Thursday, December 31, 2009

"Varsity Green"

New from Stanford University Press: Varsity Green: A Behind the Scenes Look at Culture and Corruption in College Athletics by Mark Yost.

About the book, from the publisher:

In Varsity Green, Mark Yost cuts through clichés and common misconceptions to take a hard-eyed look at the current state of college athletics. He takes readers behind the scenes of the conspicuous and high-revenue business of college sports in order to dissect the enormous television revenues, merchandising rights, bowl game payoffs, sneaker contracts, and endorsement deals that often pay state university coaches more than the college president, or even the governor.

Money in college sports is nothing new. But readers will be amazed at the alarming depth and breadth of influence, both financial and otherwise, that college sports has within our culture. Readers will learn how academic institutions capitalize on the success of their athletic programs, and what role sports-based revenues play across campus, from the training room to the science lab. Yost pays particular attention to the climate that big-money athletics has created over the past decade, as both the NCAA's March Madness and the Bowl Championship Series have become multi-billion dollar businesses. This analysis goes well beyond campus, showing how the corrupting influences that drive college athletics today have affected every aspect of youth sports, and have seeped into our communities in ways that we would not otherwise suspect.

This book is not only for the players, policymakers, and other insiders who are affected by the changing economics of college athletics; it is a must-read for any sports fan who engages with the NCAA and deserves to see the business behind the game.

"Becoming Jane Eyre"

New from Penguin: Becoming Jane Eyre by Sheila Kohler.

About the book, from the publisher:

A beautifully imagined tale of the Bronte sisters and the writing of Jane Eyre

The year is 1846. In a cold parsonage on the gloomy Yorkshire moors, a family seems cursed with disaster. A mother and two children dead. A father sick, without fortune, and hardened by the loss of his two most beloved family members. A son destroyed by alcohol and opiates. And three strong, intelligent young women, reduced to poverty and spinsterhood, with nothing to save them from their fate. Nothing, that is, except their remarkable literary talent.

So unfolds the story of the Brontë sisters. At its center are Charlotte and the writing of Jane Eyre. Delicately unraveling the connections between one of fiction's most indelible heroines and the remarkable woman who created her, Sheila Kohler's Becoming Jane Eyre will appeal to fans of historical fiction and, of course, the millions of readers who adore Jane Eyre.
Visit Sheila Kohler's website.

Writers Read: Sheila Kohler.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

"Global Warring"

New from Palgrave Macmillan: Global Warring: How Environmental, Economic, and Political Crises Will Redraw the World Map by Cleo Paskal.

About the book, from the publisher:

In a perfect storm, the environment, the global economic system and geopolitics are all undergoing rapid, uncontrolled change. In the same way that the climate is in a state of flux, exhibiting erratic behavior before settling into a new norm, in the wake of the global economic crisis, many of the assumptions about the Western economic system have been destroyed, which leads to some troubling questions:

How aggressive will water-hungry China become in order to secure a sufficient supply of it?

What will happen when climate-triggered conflicts like the one in Sudan spread throughout the continent?

As India takes its proper place at the high table of nations and begins large-scale importing of food, what will happen to already shrinking supplies?

Global Warring takes a hard look at these questions. Journalist and analyst Cleo Paskal identifies problem areas that are most likely to start wars, destroy economies and create failed states. Examining the most likely environmental change scenarios, she illuminates the ways in which they could radically alter human existence. A fascinating tour through our uncertain future, Global Warring also offers a controversial new way forward for the global economy and the worldwide environmental crisis.


New from Putnam: Kisser by Stuart Woods.

About the book, from the publisher:

Stone Barrington is back in this thrilling new page-turner from the perennially entertaining New York Times-bestselling author.

Stone Barrington is back in New York, and after a rather harrowing sojourn in Key West, he's looking to stay closer to home and work on some simple divorce and custody cases for Woodman & Weld. But when he crosses paths with a fetching Broadway actress-and sometime lip model- Stone gets a little more deeply involved with business than he'd expected. When his new lady love turns out to be a lady with a shady past, Stone and downtown cop Dino Bacchetti realize that her beauty may have an unusually high price...

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

"Dead Air"

New from Obsidian/Penguin: Dead Air by Mary Kennedy.

About the book, from the publisher:

The first in an original new series. When a psychologist hits Florida's airwaves, there's no telling who she's reaching... ...and there's no telling who wants to reach back.

Maggie left her clinical practice in Manhattan and moved to sunny Cypress Grove, Florida, where she became host of WYME's "On the Couch with Maggie Walsh." From co-dependent wives to fetish fiends, all the local crazies love her show.

Then threats start pouring in against one of the station's special guests—self-styled new age prophet Guru Sanjay Gingii. When one of the threats becomes a deadly reality, Maggie's new roommate, Lark, is surprisingly the prime suspect. Now, Maggie has to prove Lark innocent while dealing with a killer who needs more than just therapy...
Visit Mary Kennedy's website.


New from Tor Books: Arms-Commander by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

About the book, from the publisher:

Arms-Commander takes place ten years after the end of The Chaos Balance and tells the story of the legendary Saryn. The keep of Westwind, in the cold mountainous heights called the Roof of the World, is facing attack by the adjoining land of Gallos. Arthanos, son and heir to the ailing Prefect of Gallos, wishes to destroy Westwind because the idea of a land where women rule is total anathema to him.

Saryn, Arms-Commander of Westwind, is dispatched to a neighboring land, Lornth, to seek support against the Gallosians. In the background, the trading council of Suthya is secretly and informally allied with Gallos against Westwind and begins to bribe lord-holders in Lornth to foment rebellion and civil war. They hope to create such turmoil in Lornth that the weakened land will fall to Suthya. But Zeldyan, regent of Lornth, has problems in her family. To secure Zeldyan’s aid, Saryn must pledge her personal support—and any Westwind guard forces she can raise—to the defense of Zeldyan and her son. The fate of four lands, including Westwind, rests on Saryn’s actions.
Learn more about the author and his work at L. E. Modesitt, Jr.'s website and his blog.

L.E. Modesitt, Jr. is the bestselling author of over forty novels encompassing two science fiction series and three fantasy series, as well as several other novels in the science fiction genre.

My Book, The Movie: L. E. Modesitt, Jr.'s Flash.

The Page 69 Test: The Lord-Protector's Daughter.

Monday, December 28, 2009

"Paganini's Ghost"

New from Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books: Paganini's Ghost by Paul Adam.

About the book, from the publisher:

Paganini – showman, womanizer, dazzling virtuoso – is one of the most charismatic characters in the history of classical music. His violin, il Cannone (the Cannon), is now kept in Genoa, Italy, where it is played only once every two years in a sold-out concert by the winner of an international competition.

This year, though, a Parisian art dealer is found dead in his hotel room the day after the concert. In his wallet is a scrap of sheet music, torn from a page that belongs to the competition’s winner. But how did the dead man get hold of it? And why?

Detective Antonio Guastafeste asks violin maker Gianni Castiglione to help him navigate the curious world of classical musicians, their priceless instruments, and the unsavory dealers who prey upon them. Together, Antonio and Gianni must unravel another mystery that has gone unanswered for over a century, one that may hold the answer to the modern-day murder.

