Kirkus Reviews –
An end-of-an-era epic celebrating the bygone glories of vinyl records, comic-book heroes and blaxploitation flicks in a world gone digital. The novelist, his characters and the readers who will most love this book all share a passion for popular culture and an obsession with period detail. Set on the grittier side in the Bay Area of the fairly recent past (when multimedia megastores such as Tower and Virgin were themselves predators rather than casualties to online commerce), the plot involves generational relationships between two families, with parallels that are more thematically resonant than realistic. Two partners own a used record store that has become an Oakland neighborhood institution, "the church of vinyl." One of the partners, Archy Stallings, is black, and he is estranged from his father, a broken-down former B-movie action hero, as well as from the teenage son he never knew about who has arrived in Oakland from Texas to complicate the plot. The other partner is Nat Jaffe, white and Jewish, whose wife is also partners with Archy's wife in midwifery (a profession as threatened as selling used vinyl), and whose son develops a crush on Archy's illegitimate son. The plot encompasses a birth and a death against the backdrop of the encroachment of a chain superstore, owned by a legendary athlete, which threatens to squash Archy and Nat's Brokeland Records, all amid a blackmailing scheme dating back to the Black Panther heyday. Yet the warmth Chabon 2000, etc.) feels toward his characters trumps the intricacies and implausibilities of the plot, as the novel straddles and blurs all sorts of borders: black and white, funk and jazz, Oakland and Berkeley, gay and straight. And the resolution justifies itself with an old musicians' joke: " ‘You know it's all going to work out in the end?' " says one character. " ‘No....But I guess I can probably fake it,' " replies another. The evocation of " by James Joyce" attests to the humor and ambition of the novel, as if this were a Joyce-an remix with a hipper rhythm track.
From the Publisher –
When China launches the first successful test of its anti-ship ballistic missile, the future looks bleak for America. Fearing the U.S. will lose its naval supremacy in the Pacific, President Kenneth Phoenix finds himself in a compromised position. New technology requires money, but the country is recovering from a massive recession. Without the funds to compete with China's advancing technology, are the country's days of naval preeminence in the Pacific running out?
Retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant General Patrick McLanahan refuses to accept this fate. McLanahan reasons that the United States can afford to refurbish old but potent long-range B-1B Lancer bombers to promote the AirSea Battle strategy that will push back against Chinese aggression. Soon America stands ready to deploy an AirSea Battle task force in the South China Sea.
The People's Liberation Army aggressively deploys advanced fighters, land-based antimissiles, three aircraft carriers, and exotic, top secret directed energy weapons against their neighbors. But Patrick McLanahan is finally given the green light to lead his force westward to challenge the Chinese threat head-on.
Kirkus Reviews –
Will Jack Reacher ever make it to that woman in Virginia he was trying to reach in (2010)? Not if all hell continues to break loose in Nebraska. Shortly after an eyewitness sees three men enter a small concrete bunker outside an anonymous town and only two of them emerge, Reacher, "just a guy, hitching rides," is picked up by a trio of corporate-sales types: Alan King, Don McQueen and Karen Delfuenso. In a tour de force that runs well over a hundred pages, Child cuts back and forth between the clues county sheriff Victor Goodman and FBI agent Julia Sorenson gather concerning the unidentified man in the green coat who was stabbed to death inside that bunker and the inferences Reacher is making about his traveling companions. For one thing, it's clear that King and McQueen know each other better than either of them knows Delfuenso; for another, a good deal of what they casually tell him about themselves isn't true. Just when you've settled down expecting Child to keep up this rhythm indefinitely, he switches gears in an Iowa motel, and Reacher's left out of danger but on his own--at least until Sorenson arrives to arrest him and the two of them form a quicksilver partnership whose terms seem to change every time Sorenson gets another phone call from the cops or the Feds. After working every change imaginable on their relationship, Child switches gears again and sends them a bang-bang assault on a hush-hush installation that shows how far into America's heartland its enemies have penetrated. In this latest attempt to show Reacher enjoying every possible variety of conflict with his nation's government short of outright secession, Child ( , 2011, etc.) has produced two-thirds of a masterpiece.