A QUANTUM MURDER

A second workout for Greg Mandel, veteran of the Mindstar Battalion (Mindstar Rising, 1996), whose implanted gland gives him the psi powers of empathy and intuition in a medium-future England beset by climatic warming and politico-economic chaos. This time, irreverent, bawdy old genius physicist Edward Kitchener has been murdered and horribly mutilated at Launde Abbey, where he ran a colloquium for budding physics whizzes, invented new drugs, researched wormholes, and generally raised hell. Julia Evans of Event Horizon, which funded Kitchener, requests Greg's input after the police confess themselves baffled: None of the six young resident physicists appear to be guilty, nor is it possible for an outsider to have come and gone undetected. Greg empathically interviews the six, and, sure enough, they're all innocent. So Greg's wife, Eleanor, volunteers to test a Kitchener drug that should enable her to view the past. She witnesses diffident genius Nicholas Beswick do the grisly deed, but Beswick denies involvement, as Greg's inquiries seem to confirm. What's going on? Well, psychiatrist James MacLennan has discovered how to project one personality on top of another—and one of his patients is convicted psychokiller Liam Bursken. The intriguing backdrop and solid characters enliven what is otherwise an overlong, overstuffed, and not particularly believable investigation.

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 1997

ISBN: 0-312-85954-6

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Tor

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1997

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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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THE COLDEST WINTER EVER

Debut novel by hip-hop rap artist Sister Souljah, whose No Disrespect (1994), which mixes sexual history with political diatribe, is popular in schools country-wide. In its way, this is a tour de force of black English and underworld slang, as finely tuned to its heroine’s voice as Alice Walker’s The Color Purple. The subject matter, though, has a certain flashiness, like a black Godfather family saga, and the heroine’s eventual fall develops only glancingly from her character. Born to a 14-year-old mother during one of New York’s worst snowstorms, Winter Santiaga is the teenaged daughter of Ricky Santiaga, Brooklyn’s top drug dealer, who lives like an Arab prince and treats his wife and four daughters like a queen and her princesses. Winter lost her virginity at 12 and now focuses unwaveringly on varieties of adolescent self-indulgence: sex and sugar-daddies, clothes, and getting her own way. She uses school only as a stepping-stone for getting out of the house—after all, nobody’s paying her to go there. But if there’s no money in it, why go? Meanwhile, Daddy decides it’s time to move out of Brooklyn to truly fancy digs on Long Island, though this places him in the discomfiting position of not being absolutely hands-on with his dealers; and sure enough the rise of some young Turks leads to his arrest. Then he does something really stupid: he murders his wife’s two weak brothers in jail with him on Riker’s Island and gets two consecutive life sentences. Winter’s then on her own, especially with Bullet, who may have replaced her dad as top hood, though when she selfishly fails to help her pregnant buddy Simone, there’s worse—much worse—to come. Thinness aside: riveting stuff, with language so frank it curls your hair. (Author tour)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-671-02578-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Pocket

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1999

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