A vividly imagined but dark dystopian fantasy complete with passionate romance and dangerous alliances.

Maya Rising

From the Last Call for Caviar series , Vol. 2

An intrepid pair has survived the apocalypse, but the worst is yet to come in Roen’s sequel to Last Call for Caviar (2013).

Maya Jade and her lover, Julian, have fled their temporary place of refuge on the French Riviera. Fearing for their safety, they head toward Italy in a battered Land Rover full of weapons and provisions; but Maya cannot escape the dangers she encountered during her time mingling among the Riviera’s jet set. She’s being followed by Slava, a Russian who runs a human-trafficking ring. Julian’s skill as a physician secures the couple safe passage into Italy and finally to the Hautes-Alpes, where he treats the locals and refugees. While Julian is out on an emergency call, an earthquake strikes the area, cutting off all lines of communication. Desperate to find him, Maya enlists the help of Stephan and Laurent, two French military paratroopers. They discover that Julian has been kidnapped by a ruthless and bloodthirsty captain named Jacques Richmond, who’s in league with Slava and planning a covert operation in Monaco. Maya soon realizes her only hope for saving Julian lies with her former lover Abdul. As she renews alliances and faces old dangers in her efforts to free Julian, Maya realizes her feelings for Abdul are more complicated than she had thought. Told in a series of journal entries that span the years 2018-2019, this sequel seamlessly picks up where Last Call for Caviar left off, and the narrative moves with the same intensity. The action is gripping, but there is a grimmer edge to the tragedies unfolding around Maya and Julian. The storms and other ecological disasters have continued unabated, and the desperation and lawlessness have resulted in shocking acts of violence, including rape and cannibalism. Once again, erotic romance plays a major role in the story. Although Maya never questions her love for Julian, she remains conflicted about her feelings toward Abdul. This conflict helps form the basis for an erotic and nuanced love triangle as her involvement with Abdul deepens.

A vividly imagined but dark dystopian fantasy complete with passionate romance and dangerous alliances.

Pub Date: Nov. 19, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-5171-5744-9

Page Count: 360

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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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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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.


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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