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Archive for Monday, August 31, 2009

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The Edge

August 31, 2009

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‘The Consequences of Love’ (Books)

Love always has consequences, but for most, those consequences don’t include gruesome punishments or slow, painful death. In Sulaiman Addonia’s “The Consequences of Love,” any contact is dangerous — and could be fatal.

The story is set in Saudi Arabia in 1989. Although men have more freedom than women, they are watched by the religious police, who have the power to seize, search and punish those who deviate from the strict religious rules that govern them.

In the midst of this black-and-white world is 20-year-old Nasar, a refugee from his homeland of Eritrea. Nasar and his brother are taken in by their uncle, who is a strict Muslim.

Nasar remembers the company of women, and longs for it. But the substitute for love in Nasar’s world is the use of young men and boys as sexual partners. Nasar is forced to accept the situation, first to protect his family’s right to stay in the country, then to protect the woman he loves.

Nasar’s romance begins when one of the anonymous women he sees in the streets of Jeddah drops a note at his feet.

Far from being a story of boy meets girl and young love blossoms, Addonia builds tension and inspires fear and admiration for the young lovers.

‘Hannah Montana: The Movie’ (DVD)

Sure, this feature-length adaptation of the Disney show about Miley Stewart (Miley Cyrus), an ordinary teenage girl who secretly moonlights as Hannah Montana, is predictable and cheesy, but Cyrus proves she has some acting chops.

As The Post’s Michael O’Sullivan said: “The singer-actress has screen presence to spare and a nice, rich voice. By the time her young fans outgrow her — or she them — she should have an excellent chance at a second career. Making, you know, real movies and real music.”

Extras include a music video, bloopers and a behind-the-scenes featurette with Miley’s TV brother, Jason Earles. Also on Blu-ray.

‘Vanished’ (Books)

“Vanished” is something of a departure for author Joseph Finder.

His first eight novels have all been stand-alone political and corporate thrillers, and he’s found considerable commercial success with them. His last four have been New York Times best-sellers, and Gaumont has announced a movie deal for Finder’s 2004 novel, “Paranoia.”

With “Vanished,” however, Finder introduces his first series character, promising we will see a lot more of Nick Heller, who at the story’s start has ingeniously recovered $24 million in stolen government cash. Shortly thereafter, he gets a panicky call from his brother’s 14-year-old stepson, Gabe.

“Uncle Nick,” he pleads, “I need you.”

Gabe’s parents have been ambushed outside a Washington restaurant, his mother clubbed in the head and his stepfather apparently kidnapped. So Nick, of course, drops everything and rushes to the rescue.

Admirers of his earlier books will find that “Vanished” has the familiar trappings of a Finder novel, including well-crafted characters, lots of unpredictable plot twists and a furious pace.

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