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



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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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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While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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