Friday, January 22, 2021

"The Ladies of the Secret Circus"

Coming March 23d from Redhook: The Ladies of the Secret Circus by Constance Sayers.

About the book, from the publisher:

From the author of A Witch in Time comes a magical story spanning from Jazz Age Paris to modern-day America of family secrets, sacrifice, and lost love set against the backdrop of a mysterious circus.

Paris, 1925: To enter the Secret Circus is to enter a world of wonder—a world where women weave illusions of magnificent beasts, carousels take you back in time, and trapeze artists float across the sky. Bound to her family's circus, it's the only world Cecile Cabot knows until she meets a charismatic young painter and embarks on a passionate affair that could cost her everything.

Virginia, 2004:Lara Barnes is on top of the world, until her fiancé disappears on their wedding day. When her desperate search for answers unexpectedly leads to her great-grandmother’s journals, Lara is swept into a story of a dark circus and ill-fated love.

Soon secrets about Lara’s family history begin to come to light, revealing a curse that has been claiming payment from the women in her family for generations. A curse that might be tied to her fiancé’s mysterious disappearance
Visit Constance Sayers's website.

My Book, The Movie: A Witch in Time.

The Page 69 Test: A Witch in Time.

Writers Read: Constance Sayers (February 2020).

--Marshal Zeringue

"An Equal Place"

New from Oxford University Press: An Equal Place: Lawyers in the Struggle for Los Angeles by Scott L. Cummings.

About the book, from the publisher:

An Equal Place is a monumental study of the role of lawyers in the movement to challenge economic inequality in one of America's most unequal cities: Los Angeles. Breaking with the traditional focus on national civil rights history, the book turns to the stories of contemporary lawyers, on the front lines and behind the scenes, who use law to reshape the meaning of low-wage work in the local economy.

Covering a transformative period of L.A. history, from the 1992 riots to the 2008 recession, Scott Cummings presents an unflinching account of five pivotal campaigns in which lawyers ally with local movements to challenge the abuses of garment sweatshops, the criminalization of day labor, the gentrification of downtown retail, the incursion of Wal-Mart groceries, and the misclassification of port truck drivers.

Through these campaigns, lawyers and activists define the city as a space for redefining work in vital industries transformed by deindustrialization, outsourcing, and immigration. Organizing arises outside of traditional labor law, powered by community-labor and racial justice groups using levers of local government to ultimately change the nature of labor law itself.

Cummings shows that sophisticated legal strategy — engaging yet extending beyond courts, in which lawyers are equal partners in social movements — is an indispensable part of the effort to make L.A. a more equal place. Challenging accounts of lawyers' negative impact on movements, Cummings argues that the L.A. campaigns have achieved meaningful reform, while strengthening the position of workers in local politics, through legal innovation. Dissecting the reasons for failure alongside the conditions for success, this groundbreaking book illuminates the crucial role of lawyers in forging a new model of city-building for the twenty-first century.
The Page 99 Test: Blue and Green.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Mercenary"

New from Pegasus Books: The Mercenary: A Novel by Paul Vidich.

About the book, from the publisher:

From acclaimed spy novelist Paul Vidich comes a taut new thriller following the attempted exfiltration of a KGB officer from the ever-changing—and always dangerous—USSR in the mid-1980s.

Moscow, 1985. The Soviet Union and its communist regime are in the last stages of decline, but remain opaque to the rest of the world—and still very dangerous. In this ever-shifting landscape, a senior KGB officer—code name GAMBIT—has approached the CIA Moscow Station chief with top secret military weapons intelligence and asked to be exfiltrated. GAMBIT demands that his handler be a former CIA officer, Alex Garin, a former KGB officer who defected to the American side.

The CIA had never successfully exfiltrated a KGB officer from Moscow, and the top brass do not trust Garin. But they have no other options: GAMBIT's secrets could be the deciding factor in the Cold War.

Garin is able to gain the trust of GAMBIT, but remains an enigma. Is he a mercenary acting in self-interest or are there deeper secrets from his past that would explain where his loyalties truly lie? As the date nears for GAMBIT’s exfiltration, and with the walls closing in on both of them, Garin begins a relationship with a Russian agent and sets into motion a plan that could compromise everything.
Visit Paul Vidich's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, January 21, 2021

"The Data Detective"

New from Riverhead Books: The Data Detective: Ten Easy Rules to Make Sense of Statistics by Tim Harford.

About the book, from the publisher:

From “one of the great (greatest?) contemporary popular writers on economics” (Tyler Cowen) comes a smart, lively, and encouraging rethinking of how to use statistics.

Today we think statistics are the enemy, numbers used to mislead and confuse us. That’s a mistake, Tim Harford says in The Data Detective. We shouldn’t be suspicious of statistics—we need to understand what they mean and how they can improve our lives: they are, at heart, human behavior seen through the prism of numbers and are often “the only way of grasping much of what is going on around us.” If we can toss aside our fears and learn to approach them clearly—understanding how our own preconceptions lead us astray—statistics can point to ways we can live better and work smarter.

