May not be for fans of realism-soaked military fiction, but it will leave fans of a woolier kind of combat tale looking...

SEAL TEAM 666

Jack Walker, a young cadet in training for the Navy SEALs, was possessed by a "grave demon" while growing up in the Philippines. Drafted into SEAL Team 666, a secret special ops unit that fights demons, monsters and ghosts, he is uniquely equipped to thwart an evil threat from Myanmar poised to wreak havoc on the world.

SEAL Team 6, the real-life elite team that killed Osama bin Laden, has never seen the kinds of things that confront its fictional counterpart. Walker has barely settled into his new role when a spiked, six-legged beast—it takes an epic round of gunfire to bring down—surprises him and his four partners. The SEALs soon confront golemlike homunculus creatures, which run amok, appearing and disappearing, intent on plucking out and devouring its victims' intestines. The scariest creature is politically rooted, summoning ancient curses to empower a separatist movement in Myanmar. To thwart his wicked opponent, Walker must overcome the fugue states he enters into when his old demons act up. (A Navy brat, he was cursed by a witch doctor mad at his father for selling supplies on the black market.) He gets help from the squad's intrepid dog, which has unique skills of its own. Ochse, credited as an intelligence officer for the Defense Intelligence Agency, won a Bram Stoker Award for his first novel, Scarecrow Gods (2005). He brings both a lively gallows humor to the story and just the right amount of conviction to make his scenarios as creepy as they are cartoonish.

May not be for fans of realism-soaked military fiction, but it will leave fans of a woolier kind of combat tale looking forward to future installments.

Pub Date: Dec. 11, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-250-00735-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Sept. 16, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

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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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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