A playful murder tale that should please longtime fans of this series and seduce new ones.

SHATTERED REFLECTIONS

FIRE AND ICE WERE NEVER MEANT TO COEXIST

From the McAllister Justice series , Vol. 5

This fifth installment of a series finds a detective tangled in the dangerous life of a private investigator.

Denny Alscher is a scientist working at Horizon Solar. He’s discovered a way to “weaponize the generation of liquid solar fuel” and hopes to sell the formulas. He meets his old friends Mitch Calantus and Larry Neaman at an abandoned school. When he realizes they plan to shoot him, Denny impales Mitch with a wooden picket. After escaping, Denny decides to hire a Portland, Oregon, area private eye to make it seem like he killed Mitch in self-defense. Enter 21-year-old Kathryn “Katt” Nugle, a feisty sleuth with a pink streak in her hair and a pet ferret, Gila. She’s also friends with the McAllister clan, six siblings committed to police and investigative work. Detective Matt McAllister has been determined to protect Katt since her kidnapping by the Biobotics company. Though 10 years separate the two, they share a fiery sexual tension that’s impossible to ignore. When Katt’s latest employer, Denny, leaves his bloodied jacket at their meeting—only to eventually fire her—she and Matt try to puzzle out the situation. Their struggle deepens as Denny’s fiancee, Molly, is found dead. Molly is the sister of Carina Frendal, an old flame of Matt’s who’s just re-entered his life. In this volume, Garrett (Carbon Replacements, 2018, etc.) continues to expand the McAllisters’ steamy and perilous world. While romance frequently overtakes the narrative’s thriller aspects, readers should appreciate the realism of lines like “Whenever undertaking assignments associated with increased risk,” Katt “smudged her license plate with mud.” The age-gap dynamic is explored well, as Matt resists Katt’s advances as long as possible, sure that “you should have a boy who sweeps you off your feet but can...meet you halfway, not one who...leaves you praying you can maintain your identity.” The author writes natural, often excellent dialogue, though she tends to overexamine her characters’ thoughts and feelings in the surrounding exposition. Nevertheless, Katt and Matt create a bond that readers should want to see fleshed out further.

A playful murder tale that should please longtime fans of this series and seduce new ones.

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-79037-377-2

Page Count: 281

Publisher: Time Tunnel Media

Review Posted Online: Jan. 14, 2019

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TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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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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