TRUE CRIME

When he hears that his father's been shot, Tom Heller, Jr.a true-crime writer like his author (Life for Death, Money to Burn) flies back to America determined to track down Big Tom's killer, only to step into a hornet's nest when he's called into the investigation of another murder he's all too sure is tied to his father's. The latest victimsAndrew Yost and Clay Farinholtare father and son to Elaine Farinholt, whom poor-boy Tom romanced one impossible summer 20 years ago before drop-dead-rich Andrew found out she was pregnant and packed her off to an adoption agency in Texas, where she swore to Tom, when he chased her down, that the baby wasn't his. Now that she's been getting anonymous letters about that baby, she's convinced that he's grown up and killed her family in revengeand Tom's convinced that the mysterious blond man Elaine saw fleeing the murder scene is the same blond man a neighbor saw running from Big Tom's murder. The old lovers strike a brilliantly twisted deal: Tom will sign an affidavit that Elaine was pregnant that summer (all the adoption records having disappeared, the police have naturally zeroed in on her as the #1 suspect) in return for her cooperation in writing a book about the murders (scheming all the time to tie the killings to his father's murder). Meantime, as Clay's pregnant girlfriend Doreen Perry, aided by her strong, stupid brother Darryl and swinish lawyer Curtis Koontz, is pressing a claim on behalf of her unborn child for Andrew's estate, hoping to sweeten the pot by nudging Elaine toward the chair, Tomlying blithely to Elaine, the police, even his trusted brother Buckbegins to wonder who's double-crossing whom. Was there really a baby after all? Was it Tom's? Did Elaine kill Big Tom, and is she trying to seduce Tom to set him up for all three killings? The surprises go off like a giant string of firecrackers, with only the last one a dud. Pulp fiction at its overplotted best.

Pub Date: June 1, 1991

ISBN: 0-671-73204-8

Page Count: -

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1991

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An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.

THE AUTHENTICITY PROJECT

A group of strangers who live near each other in London become fast friends after writing their deepest secrets in a shared notebook.

Julian Jessop, a septuagenarian artist, is bone-crushingly lonely when he starts “The Authenticity Project”—as he titles a slim green notebook—and begins its first handwritten entry questioning how well people know each other in his tiny corner of London. After 15 years on his own mourning the loss of his beloved wife, he begins the project with the aim that whoever finds the little volume when he leaves it in a cafe will share their true self with their own entry and then pass the volume on to a stranger. The second person to share their inner selves in the notebook’s pages is Monica, 37, owner of a failing cafe and a former corporate lawyer who desperately wants to have a baby. From there the story unfolds, as the volume travels to Thailand and back to London, seemingly destined to fall only into the hands of people—an alcoholic drug addict, an Australian tourist, a social media influencer/new mother, etc.—who already live clustered together geographically. This is a glossy tale where difficulties and addictions appear and are overcome, where lies are told and then forgiven, where love is sought and found, and where truths, once spoken, can set you free. Secondary characters, including an interracial gay couple, appear with their own nuanced parts in the story. The message is strong, urging readers to get off their smartphones and social media and live in the real, authentic world—no chain stores or brands allowed here—making friends and forming a real-life community and support network. And is that really a bad thing?

An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7861-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

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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