Friday, February 29, 2008

"The Complex"

New from Henry Holt and Metropolitan Books: The Complex: How the Military Invades Our Everyday Lives by Nick Turse.

About the book, from the publisher:

A mind-boggling investigation of the allpervasive, constantly morphing presence of the Pentagon in daily life — a real-world Matrix come alive

Here is the new, hip, high-tech military-industrial complex — an omnipresent, hidden-in-plain-sight system of systems that penetrates all our lives.

From iPods to Starbucks to Oakley sunglasses, historian Nick Turse explores the Pentagon’s little-noticed contacts (and contracts) with the products and companies that now form the fabric of America. Turse investigates the remarkable range of military incursions into the civilian world: the Pentagon’s collaborations with Hollywood filmmakers; its outlandish schemes to weaponize the wild kingdom; its joint ventures with the World Wrestling Federation and NASCAR. He shows the inventive ways the military, desperate for new recruits, now targets children and young adults, tapping into the “culture of cool” by making “friends” on MySpace.

A striking vision of this brave new world of remote-controlled rats and super-soldiers who need no sleep, The Complex will change our understanding of the militarization of America. We are a long way from Eisenhower’s military-industrial complex: this is the essential book for understanding its twenty-first-century progeny.

"The Price of Blood"

New from William Morrow: The Price of Blood by Declan Hughes.

About the book, from the publisher's website:

What's in a name? Apparently everything for Ed Loy, because that's the only information Father Vincent Tyrrell, brother of prominent racehorse trainer F. X. Tyrrell, offers when he asks for Ed's help in finding a missing person. Even the best private eye needs more than just a name, but hard times and a dwindling bank account make it difficult for Loy to say no.

He is not without luck, however. While working another case, Loy discovers a phone number that seems linked to F.X. found on an unidentified body. Thinking it more than a coincidence, he begins digging into the history of the Tyrrells—a history consumed with trading and dealing, gambling and horse breeding—and soon realizes there is more to the family than meets the eye, a suspicion confirmed when two more people with connections to the Tyrrells are killed.

On the eve of one of Ireland's most anticipated sporting events, the four-day Leopardstown Race-course Christmas Festival, all bets are off as Loy pursues a twisted killer on the final leg of a reckless master plan.

In The Price of Blood, Declan Hughes once again paints an arresting portrait of an Ireland not found in any guidebooks. Deadly passions beget dark secrets in a chilling story that will have readers on edge right up to its shocking conclusion.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

"The Great Warming"

New from Bloomsbury Press: The Great Warming: Climate Change and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations by Brian Fagan.

About the book, from the publisher:

How the earth’s previous global warming phase, from the tenth to the fifteenth centuries, reshaped human societies from the Arctic to the Sahara — a wide-ranging history with sobering lessons for our own time.

From the tenth to the fifteenth centuries the earth experienced a rise in surface temperature that changed climate worldwide — a preview of today’s global warming. In some areas, including Western Europe, longer summers brought bountiful harvests and population growth that led to cultural flowering. In the Arctic, Inuit and Norse sailors made cultural connections across thousands of miles as they traded precious iron goods. Polynesian sailors, riding new wind patterns, were able to settle the remotest islands on earth. But in many parts of the world, the warm centuries brought drought and famine. Elaborate societies in western and central America collapsed, and the vast building complexes of Chaco Canyon and the Mayan Yucatan were left empty.

As he did in his bestselling The Little Ice Age, anthropologist and historian Brian Fagan reveals how subtle changes in the environment had far-reaching effects on human life, in a narrative that sweeps from the Arctic ice cap to the Sahara to the Indian Ocean. The history of the Great Warming of a half millennium ago suggests that we may yet be underestimating the power of climate change to disrupt our lives today — and our vulnerability to drought, writes Fagan, is the “silent elephant in the room.”

"Storms Can’t Hurt the Sky"

New from Da Capo Lifelong Books: Storms Can’t Hurt the Sky: A Buddhist Path Through Divorce by Gabriel Cohen.

About the book, from the publisher:

Buddhism has been applied to everything from parenting to golf, but until now no one has offered Buddhist principles as a healing path through divorce. In Storms Can’t Hurt the Sky, Gabriel Cohen bravely delves into his personal experience-along with insights from Buddhist masters, parables, humor, social science studies, and interviews with other divorcés-to provide a practical and very helpful guide to surviving the pain of any break-up. Focusing on the emotions most common in the dissolution of a relationship-anger, resentment, loss, and grief-Storms Can’t Hurt the Sky shows how thinking about these feelings in surprisingly different ways can lead to a radically better experience. This compulsively readable book offers sound advice and much-needed empathy for anyone dealing with a break-up.
Gabriel Cohen is the author of the Edgar Award-nominated novel Red Hook, its new sequel The Graving Dock, and the novel Boombox.

The Page 69 Test: Gabriel Cohen's The Graving Dock.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

"Monster, 1959"

New from St. Martin's Press: David Maine's Monster, 1959.

About the book, from the publisher:

From the critically acclaimed author of The Preservationist and The Book of Samson, Monster, 1959 is an extraordinary tale of 1950s America -- flawed, conflicted, and poised to enter the most culturally upended decade of the century.

The United States government has been testing the long-term effects of high-level radiation on a few select islands in the South Pacific. Their efforts have produced killer plants, mole people, and a forty-foot creature named K. Covered in fur and feathers, gifted with unusable butterfly wings and the mental capacity of a goldfish, K. is an evolutionary experiment gone very awry. Although he has no real understanding of his world, he knows when he’s hungry, and he knows to follow the drumbeats that lead him, every time, to the tree where a woman is offered to him as a sacrifice by the natives. When a group of American hunters stumble across the island, it’s bound to get interesting, especially when the natives offer up the guide’s beautiful wife to K. Not to be outdone, the Americans manage to capture him. Back in the States, they start a traveling show. The main attraction: K.

Visit David Maine's blog.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


New from Berkley: C.J. Lyons' Lifelines.

About the book, from the publisher:

A gripping behind-the-scenes drama of four women who face life and death every day

On her first day at Pittsburgh's Angels of Mercy Medical Center, L.A.-transplant Lydia Fiore, the new ER attending physician, loses a patient: the Chief of Surgery's son. Now, to save her career, Lydia must discover the truth behind her patient's death, even as it leads her into unfamiliar-and risky-territory.

At least she's not alone. There's med student Amanda, a sweet Southern belle with problems of her own; Gina, a resident with a chip on her shoulder; and Nora, the no-nonsense charge nurse with a cool head but a fiery temper. Not to mention the paramedic who'd like to try out his bedside manner on Lydia.
Read C.J. Lyons' story of how she went from doctor to novelist, in January Magazine.

Visit the official C.J. Lyons website.

"Standing Still"

New from Atria Books: Standing Still by Kelly Simmons.

About the book, from the publisher:

Journalist and suburban mom Claire Cooper suffers from panic disorder. Most of her anxieties seem irrational, nothing that can't be fixed with the help of some Xanax. But late one stormy summer night, when her husband, Sam, is away on one of his frequent business trips, Claire's fears come to life. She discovers an intruder has broken into her young daughter's bedroom. She watches helplessly as he picks up her sleeping child from her bed. Desperate to protect her family, Claire puts herself in the line of fire and utters the plea that will undo her: "Take me instead."

