Friday, July 25, 2014

"Ghost Month"

New from Soho Crime: Ghost Month by Ed Lin.

About the book, from the publisher:

August is Ghost Month in Taiwan—a time to commemorate the dead: burn incense, visit shrines, commemorate ancestors, and avoid unlucky situations, large purchases, and bodies of water. Jing-nan, a young man who runs a food stand in a bustling Taipei night market, doesn’t consider himself superstitious, but this August is going to haunt him no matter what he does. He is shocked to the core when he learns his ex-girlfriend from high school has been murdered. She was found scantily clad and shot in the chest on the side of a highway where she was selling betel nuts to passing truck drivers. Beyond his harrowing grief for this lost love of his life, Jing-nan is also confused by the news: “betel nut beauties” are usually women in the most desperate of circumstances; the job is almost as taboo as prostitution. But Julia Huang had been the valedictorian of their high school, and the last time Jing-nan spoke to her she was enrolled in NYU’s honor program, far away in New York. The facts don’t add up. Julia’s parents don’t think so, either, and the police seem to have closed the case without asking any questions. The Huangs beg Jing-nan if he can do some investigating on his own—reconnect with old classmates, see if he can learn anything about Julia’s life that she might have kept from them. Reluctantly, he agrees, for Julia’s sake; but nothing can prepare him for what he learns, or how it will change his life.
Learn more about the book and author at Ed Lin's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Snakes Can't Run.

The Page 69 Test: One Red Bastard.

Writers Read: Ed Lin (May 2012).

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, July 24, 2014

"Cataract City"

New from Graywolf Press: Cataract City by Craig Davidson.

About the book, from the publisher:

On the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, life beyond the tourist trade isn’t easy. Locals like Duncan Diggs and Owen Stuckey have few chances to leave. For Duncan, that means shift work on a production line. For Owen, it means pinning it all on a shot at college basketball. But they should know better; they’ve been unlucky before. As boys, they were abducted and abandoned in the woods. Though they made it out alive, the memory of that time won’t fade. Over the years they drift apart, but when Duncan is drawn into a chaotic world of bare-knuckle fighting and other shady dealings, Owen, now a cop, can’t look the other way any longer. Together, they’ll be forced to survive the wilderness once more as their friendship is pushed to the limit in this white-hot novel by a rising star.
Visit Craig Davidson's website.

The Page 99 Test: The Fighter.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone"

New from Soho Teen: The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone by Adele Griffin.

About the book, from the publisher:

“From the moment she burst into the downtown art scene, seventeen-year-old Addison Stone was someone to watch. Her trademark subversive street art and her violent drowning left her fans and critics craving to know more about this brilliant wild-child who shone so bright and was gone too soon.”
—Adele Griffin

Two-time National Book Award finalist Adele Griffin offers an ingenious fictional take on celebrity biography, as told in first person interviews through the eyes of Addison Stone’s parents, friends, boyfriends, mentors, critics, and more-punctuated in full color with Addison’s artwork, photographs, and emails. When it comes to Addison’s untimely and mysterious death, nobody escapes unscathed.
Learn more about the book and author at Adele Griffin’s website and Facebook page.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Adele Griffin and Edith.

Writers Read: Adele Griffin (June 2011).

Writers Read: Adele Griffin.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

"Beneath the Neon Egg"

New from Bloomsbury USA: Beneath the Neon Egg: A Novel by Thomas E. Kennedy.

About the book, from the publisher:

Beneath the Neon Egg is a novel of jazz, violence, sex, death, love, and the underbelly of life, set in the low light of a Copenhagen winter. It is the story of Patrick Bluett, a forty-three-year-old Irish-American in Denmark, divorced and navigating his relationship with his college-age children, searching for life in a new country. It is also the story of his neighbor, a man in a similar circumstance who becomes his friend—and becomes entangled with a Russian prostitute.

The novel borrows its four-part structure from John Coltrane’s majestic jazz symphony A Love Supreme, which Patrick Bluett listens to as he gazes out the window at the frozen streets of his adopted city, unaware of events in the apartment across the hall, and unaware of the consequences his friend will meet—or will, perhaps, escape.

