An uneven novel that delivers compelling racing scenes but underdeveloped characters.


Flat Track


Mexis’ debut novel offers an ode to flat-track motorcycle racing.

Soon after Gunner Adams was born, he was abandoned by his father; he was raised by his alcoholic mother in Indiana until her death when he was 12. The Gunner that readers see for the majority of the novel is a troubled 23-year-old living in Santa Rosa, Calif., where he helps his uncle fix motorcycles. He’s also an especially talented flat-track motorcyclist, and the sections of the novel in which Gunner muses about racing, or actually races, have vivid imagery and expert insight. In this way, the novel’s subtitle—“A story about coming of age, love, and above all, racing”—sets up a hierarchy that proves to be accurate. However, the remainder of the story suffers from clichéd plot points and awkward dialogue. At an early race, for example, Gunner meets Joya, who works for the flat-track racing organization. Joya falls in love with him immediately, and, coincidentally, she happens to know Gunner’s runaway father. Before Joya and Gunner head to the biggest race of the year, the Indy Mile, she takes Gunner to meet him. The two men trade the requisite displays of anger and guilt before Gunner receives a helpful racing tip from his father—a former racer himself. When other conflicts arise, they primarily take place off the track. At one point, energy-drink guru and racing sponsor Tom Allen bribes Uncle Jim to sabotage a particular racer’s bike in a way that leads to his disqualification; later, he burns down Jim’s garage “for fun.” Unfortunately, Tom is so thinly drawn that his actions, and their relationship to Gunner, never feel very meaningful to readers. Later, when he becomes a factor at the Indy Mile, his presence feels strangely disconnected from the rest of the story.

An uneven novel that delivers compelling racing scenes but underdeveloped characters.    

Pub Date: April 26, 2013

ISBN: 978-1922204417

Page Count: 222

Publisher: Vivid Publishing

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2013

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A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.


In Walsh’s American debut, a woman desperately tries to find out why the man she spent a whirlwind week with never called.

Sarah has just separated from her American husband and is visiting her hometown in England when she meets Eddie. He’s kind and charming, and although they only spend one week together, she falls in love. When he has to leave for a trip, she knows they’ll keep in touch—they’re already making plans for the rest of their lives. But then Eddie never calls, and Sarah’s increasingly frantic efforts to contact him are fruitless. Is he hurt? Is he dead? As her friends tell her, there’s a far greater likelihood that he’s just blowing her off—she’s been ghosted. After trying to track Eddie down at a football game, Sarah starts to become ashamed of herself—after all, she’s almost 40 years old and she’s essentially stalking a man who never called her. But as Sarah slowly learns, she and Eddie didn’t actually meet randomly—they both have a connection to an accident that happened years ago, and it may have something to do with why he disappeared. The tension quickly amps up as the secrets of Eddie’s and Sarah’s pasts are revealed, and the truth behind their connection is genuinely surprising and heartbreaking. The barriers between Sarah and Eddie seem insurmountable at times, and although their issues are resolved in a tidy manner, the emotions behind their actions are always believable. Walsh has created a deeply moving romance with an intriguing mystery and a touching portrait of grief at its heart.

A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

Pub Date: July 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-52277-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

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A withdrawn graduate student embarks on an epic quest to restore balance to the world in this long-anticipated follow-up to The Night Circus (2011).

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a typical millennial introvert; he likes video games, escapist reading, and drinking sidecars. But when he recognizes himself in the pages of a mysterious book from the university library, he's unnerved—and determined to uncover the truth. What begins as a journey for answers turns into something much bigger, and Zachary must decide whether to trust the handsome stranger he meets at a highflying literary fundraiser in New York or to retreat back to his thesis and forget the whole affair. In a high-wire feat of metatextual derring-do, Morgenstern weaves Zachary's adventure into a stunning array of linked fables, myths, and origin stories. There are pirates and weary travelers, painters who can see the future, lovers torn asunder, a menacing Owl King, and safe harbors for all the stories of the world, far below the Earth on the golden shores of a Starless Sea. Clocking in at more than 500 pages, the novel requires patience as Morgenstern puts all the pieces in place, but it is exquisitely pleasurable to watch the gears of this epic fantasy turn once they're set in motion. As in The Night Circus, Morgenstern is at her best when she imagines worlds and rooms and parties in vivid detail, right down to the ballroom stairs "festooned with lanterns and garlands of paper dipped in gold" or a cloak carved from ice with "ships and sailors and sea monsters...lost in the drifting snow." This novel is a love letter to readers as much as an invitation: Come and see how much magic is left in the world. Fans of Neil Gaiman and V.E. Schwab, Kelly Link and Susanna Clarke will want to heed the call.

An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-385-54121-3

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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