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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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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Unrelenting gloom relieved only occasionally by wrenching trauma; somehow, though, Hannah’s storytelling chops keep the...

FLY AWAY

Hannah’s sequel to Firefly Lane (2008) demonstrates that those who ignore family history are often condemned to repeat it.

When we last left Kate and Tully, the best friends portrayed in Firefly Lane, the friendship was on rocky ground. Now Kate has died of cancer, and Tully, whose once-stellar TV talk show career is in free fall, is wracked with guilt over her failure to be there for Kate until her very last days. Kate’s death has cemented the distrust between her husband, Johnny, and daughter Marah, who expresses her grief by cutting herself and dropping out of college to hang out with goth poet Paxton. Told mostly in flashbacks by Tully, Johnny, Marah and Tully’s long-estranged mother, Dorothy, aka Cloud, the story piles up disasters like the derailment of a high-speed train. Increasingly addicted to prescription sedatives and alcohol, Tully crashes her car and now hovers near death, attended by Kate’s spirit, as the other characters gather to see what their shortsightedness has wrought. We learn that Tully had tried to parent Marah after her father no longer could. Her hard-drinking decline was triggered by Johnny’s anger at her for keeping Marah and Paxton’s liaison secret. Johnny realizes that he only exacerbated Marah’s depression by uprooting the family from their Seattle home. Unexpectedly, Cloud, who rebuffed Tully’s every attempt to reconcile, also appears at her daughter’s bedside. Sixty-nine years old and finally sober, Cloud details for the first time the abusive childhood, complete with commitments to mental hospitals and electroshock treatments, that led to her life as a junkie lowlife and punching bag for trailer-trash men. Although powerful, Cloud’s largely peripheral story deflects focus away from the main conflict, as if Hannah was loath to tackle the intractable thicket in which she mired her main characters.

Unrelenting gloom relieved only occasionally by wrenching trauma; somehow, though, Hannah’s storytelling chops keep the pages turning even as readers begin to resent being drawn into this masochistic morass.

Pub Date: April 23, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-312-57721-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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