BAD BEHAVIOR

Twenty-two tales of murder, suspense, and twisted psyches from both new and established writers of crime fiction. Most of the stories feature young people, dysfunctional families, or both: In Barbara Steiner's ``Mother Always Loved You Best,'' a twin survives her murderous sister's attack, then learns who instigated it (see story title); an abusive father suddenly becomes a pile of wrapped Christmas presents (maybe) in Joyce Carol Oates's exquisitely macabre ``The Premonition''; and V.I. Warshawski hunts down a runaway teenager in Sara Paretsky's profane, hard-boiled ``Maltese Cat.'' There is plenty of violent crime here, but it's usually not described in detail, and the misfeasance is sometimes relatively minor, or leavened by an ironic twist: In M.E. Kerr's ``The Green Killer'' a mediocre student steals an essay from his brilliant cousin, only to discover that it had been copied, word for word, from Isaac Asimov; in John H. MaGowan's ``Darker Than Just Before The Dawn,'' a serial killer hunts people who utter platitudes. The lack of author bios or thematic links (stories are arranged in alphabetical order by author) make the parts of this collection greater than its sum; but nearly all of the contributions are either new or making their first book appearance, and the level of storytelling is consistently high. A wide-ranging sampler for fans, new and old. (Fiction/short stories. 11+)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-15-200179-4

Page Count: 306

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1995

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THE BOOK THIEF

When Death tells a story, you pay attention. Liesel Meminger is a young girl growing up outside of Munich in Nazi Germany, and Death tells her story as “an attempt—a flying jump of an attempt—to prove to me that you, and your human existence, are worth it.” When her foster father helps her learn to read and she discovers the power of words, Liesel begins stealing books from Nazi book burnings and the mayor’s wife’s library. As she becomes a better reader, she becomes a writer, writing a book about her life in such a miserable time. Liesel’s experiences move Death to say, “I am haunted by humans.” How could the human race be “so ugly and so glorious” at the same time? This big, expansive novel is a leisurely working out of fate, of seemingly chance encounters and events that ultimately touch, like dominoes as they collide. The writing is elegant, philosophical and moving. Even at its length, it’s a work to read slowly and savor. Beautiful and important. (Fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: March 14, 2006

ISBN: 0-375-83100-2

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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A suspenseful tale filled with Ojibwe knowledge, hockey, and the politics of status.

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FIREKEEPER'S DAUGHTER

Testing the strength of family bonds is never easy—and lies make it even harder.

Daunis is trying to balance her two communities: The Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, teen is constantly adapting, whether she is with her Anishinaabe father’s side of the family, the Firekeepers, or the Fontaines, her White mother’s wealthy relatives. She has grand plans for her future, as she wants to become a doctor, but has decided to defer her plans to go away for college because her maternal grandmother is recovering from a stroke. Daunis spends her free time playing hockey with her Firekeeper half brother, Levi, but tragedy strikes, and she discovers someone is selling a dangerous new form of meth—and the bodies are piling up. While trying to figure out who is behind this, Daunis pulls away from her family, covering up where she has been and what she has been doing. While dealing with tough topics like rape, drugs, racism, and death, this book balances the darkness with Ojibwe cultural texture and well-crafted characters. Daunis is a three-dimensional, realistically imperfect girl trying her best to handle everything happening around her. The first-person narration reveals her internal monologue, allowing readers to learn what’s going on in her head as she encounters anti-Indian bias and deals with grief.

A suspenseful tale filled with Ojibwe knowledge, hockey, and the politics of status. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-76656-4

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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