A riveting tale that will excite and enlighten many readers, although its violence may repulse a few.



From the Sapient Files series , Vol. 1

In Abuttu’s sci-fi/thriller debut, human-animal hybrids try to survive in a world outside the lab while military operatives and others with sinister intent pursue them.

Miriam Wetzel and Ben Skylar’s top-secret scientific project to create pig-humans seems to be on the verge of failure until two of a sow’s 11 fetuses manage to survive. The scientists are funded by the Cullers, a covert group led by a man named Harper on behalf of the U.S. military. When a tornado destroys their South Dakota lab and most of their research, Miriam and Ben pack their bags and the babies, a girl named Binah and a boy named Gevu, and head to California. Later, a man comes to the scientists’ aid following a major road accident; he apparently sees too much, which leads to his execution. Meanwhile, Chet, a former Army Ranger, is plotting with an outside organization to take the babies for themselves. The pig-humans mature and acquire knowledge rapidly and soon escape their government captivity with Miriam and Ben’s help. But soon more attempts at breeding and cloning pig-humans ensue. Abuttu’s novel has shades of horror and science fiction, but its thriller elements drive the plot, including quite a number of abductions and betrayals. Dark but fascinating plot turns abound, such as the revelation of the military’s purpose for the original experiment and how one person effectively orchestrates an epidemic—and why. The decidedly adult story features very graphic violence, including scenes involving rape, torture, and amputation. However, Abuttu’s story is also allegorical even if it’s occasionally too on-the-nose: “Humans were the beasts,” Gevu realizes after witnessing atrocities at a pig farm.

A riveting tale that will excite and enlighten many readers, although its violence may repulse a few.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-9960527-0-2

Page Count: 392

Publisher: Scary Dairy Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 3, 2017

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A strange, subtle, and haunting novel.

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A financier's Ponzi scheme unravels to disastrous effect, revealing the unexpected connections among a cast of disparate characters.

How did Vincent Smith fall overboard from a container ship near the coast of Mauritania, fathoms away from her former life as Jonathan Alkaitis' pretend trophy wife? In this long-anticipated follow-up to Station Eleven (2014), Mandel uses Vincent's disappearance to pick through the wreckage of Alkaitis' fraudulent investment scheme, which ripples through hundreds of lives. There's Paul, Vincent's half brother, a composer and addict in recovery; Olivia, an octogenarian painter who invested her retirement savings in Alkaitis' funds; Leon, a former consultant for a shipping company; and a chorus of office workers who enabled Alkaitis and are terrified of facing the consequences. Slowly, Mandel reveals how her characters struggle to align their stations in life with their visions for what they could be. For Vincent, the promise of transformation comes when she's offered a stint with Alkaitis in "the kingdom of money." Here, the rules of reality are different and time expands, allowing her to pursue video art others find pointless. For Alkaitis, reality itself is too much to bear. In his jail cell, he is confronted by the ghosts of his victims and escapes into "the counterlife," a soothing alternate reality in which he avoided punishment. It's in these dreamy sections that Mandel's ideas about guilt and responsibility, wealth and comfort, the real and the imagined, begin to cohere. At its heart, this is a ghost story in which every boundary is blurred, from the moral to the physical. How far will Alkaitis go to deny responsibility for his actions? And how quickly will his wealth corrupt the ambitions of those in proximity to it? In luminous prose, Mandel shows how easy it is to become caught in a web of unintended consequences and how disastrous it can be when such fragile bonds shatter under pressure.

A strange, subtle, and haunting novel.

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-52114-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.


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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