Filled with remarkable history and musical lore, Paganini’s Ghost plays at a breathtaking tempo that will keep you reading until the very last page.
Visit Paul Adam's website.


New from Simon & Schuster: Blacklands by Belinda Bauer.

About the book, from the publisher:

EIGHTEEN YEARS AGO, Billy Peters disappeared. Everyone in town believes Billy was murdered -- after all, serial killer Arnold Avery later admitted killing six other children and burying them on the same desolate moor that surrounds their small English village. Only Billy's mother is convinced he is alive. She still stands lonely guard at the front window of her home, waiting for her son to return, while her remaining family fragments around her.

But her twelve-year-old grandson Steven is determined to heal the cracks that gape between his nan, his mother, his brother, and himself. Steven desperately wants to bring his family closure, and if that means personally finding his uncle's corpse, he'll do it.

Spending his spare time digging holes all over the moor in the hope of turning up a body is a long shot, but at least it gives his life purpose.

Then at school, when the lesson turns to letter writing, Steven has a flash of inspiration...Careful to hide his identity, he secretly pens a letter to Avery in jail asking for help in finding the body of "W.P." -- William "Billy" Peters.

So begins a dangerous cat-and-mouse game.

Just as Steven tries to use Avery to pinpoint the gravesite, so Avery misdirects and teases his mysterious correspondent in order to relive his heinous crimes. And when Avery finally realizes that the letters he's receiving are from a twelve-year-old boy, suddenly his life has purpose too.

Although his is far more dangerous...

Blacklands is a taut and chillingly brilliant debut that signals the arrival of a bright new voice in psychological suspense.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

"The Ticking Is the Bomb"

New from W.W. Norton: The Ticking Is the Bomb: A Memoir by Nick Flynn.

About the book, from the publisher:

A dazzling, searing, and inventive memoir about becoming a father in the age of terror.

In 2007, during the months before Nick Flynn’s daughter’s birth, his growing outrage and obsession with torture, exacerbated by the Abu Ghraib photographs, led him to Istanbul to meet some of the Iraqi men depicted in those photos. Haunted by a history of addiction, a relationship with his unsteady father, and a longing to connect with his mother who committed suicide, Flynn artfully interweaves in this memoir passages from his childhood, his relationships with women, and his growing obsession—a questioning of terror, torture, and the political crimes we can neither see nor understand in post-9/11 American life. The time bomb of the title becomes an unlikely metaphor and vehicle for exploring the fears and joys of becoming a father. Here is a memoir of profound self-discovery—of being lost and found, of painful family memories and losses, of the need to run from love, and of the ability to embrace it again.
Visit Nick Flynn's website.

"Heart's Blood"

New from Tor Books: Heart's Blood by Gail Dayton.

About the book, from the publisher:

Master conjurer Grey Carteret regains consciousness in a London gutter next to a concerned street urchin and not far from the body of a man murdered by magic. Some fool is hoping to use murder to raise a demon. Arrested for the crime, Grey must rely on the street urchin for help. But the lad turns out to be a comely lass, and she wants something in exchange.

Pearl Parkin, a gently reared lady struggling to survive in London’s slums, sees magic as a way out of the life she finds herself trapped in. But blackmailing Grey into making her his apprentice has unexpected consequences. As they plunge into the hunt for the murderer, Pearl discovers that the things she once desperately wanted are not so important after all, and that she must risk her blood, her heart, and her very life to grasp the love she needs.
My Book, The Movie: New Blood by Gail Dayton.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

"Get Me Out"

New from W.W. Norton: Get Me Out: A History of Childbirth from the Garden of Eden to the Sperm Bank by Randi Hutter Epstein.

About the book, from the publisher:

From a witty, relentlessly inquisitive medical writer, an eye-opening history of pregnancy and birthing joys and debacles.

Making and having babies—what it takes to get pregnant, stay pregnant, and deliver—has mystified women and men for the whole of human history. The birth gurus of ancient times told newlyweds that simultaneous orgasms were necessary for conception and that during pregnancy a woman should drink red wine but not too much and have sex but not too frequently. Over the last one hundred years, depending on the latest prevailing advice, women have taken morphine, practiced Lamaze, relied on ultrasound images, sampled fertility drugs, and shopped at sperm banks.

In Get Me Out, the insatiably curious Randi Hutter Epstein journeys through history, fads, and fables, and to the fringe of science, where audacious researchers have gone to extreme measures to get healthy babies out of mothers. Here is an entertaining must-read—and an enlightening celebration of human life.
Visit Randi Hutter Epstein's website.

"Some Girls Are"

New from St. Martin’s Griffin: Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers.

About the book, from the publisher:

Climbing to the top of the social ladder is hard--falling from it is even harder. Regina Afton used to be a member of the Fearsome Fivesome, an all-girl clique both feared and revered by the students at Hallowell High... until vicious rumors about her and her best friend's boyfriend start going around. Now Regina's been "frozen out" and her ex-best friends are out for revenge. If Regina was guilty, it would be one thing, but the rumors are far from the terrifying truth and the bullying is getting more intense by the day. She takes solace in the company of Michael Hayden, a misfit with a tragic past who she herself used to bully. Friendship doesn't come easily for these onetime enemies, and as Regina works hard to make amends for her past, she realizes Michael could be more than just a friend... if threats from the Fearsome Foursome don't break them both first.

Tensions grow and the abuse worsens as the final days of senior year march toward an explosive conclusion in this dark new tale from the author of Cracked Up To Be.
Learn more about the author and her work at Courtney Summers' website and blog.

Friday, December 25, 2009

"A Bolt from the Blue"

New from Berkley Prime Crime: A Bolt from the Blue by Diane A.S. Stuckart.

About the book, from the publisher:

Third in the intriguing Leonardo da Vinci mystery series known for "capturing the essence of 15th-century Milan".

As court engineer to the Duke of Milan, Leonardo da Vinci turns his superior mind to many pursuits- from outlandish contraptions to the odd murder...

With war looming ever closer, the iron-fisted Duke of Milan calls upon Master da Vinci to invent the deadliest weapon ever-a flying machine. So da Vinci calls in a craftsman who happens to be father to his star apprentice, Dino.

But da Vinci does not know that Dino is actually the craftsman's daughter, Delfina, who keeps her gender a secret to serve as apprentice. But as Delfina worries that her father will prove her undoing, someone murders another apprentice. Now, as her master works his brilliance, Delfina can only pray that no other apprentice- including herself-will fall victim.
Visit Diane A.S. Stuckart's website.

"Secrets of the Universe"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Secrets of the Universe: How We Discovered the Cosmos by Paul Murdin.

About the book, from the publisher:

Discoveries in astronomy challenge our fundamental ideas about the universe. Where the astronomers of antiquity once spoke of fixed stars, we now speak of whirling galaxies and giant supernovae. Where we once thought Earth was the center of the universe, we now see it as a small planet among millions of other planetary systems, any number of which could also hold life. These dramatic shifts in our perspective hinge on thousands of individual discoveries: moments when it became clear to someone that some part of the universe—whether a planet or a supermassive black hole—was not as it once seemed.

