Frank Fitzpatrick will lead this mystery series with ease, boasting the deductive skills of Philip Marlowe and the style of...

Tangerine for the Executioner's Rope


A private eye travels to Las Vegas to find his missing friend and winds up investigating a murder in Burgess’ debut thriller, the first in a proposed series.

Frank Fitzpatrick leaves the beaches of Florida for the glitz of Vegas when Candy Vogel, wife of Arthur, a mathematician and Fitz’s former co-worker, tells the PI that her husband vanished three days ago. It doesn’t take long for Fitz to see something’s wrong: Arthur was uncharacteristically fascinated by an eccentric artist calling himself Zsa Zsa, whose paintings seem to Fitz a jumbled mess; and Arthur recently had a heated argument with Eliot Waxwell, an affluent man who’s been financing Zsa Zsa. Fitz doesn’t get much support from the local PD—he’s responsible for a few corrupt Vegas cops being sent away—but he’ll need all the help he can get, as his missing persons case turns into a murder investigation and is further complicated by the presence of Wang, a notable Chinese shipping mogul, as well as the FBI. Despite its contemporary setting, Burgess’ novel exhibits some of the traditional elements of a classic detective story: Fitz loves classic Hollywood films, still refers to comics as “the funnies,” and equates Candy with Marilyn Monroe and Maxine (Fitz’s erstwhile lover) with Jayne Mansfield. The narrative itself likewise recalls a pulpy dime novel: It dives immediately into the mystery and uses wordplay instead of cursing; e.g., more than one character tells Fitz to do something to himself that’s “anatomically impossible.” But the modern touches played against the conventional noir backdrop are what really set the book apart: Fitz uses a smartphone app to track someone and removes his cellphone’s battery to avoid anyone doing the same to him. And the disparities between Fitz and a classic sleuth give the protagonist much-needed distinction: He abhors cigarette smoke, doesn’t drink because he doesn’t like the taste of alcohol and prefers his Converse sneakers to “fancy shoes” that pinch his toes. The mystery isn’t hard to figure out, but there are copious suspects and red herrings, and readers will gladly join the charming PI as he diligently sifts through every one of them.

Frank Fitzpatrick will lead this mystery series with ease, boasting the deductive skills of Philip Marlowe and the style of James Bond in high tops.

Pub Date: March 19, 2014

ISBN: 978-0615922812

Page Count: 178

Publisher: Lost Horizon Press

Review Posted Online: May 30, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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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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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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