BLOOD AND HONOR

A rousing sequel to the prolific Griffin's Honor Bound (1994), which introduced Cletus Howell Frade, a US Marine Corps fighter pilot (born in Argentina to an American mother) on assignment for the OSS in WW II Buenos Aires. This time out, Clete heads back to neutral Argentina in the spring of 1943 after an extended leave spent with his maternal grandfather, an autocratic oil tycoon. Ostensibly returning to bury his father (a wealthy colonel assassinated by Nazi agents fearful that he might overthrow the Castillo regime and take Argentina to war on the side of the Allies), Clete remains under orders from the cloak-and-dagger crowd. His mission: to keep a noncombatant vessel from using Argentina's coastal waters to rearm and refuel German U- boats on patrol in the South Atlantic. Fluent in Spanish, the personable young leatherneck moves in the capital city's highest social and military circles. While scheming how to do his duty without causing an international incident, Clete is tipped off by a Luftwaffe chum attached to the Third Reich's embassy that the supply ship will be carrying a massive amount of money earmarked to establish Nazi brass in postwar South America. A member of his undercover team also learns of a big-money racket whereby Jews may be ransomed from European death camps and resettled in Latin nations like Uruguay. With time out to put his flying skills at the disposal of insurgent Argentinean officers (whose ranks include Juan Domingo Per¢n) in their successful coup, and to help plan a wedding that will unite him with the high-born se§orita he has made great with child, Clete finds a way to turn the tables on the villainous Nazis without upsetting any diplomatic applecarts; and he manages also to exact a satisfactory measure of revenge for the untimely death of his father. An immensely entertaining adventure set in an equally intriguing milieu.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-399-14190-1

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1996

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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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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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