Secrets of the Universe invites us to participate in these moments of revelation and wonder as scientists first experienced them. Renowned astronomer Paul Murdin here provides an ambitious and exciting overview of astronomy, conveying for newcomers and aficionados alike the most important discoveries of this science and introducing the many people who made them. Lavishly illustrated with more than 400 color images, the book outlines in seventy episodes what humankind has learned about the cosmos—and what scientists around the world are poised to learn in the coming decades. Arranged by types of discovery, it also provides an overarching narrative throughout that explains how the earliest ideas of the cosmos evolved into the cutting-edge astronomy we know today. Along the way, Murdin never forgets that science is a human endeavor, and that every discovery was the result of inspiration, hard work, or luck—usually all three.

The first section of Secrets explores discoveries made before the advent of the telescope, from stars and constellations to the position of our own sun. The second considers discoveries made within our own solar system, from the phases of Venus and the moons of Jupiter to the comets and asteroids at its distant frontier. The next section delves into discoveries of the dynamic universe, like gravitation, relativity, pulsars, and black holes. A fourth examines discoveries made within our own galaxy, from interstellar nebulae and supernovae to Cepheid variable stars and extrasolar planets. Next Murdin turns to discoveries made within the deepest recesses of the universe, like quasars, supermassive black holes, and gamma ray bursters. In the end, Murdin unveils where astronomy still teeters on the edge of discovery, considering dark matter and alien life.

Thursday, December 24, 2009


New from Harper: Water: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power, and Civilization by Steven Solomon.

About the book, from the publisher:

Far more than oil, the control of water wealth throughout history has been pivotal to the rise and fall of great powers, the achievements of civilization, the transformations of society's vital habitats, and the quality of ordinary daily lives. In Water, Steven Solomon offers the first-ever narrative portrait of the power struggles, personalities, and breakthroughs that have shaped humanity from antiquity's earliest civilizations, the Roman Empire, medieval China, and Islam's golden age to Europe's rise, the steam-powered Industrial Revolution, and America's century. Today, freshwater scarcity is one of the twenty-first century's decisive, looming challenges and is driving the new political, economic, and environmental realities across the globe.

As modern society runs short of its most indispensable resource and the planet's renewable water ecosystems grow depleted, an explosive new fault line is dividing humanity into water Haves and Have-nots. Genocides, epidemic diseases, failed states, and civil warfare increasingly emanate from water-starved, overpopulated parts of Africa and Asia. Water famines threaten to ignite new wars in the bone-dry Middle East. Faltering clean water supplies menace the sustainable growth and ability of China and India to feed themselves. Water scarcity is inseparably interrelated to the global crises of energy, food, and climate change. For Western democracies, water represents no less than the new oil—demanding a major rethink of basic domestic and foreign policies—but also offering a momentous opportunity to relaunch wealth and global leadership through exploiting a comparative advantage in freshwater reserves. Meticulously researched and masterfully written, Steven Solomon's Water is a groundbreaking account of man's most critical resource in shaping human destinies, from ancient times to our dawning age of water scarcity.
Visit Steven Solomon's Water blog.


New from Amistad: Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez.

About the book, from the publisher:

Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez is startling and original fiction that raises provocative questions of power and freedom, love and dependence. An enchanting and unforgettable novel based on little-known fact, Wench combines the narrative allure of Cane River by Lalita Tademy and the moral complexities of Edward P. Jones’s The Known World as it tells the story of four black enslaved women in the years preceding the Civil War. A stunning debut novel, Wench marks author Perkins-Valdez—previously a finalist for the 2009 Robert Olen Butler Short Fiction Prize—as a writer destined for greatness.
Visit Dolen Perkins-Valdez's website and blog.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

"The Harvard Psychedelic Club"

New from HarperOne: The Harvard Psychedelic Club: How Timothy Leary, Ram Dass, Huston Smith, and Andrew Weil Killed the Fifties and Ushered in a New Age for America by Don Lattin.

About the book, from the publisher:

This book is the story of how three brilliant scholars and one ambitious freshman crossed paths in the early sixties at a Harvard-sponsored psychedelic-drug research project, transforming their lives and American culture and launching the mind/body/spirit movement that inspired the explosion of yoga classes, organic produce, and alternative medicine.

The four men came together in a time of upheaval and experimentation, and their exploration of an expanded consciousness set the stage for the social, spiritual, sexual, and psychological revolution of the 1960s. Timothy Leary would be the rebellious trickster, the premier proponent of the therapeutic and spiritual benefits of LSD, advising a generation to "turn on, tune in, and drop out." Richard Alpert would be the seeker, traveling to India and returning to America as Ram Dass, reborn as a spiritual leader with his "Be Here Now" mantra, inspiring a restless army of spiritual pilgrims. Huston Smith would be the teacher, practicing every world religion, introducing the Dalai Lama to the West, and educating generations of Americans to adopt a more tolerant, inclusive attitude toward other cultures' beliefs. And young Andrew Weil would be the healer, becoming the undisputed leader of alternative medicine, devoting his life to the holistic reformation of the American health care system.

It was meant to be a time of joy, of peace, and of love, but behind the scenes lurked backstabbing, jealousy, and outright betrayal. In spite of their personal conflicts, the members of the Harvard Psychedelic Club would forever change the way Americans view religion and practice medicine, and the very way we look at body and soul.
Visit Don Lattin's website.

"Double Black"

New from Minotaur Books: Double Black by Wendy Clinch.

About the book, from the publisher:

First in a very cool (literally) skiing series that introduces a sleuth who has ditched grad school, along with her cheating fiancée, to become a ski bum

Twenty-something Stacey Curtis is living the life she’s always dreamed about—until she finds a dead body in the ski chalet. And after her new landlord turns out to be the local sheriff, her life contains a whole lot more suspense than she bargained for. Populated with quirky characters, loaded with New England atmosphere, and co-starring a handsome young hunk with nerve, a sense of humor about it all, and an enormous trust fund, Double Black is an exciting run down some mysterious and treacherous trails.
Visit Wendy Clinch's website and blog.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

"Noah's Compass"

New from Knopf: Noah's Compass by Anne Tyler.

About the book, from the publisher:

From the incomparable Anne Tyler, a wise, gently humorous, and deeply compassionate novel about a schoolteacher, who has been forced to retire at sixty-one, coming to terms with the final phase of his life.

Liam Pennywell, who set out to be a philosopher and ended up teaching fifth grade, never much liked the job at that run-down private school, so early retirement doesn’t bother him. But he is troubled by his inability to remember anything about the first night that he moved into his new, spare, and efficient condominium on the outskirts of Baltimore. All he knows when he wakes up the next day in the hospital is that his head is sore and bandaged.

His effort to recover the moments of his life that have been stolen from him leads him on an unexpected detour. What he needs is someone who can do the remembering for him. What he gets is—well, something quite different.

We all know a Liam. In fact, there may be a little of Liam in each of us. Which is why Anne Tyler’s lovely novel resonates so deeply.

