CRY FOR JUSTICE

An attorney finds himself hunting down an elusive, violent con artist in the suspenseful but far-fetched debut thriller from Zeta.

Jason Justice, the story’s first-person narrator, is such a “women want him, men want to be him” stereotype—down to his too-on-the-nose name—that it challenges readers’ suspension of disbelief almost immediately. Though Justice is clearly modeled on a James Bond-esque prototype, Zeta never clearly identifies what makes his somewhat blandly drawn character so alluring in the first place. A West Point graduate and Army veteran who served two tours in Afghanistan after 9/11, Justice now works as a high-profile divorce lawyer in West Palm Beach, a career he more than once describes as “just something I did to earn a living.” In this book, he reluctantly agrees to help a young woman find her stepfather who bankrupted and may have murdered her mother. Along the way, our hero’s investigation leads him to other damsels in distress who have been similarly wronged by the same man. As a rookie mystery writer, Zeta has good ideas and instincts that frequently fizzle due to unpolished execution. Location is key for the South Florida-based author, with the weather and dank Florida landscape playing equally important roles as the central characters. The dialogue at times feels strained, with characters often speaking lines that sound as if they were pulled from a bad TV movie script. Some of the puzzle-unraveling coincidences feel forced, if not outright clichéd, and a tie-in to a secret CIA program is confounding. The climax, while thrilling, is overlong, and there is little doubt as to whether good or evil will triumph. One of the central mysteries, however, is left frustratingly unresolved, seemingly more of an oversight than a cliffhanger. An entertaining airplane read; by no means a chore to get through, but not exactly a gripping page-turner either.

 

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2011

ISBN: 978-0983916901

Page Count: 257

Publisher: Blue Iguana

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2012

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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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