A darkly satisfying novel by a writer with an eye for action and unnerving detail.

DEVIL'S GARDEN

BOOK ONE OF THE PALADIN SEQUENCE

In Tuck’s debut fantasy thriller, a spiritual crisis unfolds involving infernal antagonists.

Gerald Ironblood, whose history is as foreboding as his tall physique, is called by the pope to participate in a spiritual task force against demonic entities that may signal the end of days. Specifically, Ironblood and his friend, Thomas Burgess, receive a mission to interview the survivors of a shocking massacre of demon hunters. The pope fears that the killings indicate that the forces of hell, called the Infernals, are growing stronger. The inimitable, cigar-smoking Ironblood sets out to find his seminary classmate, Jacob Paladin, but finds that his old friend has become possessed. The narrative then steps back in time to when Ironblood was a soldier in Germany in 1945 and undertook the arduous, horrifying job of ridding a boy of a malignant spirit that went by the name of Lucifuge Rofocale—an entity who happens to know a great deal about Ironblood. Back in the present, Ironblood teams up with Matthew Paladin, the son of Jacob, in order to do the work assigned to him by the pope. They soon confront the case of a girl who began behaving strangely after a car accident in which her fellow passengers were violently killed. Before long, Ironblood and Matthew travel to Mexico to free another boy from demonic possession and become ensnared in the maniacal, grandiose machinations of a priest named Lammas. The novel features arresting, original details, such as the dialogue spoken by the demon in Matthew’s head, which is set inside angle brackets (“<You little shit eater, I should incinerate you for offering me up like this!>”) and is inventive and disturbing in all the right ways. The adventures of Ironblood and Matthew are never predictable, and the plot is cerebral, primal, and rich with pulse-racing moments, including an exorcism that opens the novel. As the story leaps back and forth in time, it moves just as fluidly between the natural and supernatural realms, providing a fantasy with a high degree of verisimilitude and grit.

A darkly satisfying novel by a writer with an eye for action and unnerving detail.

Pub Date: May 21, 2015

ISBN: 978-1512045932

Page Count: 170

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 15, 2015

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TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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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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