"Gutshot Straight"

New from William Morrow: Gutshot Straight by Lou Berney.

About the book, from the publisher:

A crime caper in the tradition of Elmore Leonard and Carl Hiaasen, this fast and funny debut is the story of "Shake" Bouchon, fresh out of prison and ready for life on the straight and narrow—well, maybe after *one* last job....

When Charles "Shake" Bouchon, professional wheel man, walks out of prison after a three-year stretch for grand theft auto, he's got only two problems: he's too nice a guy for the life he's led and not nice enough for any other.

So he says yes when he's asked to run a simple errand for his former boss and lover, Alexandra Ilandryan, the formidable pakhan of the Armenian mob in Los Angeles. All Shake has to do is deliver a package to Las Vegas and pick up a briefcase.

Only the package turns out to be a wholesome young housewife named Gina whose husband has run afoul of Dick Moby, aka "The Whale," an unpleasant four-hundred-pound Vegas strip-club owner. Shake hates to think what's going to happen to Gina when he delivers her to The Whale, so in a move that's as noble as it is boneheaded, he decides to set her free.

Now Shake and Gina are on the run to Panama, hoping to unload the very valuable—and highly unusual—contents of The Whale's briefcase. Shake could end up a rich man, but first he'll have to outmaneuver two angry crime bosses, a murderous Armenian thug plagued by erectile superfunction, a former pro football player who blames Shake for his romantic woes, and a billionaire swindler with a flair for the theatrical. Not to mention, and not the least, Shake will need to survive his own heart, since he's going to discover that wholesome housewife Gina is even more intriguing, and a lot more complicated, than he ever imagined.

Full of blindsided double-crosses and hard shots to the head, Gutshot Straight is a tale of love, luck, and larceny against the odds.
Visit Lou Berney's website and blog.

Monday, December 21, 2009

"The Girl with Glass Feet"

New from Henry Holt: The Girl with Glass Feet by Ali Shaw.

About the book, from the publisher:

An inventive and richly visual novel about young lovers on a quest to find a cure for a magical ailment, perfect for readers of Alice Hoffman

Strange things are happening on the remote and snowbound archipelago of St. Hauda’s Land. Unusual winged creatures flit around the icy bogland, albino animals hide themselves in the snow-glazed woods, and Ida Maclaird is slowly turning into glass. Ida is an outsider in these parts, a mainlander who has visited the islands only once before. Yet during that one fateful visit the glass transformation began to take hold, and now she has returned in search of a cure.

Midas Crook is a young loner who has lived on the islands his entire life. When he meets Ida, something about her sad, defiant spirit pierces his emotional defenses. As Midas helps Ida come to terms with her affliction, she gradually unpicks the knots of his heart. Love must be paid in precious hours and, as the glass encroaches, time is slipping away fast. Will they find a way to stave off the spread of the glass?

The Girl with Glass Feet is a dazzlingly imaginative and magical first novel, a love story to treasure.
Visit Ali Shaw's website and blog.

"The Sculptor"

New from Pinnacle Books: The Sculptor by Gregory Funaro.

About the book, from the publisher:

Killing Is An Art

In life, they were flawed. In death, they are perfect works of art—killed, preserved, and carefully molded into replicas of Michelangelo's most celebrated creations. Only The Sculptor can bring forth their true beauty and teach the world to appreciate his gift.

He Is The Master

FBI Special Agent Sam Markham has a reputation for tracking serial killers, but this artful adversary is meticulous, disciplined, and more ruthless than any he's encountered. The only clue is a note dedicating the latest “statue" to Cathy Hildebrant, an art historian who shares Sam's fear that the killing has just begun.

And She Is The Perfect Subject

In a quiet Rhode Island town, The Sculptor shapes his latest macabre creation, waiting for Cathy to draw nearer so that his message can be understood at last. And the only way to save her is for Sam to unlock a psychopath's twisted mind before his final, terrifying masterpiece is revealed…
Visit Gregory Funaro's website.

Writers Read: Gregory Funaro.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

"The Happiness Project"

New from Harper: The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun by Gretchen Rubin.

About the book, from the publisher:

Gretchen Rubin had an epiphany one rainy afternoon in the unlikeliest of places: a city bus. "The days are long, but the years are short," she realized. "Time is passing, and I'm not focusing enough on the things that really matter." In that moment, she decided to dedicate a year to her happiness project.

In this lively and compelling account of that year, Rubin carves out her place alongside the authors of bestselling memoirs such as Julie and Julia, The Year of Living Biblically, and Eat, Pray, Love. With humor and insight, she chronicles her adventures during the twelve months she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific research, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier.

Rubin didn't have the option to uproot herself, nor did she really want to; instead she focused on improving her life as it was. Each month she tackled a new set of resolutions: give proofs of love, ask for help, find more fun, keep a gratitude notebook, forget about results. She immersed herself in principles set forth by all manner of experts, from Epicurus to Thoreau to Oprah to Martin Seligman to the Dalai Lama to see what worked for her—and what didn't.

Her conclusions are sometimes surprising—she finds that money can buy happiness, when spent wisely; that novelty and challenge are powerful sources of happiness; that "treating" yourself can make you feel worse; that venting bad feelings doesn't relieve them; that the very smallest of changes can make the biggest difference—and they range from the practical to the profound.

Written with charm and wit, The Happiness Project is illuminating yet entertaining, thought-provoking yet compulsively readable. Gretchen Rubin's passion for her subject jumps off the page, and reading just a few chapters of this book will inspire you to start your own happiness project.
Visit Gretchen Rubin's website.

"The Lock Artist"

New from Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books: The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton.

About the book, from the publisher:

"I was the Miracle Boy, once upon a time. Later on, the Milford Mute. The Golden Boy. The Young Ghost. The Kid. The Boxman. The Lock Artist. That was all me.
But you can call me Mike."

Marked by tragedy, traumatized at the age of eight, Michael, now eighteen, is no ordinary young man. Besides not uttering a single word in ten years, he discovers the one thing he can somehow do better than anyone else. Whether it's a locked door without a key, a padlock with no combination, or even an eight-hundred pound safe ... he can open them all.

It's an unforgivable talent. A talent that will make young Michael a hot commodity with the wrong people and, whether he likes it or not, push him ever close to a life of crime. Until he finally sees his chance to escape, and with one desperate gamble risks everything to come back home to the only person he ever loved, and to unlock the secret that has kept him silent for so long.

Steve Hamilton steps away from his Edgar Award-winning Alex McKnight series to introduce a unique new character, unlike anyone you've ever seen in the world of crime fiction.
Visit Steve Hamilton's website.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


New from Ecco: Planisphere: New Poems by John Ashbery.

About the book, from the publisher:

“Ashbery is a national treasure.”
New York Times Book Review

The poetry of John Ashbery has been awarded virtually every conceivable literary prize including the National Book Award, the Pulitzer Prize, the Griffin, and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Planisphere is a new collection by one of America’s most innovative and influential poets—an exceptional artist whose work stands alongside the finest of Whitman, Dickinson, Stevens, and Hart Crane. For more than half a century Ashbery has been producing timeless works such as Chinese Whispers, Hotel Lautréamont, A Wave, Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror, and Where Shall I Wander. Planisphere is proof that the master only improves with age.

