A riveting crime tale with a surprisingly effective multigenre approach.

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THE INSIDE MAN

From the Levi Yoder Thriller series , Vol. 2

A mobster has little time to find a kidnapped girl, thwart child sex traffickers, and prove himself innocent of murder in this sequel.

When someone abducts the granddaughter of Shinzo Tanaka, the Tanaka syndicate leader seeks help from Levi Yoder. A fixer for the Mafia’s Bianchi family in New York, Levi doesn’t initially know why Tanaka chose him to track down 5-year-old June. She’s the daughter of Tanaka’s dead son, Jun, and lives with her mom, Helen, in Maryland. The search for June is barely under way when feds pick up Levi and accuse him of murdering three FBI agents. They have no real evidence, but Levi agrees to be a cooperating witness and assist in finding the true killer. Meanwhile, June’s kidnapper demands $10 million within two weeks or Helen will never see her daughter again. Complicating matters is Levi’s personal mission to get abused immigrant children off the streets, provide them shelter, and help them secure U.S. citizenship. This ultimately results in threats from human traffickers in Flushing, Queens. But it also leads to a covert organization that wants to recruit Levi in taking down child sex traffickers, whose upcoming illicit deal will be taking place in mere weeks. Rothman (Darwin’s Cipher, 2019, etc.) deftly blends a few genres in this second installment of a series featuring Levi. The murders and abduction, for example, are shrouded in mystery while combating human traffickers generates ample action. Levi’s genius pal, Denny, shows off gadgets à la the James Bond films, with the narrative even comparing him to Q. The author deftly retains a coherent narrative by typically concentrating on one subplot at a time, like the one monopolizing the final act after another is all but resolved. With his mob ties, Levi is a flawed but likable protagonist. He’s involved in sometimes disturbingly violent deeds, but his desire to rescue children is noble. He’s also persistently cool; when an associate says Levi can’t save all the kids, he confidently responds: “I can try.”

A riveting crime tale with a surprisingly effective multigenre approach.

Pub Date: March 31, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-09-227955-0

Page Count: 374

Publisher: Time Tunnel Media

Review Posted Online: June 14, 2019

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An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.

THE AUTHENTICITY PROJECT

A group of strangers who live near each other in London become fast friends after writing their deepest secrets in a shared notebook.

Julian Jessop, a septuagenarian artist, is bone-crushingly lonely when he starts “The Authenticity Project”—as he titles a slim green notebook—and begins its first handwritten entry questioning how well people know each other in his tiny corner of London. After 15 years on his own mourning the loss of his beloved wife, he begins the project with the aim that whoever finds the little volume when he leaves it in a cafe will share their true self with their own entry and then pass the volume on to a stranger. The second person to share their inner selves in the notebook’s pages is Monica, 37, owner of a failing cafe and a former corporate lawyer who desperately wants to have a baby. From there the story unfolds, as the volume travels to Thailand and back to London, seemingly destined to fall only into the hands of people—an alcoholic drug addict, an Australian tourist, a social media influencer/new mother, etc.—who already live clustered together geographically. This is a glossy tale where difficulties and addictions appear and are overcome, where lies are told and then forgiven, where love is sought and found, and where truths, once spoken, can set you free. Secondary characters, including an interracial gay couple, appear with their own nuanced parts in the story. The message is strong, urging readers to get off their smartphones and social media and live in the real, authentic world—no chain stores or brands allowed here—making friends and forming a real-life community and support network. And is that really a bad thing?

An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7861-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 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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