As each of the primary characters tells his version of events, Troy’s subtle but emotionally wrenching prose raises deeply...

THE QUIET STREETS OF WINSLOW

Within the framework of a murder mystery set in small-town Arizona, Troy (From the Black Hills, 1999, etc.) has written a tightly constructed psychological study about a family and community.

Fourteen-year-old Travis and his younger brother Damien find a woman’s body while walking their dog in Black Canyon City, Ariz., where their father, Lee, is a veterinarian. Lee’s best friend, Sam, is the local sheriff investigating the case, which soon points uncomfortably close to home. It turns out the dead woman is Jody, a waitress whom the boys met with Lee when he took them to visit their much older half brother Nate, the son Lee had in his troubled, alcoholic youth before he became the upstanding citizen, family man and father he is now. Raised by his single mother and now in his early 30s, Nate had a rough time growing up and has become an underachieving loner who manages a trailer park in Chino Valley, where he met Jody. Drawn to her physically—as is every man she meets—and sympathetic to her grief over giving up her daughter to the Indian parents of the baby’s father, Nate let Jody live in his trailer for six months. Although he was clearly in love with her and she was giving her sexual favors elsewhere, their relationship remained platonic until she moved back to her hometown of Winslow to be closer to her mother. Nate visited Jody at least once, but no one, including the reader, wants to believe he was the murderer; certainly not Travis, who is having his own coming-of-age experience of unrequited love, or Lee, feeling guilty that he failed Nate as a father. Trying to remain objective, Sam finds navigating through the evidence particularly difficult. And soon, he finds other men who had questionable relationships with Jody and who lack alibis for the murder.

As each of the primary characters tells his version of events, Troy’s subtle but emotionally wrenching prose raises deeply provocative questions about loyalty, morality, human frailty and the power of choice.

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-61902-239-3

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Counterpoint

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2013

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ANIMAL FARM

A FAIRY STORY

A modern day fable, with modern implications in a deceiving simplicity, by the author of Dickens. Dali and Others (Reynal & Hitchcock, p. 138), whose critical brilliance is well adapted to this type of satire. This tells of the revolt on a farm, against humans, when the pigs take over the intellectual superiority, training the horses, cows, sheep, etc., into acknowledging their greatness. The first hints come with the reading out of a pig who instigated the building of a windmill, so that the electric power would be theirs, the idea taken over by Napoleon who becomes topman with no maybes about it. Napoleon trains the young puppies to be his guards, dickers with humans, gradually instigates a reign of terror, and breaks the final commandment against any animal walking on two legs. The old faithful followers find themselves no better off for food and work than they were when man ruled them, learn their final disgrace when they see Napoleon and Squealer carousing with their enemies... A basic statement of the evils of dictatorship in that it not only corrupts the leaders, but deadens the intelligence and awareness of those led so that tyranny is inevitable. Mr. Orwell's animals exist in their own right, with a narrative as individual as it is apt in political parody.

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 1946

ISBN: 0452277507

Page Count: 114

Publisher: Harcourt, Brace

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1946

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Relentlessly suspenseful and unexpectedly timely: just the thing for Dick Cheney’s bedside reading wherever he’s keeping...

WITHOUT FAIL

From the Jack Reacher series , Vol. 6

When the newly elected Vice President’s life is threatened, the Secret Service runs to nomadic soldier-of-fortune Jack Reacher (Echo Burning, 2001, etc.) in this razor-sharp update of The Day of the Jackal and In the Line of Fire that’s begging to be filmed.

Why Reacher? Because M.E. Froelich, head of the VP’s protection team, was once a colleague and lover of his late brother Joe, who’d impressed her with tales of Jack’s derring-do as an Army MP. Now Froelich and her Brooks Brothers–tailored boss Stuyvesant have been receiving a series of anonymous messages threatening the life of North Dakota Senator/Vice President–elect Brook Armstrong. Since the threats may be coming from within the Secret Service’s own ranks—if they aren’t, it’s hard to see how they’ve been getting delivered—they can’t afford an internal investigation. Hence the call to Reacher, who wastes no time in hooking up with his old friend Frances Neagley, another Army vet turned private eye, first to see whether he can figure out a way to assassinate Armstrong, then to head off whoever else is trying. It’s Reacher’s matter-of-fact gift to think of everything, from the most likely position a sniper would assume at Armstrong’s Thanksgiving visit to a homeless shelter to the telltale punctuation of one of the threats, and to pluck helpers from the tiny cast who can fill the remaining gaps because they aren’t idiots or stooges. And it’s Child’s gift to keep tightening the screws, even when nothing’s happening except the arrival of a series of unsigned letters, and to convey a sense of the blank impossibility of guarding any public figure from danger day after highly exposed day, and the dedication and heroism of the agents who take on this daunting job.

Relentlessly suspenseful and unexpectedly timely: just the thing for Dick Cheney’s bedside reading wherever he’s keeping himself these days.

Pub Date: May 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-399-14861-2

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2002

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