A compelling story of how men who revel in misogyny and privilege can create a brutal darkness.

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THE DIVINE BOYS

In Bogotá, Colombia, where the light-skinned, smartly dressed men of the upper class hunt the streets, a group of former schoolmates will discover how far they can fall into a depravity born of their unquestioned privilege.

The self-named Tutti Frutti quintet is led by charismatic Tarabeo and manic, handsome Muñeco, who are followed by the rich, spoiled Duque and eager-to-assist Píldora. Hobbit, or Hobbo, who lives on the edges of the group in class and privilege, is their "interpreter," narrating their history in a blur of disbelief and horror. He begins when they were schoolboys, ruthlessly ruling the hallways, and continues into their adulthood, when they indulge in every manner of excess. All the men feel familiar, and they can skirt the edges of caricature when it comes to their misogyny—for example, Hobbo has a distant relationship with his mother despite his closeness to his sister, and Muñeco has an overindulgent mother, whom we only glimpse in stifling childhood descriptions. The only semideveloped female character is Duque’s girlfriend, Alicia, whom Hobbo calls Malicia, a "playful" nickname imbued with evil—he considers her a friend though he's secretly in love with her. Hobbit is the most self-perceptive of the group by far, but he falls prey to his own brand of narcissism, paying little attention to the ever growing perversion that ultimately leads Muñeco to stalk, rape, and kill a 7-year-old girl from the mountains on the outskirts of the city. The murder of the girl, whom even Hobbit refuses to name as he dissects her body in his mind, leads to an unusual public furor by her family and manhunt for Muñeco, testing the very souls of each Tutti Frutti member.

A compelling story of how men who revel in misogyny and privilege can create a brutal darkness.

Pub Date: July 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5420-4312-0

Page Count: 208

Publisher: AmazonCrossing

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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A compelling portrait of a marriage gone desperately sour.

THE MYSTERY OF MRS. CHRISTIE

In December 1926, mystery writer Agatha Christie really did disappear for 11 days. Was it a hoax? Or did her husband resort to foul play?

When Agatha meets Archie on a dance floor in 1912, the obscure yet handsome pilot quickly sweeps her off her feet with his daring. Archie seems smitten with her. Defying her family’s expectations, Agatha consents to marry Archie rather than her intended, the reliable yet boring Reggie Lucy. Although the war keeps them apart, straining their early marriage, Agatha finds meaningful work as a nurse and dispensary assistant, jobs that teach her a lot about poisons, knowledge that helps shape her early short stories and novels. While Agatha’s career flourishes after the war, Archie suffers setback after setback. Determined to keep her man happy, Agatha finds herself cooking elaborate meals, squelching her natural affections for their daughter (after all, Archie must always feel like the most important person in her life), and downplaying her own troubles, including her grief over her mother's death. Nonetheless, Archie grows increasingly morose. In fact, he is away from home the day Agatha disappears. By the time Detective Chief Constable Kenward arrives, Agatha has already been missing for a day. After discovering—and burning—a mysterious letter from Agatha, Archie is less than eager to help the police. His reluctance and arrogance work against him, and soon the police, the newspapers, the Christies’ staff, and even his daughter’s classmates suspect him of harming his wife. Benedict concocts a worthy mystery of her own, as chapters alternate between Archie’s negotiation of the investigation and Agatha’s recounting of their relationship. She keeps the reader guessing: Which narrator is reliable? Who is the real villain?

A compelling portrait of a marriage gone desperately sour.

Pub Date: Dec. 29, 2020

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

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ANIMAL FARM

A FAIRY STORY

A modern day fable, with modern implications in a deceiving simplicity, by the author of Dickens. Dali and Others (Reynal & Hitchcock, p. 138), whose critical brilliance is well adapted to this type of satire. This tells of the revolt on a farm, against humans, when the pigs take over the intellectual superiority, training the horses, cows, sheep, etc., into acknowledging their greatness. The first hints come with the reading out of a pig who instigated the building of a windmill, so that the electric power would be theirs, the idea taken over by Napoleon who becomes topman with no maybes about it. Napoleon trains the young puppies to be his guards, dickers with humans, gradually instigates a reign of terror, and breaks the final commandment against any animal walking on two legs. The old faithful followers find themselves no better off for food and work than they were when man ruled them, learn their final disgrace when they see Napoleon and Squealer carousing with their enemies... A basic statement of the evils of dictatorship in that it not only corrupts the leaders, but deadens the intelligence and awareness of those led so that tyranny is inevitable. Mr. Orwell's animals exist in their own right, with a narrative as individual as it is apt in political parody.

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 1946

ISBN: 0452277507

Page Count: 114

Publisher: Harcourt, Brace

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1946

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