A Doberman with a taste for human flesh and the voodoo-and- shopping-mad family who keep him well fed are somewhere near the center of Hoyt's (Darwin's Secret, Whoo?, etc.) Miami drug-trade thriller. ``Marimba'' is Miami slang for the drug business. It is also the name of the Martinez family pet, an excessively muscular Doberman. The upwardly mobile Cuban-American Martinezes—widowed mother, two sumptuous sisters, and baseball-crazy brother—have been keeping their doggie in shape with regular feedings of pieces of drug-dealers and undercover drug-agents. Devoutly religious Mother Martinez has brought together her passion for the Afro- Catholic saints-and-spirits cult of Santer°a with her profitable corner of the drug business, a service that involves sending her beautiful daughters out to vamp real and would-be marimba players as directed by a cocaine kingpin. The girls' victims become offerings on the altar of the family spirit and then go to feed the dog. These lovely people are only a small part of the astonishing corruption that pervades Miami. There is also major rot in the local police, some decay in the FBI, and a broad base of citizens who would trade their good names for drug profits in a minute. There is, however, an incorruptible senator in Washington with an interest in busting the trade, and she has her own agent on the scene—James Burlane, a pilot whose flying skills have attracted interest as far away as Colombia. Under deepest cover, Burlane has wormed his way into the heart of the marimba and concurrently become romantically involved with Katherine Donovan, the sister of a cocaine addict. Ms. Donovan has her own interest in the local economy. Ties up rather too neatly, but before that happens, there are hours of creepy, cynical, sophisticated thrills. Hoyt's rapacious Miamians leave you gasping.

Pub Date: July 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-312-85193-6

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Tor

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1992

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An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.


A group of strangers who live near each other in London become fast friends after writing their deepest secrets in a shared notebook.

Julian Jessop, a septuagenarian artist, is bone-crushingly lonely when he starts “The Authenticity Project”—as he titles a slim green notebook—and begins its first handwritten entry questioning how well people know each other in his tiny corner of London. After 15 years on his own mourning the loss of his beloved wife, he begins the project with the aim that whoever finds the little volume when he leaves it in a cafe will share their true self with their own entry and then pass the volume on to a stranger. The second person to share their inner selves in the notebook’s pages is Monica, 37, owner of a failing cafe and a former corporate lawyer who desperately wants to have a baby. From there the story unfolds, as the volume travels to Thailand and back to London, seemingly destined to fall only into the hands of people—an alcoholic drug addict, an Australian tourist, a social media influencer/new mother, etc.—who already live clustered together geographically. This is a glossy tale where difficulties and addictions appear and are overcome, where lies are told and then forgiven, where love is sought and found, and where truths, once spoken, can set you free. Secondary characters, including an interracial gay couple, appear with their own nuanced parts in the story. The message is strong, urging readers to get off their smartphones and social media and live in the real, authentic world—no chain stores or brands allowed here—making friends and forming a real-life community and support network. And is that really a bad thing?

An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7861-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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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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