An easy, fast-paced tale of criminal intrigue that’s part Wild West, part Fargo.


Kildare, the author of The Tragedy of Beauty (2018), offers a neo-Western set on the prairies of North Dakota during a 21st-century oil boom.

In the early 2000s, precise directional drilling became a viable technology for recovering oil, so regions located over the Bakken Formation (a massive rock under the ground in Montana, North Dakota, and parts of Canada) saw rapid upticks in industry, revenue, and population. The Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, nestled in the northeastern corner of North Dakota, was no exception. But with the rapid boom came social consequences, and Gena Blood Crow, a young tribal cop, is determined to guard her community from the encroaching presence of drugs, crime, and corruption. Although her mission is personal—her own brother was murdered by members of a drug cartel—she’s often frustrated by her perpetually understaffed department and a seemingly inescapable maze of competing jurisdictions. Her uncle, the stubborn Boots Charging Thunder, decides to take revenge into his own hands and organize a local militia to eliminate the cartel by whatever means necessary. Law enforcement, the militia, and the cartel are soon heading toward one another on an inevitable crash course. What could have been a simplistic tale of good guys versus bad is complicated by the machinations of local bureaucracy and politics—and by villains who fall in love with heroes’ innocent relatives, which is true to the nature of life in a small town. One cartel leader stands out as a memorably complex figure: Rafael Vega is a seasoned drug runner and a coldblooded killer, but he also senses others’ sadness and feels guilty about the blood on his hands; he’s even conversant in chaos theory. An unexpected love affair also gives him a profound desire to change his life. Kildare’s tightly controlled sentences and smooth dialogue are engaging and chock-full of splendid detail aside from the occasional cliché (“The puppet had become the puppet master”).

An easy, fast-paced tale of criminal intrigue that’s part Wild West, part Fargo.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-0-9963057-4-7

Page Count: 312

Publisher: Kildare Press LLC

Review Posted Online: Jan. 31, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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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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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

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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