Tuesday, September 30, 2008

"Easy Kill"

New from Hodder & Stoughton: Lin Anderson's Easy Kill.

About the book, from the publisher:

One grave. Two bodies. How many more? A young woman - a prostitute - has been brutally slain and left across a grave in Glasgow`s sprawling cemetery, the Necropolis. Rhona Macleod, called in to carry out forensic investigations, has no doubt that the depraved killer`s motives were sexual.When the removal of the girl`s corpse from the city of the dead reveals another woman recently buried underneath, the case takes on a disturbing new dimension. This man has killed before - and will again. When another girl is reported missing, Rhona knows she has to track him down and stop the pattern from repeating itself.
Visit Lin Anderson's website.

"Flight of the Hornbill"

New from Bleak House Books: Flight of the Hornbill by Eric Stone.

About the book, from the publisher:

Gold, a lot of it, has been discovered in the oil rich tropics of Sumatra. Or has it? From an American suburb incongruously set into a jungle clearing, to the sleazy bars of Jakarta; from a neighborhood floating on a river, to the dense, steaming rainforest; corporate investigator Ray Sharp’s job is to ferret out the truth.

Why does a Frenchman want to kill Ray? Who’s been shoved out of a helicopter, and why? What’s Ray’s ex-wife, and her boyfriend, got to do with it?

Loosely (very) based on the facts of the Bre-X gold fraud of 1997, Flight of the Hornbill is a thrill ride through an exotic Asian landscape.
Visit Eric Stone's website.

Monday, September 29, 2008

"The Fire"

New from Ballantine Books: Katherine Neville's The Fire.

About the book, from the publisher:

Katherine Neville’s groundbreaking novel, The Eight, dazzled audiences more than twenty years ago and set the literary stage for the epic thriller. A quest for a mystical chess service that once belonged to Charlemagne, it spans two centuries and three continents, and intertwines historic and modern plots, archaeological treasure hunts, esoteric riddles, and puzzles encrypted with clues from the ancient past. Now the electrifying global adventure continues, in Neville’s long anticipated sequel: THE FIRE.

2003, Colorado: Alexandra Solarin is summoned home to her family’s ancestral Rocky Mountain hideaway for her mother’s birthday. Thirty years ago, her parents, Cat Velis and Alexander Solarin, believed that they had scattered the pieces of the Montglane Service around the world, burying with them the secrets of the power that comes with possessing it. But Alexandra arrives to find that her mother is missing and that a series of strategically placed clues, followed swiftly by the unexpected arrival of a mysterious assortment of houseguests, indicates that something sinister is afoot.

When she inadvertently discovers from her aunt, the chess grandmaster Lily Rad, that the most powerful piece of Charlemagne’s service has suddenly resurfaced and the Game has begun again, Alexandra is swept into a journey that takes her from Colorado to the Russian wilderness and at last into the heart of her own hometown: Washington D.C.

1822, Albania: Thirty years after the French Revolution, when the chess service was unearthed, all of Europe hovers on the brink of the War of Greek Independence. Ali Pasha, the most powerful ruler in the Ottoman Empire, has angered the sultan and is about to be attacked by Turkish forces. Now he sends the only person he can rely upon–his young daughter, Haidee–on a dangerous mission to smuggle a valuable relic out of Albania, through the mountains and over the sea, to the hands of the one man who might be able to save it.

Haidee’s journey from Albania to Morocco to Rome to Greece, and into the very heart of the Game, will result in revelations about the powerful chess set and its history that will lead at last to the spot where the service was first created more than one thousand years before: Baghdad.

Blending exquisite prose and captivating history with nonstop suspense, Neville again weaves an unforgettable story of peril, action, and intrigue.
Visit Katherine Neville's website.

"The Dart League King"

New from Tin House Books: The Dart League King, by Keith Lee Morris.

About the book, from the publisher:

An intriguing tale of darts, drugs, and death.

Russell Harmon is the self-proclaimed king of his small-town Idaho dart league, but all is not well in his kingdom. In the midst of the league championship match, the intertwining stories of those gathered at the 411 club reveal Russell’s dangerous debt to a local drug dealer, his teammate Tristan Mackey’s involvement in the disappearance of a college student, and a love triangle with a former classmate.

The characters in Keith Lee Morris’s second novel struggle to find the balance between accepting and controlling their destinies, but their fates are threaded together more closely than they realize.
Read an excerpt from The Dart League King.

The Page 69 Test: The Dart League King.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

"The Ayatollah Begs to Differ"

New from Doubleday: Hooman Majd's The Ayatollah Begs to Differ: The Paradox of Modern Iran.

About the book, from the publisher:

A revealing look at Iran by an American journalist with an insider’s access behind Persian walls

The grandson of an eminent ayatollah and the son of an Iranian diplomat, now an American citizen, Hooman Majd is, in a way, both 100 percent Iranian and 100 percent American, combining an insider’s knowledge of how Iran works with a remarkable ability to explain its history and its quirks to Western readers. In The Ayatollah Begs to Differ, he paints a portrait of a country that is fiercely proud of its Persian heritage, mystified by its outsider status, and scornful of the idea that the United States can dictate how it should interact with the community of nations.

With wit, style, and an unusual ability to get past the typical sound bite on Iran, Majd reveals the paradoxes inherent in the Iranian character which have baffled Americans for more than thirty years. Meeting with sartorially challenged government officials in the presidential palace; smoking opium with an addicted cleric, his family, and friends; drinking fine whiskey at parties in fashionable North Tehran; and gingerly self-flagellating in a celebration of Ashura, Majd takes readers on a rare tour of Iran and shares insights shaped by his complex heritage. He considers Iran as a Muslim country, as a Shiite country, and, perhaps above all, as a Persian one. Majd shows that as Shiites marked by an inferiority complex, and Persians marked by a superiority complex, Iranians are fiercely devoted to protecting their rights, a factor that has contributed to their intransigence over their nuclear programs. He points to the importance of the Persian view of privacy, arguing that the stability of the current regime owes much to the freedom Iranians have to behave as they wish behind “Persian walls.” And with wry affection, Majd describes the Persian concept of ta’arouf, an exaggerated form of polite self-deprecation that may explain some of Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s more bizarre public moments.

With unforgettable portraits of Iranians, from government figures to women cab drivers to reform-minded Ayatollahs, Majd brings to life a country that is deeply religious yet highly cosmopolitan, authoritarian yet with democratic and reformist traditions—an Iran that is a more nuanced nemesis to the United States than it is typically portrayed to be.
Visit Hooman Majd's website.

"Small Crimes"

New from Serpent's Tail: Dave Zeltserman's Small Crimes.

About the book, from the publisher:

Bent copper Joe Denton gets out of prison suspiciously early after disfiguring the district attorney.

Nobody wants Joe to hang around, not his ex-wife, his parents or his former colleagues - if he had any decency he’d get out of town and start over. Unfortunately, Joe has precious little decency - and a whole lot of unfinished business to attend to.
Read an excerpt from Small Crimes.

