PositiveSt. Louis Post-DispatchThe story is tenderly told ... until now I’ve never thought about Abraham Lincoln’s mighty thighs, even when contemplating his giant likeness in Washington, but the topic does come up ... Bayard dissects both Mary and Joshua, in several chapters devoted to each, so we get to know them ... an engaging portrayal.
MixedThe Saint Louis Post-Dispatch... has the feel of an allegory, one set in a dismal, dripping place ... But this book functions with only the most tenuous sense of a unifying plot and with the barest character development. Davis’ imagery, however, transcends the other elements ... The story never gets clearer, but then Davis, who teaches during the spring semester at Washington University, never makes it easy for the reader. For those who like a puzzle, however, The Silk Road conceals rewards.
PositiveSt. Louis Post-Dispatch\"And once again, Atkinson, known for her skill at elevating genre forms into literature, takes on the British World War II experience ... Atkinson endows [her character, Juliet,] with a boundless imagination and a lively sense of humor ... Atkinson, bouncing back and forth in time, treats the reader to insights that a linear presentation would not provide. The end winds cunningly back to the beginning, as the author begins to spill the story’s secrets.\
RaveThe St. Louis Post-DispatchYou don’t have to know Rod, or Shirley, or River Cartwright, or J.K. Coe, or any of Slough House’s other \'slow horses,\' as they are known, to enjoy London Rules, the fifth book in the series. There’s enough background, woven in without spoilers, to keep new readers current, no matter where they begin ... Like all the other books in the series, this one is hilarious and suspenseful while it keenly fills out the unusual human characters that inhabit it. London Rules takes longer than some of Herron’s novels to pick up its momentum. But if it’s not Herron’s very best, it’s still much sharper than most espionage fiction being written today and manages to stay uncannily contemporary.
PositiveThe St. Louis Post-DispatchHarper is adept at stripping away the thin skin of civility as the characters begin to feel fear out in the wild ... When the truth begins to emerge, Force of Nature gains momentum and rolls out its revelations almost too quickly, leaving us confused about some finer points of the action and the motivations and significance underlying the events. The Dry was an irresistible tinderbox of a book with danger in the air. Force of Nature is satisfying and suspenseful, but it’s a different experience entirely.
RaveThe St. Louis Post-DispatchEverything Carey undertakes in A Long Way From Home is accomplished with clarity and elegance. Like the best of his books, this one keeps the reader in its grip with sharp turns of plot and muscular language ... A Long Way From Home is a major work and an exciting one; it sprawls, but not uncontrollably. The tragedy is deep and affecting, but even in pivotal moments, it is neither unrelenting nor unrelieved. Along with the evil, there is good in his universe, and it works to set right some injustices and redress old wounds.
RaveThe St. Louis Post-DispatchLike his other books, this one resides where escapism and political paranoia meet. Planted firmly in the realm of the possible, his works toy with 21st-century fears and manias: terrorism, government deceit, economic meltdowns and hostage-takers ... At the same time, Herron enters the minds of his characters, allowing us access to multiple points of view and emotions and logic that are slightly askew or tortuously twisted ... That he accomplishes all this while interspersing the hair-raising with the humorous is quite a feat. He’s a trickster, a wit, a cynic, a slippery rogue of a storyteller who is unapologetic about leading the reader astray, but who makes the diversion worthwhile ... This Is What Happened will challenge your assumptions and your doubts. It drills deeply into the nature of cruelty and trust.
MixedThe St. Louis Post-DispatchThe suspense of the first several chapters of Mercury is thrilling. That’s because Livesey’s prose works best when it races smoothly along from unexpected event to impossible development, the words camouflaging the inner workings of the storytelling. In this novel, however, Livesey’s joinery is less than perfect, and in places seems downright creaky, all the more so because it’s visible ... Eventually Livesey recovers her usual light touch, and, leaving contrivance behind, brings the novel home to a satisfying resolution.
PositiveThe St. Louis Post-DispatchIf this book is about slow death by sexual victimization, it is also concerned with healing, love, tolerance and fidelity ... There is no other quite like it. Its singularity raised eyebrows and some controversy about whether Jude the character suffers unendurably at the hands of the author. That criticism is difficult to reconcile with reality. Can an author cause graver injury to a character than the world has caused to countless innocents? ... Surely Jude’s pain was unbearable. He is, like Edward St. Aubyn’s character Patrick Melrose, a vessel for the pain and a mirror of it. A Little Life is full of variations on injury, with perhaps the most queasy-making being teaching a child to cut himself for relief, and giving him the tools to do so, layering a means for compulsive self-harm on top of other injuries.