In the Mail

The Tourists by Jeff Hobbs

Publishers Weekly

An unnamed narrator details the post-Yale love triangle of three people much, much wealthier than he in Hobbs’s Gatsby-meets-McInerney debut. Unlike Nick Carraway or the persistent “You” of Bright Lights Big City, the speaker at the heart of this novel is more cipher than seer. A shiftless New York freelancer edging into his 30s, the narrator discovers that his Yalie friend—handsome, gay Ethan Hoevel, famous designer of sleek contemporary furniture—has left his boyfriend, Stanton Vaughn, to pursue a doomed relationship with their fellow alum—the married (and female) Samona Taylor (née Ashley). The narrator still carries a torch for Samona, and renews his friendship with Samona’s husband, the also-Yalie Merrill Lynch trader David Taylor, mostly out of a morbid curiosity about Samona’s philandering. Hobbs spends much of the novel recounting how everyone got where they are in the eight years following college, but the plot picks up in the last third, when Ethan’s ne’er-do-well brother precipitates a crisis, and Ethan and Samona’s affair has its reckoning. Hobbs convincingly portrays young, Ivied New Yorkers with money, but he leaves the narrator’s feelings for Samona (and much else) largely unexplored, making the proceedings feel unresolved.

Ladykiller by Lawrence Light and Meredith Anthony

Book Description

In the city that never sleeps, evil is wide awake. From the bright lights of Times Square to the dark alleys of New York, the Ladykiller is at work and at prey. Four women savagely murdered on the mean streets of NYC. The Ladykiller leaves no trail, no clues. The pressure is on for NYPD detective Dave Dillon – either he solves the crime or he can kiss his job goodbye.

When Dave joins forces with Megan Morrison, a beautiful young social worker, the search for a cold-hearted killer leads to a hot romance. But a host of forces threaten to intrude. Megan’s jealous mentor would delight in derailing the romance, as would Jamie, a determined detective with her own not-so-hidden agenda. And Dave’s shadowy past is never far behind. The clock is ticking for Dave and Megan. Will they close in on the shocking truth behind the crimes, or will it close in on them? In the world of the Ladykiller, passion can turn deadly in a New York minute.

Untold Stories by Alan Bennett

Publishers Weekly

Bennett has been known to British audiences of radio, television, stage and screen for decades. In the United States, he’s best known as the screenwriter of The Madness of King George and, perhaps, for his experiences with Miss Shepherd, an indigent woman who set up a succession of vans in his front yard for 15 years. Now he returns with a shaggy collection of autobiographical sketches, diary entries, considerations of art, architecture and other authors, as well as an account of his bout with colon cancer. Returning to the precincts of his straitlaced, working-class British background, Bennett reveals a lost world whose influence and mores have trailed him his entire life. He revisits the Leeds that he knew in the 1940s, where he was first exposed to music and theater, and where his parents, both shy and retiring people, set lack of pretension as the highest value. While he plays the old crank who is put upon by the world as it is, Bennett reveals an eye for detail and a feel for the complexity of human interactions. And though he laments at length his own late maturation—physical, sexual and intellectual—and lack of sophistication, he shows himself to have achieved a measure of happiness.

Captain of the Sleepers by Mayra Montero


Montero charts the chilling undercurrents of steamy Caribbean life in novels notable for their lyrical intensity and mystery, eroticism and social acumen. Here, she writes of Puerto Rico as the ill-fated nationalist movement comes undone in 1950 and the U.S. military conducts practice bombing runs in preparation for the Korean War. Montero uses a classic flashback frame as Andres, then the 12-year-old son of a hotel owner, now meets with a man he has been estranged from for 50 years, J. T., a pilot young Andres called the Captain of the Sleepers because he ferried the dead. In his eighties and ill with cancer, J. T. wants to make things right. As J. T. tells his version of past events, Montero illuminates Andres’ boy-mind at work as he tries to understand his father’s involvement with the revolutionaries, J. T.’s role in their lives, and his mother’s early death. The result is a haunting tale of a small place overrun by a superpower and a small family shattered by big dreams of liberation and love, and the mythic alignment of sex and death.

Kevin Holtsberry
I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season).

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