"Gold Medal Physics"

New from The Johns Hopkins University Press: Gold Medal Physics: The Science of Sports by John Eric Goff.

About the book, from the publisher:

Nothing is quite as thrilling as watching superior athletes do the seemingly impossible. From Doug Flutie's "Hail Mary" pass to Lance Armstrong's record—breaking climb of Alp d'Huez to David Beckham's astounding ability to bend a soccer kick, we marvel and wonder, "How did they do that?" Well, physics professor John Eric Goff has the answers.

This tour of the wide world of sports uses some of the most exhilarating feats in recent athletic history to make basic physics concepts accessible and fun. Goff discusses the science behind American football, soccer, cycling, skating, diving, long jumping, and a host of other competitive sports. Using elite athletes such as Greg Louganis and Bob Beamon as starting points, he explains in clear, lively language the basic physical properties involved in amazing and everyday athletic endeavors. Accompanied by illustrations and mathematical equations, each chapter builds on knowledge imparted in earlier portions of the book to provide a firm understanding of the concepts involved.

Fun, witty, and imbued throughout with admiration for the simple beauty of physics, Gold Medal Physics is sure to inspire readers to think differently about the next sporting event they watch.

Friday, December 18, 2009

"The Anarchist"

New from Three Rivers Press: The Anarchist by John Smolens.

About the book, from the publisher:

On a stifling, hot afternoon in September 1901, a young anarchist, Leon Czolgosz, who has been stalking President William McKinley, waits in line to meet the president, his right hand wrapped in a handkerchief and held across his chest as though it were in a sling. But the handkerchief conceals a .32-caliber revolver. When the president greets him, Czolgosz fires two shots.

The nation quickly plummets into fear and anger. A week later, rioting mobs attempt to lynch McKinley’s assassin, and across the country, political dissidents such as the notorious Emma Goldman are tracked down and arrested. Driven by a sense of duty and by his love for a beautiful Russian prostitute, Czolgosz’s confidant, Moses Hyde, infiltrates an anarchist group as it sets in motion a deadly scheme designed to push the country into a state of terror.

The Anarchist brilliantly renders a haunting and belligerent twentieth-century landscape teeming with corrupt politicians, kind-hearted prostitutes, dissidents, and immigrants eager for a fresh start. It is an America where every allegiance is questioned, and every hope and aspiration comes at a price.
Visit John Smolens' website and blog.

"The 13th Hour"

New from Atria: The 13th Hour by Richard Doetsch.

About the book, from the publisher:

A mesmerizing thriller -- told in reverse! The 13th Hour is the story of a man given the chance to go back in time in one-hour increments to prevent a vicious crime from destroying his life.

Nick Quinn is being held in jail, accused of the murder of his beloved wife, Julia. He knows she's dead; he saw her bloody corpse, shot in the head at point-blank range. The police tell him they found the murder weapon with his fingerprints on it in the trunk of his car. Nick is confused, grief-stricken -- and completely innocent.

At 9 p.m. on July 28, a gray-haired gentleman visits Nick in the police interrogation room and asks him a simple question: "If you could get out of here, if you could save her, would you?" He hands Nick a golden talisman that allows Nick to go back in time, one hour at a time, for a total of twelve hours. With each hour that Nick travels back, he finds more clues to the identity of Julia's real killer, but he also discovers that his actions in the past may have unexpected repercussions in the future.

In his race against time to save the woman he loves most in the world, Nick will find that friends become enemies, old loyalties are tested, and Julia's murder is part of a larger scheme that has its roots in greed and vengeance. Nick has the ability to save Julia, the chance to put his own world in balance, but he is venturing down a precarious route. If he hasn't set things right by the thirteenth hour, his desperate attempts to save Julia's life may lead to a far greater catastrophe than he could have ever imagined.

A surprising and utterly original thriller, The 13th Hour is pure page-turning suspense -- full of double crosses, cliffhangers, and shocking revelations.
Visit Richard Doetsch's website and blog.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

"True Confections"

New from Shaye Areheart Books: True Confections by Katharine Weber.

About the book, from the publisher:

Take chocolate candy, add a family business at war with itself, and stir with an outsider’s perspective. This is the recipe for True Confections, the irresistible new novel by Katharine Weber, a writer whose work has won accolades from Iris Murdoch, Madeleine L’Engle, Wally Lamb, and Kate Atkinson, to name a few.

Alice Tatnall Ziplinsky’s marriage into the Ziplinsky family has not been unanimously celebrated. Her greatest ambition is to belong, to feel truly entitled to the heritage she has tried so hard to earn. Which is why Zip’s Candies is much more to her than just a candy factory, where she has worked for most of her life. In True Confections, Alice has her reasons for telling the multigenerational saga of the family-owned-and-operated candy company, now in crisis.

Nobody is more devoted than Alice to delving into the truth of Zip’s history, starting with the rags-to-riches story of how Hungarian immigrant Eli Czaplinsky developed his famous candy lines, and how each of his candies, from Little Sammies to Mumbo Jumbos, was inspired by an element in a stolen library copy of Little Black Sambo, from which he taught himself English. Within Alice’s vivid and persuasive account (is her unreliability a tactic or a condition?) are the stories of a runaway slave from the cacao plantations of Côte d’Ivoire and the Third Reich’s failed plan to establish a colony on Madagascar for European Jews.

Richly informed, deeply moving, and spiked with Weber’s trademark wit, True Confections is, at its heart, a timeless and universal story of love, betrayal, and chocolate.
Visit Katharine Weber's website.

"Sinners' Ball"

New from Three Rivers Press: Sinners' Ball by Ira Berkowitz.

About the book, from the publisher:

Private investigator Jackson Steeg has a new client—his mobster brother, Dave, who’s in deep trouble after a suspicious fire in one of his warehouses leaves half a dozen charred corpses in its wake.

Steeg might not approve of his brother’s ways, but blood is blood, so he doggedly chases the truth, even when the trail leads him to a diabolical serial killer haunting the grimy streets of Hell’s Kitchen—and to the realization that the answers to all of his ugliest questions lie far too close to home.

Propelled by Ira Berkowitz’s lean, lyrical prose, Sinners’ Ball is another hard-hitting journey into a dark world of old-school gangsters, murky morality, and inherited sin that lies hidden beneath New York City’s antiseptic modern façade.
Visit Ira Berkowitz's website.

Read Dick Adler's brief take on Sinners' Ball at The Rap Sheet.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

"Hidden Empire"

New from Tor Books: Hidden Empire by Orson Scott Card.

About the book, from the publisher:

The war of words between right and left collapsed into a shooting war, and raged between the high-technology weapons on each side, devastating cities and overrunning the countryside.

At the close of Empire, political scientist and government adviser Averell Torrent had maneuvered himself into the presidency of the United States. And now that he has complete power at home, he plans to expand American imperial power around the world.