Visit Dave Zeltserman's website and his blog.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

"Hell Bent"

New from St. Martin's Minotaur: William G. Tapply's Hell Bent.

About the book, from the publisher:

With his personal life at a bit of a cross-roads, Boston attorney Brady Coyne finds his own past coming back to haunt his professional life when his ex-girlfriend Alex Sinclair turns up looking for a lawyer to represent her brother. Augustine Sinclair was a notable photo-journalist, happily married to his high-school sweetheart with two small children – until he returned from a stint a freelancer photographer in Iraq missing a hand and suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – now he’s lost his career, his peace of mind and his family. Brady is brought in to help him handle the divorce so that he does lose any more but before they get very far, the photographer is found dead in his rented apartment, an apparent suicide.

But something isn’t right about the suicide – the details are just a bit off – and Brady starts to think that his client has been murdered, the suicide staged. With very little to go on and with nearly everyone wanting to quickly close the books on a case that has all the classic indications of suicide, Brady soon finds himself in the midst of one of the most dangerous situations of his entire life, facing people who will stop at nothing to keep from being exposed.
Visit William G. Tapply's website.

"In the Dark"

New from Harper: In the Dark by Mark Billingham.

About the book, from the publisher:

A Deadly Crash

A rainy night in south London. A gun is fired into a car, which swerves onto the pavement and plows into a bus stop. It seems that a chilling gang initiation has cost the life of an innocent victim. But the reality is far more sinister....

A Dangerous Quest

One life is wiped out and three more are changed forever: the young man whose finger was on the trigger, the ageing gangster planning a deadly revenge, and the pregnant woman who struggles desperately to uncover the truth. How will she, two weeks away from giving birth, now cope in a world where death is an occupational hazard?

A Shocking Twist

In a city where violence can be random or meticulously planned, where teenage gangs clash with career criminals and where loyalty is paid for in blood, nything is possible. Secrets are uncovered as fast as bodies, and the story's final twist is as breathtakingly surprising as they come.

Mark Billingham's first stand-alone thriller, In the Dark is his most powerful novel yet. Gritty, fierce, and moving, here is a must-read for anyone who likes their crime fiction unflinching—and unforgettable.
Visit Mark Billingham's website.

Friday, September 26, 2008

"Orcs"

New in the US from Orbit Books: Orcs by Stan Nicholls.

About the book, from the publisher:

"Look at me. Look at the Orc."

"There is fear and hatred in your eyes. To you I am a monster, a skulker in the shadows, a fiend to scare your children with. A creature to be hunted down and slaughtered like a beast in the fields.

It is time you pay heed to the beast. And see the beast in yourself. I have your fear. But I have earned your respect.

Hear my story. Feel the flow of blood and be thankful. Thankful that it was me, not you, who bore the sword. Thankful to the orcs; born to fight, destined to win peace for all."

This book will change the way you feel about Orcs forever.
Read an excerpt from Orcs.

Visit Stan Nicholls's website and MySpace page.

"Man of the House"

New from Ballantine Books: Man of the House by Ad Hudler.

About the book, from the publisher:

For more than a decade, Linc Menner has raised the status of househusband to an art form....

While his wife, Jo, brings home the bacon, Linc Menner holds down the fort–his gourmet cooking is sublime, his cleaning unrivaled, and his devotion to his daughter, Violet, unparalleled.

But when the Menners relocate from upstate New York to the steamy beaches of Naples, Florida, life takes an unexpected turn. As the Menners renovate their new home Linc’s bliss turns into a war zone of contractors, dry wall dust, and chaos. And suddenly being surrounded by guys whose faces go blank as he expounds on the virtues of lump-free gravy makes Linc realize he has forgotten what it feels like to be a man.

So Linc trades his flip-flops for work boots, and his wild mop of hair for a barbershop buzz, and marches his flabby physique to the nearest gym–attracting the secret devotion of one of Violet’s teacher in the process. And his stunned family watches helplessly as they lose the man who keeps them all together. To make matters worse, it’s hurricane season and there’s a category 5 heading right for Naples. As life on the home front explodes into hilarity and catastrophe, Linc must chart his own delightfully crooked course to finally become the Man of the House.
Visit Ad Hudler's website.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

"What on Earth Happened?"

New from Bloomsbury USA: What on Earth Happened?: The Complete Story of the Planet, Life and People from the Big Bang to the Present Day by Christopher Lloyd.

About the book, from the publisher:

A gorgeously illustrated and wholly comprehensive timeline of the earth's entire history that explains how everything is interconnected.

As comprehensive as the subtitle suggests, What on Earth Happened is a primer for Planet Earth, a giant narrative leap across time and space, one seismic change at a time. Combining the history of earth science and the history of human civilization, What on Earth Happened covers how the earth was formed, how life began, the way the ecosystem works, how species evolved, the rise of man, migration, the development of tools, language, agriculture, art, transportation, architecture, cities, religion, government, global conflicts, and medicine. In short, it shows how everything—from the mountains and flowers and the birds and the bees to the Iraq war and the oil under the Arctic—is all wonderfully, complexly interconnected.
Entertaining and accessible—and gorgeously illustrated with specially commissioned graphs, charts and maps—What on Earth Happened connects the dots of the past to tell a coherent, comprehensive, and compelling story about our very own third rock from the sun.

"First to Kill"

New from Leisure Books: First to Kill by Andrew Peterson.

About the book, from the publisher:

When you’re the best at what you do, it’s not always easy to walk away. Nathan McBride was retired. The former Marine sniper and covert CIA operative had put the violence of his former life behind him. But not anymore. A deep-cover FBI agent has disappeared, along with one ton of powerful Semtex explosive, enough to unleash a disaster of international proportions. The U.S. government has no choice but to coax Nathan out of retirement. He’s the only man with the skills necessary to get the job done. But almost as soon as Nathan reluctantly accepts the assignment, he’ll find himself caught in the middle. On the one side is a ruthless adversary with a blood-chilling plan—and on the other are agents who will stop at nothing to see their own brand of justice done.
Visit Andrew Peterson's website.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

"Fruitless Fall"

New from Bloomsbury USA: Fruitless Fall: The Collapse of the Honeybee and the Coming Agricultural Crisis by Rowan Jacobsen.

About the book, from the publisher:

How the disappearance of the world’s honeybee population puts the food we eat at risk.

Many people will remember that Rachel Carson predicted a silent spring, but she also warned of a fruitless fall, a time when “there was no pollination and there would be no fruit.” The fruitless fall nearly became a reality last year when beekeepers watched one third of the honeybee population—thirty billion bees—mysteriously die. The deaths have continued in 2008. Rowan Jacobsen uses the mystery of Colony Collapse Disorder to tell the bigger story of bees and their’ essential connection to our daily lives. With their disappearance, we won’t just be losing honey. Industrial agriculture depends on the honeybee to pollinate most fruits, nuts, and vegetables—one third of American crops. Yet this system is falling apart. The number of these professional pollinators has become so inadequate that they are now trucked across the country and flown around the world, pushing them ever closer to collapse. By exploring the causes of CCD and the even more chilling decline of wild pollinators, Fruitless Fall does more than just highlight this growing agricultural crisis. It emphasizes the miracle of flowering plants and their pollination partners, and urges readers not to take for granted the Edenic garden Homo sapiens has played in since birth. Our world could have been utterly different—and may be still.
Visit Rowan Jacobsen's website.

