FATAL CONVICTIONS

A lawyer who's worked with sex offenders taps into a deep strain of fantasy in her first novel, about a female vigilante who's going around L.A. executing sex offenders. Based on the scant physical evidence, Detectives Jack Larson and Jennifer Randazzo theorize a killer who's a blond woman- -somebody who has a particular grudge against pedophiles who've abused their own daughters. While he's waiting for a break, Jack begins a cautious romance with blond Rebecca Fielding, the assistant D.A. who prosecuted all five of the victims, only to watch them plead out to probation at Oakwood Manor, where they learn to adeptly pretend to be reformed so that center director Dr. Robert Hillerman can go on raking in lucrative referrals. No wonder Rebecca's so tightly wound, thinks Jack, cheering her decision to do a live TV interview on wrist-slap sentencing for incest—then learning in horror that as she left the studio parking lot, she was kidnapped by a sex offender whose hurt feelings ended abruptly when Rebecca shot him dead. Having Rebecca in jail, her signature on a tearful confession, is the golden opportunity for assistant D.A. Diane Covington to hang the other five homicides on her. And all of a sudden the physical evidence doesn't look so shabby: The LAPD matches Rebecca's handprints at one of the crime scenes, and an eyewitness loudly identifies her. Responding to Rebecca's pleas for help, Tom Baldwin, her former colleague in the D.A.'s office, leaves his job and his wife, and promptly starts to make a shambles of her defense. And that's not all that's a shambles, as the characters swap insights (``Your judgment is being affected by your penis, as usual'') that seem to have been borrowed from the subtitles of Godzilla movies while they wait for the final whammy. Fumblingly crude in its handling of the hot-button issue of abuse, but written with all the outrage and primal power of Justice Comix. ($45,000 ad/promo; author tour)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-06-039181-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1996

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There are unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story.

TELL ME LIES

Passion, friendship, heartbreak, and forgiveness ring true in Lovering's debut, the tale of a young woman's obsession with a man who's "good at being charming."

Long Island native Lucy Albright, starts her freshman year at Baird College in Southern California, intending to study English and journalism and become a travel writer. Stephen DeMarco, an upperclassman, is a political science major who plans to become a lawyer. Soon after they meet, Lucy tells Stephen an intensely personal story about the Unforgivable Thing, a betrayal that turned Lucy against her mother. Stephen pretends to listen to Lucy's painful disclosure, but all his thoughts are about her exposed black bra strap and her nipples pressing against her thin cotton T-shirt. It doesn't take Lucy long to realize Stephen's a "manipulative jerk" and she is "beyond pathetic" in her desire for him, but their lives are now intertwined. Their story takes seven years to unfold, but it's a fast-paced ride through hookups, breakups, and infidelities fueled by alcohol and cocaine and with oodles of sizzling sexual tension. "Lucy was an itch, a song stuck in your head or a movie you need to rewatch or a food you suddenly crave," Stephen says in one of his point-of-view chapters, which alternate with Lucy's. The ending is perfect, as Lucy figures out the dark secret Stephen has kept hidden and learns the difference between lustful addiction and mature love.

There are unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story.

Pub Date: June 12, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-6964-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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A LITTLE LIFE

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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