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DENVER MOON

THE SAINT OF MARS

Another blistering installment with a cool, clever female lead.

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In the continuation of this briskly paced sci-fi series, Mars private investigator Denver Moon investigates the possibility that invaders on the red planet are plotting to enslave human colonists.

Denver is working a case of missing persons when she stumbles on an alien’s lab with human experiments. She’s already aware of nameless, shape-shifting invaders on Mars and their attempts to control humans. But for now, Denver remains mum. The colony of Mars City needs the aliens’ tech for successful terraforming. She subsequently takes a case for Jard Calder, who runs a botsie (robot) prostitution business. Church of Mars monks are disrupting his business, and Jard wants Denver to get Bishop Rafe Ranchard excommunicated. That shouldn’t be difficult since Denver previously had the bishop excommunicated when she discovered he was embezzling. Why the church’s leader, Cole Hennessey, reinstated Rafe is a mystery, and Hennessey isn’t returning Denver’s calls. With help from her trusty AI, Smith, who’s installed in her Smith & Wesson revolver, Denver quickly finds a link between the bishop and the aliens’ experiments on colonists. Rafe, however, is a menacing individual with botsies at his command, and the plot against humans is bigger and deadlier than Denver anticipated. Hammond and Viola’s (Denver Moon: Metamorphosis, 2018, etc.) novel deepens an ongoing mystery within the series. New readers will easily settle into the story, but it’s best read from the beginning. The latest narrative deftly expands ongoing themes, from Denver’s relationship with her grandfather Tatsuo to her softening feelings toward botsies. In fact, botsie Nigel is her friend, and the image of Denver carrying and conversing with his head—his torso is on backorder—is a definite highlight. Despite relatively few characters, there are surprising turns among allies and apparent foes. And the prose, as always, is well imagined: “I closed my eyes against a blowback of detritus and sprinted as fast as I dared in the dark, a confetti made of charred leaves peppering my face and arms.”

Another blistering installment with a cool, clever female lead.

Pub Date: July 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-73391-770-4

Page Count: 220

Publisher: Hex Publishers

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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A LITTLE LIFE

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. 21, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

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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