A fascinating immigrant’s tale of the turmoil and restlessness that come from beginning life anew.



In his sweeping novel, Cheevers gives voice to the struggles endured by Irish immigrants.

The Delaney family made their home on an Irish peat bog. When an invitation to New York arrives from an uncle, the question of immigration ignites a conflict between Big Jimmy Delaney and his 14-year-old son, Jimmy. The younger Jimmy, the story’s protagonist, is determined to make the voyage with or without his parents. A decision is made: Big Jimmy, his wife Mary and Jimmy will head to New York City, leaving the two younger sons in an orphanage to finish school. The long voyage tightens the tension between father and son, as young Jimmy learns how to provide for himself with help from the sailors on board. Upon arrival in New York City, the family discovers that the uncle has died; after Mary dies of a miscarriage for which Jimmy blames his father, Jimmy severs ties with his father for good. Cheevers relates the ordeal in a readable Irish lilt, which fades as Jimmy gets farther from his homeland. Strong-willed and capable, Jimmy is most at ease when he’s on the move; over the years he finds jobs as a seaman’s mate on a river steamer and as a telegrapher for the railroad. Cheevers fashions Jimmy into a well-rounded, relatable character through his speech and the wanderlust that ultimately drives his life. Though Jimmy has few genuine friends, his ability to maneuver friendships to his advantage sets him apart from similar protagonists. Through his alliances Jimmy attends college in the East, then heads west to become a journalist in California. Along the way Jimmy has an unlikely though not implausible encounter with one of his brothers who’d been left behind in Ireland. The brother’s rage at his father has led him to become a prizefighter. The discussion between the brothers shows how far Jimmy has moved from his conflict with his father—and yet the conflict still keeps him on the move. His cunning, drive and independence land him in on the West Coast, but his desire to keep moving on continues. While the conclusion fits, it leaves readers looking for closure, because Jimmy, compelling as ever, is once again starting over.

A fascinating immigrant’s tale of the turmoil and restlessness that come from beginning life anew.

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2012


Page Count: -

Publisher: William Cheevers

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Archer will be a great series character for fans of crime fiction. Let’s hope the cigarettes don’t kill him.


Thriller writer Baldacci (A Minute to Midnight, 2019, etc.) launches a new detective series starring World War II combat vet Aloysius Archer.

In 1949, Archer is paroled from Carderock Prison (he was innocent) and must report regularly to his parole officer, Ernestine Crabtree (she’s “damn fine-looking”). Parole terms forbid his visiting bars or loose women, which could become a problem. Trouble starts when businessman Hank Pittleman offers Archer $100 to recover a ’47 Cadillac that’s collateral for a debt owed by Lucas Tuttle, who readily agrees he owes the money. But Tuttle wants his daughter Jackie back—she’s Pittleman’s girlfriend, and she won’t return to Daddy. Archer finds the car, but it’s been torched. With no collateral to collect, he may have to return his hundred bucks. Meanwhile, Crabtree gets Archer the only job available, butchering hogs at the slaughterhouse. He’d killed plenty of men in combat, and now he needs peace. The Pittleman job doesn’t provide that peace, but at least it doesn’t involve bashing hogs’ brains in. People wind up dead and Archer becomes a suspect. So he noses around and shows that he might have the chops to be a good private investigator, a shamus. This is an era when gals have gams, guys say dang and keep extra Lucky Strikes in their hatbands, and a Lady Liberty half-dollar buys a good meal. The dialogue has a '40s noir feel: “And don’t trust nobody.…I don’t care how damn pretty they are.” There’s adult entertainment at the Cat’s Meow, cheap grub at the Checkered Past, and just enough clichés to prove that no one’s highfalutin. Readers will like Archer. He’s a talented man who enjoys detective stories, won’t keep ill-gotten gains, and respects women. All signs suggest a sequel where he hangs out a shamus shingle.

Archer will be a great series character for fans of crime fiction. Let’s hope the cigarettes don’t kill him.

Pub Date: July 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5387-5056-8

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2019

Did you like this book?

Great storytelling about the pursuit of extrajudicial justice.


Ninth in the author’s Gray Man series (Mission Critical, 2019, etc.) in which “the most elite assassin in the world” has his hands full.

Ex–CIA Agent Courtland Gentry (the Gray Man) has Serbian war criminal Ratko Babic in his gun sight, but when he decides instead to kill the old beast face to face, he uncovers a massive sex-slavery ring. “I don’t get off on this,” the Gray Man lies to the reader as he stabs a sentry. “I only kill bad people.” Of course he does. If there weren’t an endless supply of them to slay, he’d have little reason to live. Now, countless young Eastern European women are being lured into sexual slavery and fed into an international pipeline, sold worldwide through “the Consortium.” Bad guys refer to their captives as products, not people. They are “merchandise,” but their plight haunts the Gray Man, so of course he is going to rescue as many women as he can. The road to their salvation will be paved with the dead as he enlists a team of fighters to strike the enemy, which includes a South African dude who is giddy for the chance to meet and kill the Gray Man. Meanwhile, Europol analyst Talyssa Corbu meets the hero while on a personal mission to rescue her sister. “You don’t seem like a psychopath,” she tells him. Indeed, though he could play one on TV. Corbu and her sister are tough and likable characters while the director of the Consortium leads a double life as family man and flesh merchant. Human trafficking is an enormous real-life problem, so it’s satisfying to witness our larger-than-life protagonist put his combat skills to good use. There will be a sequel, of course. As a friend tells the wounded Gentry at the end, he’ll be off killing bozos again before he knows it.

Great storytelling about the pursuit of extrajudicial justice.

Pub Date: Feb. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09891-2

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: Dec. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet