An engrossing, socially conscious novel of urban alien invasion.

GIANTS OF INIQUITY

A SAN FRANCISCO OMEN

Extraordinary phenomena interrupt a technology-industry takeover in Northern California in Covington’s (American BeheMouth, 2012) SF novel.

In San Francisco, residents are observing strange things, including giant specters and mysterious lights that instill horror and intense curiosity. Thirty-something Joel, his pregnant wife, Krista, and their friend Nico are intrigued by the reports of the strange lights hovering over Nob Hill. As speculation and conspiracy theories engulf the city, Joel seeks the opinion of a man called “Crazy Hair,” a notorious UFO conspiracist who sparks a media circus in San Francisco by relocating his television program “Aliens Among Us” to the city. Joel’s appearance on the show, in which he talks about “ancient astronaut” theories, makes him an overnight sensation—but then 8-foot “giants” and their otherworldly skyscrapers appear in the city, capturing everyone’s attention. Despite such harrowing events, Covington keeps the tone light, undemanding, and darkly humorous by attributing human qualities to his space invaders—and giving them huge appetites for Earth food. The devout Joel’s religious visions offer explanations for the aliens’ origins, as fringe groups begin forming in preparation for an expected spiritual battle. The entertaining narrative combines dynamic characters with a variety of offbeat theories and concepts, all of which appealingly tie into the central plot. Readers who enjoy stories of aliens, Illuminati conspiracies, and unexplained phenomena will find it particularly riveting. Covington also weaves in loosely arranged commentary on housing bubbles in major urban centers and the protest-friendly populace of San Francisco. He engagingly presents the city as one that’s stunted by economic disparities, peppered with high-rise condominium construction projects, and populated by people who are either swimming in wealth or literally dying on the streets.

An engrossing, socially conscious novel of urban alien invasion.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-949873-27-6

Page Count: 230

Publisher: Beyond Publishing

Review Posted Online: Nov. 7, 2019

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Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

BAREFOOT

Privileged 30-somethings hide from their woes in Nantucket.

Hilderbrand’s saga follows the lives of Melanie, Brenda and Vicki. Vicki, alpha mom and perfect wife, is battling late-stage lung cancer and, in an uncharacteristically flaky moment, opts for chemotherapy at the beach. Vicki shares ownership of a tiny Nantucket cottage with her younger sister Brenda. Brenda, a literature professor, tags along for the summer, partly out of familial duty, partly because she’s fleeing the fallout from her illicit affair with a student. As for Melanie, she gets a last minute invite from Vicki, after Melanie confides that Melanie’s husband is having an affair. Between Melanie and Brenda, Vicki feels her two young boys should have adequate supervision, but a disastrous first day on the island forces the trio to source some outside help. Enter Josh, the adorable and affable local who is hired to tend to the boys. On break from college, Josh learns about the pitfalls of mature love as he falls for the beauties in the snug abode. Josh likes beer, analysis-free relationships and hot older women. In a word, he’s believable. In addition to a healthy dose of testosterone, the novel is balanced by powerful descriptions of Vicki’s bond with her two boys. Emotions run high as she prepares for death.

Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

Pub Date: July 2, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-316-01858-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2007

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More about grief and tragedy than romance.

FRIENDS FOREVER

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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