Unrefined but infectious, like a barely legal high.

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All The Talk Is Dead

Two aspiring rock musicians think that the way to success is for one of them to fake his own death, then capitalize on the phony tragedy.

In his mid-20s, Joel Wilson works as a bellhop at a Sydney hotel, where he hooks up with slightly older Wade Farley, a lobby pianist, to form a rock band. But to Joel, this is only a means to an end, as he really sees himself as a filmmaker. Unable to get a recording contract, Joel and Wade hatch a scheme: They’ll go to New York, where they’ll fake Joel’s death and turn that tragedy into a launch pad for their music. Once the deed is done, Joel travels to Montreal, where he takes on an assumed name. Time passes, and Joel hears nothing from Wade. Then, one day, he turns on the radio and hears one of his songs being played as part of a tribute album put together in his memory. It looks like the scheme worked, and Wade has been living it up in New York while Joel has been on the down low in Montreal. The ensuing complications, however, humorously expose the dark underbelly of fame in the music business. The premise isn’t entirely original, and the machinations of how Joel and Wade pull off their scam are a little on the sketchy side, but Joel’s misadventures in three different cities are hilariously rendered. He and Wade fit into the pantheon of great losers, the author having a Charles Portis–like gift for writing about dim bulbs without condescending to them. The book’s filled with laugh-out-loud lines and dialogue, more than compensating for any flaws in terms of story logic or narrative cohesion, making for a memorable trip through the demimonde of wannabe rock stars.

Unrefined but infectious, like a barely legal high. 

Pub Date: Oct. 14, 2009

ISBN: 978-1448623846

Page Count: 234

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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

GHOSTED

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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THE STARLESS SEA

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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