An imaginative and engrossing tale that’s full of drama, tension, and gripping what-if questions.

TIME TUNNEL

THE EMPIRE

After preventing 9/11, time travelers must again change the past to alter the outcome of Wounded Knee in this SF sequel.

In Book 1, Maj. Kyle Mason—heartbroken after his beautiful, accomplished wife, Padma Mahajan, was killed in the 9/11 attacks—was recruited in 2008 for a very secret mission to go back in time and stop the strikes. But problems arose, and a desperate Kyle turned to the one reliable partner he could find in 2001: himself. Though successful, Kyle 2001 died in the process. Unable to leave Padma, Kyle 2008 stayed in 2001, becoming the reclusive “Anderson Wild.” By Timeline 002 2008, Padma has parlayed her financial genius and Kyle’s knowledge of coming events into a trillion-dollar fortune, all the political power she can buy, and control of the Time Tunnel underground research complex, called Dreamland. Meanwhile, Texas Sen. Jonah Jones gathers a private army and takes over the U.S. government, with Dreamland in his sights. Padma and Kyle must use the Time Tunnel to escape. Though they aim for San Francisco and the Summer of Love, they land in South Dakota, 1890, in a Lakota village—just a few months before the massacre of Wounded Knee, as Kyle realizes from his studies. Though Kyle and Padma agree they must prevent the massacre, complications—and unintended consequences—arise, with world-changing implications. In this second installment of a series, Todd (Time Tunnel: The Twin Towers, 2019) continues exploring the intriguing possibilities of time travel, backing up his speculations with well-researched history and believable science. Though adept at setting up exciting, tense confrontations, the author is also a thoughtful writer, and his characters are appropriately vulnerable, though Padma is hailed as the messiah of Lakota prophecy and Kyle has modern weaponry. Todd’s Lakota camp and the town of Deadwood come vividly alive with well-chosen, telling details such as the checkerboard that sits atop a general store’s cracker barrel. The cliffhanger ending will leave readers eager for the next volume.

An imaginative and engrossing tale that’s full of drama, tension, and gripping what-if questions.

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-73319-360-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Time Tunnel Media

Review Posted Online: Sept. 7, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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LAST ORDERS

Britisher Swift's sixth novel (Ever After, 1992 etc.) and fourth to appear here is a slow-to-start but then captivating tale of English working-class families in the four decades following WW II. When Jack Dodds dies suddenly of cancer after years of running a butcher shop in London, he leaves a strange request—namely, that his ashes be scattered off Margate pier into the sea. And who could better be suited to fulfill this wish than his three oldest drinking buddies—insurance man Ray, vegetable seller Lenny, and undertaker Vic, all of whom, like Jack himself, fought also as soldiers or sailors in the long-ago world war. Swift's narrative start, with its potential for the melodramatic, is developed instead with an economy, heart, and eye that release (through the characters' own voices, one after another) the story's humanity and depth instead of its schmaltz. The jokes may be weak and self- conscious when the three old friends meet at their local pub in the company of the urn holding Jack's ashes; but once the group gets on the road, in an expensive car driven by Jack's adoptive son, Vince, the story starts gradually to move forward, cohere, and deepen. The reader learns in time why it is that no wife comes along, why three marriages out of three broke apart, and why Vince always hated his stepfather Jack and still does—or so he thinks. There will be stories of innocent youth, suffering wives, early loves, lost daughters, secret affairs, and old antagonisms—including a fistfight over the dead on an English hilltop, and a strewing of Jack's ashes into roiling seawaves that will draw up feelings perhaps unexpectedly strong. Without affectation, Swift listens closely to the lives that are his subject and creates a songbook of voices part lyric, part epic, part working-class social realism—with, in all, the ring to it of the honest, human, and true.

Pub Date: April 5, 1996

ISBN: 0-679-41224-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1996

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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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THE VANISHING HALF

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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