As she drives away in the kidnapper's car, Claire fears for her children, but not for herself. And she can't help noticing the reversal in her marriage -- for the first time in ten years, Sam will not know where she is.

For the next week, Claire is tied to a bed in a strange motel room, the intruder her only companion. She is forced to lie still and contemplate the reasons for this assault on her family. Is this just a random crime, or something more sinister? Has the shadowy past that she tried so hard to leave behind finally caught up with her? Day after day, she goes deeper into herself, reevaluating her marriage and her role as a mother, and unburying the source of her crippling anxiety. In seven days she will step out to the very brink of her soul -- perhaps never to return.

A riveting debut novel that will appeal to fans of Sue Miller and Janet Fitch, Standing Still is a powerful exploration of the darker side of mother-hood and marriage.

Visit Kelly Simmons' website.

Monday, February 25, 2008

"We Disappear"

New from Harper Perennial: Scott Heim's We Disappear.

About the book, from the publisher:

The body of a teenage boy is discovered in a Kansas field. The murder haunts Donna—a recent widow battling cancer—calling forth troubling details from long-suppressed memories of her past. Hoping to discover more about "disappeared" people, she turns to her son, Scott, who is fighting demons of his own. Addicted to methamphetamines and sleeping pills, Scott is barely holding on—though the chance to help his mother in her strange and desperate search holds out a slim promise of some small salvation.

But what he finds is a boy named Otis handcuffed in a secret basement room, and the questions that arise seem too disturbing even to contemplate. With his mother's health rapidly deteriorating, he must surrender to his own obsession, and unravel Otis's unsettling connections to other missing teens . . . and, ultimately, to Scott himself.

Visit Scott Heim's website.

"St. Barts Breakdown"

Coming soon from Oceanview Publishing: St. Barts Breakdown by Don Bruns.

About the book, from the author's website:

Sun, sand, and a psychopath. It's a deadly mix. Rock and roll journalist Mick Sever is back with a new assignment: interview music legend Danny Murtz. One of the most successful producers in music history, Danny Murtz has walls lined with gold and platinum records — and a closet full of skeletons.

Known for producing an unblievable string of hits, Murtz is also tied to a string of disappearances. It seems a number of Murtz's romanitc conquests have vanished into thin air. After his latest incident, Murtz conveniently retreats to his secluded St. Barts villa.

Before Mick Sever can hop a plane to the island paradise, he's nearly run over by a speeding car. Coincidence? Maybe, but hitmaker Danny Murtz and near misses seem to go hand in hand.

Murtz's stay in St. Bart isn't quite the relaxing vacation he'd hoped for. When he begins receiving anonymous threats implicating him in a number of crimes, Murtz gets the message loud and clear: someone is trying to bring him down. Fueled by a steady stream of drugs and alcohol, and ravaged by mounting paranoia, Murtz begins to unravel. In Murtz's muddled mind, everyone is suspect — even his long time secretary Nancy and attorney/manager/chief cleaner-upper Harvey Schwartz. And Mick Sever's quest to get to the bottom of the story puts him at the top of Murtz's hit list.

If Danny Murtz has his way, Mick Sever will only need a one-way ticket to paradise. Because if Mick isn't careful, his next column will be an obituary — his obituary.
Visit Don Bruns' website.

Sunday, February 24, 2008


New from Dutton Books: Betrayal by John Lescroart.

About the book, from the publisher:

New York Times bestseller John Lescroart returns with an ambitious, torn-from- today’s-headlines thriller featuring his trademark blend of real people and real suspense.

John Lescroart’s millions of fans have been waiting three years for the return of San Francisco defense attorney Dismas Hardy and his buddy, detective Abe Glitsky—and in that time John Lescroart’s popularity has continued to soar. Now, Hardy and Glitsky reunite in a story filled with the big themes that are worthy of them—the intersection of love, betrayal, and a desperate search for the truth in a critical matter of national security.

When Dismas Hardy agrees to clean up the caseload of recently disappeared attorney Charlie Bowen, he thinks it will be easy. But one of the cases is far from small-time—the sensational clash between National Guard reservist Evan Scholler and an ex-Navy SEAL and private contractor named Ron Nolan. Two rapid-fire events in Iraq conspired to bring the men into fatal conflict: Nolan’s relationship with Evan’s girlfriend, Tara, a beautiful school-teacher back home in the states, followed by a deadly incident in which Nolan’s apparent mistake results in the death of an innocent Iraqi family as well as seven men in Evan’s platoon. As the murky relationship between the US government and its private contractors plays out in the personal drama of these two men, and the consequences become a desperate matter of life and death, Dismas Hardy begins to uncover a terrible and perilous truth that takes him far beyond the case and into the realm of assassination and treason.

From the treacherous streets of Iraq to the courtrooms of California, Betrayal is not only John Lescroart’s most ambitious and provocative novel, it is a magnificent tour de force of pure storytelling.
Visit John Lescroart's website.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

"Another Thing to Fall"

Coming in March from William Morrow: Another Thing to Fall by Laura Lippman.

About the book, from the publisher:

The California dream weavers have invaded Charm City with their cameras, their stars, and their controversy....

When private investigator Tess Monaghan literally runs into the crew of the fledgling TV series Mann of Steel while sculling, she expects sharp words and evil looks, not an assignment. But the company has been plagued by a series of disturbing incidents since its arrival on location in Baltimore: bad press, union threats, and small, costly on-set "accidents" that have wreaked havoc with its shooting schedule. As a result, Mann's creator, Flip Tumulty, the son of a Hollywood legend, is worried for the safety of his young female lead, Selene Waites, and asks Tess to serve as her bodyguard/babysitter. Tumulty's concern may be well founded. Not long ago a Baltimore man was discovered dead in his own home, surrounded by photos of the beautiful, difficult superstar-in-the-making.

In the past, Tess has had enough trouble guarding her own body. Keeping a spoiled movie princess under wraps may be more than she can handle — even with the help of Tess's icily unflappable friend Whitney — since Selene is not as naive as everyone seems to think, and far more devious than she initially appears to be. This is not Tess's world. And these are not her kind of people, with their vanities, their self-serving agendas and invented personas, and their remarkably skewed visions of reality — from the series' aging, shallow, former pretty-boy leading man to its resentful, always-on-the-make cowriter to the officious young assistant who may be too hungry for her own good.

But the fish-out-of-water P.I. is abruptly pulled back in by an occurrence she's all too familiar with — murder. Suddenly the wall of secrets around Mann of Steel is in danger of toppling, leaving shattered dreams, careers, and lives scattered among the ruins — a catastrophe that threatens the people Tess cares about ... and the city she loves.

Read Lippman's February 2008 Q & A with Declan Burke.

Visit Laura Lippman's website.

"Special Orders"

New from Knopf: Special Orders by Edward Hirsch.

About the book, from the publisher:

In Special Orders, the renowned poet Edward Hirsch brings us a new series of tightly crafted poems, work that demonstrates a thrilling expansion of his tone and subject matter. It is with a mixture of grief and joy that Hirsch examines what he calls “the minor triumphs, the major failures” of his life so far, in lines that reveal a startling frankness in the man composing them, a fearlessness in confronting his own internal divisions: “I lived between my heart and my head, / like a married couple who can’t get along,” he writes in “Self-portrait.” These poems constitute a profound, sometimes painful self-examination, by the end of which the poet marvels at the sense of expectancy and transformation he feels. His fifteen-year-old son walking on Broadway is a fledgling about to sail out over the treetops; he has a new love, passionately described in “I Wish I Could Paint You”; he is ready to live, he tells us, “solitary, bittersweet, and utterly free.”

