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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While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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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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