Patton keeps the pot boiling briskly in the deceptively laid-back manner of Elmore Leonard, but his real gift is to get...


Max Travis, the white-knight ADA of Portland, Oregon, is in big trouble this time, and it’s all his fault.

Max (The Shake, 2000) doesn’t think he’s in trouble, of course. Max thinks he’s in love. The twice-divorced workaholic, who’s just been dumped by his old professional rival, defense attorney Paige Prescott, has caught the eye of hairstylist Dana Waverleigh just as his friend Bill Roop was splitting up with her, and he’s fallen hard. After one night together he can hear bells ringing; after three dates they’re talking about marriage and children; after two weeks Max feels as if he’s known her forever. But he hasn’t, or he’d know that in addition to her three husbands, she’s been with a man who fathered one of her daughters and, more recently and disastrously, with Jack Nitzl, the underhanded used-car dealer who, inspired by her offhand remark about the home safe where Roop keeps the take from his bar, has staged a home invasion together with cranked-up body-shop owner Nicky Bortolotti—who, surprised to see Roop entertaining retired basketball player Highwire Harris and not that crazy about African-Americans anyway, has capped the evening by shooting the athlete. It gets worse. Jack, catching a glimpse of Dana as he flees the scene, threatens to give her up to the cops as a willing co-conspirator unless she feeds him information on every move Max is making. And Nicky, for whom personal loyalty is a lot less important than his next fix, is getting more and more impatient with anybody he thinks might be onto him.

Patton keeps the pot boiling briskly in the deceptively laid-back manner of Elmore Leonard, but his real gift is to get inside his driven characters—from sky-high Nicky to basically nice Dana to Max, dazed by a love too good to be true—and evoke the energy and frequent sweetness behind their improbable ardor.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-765-30649-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Forge

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2003

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet


While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

Did you like this book?

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

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2015

  • Kirkus Prize
  • Kirkus Prize

  • National Book Award Finalist


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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet