevent Lane’s distraught friend from shooting herself. The girl, Sarah, is being blackmailed by someone who has a nude photo of her, taken somehow without her knowledge. Will quickly solves the immediate threat, but the investigation into how the picture was taken points toward a larger, more serious criminal enterprise targeting female high school athletes. Will must push his abilities to their limits in order to bring down the bad guys. As in the previous two outings, Seaborne (Divisible Man: The Sixth Pawn, 2018), a former flight instructor and charter pilot, delivers a solid, well-written tale that taps into the near-universal dream of personal flight. Seaborne makes the other thing integral to the plot in a way that never feels gimmicky, and three novels in, the protagonist is still discovering new and intriguing aspects of his gift. Will’s narrative voice is engaging and crisp, clearly explaining technical matters while never losing sight of humane, emotional concerns. The environments he describes, from regional airlines to big-city police departments, feel absolutely real. Also, as before, the side characters are well-drawn, including Will’s fellow pilot, 22-year-old “Pidge” Page, who’s feisty, foulmouthed, and game for anything—the more dangerous, the better. The plot moves along briskly and has a satisfying conclusion, although the girl-in-trouble plotline is a bit similar to that in the first installment of the series. It also doesn’t follow up on the ending of the second book’s story, which suggested bigger plans for Will’s gift than reconnoitering and rescues. As the protagonist gains more control over the other thing, it would be nice to see him dream a little bigger.

Another intelligent and exciting superpowered thriller.

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-73219-496-0

Page Count: 382

Publisher: Trans World Data

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

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Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

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THE VANISHING HALF

Inseparable identical twin sisters ditch home together, and then one decides to vanish.

The talented Bennett fuels her fiction with secrets—first in her lauded debut, The Mothers (2016), and now in the assured and magnetic story of the Vignes sisters, light-skinned women parked on opposite sides of the color line. Desiree, the “fidgety twin,” and Stella, “a smart, careful girl,” make their break from stultifying rural Mallard, Louisiana, becoming 16-year-old runaways in 1954 New Orleans. The novel opens 14 years later as Desiree, fleeing a violent marriage in D.C., returns home with a different relative: her 8-year-old daughter, Jude. The gossips are agog: “In Mallard, nobody married dark....Marrying a dark man and dragging his blueblack child all over town was one step too far.” Desiree's decision seals Jude’s misery in this “colorstruck” place and propels a new generation of flight: Jude escapes on a track scholarship to UCLA. Tending bar as a side job in Beverly Hills, she catches a glimpse of her mother’s doppelgänger. Stella, ensconced in white society, is shedding her fur coat. Jude, so black that strangers routinely stare, is unrecognizable to her aunt. All this is expertly paced, unfurling before the book is half finished; a reader can guess what is coming. Bennett is deeply engaged in the unknowability of other people and the scourge of colorism. The scene in which Stella adopts her white persona is a tour de force of doubling and confusion. It calls up Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, the book's 50-year-old antecedent. Bennett's novel plays with its characters' nagging feelings of being incomplete—for the twins without each other; for Jude’s boyfriend, Reese, who is trans and seeks surgery; for their friend Barry, who performs in drag as Bianca. Bennett keeps all these plot threads thrumming and her social commentary crisp. In the second half, Jude spars with her cousin Kennedy, Stella's daughter, a spoiled actress.

Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-53629-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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More Hallmarkiana, from a shameless expert in the genre.

THE RESCUE

High-stakes weepmeister Sparks (A Walk to Remember, 1999, etc.) opts for a happy ending his fourth time out. His writing has improved—though it's still the equivalent of paint-by-numbers—and he makes use this time of at least a vestige of credible psychology.

That vestige involves the deep dark secret—it has something to do with his father's death when son Taylor was nine—that haunts kind, good 36-year-old local contractor Taylor McAden and makes him withdraw from relationships whenever they start getting serious enough to maybe get permanent. He's done this twice before, and now he does it again with pretty and sweet single mother Denise Holton, age 29, who's moved from Atlanta to Taylor's town of Edenton, North Carolina, in order to devote her time more fully to training her four-year-old son Kyle to overcome the peculiar impediment he has that keeps him from achieving normal language acquisition. Okay? When Denise has a car accident in a bad storm, she's rescued by volunteer fireman Taylor—who also rescues little Kyle after he wanders away from his injured mom in the storm. Love blooms in the weeks that follow—until Taylor suddenly begins putting on the brakes. What is it that holds him back, when there just isn't any question but that he loves Denise and vice versa-not to mention that he's "great" with Kyle, just like a father? It will require a couple of near-death experiences (as fireman Taylor bravely risks his life to save others); emotional steadiness from the intelligent, good, true Denise; and the terrible death of a dear and devoted friend before Taylor will come to the point at last of confiding to Denise the terrible memory of how his father died—and the guilt that's been its legacy to Taylor. The psychological dam broken, love will at last be able to flow.

More Hallmarkiana, from a shameless expert in the genre.

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2000

ISBN: 0-446-52550-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2000

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