HELIUS LEGACY

A sensational cat-and-mouse debut thriller from O’Keefe involving the last potential heir to one of the richest oil fields in the world—and the ruthless conglomerate that wants to take him out.

Reporter Richard Steinman discovers an ancient deed in Austin, Texas, that contains a covenant giving the grantor’s descendants the right to reclaim ownership of the property if any future owner violates its restriction against the extraction of mineral wealth from the land. It just so happens that the land the deed covers is one of the richest oil fields in the world, and Helius Energy, the conglomerate that owns it, has no intention of giving up its gold mine to potential heirs. Steinman is soon on the run from a hired team of killers, while a second team descends on California to wipe out the last surviving heir, John Caine. Caine is unaware of his legacy but is quickly drawn into this nightmarish web in a race to stay alive and unravel the mystery that has put him in danger. His one link in the case is beautiful female attorney Andrea Marenna, who was unwittingly involved through her friendship with Steinman. Caine and Marenna desperately try to piece together the centuries-old puzzle as they struggle to outrun a sophisticated team of assassins whose mission is to permanently silence them. Helius Legacy is a first-rate action/adventure thriller that grips the imagination from page one and takes readers on a roller coaster ride with its many twists, remaining exciting and surprising to the last. Caine proves not to be the “soft target” the killers expected, but a formidable adversary with his own secrets, including his involvement in a covert operations unit in the French Foreign Legion. While often reaching deliciously larger-than-life proportions, O’Keefe’s plot is so well-crafted that it always remains plausible, and his experience as an attorney gives authority and credibility to the legalities.  Ultimately not just a great page-turner—a damn good novel.

 

Pub Date: Sept. 2, 2011

ISBN: 978-1936909216

Page Count: 378

Publisher: Live Oak

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2012

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Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

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THE VANISHING HALF

Inseparable identical twin sisters ditch home together, and then one decides to vanish.

The talented Bennett fuels her fiction with secrets—first in her lauded debut, The Mothers (2016), and now in the assured and magnetic story of the Vignes sisters, light-skinned women parked on opposite sides of the color line. Desiree, the “fidgety twin,” and Stella, “a smart, careful girl,” make their break from stultifying rural Mallard, Louisiana, becoming 16-year-old runaways in 1954 New Orleans. The novel opens 14 years later as Desiree, fleeing a violent marriage in D.C., returns home with a different relative: her 8-year-old daughter, Jude. The gossips are agog: “In Mallard, nobody married dark....Marrying a dark man and dragging his blueblack child all over town was one step too far.” Desiree's decision seals Jude’s misery in this “colorstruck” place and propels a new generation of flight: Jude escapes on a track scholarship to UCLA. Tending bar as a side job in Beverly Hills, she catches a glimpse of her mother’s doppelgänger. Stella, ensconced in white society, is shedding her fur coat. Jude, so black that strangers routinely stare, is unrecognizable to her aunt. All this is expertly paced, unfurling before the book is half finished; a reader can guess what is coming. Bennett is deeply engaged in the unknowability of other people and the scourge of colorism. The scene in which Stella adopts her white persona is a tour de force of doubling and confusion. It calls up Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, the book's 50-year-old antecedent. Bennett's novel plays with its characters' nagging feelings of being incomplete—for the twins without each other; for Jude’s boyfriend, Reese, who is trans and seeks surgery; for their friend Barry, who performs in drag as Bianca. Bennett keeps all these plot threads thrumming and her social commentary crisp. In the second half, Jude spars with her cousin Kennedy, Stella's daughter, a spoiled actress.

Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-53629-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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