A fast-paced investigation, full of mystery and suspense.

Patriot's Blood

In Holcroft’s debut thriller, a lawyer looks into the murder of his client, a witness who may have spotted an unidentified accomplice in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

In 2011, Dallas attorney Mike Marchetti has only known his newest client, Robert Baker, an agent for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, for a few hours before Baker turns up dead, killed in an alleged robbery. It turns out that the agent had a plan for this eventuality, though, leaving Marchetti money to investigate his death. It seems that he was one of 10 people who claimed to have seen an unknown man with Timothy McVeigh more than 15 years earlier, right before the infamous bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. Not only has the FBI failed to locate the mysterious accomplice, but with Baker gone, the original 10 witnesses are now down to four—the others also died in dubious circumstances, including two in separate drive-by shootings. Marchetti and his private-investigator pal Tom Shannon see potential links between McVeigh and various groups, including terrorists and white supremacists. They also suspect a “high-level cover-up,” speculating, among other things, that the explosives at the Murrah Building were considerably more than just a truck bomb. A break-in at his office makes Marchetti believe that his investigation has made him a target himself. This is all but confirmed after two separate attempts on his life. Hopefully, he can stop whoever’s after him before they hurt someone he loves—such as his 10-year-old son, Scott. Holcroft’s taut narrative starts the core mystery off on the very first page, and quickly piles on the suspects and conspiracy theories. The protagonist, meanwhile, has a personal investment in the tale, having lost his younger sister during the 9/11 attacks, and he faces myriad obstacles along the way—including Baker’s daughter, Sheri Baker, whose lawyer demands that Marchetti return the posthumous $20,000 retainer. Instances from the villains’ perspectives primarily highlight specific dangers to Marchetti, but the overall sense of menace gives the story a relentless edge, as if anyone could attack at any time. The ending is both realistic and terrifying: Marchetti does get answers, but only some—and a further threat could very well still exist.

A fast-paced investigation, full of mystery and suspense.

Pub Date: Nov. 26, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4802-8963-5

Page Count: 424

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Dec. 2, 2016

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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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