USAF Major General Richard ``Duke'' James, the high-flying hero of The Phalanx Dragon (1994) and other of Rizzi's technothrillers, does earthbound battle against savage North Koreans and a vicious home-front foe in this latest test of his considerable mettle. When Han Sinchon, the aging head of North Korea's Special Forces, gets word to the US (through Communist China) that he's prepared to launch a coup that could lead to the reuniting of his partitioned country, the White House details Duke to meet with him on Langau, a barren island in the Sea of Japan. Hedging its bets, however, Beijing informs Pyongyang about the American officer's mission, and Allan Manning, the US President's coke-snorting chief of staff (a closet homosexual who's being blackmailed by his estranged wife), is bent on sabotaging it to keep James from earning the National Security Advisor's post he covets for himself. Manning betrays Duke (and his country) to arms merchant Carl Hawkens whose Pakistani associate, Ghaith Bandar, is the go-between on deals that could upgrade the nuclear capabilities of Iran as well as North Korea and permit renegade Vietnamese to export biological weapons. When Duke reaches the rocky shores of Langau, then, the enemy is waiting for him. While the resourceful emissary strives to keep himself and his elderly contact alive, Washington mounts a massive rescue effort that soon pits an AWACS-directed squadron of F-15E Eagles against the Pyongyang military regime's Russian-made interceptors in a genuinely gripping series of aerial engagements. Duke lives to fight another day, albeit at no small cost in blood and high-tech equipment. Furious state-of-the-art action on land, at sea, and (especially) in the air, plus credibly malefic skullduggery behind the lines, will speed most readers past the holes in a plot charitably characterized as serviceable.

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 1996

ISBN: 1-55611-491-5

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Donald Fine

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1996

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There are unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story.


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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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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