More personal than any of his previous collections, Special Orders is Edward Hirsch’s most significant book to date.

The highway signs pointed to our happiness;
the greasy spoons and gleaming truck stops
were the stations of our pilgrimage.

Wasn’t that us staggering past the riverboats,
eating homemade fudge at the county fair
and devouring each other’s body?

They come back to me now, delicious love,
the times my sad heart knew a little sweetness.

from “The Sweetness”

Friday, February 22, 2008

"Silent in the Sanctuary"

New from Mira Books: Deanna Raybourn's Silent in the Sanctuary.

About the book, from the publisher:

Fresh from a six-month sojourn in Italy, Lady Julia returns home to Sussex to find her father's estate crowded with family and friends — but dark deeds are afoot at the deconsecrated abbey, and a murderer roams the ancient cloisters.

Much to her surprise, the one man she had hoped to forget — the enigmatic and compelling Nicholas Brisbane — is among her father's houseguests… and he is not alone. Not to be outdone, Julia shows him that two can play at flirtation and promptly introduces him to her devoted, younger, titled Italian count.

But the homecoming celebrations quickly take a ghastly turn when one of the guests is found brutally murdered in the chapel, and a member of Lady Julia's own family confesses to the crime. Certain of her cousin's innocence, Lady Julia resumes her unlikely and deliciously intriguing partnership with Nicholas Brisbane, setting out to unravel a tangle of deceit before the killer can strike again. When a sudden snowstorm blankets the abbey like a shroud, it falls to Lady Julia and Nicholas Brisbane to answer the shriek of murder most foul.
Visit Deanna Raybourn's website.

"My Liar"

New from Random House: Rachel Cline's My Liar.

About the book, from the publisher:

Rachel Cline’s debut novel, What to Keep, was praised as “striking ... lovely” (Entertainment Weekly), “tangibly real” (Los Angeles Times), and “eminently readable” (Salon). Set in 1990s Hollywood, My Liar portrays the complex connection between two talented women, each striving to realize her own vision of success in work and in love.

Annabeth Jensen, thirty-three, is a film editor. A native Minnesotan, she is most comfortable playing nice and working behind the scenes, even after ten years in Los Angeles. Then she crosses paths with up-and-coming director Laura Katz. Self-confident, assertive, and alluring, Laura seems to be the perfect mentor and the ideal best friend – especially after she hires Annabeth to edit her new film, Trouble Doll.

Yet as Annabeth cuts and recuts the film that both women hope will assure their futures, she finds herself wanting creative control almost as badly as she craves Laura’s approval. Meanwhile, Laura, who trusts almost no one (certainly not her slippery producer, her brittle screenwriter, or her wayward husband), finds herself increasingly reliant on Annabeth. And when Trouble Doll emerges from their collaboration, uncomfortable truths about both women’s lives are forced into the light.

Rachel Cline illuminates the world of moviemaking with keen insight and wry wit. But My Liar looks far beyond the HOLLYWOOD sign. Its real subject is self-deception–in friendship, art, and life–and the enmeshed nature of communication and competition between women.
Visit Rachel Cline's website.

Read Linda L. Richards' endorsement of My Liar at January Magazine.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

"Nameless Night"

New from William Morrow: Nameless Night by G.M. Ford.

About the book, from the publisher:

He wowed critics with his Frank Corso and Leo Waterman series, catapulting to the upper ranks of contemporary crime writers with each riveting new thriller. Now, G.M. Ford is back with a brand-new book, his first stand-alone novel, featuring a man with no name, no past — and at the center of a conspiracy so pervasive he's forced to run from the only home he's ever known — straight into the abyss — in his search for truth....

Discovered lying near death in a railroad car, his body broken, his mind destroyed, Paul Hardy has spent the past seven years living in a group home for disabled adults, his identity and his past lost — seemingly forever. Then, after a horrific car accident, he awakens a new man, his face reconstructed, and his mind shadowy with memory. With only a name and a vaguely remembered scene to guide him, he goes on a cross-country quest to find out who he really is. But his search for the truth makes a lot of people uncomfortable — from the DA's office to the highest levels of government. Soon Paul is being tailed by an army of pursuers as he finds himself at the center of a government cover-up that has already claimed too many innocent lives — and the numbers are mounting. It's the kind of thing that could make even a man on the outskirts of society feel the pull of justice. A justice that might be worth killing for. Or dying for ...
Read J. Kingston Pierce's 1999 interview with G.M. Ford.

"Theories of Falling"

New from New Issues Poetry & Prose: Theories of Falling by Sandra Beasley.

Among the praise for Theories of Falling, winner of the 2007 New Issues Poetry Prize:

"I kept coming back to these poems—the tough lyric voice that got under my skin. Clear, intent, this poet doesn't want to fool herself or anybody else. Desire pushes defeat against the wall, and the spirit climbs up from underground."
--Marie Howe, from her judge's citation

"Sandra Beasley slices her way down the page with precision and punch. Her haunting 'Allergy Girl' series will set off such an itch, I doubt you'll ever fully recover . . . This poet leaves us to smolder and ache in small kingdoms where 'even the tame dogs dream of biting clear to the bone.'"
--Aimee Nezhukumatathil

"Some truths induce fevers; others offer fast relief. The unflinching, personal human truths in Sandra Beasley's debut collection are worth the swallow, for not too long after, we awaken to both our healing and agitation."
--Major Jackson
Visit Sandra Beasley's website and her blog, Chicks Dig Poetry.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

"The Invention of Everything Else"

New from Houghton Mifflin: The Invention of Everything Else by Samantha Hunt.

About the book, from the publisher:

A wondrous imagining of an unlikely friendship between the eccentric inventor Nikola Tesla and a young chambermaid in the Hotel New Yorker where Tesla lives out his last days

From the moment she first catches sight of the Hotel New Yorker’s most famous resident on New Year’s Day 1943, Louisa -- obsessed with radio dramas and the secret lives of the guests -- is determined to befriend this strange man. As Louisa discovers their shared affinity for pigeons, she also begins to piece together Tesla’s extraordinary story of life as an immigrant, a genius, and a halfhearted capitalist. Meanwhile, Louisa — faced with her father’s imminent departure in a time machine to reunite with his late wife, and pleasantly unsettled by the arrival in her life of a mysterious mechanic (perhaps from the future) named Arthur -- begins to suspect that she has understood something about the relationship of love and invention that Tesla, for all his brilliance, never did.

The Invention of Everything Else luminously resurrects one of the greatest scientists of all time, Nikola Tesla, while magically transporting us -- à la Steven Millhauser and Michael Chabon -- to an early twentieth-century New York City thrumming with energy, wonder, and possibility.

Visit Samantha Hunt's website.

"Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw"

New from Random House: Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw by Bruce Barcott.

About the book, from the publisher:

“The first time we came here I didn’t know what to expect,” she told me as we paddled upstream. “What we found just blew me away. Jaguars, pumas, river otters, howler monkeys. The place was like a Noah’s Ark for all the endangered species driven out of the rest of Central America. There was so much life! That expedition was when I first saw the macaws.”

As a young woman, Sharon Matola lived many lives. She was a mushroom expert, an Air Force survival specialist, and an Iowa housewife. She hopped freight trains for fun and starred as a tiger tamer in a traveling Mexican circus. Finally she found her one true calling: caring for orphaned animals at her own zoo in the Central American country of Belize.

