Although this novel’s dialogue tends to lack panache, the story as a whole offers intriguing circumstances and outcomes.

The Pusher, the Prostitute and a Preacher

Trammel (18 Years of Grace and Mercy, 2012) offers a novel about the lives of three intersecting characters and their relationships with God.

Benjamin lives in a pleasant condominium in Silver Spring, Maryland, and he’s doing quite well for himself, at least on the surface. He’s a college student by day and a drug dealer by trade, working for a man known to most people as “Hard Time.” The two are exacting and discreet, and, along with Benjamin’s friend Winn, they prove highly successful in a business that sends many others to jail; as Hard Time tells people, the reason he got his nickname is “because the police have a hard time catching my ass.” But how long will their luck last? Meanwhile, in New York City, an aging prostitute’s life is about to change. After a longtime customer offers her $10,000 if she’ll give up her profession, she sees it as an opportunity to return home to her troubled family. As she discards her street name, “Sunny,” for her given name, Hannah, she knows that a homecoming is necessary, though it certainly won’t be easy. Elsewhere, Marco Gibson has just been freed from prison in Virginia. After 20 years and nine months of being locked up, he’s determined to avoid the temptations of his drug-dealing brother, Hard Time. His main goal is to eventually serve his community and expound upon his Christian faith, but he knows well that the path ahead of him is steep. Trammel sets the stage for a collision of characters who are already connected, though they may not all realize it. Just what this collision will bring makes up the heart of this touching tale, which explores the choices that people make in life and their opportunities for redemption. The dialogue does veer toward the obvious at times, as when Marco explains that he doesn’t mind janitorial duties because “I’d rather push a broom in there on the low level than push drugs on the street in a low life.” Nevertheless, the story gets its lasting power from the qualities of its main characters’ personalities—people who may find themselves caught up in dire conditions but who ultimately find ways to look for light at the end of the tunnel.

Although this novel’s dialogue tends to lack panache, the story as a whole offers intriguing circumstances and outcomes. 

Pub Date: Aug. 8, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-62772-395-4

Page Count: 536

Publisher: America Star Books

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2016

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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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Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

BAREFOOT

Privileged 30-somethings hide from their woes in Nantucket.

Hilderbrand’s saga follows the lives of Melanie, Brenda and Vicki. Vicki, alpha mom and perfect wife, is battling late-stage lung cancer and, in an uncharacteristically flaky moment, opts for chemotherapy at the beach. Vicki shares ownership of a tiny Nantucket cottage with her younger sister Brenda. Brenda, a literature professor, tags along for the summer, partly out of familial duty, partly because she’s fleeing the fallout from her illicit affair with a student. As for Melanie, she gets a last minute invite from Vicki, after Melanie confides that Melanie’s husband is having an affair. Between Melanie and Brenda, Vicki feels her two young boys should have adequate supervision, but a disastrous first day on the island forces the trio to source some outside help. Enter Josh, the adorable and affable local who is hired to tend to the boys. On break from college, Josh learns about the pitfalls of mature love as he falls for the beauties in the snug abode. Josh likes beer, analysis-free relationships and hot older women. In a word, he’s believable. In addition to a healthy dose of testosterone, the novel is balanced by powerful descriptions of Vicki’s bond with her two boys. Emotions run high as she prepares for death.

Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

Pub Date: July 2, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-316-01858-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2007

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