by Richard D. Bangs ‧ RELEASE DATE: June 6, 2016
An appealing fictionalization of the mysteries surrounding humanity’s desire to communicate with aliens.
A quest to find life elsewhere in the cosmos causes trouble on Earth in this sci-fi sequel from Bangs (Forsaken, 2011).
As he prepares to complete his journey from Los Angeles to Adelaide, Jarrod McKinley cannot seem to shake the “sense of evil” that seems to prevail. McKinley, who in the previous novel in this series helped to unravel a conspiracy fomented by a hypocritical reverend, now heads to Australia to examine a message purportedly from outer space. Galactic dispatches are, after all, the stuff that concerns McKinley and his colleagues at the center for the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, located at the breathtaking site of Wilpena Pound in South Australia. McKinley is eager to get there as this message mentions him specifically. Unfortunately for him, his fears are proven correct as he is kidnapped not long after disembarking from his flight. Though his captors wind up being more empathetic than he might have expected, why would aliens try to contact McKinley? As the plot unfolds, it includes aspects of McKinley’s growing ability to sense evil and many of the implications of uncovering life elsewhere in the universe (for example, how destructive would humans appear to a distant civilization?). Bangs delivers plenty of physical confrontations as well, although action sequences can lean toward the silly. This is the case when a boomerang partially diffuses a struggle (what else would one expect in Australia?), leaving a character “still rubbing his head” once the danger subsides. But McKinley’s adventures help to breathe new excitement into the hunt for aliens and all of the possibilities for actual contact. Who knew such an enticing, if sedentary, mission to listen to beings unknown could result in kidnapping, murder, shady characters, an unlikely hero (one villain describes McKinley as “just an overrated, low-level technician who got in over his head”), and all sorts of violent clashes? On the whole, readers intrigued by McKinley’s motivation to discover extraterrestrials will likely be eager to see how it all shakes out.An appealing fictionalization of the mysteries surrounding humanity’s desire to communicate with aliens.
Pub Date: June 6, 2016
Page Count: 480
Review Posted Online: Aug. 8, 2016
Review Program: Kirkus Indie
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by Hanya Yanagihara ‧ RELEASE DATE: March 10, 2015
The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.
Awards & Accolades
Best Books Of 2015
National Book Award Finalist
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
Page Count: 720
Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2014
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015
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by J.D. Salinger ‧ RELEASE DATE: June 15, 1951
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
Page Count: -
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951
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