Reads like an emergency manual for activists battling environmental despoliation.

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Fracking Justice

In this sequel to The Fracking War (2014), a small-town New York newspaper crusades against a thuggish energy company.

After losing his wife, Devon, to a drowning accident, journalist Jack Stafford returns from the island nation of Tonga to Horseheads, New York, with his 3-year-old son, Noah, and sister-in-law Cass. At the Horseheads Clarion newspaper, Jack takes the publishing reins back from editor Eli Gupta in time to dedicate his “Column One” editorials to the unsavory activities of Grand Energy Services. The company wants to store propane and natural gas in the salt caverns of Rockwell Valley, Pennsylvania, and build a pipeline through dairy farm country—with minimal input from the citizens affected most by the activities. Jack and his team of journalists use the paper to educate and warn the people of Rockwell Valley that fracking—which blasts water and various chemicals through shale to dislodge gas deposits—adds toxins to water supplies and increases the likelihood of earthquakes. There’s also the danger of stored gas leaking and exploding. Grand Energy, however, is run like a mob by CEO Luther Burnside. He’s got local politicians and judges in his pocket to smooth the way for his greedy agenda, which calls for shipping most of the gas overseas. Balancing the scales are the supposed eco-terrorists, the Wolverines, and a no-nonsense retired teacher named Alice McCallis. Former reporter Fitzgerald brings the weight of a long career to this series; his latest novel offers readers every angle they could ask for in the war between a small town and a company that would seek to subvert free speech and constitutional rights. Scenes with Jack and his staff are often a crash course in deft reportage, as when Jack warns a writer against skimping on scientific detail: “We are publishing stories and photos and videos about an environmental war that the public is losing,” he says. “I can’t have soldiers who don’t know how to fight.” Jack’s personal drama, including his traumatized son who can’t speak, ends up adding a positive human element to a narrative flush with despicable politics and chaos.

Reads like an emergency manual for activists battling environmental despoliation.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-1-63413-555-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Mill City Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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A LITTLE LIFE

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 steamy, glitzy, and tender tale of college intrigue.

THE CHASE

From the Briar U series

In this opener to Kennedy’s (Hot & Bothered, 2017, etc.) Briar U romance series, two likable students keep getting their signals crossed.

Twenty-one-year-old Summer Heyward-Di Laurentis is expelled from Brown University in the middle of her junior year because she was responsible for a fire at the Kappa Beta Nu sorority house. Fortunately, her father has connections, so she’s now enrolled in Briar University, a prestigious institution about an hour outside Boston. But as she’s about to move into Briar’s Kappa Beta Nu house, she’s asked to leave by the sisters, who don’t want her besmirching their reputation. Her older brother Dean, who’s a former Briar hockey star, comes to her rescue; his buddies, who are still on the hockey team, need a fourth roommate for their townhouse. Three good-looking hockey jocks and a very rich, gorgeous fashion major under the same roof—what could go wrong? Summer becomes quickly infatuated with one of her housemates: Dean’s best friend Colin “Fitzy” Fitzgerald. There’s a definite spark between them, and they exchange smoldering looks, but the tattooed Fitzy, who’s also a video game reviewer and designer, is an introvert who prefers no “drama” in his life. Summer, however, is a charming extrovert, although she has an inferiority complex about her flagging scholastic acumen. As the story goes on, the pair seem to misinterpret each other’s every move. Meanwhile, another roommate and potential suitor, Hunter Davenport, is waiting in the wings. Kennedy’s novel is full of sex, alcohol, and college-level profanity, but it never becomes formulaic. The author adroitly employs snappy dialogue, steady pacing, and humor, as in a scene at a runway fashion show featuring Briar jocks parading in Summer-designed swimwear. The book also manages to touch on some serious subjects, including learning disabilities and abusive behavior by faculty members. Summer and Fitzy’s repeated stumbles propel the plot through engaging twists and turns; the characters trade off narrating the story, which gives each of them a chance to reveal some substance.

A steamy, glitzy, and tender tale of college intrigue.    

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-72482-199-7

Page Count: 372

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

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