A sprawling yet intimate kidnapping tale with a strong mix of action and character development.

DREAMTREK

JOURNEY THROUGH THE NIGHT'S DOOR

A woman becomes torn between her husband and a man from her past as she uncovers a dangerous scheme in this third installment of a series.

After a tumultuous adolescence, Dina Youngblood, a striking Seminole/Cherokee beauty, is married to evangelist Aaron Burning Rain. They reside in the Bitterroot Confederacy of Indians, coexisting with colorful neighbors (“A male alligator—halpatee, in what Uncle Donnie called ‘Seminole talk’—sounded his love song from a nearby waterway”). Aaron is devoted to Dina and planned to raise the son fathered by her former lover, Marty Osceola, as his own; but the child, whom they named Aaron Jr., was stillborn. While running errands, she meets a stranger who gives her an unsettling gift—a set of receiving blankets. Following a series of bizarre encounters with the figure, she learns that her son was kidnapped at birth by a criminal network and is still alive. While she searches for the truth, her husband reconnects with a former prayer partner named Nate Bush who has a mentoring program called Trail to the Stars that he wants Aaron and Dina to endorse. Dina is skeptical and soon realizes her son’s abduction is connected to the program. When Marty suddenly returns, Dina discovers that he may ultimately be the key to locating her child. In clear, engaging prose, Schaller (100+ Native American Women Who Changed the World, 2014, etc.) brings to life Dina and her quest to find out what happened to her son. One of the novel’s major strengths is its detailed setting and depiction of life on the Bitterroot reservation. The author offers an incisive and compassionate view of Bitterroot and the hopes and dreams of the people who call it home. The well-developed central characters include Dina and her great-grandmother Mama Hat. The mystery surrounding Dina’s son leads to a complex web of intrigue that’s suspenseful and deftly plotted. Schaller’s subplots are equally well-crafted. One of the most poignant comes in the form of Mama Hat’s journal entries about a young woman named Noccalula. Although this is the third novel in the series, the author provides enough back story to help newcomers understand the characters and their intricate relationships.

A sprawling yet intimate kidnapping tale with a strong mix of action and character development.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-1-4809-4105-2

Page Count: -

Publisher: Dorrance Publishing Co.

Review Posted Online: June 19, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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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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Less bleak than the subject matter might warrant—Hannah’s default outlook is sunny—but still, a wrenching depiction of war’s...

HOME FRONT

 The traumatic homecoming of a wounded warrior.

The daughter of alcoholics who left her orphaned at 17, Jolene “Jo” Zarkades found her first stable family in the military: She’s served over two decades, first in the army, later with the National Guard. A helicopter pilot stationed near Seattle, Jo copes as competently at home, raising two daughters, Betsy and Lulu, while trying to dismiss her husband Michael’s increasing emotional distance. Jo’s mettle is sorely tested when Michael informs her flatly that he no longer loves her. Four-year-old Lulu clamors for attention while preteen Betsy, mean-girl-in-training, dismisses as dweeby her former best friend, Seth, son of Jo’s confidante and fellow pilot, Tami. Amid these challenges comes the ultimate one: Jo and Tami are deployed to Iraq. Michael, with the help of his mother, has to take over the household duties, and he rapidly learns that parenting is much harder than his wife made it look. As Michael prepares to defend a PTSD-afflicted veteran charged with Murder I for killing his wife during a dissociative blackout, he begins to understand what Jolene is facing and to revisit his true feelings for her. When her helicopter is shot down under insurgent fire, Jo rescues Tami from the wreck, but a young crewman is killed. Tami remains in a coma and Jo, whose leg has been amputated, returns home to a difficult rehabilitation on several fronts. Her nightmares in which she relives the crash and other horrors she witnessed, and her pain, have turned Jo into a person her daughters now fear (which in the case of bratty Betsy may not be such a bad thing). Jo can't forgive Michael for his rash words. Worse, she is beginning to remind Michael more and more of his homicide client. Characterization can be cursory: Michael’s earlier callousness, left largely unexplained, undercuts the pathos of his later change of heart. 

Less bleak than the subject matter might warrant—Hannah’s default outlook is sunny—but still, a wrenching depiction of war’s aftermath.

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-312-57720-9

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Dec. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012

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