Predictable action sponsoring a political and social agenda.


North (Mission Compromised, 2002, etc.) forecasts a near future with a liberal government gone authoritarian, and it’s left to Anarks (Anti-American Religious Kooks) and other right-thinkers to defend Constitutional ideals.

Part thriller, part conspiracy novel, part political screed, this book follows the Newman family, led by father-son USMC heroes Peter and James, as it becomes embroiled in the 2032 election year's dirty politics subsequent to a September 11 terrorist attack on a scientific conference: Old-school Clancy in a brave new world. The Caliphate, an Islamic hagiography, controls everything from North Africa to Indonesia, although the ever-combative Iranians, picking at scabs of the Sunni-Shia split, are no peaceful disciples. The U.S. has ceded personal liberties to the U.N. Citizens have a PERT (Personal Electronic Radio Tag) embedded in their bodies, and everyone carries traceable PIDs (Personal Interface Device) connecting to MESH, the fourth-generation Internet. North’s Acronym World 2032 needs an 11-page glossary, but the action is securely rooted in standard thriller dynamic. The catalyst is the apparent engineering of a fuel cell by Martin Cohen, retired admiral and professor, kidnapped during the conference attack. Cohen was Peter Newman’s Naval Academy classmate. Rumors were the fuel cell would be available for free, something that doesn’t go down well with the Iranians. Led by the widow of the previous incumbent, the current corrupt U.S. administration doesn’t want the attack blamed on the Caliphate, since her reelection depends on Caliphate money and its no-terror cooperation. An administration conspiracy labels the Newmans as Anarks and blames James Newman for the attack. The Newmans have the resources of their all-powerful intelligence/paramilitary company, Centurion Solutions Group, and have Sen. Mackintosh Caperton, another Academy classmate, as an ally. As the jargon-loaded narrative unfolds, the Newmans retreat to their private island; Cohen washes ashore in Yucatan post-hurricane; and drug smugglers allied with the Mexican government, Iranians and CSG operatives led by James Newman converge on scene for the de rigueur shootout, escape and resolution.

Predictable action sponsoring a political and social agenda.

Pub Date: Nov. 20, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4767-0631-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Threshold Editions/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 16, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

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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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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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