A complex tale that introduces two sleuths at the beginning of a beautiful friendship.


A brilliant New Jersey police lieutenant hunts a megalomaniacal murderer in Graysol’s debut procedural.

A masked gunman who calls himself “Alpha” takes engineer Phil Bolton and his law professor wife, Jennifer, hostage in their home in South Orange, New Jersey. A ghostwritten newspaper editorial calls for a justice-reform protest march on Newark City Hall. A dozen masked gunmen, led by a refined villain (reminiscent of Die Hard’s Hans Gruber) who self-identifies as “Righteous,” take control of a prison. Newark cop Ted Carson must determine how these events are linked and figure out what Righteous’ horrific agenda is. Carson soon discovers that his own participation in the case was part of Righteous’ diabolical plan. The mystery of the villain’s actual identity drives this densely plotted thriller. Righteous seems to have anticipated every move that the police make against him, but he makes one crucial error—he kills Bolton, and his brilliant wife swears to avenge his death: “You played with fire, asshole,” she vows, and she forms a risky, rule-breaking partnership with Carson. “You’ve got to treat me like a deputy,” she implores the cop, so that they can work together “to catch this jerk.” Carson is on board, but will he do what needs to be done, whatever the cost? Graysol’s novel benefits from his own experience as an attorney in New York City law firms. Rather than recycle familiar tropes and clichés from countless movies and TV shows, the author instead writes with an authentic sense of how lawyers and detectives really think, as when Carson observes at one point, “Coincidences are usually clues in disguise.” Earlier, after an unproductive witness interview, Graysol has the cop reflect, “When you hit a brick wall with the storyline, scrutinize the words people choose.” Indeed, as this intricate tale unfolds, it turns out that one word, in particular, points to Righteous’ true identity—just one of many clever revelations in this satisfying mystery, which also manages to set the stage for a sequel.

A complex tale that introduces two sleuths at the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-1-73291-670-8

Page Count: 266

Publisher: Kurti Publishing

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

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

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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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More about grief and tragedy than romance.


Five friends meet on their first day of kindergarten at the exclusive Atwood School and remain lifelong friends through tragedy and triumph.

When Gabby, Billy, Izzie, Andy and Sean meet in the toy kitchen of the kindergarten classroom on their first day of school, no one can know how strong the group’s friendship will remain. Despite their different personalities and interests, the five grow up together and become even closer as they come into their own talents and life paths. But tragedy will strike and strike again. Family troubles, abusive parents, drugs, alcohol, stress, grief and even random bad luck will put pressure on each of them individually and as a group. Known for her emotional romances, Steel makes a bit of a departure with this effort that follows a group of friends through young adulthood. But even as one tragedy after another befalls the friends, the impact of the events is blunted by a distant narrative style that lacks emotional intensity. 

More about grief and tragedy than romance.

Pub Date: July 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-34321-3

Page Count: 322

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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