The author of the seven-volume Brotherhood of War series takes time out from his ongoing saga of US Marines in the Pacific theater (Close Combat, Line of Fire, etc.) for an urbanely twisty and well- told tale of derring-do in a WW II backwater. In the fall of 1942, leatherneck fighter pilot Cletus Howell Frade (who became an ace in the unfriendly skies over Midway and Guadalcanal) is abruptly recalled to the States. The OSS has picked him to lead an undercover team posted to neutral Argentina, whose coastal waters are being used by vessels from other noncombatant nations to refuel and revictual German U-boats. Raised on a Texas ranch by an uncle and aunt, young Clete is a natural for the dangerous, politically sensitive mission: he's fluent in Spanish, was born in Argentina (to a long-dead American mother), and (through his maternal grandfather) is heir to a sizable petroleum enterprise that does business south of the border. Once in Buenos Aires, Clete gains immediate access to the city's clubby, privileged haut monde on the strength of his family and commercial connections. He also makes peace with his estranged father, an immensely wealthy grandee and former colonel who (though plotting against the Castillo regime with the likes of Juan Peton) agrees to help Clete take out a supply ship as an object lesson to the Third Reich's covert allies. Even so, before he can get aloft to guide the US sub that sends his target to the bottom, the rookie saboteur must evade the clutches of a Nazi se§orita who's developed a potentially fatal attraction for him. In the end, thanks to the ties of honor that bind officers from any country's military, Clete comes through with flying colors while the villains of the piece get approximately what's coming to them. Absorbing, well-written entertainment that's evocatively detailed as to time and place.

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 1994

ISBN: 0-399-13862-5

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1993

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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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