Solid character development strengthens a familiar plot.


In a future Chicago, when bionic chips have turned some humans into zombielike creatures, a young woman fights her way to possible sanctuary.

Some 70 years from now, widening social inequality has divided those living in the States (what’s left of America after California secedes) between those who qualify for MINK health coverage and those who don’t—such as Tasha Lockett, college dropout and salesgirl for a high-end mall’s designer pet store. Without MINK, she can’t get a Chip, the tiny neck-implanted device that prevents and cures all ailments. But then comes the Change: One morning, everyone with a chip is suddenly transformed into a swaying, grunting, zombielike eater of human flesh. The Minkers, as Tasha calls them, are easy enough to kill—she dispatches her doorman with a nail file—but they’re everywhere. A scribbled note from Tasha’s sister in California, postmarked two weeks before the Change, reads “Get to South Side ASAP….Dr. Rio can help. Find him. Come to LA.” Armed with a kitchen knife and toting her Prada backpack, Tasha makes a dangerous journey through Minker-haunted Chicago. When she learns Rio’s full plans, she realizes the battle is only just beginning. In the crowded field of dystopian/post-apocalyptic/zombie fiction, Cole doesn’t add much that’s new besides an interesting social-justice angle: Unusually for the genre, Tasha is of mixed race; Minkers tend to be white. Cole impressively plots Tasha’s growth: At first, she’s obsessed with fashion and style—at one point, she leaves a potential ally unprotected so she can do her makeup—but as life-and-death situations force her to reconsider priorities, Tasha can no longer answer a question such as “What’s so special about Prada?” except to conclude that “it was something to love, I guess.” Cole makes excellent use of her Chicago setting, and she brings out the spookiness of her premise with haunting images of ordinary people gone mindlessly bad. Despite a lot of action, though, the book moves somewhat slowly while leaving many questions unanswered, no doubt due to a planned sequel.

Solid character development strengthens a familiar plot.

Pub Date: March 31, 2014

ISBN: 978-0991615506

Page Count: 472

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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There are unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story.


Passion, friendship, heartbreak, and forgiveness ring true in Lovering's debut, the tale of a young woman's obsession with a man who's "good at being charming."

Long Island native Lucy Albright, starts her freshman year at Baird College in Southern California, intending to study English and journalism and become a travel writer. Stephen DeMarco, an upperclassman, is a political science major who plans to become a lawyer. Soon after they meet, Lucy tells Stephen an intensely personal story about the Unforgivable Thing, a betrayal that turned Lucy against her mother. Stephen pretends to listen to Lucy's painful disclosure, but all his thoughts are about her exposed black bra strap and her nipples pressing against her thin cotton T-shirt. It doesn't take Lucy long to realize Stephen's a "manipulative jerk" and she is "beyond pathetic" in her desire for him, but their lives are now intertwined. Their story takes seven years to unfold, but it's a fast-paced ride through hookups, breakups, and infidelities fueled by alcohol and cocaine and with oodles of sizzling sexual tension. "Lucy was an itch, a song stuck in your head or a movie you need to rewatch or a food you suddenly crave," Stephen says in one of his point-of-view chapters, which alternate with Lucy's. The ending is perfect, as Lucy figures out the dark secret Stephen has kept hidden and learns the difference between lustful addiction and mature love.

There are unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story.

Pub Date: June 12, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-6964-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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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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