An immersive and satisfying science fiction thriller.

BRINK OF LIFE

From the Brink of Life Trilogy series , Vol. 2

A woman wakes up in a body not her own in this novel from Moskovitz (A Stand-in for Dying, 2019), the second in his Brink of Life trilogy.

January 2059. After somehow losing consciousness, a woman comes to at a funeral—the funeral of her husband, Arlo Kresky. The only problem? She’s never seen the man said to be her husband. Indeed, when she gets in front of a mirror, she’s never before seen the person looking back at her, either: “It was a pretty face. Some might say exquisite. Her hair was jet black and straight, falling almost to her shoulders….Even after this close inspection, there wasn’t a trace of familiarity. The face in the mirror remained a stranger.” She is apparently the widow Petra Kresky, but she does not associate this beautiful, bruise-covered woman with herself. Is she suffering from amnesia? No, because she does have a sense of her former self and of a woman named Macklyn. She learns from her household android that Petra, despite being 42, is kept at the biological age of 20 by some mysterious technology. She also discovers that the dead Arlo was obsessed with immortality and that Petra has been carrying on an affair with Arlo’s hired biographer, Connor. As she digs into the truth of her identity, she uncovers a truly remarkable web of secrets: a clandestine program to keep the rich young forever, a government spy organization, and an anti-immortality hacker group bent on bringing it all down. Moskovitz tells the story with urgent concision, his prose brisk and clear: “She disembarked and melted quickly into a rush hour crowd, hurrying home or to their chosen entertainment of the evening. The sides of skyscrapers were lit with images from the day’s events. She stopped short in front of one such display that featured an image of Connor rising eight stories high.” This makes the story a quicker and more satisfying read than even the previous volume in the series (which is related to this one but not necessary to have read to understand it). With his thoughtful exploration of the ethical consequences of technology and class division, Moskovitz offers another sci-fi morality tale in the tradition of Philip K. Dick and Black Mirror.

An immersive and satisfying science fiction thriller.

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-73417-891-3

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Fluke Tale Productions

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2020

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Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

BAREFOOT

Privileged 30-somethings hide from their woes in Nantucket.

Hilderbrand’s saga follows the lives of Melanie, Brenda and Vicki. Vicki, alpha mom and perfect wife, is battling late-stage lung cancer and, in an uncharacteristically flaky moment, opts for chemotherapy at the beach. Vicki shares ownership of a tiny Nantucket cottage with her younger sister Brenda. Brenda, a literature professor, tags along for the summer, partly out of familial duty, partly because she’s fleeing the fallout from her illicit affair with a student. As for Melanie, she gets a last minute invite from Vicki, after Melanie confides that Melanie’s husband is having an affair. Between Melanie and Brenda, Vicki feels her two young boys should have adequate supervision, but a disastrous first day on the island forces the trio to source some outside help. Enter Josh, the adorable and affable local who is hired to tend to the boys. On break from college, Josh learns about the pitfalls of mature love as he falls for the beauties in the snug abode. Josh likes beer, analysis-free relationships and hot older women. In a word, he’s believable. In addition to a healthy dose of testosterone, the novel is balanced by powerful descriptions of Vicki’s bond with her two boys. Emotions run high as she prepares for death.

Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

Pub Date: July 2, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-316-01858-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2007

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More about grief and tragedy than romance.

FRIENDS FOREVER

Five friends meet on their first day of kindergarten at the exclusive Atwood School and remain lifelong friends through tragedy and triumph.

When Gabby, Billy, Izzie, Andy and Sean meet in the toy kitchen of the kindergarten classroom on their first day of school, no one can know how strong the group’s friendship will remain. Despite their different personalities and interests, the five grow up together and become even closer as they come into their own talents and life paths. But tragedy will strike and strike again. Family troubles, abusive parents, drugs, alcohol, stress, grief and even random bad luck will put pressure on each of them individually and as a group. Known for her emotional romances, Steel makes a bit of a departure with this effort that follows a group of friends through young adulthood. But even as one tragedy after another befalls the friends, the impact of the events is blunted by a distant narrative style that lacks emotional intensity. 

More about grief and tragedy than romance.

Pub Date: July 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-34321-3

Page Count: 322

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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