A fast-paced, absorbing actioner with promising leads that could easily be brought back for future series installments.

THE ADVANCING STORM

In Valletta’s (The Short Stories and Poetry of Robert Valletta, 2018, etc.) thriller, two secret agents separately hunt amoral businessmen who are aiding America’s enemies.

After U.S. Marine Lt. Danny Gallaher escapes captivity by the North Korean military, he comes home to learn from his Uncle Kayden, the special assistant to the president for national security affairs, that his research scientist father, Dylan, and FBI agent brother, Chase, have been murdered—likely as part of a conspiracy. He wants Danny to unofficially investigate. Soon, Gregory Marshall, a British undercover agent in the Russian military with the code name “Anastasia,” is drawn into the mission. At the heart of the traitorous conspiracy are American Christian DeLorenzo and Frenchman Francois Rousseau, who plan to sell stolen, cutting-edge weaponry to Russia, which would tip the balance of global power. As Danny slowly puts the pieces of the puzzle together, Anastasia is surprisingly chosen to head up a Russian operation assigned to take control of the stolen technology. A fortuitous meeting enables Danny and Anastasia to join forces in order to stop a potentially lethal plot. Valletta creates a frightening but believable scenario in this novel. His research is admirably thorough, and his descriptions of various scientific advances and government organizations ring true. The author also smoothly weaves together many disparate plot threads along the way. However, his characters are uneven in quality. The most plausible is Anastasia, an effective spy who’s forced to make a painful decision. Danny, however, seems too resourceful for a young Marine—calling to mind the superhero Captain America (or perhaps, in this case, Lieutenant America). The evil villains are also overly cartoonish and their cleverness can be hard to swallow. However, Valletta’s frenetic pacing mostly overcomes these flaws.

A fast-paced, absorbing actioner with promising leads that could easily be brought back for future series installments.

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-09-747528-5

Page Count: 250

Publisher: Time Tunnel Media

Review Posted Online: July 11, 2019

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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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ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH

While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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