A drawn-out but gripping thriller bolstered by a romantic triangle that defies expectations.

Blue Diamond

A woman agrees to take over her estranged, ailing father’s business and learns some deadly secrets in Wheeler’s debut novel.

South African Lin Fletcher lost her foster parents years ago. She also endured a loveless marriage to her hateful, adulterous husband, Geoff, who recently died. Now living in Cape Town, she’s surprised when her biological father, Paul Ansley, wants to see her. He has little time left on Earth, he says, whether or not he opts for heart surgery, and he wants Lin to be the major beneficiary of his vast business empire in Australia. He has stepchildren from his second marriage, but one of them, Felicity, has no interest in the business, and the other, Sean, could wreck the company (“I believe Sean is trying to ruin me financially,” Paul says). It turns out that Paul has been watching Lin for some time, enlisting ex–CIA agent Cameron Michaels, among others, to keep her under surveillance. Cameron becomes Paul’s head of security after someone accesses the company’s “vital documents.” Paul, at his Blue Diamond cattle station in Sydney, has a rather unconventional idea for securing both his company and Blue Diamond: if Lin marries Cole Stretton, an equal shareholder in the property, Paul can transfer his shares to her and keep Sean clear of his empire. Unfortunately, this ignites a fight between Cole and Cameron for Lin’s affections, and Lin’s unsure where her heart lies. Wheeler’s novel begins as a mystery: Geoff is clearly up to something sinister, and readers learn that his death is no accident. But even though it’s evident throughout that Cameron and Paul are hiding something from Lin, the bulk of the novel centers on potential romance. Wheeler depicts these relationships, however, as anything but typical: tenderness, for one, is all but nonexistent, and the men are often rough with Lin; Cole squeezes her wrist while pulling her close, and Cameron “crushed her mouth with a punishing kiss.” Lin isn’t helpless, though; indeed, she proves superior to the male recruits in the security training program. A major threat faces Lin in the more intense final act, and there are also a few surprises as the mystery unravels.

A drawn-out but gripping thriller bolstered by a romantic triangle that defies expectations.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4828-0311-2

Page Count: 464

Publisher: PartridgeAfrica

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2016

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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

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While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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