A fast-paced series opener that will make readers eager to know Chavali’s next move.



From the The Greatest Sin series , Vol. 1

Kort (A Curse of Memories, 2017, etc.) and French (Ghost Is the New Normal, 2017, etc.) join forces to launch a fantasy series about a woman’s encounter with a highly unusual cabal.

In the land of Tilzam, the Blaukenev clan travels from country to country by wagon. Chavali is the clan Seer—marked by a pink feather sprouting from her forehead—who can know somebody’s thoughts at a touch. During carnivals, she reads customer fortunes in her tent, though the “parade of idiots and twits” with pedestrian problems irks her. Even worse, her bodyguard, Keino, harbors obsessive thoughts about her that bleed into her mind whenever they touch. One day, three men on horseback ask to travel with the caravan. Chavali learns that their names are Teryk, Eliot, and Colby. Each wears a signet ring on his middle finger, and they ask her numerous questions about the clan. After parting ways with the horsemen, the Blaukenev travel west, and one night, after Chavali finishes her readings, an insistent final customer offers to pay double to see her. He has the intense gaze of a predator and tells her, “The Order of the Strong Arm has come for you, Chavali.” This confrontation soon leads her to join a group of resurrected individuals with a very specific mission. In this brooding series opener, Kort and French insightfully explore staple fantasy elements, such as telepathy and resurrection, to luminous effect. Regarding the possibility of having a child, for example, Chavali wonders, “would she know the moment it began to form thoughts and be bombarded with them, unable to prevent it from driving her mad...until it was born?” Characters like Keino and Pasha, Chavali’s younger teenage sister, are sharply rendered and will draw readers deeply into their nomadic world. Events that occur midway through the narrative, however, prove that Kort and French are daring storytellers who aren’t afraid to yank the rug from beneath the audience’s feet. The book’s second half thoughtfully deals with the topic of revenge, and no character ever takes another’s life callously.

A fast-paced series opener that will make readers eager to know Chavali’s next move.

Pub Date: Jan. 26, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-9891210-9-5

Page Count: 236

Publisher: Tangled Sky Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2017

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The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with...


Talk-show queen takes tumble as millions jeer.

Nora Bridges is a wildly popular radio spokesperson for family-first virtues, but her loyal listeners don't know that she walked out on her husband and teenaged daughters years ago and didn't look back. Now that a former lover has sold racy pix of naked Nora and horny himself to a national tabloid, her estranged daughter Ruby, an unsuccessful stand-up comic in Los Angeles, has been approached to pen a tell-all. Greedy for the fat fee she's been promised, Ruby agrees and heads for the San Juan Islands, eager to get reacquainted with the mom she plans to betray. Once in the family homestead, nasty Ruby alternately sulks and glares at her mother, who is temporarily wheelchair-bound as a result of a post-scandal car crash. Uncaring, Ruby begins writing her side of the story when she's not strolling on the beach with former sweetheart Dean Sloan, the son of wealthy socialites who basically ignored him and his gay brother Eric. Eric, now dying of cancer and also in a wheelchair, has returned to the island. This dismal threesome catch up on old times, recalling their childhood idylls on the island. After Ruby's perfect big sister Caroline shows up, there's another round of heartfelt talk. Nora gradually reveals the truth about her unloving husband and her late father's alcoholism, which led her to seek the approval of others at the cost of her own peace of mind. And so on. Ruby is aghast to discover that she doesn't know everything after all, but Dean offers her subdued comfort. Happy endings await almost everyone—except for readers of this nobly preachy snifflefest.

The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with syrupy platitudes about life and love.

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-609-60737-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2001

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Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

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Inseparable identical twin sisters ditch home together, and then one decides to vanish.

The talented Bennett fuels her fiction with secrets—first in her lauded debut, The Mothers (2016), and now in the assured and magnetic story of the Vignes sisters, light-skinned women parked on opposite sides of the color line. Desiree, the “fidgety twin,” and Stella, “a smart, careful girl,” make their break from stultifying rural Mallard, Louisiana, becoming 16-year-old runaways in 1954 New Orleans. The novel opens 14 years later as Desiree, fleeing a violent marriage in D.C., returns home with a different relative: her 8-year-old daughter, Jude. The gossips are agog: “In Mallard, nobody married dark....Marrying a dark man and dragging his blueblack child all over town was one step too far.” Desiree's decision seals Jude’s misery in this “colorstruck” place and propels a new generation of flight: Jude escapes on a track scholarship to UCLA. Tending bar as a side job in Beverly Hills, she catches a glimpse of her mother’s doppelgänger. Stella, ensconced in White society, is shedding her fur coat. Jude, so Black that strangers routinely stare, is unrecognizable to her aunt. All this is expertly paced, unfurling before the book is half finished; a reader can guess what is coming. Bennett is deeply engaged in the unknowability of other people and the scourge of colorism. The scene in which Stella adopts her White persona is a tour de force of doubling and confusion. It calls up Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, the book's 50-year-old antecedent. Bennett's novel plays with its characters' nagging feelings of being incomplete—for the twins without each other; for Jude’s boyfriend, Reese, who is trans and seeks surgery; for their friend Barry, who performs in drag as Bianca. Bennett keeps all these plot threads thrumming and her social commentary crisp. In the second half, Jude spars with her cousin Kennedy, Stella's daughter, a spoiled actress.

Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-53629-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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