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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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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Cheerfully engaging.


From Australian Moriarty (The Last Anniversary, 2006, etc.), domestic escapism about a woman whose temporary amnesia makes her re-examine what really matters to her.

Alice wakes from what she thinks is a dream, assuming she is a recently married 29-year-old expecting her first child. Actually she is 39, the mother of three and in the middle of an acrimonious custody battle with her soon-to-be ex-husband Nick. She’s fallen off her exercise bike, and the resulting bump on her head has not only erased her memory of the last 10 years but has also taken her psychologically back to a younger, more easygoing self at odds with the woman she gathers she has become. While Alice-at-29 is loving and playful if lacking ambition or self-confidence, Alice-at-39 is a highly efficient if too tightly wound supermom. She is also thin and rich since Nick now heads the company where she remembers him struggling in an entry-level position. Alice-at-29 cannot conceive that she and Nick would no longer be rapturously in love or that she and her adored older sister Elisabeth could be estranged, and she is shocked that her shy mother has married Nick’s bumptious father and taken up salsa dancing. She neither remembers nor recognizes her three children, each given a distinct if slightly too cute personality. Nor does she know what to make of the perfectly nice boyfriend Alice-at-39 has acquired. As memory gradually returns, Alice-at-29 initially misinterprets the scattered images and flashes of emotion, especially those concerning Gina, a woman who evidently caused the rift with Nick. Alice-at-29 assumes Gina was Nick’s mistress, only to discover that Gina was her best friend. Gina died in a freak car accident and in her honor, Alice-at-39 has organized mothers from the kids’ school to bake the largest lemon meringue pie on record. But Alice-at-29 senses that Gina may not have been a completely positive influence. Moriarty handles the two Alice consciousnesses with finesse and also delves into infertility issues through Elizabeth’s diary.

Cheerfully engaging.

Pub Date: June 2, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-15718-9

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Amy Einhorn/Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

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