A tense, well-realized police procedural starring a memorably resilient heroine.

Angel Hero


A psychological thriller with spiritual overtones, set in Hawaii.

Lizbeth Hartz, the levelheaded and high-spirited heroine of this fiction debut by an author of the same name (in an Author’s Note, she mentions that the stories in her fictionalized memoir are drawn from real life), thinks her humdrum life of shuttling between a boring job and her ongoing search for a shining prince to sweep her off her feet has finally turned around. She has been hired as a dispatcher for Whaler Air Force Base in central Oahu, and among the many memorable characters she meets there is Vic Lazzarini, tall, tanned, soft-spoken, and courteous. Vic is the first male co-worker Liz has ever encountered who treats her with good humor and respect, and she begins to become comfortable daydreaming about him and innocently flirting with him (at first, she takes it no further, because she has a boyfriend). She’s far less comfortable around short, disreputable, slightly creepy Jaku Cardoza, an islander with an angry edge, and she can’t understand the friendship the two men seem to have. The plot catapults into action early on when Vic is found murdered, shot to death by none other than Jaku, who’s out on bail alarmingly soon and free to pose a danger to Liz. The author displays a wide array of skills in this taut, fast-paced novel. She’s adept at evoking the atmosphere and day-to-day feel of both contemporary Hawaii and the sometimes high-pressure world of a dispatch operator (the workplace drama elements of the book are well-handled throughout). Her characters feel fleshed-out even when they’re unsavory (Jaku is every bit as compelling as any of the less predictable “good guys,” for instance), and her dramatic sense for slowly, expertly unfolding the police investigation into Vic’s death is surefire. Her cops sound and act like real cops (usually a notorious weakness of novels like this). Readers should find the well-orchestrated climax satisfyingly gripping.

A tense, well-realized police procedural starring a memorably resilient heroine.

Pub Date: April 19, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-615-98247-2

Page Count: 222

Publisher: Mighty Quill Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2016

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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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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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