As “perhaps the best popular economics writer in the world” (New Statesman), Tim Harford is an expert at taking complicated ideas and untangling them for millions of readers. In The Data Detective, he uses new research in science and psychology to set out ten strategies for using statistics to erase our biases and replace them with new ideas that use virtues like patience, curiosity, and good sense to better understand ourselves and the world. As a result, The Data Detective is a big-idea book about statistics and human behavior that is fresh, unexpected, and insightful.
Learn more about the book and author at Tim Harford's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

Tim Harford: top 10 undercover economics books.

The Page 69 Test: The Undercover Economist.

The Page 69 Test:The Logic of Life.

The Page 99 Test: Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure.

The Page 99 Test: The Undercover Economist Strikes Back.

Writers Read: Tim Harford (February 2014).

--Marshal Zeringue

"I Am Defiance"

New from Scholastic: I Am Defiance: A Novel of WWII by Jenni L. Walsh.

About the book, from the publisher:

Jenni L. Walsh delivers a gripping story about a real-life youth resistance group in World War II Germany, and about the power of thinking for yourself in the fight against hatred.

Brigitte tries not to ask questions. They don't seem very welcome at her League of German Girls meetings, where she and her friends learn about their duties to Hitler's war effort.

But she can't help asking questions when a mysterious pamphlet appears in her mailbox: a pamphlet full of words like resistance and freedom, from a group that calls itself the White Rose. Brigitte's father and older sister, Angelika, seem to agree with the forbidden papers -- an opinion that is dangerous even to whisper at home. And when Angelika becomes involved with secret resistance efforts, Brigitte's questions only bloom.

Could Angelika be connected to the White Rose? Is Brigitte's family in danger of being arrested? And if she chooses a side, will Brigitte be able to take a stand?
Visit Jenni L. Walsh's website.

Writers Read: Jenni L. Walsh (May 2017).

The Page 69 Test: Becoming Bonnie.

My Book, The Movie: Becoming Bonnie.

The Page 69 Test: Side by Side.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Good Neighbors"

New from Atria Books: Good Neighbors: A Novel by Sarah Langan.

About the book, from the publisher:

Celeste Ng’s enthralling dissection of suburbia meets Shirley Jackson’s creeping dread in this propulsive literary noir, when a sudden tragedy exposes the depths of deception and damage in a Long Island suburb—pitting neighbor against neighbor and putting one family in terrible danger.

Welcome to Maple Street, a picture-perfect slice of suburban Long Island, its residents bound by their children, their work, and their illusion of safety in a rapidly changing world.

But menace skulks beneath the surface of this exclusive enclave, making its residents prone to outrage. When the Wilde family moves in, they trigger their neighbors’ worst fears. Dad Arlo’s a gruff has-been rock star with track marks. Mom Gertie’s got a thick Brooklyn accent, with high heels and tube tops to match. Their weird kids cuss like sailors. They don’t fit with the way Maple Street sees itself.

Though Maple Street’s Queen Bee, Rhea Schroeder—a lonely college professor repressing a dark past—welcomed Gertie and her family at first, relations went south during one spritzer-fueled summer evening, when the new best friends shared too much, too soon. By the time the story opens, the Wildes are outcasts.

As tensions mount, a sinkhole opens in a nearby park, and Rhea’s daughter Shelly falls inside. The search for Shelly brings a shocking accusation against the Wildes. Suddenly, it is one mom’s word against the other’s in a court of public opinion that can end only in blood.

A riveting and ruthless portrayal of American suburbia, Good Neighbors excavates the perils and betrayals of motherhood and friendships and the dangerous clash between social hierarchy, childhood trauma, and fear.
Sarah Langan received her MFA in fiction writing from Columbia University. She studied with Michael Cunningham, Nicholas Christopher, Helen Schulman, and Maureen Howard, among others, all of whom have been instrumental to her work. She earned a Master's in Environmental Health Science/Toxicology at New York University.

The Page 69 Test: The Keeper.

My Book, The Movie: The Missing.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

"Spiteful Bones"

New from Severn House: Spiteful Bones by Jeri Westerson.

About the book, from the publisher:

The restoration of a crumbling manor house leaves Crispin Guest grappling with a troubling discovery in this entertaining medieval noir mystery.

Restoring his recently inherited family home is proving a daunting task for young lawyer Nigellus Cobmartin. When workmen uncover a skeleton bound, tied and hidden in the wall - and holding the precious relic that went missing from his father's estate nearly twenty years ago - Nigellus immediately calls on London tracker Crispin Guest for help.
Follow Jeri Westerson on Twitter and Facebook.

The Page 69 Test: Veil of Lies.

