An honorable sequel to The Big Sleep (1939), Raymond Chandler's—and p.i. Philip Marlowe's—first novel. In Poodle Springs (1989), Parker stylishly completed a Chandler novel in a sweet and sassy voice familiar to Spenser fans. Here, Parker's mock-Marlowe narration is tougher and more sardonic, closer to Chandler's own. However, it never matches the hothouse intensity of the original, displayed in many passages woven seamlessly into this sequel—for example, Chandler's final chapter, which, presented here as a prologue, introduces seductive rich girl Vivian Sternwood and her nympho-psycho sister Carmen, who live in a mansion whose "bright gardens had a haunted look, as though small wild eyes were watching me from behind the bushes." Parker picks up the story years later, as Vivian's butler hires Marlowe to find Carmen, who has vanished from the exclusive sanitarium where she's been confined. Marlowe drives out to Resthaven, where his confrontation with its pompous director, Dr. Claude Bonsentir, nutshells Chandler's perennial theme of Marlowe as a populist knight ever-jousting in class warfare. Bonsentir won't talk, but Marlowe then learns that Carmen has left Resthaven with a "Mr. Simpson." He's Ralph Simpson, an impossibly wealthy sadomasochist, and as Marlowe enters his web the p.i. endures a brutal beating, brushes against a murder-dismemberment ring, and noses out a statewide water-rights rip-off. Despite numerous threats, Marlowe won't back off and, finally, with the help of a slick gangster, steals onto Simpson's yacht, where, predictably, he must pit brawn and brain against Simpson and Carmen alike. Not as complex or resonant as the Chandler (or Poodle Springs), and stocked with cliched characters (the corrupt hick cop, the savvy newspaper editor, etc.) but still a smooth, swift, and tight mystery—although Philip Marlowe's spirit soars more fully in Loren D. Estleman's Amos Walker novels than in this enjoyable, loving pastiche.

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 1990

ISBN: 0517130041

Page Count: -

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Oct. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1990

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There are unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story.


Passion, friendship, heartbreak, and forgiveness ring true in Lovering's debut, the tale of a young woman's obsession with a man who's "good at being charming."

Long Island native Lucy Albright, starts her freshman year at Baird College in Southern California, intending to study English and journalism and become a travel writer. Stephen DeMarco, an upperclassman, is a political science major who plans to become a lawyer. Soon after they meet, Lucy tells Stephen an intensely personal story about the Unforgivable Thing, a betrayal that turned Lucy against her mother. Stephen pretends to listen to Lucy's painful disclosure, but all his thoughts are about her exposed black bra strap and her nipples pressing against her thin cotton T-shirt. It doesn't take Lucy long to realize Stephen's a "manipulative jerk" and she is "beyond pathetic" in her desire for him, but their lives are now intertwined. Their story takes seven years to unfold, but it's a fast-paced ride through hookups, breakups, and infidelities fueled by alcohol and cocaine and with oodles of sizzling sexual tension. "Lucy was an itch, a song stuck in your head or a movie you need to rewatch or a food you suddenly crave," Stephen says in one of his point-of-view chapters, which alternate with Lucy's. The ending is perfect, as Lucy figures out the dark secret Stephen has kept hidden and learns the difference between lustful addiction and mature love.

There are unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story.

Pub Date: June 12, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-6964-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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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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