A captivating adventure jammed with characters who, though troubled, try to do the right thing.


In this engrossing spy thriller, Milazzo (Picking Up the Ghost, 2011) asks: What happens when a unit of psychic misfits is asked to save the world?

Dr. Ken Park, a Korean American psychologist and spy, leads Project Dead Blind, a group of damaged psychics who undertake black-ops missions. Their current assignment requires the psychics to recover a Faith Machine, a Soviet-era “psychotronic super-weapon” located in Liberia. They fail spectacularly, as the machine belonging to a former warlord—now known as John the Baptist—is torched, and John, in turn, slaughters dozens of his religious followers. The Dead Blind squad leaves Africa battered and disgraced, returning to civilian life. But they’re hardly out of danger—its agents are stalked by Chinese military intelligence and by the Casemen, a handful of superpowered psychics. While escaping to their West Coast safe house, two of the fugitives even manage to destroy another Faith Machine, this one possessed by a religious zealot–turned-politician. Once the team reaches the safe house, they are sent on another mission to retrieve the final Faith Machine, located in North Korea. All but Park get captured as they near their destination, and they meet the supernatural being behind the Faith Machine, whom they must somehow defeat. Author Milazzo has written this wicked novel with his tongue firmly in cheek, lampooning both the spy and superhero genres. Unfortunate leader Park finds himself wrangling cats, attempting to ride herd over a sextet of operatives who just don’t get along. They also prove to be amateurs who are in over their heads. In order to save the planet from destruction, the agents must learn to combine their abilities—and the world will need a lot of luck to survive. As the plot unfolds, Milazzo does an admirable job of creating characters who, if not embraceable, are definitely realistic. Project Dead Blind unites messy people who are still willing to contribute to the greater good. Readers will root for them to win, largely because their opponents are so despicable.

A captivating adventure jammed with characters who, though troubled, try to do the right thing.

Pub Date: May 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-947041-47-9

Page Count: 392

Publisher: Running Wild Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 2, 2020

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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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