Opportunity comes quickly. There’s a deadly new plague in Africa, and it is devastating the countryside and cities. President Torrent declares American solidarity with the victims, but places all of Africa in quarantine until a vaccine is found or the disease burns itself out. And he sends Captain Bartholomew Coleman, Cole to his friends, to run the relief operations and protect the American scientists working on identifying the virus. If Cole and his team can avoid dying of the plague, or being cut down by the weapons of fearful African nations, they might do some good. Or they might be out of the way for good.

"Ark of Fire"

New from Berkley Prime Crime: Ark of Fire by C. M. Palov.

About the book, from the author's website:

Eight hundred years ago a Crusader in the Holy Land discovered a gold box. Under a veil of secrecy it was transported to England and hidden, the clues to its whereabouts embedded in sixteen cryptic lines of verse. For centuries it has been rumored that the treasure was none other than The Ark of the Covenant...

Photographer Edie Miller is eyewitness to a brutal murder and the theft of an ancient Hebrew relic known as the Stones of Fire - the breastplate worn by Moses to protect him from the Ark of the Covenant. Fearing the D.C. police are complicit, in desperation she turns to historian Caedmon Aisquith for help. If, as it seems, a sinister army of mercenaries has masterminded the theft, it's only a matter of time before they find the most formidable relic of all - the Ark of the Covenant.

Marked for execution, Edie and Caedmon are on the run. From Washington D.C. to Canterbury Cathedral to the island of Malta, they must follow the clues of the quatrains if they are to discover the truth, ward off a global conflagration, and stay alive.
Visit C.M. Palov's website.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

"The Listener"

New from Scribner: The Listener by Shira Nayman.

About the book, from the publisher:

TWO YEARS AFTER THE END OF WORLD WAR II, a mysterious figure, Bertram Reiner, appears at Shadowbrook, a private asylum whose elegant hallways, vaulted ceilings, and magnificent grounds suggest a country estate more than a psychiatric hospital. At first, the chief psychiatrist -- as genteel as his aristocratic surrounds -- considers his charismatic patient to be a classic, though particularly intriguing, case of war neurosis. But as treatment progresses, Dr. Harrison's sense of clarity clouds over, and he is drawn into Bertram's disquieting preoccupations.

Then, late one night, an intruder is sighted on the hospital grounds, the first in a series of uncanny events that appear to the doctor to be strangely linked; clues abound, yet the truth about Bertram seems always to slip away. Meanwhile, Dr. Harrison's own long-buried troubles reemerge with brutal force. As the careful contours of his existence begin to waver, the doctor is plunged into dangerous, compulsive territory.

When Dr. Harrison finds himself spying on his head nurse, Matilda, even following her one midnight through the underground tunnels that join the hospital buildings, he knows there is no turning back. He is desperate to get to the bottom of the intertwining mysteries connecting Bertram, Matilda, and himself, and senses that everything in his life -- and theirs -- is at stake.

Set against the backdrop of the insanity of war, The Listener explores the havoc historical trauma plays with the psyche, and illuminates the uncertain boundary between sanity and insanity. Shira Nayman's storytelling is mesmerizing. The Listener is a riveting tale of madness, mystery, and passion that excavates the dark corners of the human heart and mind. It is a work of rare depth and power.
Visit Shira Nayman's website.

"Too Much Money"

New from Crown Books: Too Much Money by Dominick Dunne.

About the book, from the publisher:

My name is Gus Bailey…It should be pointed out that it is a regular feature of my life that people whisper things in my ear, very private things, about themselves or others. I have always understood the art of listening.

The last two years have been monstrously unpleasant for high-society journalist Gus Bailey. His propensity for gossip has finally gotten him into trouble—$11 million worth. His problems begin when he falls hook, line, and sinker for a fake story from an unreliable source and repeats it on a radio program. As a result of his flip comments, Gus becomes embroiled in a nasty slander suit brought by Kyle Cramden, the powerful congressman he accuses of being involved in the mysterious disappearance of a young woman, and he fears it could mean the end of him.

The stress of the lawsuit makes it difficult for Gus to focus on the novel he has been contracted to write, which is based on the suspicious death of billionaire Konstantin Zacharias. It is a story that has dominated the party conversations of Manhattan's chattering classes for more than two years. The convicted murderer is behind bars, but Gus is not convinced that justice was served. There are too many unanswered questions, such as why a paranoid man who was usually accompanied by bodyguards was without protection the very night he perished in a tragic fire.

Konstantin's hot-tempered widow, Perla, is obsessed with climbing the social ladder and, as a result, she will do anything to suppress this potentially damaging story. Gus is convinced she is the only thing standing between him and the truth.

Dominick Dunne revives the world he first introduced in his mega-bestselling novel People Like Us, and he brings readers up to date on favorite characters such as Ruby and Elias Renthal, Lil Altemus, and, of course, the beloved Gus Bailey. Once again, he invites us to pull up a seat at the most important tables at Swifty's, get past the doormen at esteemed social clubs like The Butterfield, and venture into the innermost chambers of the Upper East Side's most sumptuous mansions.

Too Much Money is a satisfying, mischievous, and compulsively readable tale by the most brilliant society chronicler of our time—the man who knew all the secrets and wasn't afraid to share them.

Monday, December 14, 2009

"Altar of Eden"

New from William Morrow: Altar of Eden by James Rollins.

About the book, from the publisher:

Following the fall of Baghdad, two Iraqi boys stumble upon armed men looting the city zoo. The floodgates have been opened for the smuggling of hundreds of exotic birds, mammals, and reptiles to Western nations, but this crime hides a deeper secret. Amid a hail of bullets, a concealed underground weapons lab is ransacked—and something even more horrific is set free.

Seven years later, Louisiana state veterinarian Lorna Polk stumbles upon a fishing trawler shipwrecked on a barrier island. The crew is missing or dead, but the boat holds a frightening cargo: a caged group of exotic animals, clearly part of a black market smuggling ring.

Yet, something is wrong with these beasts, disturbing deformities that make no sense: a parrot with no feathers, a pair of Capuchin monkeys conjoined at the hip, a jaguar cub with the dentition of a saber-toothed tiger. They also all share one uncanny trait—a disturbingly heightened intelligence.

To uncover the truth about the origin of this strange cargo and the terrorist threat it poses, Lorna must team up with a man who shares a dark and bloody past with her and is now an agent with the U.S. Border Patrol, Jack Menard.

Together, the two must hunt for a beast that escaped the shipwreck while uncovering a mystery tied to fractal science and genetic engineering, all to expose a horrifying secret that traces back to humankind's earliest roots.

But can Lorna stop what is about to be born upon the altar of Eden before it threatens not only the world but also the very foundation of what it means to be human?
Visit James Rollins's website.

"The Disappeared"

New from Simon & Schuster: The Disappeared by M.R. Hall.

About the book, from the publisher:

In the bestselling tradition of Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta, M. R. Hall's heroine Jenny Cooper makes her debut as a coroner with a detective's eye and a woman with a home life as complicated as her cases.

In this brilliant debut, Jenny investigates the disappearance of two young Muslim students, who vanished without a trace seven years ago. The police had concluded that the boys, under surveillance for some time for suspicion of terrorism, had fled to Pakistan to traffic in the atrocities of Islamic fanaticism. Now, sufficient time has passed for the law to declare the boys legally dead. A final declaration is left up to a coroner, Jenny Cooper.

