THE ULTIMATE RUSH

A profane, slangy, ludicrously violent ``roller punk'' thriller that's as uneven as the slippery San Francisco streets, sewers, and cyberspace it revels in. With a tattoo of Ralph Waldo Emerson on one shoulder and a boa constrictor in his parlor, Chet Griffin is a sex-starved slacker addicted to sugar highs and the heartstopping adrenalin thrills derived from sleepless nights of computer hacking and restless days as the city's only in-line skating message courier. His low-paying, high-anxiety job helps him forget his crack-addicted tattoo-artist younger brother Bobby, his dead parents, his supersuccessful, wheelchair-bound, software-genius roommate Denny, and their bass-playing lesbian skateboard punk queen chum, Ho Chi Minh Pixie, with whom Griffin is hopelessly infatuated. When first-novelist Quirk stays on the street with his breezily insouciant cast of postmodern, fin-de-siäcle bohemians, his narrative sputters along with hilariously manic Hunter Thompsonlike word-spray. But, alas, the plot must thicken: Griffin's sleazy boss, Mel Corlini (his sister is an equally sleazy police lieutenant), starts paying him under the table to run computer discs between a prestigious investment- banking firm and a group of Chinese and Italian crack smugglers. Griffin asks no questions until a fellow courier is gunned down in the financial district by a platoon of Armani-clad hoodlums named after Star Trek characters. Griffin's own escape is followed by a absurd rooftop-to-BART-stopchase, the first of many minutely choreographed cinematic action scenes wholly lacking in menace. A kinky romance blossoms between Griffin and Ho as Griffin applies his hacker skills in playing far too many bad guys (including a sadistic cyber-smasher named MP Phred) against one another. Newcomer Quirk's feverish plotting runs away with an otherwise funny, stylish tale of overeducated, underappreciated, urban bottom-dwellers using youthful stamina and high-tech toys to befuddle a dull, grown-up world. (Author tour)

Pub Date: April 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-688-15270-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1998

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Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

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THE SILENT PATIENT

A woman accused of shooting her husband six times in the face refuses to speak.

"Alicia Berenson was thirty-three years old when she killed her husband. They had been married for seven years. They were both artists—Alicia was a painter, and Gabriel was a well-known fashion photographer." Michaelides' debut is narrated in the voice of psychotherapist Theo Faber, who applies for a job at the institution where Alicia is incarcerated because he's fascinated with her case and believes he will be able to get her to talk. The narration of the increasingly unrealistic events that follow is interwoven with excerpts from Alicia's diary. Ah, yes, the old interwoven diary trick. When you read Alicia's diary you'll conclude the woman could well have been a novelist instead of a painter because it contains page after page of detailed dialogue, scenes, and conversations quite unlike those in any journal you've ever seen. " 'What's the matter?' 'I can't talk about it on the phone, I need to see you.' 'It's just—I'm not sure I can make it up to Cambridge at the minute.' 'I'll come to you. This afternoon. Okay?' Something in Paul's voice made me agree without thinking about it. He sounded desperate. 'Okay. Are you sure you can't tell me about it now?' 'I'll see you later.' Paul hung up." Wouldn't all this appear in a diary as "Paul wouldn't tell me what was wrong"? An even more improbable entry is the one that pins the tail on the killer. While much of the book is clumsy, contrived, and silly, it is while reading passages of the diary that one may actually find oneself laughing out loud.

Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-30169-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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KILLING FLOOR

From the Jack Reacher series , Vol. 1

Welcome to Margrave, Georgia—but don't get too attached to the townsfolk, who are either in on a giant conspiracy, or hurtling toward violent deaths, or both. There's not much of a welcome for Jack Reacher, a casualty of the Army's peace dividend, who's drifted into town idly looking for traces of a long-dead black jazzman. Not only do the local cops arrest him for murder, but the chief of police turns eyewitness to place him on the scene, even though Reacher was getting on a bus in Tampa at the time. Two surprises follow: The murdered man wasn't the only victim, and he was Reacher's brother Joe, whom he hadn't seen in seven years. So Reacher, who so far hasn't had anything personally against the crooks who set him up for a weekend in the state pen at Warburton, clicks into overdrive. Banking on the help of the only two people in Margrave he can trust—a Harvard-educated chief of detectives who hasn't been on the job long enough to be on the take, and a smart, scrappy officer who's taken him to her bed—he sets out methodically in his brother's footsteps, trying to figure out why his cellmate in Warburton, a panicky banker whose cell-phone number turned up in Joe's shoe, confessed to a murder he obviously didn't commit; trying to figure out why all the out-of- towners on Joe's list of recent contacts were as dead as he was; and trying to stop the local carnage, or at least direct it in more positive ways. Though the testosterone flows as freely as printer's ink, Reacher is an unobtrusively sharp detective in his quieter moments—not that there are many of them to judge by. Despite the crude, tough-naif narration, debut novelist Child serves up a big, rangy plot, menace as palpable as a ticking bomb, and enough battered corpses to make an undertaker grin.

Pub Date: March 17, 1997

ISBN: 0-399-14253-3

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1997

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