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RAGE AND MERCY

PART ONE

This thrilling book delivers a violent tale that is ultimately as surprising as it is gruesome.

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A debut novel, the first installment of a series, focuses on one man’s quest for retribution.

Los Angeles in 2002 is plagued by drug fiends. More than mere addicts, these thugs are a particularly vicious and pathetic group. Readers are told: “There’s nothing a fiend wouldn’t do for the next high.” While such a statement would seem to apply to substance abusers of many eras, these creatures terrorizing the city are more akin to zombies than Alcoholics Anonymous attendees. A case in point comes with the brutal murder of Diana Westcherry, daughter of a wealthy shipping magnate named Vlad. Shortly after she gives a fiend a brownie, she is bludgeoned to death for her kindness. If that were not enough, passing fiends further disgrace her body in ways that are better left unmentioned. What is one to do with such a tragic and disgusting situation? Once he gets wind of what has happened, Diana’s chauffer, a former Marine named Sayer, decides he will take matters into his own hands. He begins killing the fiends with gusto, taking care to carve Diana’s name into their cadavers so that she will be remembered. It would be a dangerous vocation under normal circumstances, but with Vlad’s blessing and financing, it becomes a profitable enterprise. So the stage is set for a story that turns even stranger and grislier as it progresses. Interspersed with grand statements (the idea that “fiends spread their belief in annihilation through their worship of chaos”), it is truly a dark tale from start to finish. Although long conversations can stymie some of the intensity (do not get Diana started on the concept of “self-soothing” or Vlad on the discipline required for love), the reader can never be quite sure what horrific scene lies just around the corner or what new character may surface next. Dresden’s late addition of an attractive, born-again schoolteacher named Amanda offers new opportunities in what would otherwise be a story of frenzied revenge. Of course, if what happened to Diana is any indication, the beautiful certainly fare the worst in a world populated with so many twisted individuals.

This thrilling book delivers a violent tale that is ultimately as surprising as it is gruesome.

Pub Date: March 21, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5442-3637-7

Page Count: 182

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: April 24, 2017

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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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