A skillfully rendered account of superpowers locked in covert war.

ZERO DAY

CHINA'S CYBER WARS

From the Logan Alexander series , Vol. 3

In this political thriller, the United States races to thwart a massive cyberattack from China.

A letter thrown into a U.S. Consulate vehicle reveals that covert cyberoperations were conducted against the U.S. secretary of state by the Chinese government and that other attacks, on an even greater scale, are soon to follow. Because Logan Alexander is already in Hong Kong—he is the head of a legitimate consulting firm that also functions as a front for the CIA—he’s tasked with making contact with the letter’s author, Li Jiang. Li is a senior officer in the Chinese Ministry of Public Security, privy to sensitive information regarding China’s designs. He reveals to Logan that China, recognizing that it is no match for the United States from the perspective of conventional warfare, has turned its sights to other means of regaining dominance in Asia and the world at large. To that end, it plans a massive Zero Day assault on the American financial system, with the hope of undermining international confidence in the United Sates. When Li is asked what precisely is China’s ultimate objective, he responds concisely: “Nothing less than China replacing the U.S. as the number one economy in the world.” Logan, a former Navy SEAL whose military career was cut short by an injury sustained in combat, must not only determine Li’s trustworthiness, but also contend with traitors within his own ranks. Author Williams (Cooper’s Revenge, 2013, etc.) is a former operations officer for the CIA, and his professional background is evidenced by the expert account he provides of labyrinthine American and Chinese intelligence services. The author also constructs believable characters: Li’s treason is partly the result of his father’s betrayal by a corrupt Communist Party. The plot races at breakneck speed and artfully combines grand geopolitical drama with political plausibility. There is no shortage of bureaucratic and technological complexity, and readers looking for a breezy adventure story might find the details daunting. But Williams has produced a believable, timely tale brimming with cinematic power.

A skillfully rendered account of superpowers locked in covert war.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9884400-6-7

Page Count: -

Publisher: First Coast Publishers, LLC

Review Posted Online: Jan. 30, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017

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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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More about grief and tragedy than romance.

FRIENDS FOREVER

Five friends meet on their first day of kindergarten at the exclusive Atwood School and remain lifelong friends through tragedy and triumph.

When Gabby, Billy, Izzie, Andy and Sean meet in the toy kitchen of the kindergarten classroom on their first day of school, no one can know how strong the group’s friendship will remain. Despite their different personalities and interests, the five grow up together and become even closer as they come into their own talents and life paths. But tragedy will strike and strike again. Family troubles, abusive parents, drugs, alcohol, stress, grief and even random bad luck will put pressure on each of them individually and as a group. Known for her emotional romances, Steel makes a bit of a departure with this effort that follows a group of friends through young adulthood. But even as one tragedy after another befalls the friends, the impact of the events is blunted by a distant narrative style that lacks emotional intensity. 

More about grief and tragedy than romance.

Pub Date: July 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-34321-3

Page Count: 322

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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