A smart, timely thriller that would benefit from less meandering into the minds of secondary characters.


The Fisherman's Stamp

With scheming scientists, abductions and romance, this globe-trotting debut thriller has something for everyone.

Early one evening in Arès, a quiet French village near the Atlantic coast, a retired nuclear power worker and stamp trader named Claude Moreau disappears while cycling home. When he’s discovered the next morning, he has no memory of where he’s been, but he has a hypodermic mark in his left shoulder, a sedative in his blood and a puncture in one of his veins. Unbeknownst to the fisherman, it was a casual conversation he’d had months before with a doctor specializing in nuclear medicine that placed him in the middle of an international race to perfect an anti-radiation medication. When Moreau chatted with the doctor, René Ebadi, about stamps in the Bordeaux Public Garden, Moreau mentioned that he’d been exposed to radiation. Although his co-workers’ tests showed signs of exposure, his did not. Ebadi bought a stamp and jogged home but started to wonder “if there was more to his non-reaction to the radiation exposure than he had let on, or was even aware of.” Simultaneously, in Pittsburgh, an American biotech company named Mirrenzyme was trying to bring its own anti-radiation medication to market. When one of Ebadi’s subordinates attends the European International Radiation Protection Association Congress in Paris, Mirrenzyme’s security team learns about the existence of a nuclear power worker with a suspected natural immunity to radiation. The possibility of a naturally occurring protein that could protect humans from radiation sets the novel’s main events in motion. Greenham takes the reader around the world as his characters endure abductions, fall in love and conduct scientific research. Will the French or the Americans be the first to develop a medication that can protect humans from radiation? The suspenseful opening scene successfully draws readers in, making them concerned for Moreau’s fate. Greenham also has a knack for weaving complex scientific and legal information into the narrative. For example, the consequences of radiation exposure are explained when, after being exposed to a dirty bomb, a U.S. senator discusses his test results with a doctor. Elsewhere, the otherwise breakneck pace is occasionally slowed by Greenham’s choice to dip into the thoughts of too many minor characters. For instance, at one point, he dives into the thoughts of Ebadi’s assistant, who plays a small role in the plot. These kinds of digressions occur too frequently for an otherwise taut actioner.

A smart, timely thriller that would benefit from less meandering into the minds of secondary characters.

Pub Date: Dec. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-1457516801

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Dog Ear Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller


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

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?