Hitchcock-ian fun, full of deep questions to ponder.

Who Am I?

A strong teenage girl aims to find out the bizarre truth about her childhood in this suspenseful YA novel.

Fourteen-year-old Miranda Martin is annoyingly perfect. She can’t even summon convincing negativity for an acting role in a dance recital: “What rulebook on life has decided that we all have dark places?” she thinks. Her perfect world unravels, though, when she’s diagnosed with an incurable, genetic blood-vessel disorder; this revelation is made worse by the fact that she has “the distinct feeling” that her mother “isn’t telling me everything.” That feeling only grows when Miranda and her best friend, Emma Green, find hidden photos of Miranda “with different friends and…snow” despite supposedly spending her entire childhood in Southern California. Her parents blame her disease for her memory lapses and paranoia, and they whisk her to a secret clinic where creepy Dr. Mullen has found a perfectly matched liver, lungs, and kidney for a transplant operation in a suspiciously short time. At the clinic, Miranda discovers a crying girl, “the spitting image of myself when I was ten years old,” but everyone assures Miranda that she only dreamed about her. Unsure whether she can trust her parents, her doctors, or even her own memories, the teenager, with Emma’s help, decides to uncover the clinic’s secrets: “I always do what I’m told,” she thinks. “Well, not anymore.” Matas (Tucson Jo, 2015, etc.) builds the suspense slowly throughout this novel, keeping readers guessing with plot twists and moral questions taken to extremes (“I guess we each have some free will. We can think. We can make choices”; “Dr. Mullen believes that the end justifies the means. But does it ever?”). Even after she deals with the horrible truth, Miranda is shown trying to return to a normal high school existence, but she finds that life is still “turned upside down half the time.” Only the book’s weak title and tendency to overexplain thematic points mar the taut story, which features girl-power heroines confronting bad guys and the nature of the self. 

Hitchcock-ian fun, full of deep questions to ponder. 

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-927663-37-0

Page Count: 302

Publisher: Fictive Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 18, 2016

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A persuasive, valuable addition to the ongoing immigration reform debate.



A highly organized, informative discussion of the immigration system in the United States.

In this politically charged environment, Afrasiabi manages to broach the volatile issue of immigration in a well-rounded, surprisingly effective framework that combines case studies, historical research, statistical analysis and personal anecdotes to detail the current issues and propose solutions. Invocations of Kafka, “The Twilight Zone” and “Alice in Wonderland” prove warranted as illustrations of the often surreal circumstances that confront immigrants facing deportation. Immigrants usually lack access to quality legal representation, while their situation can be made doubly difficult due to language barriers and significant cultural differences. Afrasiabi incorporates his work with colleagues and students at the Chapman University School of Law to deftly weave together the facts of several compelling cases and their underlying legal issues, with a genuine sense of suspense as readers wonder if justice will be truly be served. Occasionally, though, the narrative becomes overwrought—two federal laws passed in 1996 are “dark storm clouds depositing their sleet”—although, considering the life-changing effects of court decisions, it’s difficult to overstate the ramifications: extralegal rendition of individuals with pending cases and the de facto deportation of native-born children whose parents are deported. Afrasiabi also addresses the legacy of various anti-alien laws in California, as well as marriage equality for same-sex couples when one partner is a noncitizen. As the subtitle asserts, Afrasiabi employs his additional experience in the field of property law to contrast the stark differences between immigration judges and constitutional judges, like their qualifications, vetting processes and even the oaths they take. His arguments culminate in seven concrete reforms proposed in the conclusion. In order to make the immigration system more just and effective, Afrasiabi claims the solutions are closer than we may think; we can implement procedures and safeguards already in place within the constitutional courts.

A persuasive, valuable addition to the ongoing immigration reform debate.

Pub Date: May 1, 2012


Page Count: 249

Publisher: Kurti Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 7, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2012

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Despite this, Walkley’s beefy prose and rousing action sequences deliver a thriller to satisfy any adrenaline addict.


Walkley pits CIA agents against a maniacal Saudi prince intent on starting World War III in this debut thriller.

Delta Force operative Lee McCloud, aka Mac, finds himself in Mexico, trying to rescue two teenage girls kidnapped by a drug cartel. But things go from bad to worse when the villains don’t play by the rules. Framed for two murders he didn’t commit, Mac has two options: go to prison or go to work for a CIA black-op group run by the devious Wisebaum, who hacks into terrorists’ bank accounts and confiscates millions of dollars. However, there’s more going on than meets the eye; Saudi Prince Khalid is in possession of nuclear canisters, with which he hopes to alter world history. Khalid also dabbles in trafficking young women, and harvesting and selling human organs. When Wisebaum’s black-op team targets Khalid’s father, the action becomes even more intense. With so many interweaving subplots—kidnapped girls, Israeli undercover agents, nuclear weapons and a secret underwater hideout—it could be easy to lose track of what’s going on. But the author’s deft handling of the material ensures that doesn’t occur; subplots are introduced at the appropriate junctures and, by story’s end, all are accounted for and neatly concluded. Mac is portrayed as a rough and ready action-hero, yet his vulnerabilities will evoke empathy in readers. He finds a love interest in Tally, a hacker whose personality is just quirky enough to complement his own. All Walkley’s primary characters are fleshed out and realistic, with the exception of Wisebaum—a malicious, double-dealing, back-stabber of the worst ilk; the reader is left wondering about Wisebaum’s motivations behind such blatant treachery.

Despite this, Walkley’s beefy prose and rousing action sequences deliver a thriller to satisfy any adrenaline addict.

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0980806601

Page Count: 412

Publisher: Marq Books

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2012

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