An engagingly nerve-wracking tale with gradually escalating suspense.

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DOPPELLGÄNGER

In Cory’s (Facade, 2016, etc.) latest series thriller, Boston architect and amateur sleuth Iris Reid faces off against an identity thief who becomes a dangerous stalker.

Although Iris makes her living in architecture, she’s previously worked with the police on murder and kidnapping cases. But her latest is her toughest one yet, as cops arrest her for an armed bank robbery that left a guard in critical condition. Security-camera footage from a car rental service shows someone, who certainly looks like her, renting the getaway car. Iris gets out on bail, but authorities don’t seem to buy her claim that her identity was stolen. Readers know that the thief is a woman named Rosica Bakalov, who later pushes her luck by looting Iris’ savings account and severely damaging her credit. Iris begins her search for Rosica by visiting an apartment that the thief rented in Iris’ name. Rosica becomes nervous when she realizes that her pursuer is getting close, but her anxiety soon turns into resentment. She believes that Iris has the life that she should have—including a handsome, successful chef boyfriend, Luc Cormier, whose new restaurant Iris is renovating. So the thief begins to shadow her victim, and her subtle attempts to torment the architect become more overt and increasingly hazardous. By introducing the character of Rosica early, Cory forgoes mystery in favor of suspense. She effectively provides insight into the villain’s mind, revealing it to be unstable and unpredictable. She also deftly establishes Iris as a woman who’s worried about her professional reputation, and introduces a subplot about a yoga instructor who may be a bit too hands-on with Luc. Meanwhile, the plot becomes more unnerving as it progresses, and an impressive twist leads to a lengthy final act featuring Rosica at her most ferocious. Iris, who eventually gets to use the karate that she often practices, is depicted as smart and tenacious, although it turns out that the identity theft is at least partly her own fault. Cory’s concise prose establishes a consistent pace that never wavers, and even her descriptions of architecture are exhilarating.

An engagingly nerve-wracking tale with gradually escalating suspense.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-0-9853702-7-5

Page Count: 236

Publisher: Time Tunnel Media

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2019

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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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