A smart, gory, and sleazy zombiefest.

THE ONE AND ONLY

In this debut horror fantasy, bioterrorism lowers a blanket of darkness and scarcity on the world, but one woman may be capable of returning the light.

Chinese terrorist Huo Zhu Zheng released F8 in 2029. The bioweapon destroyed human and animal populations, national infrastructures, and resources worldwide —though Zheng did inoculate his own people from the sickness. Microbiologist Ruby Spencer’s unique blood made her immune to F8. She and Dr. Emory Bradshaw worked toward a cure. Then F8 mutated in animal carcasses to become ZOM-B, which spread to humans and reanimated them after death. Now, in 2032, Ruby is part of President Ava Newton’s Special Warfare Council. But the scientist would like nothing more than to spend time with her husband, Clay, and their new baby, Gabby. Instead, Ruby and Clay must visit Taiwan for a week to study captive zombies to please the president. The couple try to think of it as a late honeymoon; China and Taiwan don’t suffer the privations (food, water, and electricity rationing) that most of the world does. Awaiting them at the American Consulate is Lt. Col. Quinton “Ox” Oxford. Too bad the embittered lifelong Marine has decided to deliver Ruby and the secrets contained in her blood to President Vladimir Volkov of Russia. This twisted, sprawling tale from Ash wouldn’t be complete without a typhoon and a container ship full of zombies bearing down on her heroes’ location. The author’s bleak future is captured by this passage: “In the U.S., receiving government approval for air travel was as common as seeing a flock of birds, a herd of cattle, or a nest of rabbits. It just didn’t happen.” And while the zombie action is exceptional, readers will likely find themselves rooting for the messy demise of Ox, whose lechery boils from the page. At one point, he thinks: “The only thing better than stripping clothes off a woman was stripping her of everything she loved.” In addition, Ash offers an epic, bloodborne twist in the novel’s final third that should surprise horror fans. Ruby becomes someone not to be trifled with; a meaty sequel would be welcome.

A smart, gory, and sleazy zombiefest.

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-73208-161-1

Page Count: 377

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

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There are unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story.

TELL ME LIES

Passion, friendship, heartbreak, and forgiveness ring true in Lovering's debut, the tale of a young woman's obsession with a man who's "good at being charming."

Long Island native Lucy Albright, starts her freshman year at Baird College in Southern California, intending to study English and journalism and become a travel writer. Stephen DeMarco, an upperclassman, is a political science major who plans to become a lawyer. Soon after they meet, Lucy tells Stephen an intensely personal story about the Unforgivable Thing, a betrayal that turned Lucy against her mother. Stephen pretends to listen to Lucy's painful disclosure, but all his thoughts are about her exposed black bra strap and her nipples pressing against her thin cotton T-shirt. It doesn't take Lucy long to realize Stephen's a "manipulative jerk" and she is "beyond pathetic" in her desire for him, but their lives are now intertwined. Their story takes seven years to unfold, but it's a fast-paced ride through hookups, breakups, and infidelities fueled by alcohol and cocaine and with oodles of sizzling sexual tension. "Lucy was an itch, a song stuck in your head or a movie you need to rewatch or a food you suddenly crave," Stephen says in one of his point-of-view chapters, which alternate with Lucy's. The ending is perfect, as Lucy figures out the dark secret Stephen has kept hidden and learns the difference between lustful addiction and mature love.

There are unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story.

Pub Date: June 12, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-6964-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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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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