Further plot pointers would benefit readers new to the series, but the appealing protagonists will pique interest for the...


The assassination of the U.S. president gradually exposes a secret organization that spans the globe in Healy’s (Intersection, 2014) second thriller to feature lovers Alexis Toles and Cassidy O’Brien.

Before he succumbs to an assassin’s bullet, President John Merrow rather cryptically tells his friend Alex that she needs to follow Brackett and Krause. Krause is CIA, but Brackett could be either the mysterious and powerful Adm. Brackett or his daughter, FBI agent Claire Brackett. Alex, just returned to her job at the NSA, learns that the president’s assassination may be the result of his working against an enigmatic group known as the Collaborative, which includes politicians, military members, etc., from various countries. Alex plans to infiltrate the organization for answers and to retrieve info on the Collaborative’s latest venture—a potential biological weapon. The world of political intrigue is amply detailed and gleefully convoluted; Alex’s lesbian lover, Cassidy, had a one-time fling with the president, who fathered her 7-year-old son, Dylan, unbeknownst to her ex-husband and the presumed dad, Christopher, a congressman in a sexual relationship with Claire. Healy keeps the myriad characters in line with frequent references to job titles, such as NSA Director Michael Taylor, which helps make the endlessly shifting alliances easier to follow. In lieu of descriptive passages, the story progresses mostly through dialogue but still manages solid visual cues, such as Alex’s tendency to pinch the bridge of her nose when frustrated or conflicted and the introduction in several scenes of Claire by her notable red hair. Healy writes the novel assuming readers have read the series’ first book, so particulars on Christopher’s car accident (that may not have been an accident) and Cassidy’s abduction, which have ties to the main plot, are regrettably lacking. Just as much of the narrative is devoted to Alex and Cassidy’s romance as it is to the espionage. They make an endearing couple who certainly face dramatic hurdles along the way, especially Alex’s small-minded father, who doesn’t hide his disapproval of the women’s relationship and their desire to, along with Dylan, be a family. But their repeated professions of love to one another can be excessive, especially because their embraces and caresses are far stronger expressions.

Further plot pointers would benefit readers new to the series, but the appealing protagonists will pique interest for the preceding book.

Pub Date: June 11, 2014

ISBN: 978-0692213544

Page Count: 482

Publisher: Bumbling Bard Creations

Review Posted Online: Sept. 5, 2014

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A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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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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