Deploying an inimitable tone that packs sardonic storytelling atop action and adventure, with a side of character...

A FRIEND IS A GIFT YOU GIVE YOURSELF

Aided by an obliging grifter, a Brooklyn grandma on the run tries to mend her relationship with her estranged grandchild as the three outrun mob goons in the latest from Boyle (The Lonely Witness, 2018, etc.).

Things haven’t been good for Rena Ruggeiro ever since the death of her husband, Vic, nine years ago and her realization that her daughter, Adrienne, had been running around with Vic’s right-hand man, Richie Schiavano, since high school. In spite of Vic’s connections, Rena’s always kept her nose clean and stuck to her routine in her Bensonhurst community, beginning with Mass and McDonald’s coffee every Sunday. There’s no sense in Rena getting overexcited like Adrienne would. After all, Adrienne hasn’t spoken to Rena ever since Rena said her piece about Richie and his quality as a partner. Now, however, Adrienne has a 15-year-old daughter, Lucia, who doesn’t even know her grandmother. Rena ponders these problems but doesn’t act until her pushy neighbor, Enzio, makes a move and she wallops him with an ashtray that brings him down and maybe kills him. What can she do but grab the keys to his classic Impala and high-tail it to the Bronx in the hopes that Adrienne’s in a charitable mood and can help her sort things out? But Adrienne is much the same, and Rena finds herself trying to figure out her next step as she sits in the living room of Adrienne’s neighbor Lacey "Wolfie" Wolfstein, a soft-core porn star–turned–con artist who’s taken a shine to Lucia. All this is prologue to the real drama, a caper-inspired road story of quirky personalities on the run littered with gruesome deaths as the truth about the hit on Vic comes out—along with so much more.

Deploying an inimitable tone that packs sardonic storytelling atop action and adventure, with a side of character development, Boyle’s voice works even when it feels like it shouldn’t. It’s just the right kind of too much.

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-64313-058-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Pegasus Crime

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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There are unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story.

TELL ME LIES

Passion, friendship, heartbreak, and forgiveness ring true in Lovering's debut, the tale of a young woman's obsession with a man who's "good at being charming."

Long Island native Lucy Albright, starts her freshman year at Baird College in Southern California, intending to study English and journalism and become a travel writer. Stephen DeMarco, an upperclassman, is a political science major who plans to become a lawyer. Soon after they meet, Lucy tells Stephen an intensely personal story about the Unforgivable Thing, a betrayal that turned Lucy against her mother. Stephen pretends to listen to Lucy's painful disclosure, but all his thoughts are about her exposed black bra strap and her nipples pressing against her thin cotton T-shirt. It doesn't take Lucy long to realize Stephen's a "manipulative jerk" and she is "beyond pathetic" in her desire for him, but their lives are now intertwined. Their story takes seven years to unfold, but it's a fast-paced ride through hookups, breakups, and infidelities fueled by alcohol and cocaine and with oodles of sizzling sexual tension. "Lucy was an itch, a song stuck in your head or a movie you need to rewatch or a food you suddenly crave," Stephen says in one of his point-of-view chapters, which alternate with Lucy's. The ending is perfect, as Lucy figures out the dark secret Stephen has kept hidden and learns the difference between lustful addiction and mature love.

There are unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story.

Pub Date: June 12, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-6964-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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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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