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BONE BOX

A generally well-written, fast-paced thriller that follows in the footsteps of The Da Vinci Code and Indiana Jones.

A novel of danger and adventure about an archaeological discovery that threatens to rewrite biblical history.

Amberg’s (America’s Fool, 2012, etc.) thriller takes readers to Turkey, where Joe Travers, a former Motorola executive, visits an archaeological site funded in part by his friend’s foundation. Joe finds the project riven by conflicts between Sophia Altay, the Turkish-French lead archaeologist, who quickly wins him over; Leopold Kirchburg, the Austrian project director with a considerable ego; and Charles Lee, who represents right-wing foundations that provide much of the financial support. The archaeologists discover an ossuary containing relics and documents that could substantially change humanity’s understanding of early Christianity. The search for the ossuary’s contents—which were hidden by Sophia’s devoted assistant, Abrahim—drives much of the book’s plot. Scenes of beatings, killings, and chases are punctuated by moments of extreme emotion; for example, at one point, Joe is “already in a quandary, the balance between the breathtaking beauty of the day and the sordid affairs of men not at all clear”; at another, Abrahim’s “blood boils—the Janissary blood, the blood of his lost ancestors, the wanderers and cave dwellers alike.” In Joe, Amberg offers a narrator who’s a keen observer, which allows the story to blend archaeological intrigue with a sharply drawn portrait of urban and rural Turkey. There are some clever turns of phrase, as when Joe notes that a document displayed on a computer screen is “illuminated in a way that would shock medieval monks.” However, there’s also a tendency to overuse terms such as “priapism” and “acorn cracker.” The author keeps the tension high, however, as Joe rushes to sort out everyone’s motivations and loyalties. Readers will be too caught up in unraveling the plot to wonder about the unanswered questions regarding the ossuary’s contents.

A generally well-written, fast-paced thriller that follows in the footsteps of The Da Vinci Code and Indiana Jones.

Pub Date: March 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1937484279

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Amika Press

Review Posted Online: April 1, 2015

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MAGIC HOUR

Wacky plot keeps the pages turning and enduring schmaltzy romantic sequences.

Sisters work together to solve a child-abandonment case.

Ellie and Julia Cates have never been close. Julia is shy and brainy; Ellie gets by on charm and looks. Their differences must be tossed aside when a traumatized young girl wanders in from the forest into their hometown in Washington. The sisters’ professional skills are put to the test. Julia is a world-renowned child psychologist who has lost her edge. She is reeling from a case that went publicly sour. Though she was cleared of all wrongdoing, Julia’s name was tarnished, forcing her to shutter her Beverly Hills practice. Ellie Barton is the local police chief in Rain Valley, who’s never faced a tougher case. This is her chance to prove she is more than just a fading homecoming queen, but a scarcity of clues and a reluctant victim make locating the girl’s parents nearly impossible. Ellie places an SOS call to her sister; she needs an expert to rehabilitate this wild-child who has been living outside of civilization for years. Confronted with her professional demons, Julia once again has the opportunity to display her talents and salvage her reputation. Hannah (The Things We Do for Love, 2004, etc.) is at her best when writing from the girl’s perspective. The feral wolf-child keeps the reader interested long after the other, transparent characters have grown tiresome. Hannah’s torturously over-written romance passages are stale, but there are surprises in store as the sisters set about unearthing Alice’s past and creating a home for her.

Wacky plot keeps the pages turning and enduring schmaltzy romantic sequences.

Pub Date: March 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-345-46752-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

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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