HONG KONG, CHINA

Arnote, an old paperback mystery hand, debuts in hardcover with a trashy and rather tedious tale of Hong Kong on the eve of its reversion to China. Luscious Lacy Locke, senior VP at a Wall Street investment bank where she specializes in Pacific Basin markets, decides to gauge for herself what risks (political or otherwise) might be involved in the Communist mainland's imminent takeover of the Crown Colony. Once she's in the bustling Far East city, Lacy (whose marriage to a philandering TV newscaster is near the breaking point) meets with Claude Van Hooten, an entrepreneurial Dutchman who, with more than a little help from his live-in lover Moia Hsu, has built a very successful fashion-apparel enterprise that could be taken public. The daughter of an influential government official, Beijing-born Moia has considerable clout with the Red regime, owing to her skills in economic development. She has at least one enemy as well, the unsavory Liu Wing (a general in the People's Liberation Army) who loved and lost her. From her base at the Mandarin Hotel, Lacy also renews acquaintances with Brandon Poole, a billionaire Brit whose fortune grew with Hong Kong's emergence as an Asian outpost of unfettered capitalism. In point of fact, she spends appreciably more time with Brandon on the social circuit than in taking care of her employer's business, and as the handsome hardbodies frolic together, the insanely jealous PLA commander takes it upon himself to firebomb one of Claude's factories. A take-charge kind of guy, Brandon dispatches the general and prevails upon Lacy (who gives her husband his walking papers via phone) to consider bearing him an heir, while Claude weds the pregnant Moia. At the close, all sail off aboard a comfortably appointed vessel from Brandon's fleet, hedging their bets on Hong Kong's uncertain future. Given the inane plotting and witless dialogue (``Good company and a fine breakfast have totally cured my jet lag''), many readers may ask: Where is James Clavell now that we need him?

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-312-86097-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Forge

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1996

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There are unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story.

TELL ME LIES

Passion, friendship, heartbreak, and forgiveness ring true in Lovering's debut, the tale of a young woman's obsession with a man who's "good at being charming."

Long Island native Lucy Albright, starts her freshman year at Baird College in Southern California, intending to study English and journalism and become a travel writer. Stephen DeMarco, an upperclassman, is a political science major who plans to become a lawyer. Soon after they meet, Lucy tells Stephen an intensely personal story about the Unforgivable Thing, a betrayal that turned Lucy against her mother. Stephen pretends to listen to Lucy's painful disclosure, but all his thoughts are about her exposed black bra strap and her nipples pressing against her thin cotton T-shirt. It doesn't take Lucy long to realize Stephen's a "manipulative jerk" and she is "beyond pathetic" in her desire for him, but their lives are now intertwined. Their story takes seven years to unfold, but it's a fast-paced ride through hookups, breakups, and infidelities fueled by alcohol and cocaine and with oodles of sizzling sexual tension. "Lucy was an itch, a song stuck in your head or a movie you need to rewatch or a food you suddenly crave," Stephen says in one of his point-of-view chapters, which alternate with Lucy's. The ending is perfect, as Lucy figures out the dark secret Stephen has kept hidden and learns the difference between lustful addiction and mature love.

There are unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story.

Pub Date: June 12, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-6964-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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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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