More caper than thriller, this madcap tale delivers a well-paced, enjoyable takedown of Hollywood’s obsessive, back-stabbing...



From the Barney Moon, P.I. Mystery Thriller series , Vol. 2

A New York–based private investigator winds up back in the place he hates the most—Los Angeles—in this second installment of a series.

Hedge fund manager Saul Flockman has a serious problem. He suspects that his wife, Wanda Gooden, a sometime actress, is sleeping with her Hollywood agent, Irwin Kerner. Plus Kerner owes Flockman over a million dollars. There is only one person Saul trusts to handle this situation—his friend from the “old neighborhood,” private eye Barney Moon. It should be an easy case, only one night in the dreaded “ditzville.” But that’s not the way things happen with Barney. Inevitably, he witnesses something he shouldn’t see, and his curiosity demands that he follow the threads until he solves the puzzle—complaining all the way. A real city boy, Barney doesn’t drive. He is met at the airport by UCLA student Melodie Seaver, who chauffeured him around during his last West Coast escapade. Once again, Melodie proves to be an invaluable assistant. Sawyer’s (Cross Purposes, 2018, etc.) long career as a screenwriter/showrunner helps him to fortify his narrative with insider knowledge of the film industry’s machinations and manage a wildly complicated plot. In practically no time, Barney is the target of two rogue Homeland Security Investigations special agents with an only-in-Hollywood secret agenda, a notorious mobster, and the district attorney. A murder, a stolen movie script, a potential terrorist attack, and more make it clear Barney is not getting out of town anytime soon. The author stages his action novel much like a TV show. Scenes alternate among the various groups of characters, propelling the plot forward in what sometimes seems like unrelated directions. Until, of course, the story all comes together. The dialogue is often clipped and edgy, and Barney is off-the-charts quirky. He talks to himself as often as to the other characters; he spends an inordinate amount of time in his own head; and his humorous antipathy toward LA begins to wear thin. But he is smart and kind, easily capable of carrying a series.

More caper than thriller, this madcap tale delivers a well-paced, enjoyable takedown of Hollywood’s obsessive, back-stabbing culture.

Pub Date: April 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-977210-68-5

Page Count: 246

Publisher: Outskirts Press

Review Posted Online: July 5, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.


A group of strangers who live near each other in London become fast friends after writing their deepest secrets in a shared notebook.

Julian Jessop, a septuagenarian artist, is bone-crushingly lonely when he starts “The Authenticity Project”—as he titles a slim green notebook—and begins its first handwritten entry questioning how well people know each other in his tiny corner of London. After 15 years on his own mourning the loss of his beloved wife, he begins the project with the aim that whoever finds the little volume when he leaves it in a cafe will share their true self with their own entry and then pass the volume on to a stranger. The second person to share their inner selves in the notebook’s pages is Monica, 37, owner of a failing cafe and a former corporate lawyer who desperately wants to have a baby. From there the story unfolds, as the volume travels to Thailand and back to London, seemingly destined to fall only into the hands of people—an alcoholic drug addict, an Australian tourist, a social media influencer/new mother, etc.—who already live clustered together geographically. This is a glossy tale where difficulties and addictions appear and are overcome, where lies are told and then forgiven, where love is sought and found, and where truths, once spoken, can set you free. Secondary characters, including an interracial gay couple, appear with their own nuanced parts in the story. The message is strong, urging readers to get off their smartphones and social media and live in the real, authentic world—no chain stores or brands allowed here—making friends and forming a real-life community and support network. And is that really a bad thing?

An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7861-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.


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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