by William Joiner ‧ RELEASE DATE: May 25, 2019
An often enjoyable thriller that’s sometimes hampered by awkward dialogue.
In Joiner’s (Hardened Hearts, 2018, etc.) thriller, a serial murderer stalks victims in Los Angeles while taunting one of the detectives investigating the crimes.
Police Lt. Elgie Reynolds has been on desk duty for three months, following a suspension and treatment for alcoholism. His first case back in the field involves a sex worker who narrowly survived a vicious stabbing attack. It turns out that the unknown assailant’s unique pattern of attack—20 shallow wounds and two deep one—appeared in a West Hollywood murder case two weeks earlier. Cops suspect that it’s the work of a serial killer whom Reynolds ultimately dubs “the Butcher.” The killer sends a letter to a TV news station, implying impending murders and specifically mentioning lead investigator Reynolds. More victims do indeed turn up, but although the Butcher’s first two targets were sex workers, the new ones are unfaithful spouses. The Los Angeles Police Department creates a task force, but Reynolds’ superiors enlist another detective to take over the case. However, the Butcher has been regularly calling Reynolds to boast of his crimes, and he stays focused on the lieutenant. The cop has a hunch about the killer’s identity, but finding proof won’t be easy. The majority of Joiner’s novel consists of dialogue, which befits the story; after all, a procedural requires detectives to discuss the ongoing case at length. However, many exchanges feel unnecessarily stilted. Even a simple phone call can contain a good deal of filler, including repetitive greetings: “ ‘Hello, Lieutenant Reynolds?’ ‘Yes, this is Lieutenant Reynolds.’ ” Still, Joiner ensures that all the discourse is comprehensible, and that the characters are distinctive; Reynolds’ wife, Vanessa, for example, relates to a surviving victim by divulging a past trauma, and Lt. Rodney Gray annoys his fellow detectives with his excessive baseball metaphors. The mystery itself is sound, with a convincing and memorably unsettling wrap-up.An often enjoyable thriller that’s sometimes hampered by awkward dialogue.
Pub Date: May 25, 2019
Page Count: 274
Publisher: Time Tunnel Media
Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2019
Review Program: Kirkus Indie
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by Hanya Yanagihara ‧ RELEASE DATE: March 10, 2015
The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.
Awards & Accolades
Best Books Of 2015
National Book Award Finalist
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
Page Count: 720
Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2014
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015
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by Harper Lee ‧ RELEASE DATE: July 11, 1960
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
Page Count: 323
Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960
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