Irelan (The Miracle Boy, 2013, etc.) plots as lackadaisically as Raymond Chandler, and Mike seems to think he’s Philip...

THE BIG DRUGSTORE

A shamus who plies his trade in the Quad Cities of Iowa and Illinois, where “the best we could hope for was a day without toxic spills,” lands a case that begins with the shoplifting of a tube of toothpaste and leads swiftly to multiple murder.

William Morrison has hired the Scofield Detective Agency to keep an eye out for shoplifters in his Morco Drugstores, and that’s exactly what Mike Scofield is doing—in fact, he’s apprehending Kathy Dove with the toothpaste in her purse—when someone sneaks into the office and buries a knife in store manager Jason King’s chest. Morrison wants Mike to go back to his security beat and let the police do their job, but Mike’s dander is up; it won’t be good for his agency if he doesn’t play an active role in catching the killer. Morrison agrees to bankroll his investigation, but that’s Mike’s last piece of good luck. Kathy Dove (not her real name, alas) disappears, and even after Mike’s junior associate, Carlos Lorca, finds her stripping in the Gentleman’s Retreat, her story of being paid $100 by some drunk to distract Mike just leads Mike to a very dead drunk. The episodic plot spirals thereafter through the discovery of a multilayered insurance scam, several more corpses, a record number of chiropractors, the requisite sharp-looking dames (one of whom Mike seduces, a second of whom seduces him), and a thousand wisecracks, some of them equally sharp, others more familiar than funny. The solution to the case, which is as surprising as it is logical, has very little to do with what’s come before.

Irelan (The Miracle Boy, 2013, etc.) plots as lackadaisically as Raymond Chandler, and Mike seems to think he’s Philip Marlowe. He’s not, but this first case could put the Quad Cities on the sleuthing map, especially since a sequel is reportedly in the works.

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-888160-87-1

Page Count: 276

Publisher: Ice Cube Press

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2015

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A kind of Holden Caulfield who speaks bravely and winningly from inside the sorrows of autism: wonderful, simple, easy,...

THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME

Britisher Haddon debuts in the adult novel with the bittersweet tale of a 15-year-old autistic who’s also a math genius.

Christopher Boone has had some bad knocks: his mother has died (well, she went to the hospital and never came back), and soon after he found a neighbor’s dog on the front lawn, slain by a garden fork stuck through it. A teacher said that he should write something that he “would like to read himself”—and so he embarks on this book, a murder mystery that will reveal who killed Mrs. Shears’s dog. First off, though, is a night in jail for hitting the policeman who questions him about the dog (the cop made the mistake of grabbing the boy by the arm when he can’t stand to be touched—any more than he can stand the colors yellow or brown, or not knowing what’s going to happen next). Christopher’s father bails him out but forbids his doing any more “detecting” about the dog-murder. When Christopher disobeys (and writes about it in his book), a fight ensues and his father confiscates the book. In time, detective-Christopher finds it, along with certain other clues that reveal a very great deal indeed about his mother’s “death,” his father’s own part in it—and the murder of the dog. Calming himself by doing roots, cubes, prime numbers, and math problems in his head, Christopher runs away, braves a train-ride to London, and finds—his mother. How can this be? Read and see. Neither parent, if truth be told, is the least bit prepossessing or more than a cutout. Christopher, though, with pet rat Toby in his pocket and advanced “maths” in his head, is another matter indeed, and readers will cheer when, way precociously, he takes his A-level maths and does brilliantly.

A kind of Holden Caulfield who speaks bravely and winningly from inside the sorrows of autism: wonderful, simple, easy, moving, and likely to be a smash.

Pub Date: June 17, 2003

ISBN: 0-385-50945-6

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2003

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The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with...

SUMMER ISLAND

Talk-show queen takes tumble as millions jeer.

Nora Bridges is a wildly popular radio spokesperson for family-first virtues, but her loyal listeners don't know that she walked out on her husband and teenaged daughters years ago and didn't look back. Now that a former lover has sold racy pix of naked Nora and horny himself to a national tabloid, her estranged daughter Ruby, an unsuccessful stand-up comic in Los Angeles, has been approached to pen a tell-all. Greedy for the fat fee she's been promised, Ruby agrees and heads for the San Juan Islands, eager to get reacquainted with the mom she plans to betray. Once in the family homestead, nasty Ruby alternately sulks and glares at her mother, who is temporarily wheelchair-bound as a result of a post-scandal car crash. Uncaring, Ruby begins writing her side of the story when she's not strolling on the beach with former sweetheart Dean Sloan, the son of wealthy socialites who basically ignored him and his gay brother Eric. Eric, now dying of cancer and also in a wheelchair, has returned to the island. This dismal threesome catch up on old times, recalling their childhood idylls on the island. After Ruby's perfect big sister Caroline shows up, there's another round of heartfelt talk. Nora gradually reveals the truth about her unloving husband and her late father's alcoholism, which led her to seek the approval of others at the cost of her own peace of mind. And so on. Ruby is aghast to discover that she doesn't know everything after all, but Dean offers her subdued comfort. Happy endings await almost everyone—except for readers of this nobly preachy snifflefest.

The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with syrupy platitudes about life and love.

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-609-60737-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2001

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