A skillfully written, well-researched book.

AMERICAN GHOST

Owens brings a dark period of history to light in a book about Southern allegiances, racial tensions and shameful acts.

When anthropology student Sam Lense shows up to research the Indian population in tiny Hendrix, Fla., he has far deeper reasons for wanting to be there. In 1938, his Jewish great-grandfather, a storekeeper, was shot and killed by a black man who stole a pack of cigarettes. Henry Kite was pursued by the local sheriff, whom he also gunned down, and an outraged group of locals meted out their own form of justice on Kite’s family. By the time Kite was captured, tortured, mutilated and hanged, five other members of his family had also been lynched, including his mother and pregnant sister. As Sam works out of his tiny trailer and tries to investigate without arousing the ire of the community, he falls in love with Jolie, the daughter of a Pentecostal preacher and a member of the Hoyt clan, a rough-and-tumble hillbilly family that take care of their own. After Sam and Jolie become engaged, he accompanies some of the Hoyt men to the family’s fishing camp and gets shot in the back. Discovering that Sam hasn’t been totally honest with her about his reasons for coming to Hendrix, Jolie feels betrayed and leaves Florida to attend design school in Savannah. And Sam, feeling hurt and abandoned by Jolie’s absence, finally gets on with his life. Fast-forward several years, and enter Hollis Frazier and his brother, who claim to have a personal interest in the lynching. As they stir up the ashes, Jolie and Sam are once again drawn to their ancestors’ past and to each other as they try to lay to rest the events that have haunted the community since 1938 and to discover the circumstances surrounding the night when Sam was shot.

A skillfully written, well-researched book.

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4516-7463-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A steamy, glitzy, and tender tale of college intrigue.

THE CHASE

From the Briar U series

In this opener to Kennedy’s (Hot & Bothered, 2017, etc.) Briar U romance series, two likable students keep getting their signals crossed.

Twenty-one-year-old Summer Heyward-Di Laurentis is expelled from Brown University in the middle of her junior year because she was responsible for a fire at the Kappa Beta Nu sorority house. Fortunately, her father has connections, so she’s now enrolled in Briar University, a prestigious institution about an hour outside Boston. But as she’s about to move into Briar’s Kappa Beta Nu house, she’s asked to leave by the sisters, who don’t want her besmirching their reputation. Her older brother Dean, who’s a former Briar hockey star, comes to her rescue; his buddies, who are still on the hockey team, need a fourth roommate for their townhouse. Three good-looking hockey jocks and a very rich, gorgeous fashion major under the same roof—what could go wrong? Summer becomes quickly infatuated with one of her housemates: Dean’s best friend Colin “Fitzy” Fitzgerald. There’s a definite spark between them, and they exchange smoldering looks, but the tattooed Fitzy, who’s also a video game reviewer and designer, is an introvert who prefers no “drama” in his life. Summer, however, is a charming extrovert, although she has an inferiority complex about her flagging scholastic acumen. As the story goes on, the pair seem to misinterpret each other’s every move. Meanwhile, another roommate and potential suitor, Hunter Davenport, is waiting in the wings. Kennedy’s novel is full of sex, alcohol, and college-level profanity, but it never becomes formulaic. The author adroitly employs snappy dialogue, steady pacing, and humor, as in a scene at a runway fashion show featuring Briar jocks parading in Summer-designed swimwear. The book also manages to touch on some serious subjects, including learning disabilities and abusive behavior by faculty members. Summer and Fitzy’s repeated stumbles propel the plot through engaging twists and turns; the characters trade off narrating the story, which gives each of them a chance to reveal some substance.

A steamy, glitzy, and tender tale of college intrigue.    

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-72482-199-7

Page Count: 372

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

LAST ORDERS

Britisher Swift's sixth novel (Ever After, 1992 etc.) and fourth to appear here is a slow-to-start but then captivating tale of English working-class families in the four decades following WW II. When Jack Dodds dies suddenly of cancer after years of running a butcher shop in London, he leaves a strange request—namely, that his ashes be scattered off Margate pier into the sea. And who could better be suited to fulfill this wish than his three oldest drinking buddies—insurance man Ray, vegetable seller Lenny, and undertaker Vic, all of whom, like Jack himself, fought also as soldiers or sailors in the long-ago world war. Swift's narrative start, with its potential for the melodramatic, is developed instead with an economy, heart, and eye that release (through the characters' own voices, one after another) the story's humanity and depth instead of its schmaltz. The jokes may be weak and self- conscious when the three old friends meet at their local pub in the company of the urn holding Jack's ashes; but once the group gets on the road, in an expensive car driven by Jack's adoptive son, Vince, the story starts gradually to move forward, cohere, and deepen. The reader learns in time why it is that no wife comes along, why three marriages out of three broke apart, and why Vince always hated his stepfather Jack and still does—or so he thinks. There will be stories of innocent youth, suffering wives, early loves, lost daughters, secret affairs, and old antagonisms—including a fistfight over the dead on an English hilltop, and a strewing of Jack's ashes into roiling seawaves that will draw up feelings perhaps unexpectedly strong. Without affectation, Swift listens closely to the lives that are his subject and creates a songbook of voices part lyric, part epic, part working-class social realism—with, in all, the ring to it of the honest, human, and true.

Pub Date: April 5, 1996

ISBN: 0-679-41224-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1996

Did you like this book?

more