"A Song for You"

New from St. Martin's Minotaur: A Song for You by Betsy Thornton.

About the book, from the publisher:

In A Song for You, Betsy Thornton returns to her dynamic character Chloe Newcombe, victim advocate at the Cochise County Attorney’s Office.

A heavy storm hits Dudley, Arizona, wreaking havoc. A local woman drowns in a flash flood. A heavy drinker falls into the draining system and is finally found a few days later. The Barnetts, who moved into town six months ago, are unhappy to learn that a retaining wall on their property will need immediate fixing. And they’re even more dismayed when the workers’ digging unearths a dead body.

The man’s body has obviously been there a long time. When Rachel Macabee reads about it in the local paper, she is convinced that the dead man was a member of the band that her mom sang with when Rachel was a little girl. He had disappeared just a few days before her mother was killed. The band members assumed that he had left in search of a better job, but Rachel had never believed that---and now she knows she was right.

She doesn’t trust the police---they were wrong the first time. So she approaches private detective Brian Flynn, a former police officer as well as Chloe Newcombe’s former lover. He agrees to try to discover what really happened. And after all these years, Rachel may finally find her mother’s killer.

Betsy Thornton pens the stories about the inhabitants of this very real-life mountain town with great style. A Song for You promises more atmosphere, likable characters, and another entertaining puzzle.
Visit Betsy Thornton's website.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

"Nature's Blueprint"

New from Collins: Nature's Blueprint: Supersymmetry and the Search for a Unified Theory of Matter and Force by Dan Hooper.

About the book, from the publisher:

The first accessible book on a theory of physics that explains the relationship between the particles and forces that make up our universe.

For decades, physicists have been fascinated with the possibility that two seemingly independent aspects of our world—matter and force—may in fact be intimately connected and inseparable facets of nature. This idea, known as supersymmetry, is considered by many physicists to be one of the most beautiful and elegant theories ever conceived. According to this theory, however, there is much more to our universe than we have witnessed thus far. In particular, supersymmetry predicts that for each type of particle there must also exist others, called superpartners. To the frustration of many particle physicists, no such superpartner particles have ever been observed. As the world's most powerful particle accelerator—the Large Hadron Collider—begins operating in 2008, this may be about to change. By discovering the forms of matter predicted by supersymmetry, this incredible machine is set to transform our current understanding of the universe's laws and structure, and overturn the way that we think about matter, force, space, and time.

Nature's Blueprint explores the reasons why supersymmetry is so integral to how we understand our world and describes the incredible machines used in the search for it. In an engaging and accessible style, it gives readers a glimpse into the symmetries, patterns, and very structure behind the universe and its laws.

"Guernica"

New from Bloomsbury USA: Guernica by Dave Boling.

About the book, from the publisher:

An extraordinary epic of love, family and war set in the Basque town of Guernica before, during, and after its destruction by the German Luftwaffe during the Spanish Civil War.

Calling to mind such timeless war-and-love classics as Corelli's Mandolin and The English Patient, Guernica is a transporting novel that thrums with the power of storytelling and is peopled with characters driven by grit and heart.

In 1935, Miguel Navarro finds himself in conflict with the Spanish Civil Guard, and flees the Basque fishing village of Lekeitio to make a new start in Guernica, the center of Basque culture and tradition. In the midst of this isolated bastion of democratic values, Miguel finds more than a new life—he finds someone to live for. Miren Ansotegui is a charismatic and graceful dancer who has her pick of the bachelors in Guernica, but focuses only on the charming and mysterious Miguel. The two discover a love that war and tragedy can not destroy.

History and fiction merge seamlessly in this beautiful novel about the resilience of family, love, and tradition in the face of hardship. The bombing of Guernica was a devastating experiment in total warfare by the German Luftwaffe in the run-up to World War II. For the Basques, it was an attack on the soul of their ancient nation; for the world, it was an unprecedented crime against humanity. In his first novel, Boling reintroduces the event and paints his own picture of a people so strong, vibrant, and proud that they are willing to do whatever it takes to protect their values, their country, and their loved ones.

Monday, September 22, 2008

"Supreme Courtship"

New from Twelve Books: Christopher Buckley's Supreme Courtship.

About the book, from the publisher:

In bestselling author Christopher Buckley’s hilarious novel, the President of the United States, ticked off at the Senate for rejecting his nominees, decides to get even by nominating America’s most popular TV judge to the Supreme Court.

President Donald Vanderdamp is having a hell of a time getting his nominees onto the Supreme Court. After one nominee is rejected for insufficiently appreciating To Kill a Mockingbird, the president chooses someone so beloved by voters that the Senate won’t have the nerve to reject her – Judge Pepper Cartwright, star of the nation’s most popular reality show. Will Pepper, a vivacious Texan, survive a Senate confirmation battle? Will becoming one of the most powerful women in the world ruin her love life? Soon, Pepper finds herself in the middle of a constitutional crisis, a presidential reelection campaign that the president is determined to lose, and oral arguments of a romantic nature. Supreme Courtship is another classic Christopher Buckley comedy about the Washington institutions most deserving of ridicule.

"Immunity"

New from St. Martin's Minotaur: Immunity by Lori Andrews.

About the book, from the publisher:

One bizarre death is just that---a death. Two? Could be a coincidence. But in Lori Andrews’s latest thriller, geneticist Dr. Alexandra Blake discovers something much more dangerous than a killer---an epidemic.

Taking a break from decoding the genetic sequence of a tropical disease, Alex takes on an investigation into the gruesome and unexplained death of a DEA agent on a mob stakeout in New Mexico. Within hours, she uncovers similar deaths throughout the Southwest. Is it a naturally occurring epidemic or has a lethal bioweapon been released in the United States?

With the nation’s attention focused on a provocative presidential race, Alex’s attempts to warn Homeland Security fail. Only with the help of a rogue DEA agent and a cutting-edge supercomputer will she and the rest of her team at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology stand a chance of putting an end to the devastation before public hysteria rages out of control.

From Alex’s lab to the closed rooms of a killer’s mind, Immunity maps the perfect sequence for an infectious, edge-of-your-seat thriller.
Visit Lori Andrews' website.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

"Sweetsmoke"

New from Hyperion: David Fuller's Sweetsmoke.

About the book, from the publisher:

The year is 1862, and the Civil War rages through the South. On a Virginia tobacco plantation, another kind of battle soon begins. There, Cassius Howard, a skilled carpenter and slave, risks everything—punishment, sale to a cotton plantation, even his life—to learn the truth concerning the murder of Emoline, a freed black woman, a woman who secretly taught him to read and once saved his life. It is clear that no one cares about her death in the midst of a brutal and hellish war. No one but Cassius, who braves horrific dangers to escape the plantation and avenge her loss.

