A dynamic tale about a hotel worker trying to build a life in California.


My Little Blue Eyed Girl

A young man leaves his stifling Colorado hometown in search of his stepsister in this novel.

Danny Myers, on the cusp of graduating from high school, cannot wait for the day he finally leaves. Raised by cold, emotionless parents, he longs to attend college, but his mother and father won’t pay the tuition, and his scholarship is not generous enough. The family’s foster child, Rachel, has left town and moved to LA. After Rachel appears on a sleazy talk show announcing she is a call girl and slamming her hometown, Danny is beaten up at school. At home, there is a fight with his dad, and Danny packs his bags and departs Cripple Creek on his motor scooter. He heads to Pasadena, California, in search of Rachel. She is the only one who was ever caring at home, and he wants to help her. Securing a job at a unique Pasadena hotel, Danny meets Jennifer, a slightly older engineering student. She shows him the ropes at work, and her tough disposition and great beauty prove to be irresistible. Though he used to be called “Mr. Homespun” at school because of his homemade clothes, Danny now strives to become a kickboxing master at the local health club, gains 30 pounds of muscle, and finally loses his virginity to Jennifer. Problem is, Jennifer has an uncaring boyfriend in Chicago, and Danny has met a cute redhead named Sarah. In the meantime, Rachel contacts Danny, and he, Jennifer, and the hotel owner, the Marshal, are drawn into a seedy underworld that will test all of Danny’s newfound strength. Reed’s story about a young man who is truly starting from scratch turns out to be an engaging one, told in a straightforward, genuine voice. The characters are honest and circumspect, tough yet always loyal. They are quite capable, standing up to challenges and remaining resilient and amiable. The worlds Reed describes may be bleak, but they are painted brightly, and the coming-of-age/crime novel combination makes for a satisfying read. The book could use a proofreader (typos include “parked in lot” instead of parking lot), but Danny’s journey over these months, whether involving personal struggles or taking on the bad guys of LA, remains an exciting one.

A dynamic tale about a hotel worker trying to build a life in California.

Pub Date: N/A


Page Count: 442

Publisher: Dog Ear Publisher

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.


Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z (2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

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Inseparable identical twin sisters ditch home together, and then one decides to vanish.

The talented Bennett fuels her fiction with secrets—first in her lauded debut, The Mothers (2016), and now in the assured and magnetic story of the Vignes sisters, light-skinned women parked on opposite sides of the color line. Desiree, the “fidgety twin,” and Stella, “a smart, careful girl,” make their break from stultifying rural Mallard, Louisiana, becoming 16-year-old runaways in 1954 New Orleans. The novel opens 14 years later as Desiree, fleeing a violent marriage in D.C., returns home with a different relative: her 8-year-old daughter, Jude. The gossips are agog: “In Mallard, nobody married dark....Marrying a dark man and dragging his blueblack child all over town was one step too far.” Desiree's decision seals Jude’s misery in this “colorstruck” place and propels a new generation of flight: Jude escapes on a track scholarship to UCLA. Tending bar as a side job in Beverly Hills, she catches a glimpse of her mother’s doppelgänger. Stella, ensconced in white society, is shedding her fur coat. Jude, so black that strangers routinely stare, is unrecognizable to her aunt. All this is expertly paced, unfurling before the book is half finished; a reader can guess what is coming. Bennett is deeply engaged in the unknowability of other people and the scourge of colorism. The scene in which Stella adopts her white persona is a tour de force of doubling and confusion. It calls up Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, the book's 50-year-old antecedent. Bennett's novel plays with its characters' nagging feelings of being incomplete—for the twins without each other; for Jude’s boyfriend, Reese, who is trans and seeks surgery; for their friend Barry, who performs in drag as Bianca. Bennett keeps all these plot threads thrumming and her social commentary crisp. In the second half, Jude spars with her cousin Kennedy, Stella's daughter, a spoiled actress.

Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-53629-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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