A supernatural tale with engaging characters and psychic powers that lays the groundwork for a planned series.

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THE NIGHT PEOPLE

From the Night People Series series , Vol. 1

Teenagers with supernatural abilities may be the only ones who can stop creatures from a parallel world from consuming all life on Earth in Alexander’s debut sci-fi thriller.

Sixteen-year-old Kyle Tanner doesn’t stay at schools for very long, as he either flunks out or gets kicked out. His problems, at least in part, stem from his recurring nightmares of terrifying creatures from another world. These dreams, however, make Kyle an ideal candidate for mysterious Banville Academy. Dr. Alistair Jameson gives the boy a tour of the school, introducing him to peers who have psychic gifts, including telepathy, telekinesis, and empathic abilities. Kyle, like Jameson himself, has a rare gift called Night Walking, in which his consciousness leaves his body during sleep. The teen then roams the “antiverse,” which is populated by Night People that feed on energy from the waking world. Kyle faces derision from “telek” Cody and “telep” Ian, fellow students who can’t comprehend Kyle’s ability. There are definite perks to Banville, though: for the first time, Kyle actually makes friends, including a telep named Cheng Wu and Jameson’s granddaughter, an empath named Kira who can see from Kyle’s aura that he’s lonely. He also finds the potential for romance with telek Kate Garcia. But a threat looms over the school and the entire world. The sinister Dragnars hope to unite the antiverse and our world, allowing Night People to slaughter humans—and they begin by targeting Banville students for elimination. Alexander builds a solid foundation for his psychic-teen tale by concentrating on his fictional universe’s more relatable qualities. For example, Banville is, in many ways, a typical school. The way that teleks and teleps despise one another, for example, is reminiscent of the familiar jocks-versus-nerds dynamic. Likewise, other students constantly question Kyle’s gift and his worth, especially after Jameson puts together a team to combat a potential Dragnar assault. Kyle himself hardly understands how Night Walking works, which allows readers to learn about it alongside him during practices. The glimpses of the antiverse are the story’s most vivid moments, as when Kyle spies “a torrent of black water gushing from a break in the rocks far below” and later discerns “a lilting tune just out of hearing…a charming melody [that] grows stronger by the second.” There’s an assortment of remarkable creatures, such as “ravenors,” which are hairless, sexless, and at least 10 feet tall. The most nerve-wracking enemies, though, remain unseen, sometimes using their powers to make people watch—or attack—Banville students. The narrative also delves into numerous characters’ histories; Kate’s brother, Quin, has been “in kind of a coma since birth,” so she asks Kyle to try using his powers to reach him. The ending offers only slight resolution—one character even acknowledges the plethora of unanswered questions, such as why the Dragnars attempted to kidnap one specific person—but it makes for a fine setup for a sequel.

A supernatural tale with engaging characters and psychic powers that lays the groundwork for a planned series.

Pub Date: May 15, 2017

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 302

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2017

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A strongly felt, if not terribly gripping, sendoff for a Turow favorite nearly 35 years after his appearance in Presumed...

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THE LAST TRIAL

Trying his final case at 85, celebrated criminal defense lawyer Sandy Stern defends a Nobel-winning doctor and longtime friend whose cancer wonder drug saved Stern's life but subsequently led to the deaths of others.

Federal prosecutors are charging the eminent doctor, Kiril Pafko, with murder, fraud, and insider trading. An Argentine émigré like Stern, Pafko is no angel. His counselor is certain he sold stock in the company that produced the drug, g-Livia, before users' deaths were reported. The 78-year-old Nobelist is a serial adulterer whose former and current lovers have strong ties to the case. Working for one final time alongside his daughter and proficient legal partner, Marta, who has announced she will close the firm and retire along with her father following the case, Stern must deal not only with "senior moments" before Chief Judge Sonya "Sonny" Klonsky, but also his physical frailty. While taking a deep dive into the ups and downs of a complicated big-time trial, Turow (Testimony, 2017, etc.) crafts a love letter to his profession through his elegiac appreciation of Stern, who has appeared in all his Kindle County novels. The grandly mannered attorney (his favorite response is "Just so") has dedicated himself to the law at great personal cost. But had he not spent so much of his life inside courtrooms, "He never would have known himself." With its bland prosecutors, frequent focus on technical details like "double-blind clinical trials," and lack of real surprises, the novel likely will disappoint some fans of legal thrillers. But this smoothly efficient book gains timely depth through its discussion of thorny moral issues raised by a drug that can extend a cancer sufferer's life expectancy at the risk of suddenly ending it.

A strongly felt, if not terribly gripping, sendoff for a Turow favorite nearly 35 years after his appearance in Presumed Innocent.

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5387-4813-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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With humor and insight, Straub creates a family worth rooting for.

ALL ADULTS HERE

When Astrid Strick witnesses a school bus run over a longtime acquaintance of hers—Barbara Baker, a woman she doesn't like very much—it's only the beginning of the shake-ups to come in her life and the lives of those she loves.

Astrid has been tootling along contentedly in the Hudson Valley town of Clapham, New York, a 68-year-old widow with three grown children. After many years of singlehood since her husband died, she's been quietly seeing Birdie Gonzalez, her hairdresser, for the past two years, and after Barbara's death she determines to tell her children about the relationship: "There was no time to waste, not in this life. There were always more school buses." Elliot, her oldest, who's in real estate, lives in Clapham with his wife, Wendy, who's Chinese American, and their twins toddlers, Aidan and Zachary, who are "such hellions that only a fool would willingly ask for more." Astrid's daughter, Porter, owns a nearby farm producing artisanal goat cheese and has just gotten pregnant through a sperm bank while having an affair with her married high school boyfriend. Nicky, the youngest Strick, is disconcertingly famous for having appeared in an era-defining movie when he was younger and now lives in Brooklyn with his French wife, Juliette, and their daughter, Cecelia, who's being shipped up to live with Astrid for a while after her friend got mixed up with a pedophile she met online. As always, Straub (Modern Lovers, 2016, etc.) draws her characters warmly, making them appealing in their self-centeredness and generosity, their insecurity and hope. The cast is realistically diverse, though in most ways it's fairly superficial; the fact that Birdie is Latina or Porter's obstetrician is African American doesn't have much impact on the story or their characters. Cecelia's new friend, August, wants to make the transition to Robin; that storyline gets more attention, with the two middle schoolers supporting each other through challenging times. The Stricks worry about work, money, sex, and gossip; Straub has a sharp eye for her characters' foibles and the details of their liberal, upper-middle-class milieu.

With humor and insight, Straub creates a family worth rooting for.

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-59463-469-7

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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