Realistic submarine suspense, set in WW II, by Taylor (Monocolo, 1989; The Stalker, 1987), who's also written a number of YA novels (The Weirdo, The Cay, etc.). An exercise in simultaneity, this leaps from scenes aboard a Nazi U-boat to scenes on freighters sailed by American merchant mariner Sully Jordan to scenes in Lorient, France, where the Resistance works against the Occupation. At first, the US has not yet entered the war, but its lend-lease vessels carrying tonnage for the British are being sunk ever more rapidly by German U-boats, especially one captained by glory-obsessed Horst Kammerer. On his conning tower are painted two brilliant, snarling leopards that become more and more feared. Meanwhile, Sully has two tankers blown away beneath him, the first when his tanker enters the Death Hole— a section of the North Atlantic unprotected by air cover and where debris from sunken ships floats everywhere. His father accompanies him on the second ship and freezes to death in a lifeboat after father and son survive another sinking. Sully himself is badly nipped by frostbite, losing his ears, some fingers and toes. He returns to the sea as master of a Navy Q-boat, a tanker redesigned as a warship and used as bait to attract a submarine within range of its masked guns. Back at the big Nazi submarine base at Lorient, Kammerer unwarily gives information to his French mistress, who passes it on to the British, who can then track ``The Leopard.'' Creaks with seagoing detail, weather, storms, and battle at sea. This may not be The Cruel Sea, but it has its spell. You really are there.

Pub Date: June 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-15-124097-3

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1993

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


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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