Beloved as “the Zoo Lady” in her adopted land, Matola became one of Central America’s greatest wildlife defenders. And when powerful outside forces conspired with the local government to build a dam that would flood the nesting ground of the last scarlet macaws in Belize, Sharon Matola was drawn into the fight of her life.

In The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw, award-winning author Bruce Barcott chronicles Sharon Matola’s inspiring crusade to stop a multinational corporation in its tracks. Ferocious in her passion, she and her confederates–a ragtag army of courageous locals and eccentric expatriates–endure slander and reprisals and take the fight to the courtroom and the boardroom, from local village streets to protests around the world.

As the dramatic story unfolds, Barcott addresses the realities of economic survival in Third World countries, explores the tension between environmental conservation and human development, and puts a human face on the battle over globalization. In this marvelous and spirited book, Barcott shows us how one unwavering woman risked her life to save the most beautiful bird in the world.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

"Four Wives"

New from St. Martin's Press: Four Wives by Wendy Walker.

About the book
, from the publisher:

In Wendy Walker’s brilliant debut, the lives of four wives and mothers intertwine and collide in a tale of suburban angst among outrageous wealth.

On the outside, it appears as though Love Welsh, Marie Passetti, Gayle Beck and Janie Kirk lead enviable lives, with marriages to handsome, successful men; bright, happy children; and homes right out of Architectural Digest. But in the wealthy suburb of Hunting Ridge, appearances mask a deeper truth: These four wives are anything but perfect. As they try to maintain a façade of bliss, behind closed doors they each face their own crises — infidelity, dissatisfaction, self-doubt. As springtime draws to an end, doors are both opened and closed and the women come face to face with the most difficult and heartbreaking challenge of their lives — to reconcile their innermost desires with the lives that each of them has chosen.
Visit Wendy Walker's website.

"The Learners"

New from Scribner: The Learners by Chip Kidd.

About the book, from the publisher:

Fresh out of college in the summer of 1961, Happy lands his first job as a graphic designer (okay, art assistant) at a small Connecticut advertising agency populated by a cast of endearing eccentrics. Life for Happy seems to be -- well, happy. But when he's assigned to design a newspaper ad recruiting participants for an experiment in the Yale Psychology Department, Happy can't resist responding to the ad himself. Little does he know that the experience will devastate him, forcing a reexamination of his past, his soul, and the nature of human cruelty -- chiefly, his own.

Written in sharp, witty prose and peppered with absorbing ruminations on graphic design, The Learners again shows that Chip Kidd's writing is every bit as original, stunning, and memorable as his celebrated book jackets.
Read an excerpt from The Learners.

Monday, February 18, 2008

"The Bad Wife Handbook"

New from Wesleyan Publishing House: The Bad Wife Handbook by Rachel Zucker.

About the book, from the author's website:

Rachel Zucker's third book of poems is a darkly comic collection that looks unsparingly at the difficulties and compromises of married life. Formally innovative and blazingly direct, The Bad Wife Handbook crossexamines marriage, motherhood, monogamy, and writing itself. Her upending of grammatical and syntactic expectations lends these poems an urgent richness and aesthetic complexity that mirrors the puzzles of real life. Candid, subversive, and genuinely moving, The Bad Wife Handbook is an important portrait of contemporary marriage and the writing life, of emotional connection and disconnection, of togetherness and aloneness. It is a new kind of Confessionalism, a fearless engagement with truth and telling, a treatise on what it means to say or to keep secret, an investigation into the uncanny ways writing renders the self both more and less visible.
Visit Rachel Zucker's website.

"A Person of Interest"

New from Viking Books: A Person of Interest by Susan Choi.

About the book, from the publisher:

From an acclaimed novelist, an emotionally complex and riveting story of suspicion, innocence, and regret

When a mail bomb explodes in the campus office next door, Lee, an Asian American math professor at a second-tier university in the Midwest, comes under suspicion. The authorities believe he may be the infamous “brain bomber,” an elusive terrorist whose primary targets are prominent scientists and mathematicians.

In the midst of campus tumult and grief over the star computer scientist who was killed by the bomb, Lee receives a disturbing letter from a figure in his past. Certain he is being targeted for revenge, he begins confronting key events in his life. Misunderstood by the people around him, Lee is not conscious that his behavior has begun to heighten suspicion in the minds of his colleagues, students, and neighbors, leading the FBI to designate him “a person of interest” and pushing his life and reputation to the verge of ruin.

Intricately plotted and engrossing, A Person of Interest asks how far one man can run from his past, and explores the impact of scrutiny and suspicion in an age of terror. With its propulsive drive and vividly realized characters, Susan Choi’s latest novel is as thrilling as it is lyrical, and confirms her place as one of the most important young novelists chronicling the American experience.
Visit Susan Choi's website.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

"The Commoner"

New from Nan A. Talese and Random House: The Commoner by John Burnham Schwartz.

About the book, from the publisher:

It is 1959 when Haruko, a young woman of good family, marries the Crown Prince of Japan, the heir to the Chrysanthemum Throne. She is the first non-aristocratic woman to enter the longest-running, almost hermetically sealed, and mysterious monarchy in the world. Met with cruelty and suspicion by the Empress and her minions, Haruko is controlled at every turn. The only interest the court has in her is her ability to produce an heir. After finally giving birth to a son, Haruko suffers a nervous breakdown and loses her voice. However, determined not to be crushed by the imperial bureaucrats, she perseveres. Thirty years later, now Empress herself, she plays a crucial role in persuading another young woman—a rising star in the foreign ministry—to accept the marriage proposal of her son, the Crown Prince. The consequences are tragic and dramatic.

Told in the voice of Haruko, meticulously researched and superbly imagined, The Commoner is the mesmerizing, moving, and surprising story of a brutally rarified and controlled existence at once hidden and exposed, and of a complex relationship between two isolated women who, despite being visible to all, are truly understood only by each other. With the unerring skill of a master storyteller, John Burnham Schwartz has written his finest novel yet.
Visit John Burnham Schwartz's website.

"Knock 'em Dead"

New from Kensington Publishing: Knock 'em Dead by Rhonda Pollero.

About the book, from the author's website:

Finley knows it can’t be good news when she’s awakened at 5:40 A.M. by someone knocking on her door. Her hunch proves correct. Finley’s pal Jane is hysterical and clad only in a negligee. It all started when Jane went out on a blind date with a hunk named Paolo – and ended when she woke up next to his corpse. Finley knows Jane wouldn’t hurt a fly, especially one with a zipper. Too bad the police don’t agree…

Having survived her ordeal of questioning and criminally bad coffee at the local cop shop, Finley’s got to post bail and hire an attorney for Jane. But with most of her cash tied up in credit card debt, she knows she has to do the unthinkable: hit her mother up for money. As if attempting to thaw out the Ice Queen isn’t enough, there’s the unthinkable part II: resisting McGarrity. Yes, dangerously sexy P.I. Liam McGarrity has offered his services…for a discounted rate. To prove Jane isn’t a killer, Finley will have to buckle down and work with Liam. She just has to keep reminding herself that she already has the perfect boyfriend in her FedEx pilot Patrick.