The Page 69 Test: Serpent in the Thorns.

The Page 69 Test: The Demon's Parchment.

My Book, The Movie: The Demon's Parchment.

The Page 69 Test: Troubled Bones.

The Page 69 Test: Blood Lance.

The Page 69 Test: Shadow of the Alchemist.

The Page 69 Test: Cup of Blood.

The Page 69 Test: The Silence of Stones.

The Page 69 Test: A Maiden Weeping.

--Marshal Zeringue

"No Heaven for Good Boys"

New from Random House: No Heaven for Good Boys: A Novel by Keisha Bush.

About the book, from the publisher:

Set in Senegal, this modern-day Oliver Twist is a meditation on the power of love, and the strength that can emerge when we have no other choice but to survive.

Six-year-old Ibrahimah loves snatching pastries from his mother’s kitchen, harvesting string beans with his father, and searching for sea glass with his sisters. But when he is approached in his rural village one day by Marabout Ahmed, a seemingly kind stranger and highly regarded teacher, the tides of his life turn forever. Ibrahimah is sent to the capital city of Dakar to join his cousin Étienne in studying the Koran under Marabout Ahmed for a year, but instead of the days of learning that Ibrahimah’s parents imagine, the young boys, called Talibé, are forced to beg in the streets in order to line their teacher’s pockets.

To make it back home, Étienne and Ibrahimah must help each other survive both the dangers posed by their Marabout, and the darker sides of Dakar: threats of black-market organ traders, rival packs of Talibé, and mounting student protest on the streets.

Drawn from real incidents and transporting readers between rural and urban Senegal, No Heaven for Good Boys is a tale of hope, resilience, and the affirming power of love.
Visit Keisha Bush's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Finlay Donovan Is Killing It"

New from Minotaur Books: Finlay Donovan Is Killing It: A Mystery by Elle Cosimano.

About the book, from the publisher:

IT’S MURDER BEING A HIT-MOM

"Getting the job done" for one single mom takes on a whole new meaning in
Finlay Donovan is Killing It, a deliciously witty adult debut—the first in a brilliant new series from YA Edgar Award nominee Elle Cosimano.

Finlay Donovan is killing it . . . except, she’s really not. She’s a stressed-out single-mom of two and struggling novelist, Finlay’s life is in chaos: the new book she promised her literary agent isn’t written, her ex-husband fired the nanny without telling her, and this morning she had to send her four-year-old to school with hair duct-taped to her head after an incident with scissors.

When Finlay is overheard discussing the plot of her new suspense novel with her agent over lunch, she’s mistaken for a contract killer, and inadvertently accepts an offer to dispose of a problem husband in order to make ends meet . . . Soon, Finlay discovers that crime in real life is a lot more difficult than its fictional counterpart, as she becomes tangled in a real-life murder investigation.

Fast-paced, deliciously witty, and wholeheartedly authentic in depicting the frustrations and triumphs of motherhood in all its messiness, hilarity, and heartfelt moments, Finlay Donovan Is Killing It is the first in a brilliant new series from award-winning author Elle Cosimano.
Visit Elle Cosimano's website.

Q&A with Elle Cosimano.

My Book, The Movie: Seasons of the Storm.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

"The Nature of Fragile Things"

New from Berkley: The Nature of Fragile Things by Susan Meissner.

About the book, from the publisher:

April 18, 1906: A massive earthquake rocks San Francisco just before daybreak, igniting a devouring inferno. Lives are lost, lives are shattered, but some rise from the ashes forever changed.

Sophie Whalen is a young Irish immigrant so desperate to get out of a New York tenement that she answers a mail-order bride ad and agrees to marry a man she knows nothing about. San Francisco widower Martin Hocking proves to be as aloof as he is mesmerizingly handsome. Sophie quickly develops deep affection for Kat, Martin’s silent five-year-old daughter, but Martin’s odd behavior leaves her with the uneasy feeling that something about her newfound situation isn’t right.

Then one early-spring evening, a stranger at the door sets in motion a transforming chain of events. Sophie discovers hidden ties to two other women. The first, pretty and pregnant, is standing on her doorstep. The second is hundreds of miles away in the American Southwest, grieving the loss of everything she once loved.

The fates of these three women intertwine on the eve of the devastating earthquake, thrusting them onto a perilous journey that will test their resiliency and resolve and, ultimately, their belief that love can overcome fear.

From the acclaimed author of The Last Year of the War and As Bright as Heaven comes a gripping novel about the bonds of friendship and mother love, and the power of female solidarity.
Visit Susan Meissner's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Susan Meissner & Bella.

My Book, The Movie: Stars Over Sunset Boulevard.

My Book, The Movie: A Bridge Across the Ocean.

The Page 69 Test: A Bridge Across the Ocean.

The Page 69 Test: The Last Year of the War.

--Marshal Zeringue