The final novel of Thomas E. Kennedy’s acclaimed Copenhagen Quartet—four independent novels about the seasons and souls of Copenhagen—Beneath the Neon Egg cements Kennedy’s reputation as a literary revelation.
Learn more about the book and author at Thomas E. Kennedy's website.

The Page 69 Test: In the Company of Angels.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Life on Mars"

New from Bloomsbury USA Childrens: Life on Mars by Jennifer Brown.

About the book, from the publisher:

Twelve-year-old Arcturus Betelgeuse Chambers comes from a family of stargazers and his quest to find life on other planets is unstoppable.

But when Arty’s family announces they’re moving to Las Vegas, the City of Lights threatens to put an end to his stargazing dreams forever—especially when he has to stay with his scary next door neighbor while his parents look for a house. As it turns out, “Mr. Death” isn’t terrifying at all—he’s actually Cash Maddox, a bonafide astronaut! But when Cash falls ill, will Arty find the courage to complete his mission by himself? And might he actually prove, once and for all, that there is life on Mars?

For fans of Frank Cottrell Boyce’s Cosmic and Jack Gantos’s Dead End in Norvelt comes a heartwarming story of true friendship—earthly or otherwise,
Learn more about the book and author at Jennifer Brown's website.

Writers Read: Jennifer Brown (October 2009).

Read: Coffee with a Canine: Jennifer Brown & Ursula and Aragorn.

Writers Read: Jennifer Brown (June 2013).

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

"Death by Toilet Paper"

New from Delacorte Books for Young Readers: Death by Toilet Paper by Donna Gephart.

About the book, from the publisher:

Fans of How to Survive Middle School will welcome the adventures of a contest-crazed seventh grader who uses his wits and way with words in hopes of winning a big cash prize to help his family avoid eviction.

Dear Royal-T Toilet Paper Company,

You guys make the best toilet paper. I realize that’s a weird thing for a seventh grader to say, but it’s true. I didn’t know how good I had it until the day it was replaced by scratchy (sand)paper.

Good toilet paper was the first thing to go....

Your friend,

Benjamin Epstein


Benjamin is about to lose a whole lot more than good toilet paper. But even with his flair for clever slogans, will he be able to win a cash prize large enough to keep a promise he made to his dad before he died?
Learn more about the book and author at Donna Gephart's website and blog.

Writers Read: Donna Gephart (December 2011).

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Ghost in the Electric Blue Suit"

New from Doubleday: The Ghost in the Electric Blue Suit by Graham Joyce.

About the book, from the publisher:

Critically acclaimed author Graham Joyce returns with a sexy, suspenseful,and slightly supernatural novel set 1976 England during the hottest summer in living memory, in a seaside resort where the past still haunts the present.

David, a college student, takes a summer job at a run-down family resort in a dying English resort town. This is against the wishes of his family . . . because it was at this resort where David's biological father disappeared fifteen years earlier. But something undeniable has called David there.

A deeper otherworldliness lies beneath the surface of what we see. The characters have a suspicious edge to them . . . David is haunted by eerie visions of a mysterious man carrying a rope, walking hand-in-hand with a small child . . . and the resort is under siege by a plague of ladybugs. Something different is happening in this town.

When David gets embroiled in a fiercely torrid love triangle, the stakes turn more and more menacing. And through it all, David feels as though he is getting closer to the secrets of his own past.

This is a darkly magic and sexy book that has a strong suspense line running through it. It's destined to continue to pull in a wider circle of readers for the exceptionally talented Graham Joyce.
Learn more about the book and author at Graham Joyce's website.

See Graham Joyce's top ten fairy fictions.

The Page 69 Test: Some Kind of Fairy Tale.

Writers Read: Graham Joyce (August 2012).

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, July 21, 2014

"Tabula Rasa"

New from Bloomsbury USA: Tabula Rasa (Gaius Petreius Ruso Series #6) by Ruth Downie.

About the book, from the publisher:

The medicus Ruso and his wife Tilla are back in the borderlands of Britannia, this time helping to tend the builders of Hadrian’s Great Wall. Having been forced to move off their land, the Britons are distinctly on edge and are still smarting from the failure of a recent rebellion that claimed many lives.

