Why would Bruce Willis snap this up for a million dollars? Because it feels safely familiar, with a wild hook added by Huggins, author of three action thrillers (Leviathan, etc., not reviewed) for the Christian market. Army scientist Dr. Maggie Milton (Milton, as in Paradise Lost) has created a Frankenstein supersoldier. She's taken the body of a dead soldier, named Cain, who had highly unusual genes (XYY), altered them, rebuilt him with titanium armor, and primed him with all manner of super devices, including nearly instant self-healing flesh in case of wounds, and fangs for chewing up enemy bodies to replenish his lowered RNA. Unfortunately, to do all of this she's had to inject him with a mutated strain of Marburg virus, the deadliest virus known, which, if released, could wipe out all life on Earth within weeks. What the Army doesn't know is that Satan has in fact entered their supersoldier, endowing him with a galactic hunger for evil and apocalyptic plans of his own—and suddenly he's on the loose, with his super speed and his ability to rip through steel like paper! Who can stop him? Well, polymathic Marine Colonel James L. Soloman might be able to. Retired since the death of his wife and daughter (for which he blames himself), he's kept himself in almost superhuman Spartan condition at his home in Death Valley. Soloman, recruited to cancel out Cain quietly, tries a variety of lethal gambits to stop him, but none of them work. Cain, it turns out, is actually seeking Maggie's daughter Amy, intending to make a human sacrifice of her before unleashing the Marburg virus on mankind. Eventually, Soloman, whose plans go awry, loses the help of the intelligence forces. Cain/Satan survives all the ordnance used against him, rants in biblical fustian, and prepares Amy for his great black mass as time runs out for the human race. Staggering, galactically gruesome comic-strip, a natural for bouncing Bruce.

Pub Date: July 7, 1997

ISBN: 0-684-83403-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1997

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

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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

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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

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