An artistic thriller that will keep readers guessing and please the author’s fans.

A PERFECT EYE

A whodunit features a homicidal painter in present-day Denver.

Lily Sparks, once a lawyer, has reinvented herself as the conservator of paintings at the Denver Art Museum, where she is renowned for being able to spot a forgery. George Kurtz, a very wealthy patron of the museum, has been brutally murdered, his corpse arranged in a sick homage to impressionist Gustave Caillebotte’s Fields of the Gennevilliers Plain, No. Seven. Enter hunky FBI agent Paul Riley. He and Lily were lovers a decade ago, and the flame still burns. Then there are Lily’s assistant, Amy; Lily’s professional rival, Gina Wheelock; Dave Byers, an experienced docent; and Nick Lang, whom everyone is a bit suspicious of, but that doesn’t stop Lily from sleeping with him. Throw in Lily’s widowed father, Harry Sparks, and that about rounds out the important cast. Kane (Seeds of Doubt, 2004, etc.) is an experienced—and lauded—thriller writer, and it shows. Her bad guy truly is a sicko. Some chilling chapters are told from the killer’s point of view, but of course he is not identified—not an original ploy but effective. So the drama builds, along with Lily’s and Paul’s tortured feelings for each other and their requisite misunderstandings. Has Paul sold out? Why is Nick so cagey? How many people hated Kurtz, and why? There is some clever misdirection in these pages. As a bonus, the audience gets quite an introduction to art appreciation, particularly from a conservator’s point of view. Add in the traditional scary chases toward the end—Lily becoming cornered, fighting an unknown assailant in the dark, and feeling unsure whom to trust—and readers have a truly classic thriller. An added, traditional fillip is that the killer has many more on his list, supercharging the race against time. How satisfying is the final reveal? Well, that will be up to each reader.

An artistic thriller that will keep readers guessing and please the author’s fans.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-73367-150-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Time Tunnel Media

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2019

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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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More about grief and tragedy than romance.

FRIENDS FOREVER

Five friends meet on their first day of kindergarten at the exclusive Atwood School and remain lifelong friends through tragedy and triumph.

When Gabby, Billy, Izzie, Andy and Sean meet in the toy kitchen of the kindergarten classroom on their first day of school, no one can know how strong the group’s friendship will remain. Despite their different personalities and interests, the five grow up together and become even closer as they come into their own talents and life paths. But tragedy will strike and strike again. Family troubles, abusive parents, drugs, alcohol, stress, grief and even random bad luck will put pressure on each of them individually and as a group. Known for her emotional romances, Steel makes a bit of a departure with this effort that follows a group of friends through young adulthood. But even as one tragedy after another befalls the friends, the impact of the events is blunted by a distant narrative style that lacks emotional intensity. 

More about grief and tragedy than romance.

Pub Date: July 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-34321-3

Page Count: 322

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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