A fast-paced, tangled mystery with an eerie sci-fi twist.

A BLOSSOM

Crime drama meets sci-fi mayhem in Chloe’s (No Last Tattoo, 2013, etc.) haunting alien thriller.

Natt Whitehall is no stranger to alien life forms—he’s conducted extensive scientific research on the subject—but he finds himself helplessly looking on as his innocent sandwich run turns into an otherworldly nightmare at just after 9:30 on a dark night in Los Angeles. As Natt walks down the street, a mysterious teenage boy plunges pointy objects into the necks of two dark, hooded creatures before departing from the scene. Natt’s frantic 911 call summons the unflappable Gina O’Neill, an FBI agent and former lover with a formidable talent for solving crimes. Together, Natt and O’Neill embark on an investigation into a strange series of attacks that have resulted in skinned human bodies washing up on the shores of Malibu. The investigation leads them to Ziarre, the strange, deeply troubled owner of a car seen at the crime scene, and her grandfather Christian Donaldson. As Ziarre’s story unfolds, so does the dark history of the U.S. government’s involvement with a synthetically engineered breed of aliens known as bio-soldiers. Complicated by the presence of Ziarre’s sinister boss, Joe Evans, the plot unfolds in a heart-stopping web of drugs, sex, violence—and one young woman’s painful trail of self-discovery. Chloe’s writing is alive with detail—brand-name pizza receives just as much attention as alien attacks, and the result is a rare sense of verisimilitude that makes the presence of aliens in modern-day California feel all the more real and chilling. The action unfolds quickly, but Chloe’s tendency to give blow-by-blow descriptions of minor movements can make even sex scenes and alien onslaughts feel belabored and somewhat slow. The rapid shifts in time and point of view can feel haphazard and abrupt, too, and it takes a careful reader to follow the twists and turns of the complex yet compelling plot.

A fast-paced, tangled mystery with an eerie sci-fi twist.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1452578743

Page Count: 112

Publisher: BalboaPress

Review Posted Online: Nov. 22, 2013

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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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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

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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