Sam and her boyfriend, former policeman Reece, are now engaged and living in Toronto, but he finds himself at loose ends in...

Red Rover, Perdition Games

Private eye Sam McNamara is back for a third adventure in Fraser’s (Skully: Perdition Games, 2015, etc.) new thriller, investigating a crime that hits close to home and forces her to suspect her own friends.

Sam and her boyfriend, former policeman Reece, are now engaged and living in Toronto, but he finds himself at loose ends in the city. He misses the rural life and feels out of place among Sam’s friends, with the exception of one: Abby, a ballet dancer whose girlfriend, Talia, is overseas with the Canadian Armed Forces. But after Abby is found dead after slitting her wrists in a bathtub—and also found to be four months pregnant—some of Sam’s friends suspect Reece is the father, as he was one of the men she knew best. Meanwhile, Sam’s psychiatrist friend, Roger, is embroiled in an affair with former patient Brenda; her husband, Graham, is brutally murdered on the same day that Roger is visiting her. As Sam and Reece investigate Graham’s death, they’re not sure whether to suspect Roger, who seems to be hiding something; one of Brenda and Graham’s teenage children, whose stories don’t add up; or Graham’s ex-wife, who spent several years in prison for murdering her own mother. Sam and Reece must try to untangle the truth from the lies even as Sam’s friends remain hostile toward Reece. Overall, Fraser crafts a strong mystery that sweeps readers along with the two well-developed main characters. Sam’s and Reece’s personal issues and friendships are just as compelling as the question of who committed Graham’s murder. Every twist, turn, and moment of misdirection will keep readers guessing, but these elements never feel overly telegraphed or intentionally misleading. The story also moves along at a brisk pace and ends on a dark yet satisfying note that will leave readers eager to find out what happens next in the series.

Pub Date: June 26, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9947742-3-1

Page Count: 428

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2016

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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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A kind of Holden Caulfield who speaks bravely and winningly from inside the sorrows of autism: wonderful, simple, easy,...

THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME

Britisher Haddon debuts in the adult novel with the bittersweet tale of a 15-year-old autistic who’s also a math genius.

Christopher Boone has had some bad knocks: his mother has died (well, she went to the hospital and never came back), and soon after he found a neighbor’s dog on the front lawn, slain by a garden fork stuck through it. A teacher said that he should write something that he “would like to read himself”—and so he embarks on this book, a murder mystery that will reveal who killed Mrs. Shears’s dog. First off, though, is a night in jail for hitting the policeman who questions him about the dog (the cop made the mistake of grabbing the boy by the arm when he can’t stand to be touched—any more than he can stand the colors yellow or brown, or not knowing what’s going to happen next). Christopher’s father bails him out but forbids his doing any more “detecting” about the dog-murder. When Christopher disobeys (and writes about it in his book), a fight ensues and his father confiscates the book. In time, detective-Christopher finds it, along with certain other clues that reveal a very great deal indeed about his mother’s “death,” his father’s own part in it—and the murder of the dog. Calming himself by doing roots, cubes, prime numbers, and math problems in his head, Christopher runs away, braves a train-ride to London, and finds—his mother. How can this be? Read and see. Neither parent, if truth be told, is the least bit prepossessing or more than a cutout. Christopher, though, with pet rat Toby in his pocket and advanced “maths” in his head, is another matter indeed, and readers will cheer when, way precociously, he takes his A-level maths and does brilliantly.

A kind of Holden Caulfield who speaks bravely and winningly from inside the sorrows of autism: wonderful, simple, easy, moving, and likely to be a smash.

Pub Date: June 17, 2003

ISBN: 0-385-50945-6

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2003

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