An entertainingly dense plot that links flawlessly to its forerunner, with room for more adventures.

Veil of Deception

An Air Force instructor pilot’s new station at a California base in 2001 is immersed in a conspiracy teeming with espionage, murder, and sabotage in this thriller.

Jason Conrad hadn’t anticipated his reassignment from Oklahoma to Edwards Air Force Base in the Mojave Desert. But TRENCOR Industries, working with the Air Force, had an ulterior motive for adding the pilot to its team. Jason’s the son of former senator Jonathan Bowman, now vice president of defense contractor Century Aero-Bot. TRENCOR CEO David Ming hopes Bowman will sell his company’s technology, or at least provide access, to complete the F-2000, a jet prototype past schedule and well over budget. New York Times investigative reporter Sherri Davis, meanwhile, gets wind of a body in the Mojave, a TRENCOR employee with a bullet hole in her head. Already in the area for a story, Sherri’s hooked, especially because her father died years ago operating a TRENCOR-manufactured combine. Events are unfurling at both the company’s facility and the base. The shocking reappearance of Jason’s love Kathy Delgato, for one, who left suddenly back in 1995, the same year TV reporter Dane Robinson accused Jason of being a Russian spy. Still fixated on Jason, Dane finds something unusual regarding recent land purchases. As others turn up dead, Sherri suspects someone’s planning an attack that may prove catastrophic. Lewis (Surly Bonds, 2012) carries over a lot of material from his preceding novel. He uses this to his advantage, diving right into subplots like Jason’s sordid history with Kathy. Brisk recaps catch up new readers, but may prove to be spoilers for anyone wanting to peruse the author’s earlier book. Lewis drops clever nods to the time period, characters employing an “amazing new device” (a thumb drive) and new search engine Google. Despite Sherri’s hackneyed undercover role as a stripper, she’s a sublime heroine. She unearths the bulk of the baddies’ nefarious scheme and is hardly fazed when people shoot at her, which happens more than once. One thinks that, even without Jason occasionally rescuing her, the able woman will escape potentially lethal predicaments. Lewis forgoes a climactic car chase for a more fitting—and enjoyable—jet chase.

An entertainingly dense plot that links flawlessly to its forerunner, with room for more adventures.

Pub Date: Nov. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-9914764-2-8

Page Count: 444

Publisher: SATCOM Publishing

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2016

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Dated sermonizing on career versus motherhood, and conflict driven by characters’ willed helplessness, sap this tale of...

FIREFLY LANE

Lifelong, conflicted friendship of two women is the premise of Hannah’s maudlin latest (Magic Hour, 2006, etc.), again set in Washington State.

Tallulah “Tully” Hart, father unknown, is the daughter of a hippie, Cloud, who makes only intermittent appearances in her life. Tully takes refuge with the family of her “best friend forever,” Kate Mularkey, who compares herself unfavorably with Tully, in regards to looks and charisma. In college, “TullyandKate” pledge the same sorority and major in communications. Tully has a life goal for them both: They will become network TV anchorwomen. Tully lands an internship at KCPO-TV in Seattle and finagles a producing job for Kate. Kate no longer wishes to follow Tully into broadcasting and is more drawn to fiction writing, but she hesitates to tell her overbearing friend. Meanwhile a love triangle blooms at KCPO: Hard-bitten, irresistibly handsome, former war correspondent Johnny is clearly smitten with Tully. Expecting rejection, Kate keeps her infatuation with Johnny secret. When Tully lands a reporting job with a Today-like show, her career shifts into hyperdrive. Johnny and Kate had started an affair once Tully moved to Manhattan, and when Kate gets pregnant with daughter Marah, they marry. Kate is content as a stay-at-home mom, but frets about being Johnny’s second choice and about her unrealized writing ambitions. Tully becomes Seattle’s answer to Oprah. She hires Johnny, which spells riches for him and Kate. But Kate’s buttons are fully depressed by pitched battles over slutwear and curfews with teenaged Marah, who idolizes her godmother Tully. In an improbable twist, Tully invites Kate and Marah to resolve their differences on her show, only to blindside Kate by accusing her, on live TV, of overprotecting Marah. The BFFs are sundered. Tully’s latest attempt to salvage Cloud fails: The incorrigible, now geriatric hippie absconds once more. Just as Kate develops a spine, she’s given some devastating news. Will the friends reconcile before it’s too late?

Dated sermonizing on career versus motherhood, and conflict driven by characters’ willed helplessness, sap this tale of poignancy.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-312-36408-3

Page Count: 496

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2007

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A kind of Holden Caulfield who speaks bravely and winningly from inside the sorrows of autism: wonderful, simple, easy,...

THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME

Britisher Haddon debuts in the adult novel with the bittersweet tale of a 15-year-old autistic who’s also a math genius.

Christopher Boone has had some bad knocks: his mother has died (well, she went to the hospital and never came back), and soon after he found a neighbor’s dog on the front lawn, slain by a garden fork stuck through it. A teacher said that he should write something that he “would like to read himself”—and so he embarks on this book, a murder mystery that will reveal who killed Mrs. Shears’s dog. First off, though, is a night in jail for hitting the policeman who questions him about the dog (the cop made the mistake of grabbing the boy by the arm when he can’t stand to be touched—any more than he can stand the colors yellow or brown, or not knowing what’s going to happen next). Christopher’s father bails him out but forbids his doing any more “detecting” about the dog-murder. When Christopher disobeys (and writes about it in his book), a fight ensues and his father confiscates the book. In time, detective-Christopher finds it, along with certain other clues that reveal a very great deal indeed about his mother’s “death,” his father’s own part in it—and the murder of the dog. Calming himself by doing roots, cubes, prime numbers, and math problems in his head, Christopher runs away, braves a train-ride to London, and finds—his mother. How can this be? Read and see. Neither parent, if truth be told, is the least bit prepossessing or more than a cutout. Christopher, though, with pet rat Toby in his pocket and advanced “maths” in his head, is another matter indeed, and readers will cheer when, way precociously, he takes his A-level maths and does brilliantly.

A kind of Holden Caulfield who speaks bravely and winningly from inside the sorrows of autism: wonderful, simple, easy, moving, and likely to be a smash.

Pub Date: June 17, 2003

ISBN: 0-385-50945-6

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2003

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