A steadily escalating dual plot of romance and action enlivens this tale; a long and satisfying, genre-defying read.

Touched by a Phoenix

A romantic thriller features a strong-willed corporate attorney’s clash with a genius surveillance expert.

The story of this debut novel centers on forceful and emotionally scarred Alexandria “Alexis” Saunders, senior corporate attorney for AAS, a company run by her father that specializes in providing communications and surveillance equipment and systems for the military. Byron performs a smoothly skillful job of making Alexis a believable combination of personal vulnerability and formidable intelligence. But this mix is so precariously balanced that it promptly begins to fall apart when Alexis meets Brad Scott, the company’s new senior executive vice president of technology and development, a sexy and charismatic genius with five degrees and a personal history almost as complicated as hers. The two experience the jolt of instantaneous attraction that’s standard issue for romance novels; neither is at all what the other expects, and that surprise fuels the highly charged intrigue they feel for each other. And although Byron not infrequently lapses into the purple prose of the genre (“she stole his breath and his heart with that one single kiss,” etc.), she keeps her narrative moving forward, weaving in complications. The breakthrough technology that Brad develops for AAS draws the attention of a host of well-organized enemy operatives. The tech-thriller aspects of the novel kick into high gear and yet manage to live comfortably alongside the escalating romantic heat between Alexis and Scott. The dialogue is often wooden (including internal musings: “If they gained access to the technology on Brad’s computer…They would have power…too much power!”), but the personal tension between the two leads makes up for a multitude of such oversteps, and Byron’s fanciful sci-fi elements are grounded enough to feel gripping. The Christian and mystical elements that come to the fore at the story’s climax feel forced, but as a first novel in a projected series, the book works with an infectious energy.

A steadily escalating dual plot of romance and action enlivens this tale; a long and satisfying, genre-defying read.

Pub Date: April 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-692-39203-4

Page Count: 606

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2016

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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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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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