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CLOCKWORK UNIVERSE

A STEAMPUNK THRILLER

A colorful and captivating time-travel adventure with fearsome creatures.

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A punk rocker wakes up in a Victorian world where unusual beasts plague Boston—still under British rule—in this debut steampunk thriller.

The novel begins with Sarah, in Victorian garb, witnessing a strange creature attack and whisk away a beggar near Boston Common. The action then shifts to Kevin Barnes, a “throwback punk band” musician sporting a purple mohawk, waiting for his “contemporary world” commuter train to Boston. A businessman who identifies himself as Roland asks Kevin to watch a briefcase and promptly disappears. Kevin boards the train and Sarah, in modern dress, becomes his seatmate. Kevin dozes off, then awakens to a transformed train—it runs on steam; British soldiers are aboard; and Sarah wears a Victorian outfit. The duo meets up with British game hunter Silas Cunningham and architectural genius Niles Barton, who have come to Boston to kill two Rhino-pards—a rhino and leopard combination created by a “most brilliant and disturbing” French scientist—which are wreaking havoc on the city. Kevin becomes gun bearer to these hunters as they explore the steam tunnels beneath Boston searching for their prey. Soon realizing their weapons are ineffective, the allies decide to try to kill the beasts by steam explosion, using Sarah as bait. By the thriller’s end, a British ironclad and a mysterious airship also join the conflict, with the strangely glowing scientist managing to escape with a surviving Rhino-pard. Kevin, too, considers exiting, but then makes a fateful exchange on his return train. Dennehy sets into motion an engaging time-travel and steampunk hybrid that includes pithy pit stops for comic commentary, including Barton’s snarky remark about the Boston Tea Party memorial (“Never seen a monument commemorating a lost war”). The narrative’s airship grand finale is particularly enjoyable and a splashy deus ex machina extravaganza. This novel is rather brief, however, leaving many of the mechanics fueling Dennehy’s engine (the role of Roland, for example) somewhat unclear. Still, it’s a fun and fascinating mashup—and a promising setup for further steampunk shenanigans.

A colorful and captivating time-travel adventure with fearsome creatures.

Pub Date: Nov. 19, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-925493-99-3

Page Count: 148

Publisher: Severed Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 12, 2016

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MAGIC HOUR

Wacky plot keeps the pages turning and enduring schmaltzy romantic sequences.

Sisters work together to solve a child-abandonment case.

Ellie and Julia Cates have never been close. Julia is shy and brainy; Ellie gets by on charm and looks. Their differences must be tossed aside when a traumatized young girl wanders in from the forest into their hometown in Washington. The sisters’ professional skills are put to the test. Julia is a world-renowned child psychologist who has lost her edge. She is reeling from a case that went publicly sour. Though she was cleared of all wrongdoing, Julia’s name was tarnished, forcing her to shutter her Beverly Hills practice. Ellie Barton is the local police chief in Rain Valley, who’s never faced a tougher case. This is her chance to prove she is more than just a fading homecoming queen, but a scarcity of clues and a reluctant victim make locating the girl’s parents nearly impossible. Ellie places an SOS call to her sister; she needs an expert to rehabilitate this wild-child who has been living outside of civilization for years. Confronted with her professional demons, Julia once again has the opportunity to display her talents and salvage her reputation. Hannah (The Things We Do for Love, 2004, etc.) is at her best when writing from the girl’s perspective. The feral wolf-child keeps the reader interested long after the other, transparent characters have grown tiresome. Hannah’s torturously over-written romance passages are stale, but there are surprises in store as the sisters set about unearthing Alice’s past and creating a home for her.

Wacky plot keeps the pages turning and enduring schmaltzy romantic sequences.

Pub Date: March 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-345-46752-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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