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

Missing Mona


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 years pass by at a fast and steamy clip in Blume’s latest adult novel (Wifey, not reviewed; Smart Women, 1984) as two friends find loyalties and affections tested as they grow into young women. In sixth grade, when Victoria Weaver is asked by new girl Caitlin Somers to spend the summer with her on Martha’s Vineyard, her life changes forever. Victoria, or more commonly Vix, lives in a small house; her brother has muscular dystrophy; her mother is unhappy, and money is scarce. Caitlin, on the other hand, lives part of the year with her wealthy mother Phoebe, who’s just moved to Albuquerque, and summers with her father Lamb, equally affluent, on the Vineyard. The story of how this casual invitation turns the two girls into what they call "Summer sisters" is prefaced with a prologue in which Vix is asked by Caitlin to be her matron of honor. The years in between are related in brief segments by numerous characters, but mostly by Vix. Caitlin, determined never to be ordinary, is always testing the limits, and in adolescence falls hard for Von, an older construction worker, while Vix falls for his friend Bru. Blume knows the way kids and teens speak, but her two female leads are less credible as they reach adulthood. After high school, Caitlin travels the world and can’t understand why Vix, by now at Harvard on a scholarship and determined to have a better life than her mother has had, won’t drop out and join her. Though the wedding briefly revives Vix’s old feelings for Bru, whom Caitlin is marrying, Vix is soon in love with Gus, another old summer friend, and a more compatible match. But Caitlin, whose own demons have been hinted at, will not be so lucky. The dark and light sides of friendship breathlessly explored in a novel best saved for summer beachside reading.

Pub Date: May 8, 1998

ISBN: 0-385-32405-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1998

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

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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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