But this case is booby-trapped with more serious pitfalls than wicked temptation. For starters, there’s the fact that two knives were used to kill Paolo. Then there’s a suspicious string of robberies. And when someone tried to run Finley off the road, she’s got to act quick to find a killer who wants to see her underground.
My Book, The Movie: Knock 'em Dead.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

"The Anatomy of Deception"

New from Delacorte Press: The Anatomy of Deception by Lawrence Goldstone.

About the book, from the publisher:

A mesmerizing forensic thriller that thrusts the reader into the operating rooms, drawing rooms, and back alleys of 1889 Philadelphia, as a young doctor grapples with the principles of scientific process to track a daring killer

In the morgue of a Philadelphia hospital, a group of physicians open a coffin and uncover the corpse of a beautiful young woman. What they see takes their breath away. Within days, one of them strongly suspects that he knows the woman’s identity…and the horrifying events that led to her death. But in this richly atmospheric novel–an ingenious blend of history, suspense and early forensic science–the most compelling chapter is yet to come, as young Ephraim Carroll is plunged into a maze of murder, secrets and unimaginable crimes....

Dr. Ephraim Carroll came to Philadelphia to study with a leading professor, the brilliant William Osler, believing that he would gain the power to save countless lives. As America hurtles toward a new century, medicine is changing rapidly, in part due to the legalization of autopsy–a crime only a few years before. But Carroll and his mentor are at odds over what they glimpsed that morning in the hospital’s Dead House. And when a second mysterious death is determined to have been a ruthless murder, Carroll can feel the darkness gathering around him–and he ignites an investigation of his own.

Soon he is moving between the realm of elite medicine, Philadelphia high society, and a teeming badlands of criminality and sexual depravity along the city’s fetid waterfront. With a wealthy, seductive woman clouding his vision, the controversial artist Thomas Eakins sowing scandal, and the secrets of the nation’s powerful surgeons unraveling around him, Carroll is forced to confront an agonizing moral choice–between exposing a killer, undoing a wrong, and, quite possibly, protecting the future of medicine itself….
The Anatomy of Deception was a "Pierce Pick of the Week" at January Magazine.

"The Black Dove"

New from St. Martin's Minotaur: Steve Hockensmith's The Black Dove.

About the book, from the publisher:

In the summer of 1893, Gustav “Old Red” Amlingmeyer and his brother Otto (a.k.a. “Big Red”) find themselves down and out in San Francisco. Though cowpokes by training, the brothers are devotees of the late, great Sherlock Holmes and his trademark method of “deducifying.” But when they set out to land jobs as professional detectives, they land themselves in hot water, instead.

First their friend Dr. Chan mysteriously takes a potshot at them, fatally wounding Big Red’s new hat. Then a secretive young woman from their past pops up and convinces them that Chan’s in trouble -- and they’re just the men to get him out of it. Unfortunately, they’re too late: By the time they track Chan down again, he’s dead. The police call it a suicide. Old Red calls that a lie. When he and his brother set out to prove it, they put themselves on a collision course with shady S.F.P.D. cops, brutal Barbary Coast hoodlums and the deadly Chinatown tongs.

Before long, all sides are in a race to uncover the secret that could rock the city. And their only clue to what’s actually going on is the enigmatic, exotic and extremely difficult to find “Black Dove.”
Read Big Red's blog to learn more about Steve Hockensmith and his writing.

The Page 69 Test: On the Wrong Track.

My Book, The Movie: Holmes on the Range.

Friday, February 15, 2008

"The Monsters of Templeton"

New from Hyperion: The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff.

About the book, from the publisher:

“The day I returned to Templeton steeped in disgrace, the fifty-foot corpse of a monster surfaced in Lake Glimmerglass.”

So begins The Monsters of Templeton, a novel spanning two centuries: part a contemporary story of a girl’s search for her father, part historical novel, and part ghost story, this spellbinding novel is at its core a tale of how one town holds the secrets of a family.

In the wake of a wildly disastrous affair with her married archaeology professor, Willie Upton arrives on the doorstep of her ancestral home in Templeton, New York, where her hippie-turned-born-again-Baptist mom, Vi, still lives. Willie expects to be able to hide in the place that has been home to her family for generations, but the monster’s death changes the fabric of the quiet, picture-perfect town her ancestors founded. Even further, Willie learns that the story her mother had always told her about her father has all been a lie: he wasn’t the random man from a free-love commune that Vi had led her to imagine, but someone else entirely. Someone from this very town.

As Willie puts her archaeological skills to work digging for the truth about her lineage, she discovers that the secrets of her family run deep. Through letters, editorials, and journal entries, the dead rise up to tell their sides of the story as dark mysteries come to light, past and present blur, old stories are finally put to rest, and the shocking truth about more than one monster is revealed.

Visit the official The Monsters of Templeton website.

"The Age of American Unreason"

New from Pantheon Books: The Age of American Unreason by Susan Jacoby.

About the book
, from the publisher:

Combining historical analysis with contemporary observation, Susan Jacoby dissects a new American cultural phenomenon--one that is at odds with our heritage of Enlightenment reason and with modern, secular knowledge and science. With mordant wit, she surveys an anti-rationalist landscape extending from pop culture to a pseudo-intellectual universe of "junk thought." Disdain for logic and evidence defines a pervasive malaise fostered by the mass media, triumphalist religious fundamentalism, mediocre public education, a dearth of fair-minded public intellectuals on the right and the left, and, above all, a lazy and credulous public.

Jacoby offers an unsparing indictment of the American addiction to infotainment -- from television to the Web -- and cites this toxic dependency as the major element distinguishing our current age of unreason from earlier outbreaks of American anti-intellectualism and anti-rationalism. With reading on the decline and scientific and historical illiteracy on the rise, an increasingly ignorant public square is dominated by debased media-driven language and received opinion.

At this critical political juncture, nothing could be more important than recognizing the "overarching crisis of memory and knowledge" described in this impassioned, tough-minded book, which challenges Americans to face the painful truth about what the flights from reason has cost us as individuals and as a nation.
Visit Susan Jacoby's website.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


New from Del Rey Books: Gregory Frost's Shadowbridge.

About the book, from the publisher:

Sprung from a timeless dream, Shadowbridge is a world of linked spans arching high above glittering seas. It is a world of parading ghosts, inscrutable gods, and dangerous magic. Most of all, it is a world of stories.

No one knows those stories better than Leodora, a young shadow-puppeteer who travels Shadowbridge collecting the intertwining tales and myths of each place she passes through, then retells them in performances whose genius has begun to attract fame ... and less welcome attention.

For Leodora is fleeing a violent past, as are her two companions: her manager, Soter, an elderly drunkard who also served Ledora’s father, the legendary puppeteer Bardsham; and Diverus, her musical accompanist, a young man who has been blessed, and perhaps cursed, by the touch of a nameless god.

Now, as the strands of a destiny she did not choose begin to tighten around her, Leodora is about to cross the most perilous bridge of all–the one leading from the past to the future.
Read Lincoln Cho's rave endorsement of Shadowbridge at January Magazine.

"Comedy at the Edge"

New from Bloomsbury Press: Comedy at the Edge by Richard Zoglin.

About the book, from the publisher:

What Peter Biskind did for filmmaking, Time magazine critic Richard Zoglin does for comedy in this meticulously researched and hilariously readable account of stand-up comedy in the 1970s.