As Cassius seeks answers about Emoline’s murder, he finds an unexpected friend and ally in Quashee, a new woman brought over from another plantation; and a formidable adversary in Hoke Howard, the master he has always obeyed.

With subtlety and beauty, Sweetsmoke captures the daily indignities and harrowing losses suffered by slaves, the turmoil of a country waging countless wars within its own borders, and the lives of those people fighting for identity, for salvation, and for freedom.
Visit David Fuller's website.

"Marco Polo Didn't Go There"

New from Travelers' Tales Guides: Marco Polo Didn't Go There: Stories and Revelations from One Decade as a Postmodern Travel Writer by Rolf Potts.

About the book, from the publisher:

For the past ten years, Rolf Potts has taken his keen postmodern travel sensibility into the far reaches of five continents for such publications as National Geographic Traveler, Salon.com, and The New York Times Magazine. This book documents his boldest, funniest, and most revealing journeys—from getting stranded without water in the Libyan Desert, to crashing the set of a Leonardo DiCaprio movie in Thailand, to learning the secrets of Tantric sex in a dubious Indian ashram.

Marco Polo Didn’t Go There is more than just an entertaining journey into fascinating corners of the world. The book is a unique window into travel writing, with each chapter containing a “commentary track”—endnotes that reveal the ragged edges behind the experience and creation of each tale. Offbeat and insightful, this book is an engrossing read for students of travel writing as well as armchair wanderers.
Visit Rolf Potts' website.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

"The Highly Effective Detective Goes to the Dogs"

New from St. Martin's Minotaur: The Highly Effective Detective Goes to the Dogs by Richard Yancey.

About the book, from the publisher:

From the critically acclaimed author of The Highly Effective Detective comes this deliciously funny follow-up featuring the lovable but bumbling P.I. Teddy Ruzak.

After the state shuts him down for practicing detection without a license, Teddy thinks his investigating days are over. Then he discovers the body of a man outside his office, a homeless man whom he had befriended just the day before.

Teddy suspects foul play, but the police think he's barking up the wrong tree. Then his normal befuddlement is exponentially enhanced by two very unexpected--and potentially very dangerous--visitors from the pound.

With his signature wit and gripping suspense, Richard Yancey has written yet another irresistible page-turner. It is sure to win him and Teddy Ruzak a whole new series of fans.
Visit Richard Yancey's website.

"Yellow Moon"

New from Atria Books: Yellow Moon by Jewell Parker Rhodes.

About the book, from the publisher:

A jazzman, a wharf worker, a prostitute, all murdered. Wrists punctured, their bodies impossibly drained of blood. What connects them? Why are they rising as ghosts?

Marie Levant, the great-great granddaughter of the Voodoo Queen, Marie Laveau, knows better than anyone New Orleans's brutal past -- the legacy of slavery, poverty, racism, and sexism -- and as a doctor at Charity Hospital's ER, she treats its current victims.

When she sleeps, she dreams of blood. Rain, never ending. The river is rising and the yellow moon warns of an ancient evil -- an African vampire -- wazimamoto -- a spirit created by colonial oppression.

The struggle becomes personal, as the wazimamoto is intent on destroying her and all the Laveau descendants. Marie fights to protect her daughter, lover, and herself from the wazimamoto's seductive assault on both body and spirit.

Echoing with the heartache and triumph of the African-American experience, the soulful rhythms of jazz, and the horrors of racial oppression, Yellow Moon gives us an unforgettable heroine -- sexy, vulnerable, and mysterious -- in Marie Levant, while it powerfully evokes a city on the brink of catastrophe.

Yellow Moon is part two of the New Orleans trilogy that began with Voodoo Season -- magical realist fiction that takes the legend of the voodoo priestess Marie Laveau, as imagined by Jewell Parker Rhodes in the bestselling Voodoo Dreams, into the present day.

Friday, September 19, 2008

"The Professors' Wives' Club"

New from New American Library: The Professors' Wives' Club by Joanne Rendell.

About the book, from the publisher:

A debut novel about the intertwining lives of college faculty wives.

Nestled among Manhattan University's faculty housing, there is a garden where four women will meet—each with a scandalous secret that could upset their lives, destroy their families, and rock the prestigious university to its very core.

With its maple trees, iron gate, and fence laced with honeysuckle, Manhattan U's garden offers faculty wives Mary, Sofia, Ashleigh, and Hannah much needed refuge from their problems. But as Mary's husband, the power-hungry dean, plans to demolish their beloved garden, these four women will discover a surprising secret about a lost Edgar Allan Poe manuscript—and realize they must find the courage to stand up for their passions, dreams, and desires.
Visit Joanne Rendell's website and blog.

"The Hidden Man"

Recently from Ballantine Books: The Hidden Man by Anthony Flacco.

About the book, from the publisher:

1915. A city emerges from the ashes ... and so does a killer concealed in its shadows.

Nine years after San Francisco’s great earthquake and fires, the city is just beginning to be reborn and is full of possibility. The World’s Fair is opening to herald the completion of the Panama Canal and display exciting wonders and the promise of the new technological age.

Yet the primitive past haunts the city’s renaissance. Leaving a trail of brutality, a murderous fanatic secretly stalks one of the fair’s chief attractions: the brilliant mesmerist James “J. D.” Duncan. Homicide detective Randall Blackburn and his adopted son, Shane Nightingale, must combine their intuitive profiling skills deductive techniques to solve a murder that hasn’t happened yet ... one that only its terrified intended victim can see coming.
The Page 69 Test: The Last Nightingale.

Visit Anthony Flacco's website.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

"Cold in Hand"

New from Harcourt: Cold in Hand by John Harvey.

About the book, from the publisher:

It's Valentine’s Day, and a dispute between rival gangs leaves a teenage girl dead.

Detective Inspector Charlie Resnick, nearing retirement, is hauled back to the front line to help deal with the fallout. But when the dead girl’s father seeks to lay the blame on Resnick’s partner, DI Lynn Kellogg, Resnick finds the line between the personal and the professional dangerously blurred.

Meanwhile, the Serious and Organised Crime Agency starts to show a keen interest in one of Kellogg’s murder cases--a case the agency is convinced is linked to international gun running and people trafficking. Soon Kellogg is drawn into a web of deceit and betrayal that puts both her and Resnick in mortal danger.

In Cold In Hand, John Harvey brings back "one of the most fully realized characters in modern crime fiction" (Sue Grafton) in another heart-stopping procedural.
Read an excerpt from Cold in Hand and visit John Harvey's website.

"Bordertown: The Odyssey of an American Place"

New from Yale University Press: Bordertown: The Odyssey of an American Place by Benjamin Heber Johnson and Jeffrey Gusky.

About the book, from the publisher:

Mexico and America have met for eight generations on their shared border. In this compelling book, photographer Jeffrey Gusky and historian Benjamin Johnson capture this encounter through their mesmerizing portrayal of Roma, Texas.

