DEATH IN JERUSALEM

Partly out of idle curiosity about Agritech Consultants, the new Israeli venture his slick pal Harry Brickman, of Morgenstern Ozick, is trying to raise money for, partly to avoid worrying about a rumored shake-up back in his own Wall St. office, commodities trader Donald McCarry agrees to accompany Harry to the Holy Land, ostensibly to look over the operation. Bad move. En route to Harry's villa in the Occupied Territories, their car is hijacked and Harry kidnapped. And the day after Donald—peacefully ensconced back in Jerusalem's King David Hotel while Harry's partners and wife burn up the transatlantic wires—meets Agritech president Dov Levy and his gorgeous assistant, Esther Sennesh, Israeli security people pull him off his return flight, a suspect in Dov's murder. Something's obviously rotten at Agritech. But if it's only Harry's fraudulent scheme to trick the Israeli government into providing a safety net for Agritech's speculators, then why are Esther and Harry (miraculously escaped from his captors) gunned down in a professional-looking street attack? And why does a quick check of Morgenstern Ozick's books back in New York reveal a shortfall the size of the Israeli national debt? Boland (Rich Man's Blood, 1993) deftly balances political terrorists and guys who just have their hands in your pockets in a tale that roars along like a BMW in heat.

Pub Date: July 22, 1994

ISBN: 0-312-10965-2

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1994

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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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More about grief and tragedy than romance.

FRIENDS FOREVER

Five friends meet on their first day of kindergarten at the exclusive Atwood School and remain lifelong friends through tragedy and triumph.

When Gabby, Billy, Izzie, Andy and Sean meet in the toy kitchen of the kindergarten classroom on their first day of school, no one can know how strong the group’s friendship will remain. Despite their different personalities and interests, the five grow up together and become even closer as they come into their own talents and life paths. But tragedy will strike and strike again. Family troubles, abusive parents, drugs, alcohol, stress, grief and even random bad luck will put pressure on each of them individually and as a group. Known for her emotional romances, Steel makes a bit of a departure with this effort that follows a group of friends through young adulthood. But even as one tragedy after another befalls the friends, the impact of the events is blunted by a distant narrative style that lacks emotional intensity. 

More about grief and tragedy than romance.

Pub Date: July 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-34321-3

Page Count: 322

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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