In the rock-and-roll 1970s, a new breed of comic, inspired by the fearless Lenny Bruce, made telling jokes an art form. Innovative comedians like George Carlin, Richard Pryor, and Robert Klein, and, later, Steve Martin, Albert Brooks, Robin Williams, and Andy Kaufman, tore through the country and became as big as rock stars in an era when Saturday Night Live was the apotheosis of cool and the Improv, Catch a Rising Star, and the Comedy Store were the hottest clubs around. In Comedy at the Edge, Richard Zoglin gives a backstage view of the time, when a group of brilliant, iconoclastic comedians ruled the world — and quite possibly changed it, too. Based on extensive interviews with club owners, agents, producers — and with unprecedented and unlimited access to the players themselves — Comedy at the Edge is a no-holdsbarred, behind-the-scenes look at one of the most influential and tumultuous decades in American popular culture.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

"Of All Sad Words"

New from St. Martin's Minotaur/Thomas Dunne: Of All Sad Words (A Dan Rhodes Mystery) by Bill Crider.

About the book, from the publisher:

Strangers are moving into Blacklin County, and none of them is any stranger than Seepy Benton, a math teacher whom the county judge suspects is a wild-eyed radical. Benton and Max Schwartz, who has opened a music store, are among the students in the Citizens’ Sheriff’s Academy, which seemed like a good idea when Sheriff Dan Rhodes presented it to the county commissioners. However, when a mobile home explodes and a dead body is found, the students become the chief suspects, and the commissioners aren’t happy. To make matters worse, there’s another murder, and one of Rhodes’s old antagonists returns with his partner in crime to cause even more trouble.

As always in Blacklin County, there are plenty of minor annoyances to go along with the major ones. For one thing, there’s a problem with the county’s Web page. The commissioners blame Rhodes, who knows nothing about the Internet but is supposed to be overseeing their online presence. Then there’s the illegal alcohol being sold in a local restaurant. It was produced in a still that Rhodes discovered after the explosion of the mobile home, and he’s sure it has some connection to the murders.

It’s another fun ride with genre veteran Bill Crider, and, once again, it’s up to Sheriff Dan Rhodes to save the day before Blacklin County becomes the crime capital of Texas.

Visit Crider's website and his blog.


New from Oxford University Press: Blogwars: The New Political Battleground by David Perlmutter.

About the book, from the publisher:

Political blogs have grown astronomically in the last half-decade. In just one month in 2005, for example, popular blog DailyKos received more unique visitors than the population of Iowa and New Hampshire combined. But how much political impact do bloggers really have?

In Blogwars, David D. Perlmutter examines this rapidly burgeoning phenomenon, exploring the degree to which blogs influence -- or fail to influence -- American political life. Challenging the hype, Perlmutter points out that blogs are not that powerful by traditional political measures: while bloggers can offer cogent and convincing arguments and bring before their readers information not readily available elsewhere, they have no financial, moral, social, or cultural leverage to compel readers to engage in any particular political behavior. Indeed, blogs have scored mixed results in their past political crusades. But in the end, Perlmutter argues that blogs, in their wide dissemination of information and opinions, actually serve to improve democracy and enrich political culture. He highlights a number of the particularly noteworthy blogs from the specialty to the superblog-including popular sites such as Daily Kos, The Huffington Post, Powerlineblog, Instapundit, and Talking Points Memo -- and shows how blogs are becoming part of the tool kit of political professionals, from presidential candidates to advertising consultants. While the political future may be uncertain, it will not be unblogged.

For many Internet users, blogs are the news and editorial sites of record, replacing traditional newspapers, magazines, and television news programs. Blogwars offers the first full examination of this new and controversial force on America's political landscape.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

"Moonlight Downs"

New from Soho Press: Moonlight Downs by Adrian Hyland.

About the book, from the publisher:

Emily Tempest, a feisty part-Aboriginal woman, left home to get an education and has since traveled abroad. She returns to visit the Moonlight Downs “mob,” still uncertain if she belongs in the Aboriginal world or that of the whitefellers. Within hours of her arrival, an old friend is murdered and mutilated. The police suspect a rogue aborigine, but Emily starts asking questions. Emily Tempest, a modern half-Aboriginal sleuth, is a welcome successor to Arthur Upfield’s classic detective.


New from Scribner: Shavetail by Thomas Cobb.

About the book, from the publisher:

Set in 1871 in the unforgiving wasteland of the Arizona Territory, Shavetail is the story of Private Ned Thorne, a seventeen-year-old boy from Connecticut who has lied about his age to join the Army. On the run from a shameful past, Ned is desperate to prove his worth -- to his superiors, to his family, and most of all, to himself. Young and troubled, Ned is as green and stubborn as a "shavetail," the soldiers' term for a dangerous, untrained mule.

To endure in this world, Ned must not only follow the orders of the camp's captain, Robert Franklin,but also submit to the cruel manipulations of Obediah Brickner, the camp's mule driver. Both Franklin and Brickner have been damaged by their long military service, both consider themselves able to survive the dangers of the desert -- floods, scorpions, snakes, and Indians -- and both imperil Ned.

Yet there are other characters, all richly drawn, who also confront Ned: half-wit soldiers, embattled Indians hidden in cliffs, a devious and philosophical peddler, and the fleshy whores who materialize in the desert as soon as the paymaster has left camp and dance with drunken soldiers around a fire late into the night.

After a band of Apaches attack a nearby ranch, killing two men and kidnapping a young woman, Ned's lieutenant -- a man seeking atonement for his own mistakes -- leads Ned and the rest of his patrol on a near-suicidal mission through rugged mountains and into Mexico in hopes of saving the woman's life. It is unlikely any can survive this folly, and those who do will be changed forever.

Meticulously researched and vividly told, Shavetail renders a time when the United States was still an expanding empire, its western edge bloody with the deaths of soldiers, settlers, and Indians. In language both spare and brilliant, Cobb brings readers this lost American landscape, untouched by highways or electricity and without the comforts of civilization.

Shavetail also marks the return of a great American literary voice. Cobb's first and only other novel, Crazy Heart, was published in 1987 to great acclaim and was edited by the legendary editor Ted Solotaroff. Cobb is also a former student of Donald Barthelme, who described Crazy Heart as "a bitter, witty psychological profile of genius."

Brutal and deft, laced with both violence and desire, Shavetail plunges into the deepest human urges even as it marks the ground where men either survive or perish.

Visit Thomas Cobb's website.

Monday, February 11, 2008

"Luck Be a Lady, Don't Die"

Recently from St. Martin's Minotaur: Luck Be a Lady, Don't Die by Robert J. Randisi.

About the book, from the publisher:

Vegas, 1960. Gamblin’, drinkin’, and everybody’s misbehavin’.

Six months ago, while they were filming Ocean’s 11, the Rat Pack needed Eddie Gianelli’s help to track down the mug who was sending threatening letters to Dino. Now they’re back for the premiere and it’s Frank who needs Eddie’s help. Seems a babe he was planning to meet in Sin City took a powder---leaving behind her luggage and a stiff in the bathtub. She’s on the lam, and it’s up to Eddie to find her and figure out if she’s a victim or a killer.

Once again Eddie teams up with his P.I. buddy, Danny Bardini, and the Jewish New York torpedo, Jerry Epstein, who never met a pancake he didn’t like. Together they scour the neon streets, smoke-filled lounges, casinos, and seamy back alleys, dodging bodies and thugs with guns. But when Sam Giancana arrives on the scene, Eddie starts to wonder if he’s going to be able to keep himself out of jail---and alive.