European culture left its mark here, but it was brought by mixed-race, Spanish-speaking pioneers who practiced Muslim irrigation techniques and believed that they were descended from Jews. Triumphant American armies made this region part of the United States, but the descendants of those they conquered have fought in every American conflict from the Civil War to Iraq. Racial strife divided this land, but slaves gained freedom by fleeing south to Mexico and Hispanics reacquired wealth and power by buying out Anglos. Although today the area is one of the poorest in the United States, the fortune that founded Citibank was made here and the town has inspired such authors as John Steinbeck and Larry McMurtry.

In a time when the border is a source of controversy and division, Johnson’s unexpected stories and Gusky’s haunting photographs demonstrate how deeply the story of the border is also the story of America itself.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

"Who by Fire"

New from Harper Perennial: Who by Fire by Diana Spechler.

About the book, from the publisher:

Bits and Ash were children when the kidnapping of their younger sister, Alena—an incident for which Ash blames himself—caused an irreparable family rift. Thirteen years later, Ash is living as an Orthodox Jew in Israel, cutting himself off from his mother, Ellie, and his wild-child sister, Bits. But soon he may have to face them again; Alena's remains have finally been uncovered. Now Bits is traveling across the world in a bold and desperate attempt to bring her brother home and salvage what's left of their family.

Sharp and captivating, Who by Fire deftly explores what happens when people try to rescue one another.
Visit Diana Spechler's website.

"Pet Food Politics"

New from the University of California Press: Marion Nestle's Pet Food Politics: The Chihuahua in the Coal Mine.

About the book, from the publisher:

Marion Nestle, acclaimed author of Food Politics, now tells the gripping story of how, in early 2007, a few telephone calls about sick cats set off the largest recall of consumer products in U.S. history and an international crisis over the safety of imported goods ranging from food to toothpaste, tires, and toys. Nestle follows the trail of tainted pet food ingredients back to their source in China and along the supply chain to their introduction into feed for pigs, chickens, and fish in the United States, Canada, and other countries throughout the world. What begins as a problem "merely" for cats and dogs soon becomes an issue of tremendous concern to everyone. Nestle uncovers unexpected connections among the food supplies for pets, farm animals, and people and identifies glaring gaps in the global oversight of food safety.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

"Suzy, Led Zeppelin, and Me"

New from Soft Skull Press: Suzy, Led Zeppelin, and Me by Martin Millar.

About the book, from the publisher:

Glasgow, Scotland, 1972. To the utter astonishment of the narrator, Martin Millar, and his friends in the Scottish boondocks—Glasgow seeming to them pretty much as out of the way and provincial as it could get, and hardly likely to attract a band that elsewhere filled stadiums—Led Zeppelin, the mighty Lords of Asgard, are coming to Glasgow.

Martin and his equally nerdy best friend Greg have overactive imaginations. When they aren't fighting the monstrous hordes of Xotha, they are competing for the attentions of Suzy. But she's not likely to ditch Zed, the hippest boy in the school, for the likes of them, is she? Overhead, a Zeppelin approaches. Its passengers, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Hank Williams, think it's worth leaving heaven to see the greatest rock band in the world. Even the fairies are fans.

Meanwhile, twenty years later, Martin is trying to keep body and soul together in London, watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, pretending to judge a literary competition and telling his friend, depressed single mother Manx, about the of his new book Suzy, Led Zeppelin, and Me, realizing what a stupid boy he was to have been chasing Suzy, when the sweet if rather plain girl Cherry is besotted with him.

Still, with Plant and Page on the way, anything can happen. Suzy may break your heart, but Led Zeppelin will never let you down...
Visit Martin Millar's website.

"Home"

New from Farrar Straus Giroux: Home by Marilynne Robinson.

About the book, from the publisher:

Hundreds of thousands were enthralled by the luminous voice of John Ames in Gilead, Marilynne Robinson’s Pulitzer Prize–winning novel. Home is an entirely independent, deeply affecting novel that takes place concurrently in the same locale, this time in the household of Reverend Robert Boughton, Ames’s closest friend.

Glory Boughton, aged thirty-eight, has returned to Gilead to care for her dying father. Soon her brother, Jack—the prodigal son of the family, gone for twenty years—comes home too, looking for refuge and trying to make peace with a past littered with tormenting trouble and pain.

Jack is one of the great characters in recent literature. A bad boy from childhood, an alcoholic who cannot hold a job, he is perpetually at odds with his surroundings and with his traditionalist father, though he remains Boughton’s most beloved child. Brilliant, lovable, and wayward, Jack forges an intense bond with Glory and engages painfully with Ames, his godfather and namesake.

Home is a moving and healing book about families, family secrets, and the passing of the generations, about love and death and faith. It is Robinson’s greatest work, an unforgettable embodiment of the deepest and most universal emotions.

Monday, September 15, 2008

"Legally Dead"

New from Simon & Schuster: Legally Dead by Edna Buchanan.

About the book, from the publisher:

U.S. Marshal Michael Venturi of the Witness Protection Program relocates a mobster, now a government witness, to a small rural town after creating a new identity for him. The man proves to be a monster unleashed on an unsuspecting community. The results are tragic. To make amends Venturi leaves the Marshals Service and assembles a team of close confidants to secretly create new identities for innocent men and women whose lives have been ruined through no fault of their own -- people who really deserve fresh starts in new lives. But before they are relocated and reborn, each must change a lifetime of habits and actually become someone else, with new traits, tastes, and personalities.

And before being declared "legally dead" -- they have to die. The result is a combination of Extreme Makeover, Mission Impossible, and CSI -- the last in reverse. In these "deaths," some of them spectacular, phony forensics must be created to fit the "facts" and fool the experts.

His fascinating experiment works -- for a time. But as Venturi continues to relocate the deserving, evil begins to stalk Venturi and his legally dead clients.

Soon one is dead.

Really dead.

Are the relentless killers from his own past, or was one of his clients not so innocent after all? His own loved ones are now targets because of his attempts to atone for a tragedy that haunts him.

In a desperate race to protect those he has relocated, Venturi must call upon his former training in both the U.S. Marines Force Recon and the Marshals Service, as he is hunted by police, prosecutors, ruthless killers, and his own former federal colleagues.
Visit Edna Buchanan's website.

"Genius and Heroin"

New from Harper Paperbacks: Genius and Heroin: The Illustrated Catalogue of Creativity, Obsession, and Reckless Abandon Through the Ages by Michael Largo.

About the book, from the publisher:

What is the price of brilliance?

Why are so many creative geniuses also ruinously self-destructive? From Caravaggio to Jackson Pollack, from Arthur Rimbaud to Jack Kerouac, from Charlie Parker to Janis Joplin, to Kurt Cobain, and on and on, authors and artists throughout history have binged, pill-popped, injected, or poisoned themselves for their art. Fully illustrated and addictively readable, Genius and Heroin is the indispensable reference to the untidy lives of our greatest artists and thinkers, entertainingly chronicling how the notoriously creative lived and died—whether their ultimate downfalls were the result of opiates, alcohol, pot, absinthe, or the slow-motion suicide of obsession.
Visit Michael Largo's web site.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

"If the Heart Is Lean"

New from LSU Press: If the Heart Is Lean: Stories by Margaret Luongo.

