THUNDER POINT

After 20 years of writing both WW II and contemporary thrillers, Higgins combines the two in a breakneck yarn about the wreck of a Nazi submarine—and its bombshell secret. There's always much disbelief to suspend with a Higgins novel, and never more than here, where the author, per his usual recycling, revives two characters from Eye of the Storm (1992) in an incredible way. The story begins in 1945 as Hitler gives Martin Bormann a briefcase containing a document signed by the Duke of Windsor, agreeing to his ascent to the throne after a Nazi invasion of Britain. Cut to 1992 and the Caribbean island of St. John, where a diver chances upon a sunken Nazi sub and pulls from it the captain's log. The diver flies to London; there, a translation of the log indicates that the sub carried Bormann to America, where he escaped just before the sub sank—with his briefcase still aboard. Word of the find reaches British intelligence honcho Charles Ferguson, who, conferring with the PM, determines that the Windsor document must be retrieved—but the diver is accidentally killed before he reveals the sub's location. So who does Ferguson tap to find the sunken vessel? Not an SAS agent or even James Bond, but IRA assassin Sean Dillon, who tangled with Ferguson in Eye of the Storm when the Irishman tried to blow up British PM John Major. The absurdity of Dillon working for Ferguson aside, the action whips along as the two fly to St. John, where—aided by a young lovely (who's a typically chaste Higgins heroine: there's no sex here)- -they scramble to find the sub. Meanwhile, a venal British blueblood and his drug-smuggling Cuban ally, both with family ties to Nazism, are determined to reach the sub first.... Manly action with cliffhangers galore that's too derivative and contrived to be Higgins's best—but that's close enough to hit the charts with a wallop.

Pub Date: June 23, 1993

ISBN: 0-399-13835-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1993

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An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.

THE AUTHENTICITY PROJECT

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.

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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