Celebrity cameos spice up the action, and Mo Mo Giancana brings a dark presence to the story. Once again, Randisi, the man Booklist says “may be the last of the pulp writers,” gives readers a tour de force of bright lights, hot dice, and drop-dead-gorgeous dames in this second novel in the exciting, acclaimed series.

Luck Be a Lady, Don't Die was a "Pierce Pick of the Week" at January Magazine.

"Gumbo Tales"

New from W.W. Norton: Sara Roahen's Gumbo Tales: Finding My Place at the New Orleans Table.

About the book, from the publisher:

Celebrating New Orleans’ food culture, one specialty at a time.

A cocktail is more than a segue to dinner when it’s a Sazerac, an anise-laced drink of rye whiskey and bitters indigenous to New Orleans. For Wisconsin native Sara Roahen, a Sazerac is also a fine accompaniment to raw oysters, a looking glass into the cocktail culture of her own family — and one more way to gain a foothold in her beloved adopted city.

Roahen’s stories of personal discovery introduce readers to New Orleans’ well-known signatures — gumbo, po-boys, red beans and rice — and its lesser-known gems: the pho of its Vietnamese immigrants, the braciolone of its Sicilians, and the ya-ka-mein of its street culture. By eating and cooking her way through a place as unique and unexpected as its infamous turducken, Roahen finds a home. And then Katrina. With humor, poignancy, and hope, she conjures up a city that reveled in its food traditions before the storm — and in many ways has been saved by them since.
Visit Sara Roahen's website.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

"Beyond UFOs"

New from Princeton University Press: Beyond UFOs: The Search for Extraterrestrial Life and Its Astonishing Implications for Our Future by Jeffrey Bennett.

About the book, from the publisher:

The quest for extraterrestrial life doesn't happen only in science fiction. This book describes the startling discoveries being made in the very real science of astrobiology, an intriguing new field that blends astronomy, biology, and geology to explore the possibility of life on other planets. Jeffrey Bennett takes readers beyond UFOs to discuss some of the tantalizing questions astrobiologists grapple with every day: What is life and how does it begin? What makes a planet or moon habitable? Is there life on Mars or elsewhere in the solar system? How can life be recognized on distant worlds? Is it likely to be microbial, more biologically complex -- or even intelligent? What would such a discovery mean for life here on Earth?

Come along on this scientific adventure and learn the astonishing implications of discoveries made in this field for the future of the human race. Bennett, who believes that "science is a way of helping people come to agreement," explains how the search for extraterrestrial life can help bridge the divide that sometimes exists between science and religion, defuse public rancor over the teaching of evolution, and quiet the debate over global warming. He likens humanity today to a troubled adolescent teetering on the edge between self-destruction and a future of virtually limitless possibilities. Beyond UFOs shows why the very quest to find alien life can help us to grow up as a species and chart a course for the stars.

Visit Jeffrey Bennett's website.

"The Winter Rose"

New from Hyperion: The Winter Rose by Jennifer Donnelly.

About the book, from the publisher:

Every now and again, a storyteller comes along who can take us completely into her world and make us wish we never had to leave it. Jennifer Donnelly is such a writer.

When India Selwyn Jones, a young woman from a noble family, graduates from the London School of Medicine for Women in 1900, her professors advise her to set up her practice in London’s esteemed Harley Street. Driven and idealistic, India chooses to work in the city’s East End instead, serving the desperately poor.

In these grim streets, India meets—and saves the life of London’s most notorious gangster, Sid Malone. A hard, wounded man, Malone is the opposite of India’s aristocratic fiancé, Freddie Lytton, a rising star in the House of Commons.Though Malone represents all she despises, India finds herself unwillingly drawn ever closer to him, intrigued by his hidden, mysterious past.

Though they fight hard against their feelings, India and Sid fall in love, and their unpredictable, passionate and bittersweet affair causes destruction they could never have imagined. Sweeping from London to Kenya to the wild, remote coast of California, The Winter Rose is a breathtaking return to the epic historical novel, from a masterful writer with a fresh, richly vivid, and utterly electrifying voice.

Visit Jennifer Donnelly's website.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

"Sizwe’s Test"

New from Simon & Schuster: Sizwe’s Test: A Young Man's Journey Through Africa's AIDS Epidemic by Jonny Steinberg.

About the book
, from the publisher:

At the age of twenty-nine, Sizwe Magadla is among the most handsome, well-educated, and richest of the men in his poverty-stricken village. Dr. Hermann Reuter, a son of old South West African stock, wants to show the world that if you provide decent treatment, people will come and get it, no matter their circumstances.

Sizwe and Hermann live at the epicenter of the greatest plague of our times, the African AIDS epidemic. In South Africa alone, nearly 6 million people in a population of 46 million are HIV-positive. Already, Sizwe has watched several neighbors grow ill and die, yet he himself has pushed AIDS to the margins of his life and associates it obliquely with other people's envy, with comeuppance, and with misfortune.

When Hermann Reuter establishes an antiretroviral treatment program in Sizwe's district and Sizwe discovers that close family members have the virus, the antagonism between these two figures from very different worlds -- one afraid that people will turn their backs on medical care, the other fearful of the advent of a world in which respect for traditional ways has been lost and privacy has been obliterated -- mirrors a continent-wide battle against an epidemic that has corrupted souls as much as bodies.

A heartbreaking tale of shame and pride, sex and death, and a continent's battle with its demons, Steinberg's searing account is a tour-de-force of literary journalism.

Visit Jonny Steinberg's website.

"Ravens in the Storm"

New from Scribner: Ravens in the Storm: A Personal History of the 1960s Anti-War Movement by Carl Oglesby.

About the book, from the publisher:

In 1964, Carl Oglesby, a young copywriter for a Michigan-based defense contractor, was asked by a local Democratic congressman to draft a campaign paper on the Vietnam War. Oglesby's report argued that the conflict was misplaced and unwinnable. He had little idea that its subsequent publication would put him on a fast track to becoming the president of the now-legendary protest movement Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). In this book, Oglesby shares the triumphs and tribulations of an organization that burgeoned across America, only to collapse in the face of surveillance by the U.S. government and infighting.

As an SDS leader, Oglesby spoke on the same platform as Coretta Scott King and Benjamin Spock at the storied 1965 antiwar demonstration in Washington, D.C. He traveled to war-ravaged Vietnam and to the international war crimes tribunal in Scandinavia, where he met with Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. He helped initiate the Venceremos Brigade, which dispatched thousands of American students to bring in the Cuban sugar harvest. He reluctantly participated in the protest outside the 1968 Democratic National Convention and was a witness for the defense at the trial of the Chicago Seven the following year. Eventually, after extensive battles with those in SDS who saw its future more as a vanguard guerrilla group than as an open mass movement, Oglesby was drummed out of the organization. Shortly after, it collapsed when key members of its leadership quit to set up the Weather Underground.

This beautifully written and elegiac memoir is rich in contemporary echoes as America once again must come to terms with an ill-conceived military adventure abroad. Carl Oglesby warns of the destructive frustrations of a peace campaign unable to achieve its goals. But above all, he captures the joyful liberation of joining together to take a stand for what is right and just -- the soaring and swooping of a protest movement in full flight, like ravens in a storm.

Friday, February 8, 2008

"Manic: A Memoir"

New from William Morrow: Manic: A Memoir by Terri Cheney.

About the book, from the publisher:

"I didn't tell anyone that I was going to Santa Fe to kill myself."

