Like 007 breaking The Da Vinci Code.

The Brothers' Keepers

A NOVEL OF SUSPENSE

From the Parched series , Vol. 2

Revolving around archaeologist Grace Madison and her family of globe-trotting adventurers, the second installment of Horton’s Parched saga and sequel to When Camels Fly (2014) is a highly appealing fusion of spy fiction, eco-thriller, and historical mystery.

When Grace’s adult daughter, Maggie—one of the world’s foremost experts in hydrology—is kidnapped just days before she’s scheduled to present a speech on King Solomon’s treasure in Paris, her family members gather together in an attempt to locate and rescue her. The family—Maggie’s brother Jeff, a war correspondent for the BBC; Jeff’s wife, Becca, a former MI6 agent; Grace and her husband, Mark, a CIA operative–turned–Colorado rancher—mobilizes in France, then follows cryptic messages left by Maggie as they try to figure out who kidnapped her and why. At the center of the mystery are pieces of an ancient scroll that allegedly contain information about the whereabouts of a massive underground water system that, if found, could not only supply water to Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria—“the world’s most highly stressed drought regions”—but also radically alter the political dynamics in the Middle East. The information on the scroll, if valid, is priceless because those who control the water in the region control the oil; more than a few organizations are willing to kill for it. Maggie’s escaping her abductors is just the beginning. With international agencies like Mossad, MI6, and the CIA involved, Grace and her family are forced to run for their lives while also trying to unravel the mystery of the scroll. Although the romance elements seem a little forced and some sequences a bit contrived, suspense/thriller fans will be satisfied with the novel and, indeed, the series. Exceptionally developed characters, vividly described locales, pedal-to-the-metal pacing, and nonstop action and adventure—all powered by a subtle spiritual undertone—make this a page-turner of the highest order.

Like 007 breaking The Da Vinci Code.

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-9914017-3-4

Page Count: 408

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2015

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TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

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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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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