A smart caper with a heroine to match.

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MURDER AND OTHER UNNATURAL DISASTERS

When her new job at a movie studio turns deadly, the daughter of a renowned private investigator is her company’s only hope—and the highlight of this debut mystery.

Years ago, Corrie Locke and her father cracked a murder case that could have put an NBA superstar in prison. Now she’s relieved to take on a comparatively tame position as an entertainment lawyer in sunny Newport Beach, California, where she’ll be far away from danger—or so she thinks. When Druby Valdez, the company’s former head of security, is found dead at the bottom of a lake, his co-workers suspect foul play. But Corrie is reluctant to tackle the case on her own. Her “gene for caution is a recessive one, but it’s still there,” and conducting a murder investigation is not an easy thing to do while navigating office politics. Corrie’s misadventures with her co-workers are as fun to read about as her amateur sleuthing. Inside the Complex—“a place filled with intrigue, deception, secrets, and beautiful people”—Corrie has more egos to manage than contracts to write. She deftly turns her business meetings into excuses to dig for clues, risking certain termination (as well as unwanted attention from lecherous executives) if she focuses on the wrong person. Meanwhile, Sideris also reveals, through Corrie’s other cases (a missing cat and a possible alien abduction), how Corrie’s past may have led her to her present. The author paints Corrie’s co-workers as being as devious as cartoon villains, so the list of suspects quickly becomes unwieldy. However, she also adds gentle humor and a touch of romance. Outside of work, for example, Corrie’s childhood friend Michael is sincere when others are superficial. He becomes her likable partner in fighting crime—and possibly more. Another memorable ally is Veera, a security guard and a first-year law student, who comes to work as her assistant, fending off Corrie’s enemies with creative threats like, “I’m going to dislocate all of your limbs. Then I’m gonna pour Kool-Aid all over your sorry ass and plant it in an ant’s nest.”

A smart caper with a heroine to match.

Pub Date: Oct. 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-5092-0240-9

Page Count: 408

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc.

Review Posted Online: Sept. 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

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A strange, subtle, and haunting novel.

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THE GLASS HOTEL

A financier's Ponzi scheme unravels to disastrous effect, revealing the unexpected connections among a cast of disparate characters.

How did Vincent Smith fall overboard from a container ship near the coast of Mauritania, fathoms away from her former life as Jonathan Alkaitis' pretend trophy wife? In this long-anticipated follow-up to Station Eleven (2014), Mandel uses Vincent's disappearance to pick through the wreckage of Alkaitis' fraudulent investment scheme, which ripples through hundreds of lives. There's Paul, Vincent's half brother, a composer and addict in recovery; Olivia, an octogenarian painter who invested her retirement savings in Alkaitis' funds; Leon, a former consultant for a shipping company; and a chorus of office workers who enabled Alkaitis and are terrified of facing the consequences. Slowly, Mandel reveals how her characters struggle to align their stations in life with their visions for what they could be. For Vincent, the promise of transformation comes when she's offered a stint with Alkaitis in "the kingdom of money." Here, the rules of reality are different and time expands, allowing her to pursue video art others find pointless. For Alkaitis, reality itself is too much to bear. In his jail cell, he is confronted by the ghosts of his victims and escapes into "the counterlife," a soothing alternate reality in which he avoided punishment. It's in these dreamy sections that Mandel's ideas about guilt and responsibility, wealth and comfort, the real and the imagined, begin to cohere. At its heart, this is a ghost story in which every boundary is blurred, from the moral to the physical. How far will Alkaitis go to deny responsibility for his actions? And how quickly will his wealth corrupt the ambitions of those in proximity to it? In luminous prose, Mandel shows how easy it is to become caught in a web of unintended consequences and how disastrous it can be when such fragile bonds shatter under pressure.

A strange, subtle, and haunting novel.

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-52114-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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