Weighty with nervous fears detailed at length, yet gripping all the way.


Fast and literate suspense by an ex-con and former narc (The Catch, 1998, etc.).

Wozencraft’s life experiences stand in well for her story about 24-year-old female cop Diane Wellman, in Bolton, Texas, who is falsely accused of cocaine possession and sentenced to a federal prison where she bunks with Gail Rubin, who has been in for 20 years, just watched her parole interview go south, and has 12 more years to go. She too was falsely accused of being part of an aggressive civil-rights team’s successful bank robbery that caused two deaths. When arrested, she’d also supposedly been in possession of a cellar full of firearms and explosives. As a cop, Diane had come upon a triple murder in the woods and seen the white murderer as he fled. The police chief, however, jails a black perp, who lands on death row. To shut Diane up, the chief has her doped with knockout drops, plants cocaine in her fridge, and alerts the DEA to arrest her. At first, Diane just wants to serve her ten years, but when Gail prepares for a jailbreak Diane decides to go along, head back for Bolton, and find some transcripts that will exonerate her and free the perp on death row. The two women manage their escape but find that, as they flee, life on the outside is far more harrowing than life in a cell. Both turn paranoid about pursuit and the cop that may walk up to them at any moment and send them back to jail. They thumb a ride to Manhattan, pick up Gail’s family money, get fancy hair styling and bright garb, entrain to Chicago, then separate and meet up in Oklahoma City. Although the suspense remains heavy, the larger subject is the mental state of being prison-breakers wanted in a nationwide manhunt. The two plan to fly to France—but first Diane must clear her name.

Weighty with nervous fears detailed at length, yet gripping all the way.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-312-28959-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2004

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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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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While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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