RaveThe Associated PressThe narrative flows seamlessly from buoyant and comical black jive to somber, pitch-perfect descriptives of the histories and hard lives of those doing the talking ... McBride can turn what first appear to be stereotypes — the church deacon who is an amiable drunk, the teen-age drug dealer poisoning his own neighborhood — into vivid, three-dimensional characters with engrossing life stories ... With Deacon King Kong, fiction written in prose that carries the pulsing force of life, he adds another distinguished entry to his wide-ranging repertoire.
PositiveAssociated Press...a down-to-earth saga of an extremely bright and likable single woman wrestling with sexual desires, emotional dreads — and the difficulties of finishing her first novel ... It’s easy to pull for Casey. She’s wise, funny and clearly lovable ... while built around an agreeable character, is heavier on discourse than on drama — a book about writers seeking out writers and what feeds writers’ inner needs ... an engaging portrait of a woman confronting modern hardships.
PositiveThe Associated Press... gripping ... Yoon writes with a soft, measured hand. He calmly builds memorable scenes even when events turn violent ... With the Indochina wars of the 1960s and 1970s darkening his canvas, Yoon brightens the mix with riveting colors of youth and innocence — even as they are being lost.
PositiveThe Associated PressAtkins peppers the narrative with allusions to President Donald Trump, but he also sticks to Colson saga basics ... There is a sudden plot twist that some may view as a flaw in the narrative structure. But Atkins tends to smooth this out as further events unfold, and the surprise element is a feature of the novel. Country music, blues and a variety of popular songs are invoked in many scenes; one of the songs is the Garth Brooks’ cover of \'Shameless.\' But the book’s title, for the most part, refers to those who, without apology, twist truth or commit crimes to serve themselves. That’s a tough foe, even for Quinn Colson.
PositiveThe Associated PressFirst Cosmic Velocity is a cleverly conceived and beautifully delivered novel that looks at the struggle for space supremacy from the Soviet side of the Cold War ... The darkness and gravity of the narrative is mixed with stirring prose and dialogue that make First Cosmic Velocity a novel of ideas from the Cold War era.
MixedAssociated PressFrom a well-crafted opening and smoothly written scenes, the narrative turns increasingly to its primary subject — the pull of eros and its consequences, explicitly described. While Cheek can be deft with these scenes, the book too often sinks into erotic schlock ... There are two older, wealthy, heavy-drinking, questionable characters — Clara and Max — who are hard to like from the start. By the end, this debut novel has no main character — not even the youthful, alcohol-fueled honeymooners — who is genuinely likable.
PositiveThe Associated PressClaire DeWitt is a private detective not always easy to like ... In the end, you want her on your side ... By adding a comic-book teen detective and an elegant French investigator to the Claire DeWitt mystery mix, Gran turns The Infinite Blacktop into a thriller that is no ordinary, by-the-book crime procedural.
PositiveThe Seattle Times\"For Groff’s fans, Florida is a handy place to read or revisit her recent short pieces. For those unfamiliar with her work, the collection can be a not-so-smooth introduction. Often edgy, troubling or painfully grim, the stories are not sunny welcomes to a state of endless beaches and blue skies. But Groff, whose pages are filled with potent, original prose, is a gifted guide to a strikingly vivid Florida of the mind.\
PositiveThe Houston Chronicle...part fast-paced crime thriller and part tense-but-tedious courtroom drama ... Mississippi Blood is a thick book running several hundred pages. But Iles draws his characters so well, and brings off scenes so deftly, that it is only on occasion that the story seems to drag ... Iles can write beautifully, and his subject matter is far more serious than the run-of-the-mill mystery or crime thriller.
PositiveThe Minneapolis Star TribuneRash's best work often draws on the travails of Appalachian life. The Risen, while set in the Carolina mountain terrain around Asheville, is less about the region than a psychological drama about a fractured family, a crime and the torment of its decades-long, unresolved aftermath. There is a flatness to some of the dialogue, particularly when the young Matneys and Ligeia are talking. But Rash skillfully weaves the plot around events nearly half a century apart, and the novel becomes both suspenseful and thought-provoking.