Emmy Awardwinning Hollywood screenwriter Reaves's new and improved fantasy number leaps right over his previous Night Hunter (1995) and Street Magic (1991). Maybe that's because his characters here really take their voodoo seriously. At the prodigal age of 20, Shane LaFitte returns from his travels to his home in Haiti. And although he at first believes Voudoun to be mere charlatanry, he finds himself taken on anyway as a sorcerer's apprentice. Three years later, he's become an accomplished master of white magic phenomena, ``a houngan, the one to whom the townspeople come with their illnesses, their fears and their prayers'' for recovery and redemption. Shane is saved from jail by Jorge Arnez, a beautifully outfitted Cuban refugee who's a far more skilled santero than Shane himself. Their friendship lasts for four years, until Arnez takes up with the black arts. Then both leave Haiti for New Orleans, where Arnez, now known as Mal Sangre, gets going as a pimp. Shane serves six years in the Louisiana State pen for killing his wife Anisse while in a zombie state, induced in him by Mal Sangre. His probation-parole officer, Lia St. Charles, also claims as a client April Delaney, a 19-year-old recovering crack addict and alcoholic streetwalker who's the mother of four-year-old Soukie. Mal Sangre later gets around to kidnapping Soukie for a blood sacrifice to the evil gods. When Shane is set up to be killed by Mal Sangre, he arms himself—but then is busted by Lia for possession of a firearm. So Shane must tunnel his way out of jail, past visions of his dead wife, to prevent the gods from investing Mal Sangre with divine power after his sacrifice of Soukie in Pontchartrain Cemetery. . . . Not bad for those into blood sacrifice.

Pub Date: March 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-312-85608-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Tor

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1998

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 10

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2015

  • Kirkus Prize
  • Kirkus Prize

  • National Book Award Finalist


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

Did you like this book?

More about grief and tragedy than romance.


Five friends meet on their first day of kindergarten at the exclusive Atwood School and remain lifelong friends through tragedy and triumph.

When Gabby, Billy, Izzie, Andy and Sean meet in the toy kitchen of the kindergarten classroom on their first day of school, no one can know how strong the group’s friendship will remain. Despite their different personalities and interests, the five grow up together and become even closer as they come into their own talents and life paths. But tragedy will strike and strike again. Family troubles, abusive parents, drugs, alcohol, stress, grief and even random bad luck will put pressure on each of them individually and as a group. Known for her emotional romances, Steel makes a bit of a departure with this effort that follows a group of friends through young adulthood. But even as one tragedy after another befalls the friends, the impact of the events is blunted by a distant narrative style that lacks emotional intensity. 

More about grief and tragedy than romance.

Pub Date: July 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-34321-3

Page Count: 322

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet