PositiveBookreporterCowan creates a vivid history of the Foundling Hospital ... At times, Cowan’s bitter memories of her own unhappiness growing up with a difficult mother threaten to overwhelm Eileen’s story, which, though tragic, is more compelling ... For some, the story of mother-daughter discord will resonate, while others might be intrigued by Dorothy’s childhood and still others fascinated by an institution whose history was as illustrious as it was wretched. In short, there is something for everyone in these provocative pages.
RaveBookreporterThis well-researched history tracks how the course of World War II influenced Josef Stalin’s standing with his allies, so \'saving\' Stalin takes on multiple meanings ... Saving Stalin offers a thoughtful analysis of the compromises leaders made to win a war, the outcome of which would have been uncertain without those difficult choices.
PositiveBookreporter... beautifully crafted ... a deceptively quiet book ... Han sensitively portrays each member of this struggling family as it falls apart and then attempts to realign itself. What comes through on every page of this melancholy book is the price each must pay for the opportunity to be part of the American success story.
PositiveBookreporterThe cast of characters in They Never Learn, including her multiple lovers, keeps the focus from being solely on Scarlett, though none piques readers\' interest as much. Still, college life, with its petty feuds, jockeying for power and indiscrete relationships, offers a great backdrop --- and plotline --- for the story ... What makes this novel oddly compelling is that, despite Scarlett’s psychopathic tendencies, she is also a feminist vigilante, ridding the world of predatory men. And though readers know she’s a killer from the very start of the book, they don\'t have any idea if or how she will avoid capture until the very end --- by which time many may just be rooting for her ... This entertaining, funny and sexy thriller is too casual about its murders for readers to be shocked by the number of bodies that pile up. But that doesn’t take away from the curiously moral message at its heart.
PositiveBookreporterIt’s debatable if the individuals and their families who lived through the rise and fall of this company enhance the book’s narrative, but they are also stand-ins for families torn apart by a decade of protests, riots and political unrest ... What makes If Then/em> so powerful is the implicit analogy between the ’60s and today --- not just because of social upheavals, but because ordinary citizens are being manipulated now, as they were then, by the technology that affords its overseers the power of \'perfect persuasion.\'
PositiveBookreporterAt its core, this carefully plotted novel, set in contemporary Istanbul, is a meditation on how our most intimate relationships are sometimes our most transactional ... Besides being an adept storyteller, Elliot Ackerman is a keen observer of the political shifts that a country like Turkey must navigate, and his descriptions of real events such as the Gezi Park protests make the setting more than just a backdrop. The reader sees a wide swath of the city’s neighborhoods and social strata, so that its very geography comes alive. While flashbacks slow down the pace of the story, they also enable the reader to collect information that will help put the puzzle together.
RaveBookreporter... a slow burn of a novel, written with enough skill to keep readers turning the pages for the first, scene-setting chapters --- and then catching fire until the dazzling denouement ... the characters’ complexities draw readers in ... Debut novelist Marina Kemp captures the suffocating intimacy of local life that ensures no one’s innermost secrets will remain that way for long. What makes Marguerite stand out, though, is that Kemp illustrates the daily rhythms of life in this bucolic village and juxtaposes its beauty with the anguish of its inhabitants. This is quite an accomplishment and well worth the slow start.
PositiveBookreporter... impressive ... the denouement is anti-climactic, but by then it’s almost beside the point. The Coyotes of Carthage is not a thriller or mystery, but rather the story of how dark money twists those who administer it as much as those who are targeted by it. It’s also about the relationships that can form between unlikely allies ... While no one is wholly good, a few stand out for their humanity in this nuanced portrait of a southern backwater.
PositiveBookreporterKatz plants portents throughout the book until the shocking denouement. She uses opera stories to signal plot twists, as Thomas is a devotee who listens to The Met broadcasts and identifies closely with Tannhäuser, a Wagnerian tragic hero. Her writing is good enough to make the reader believe, or want to believe, that the portents --- unsettling conversations, unexpected outbursts and underreported exchanges --- add up to the horror that befalls this family. Perhaps, but not quite ... Still, A Good Man is an absorbing story that keeps the reader involved in its characters well beyond the last page.