Then Ruso’s recently arrived clerk, Candidus, goes missing. A native boy thinks he sees a body being hidden inside the wall’s half-finished stonework, and a worrying rumor begins to spread. When the soldiers ransack the nearby farms looking for Candidus, Tilla’s tentative friendship with a local family turns to anger and disappointment. It’s clear that the sacred rites to bless her marriage to Ruso will have to wait. Tensions only increase when Branan, the family’s youngest son, also vanishes. He was last seen in the company of a lone and unidentified soldier who claimed he was taking the boy to see Tilla.

As Ruso and Tilla try to solve the mystery of the two disappearances—while at the same time struggling to keep the peace between the Britons and the Romans—an intricate scheme involving slavery, changed identities, and fur trappers emerges, and it becomes imperative that Ruso find Branan before it’s too late.
Learn more about the book and author at Ruth Downie's website.

The Page 69 Test: Caveat Emptor.

--Marshal Zeringue

"A Little Night Murder"

New from NAL: A Little Night Murder (A Blackbird Sisters Mystery) by Nancy Martin.

About the book, from the publisher:

Murder under the stars

Nora Blackbird—pregnant at last!—is spending summer afternoons wallowing in the Bucks County pool of her best friend, Lexie Paine, who has just been released from prison. At night, Nora is covering Philadelphia’s high-society events for the local newspaper. And this time she doesn’t have to look far for a good story.

Next door, a Broadway show is in rehearsal at the estate of Toodles Tuttle, the long-deceased but ever-legendary composer. Reigning over the estate is Toodles’s diva widow, Boom Boom. The demanding old broad still rules with an iron fist, and considering the chorus line of enemies she’s racked up over the years, her death has been a hotly anticipated event. So imagine everyone’s dismay when it’s her beloved daughter, Jenny, who drops dead—from a cause that is anything but natural—just as the lights are set to go on for the lucrative new Toodles musical.

Yet murder is only an overture to the drama to come….

Nora’s sister Libby, a soon-to-be-grandmother, has gotten herself into a sticky situation, wooed by both a lowly bug exterminator and a cheesecake-loving Broadway impresario. Edgy sister Emma has a dangerous new boyfriend who may jeopardize her show-jumping exploits. And the love of Nora’s life, Mick Abruzzo, has been desperate to prevent Nora from meeting the most notorious member of his mobbed-up family—his mother.

Now Nora has to deal with the bump-and-grind of her personal life, and also bring the curtain down on a daring killer—before he forces her to exit stage left, permanently.
Learn more about the book and author at Nancy Martin's website.

The Page 69 Test: Our Lady of Immaculate Deception.

The Page 69 Test: Sticky Fingers.

Writers Read: Nancy Martin (March 2011).

Writers Read: Nancy Martin (August 2012).

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, July 20, 2014

"Painted Horses"

New from Grove/Atlantic: Painted Horses by Malcolm Brooks.

About the book, from the publisher:

In the mid-1950s, America was flush with prosperity and saw an unbroken line of progress clear to the horizon, while the West was still very much wild. In this ambitious, incandescent debut, Malcolm Brooks animates that time and rugged landscape in a richly textured, sweeping tale of the modern and the ancient, of love and fate, and of heritage threatened by progress.

Catherine Lemay is a young archaeologist on her way to Montana, with a huge task before her—a canyon “as deep as the devil’s own appetites.” Working ahead of a major dam project, she has one summer to prove nothing of historical value will be lost in the flood. From the moment she arrives, nothing is familiar—the vastness of the canyon itself mocks the contained, artifact-rich digs in post-Blitz London where she cut her teeth. And then there’s John H, a former mustanger and veteran of the U.S. Army’s last mounted cavalry campaign, living a fugitive life in the canyon. John H inspires Catherine to see beauty in the stark landscape, and her heart opens to more than the vanished past.

Reminiscent of the work of Wallace Stegner, Thomas McGuane, and Annie Proulx, Painted Horses sends a dauntless young woman on a heroic quest, sings a love song to the horseman’s vanishing way of life, and reminds us that love and ambition, tradition and the future often make strange bedfellows. It establishes Malcolm Brooks as an extraordinary new talent.
Visit Malcolm Brooks's website.

--Marshal Zeringue