As Jenny's official inquest progresses, the stench of corruption is unmistakable. Not only does it appear that British Security Services played a role, but the involvement of an American intelligence agent soon makes it clear that a vast conspiracy is in play. As Jenny builds an ever-strengthening case implicating a shocking collection of power and influence, she meets with a determined and increasingly menacing resistance. When she links the students' "vanishing" to the unidentified corpse of a beautiful young woman and the fate of a missing nuclear scientist, Jenny is forced into an arena in which she is pushed to the breaking point and beyond. She must struggle with her own inner demons while fighting a lone and desperate battle to bring an unspeakable crime to justice.
Visit M.R. Hall's website.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

"I So Don't Do Spooky"

New from Delacorte Books for Young Readers: I So Don't Do Spooky by Barrie Summy.

About the book, from the publisher:

Someone’s out to get Sherry’s stepmom.... Can she save her before it’s too late?

Did you know that the main campus of the Academy of Spirits is at a Dairy Queen in Phoenix? Me either. Until now. Some weird stuff has been happening to my stepmother, Paula, and the Academy has asked me, Sherry Holmes Baldwin, to get to the bottom of it. They think someone’s trying to hurt her.

I really don’t want to get involved—my life is way too busy. Josh and I are celebrating two blissful months of togetherness. And my best friend, Junie, is finally showing a teeny bit of interest in clothes and makeup after years of brainiac behavior. But being that my mom is a ghost and all, me, my brother, and my dad rely on Paula a lot. So it’s not like I can just ignore what’s going on. Especially since my mom is competing at the Ghostlympics. If she comes in first place, she earns five minutes of Real Time.

And that means I’ve got to get involved in a creepy, freaky mystery.

But ... I so don’t do spooky.
Visit Barrie Summy's website.

"Dead and Kicking"

New from Berkley Prime Crime: Dead and Kicking by Wendy Roberts.

About the book, from the publisher:

Sadie Novak cleans up crime scenes for a living and is also blessed—or cursed—with the gift of second sight. This time she's digging out the home of a compulsive hoarder. She discovers unexpected things, including an angry ghost who wants her to go away. And there are even more secrets beneath the surface that someone will kill to keep buried...
Read an excerpt from Dead and Kicking.

Visit the official Wendy Roberts website and blog.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

"Starfist: Double Jeopardy"

New from Del Rey: Starfist: Double Jeopardy by David Sherman and Dan Cragg.

About the book, from the publisher:

The thrilling pace of the Starfist space epic quickens as the explosive series rockets to dazzling new heights, packed with the hell-for-leather action only two battle-hardened and decorated combat vets like David Sherman and Dan Cragg can provide.

The Confederation has finally disclosed the existence of Skinks, fierce aliens bent on wiping out humankind, and announced its plan to find and destroy their home world. While the rest of the universe grapples with the news, the Skink-savvy Marines of the Confederation's Thirty-fourth Fleet Initial Strike Team (FIST) have their own take on the situation.

Though they're no longer in danger of being exiled to a ghastly netherworld for spilling the beans about the deadly aliens, the men still can't transfer out of the unit where they've been confined since they first laid eyes on the Skinks. The reason is obvious: Who else but the legendary Thirty-fourth FIST has the skills and experience to spearhead the invasion of the Skinks' home world?

Morale isn't improved by a report of Skinks on the uncolonized world of Ishtar near a mercenary force engaged in slave-driven mining operations there—which means that FIST must turn around and head right back into the jaws of hell with no downtime. But none of that matters to Lieutenant Charlie Bass and the third platoon of Company L. They're Marines, they're the best, and they've got a job to do.

The Marines will find a planet ripped apart by all-out war, with enemies on all sides. The only certainty is that the fighting will rage red-hot and relentless, and Charlie Bass and his men will be right in the thick of the action.
Visit David Sherman's website.

"Storms of My Grandchildren"

New from Bloomsbury USA: Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity by James Hansen.

About the book, from the publisher:

An urgent and provocative call to action from the world's leading climate scientist—speaking out here for the first time with the full story of what we need to know about humanity's last chance to get off the path to a catastrophic global meltdown, and why we don't know the half of it.

In Storms of My Grandchildren, Dr. James Hansen, the nation's leading scientist on climate issues, speaks out for the first time with the full truth about global warming: the planet is hurtling even more rapidly than previously acknowledged to a climatic point of no return. Although Hansen was Al Gore's science advisor for "An Inconvenient Truth," his recent data shows that our situation is even more dire today. But politicians haven't made the connection between the policy and the science. He shows why Gore's solution, cap and trade, won't work, why we must phase out all coal, and why 350 ppm of carbon is a goal we must achieve in the next two decades if our grandchildren are to avoid global meltdown and the storms of the book's title. This urgent manifesto bucks conventional wisdom (including the Kyoto Protocol) and is sure to stir controversy, but Hansen—whose climate predictions have come to pass again and again, beginning in the 1980s when he first warned Congress about global warming—is the single most credible voice on the subject worldwide, and this book is sure to receive enormous attention.

Hansen paints a devastating but all-too-realistic picture of what will happen in the next year, and ten years from now if we follow the course we're on. But he is also an optimist, showing that there is still time to do what we need to do. Urgent, strong action is needed, and this book, released just before the Copenhagen Conference in December 2009, will be key in setting the agenda going forward to create a groundswell, a tipping point, to save humanity—and our grandchildren--from a dire fate more imminent than we had supposed.
Visit the Storms of My Grandchildren website.

Friday, December 11, 2009

"To Hellholes and Back"

New from Holt Paperbacks: To Hellholes and Back: Bribes, Lies, and the Art of Extreme Tourism by Chuck Thompson.

About the book, from the publisher:

The guru of extreme tourism sets out to face his worst fears in Africa, India, Mexico City, and—most terrifying of all—at Disney World

In the widely-acclaimed Smile When You’re Lying, Chuck Thompson laid bare the travel industry’s dirtiest secrets. Now he’s out to discover if some of the world’s most ill-reputed destinations live up to their bad raps, while confronting a few of his own travel anxieties in the process. Whether he’s traveling across the Congo with a former bodyguard from notorious dictator Joseph Mobutu’s retinue or diving into the heart of India’s monsoon season, To Hellholes and Back delivers Thompson’s trademark combination of hilarious stories and wildly provocative opinions, as well as some surprising observations about America’s evolving place in the world.
Visit Chuck Thompson's website.

Writers Read: Chuck Thompson.

"Deeper Than the Dead"

New from Dutton: Deeper Than the Dead by Tami Hoag.

About the book, from the publisher:

Tami Hoag is in a class by herself, beloved by readers and critic s alike, with more than 22 million copies of her books in print. With Hoag’s first novel for Dutton, she proves anew why the Chicago Tribune called her “one of the most intense suspense writers around.”

