MEXICO WAY

Moss, who sometimes teams with Arnaud de Borchgrave (Monimbo, 1983) and sometimes doesn't (Death Beam, 1981), cooks up a Tex-Mex thriller about secession and oil rights and dirty politics on both sides of the Rio Grande in which the hero is, of all things, a decent CIA officer. Texan Jim Kreeger is the Agency's man in Mexico City who answers a call for help from his daughter and thereby inserts himself into an American-backed plot that would carve Mexico's northern states into a new and independent country. The conspirators are the ultraconservative ranchers of northern Mexico and their bankers, the Texas oilmen who would be granted the rights to drill off the shoreline of the new country. The plotters also have the unwritten support of the good ol' President and those of his administration who see in the secession a solution to some of the pesky drug and immigration problems. Straight-arrow Kreeger knows nothing of the plot. As far as he can tell at first, he's just dealing with the usual back-stabbing and double-dealing of the druglords and the permanently entrenched, election-stealing, revolutionary ruling party who cut his boyhood friend, Texas's rough Judge Renwick, to pieces. But the reappearance of defrocked spook Art Kroger, Kreeger's nemesis from Asian days, suggests that the rash of Mexican murders has political connections, and once on the scent, Kreeger cannot be shaken off. Original, horrifying, extremely entertaining, and certainly no stranger than any of the bungled real-life geopolitics of the past 20 years.

Pub Date: June 28, 1991

ISBN: 0-671-70341-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1991

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TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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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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