A winning tale of music, technology, and femme fatales.

Missing Mona

A TOMMY CUDA MYSTERY

In this modern noir, a man sets out to discover himself on a road trip only to become mixed up with counterfeiters.

Tommy Kelsey, a mechanic from Gates Mills, Ohio, has just turned 29. After a night of blowout celebration, he realizes that his life is nothing but a quagmire of texting and wasted potential. Impulsively, he hops in his restored 1965 Plymouth Barracuda, packing some mystery novels and his guitar, and drives west. He also tosses his smartphone out the car window—job and relationships be damned. At a Big Boy restaurant, he meets a beautiful, redheaded hitchhiker named Mona. He drives with her to Chicago, agreeing to be her private investigator for three days. She pays him $600 cash from her tightly clutched backpack, and they check into a hotel. In the morning, Mona is gone, and he finds her backpack shoved under the hood of his car. Inside the pack is her phone, a note from Mona asking him to find her, and $500,000. Now Tommy must hone some genuine PI skills if he’s to survive a city known as much for its astonishing murder rate as its blues music. He finds Mona dancing at the Pink Monkey club—but she doesn’t recognize him at all. Klingler (Rats, 2014, etc.) presents his craftiest yarn to date, summoning the pulpy spirits of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett. The setting of Chicago rattles from the page in lines such as, “The buildings held noise and exhaust fumes around me like a torture chamber.” The author populates his narrative with ingénues (Lizz the librarian, Penny the criminology major, Tracy the groupie) whose engines Tommy easily revs; they also help him with his investigation until he finally starts getting somewhere on his own. Klingler carefully shades in the connections between a murder in an underground Detroit cemetery, a counterfeiting operation, and the hitchhiker with a short memory. Although the final third wanders a bit with Tommy moonlighting as a blues guitarist, the finale offers a thrilling portrait of citywide corruption.

A winning tale of music, technology, and femme fatales.

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-941156-05-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Cartosi LLC

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2016

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

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A LITTLE LIFE

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

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ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH

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

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