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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Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

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THE VANISHING HALF

Inseparable identical twin sisters ditch home together, and then one decides to vanish.

The talented Bennett fuels her fiction with secrets—first in her lauded debut, The Mothers (2016), and now in the assured and magnetic story of the Vignes sisters, light-skinned women parked on opposite sides of the color line. Desiree, the “fidgety twin,” and Stella, “a smart, careful girl,” make their break from stultifying rural Mallard, Louisiana, becoming 16-year-old runaways in 1954 New Orleans. The novel opens 14 years later as Desiree, fleeing a violent marriage in D.C., returns home with a different relative: her 8-year-old daughter, Jude. The gossips are agog: “In Mallard, nobody married dark....Marrying a dark man and dragging his blueblack child all over town was one step too far.” Desiree's decision seals Jude’s misery in this “colorstruck” place and propels a new generation of flight: Jude escapes on a track scholarship to UCLA. Tending bar as a side job in Beverly Hills, she catches a glimpse of her mother’s doppelgänger. Stella, ensconced in White society, is shedding her fur coat. Jude, so Black that strangers routinely stare, is unrecognizable to her aunt. All this is expertly paced, unfurling before the book is half finished; a reader can guess what is coming. Bennett is deeply engaged in the unknowability of other people and the scourge of colorism. The scene in which Stella adopts her White persona is a tour de force of doubling and confusion. It calls up Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, the book's 50-year-old antecedent. Bennett's novel plays with its characters' nagging feelings of being incomplete—for the twins without each other; for Jude’s boyfriend, Reese, who is trans and seeks surgery; for their friend Barry, who performs in drag as Bianca. Bennett keeps all these plot threads thrumming and her social commentary crisp. In the second half, Jude spars with her cousin Kennedy, Stella's daughter, a spoiled actress.

Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-53629-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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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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