A bright, brash, candid novel with a compelling story about one family in a rough part of town.

TIGER DRIVE

A troubled family in a hardscrabble Nevada trailer park longs for success and uncovers a family secret in Case’s (I'm Going to the Doctor?!, 2015, etc.) novel.

Janice Sloan has never given up on her dream of being a singer, and at 48, she knows that time is running out. The karaoke contest at the local bar comes with a sizable prize, and Janice plans to win it and finally take off for Nashville. She seeks happiness, “The kind that could give her goose bumps on a hot summer day for no other reason than the sun warmed her skin.” But she has seven kids, an alcoholic husband, and has been trapped in the run-down Bengal Trailer Park for 30 years. Her husband, Harry, has just woken up with bloody knuckles after a drunken binge, and later in the day, he strikes Janice, who kicks him out. Teenage daughter Carrie has been saving for college and making plans to escape the trailer and live a better life. She’s an excellent student, but her parents haven’t cooperated with filling out the student loan forms. Adult son WJ belongs to a local gang. Discharged from the military after being exposed as gay, WJ has turned into a rage-filled aggressor who deals drugs to people in a community that doesn’t have many happy outcomes. As the family clings to stability, the layers of the past begin to unfold, centering around Janice’s roots in Minnesota. An old secret has the potential to tear apart the family but may also lead to peace of mind for those who need it most. Case’s tightly plotted novel dives right into the center of the cast’s working-class problems. The characters’ dreams and ambitions are palpable and tend to propel the family through each crisis no matter how bleak. In frank but polished writing, Case has created imperfect characters that have a remarkable knack for hanging on through tough times. This trailer park is where almost everyone fails, but the conclusion is infused with an optimism that highlights the strength of the world Case has so carefully created.

A bright, brash, candid novel with a compelling story about one family in a rough part of town.

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-9997015-5-3

Page Count: 376

Publisher: Time Tunnel Media

Review Posted Online: May 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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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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