About the book, from the publisher:

The sixteen stories in Margaret Luongo's If the Heart Is Lean etch sharp portraits of people in odd and sometimes surreal situations who thus have the opportunity to view their lives from a unique perspective. In "Chestnut Season," a young woman stalled in traffic sees her future self parked beside her; in "Boyfriends," the recently deceased protagonist endures eulogies by her ex-beaus and husbands; in "Mrs. Fargo," a young man faces a reckoning with his first-grade teacher, a suicide, for whom he's harbored a crush and whom he hopes to impress with his worldly successes. The short-short "Buoyant" introduces Elise, nine months pregnant, as she drifts down the Santa Fe River, trying to jettison her suddenly circumscribed existence. Desperate to impress upon his students the seriousness of life, the professor in "Pedagogy'" boils his head, discovering in the end a lesson learned too late.

Other stories touch upon issues of identity, following characters who find themselves in the wrong places, or who find themselves too late. At the advice of their marriage counselor, the couple in "What Nina Wants" take on the personas of Charles Mingus and Nina Simone, speeding down the Pacific Coast Highway in a rented MG, with a loaded gun and an electric bass. In a small town in 1970s New Jersey, the protagonist of "Embankment" can't decide if she's on a date or has been abducted. "Do That Everywhere" finds the teen-aged Cami on the verge of becoming her mother—promiscuous and bitter. In "Glen Echo," a badass womanizer wonders who he is now that he's married an Italian-American Bridezilla.

Through compact, tightly woven prose, vivid imagery, and a variety of arresting narrative techniques, If the Heart Is Lean zeroes in on the humorous and painful lives of people who are mysteries to themselves.

"City of Refuge"

New from Harper: Tom Pizza's City of Refuge.

About the book, from the publisher:

In the heat of late summer, two New Orleans families—one black and one white—confront a storm that will change the course of their lives.

SJ Williams, a carpenter and widower, lives and works in the Lower Ninth Ward, the community where he was born and raised. His sister, Lucy, is a soulful mess, and SJ has been trying to keep her son, Wesley, out of trouble. Across town, Craig Donaldson, a Midwestern transplant and the editor of the city's alternative paper, faces deepening cracks in his own family. New Orleans' music and culture have been Craig's passion, but his wife, Alice, has never felt comfortable in the city. The arrival of their two children has inflamed their arguments about the wisdom of raising a family there.

When the news comes of a gathering hurricane—named Katrina—the two families make their own very different plans to weather the storm. The Donaldsons join the long evacuation convoy north, across Lake Pontchartrain and out of the city. SJ boards up his windows and brings Lucy to his house, where they wait it out together, while Wesley stays with a friend in another part of town.

But the long night of wind and rain is only the beginning—and when the levees give way and the flood waters come, the fate of each family changes forever. The Williamses are scattered—first to the Convention Center and the sweltering Superdome, and then far beyond city and state lines, where they struggle to reconnect with one another. The Donaldsons, stranded and anxious themselves, find shelter first in Mississippi, then in Chicago, as Craig faces an impossible choice between the city he loves and the family he had hoped to raise there.

Ranging from the lush neighborhoods of New Orleans to Texas, Missouri, Chicago, and beyond, City of Refuge is a modern masterpiece—a panoramic novel of family and community, trial and resilience, told with passion, wisdom, and a deep understanding of American life in our time.
Visit Tom Pizza's website.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

"The Heretic Queen"

New from Crown Publishing: The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran.

About the book, from the publisher:

In ancient Egypt, a forgotten princess must overcome her family’s past and remake history.

The winds of change are blowing through Thebes. A devastating palace fire has killed the Eighteenth Dynasty’s royal family—all with the exception of Nefertari, the niece of the reviled former queen, Nefertiti. The girl’s deceased family has been branded as heretical, and no one in Egypt will speak their names. A relic of a previous reign, Nefertari is pushed aside, an unimportant princess left to run wild in the palace. But this changes when she is taken under the wing of the Pharaoh’s aunt, then brought to the Temple of Hathor, where she is educated in a manner befitting a future queen.

Soon Nefertari catches the eye of the Crown Prince, and despite her family’s history, they fall in love and wish to marry. Yet all of Egypt opposes this union between the rising star of a new dynasty and the fading star of an old, heretical one. While political adversity sets the country on edge, Nefertari becomes the wife of Ramesses the Great. Destined to be the most powerful Pharaoh in Egypt, he is also the man who must confront the most famous exodus in history.

Sweeping in scope and meticulous in detail, The Heretic Queen is a novel of passion and power, heartbreak and redemption.
Visit Michelle Moran's website.

"Guyland"

New from HarperCollins: Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men by Michael Kimmel.

About the book, from the publisher:

Why do so many guys seem stuck between adolescence and adulthood? Why do so many of them fail to launch? Just what is going on with America's young men?

The passage from adolescence to adulthood was once clear, coherent, and relatively secure: in their late teenage years and early twenties, guys "put away childish things" and entered their futures as responsible adults. Today growing up has become more complex and confusing as young men drift casually through college and beyond—hanging out, partying, playing with tech toys, watching sports. But beneath the appearance of a simple extended boyhood, a more dangerous social world has developed, far away from the traditional signposts and cultural signals that once helped boys navigate their way to manhood.

The average young American man today is moving through a new stage of development, a buddy culture unfazed by the demands of parents, girlfriends, jobs, kids, and other nuisances of adult life. Sociologist and gender studies authority Michael Kimmel has identified this territory as "Guyland," a place that is both a stage of life and a new social arena.

Guyland is the locker room writ large: the world where young men both test and prove themselves as men and develop the defining attitudes and self-images they will carry into adulthood. Kimmel has interviewed hundreds of young men ages sixteen to twenty-six in high schools and college fraternity houses, military academies and sports bars, to better understand Guyland's rules and restrictions, its layers of peer pressure and gender policing, its features and artifacts—from the ordinary (video games, sports, and music) to the extreme (violent fraternity initiations, sexual predation).

In mapping the social world where tomorrow's men are made, Kimmel offers a view into the minds and times of America's sons, brothers, and boyfriends, and works toward redefining what it means to be a man today—and tomorrow. Only by understanding this world and this life stage can we enable young men to chart their own paths, to stay true to themselves, and to travel safely through Guyland, emerging as responsible and fully formed men of integrity and honor.

Friday, September 12, 2008

"The Clinch Knot"

New from Bleak House Books: The Clinch Knot by John Galligan.

About the book, from the publisher:

The Dog is in Livingston, Montana, daydreaming about fishing the ‘Stone and, as usual, subsisting on Swisher Sweets, vodka-Tang, and the hope that pretending to forget will be enough.

He’s forged a few tenuous friendships, and now finds himself watching from the bank as troubled local girl Jesse Ringer leads D’Ontario Sneed into the swift current of young love. It’s sweet, really … but some of the locals object to the relationship on the basis of Sneed’s skin color.

