The results are absorbing, unspectacular, predictable, and satisfying.

LOVE YOU DEAD

Surrey DCI Roy Grace (Billionaire, 2015, etc.) goes up against a silky black widow—and a pair of unwelcome blasts from his own past.

Jodie Bentley was never as attractive as her older sister, Cassie, and her parents drilled it into her head early on that beauty was the key to a have-it-all lifestyle. Years after doing some serious work on both her body and her family, she’s snared elderly American financier Walt Klein, whom she entices onto the slopes of an Alpine ski resort and to his death. Mission accomplished, except that Walt turns out to be a lot less wealthy than Jodie thought—he was even facing prosecution for a Ponzi scheme—and she has to pin her dreams to someone else, someone like high-profile London art dealer Rowley Carmichael. Rollo really is wealthy, and it’s not likely he’ll last long at all. In between her two beaus, Jodie’s hooked up in New York with mob bagman Romeo Munteanu, a brief encounter that seriously enriches her but puts Tooth, a professional killer, on her trail. As Tooth and his unwitting prey ponder their homicidal plots, Grace gets some disconcerting news about two people he thought were dead: Sandy, the wife who abandoned him when he took up with Cleo, the medical tech he impregnated and married, and Dr. Edward Crisp, the general practitioner who killed five people and sent Grace to the hospital before he vanished. Sandy’s been struck by a taxi in Munich; Crisp has been arrested in France. A witless burglar who breaks into Jodie’s Brighton home and pays a high price for his foolishness improbably sets Grace on the scent of both Jodie and Tooth. But there’s no evidence to speak of against her, and he’s as insubstantial as a murderous will-o’-the-wisp. Except in the Crisp subplot, which remains very sub indeed, James dots every I and crosses every T.

The results are absorbing, unspectacular, predictable, and satisfying.

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4472-5581-9

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH

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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A LITTLE LIFE

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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