Even more entertaining than its predecessor—a great read.

DIVISIBLE MAN

THE SIXTH PAWN

In this novel, second in a series, a pilot who can float invisibly helps his police-sergeant wife investigate a violent wedding robbery.

Married couple Will Stewart and Andrea “Andy” Taylor aren’t movers and shakers. He’s a regional pilot for Essex County Air Services in Wisconsin, on temporary suspension until the accident that injured him and wrecked his plane is fully investigated. She’s a police sergeant in Essex County, Wisconsin. Nevertheless, they’re attending a society wedding filled with billionaires because Andy belongs to a book club with the bride, kindergarten teacher (and Sen. Bob Stone’s daughter) Sandra, who’s marrying Todd Jameson, a political up-and-comer close to the governor. But the fancy wedding ends in tragedy when masked gunmen burst in, stealing cash gifts and terrorizing the crowd with gunshots—one fatally wounds the bride’s father. Since his accident, for still-unexplained reasons, Will can become invisible and float like an astronaut in space, but he lacks propulsion and is limited by the need for a tether, though he’s been trying to perfect a more reliable propulsion method for “the other thing,” as he dubs his ability. Doing his best, Will uses the other thing to get closer to the bad guys before their escape, and he learns a few details. The one in charge, for example, has a neo-Nazi tattoo on his hand. This clue helps lead Andy to a rural hideout for white supremacists, but signs point to a larger, more sinister political conspiracy. With Sandra now in danger, Andy, Will, and fellow pilot Cassidy Evelyn “Pidge” Page, 22, mount a daring rescue that will test Pidge’s aviation skills to the utmost. But the real behind-the-scenes player remains untouchable thanks to wealth and power—unless Will can bring off a bold and cunning plan. Seaborne (Divisible Man, 2018), a former flight instructor and charter pilot, once again gives readers a crisply written thriller. Even minor observations are sharp: A midcentury motel, for example, looks “like a row of shoe boxes, glued together side by side.” Self-powered flight is a potent fantasy, and Seaborne explores its joys and difficulties engagingly. Will’s narrative voice is amusing, intelligent, and humane; he draws readers in with his wit, appreciation for his wife, and his flight-drunk joy. The dialogue throughout is snappy and does a fine job of revealing character, as, for example, when Earl Jackson, Will’s crusty but heart-of-gold boss, tells Sandra “Your dad and I never fight. I enlighten. He chooses not to be enlightened.” Action, too, illuminates character; for example, a dangerous flying maneuver shows Pidge’s badass, death-defying skill and bravery. Seaborne chooses his villains well, with timely links to torn-from-the-headlines issues like for-profit prisons. The book’s several action set pieces are well-orchestrated and exciting, with big emotional payoffs. The ending is surprising and offers deep satisfaction while also suggesting a new, intriguing direction for Will to use his abilities. Readers will be impatient for the novel’s planned sequel.

Even more entertaining than its predecessor—a great read.

Pub Date: June 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-73219-491-5

Page Count: 326

Publisher: Trans World Data

Review Posted Online: July 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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A LITTLE LIFE

Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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