Then the unthinkable: vibrant, wild Jesse is found shot in the head, and Sneed is passed out in her car, gun beside him, window seams taped, and engine running. Sneed is hospitalized for severe carbon monoxide poisoning and can’t string together a sentence to defend himself, so it falls to the Dog.

If only the Dog could run from his life without ending up in the tangle and snarl of the lives of others. A man who wants to lose himself in the current must be careful of his backcast; it’ll always keep him tethered to a life he’s trying to forget.
Visit John Galligan's website.

"Duck"

New from Reaktion Books: Duck by Victoria de Rijke.

About the book, from the publisher:

The squat, noisy duck occupies a prominent role in the human cultural imagination, as evidenced by everything from the rubber duck of childhood baths to insurance commercials. With Duck, Victoria de Rijke explores the universality of this quacking bird through the course of human culture and history.

From the Eider duck to the Brazilian teal to the familiar mallard, duck species are richly diverse, and de Rijke offers a comprehensive overview of their evolutionary history. She explores the numerous roles that the duck plays in literature, art, and religion—including the Hebrew belief that ducks represent immortality, and the Finnish myth that the universe was hatched from a duck’s egg. The author also highlights the significant role humor has always played in human imaginings of duck life, such as the Topographia Hibernia, a twelfth-century tome contending that ducks originated as growths on tree trunks washed up on a beach. But the book does not neglect the bird’s role in everyday life as well, from food dishes to jokes to beloved animated characters such as Daffy Duck and Donald Duck. Duck is an entertaining account of a bird whose distinctive silhouette is known the world over.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

"In a Time of War"

New from Henry Holt & Company: In a Time of War: The Proud and Perilous Journey of West Point's Class of 2002 by Bill Murphy Jr.

About the book, from the publisher:

The dramatic story of West Point’s class of 2002, the first in a generation to graduate during wartime

They came to West Point in a time of peace, but soon after the start of their senior year, their lives were transformed by September 11. The following June, when President George W. Bush spoke at their commencement and declared that America would “take the battle to the enemy,” the men and women in the class of 2002 understood that they would be fighting on the front lines. In this stirring account of the five years following their graduation from West Point, the class experiences firsthand both the rewards and the costs of leading soldiers in the war on terror.

In a Time of War focuses on two members of the class of 2002 in particular: Todd Bryant, an amiable, funny Californian for whom military service was a family tradition; and Drew Sloan, the hardworking son of liberal parents from Arkansas who is determined to serve his country. On the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, Todd, Drew, and their classmates—the army’s newest and youngest officers—lead their troops into harm’s way again and again.

Meticulously reported, sweeping in scope, Bill Murphy Jr.’s powerful book follows these brave and idealistic officers—and their families—as they experience the harrowing reality of the modern battlefield. In a Time of War tells a vivid and sometimes heartbreaking story about courage, honor, and what war really means to the soldiers whose lives it defines.
Visit Bill Murphy Jr.'s website.

"Untamed"

New from St. Martin's Griffin: Untamed by P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast.

About the book, from the publisher:

Life sucks when your friends are pissed at you. Just ask Zoey Redbird – she’s become an expert on suckiness. In one week she has gone from having three boyfriends to having none, and from having a close group of friends who trusted and supported her, to being an outcast. Speaking of friends, the only two Zoey has left are undead and unMarked. And Neferet has declared war on humans, which Zoey knows in her heart is wrong. But will anyone listen to her? Zoey's adventures at vampyre finishing school take a wild and dangerous turn as loyalties are tested, shocking true intentions come to light, and an ancient evil is awakened in PC and Kristin Cast's spellbinding fourth House of Night novel.
Read Monica Stark's account of Untamed in January Magazine.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

"The Silver Linings Playbook"

New from Farrar, Straus and Giroux: The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick.

About the novel, from the publisher:

An enchanting first novel about love, madness, and Kenny G.

The Silver Linings Playbook is the riotous and poignant story of how one man regains his memory and comes to terms with the magnitude of his wife’s betrayal.

During the years he spends in a neural health facility, Pat Peoples formulates a theory about silver linings: he believes his life is a movie produced by God, his mission is to become physically fit and emotionally supportive, and his happy ending will be the return of his estranged wife, Nikki. When Pat goes to live with his parents, everything seems changed: no one will talk to him about Nikki; his old friends are saddled with families; the Philadelphia Eagles keep losing, making his father moody; and his new therapist seems to be recommending adultery as a form of therapy.

When Pat meets the tragically widowed and clinically depressed Tiffany, she offers to act as a liaison between him and his wife, if only he will give up watching football, agree to perform in this year’s Dance Away Depression competition, and promise not to tell anyone about their “contract.” All the while, Pat keeps searching for his silver lining.

In this brilliantly written debut novel, Matthew Quick takes us inside Pat’s mind, deftly showing us the world from his distorted yet endearing perspective. The result is a touching and funny story that helps us look at both depression and love in a wonderfully refreshing way.
Visit Matthew Quick's website.

"A Cure for Night"

New from Doubleday: A Cure for Night by Justin Peacock.

About the book, from the publisher:

“That’s what the criminal law is: it’s how the day tries to correct the night’s mistakes. Most of my cases, people have done something they never would’ve dreamed of doing in broad daylight.”

“What does that make us?” I said. “The night’s janitors?”

“We’re absolutely that,” Myra said, sipping her cosmo. “What else do we do but clean up after it? That’s why we’ll never run out of work. Not unless someone invents a cure for night.

In Brooklyn’s criminal courts, justice often depends on who has the better story to tell.

After a drug-related scandal ejects Joel Deveraux from his job at a white-shoe law firm, he slides down the corporate ladder to the Public Defenders’ office in Brooklyn, where he defends the innocent and the guilty alike, a cog in the great clanking machine that is the New York City justice system. When his boss offers him the second chair to the savvy Myra Goldstein in a high-profile murder case, he eagerly takes it. The defendant is Lorenzo Tate, a black pot dealer from the projects who is charged with the murder of a white college student in a street shooting; and the tabloids have sunk their teeth into the racially tinged trial.

In this twisty and overwhelmingly authentic journey through the real Brooklyn, Justin Peacock paints a portrait of the law as a form of combat where the best story wins—but who’s telling the truth and who’s lying are matters of interpretation. And of life and death.

This compelling debut novel announces Justin Peacock as a writer who enters the territory of Richard Price and Scott Turow with a fresh new take on urban crime and punishment.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

"One Nation, Under God"

New from Severn House Publishers: One Nation, Under God by Keir Graff.

About the book, from the publisher:

The United States is holding an election, and control of the country may be determined by a single seat in the ‘Buckle of the Bible Belt’: Tulsa, Oklahoma . . . In Tulsa, recovering methamphetamine addict Seth Stevens is trying to hold his fragile life together. But his decision to campaign for the church-supported candidate forces him to answer an age-old question: what do you do when following your faith means breaking the law?
Read the Chicago Sun-Times review: "...One Nation evokes such paranoid 1970s thrillers as The Parallax View and Six Days of the Condor."

Visit Keir Graff's website.

