Warmed-over Florida noir from rolling-stone novelist Watson (Blind Tongues, 1988). When the inoffensive botanist who came to see her boss, Clinton Reynolds, at the Florida Bureau of Water Management disappears along with every computerized trace of his visit, Corey Darrow wangles an introduction to Eddie Priest, a college football legend turned lawyer—not knowing that Eddie's been bullied into retirement and is making a living selling sailboats. Eddie hears Corey out, takes her for a therapeutic mini-cruise aboard the Sight Unseen, doesn't quite seduce her, sends her on her way with the usual assurances, and hears the next morning that she's drowned, a .357 Smith and Wesson clutched in her hand, in a canal her car ran into on the way home. The setup would be obvious to anybody who'd ever read a book, but Eddie and Corey's lookalike sister Sawnie never have, and you wouldn't believe how long it takes them to convince themselves that Corey was run off the road by sociopathic Creek Indian Harry Feather, who got a little carried away executing agribusiness magnate Lofton Coltis's orders to give Corey a serious scare. Coltis is out to protect his empire from the secret the mysterious botanist had dug up; Eddie is stung by guilt to avenge Corey; Sawnie wants vengeance too, but not if it means revealing her illicit romance and aborting her congressional campaign; Harry's first love, Moira Breath, back from Barnard with practical law knowledge, wants to reclaim Coltis's land for her tribe; Harry just likes to lean on people. Watson writes as if he had one complicated tale to tell—his incantatory approach to Florida landscapes and human relations is right out of John D. MacDonald at his windiest—but ends up resolving all his problems by wholesale manslaughter instead of developing the conflicts within. Six corpses, all without a clue.

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 1994

ISBN: 0-671-87135-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Pocket

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1994

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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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