by Ken L. Gould ‧ RELEASE DATE: Jan. 2, 2017
A well-crafted sci-fi thriller despite its unlikely hero and dangling conclusion.
A reporter’s obsession with the takedown of a corrupt billionaire pulls him into the secret, macabre biotech world of a mad scientist and his diabolical benefactor.
James Dysart is the improbable central protagonist of Gould’s debut sci-fi thriller. A gruff, middle-aged, twice-divorced alcoholic whose halcyon days at the Chicago Tribune are waning, James is still hunting for the investigative piece that will burnish his reputation and maybe bring down his nemesis, Richard Bassett. A corrupt Chicago real estate developer, Bassett has an assortment of politicians in his very deep pockets. Enter the beautiful, young, smart Sharon Hodges. She has been brought on as a summer intern at the Tribune, and James is ordered to mentor her. But Sharon has her own agenda. A decade earlier, her father, Stephan, was reported missing and declared dead after a boating accident on Lake Michigan. She is convinced the brilliant, cutting-edge stem-cell researcher faked his own death, and she wants James to help find him. The enticement of a potentially explosive story, plus an unexpected night of passion in Sharon’s apartment, ensnares James in a dangerous web of deception that puts his life at risk and plays havoc with his emotional defenses. The backbone of this complicated story is a sometimes too-technical scientific journey, beginning with Stephan’s early, unauthorized experiments to induce a state of hibernation in higher order mammals, potentially slowing the progression of disease—maybe even the aging process itself—and moving forward into a dark corner of present-day laboratory organ regeneration. The solid narrative is plot-driven. Although Gould fleshes out his main characters, he does this primarily by inserting long diversions detailing their back stories, sometimes breaking the high-octane pace of a gruesome page-turner loaded with twists. An underlying battle between good and evil is personified in Sharon, the second-generation genius plagued by internal demons that make her actions unpredictable, and Bassett, the behind-the-scenes puppet master. The flawed James is Sharon’s chance for love. Her instability provides the tension to keep readers hooked.A well-crafted sci-fi thriller despite its unlikely hero and dangling conclusion.
Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2017
Page Count: 352
Publisher: Grael Publishing
Review Posted Online: June 23, 2017
Review Program: Kirkus Indie
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by Hanya Yanagihara ‧ RELEASE DATE: March 10, 2015
The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.
Awards & Accolades
Best Books Of 2015
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
Page Count: 720
Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2014
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015
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by J.D. Salinger ‧ RELEASE DATE: June 15, 1951
A strict report, worthy of sympathy.
A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.
"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….A strict report, worthy of sympathy.
Pub Date: June 15, 1951
Page Count: -
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951
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