California, 1984. Three children, running in the woods behind their school, stumble upon a partially buried female body, eyes and mouth glued shut. Close behind the children is their teacher, Anne Navarre, shocked by this discovery and heartbroken as she witnesses the end of their innocence. What she doesn’t yet realize is that this will mark the end of innocence for an entire community, as the ties that bind families and friends are tested by secrets uncovered in the wake of a serial killer’s escalating activity.

Detective Tony Mendez, fresh from a law enforcement course at FBI headquarters, is charged with interpreting those now revealed secrets. He’s using a new technique—profiling—to develop a theory of the case, a strategy that pushes him ever deeper into the lives of the three children, and closer to the young teacher whose interest in recent events becomes as intense as his own.

As new victims are found and the media scrutiny of the investigation bears down on them, both Mendez and Navarre are unsure if those who suffer most are the victims themselves—or the family and friends of the killer, blissfully unaware that someone very close to them is a brutal, calculating psychopath.
Visit Tami Hoag's website.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

"Talking About Detective Fiction"

New from Knopf: Talking About Detective Fiction by P. D. James.

About the book, from the publisher:

In a perfect marriage of author and subject, P. D. James—one of the most widely admired writers of detective fiction at work today—gives us a personal, lively, illuminating exploration of the human appetite for mystery and mayhem, and of those writers who have satisfied it.

P. D. James examines the genre from top to bottom, beginning with the mysteries at the hearts of such novels as Charles Dickens’s Bleak House and Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White, and bringing us into the present with such writers as Colin Dexter and Henning Mankell. Along the way she writes about Arthur Conan Doyle, Dorothy L. Sayers, Agatha Christie (“arch-breaker of rules”), Josephine Tey, Dashiell Hammett, and Peter Lovesey, among many others. She traces their lives into and out of their fiction, clarifies their individual styles, and gives us indelible portraits of the characters they’ve created, from Sherlock Holmes to Sara Paretsky’s sexually liberated female investigator, V. I. Warshawski. She compares British and American Golden Age mystery writing. She discusses detective fiction as social history, the stylistic components of the genre, her own process of writing, how critics have reacted over the years, and what she sees as a renewal of detective fiction—and of the detective hero—in recent years.

There is perhaps no one who could write about this enduring genre of storytelling with equal authority and flair: it is essential reading for every lover of detective fiction.


New from Del Rey: Spellbent by Lucy A. Snyder.

About the book, from the publisher:

In the heart of Ohio, Jessie Shimmer is caught up in hot, magic-drenched passion with her roguish lover, Cooper Marron, who is teaching her how to tap her supernatural powers. When they try to break a drought by calling down a rainstorm, a hellish portal opens and Cooper is ripped from this world, leaving Jessie fighting for her life against a vicious demon that's been unleashed.

In the aftermath, Jessie, who knows so little about her own true nature, is branded an outlaw. She must survive by her wits and with the help of her familiar, a ferret named Palimpsest. Stalked by malevolent enemies, Jessie is determined to find out what happened to Cooper. But when she moves heaven and earth to find her man, she'll be shocked by what she discovers—and by what she must ultimately do to save them all.
Visit Lucy A. Snyder's website.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

"The Pillow Book of Lotus Lowenstein"

New from Delacorte Books for Young Readers: The Pillow Book of Lotus Lowenstein by Libby Schmais.

About the book, from the publisher:

Lotus Lowenstein's life is merde. She dreams of moving to Paris and becoming an existentialist. Yet here she is trapped in Park Slope, Brooklyn, with a New-Agey mom, an out-of-work dad, and a chess champion brother who dreams of being a rock star. Merci à Dieu for Lotus’s best friend, Joni, who loves French culture enough to cofound their high school’s first French Club with Lotus. At the first meeting, the cutest boy in the world walks in. His name is Sean, and he too loves French culture and worships Jean-Paul Sartre.

At first, Lotus thinks Sean is the best thing to happen to her in years. He’s smart, cultured, and adorable. Unfortunately, though, Joni feels the same way. And having an existentialist view of love, Sean sees nothing wrong with enjoying both girls’ affections. Things come to a head when all three depart for Montreal with their teacher, Ms. G, on the French Club’s first official field trip. Will Sean choose Joni over Lotus? And will Lotus and Joni’s friendship ever recover?
Visit Libby Schmais' website.

"Bryant & May on the Loose"

New from Bantam: Bryant & May on the Loose: A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery by Christopher Fowler.

About the book, from the publisher:

The Peculiar Crimes Unit is no more. After years of defying the odds and infuriating their embarrassed superiors, detectives Arthur Bryant and John May have at last crossed the line. This is the twenty-first century and not even their eccentric genius or phenomenal success rate solving London’s most unusual crimes can save them. While Bryant takes to his bed, his bathrobe, and his esoteric books, the rest of the team take to the streets looking for new careers—leading one of them to stumble upon a gruesome murder.

It isn’t so much the discovery of the headless corpse that’s potentially so politically explosive as where it’s found. Still it takes the bizarre sightings of a great horned creature—half man, half stag—carrying off young women to convince Bryant that this is a case worth getting dressed and leaving the house to solve. The Home Office has reluctantly authorized the PCU to reunite for one last encore performance—in a rented office with no computer network, no legal authority, and a broken toilet. They’ve got until the end of the week to solve a murder with unlikely links to gangland crime, Slavic mythology, the 2012 London Olympics, and the sort of corruption only obscene amounts of money and power can buy.

It’s the kind of case that Bryant and May live to solve—and it could be just the case that kills them.
Read Dick Adler's take on the novel and series at The Rap Sheet.

Learn more about the book and author at Christopher Fowler's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: The Victoria Vanishes.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

"The Gift of Murder"

New from Wolfmont Press: The Gift of Murder: An Anthology of Winter Holiday Crime Stories to Benefit Toys for Tots®.

About the book, from the publisher:

Wolfmont has, for the last three years, published anthologies of short crime fiction, with the theme of crimes around the winter holiday season. By the sale of those books, we have been able to donate a total of over $6,600 to the Toys for Tots Foundation.

This fourth book will be our largest thus far to help Toys for Tots, with 278 pages of great stories.

The 2009 anthology contains nineteen fantastic stories of winter holiday crime from some very talented and generous authors.
Contributors include Bill Crider and Elizabeth Zelvin.

"Final Exam"

New from Minotaur Books: Final Exam by Maggie Barbieri.

About the book, from the publisher:

St. Thomas, the small college north of New York City where Professor Alison Bergeron teaches, has had its share of scandals involving both its students and its staff, not to mention Alison herself, so when a resident director goes missing the administration wants to keep a lid on it. With only five weeks left in the semester and no time to interview replacements, Alison is tapped for the job. An alumna of the college, Alison knows all about living in the dorms. Even a short stay is like doing hard time, and she will do anything to avoid reliving her college days any more than she has to.

Her only way out: Track down the reluctant RD and drag him back kicking and screaming if need be. Luckily, she doesn’t have to look further than the drugs he had hidden in his bathroom to get her boyfriend, Detective Bobby Crawford, on the case.

With plenty of sneaking around both on campus and off, Alison and Bobby link up once again in Final Exam, the wildest adventure yet from this outstanding mystery talent.
Visit Maggie Barbieri's website.