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


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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While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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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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