PositiveBookreporterA Washington thriller that seems ripped from the headlines ... Rosenstiel, a one-time Washington reporter and author of two previous thrillers, is not afraid to expose the underbelly of contemporary partisan politics and the wealthy donors who control the players. The picture he paints is alarming, as Super PACs, social media, surveillance teams and dark data threaten to overwhelm our democratic processes. One can only hope that the white hats in OPPO also exist in the real world to combat these gathering forces.
PositiveBookreporterRicard is an attractive protagonist whose powers of observation are on display at every turn. Throughout the book, as he writes his own spy novel, we see him imagining the plot and populating the pages with distinctive characters. For Ricard --- and the reader --- it’s a respite from the tense scenes of his current life, filled with strangers who may or may not betray him at any turn. So toward the end of the story, when Ricard makes plans to disappear, it’s no surprise that in his valise next to his gun would be the typewritten pages from his manuscript ... fast-paced, enjoyable read, which makes the ending seem all the more abrupt. Perhaps Furst decided that he could continue where he left off in his next novel, but a few extra pages of denouement might have brought the book and its characters to a more gracious end.
PositiveBookreporter... endearing ... clever, fun-to-follow sleuthing that has the reader rooting for the merry band of outliers. A surprise denouement opens the door to a sequel while providing a satisfying explanation for all the shenanigans ... what gives The Nobodies depth is that over the course of the story, Joan and Thornton grow as individuals and come to terms with what they need to do to change their respective, and maybe joint, narratives ... Though Joan is the main protagonist, several characters are equally well-developed, including Thornton, Joan’s supportive family, and her quirky co-workers and friends. Palmer has managed to create a real world where the neurotic heroine is surrounded by a loving and lovable cast with whom readers will enjoy hanging out.
PositiveBookreporterWhile The Passengers is a fast-paced and somewhat outlandish thriller, its value may well lie in author John Marrs’ ability to imagine how technology and social media hijack humans on every level ... How this resolves itself —and there are several apparent denouements before the final one —is both clever and manipulative. While the loose logic detracts from the novel to an extent, Marrs’ ability to educate his audience about the problems of a future dominated by autonomous vehicles that are at the mercy of hackable data will win a lot of readers over. And his understanding of how social media can threaten our very humanity is nothing short of brilliant.
PositiveBookreporter... remarkably lighthearted, in no small part because Clark has created likable and adaptable protagonists in Kevin and his sidekick Nelson, the mongrel rescue dog. How they turn a doomed situation around is ingenious and unexpected. At times, the amount of criminal law that the reader is expected to absorb is daunting, but it doesn’t slow the pace too much. And as it reinforces the sense that we’re in the very capable hands of an experienced legal mind (Clark is a retired judge), it makes the denouement even more realistic and therefore satisfying.
PositiveBookreporter...a fascinating, if flawed, chronicle about the origins of cryptocurrency ... Though this is not a sequel, it seems as though Mezrich is intent on making amends for his role in besmirching the Winklevii ... While they were previously portrayed as entitled whiners, here they are hardworking, serious and honorable. The book is filled with breathless platitudes about their conscientiousness and fortitude ... Still, the story of Bitcoin’s rise, fall and apparent rebirth is a fascinating one, and the twins’ investment and involvement make for an absorbing read.
MixedBookreporter\"For the reader, wading through Lindsay’s obsessive and frequently awkward efforts to track down the truth behind Edie’s death can be tedious, especially as there’s little respite from her single-minded pursuit. Though the pace picks up at the end, readers may have lost patience with the story, and its protagonist, by then.\
PositiveBook ReporterWhat a charming, benevolent novel this is. Beyond a few neurotic narcissists, there’s not a true villain in sight. Still, author Elinor Lipman has managed to contrive a credible narrative, filled with plot twists that miraculously resolve themselves by the end of this bonbon of a book ... makes for lively reading, and it’s not hard to imagine it as a rom-com, with a funny, beautiful heroine and her dashing confidante ... Whatever the eventual medium, Lipman\'s audience is in for a delectable treat.
