A taut, often unnerving procedural with a memorable heroine and villain.

KILL FOR YOU

An FBI profiler’s past may link to a murderer’s in Regan’s (The Bones She Buried, 2019, etc.) thriller.

Agent Kassidy Bishop of the FBI’s Behavior Analysis Unit is on the hunt for a serial killer. At each crime scene, he leaves a message that reads “for you.” His M.O. is unusual in other ways, as well: The bodies show indications of torture that occurred after the victims were already dead. Kassidy suspects that they’re revenge killings of some kind, given the murderer’s recurring message. The novel alternates perspectives between first- and third-person, giving readers an early introduction to the killer, Wyatt Anderton, who’s obsessed with Kassidy and secretly spies on her. It’s revealed early on that, five years before, serial rapist Nico Sala tortured Kassidy, and that the resulting brain damage adversely affected her long-term memory. Wyatt, meanwhile, sometimes has blackouts and can’t remember all of his murders. As his control slips further away, he becomes an even greater threat—and Kassidy could be his next victim. As the killer’s identity and motive become clear, Regan concentrates her story less on the mystery than she does on the characters. The absorbing protagonist, who also lost her twin sister in an apparent suicide, is understandably reluctant to get close to anyone. Her skills are without question, however; as she and her partner, Agent TK Bennett, profile the killer, readers know that their insights are generally spot-on. Revelations about Wyatt’s past effectively humanize him, as both he and his younger sister endured abuse. But when he loses stretches of time, it can be terrifying; at one point, for instance, he suddenly finds himself in front of a victim with no memory of how he got there. Regan’s steadily paced narrative rarely slows down, and it delivers effective twists. Readers will likely be able to predict one of the more significant plot turns, but the author saves one for the end that they may not see coming.

A taut, often unnerving procedural with a memorable heroine and villain.

Pub Date: June 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9968882-9-5

Page Count: 332

Publisher: Prodorutti Books

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2019

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ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH

While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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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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