Next book

GARDEN OF LOCUSTS

Dark, enthralling examination of a murderer and his victims, even those who survive.

In Ruby’s (Weeping Water, 2016) thriller, twin brothers’ lives are irrevocably changed when they cross paths with a serial killer.

When their parents separate in 1976, Ben and Owen Hood leave their Nashville home with their mom, Karen. The teenagers quickly adapt to and cherish Karen’s family farm in Alabama. But things take a frightening turn when they explore a cornfield, though Ben’s secret purpose is tracking a mysterious set of footprints. The brothers unfortunately encounter and flee from Eli Crisp, a serial killer who’s evaded authorities for years. Eli captures but doesn’t immediately kill them. After Ben and Owen attempt an escape, only one brother gets away, leaving Eli to abscond with his remaining captive. Meanwhile, Simon Singleton, a detective and British expat in Montana, is obsessed with identifying the serial killer. But he can’t even convince his superiors that one exists, as Eli’s M.O. involves seemingly random victims. When certain the killer is in Alabama, Simon asks for time off and heads south. Determined to put a face and a name to the serial murderer, he may have an ally in the Hood brother who got away, as both of them believe the other twin is still alive and under the thumb of a dangerous, prolific killer. Ruby’s lengthy novel covers years that ultimately reach the 1980s. It’s ample space for meticulous character development, including backstory about Eli’s troubled childhood and the brothers’ relationships with their often indifferent father. The story astutely addresses issues of racism, as, it seems, cops aren’t searching for Eli’s captive because the twins, like Simon, are black. Eli is terrifying, primarily due to his calculatedness; he wants to be famous and, on learning that Simon is pursuing him, taunts the detective with a signed letter promising another murder. Disappointingly, female characters merely help to drive the male-dominated storylines (as romantic interests, for example); tenacious, shrewd Karen is an exception. Overall, Ruby’s unadorned writing unflinchingly befits the story’s frequent bleakness while allowing for humor, such as a recurring joke involving people who think expat Simon’s lilt is Australian.

Dark, enthralling examination of a murderer and his victims, even those who survive.

Pub Date: Dec. 31, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-65377-366-4

Page Count: 475

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2020

Categories:

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 34


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2015


  • Kirkus Prize
  • Kirkus Prize
    winner


  • National Book Award Finalist

Next book

A LITTLE LIFE

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

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 34


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2015


  • Kirkus Prize
  • Kirkus Prize
    winner


  • National Book Award Finalist

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. 21, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

Categories:
Next book

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

Categories:
Close Quickview