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THE THANKSGIVING GANG

BOOK TWO OF THE TIME MAGNET SERIES

A time-travel adventure with well-developed characters, but more than a few (worm) holes.

The second volume of Moran’s (The Gray Ship, 2013) Time Magnet series continues the adventures of Jack Thurber, an investigative journalist who has a knack for finding time portals.

Although Thurber has traveled back in time before, he’s still surprised when he steps on a storm grate in an abandoned lot in Manhattan and is jettisoned two years into the future. He finds that the New York City of 2017 is radically different: Police officers are everywhere, and the city has the aura of a Third World dictatorship. He quickly seeks out his best friend, Benjamin “Bennie” Weinberg, a psychiatrist with the New York City Police Department, who’s shocked to see him. Apparently, Thurber is supposed to be dead—killed along with his wife and about 26,000 others when, on Thanksgiving Day, 2015, terrorists detonated five nuclear bombs hidden on five U.S. aircraft carriers. Thurber’s mission is obvious—to find out who was behind the attack, and travel back in time to stop them before they can carry them out—but it may be impossible to accomplish. Nonetheless, with time running out, Thurber and a small group of unlikely heroes set out on a mission to change history. The novel’s character development is one of its undeniable strengths. Moran does an adept job of deepening established characters, such as Thurber, while also introducing intriguing new players; Janice Monahan, the appealing wife of a weapons officer aboard one of the ships, is a particular standout. But despite its breakneck pacing and virtually nonstop action, this installment isn’t as strong as its predecessor. In part, this is due to the fact that the author uses numerous first-person sequences (from the perspective of the five terrorists), which are not only redundant, but also slow down the plot’s momentum and dilute its power. Additionally, the ending is predictable and anticlimactic.

A time-travel adventure with well-developed characters, but more than a few (worm) holes.

Pub Date: Aug. 19, 2014

ISBN: 978-0989554640

Page Count: 188

Publisher: Coddington Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2014

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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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A LITTLE LIFE

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. 21, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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