Henry and Rock’s witty, gritty, occasionally graphic sequel to Two Gentlemen From Altona (2014) forces a buttoned-down G-man...

THE MERCHANT OF DEATH

A federal agent and a man on the lam re-enact Shakespeare when they try to expose a major con job.

When Henry Page flees Indianapolis FBI agent Ryan “Mac” McGuinness, it’s not the first time he’s run out on the agent—or on anyone else in his life. But he’s more regretful than usual, and not just because Mac was shot while protecting Henry at their hideout in Mac’s family’s cabin. Although they were on the verge of consummating an undeniable passion, Henry convinces himself it would have been one of the biggest mistakes of a life already full of wrong turns, bad decisions and hard luck. He’s a thief and Mac’s the law, and though Henry was a key witness in an upcoming trial, it’s back to his life of crime, mostly because his twin sister, Viola, needs him. It’s also time for him to return to being Sebastian Hanes, as his late, boozy, failed actress of a mother named him. Henry feels responsible for Viola and the accident that left her with the mind of a child. She even fears the people at the expensive care center that demands exorbitant monthly fees—and constant scams by Henry. The suspicious death of an elderly resident of the center goads Henry into stashing Viola in a more-or-less safe place and dressing up to take her place and expose what he’s sure is a big fraud. Then Mac, who’s in the doghouse for letting his witness get away, gets pulled into the sting. Although he’s never considered himself remotely straight, he finds that Henry/Sebastian’s role as Viola adds a whole new tantalizing layer of complexity—and bids him put his career and his life on the line to help the man he loves and save sweet, vulnerable Viola.

Henry and Rock’s witty, gritty, occasionally graphic sequel to Two Gentlemen From Altona (2014) forces a buttoned-down G-man to face 50 shades of ambiguity, not only of his endearing co-hero, but also of the odd couple’s future together.

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62649-222-6

Page Count: 205

Publisher: Riptide

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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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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TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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