ALL FALL DOWN

A lone sociopath seizes a school bus carrying 27 handicapped children, and the world's eyes focus on a small town in the California desert for an edgy 48 hours. When Las Cruces wakes up to the fact that a busload of its most vulnerable kids is missing, the authorities, frantically assembling their meager resources, call in the FBI. Sergeant Ellen Camacho (one of two detectives on the local police force) is put in charge of the case by Chief Paul Whitehorse (her lover as well as boss). In addition to sorting out jurisdictional conflicts with the feds and the sheriff's department, Ellen (a single mother who worked three years as a Los Angeles cop) must deal with distraught parents and a pack of ravening journalists. Meantime, she and her colleagues are frustrated by the lack of immediate demands from the perpetrator—which is precisely what the deranged kidnapper, Lowell Alexander DeVries, intends. An above-suspicion resident of Las Cruces, he exults in the chaos his careful planning has created. Although under the gun of a de facto deadline because of the captive children's medical needs, law-enforcement agencies can do precious little but dance to the kidnapper's tune. Finally, the murderous DeVries (a pedophile with a host of imagined scores to settle) submits his ransom requirements: a small fortune in one- carat diamonds and used bills. Matt LaSalle, the FBI's vaultingly ambitious man on the scene, arranges for the transfer of the cash and stones, which DeVries insists must be delivered by Ellen (whose daughter he's also abducted). The distraught but resourceful investigator sets out on the roundabout route DeVries has mapped. Under cover of darkness, she's able to upset his timetable and force a violent confrontation in the Mojave's desolate foothills. An absorbing suspenser from newcomer Fox that makes especially vivid use of setting and of its countdown format.

Pub Date: March 1, 1997

ISBN: 1-57566-139-X

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Kensington

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 1997

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A touching family drama that effectively explores the negative impact of stress on fragile relationships.

A WEEK AT THE SHORE

A middle-aged woman returns to her childhood home to care for her ailing father, confronting many painful secrets from her past.

When Mallory Aldiss gets a call from a long-ago boyfriend telling her that her elderly father has been gallivanting around town with a gun in his hand, Mallory decides it’s time to return to the small Rhode Island town that she’s been avoiding for more than a decade. Mallory’s precocious 13-year-old daughter, Joy, is thrilled that she'll get to meet her grandfather at long last, and an aunt, too, and she'll finally see the place where her mother grew up. When they arrive in Bay Bluff, it’s barely a few hours before Mallory bumps into her old flame, Jack, the only man she’s ever really loved. Gone is the rebellious young person she remembers, and in his place stands a compassionate, accomplished adult. As they try to reconnect, Mallory realizes that the same obstacle that pushed them apart decades earlier is still standing in their way: Jack blames Mallory’s father for his mother’s death. No one knows exactly how Jack’s mother died, but Jack thinks a love affair between her and Mallory’s father had something to do with it. As Jack and Mallory chase down answers, Mallory also tries to repair her rocky relationships with her two sisters and determine why her father has always been so hard on her. Told entirely from Mallory’s perspective, the novel has a haunting, nostalgic quality. Despite the complex and overlapping layers to the history of Bay Bluff and its inhabitants, the book at times trudges too slowly through Mallory’s meanderings down Memory Lane. Even so, Delinsky sometimes manages to pick up the pace, and in those moments the beauty and nuance of this complicated family tale shine through. Readers who don’t mind skimming past details that do little to advance the plot may find that the juicier nuggets and realistically rendered human connections are worth the effort.

A touching family drama that effectively explores the negative impact of stress on fragile relationships.

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-11951-3

Page Count: 416

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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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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