PositiveBook ReporterThe plot of The Mansion is a bit of a cliché by now. But somehow author Ezekiel Boone has pulled it off, making both the plot and characters surprisingly compelling ... Outlandish but compelling. And the dramatic resolution is unforeseeable yet, in the end, inescapable. Readers who like their tech thrillers tinged with horror won’t be able to put this one down.
MixedBookreporter\"[The protagonist\'s downward] spiral, which debut novelist Laura Sims signaled from the beginning, comes quickly, perhaps too much so. It’s as though the author and her protagonist are determined to get the worst over with ... the reader is left wondering if the journey was worth it. This is an interesting but unfinished portrait by a talented writer whose impatience got the best of her.\
PositiveBookreporter\"... shocking ... Harman, an English literary biographer, manages to make Murder By the Book both a whodunit and a social history of London in a time of upheaval—a thrilling combination.\
MixedBookreporter\"What keeps the reader going for much of the book is the language, which is sharp and at times wickedly sardonic ... A funny but ultimately frustrating book, Hark doesn’t live up to its initial promise.\
Tilar J. Mazzeo
PositiveBookreporterTilar J. Mazzeo, who has done careful research for this first full biography of Eliza Hamilton, promotes an interesting theory about her possible role in the \'Reynolds Affair\' ... Some may balk at her mixing scholarship with a willingness to talk about Eliza as though she knows what her every mood was...but others will applaud her ability to portray Eliza as a three-dimensional character.
PositiveBookreporterIn an interview, Ben Schott, the bestselling author of the Schott’s Miscellany series, says that writing this homage was \'the most fun I’ve ever had.\' That is evident throughout this confection of a novel ... What makes Jeeves and the King of Clubs feel fresh is that, aside from sly nods to contemporary issues, the characters are in their respective stations, but not entirely of those stations ... That they all succeed is one of the true delights of this gentle yet very funny book.
PositiveBookReporterWhat makes this novel particularly enjoyable is that Jane’s world is so familiar, until it isn’t. Other suspense writers do this well, but Daly has taken this to a new level. Readers finds themselves cheering Jane on, even as the clues mount up and contradict each other, narrowing the path to a satisfactory denouement until it’s hard to imagine where there is one ... It’s a tribute to the author’s sure-handedness that there’s little doubt that a resolution will emerge and All Will Be Explained satisfactorily. Because Open Your Eyes is more of a domestic suspense novel than a thriller, there’s also the promise that the ending will deliver not just a resolution, but also a happy solution ... This clever and well-plotted story is a fast, fun read that delivers until the very last page.
RaveBookreporter...a meticulously detailed novel about the protagonist’s life as a stalker ... The story is written as though by a careful diarist and amateur philosopher who reads Montaigne ... In the first two-thirds of the novel, the reader may be lulled by curiosity and only a vague sense of foreboding, but these are quickly overtaken in the last third by actions that shock the senses ... This is a smart, powerful, chilling novel that has antecedents in Hitchcock, Stephen King and even the very precise Nicholson Baker. But it’s not for the faint-hearted.
Jussi Adler-Olsen, Trans. by Steve Schein
PanBookreporterThe idea of a top-notch Danish thriller writer setting his sights on Washington seems like a good one, but it turns out that tackling unfamiliar turf is a lot harder than it may look from across the ocean ... The book has its fair share of issues—including a foreword by the author with a date of 2007, though it refers to Brexit; odd idioms such as “it titillated the back of his mind” and \'his legs were tripping nervously\'; and a reference to a \'geographical show\' that mimics NatGeo’s geography bee. But the real problem is a plot that reads like a screenwriter’s fantasy of political Armageddon: outrageous coincidences, bizarre character motives, tanks and bodies in the streets, and an outcome that strains the credulity of even the most avid disaster movie fan.
PositiveBookreporterNumbness is not what the narrator experiences; on the contrary, she’s alive to every emotion, experience and observation ... While it’s impossible to separate out the voices of author, narrator and Kathy, Crudo doesn’t seem to require that of the reader ... If the book was longer or had a more demanding plot, this might be too much to pull off, but at 150 pages (eight of them footnotes), the \'narrator\' invites the reader to experience—without having to make sense of—the workings of a complex, highly anxious but impressively sensitive human being.