On the outside, Terri Cheney was a highly successful, attractive Beverly Hills entertainment lawyer. But behind her seemingly flawless façade lay a dangerous secret — for the better part of her life Cheney had been battling debilitating bipolar disorder and concealing a pharmacy's worth of prescriptions meant to stabilize her moods and make her "normal."

In bursts of prose that mirror the devastating highs and extreme lows of her illness, Cheney describes her roller-coaster life with shocking honesty — from glamorous parties to a night in jail; from flying fourteen kites off the edge of a cliff in a thunderstorm to crying beneath her office desk; from electroshock therapy to a suicide attempt fueled by tequila and prescription painkillers.

With Manic, Cheney gives voice to the unarticulated madness she endured. The clinical terms used to describe her illness were so inadequate that she chose to focus instead on her own experience, in her words, "on what bipolar disorder felt like inside my own body." Here the events unfold episodically, from mood to mood, the way she lived and remembers life. In this way the reader is able to viscerally experience the incredible speeding highs of mania and the crushing blows of depression, just as Cheney did. Manic does not simply explain bipolar disorder — it takes us in its grasp and does not let go.

In the tradition of Darkness Visible and An Unquiet Mind, Manic is Girl, Interrupted with the girl all grown up. This harrowing yet hopeful book is more than just a searing insider's account of what it's really like to live with bipolar disorder. It is a testament to the sharp beauty of a life lived in extremes.

Visit Terri Cheney's website.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

"The Devil's Bones"

New from William Morrow & Company: The Devil's Bones by Jefferson Bass.

About the book, from the publisher:

In two previous New York Times bestselling novels, Jefferson Bass enthralled readers with ripped-from-the-headlines forensic cases, memorable characters, and plots that "rival Kathy Reichs and Patricia Cornwell" (Seattle Post-Intelligencer). Drawing on research at the Body Farm—three acres of land in the backwoods of Tennessee, where bodies are left to the elements to illuminate human decomposition—Bass has moved fiction to a fascinating new realm, with forensics expertise drawn from his five decades of work as the world's leading forensic anthropologist. But this latest novel cements Jefferson Bass as one of the finest writers of suspense working today, and in a work of drama, cunning, and heartbreak, thrills the reader with fiction that feels all too real.

A woman's charred body has been found inside a burned car perched atop a hill in Knoxville. Is it accidental death, or murder followed by arson? Forensic anthropologist Bill Brockton's quest for answers prompts an experiment straight from Dante's Inferno: In the dark of night, he puts bodies to the torch, researching how fire consumes flesh and bone.

In the meantime, Brockton is sent a mysterious package—a set of cremated remains that looks entirely unreal. With the help of a local crematorium, he investigates and discovers a truth too horrifying to believe: A facility in another state has not been disposing of bodies properly, instead scattering them all around the grounds.

Little does Brockton know that his research is about to collide with reality—with the force of a lit match meeting spilled gasoline. En route to trial, his nemesis, medical examiner Garland Hamilton, has escaped from custody. What follows is a deadly game of cat and mouse, played for the ultimate stakes: Brockton's own life. With help from his loyal graduate assistant, Miranda, and ace criminalist Art Bohanan, Brockton eventually tracks Hamilton, but when the police arrive, they find only a smoldering ruin. Sifting through the ashes, Brockton finds the incinerated remains of Hamilton ... or does he? The answer—along with Brockton's ultimate test—comes in a searing moment of truth.

Visit the official Jefferson Bass website.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

"Primal Threat"

New from Ballantine Books: Primal Threat by Earl Emerson.

About the book, from the publisher:

On a late August day in the foothills of the Cascades, five bicyclists climb into the hot, dry air, the breeze of their movement cooling their overheated bodies, the stress of a workweek slipstreaming behind them. But another group has entered the park, too. They’re in cars, for pleasure and for vengeance. In Earl Emerson’s gripping new novel, a grudge turns an idyllic setting into a terrifying landscape of men and nature at their most dangerous.

Zak Polanski doesn’t do long-term relationships, doesn’t like rich people, and, after saving Nadine Newcastle from an accident scene, isn’t ready to be loved back. When the improbable affair sours, Zak returns to his old ways. But Nadine’s former boyfriend, William Potter III, can’t let it go. Potter knows that Zak is one of five mountain bikers at an isolated camping ground at Panther Creek, and has come for a little payback.

What starts as a nasty prank soon escalates. Someone has a gun. Someone makes a move. And a spark ignites amid a volatile mix of anger and alcohol, pride and betrayal. Now, men and women cut off from their urban environment are making choices, choosing sides, facing one another’s demons and their own. And when human hatred merges with nature’s fury, the only goal is to get out alive.

A mesmerizing novel that weaves the story of a charged love affair with a drama of sheer survival, Primal Threat is a thriller delivered with the brawny, vivid, and lyrical style that makes Earl Emerson one of the most compelling storytellers of our time.

"Hope's Boy "

New from Hyperion: Hope's Boy by Andrew Bridge.

About the book, from the official website:

From the moment he was born, Andrew Bridge and his mother Hope shared a love so deep that it felt like nothing else mattered. Trapped in desperate poverty and confronted with unthinkable tragedies, all Andrew ever wanted was to be with his mom. But as her mental health steadily declined, and with no one else left to care for him, authorities arrived and tore Andrew from his screaming mother's arms. In that moment, the life he knew came crashing down around him. He was only seven years old. Hope was institutionalized, and Andrew was placed in what would be his devastating reality for the next eleven years – foster care. After surviving one of our country's most notorious children's facilities, Andrew was thrust into a savagely loveless foster family that refused to accept him as one of their own. Deprived of the nurturing he needed, Andrew clung to academics and the kindness of teachers. All the while, he refused to surrender the love he held for his mother in his heart.

Ultimately, Andrew earned a scholarship to Wesleyan, went on to Harvard Law School, and became a Fulbright Scholar. Andrew has dedicated his life's work to helping children living in poverty and in the foster care system. He defied the staggering odds set against him, and here in this heartwrenching, brutally honest, and inspirational memoir, he reveals who Hope's boy really is.

Read more about Hope's Boy.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

"Johnny One-Eye"

New from W. W. Norton: Johnny One-Eye: A Tale of the American Revolution by Jerome Charyn.

About the book, from the publisher:

This comic masterpiece reimagines the American Revolution with a one-eyed spy, a heroic whorehouse madam, and a cunning George Washington.

Praised for one of the most “singular and remarkable [careers] in American literature” (Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post Book World), Jerome Charyn now delights with this picaresque tour de force. He reanimates a war-torn Manhattan overrun by Redcoats and deserted by all but the Loyalists — and Mrs. Gertrude Jennings, the tempestuous, redheaded queen of Manhattan’s most spectacular bordello. When the novel opens, young double agent John Stocking is being interrogated by Washington, a rebel commander far removed from the dour, silent man of most history books. As Johnny seeks to unlock the mystery of his birth and grapples with his allegiances, he falls in love with Clara, a gorgeous, green-eyed octoroon, the most coveted harlot of Gertrude’s house. The wild parade of characters he encounters includes Benedict Arnold, the Howe brothers, “Sir Billy” and “Black Dick,” and a manipulative Alexander Hamilton.

Not since John Barth’s The Sotweed Factor and Gore Vidal’s Burr has a novel so dramatically re-created America’s historical beginnings.
Visit Jerome Charyn's website.