"Dear Everybody"

New from Alma Books: Dear Everybody by Michael Kimball.

About the book, from the publisher:

Jonathon Bender had something to say to the world, but the world wouldn’t listen. However, he left behind unsent letters addressed to relatives, friends, teachers, classmates, professors, roommates, employers, former girlfriends, his ex-wife, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, the state of Michigan, and a weather satellite, among many others. These form the narrative of a remarkable life.

Dear Everybody maintains a tone of finely judged tension between laughter and tears in an involving and sympathetically written work of fiction.
Visit Michael Kimball's website and the Dear Everybody blog.

Monday, September 8, 2008

"It Still Moves"

New from Faber & Faber: It Still Moves: Lost Songs, Lost Highways, and the Search for the Next American Music by Amanda Petrusich.

About the book, from the publisher:

Part travelogue, part cultural criticism, part music appreciation, It Still Moves does for today’s avant folk scene what Greil Marcus did for Dylan and The Basement Tapes. Amanda Petrusich outlines the sounds of the new, weird America—honoring the rich tradition of gospel, bluegrass, country, folk, and rock that feeds it, while simultaneously exploring the American character as personified in all of these genres historically. Through interviews, road stories, geographical and sociological interpretations, and detailed music criticism, Petrusich traces the rise of Americana music from its gospel origins through its new and compelling incarnations (as evidenced in bands and artists from Elvis to Iron and Wine, the Carter Family to Animal Collective, Johnny Cash to Will Oldham) and explores how the genre is adapting to the twenty-first century. Ultimately the book is an examination of all things American: guitars, cars, kids, motion, passion, enterprise, and change, in a fervent attempt to reconcile the American past with the American present, using only dusty records and highway maps as guides.

"Stalking the Vampire"

New from Pyr: Stalking the Vampire by Mike Resnick.

About the book, from the publisher:

It’s Halloween, and John Justin Mallory’s partner, Winnifred Carruthers, has been so busy preparing for the biggest holiday of the year (in his Manhattan, anyway) that she seems short of energy and pale. Mallory is worried that she’s been working too hard. Then he notices the two puncture marks on her neck…

On this night when ghosts and goblins are out celebrating, detective Mallory must stalk the vampire who has threatened his assistant, Winnifred Carruthers, and killed her nephew. With the aid of Felina, the catgirl, Mallory and Carruthers investigate clubs and lairs that only seem to exist on this one night of the year.

His hunt takes him to Creepy Conrad's Cut-Rate All-Night Mortuary, where he questions the living and the dead; to the Annual Zombies' Ball, to learn more about the undead; to the Hills of Home Cemetery, where the vampire sleeps by day; and to Battery Park, where all of Manhattan's bats come to feed and sleep. Along the way he meets a few old friends and enemies, and a host of strange new inhabitants of this otherworldly Manhattan.

Locked in an intriguing battle of wits with the millennia-old vampire, Mallory has until dawn if he is to save his trusted partner.
Visit Mike Resnick's website.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

"Sustainability by Design"

New from Yale University Press: Sustainability by Design: A Subversive Strategy for Transforming Our Consumer Culture by John R. Ehrenfeld.

About the book, from the publisher:

The developed world, increasingly aware of “inconvenient truths” about global warming and sustainability, is turning its attention to possible remedies—eco-efficiency, sustainable development, and corporate social responsibility, among others. But such measures are mere Band-Aids, and they may actually do more harm than good, says John Ehrenfeld, a pioneer in the field of industrial ecology. In this deeply considered book, Ehrenfeld challenges conventional understandings of “solving” environmental problems and offers a radically new set of strategies to attain sustainability.

The book is founded upon this new definition: sustainability is the possibility that humans and other life will flourish on Earth forever. There are obstacles to this hopeful vision, however, and overcoming them will require us to transform our behavior, both individually and collectively. Ehrenfeld identifies problematic cultural attributes—such as the unending consumption that characterizes modern life—and outlines practical steps toward developing sustainability as a mindset. By focusing on the “being” mode of human existence rather than on the unsustainable “having” mode we cling to now, he asserts, a sustainable world is within our reach.
Read John Ehrenfeld's "Sustainability by Design" blog.

"Playing Dead"

New from Ballantine Books: Playing Dead by Allison Brennan.

About the book, from the publisher:

Sentenced to death for crimes he didn’t commit, ex-cop Tom O’Brien is now a hunted fugitive. After fifteen years in prison, he’s determined to prove his innocence–but first he must convince his daughter, whose testimony helped put him behind bars, that he has damning evidence of a plot to frame him.

Claire is no longer the na├»ve teenager who arrived home to find her mother and her mother’s lover shot dead and her father holding the murder weapon. She’s a successful fraud investigator who assumes everyone lies. Though Claire is convinced of her father’s guilt, curiosity propels her to look into the disappearance of a law student who claimed to have proof of Tom’s innocence. But seeking answers only leads to more questions, reinforcing Claire’s belief that there’s no one left to trust.

Obsessed with the O’Brien case, FBI agent Mitch Bianchi befriends Claire under false pretenses, certain that Tom is not only innocent but in grave danger–and not just from the cops. As the three race toward the truth, a murderous conspiracy tightens its noose–and Claire becomes the target of an ice-cold psychopath who will kill to protect his secrets.
Visit Allison Brennan's website and her blog.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

"The Book of Calamities"

New from Little, Brown: Peter Trachtenberg's The Book of Calamities: Five Questions about Suffering and Its Meaning.

About the book, from the publisher:

What does it mean to suffer? What enables some people to emerge from tragedy while others are spiritually crushed by it? Why do so many Americans think of suffering as something that happens to other people-who usually deserve it? These are some of the questions at the heart of this powerful book.

Combining reportage, personal narrative, and moral philosophy, Peter Trachtenberg tells the stories of grass-roots genocide tribunals in Rwanda and tsunami survivors in Sri Lanka, an innocent man on death row, and a family bereaved on 9/11. He examines texts from the Book of Job to the Bodhicharyavatara and the writings of Simone Weil. THE BOOK OF CALAMITIES is a provocative and sweeping look at one of the biggest paradoxes of the human condition--and the surprising strength and resilience of those who are forced to confront it.
Visit Peter Trachtenberg's website.

"When Will There Be Good News?"

New from Little, Brown: When Will There Be Good News? by Kate Atkinson.

About the book, from the publisher:

On a hot summer day, Joanna Mason's family slowly wanders home along a country lane. A moment later, Joanna's life is changed forever...

On a dark night thirty years later, ex-detective Jackson Brodie finds himself on a train that is both crowded and late. Lost in his thoughts, he suddenly hears a shocking sound...

At the end of a long day, 16-year-old Reggie is looking forward to watching a little TV. Then a terrifying noise shatters her peaceful evening. Luckily, Reggie makes it a point to be prepared for an emergency...

These three lives come together in unexpected and deeply thrilling ways in the latest novel from Kate Atkinson, the critically acclaimed author who Harlan Coben calls "an absolute must-read."
Visit Kate Atkinson's website.