Saturday, February 28, 2009

"A Drop of Red"

New from Ace/Penguin: A Drop of Red by Chris Marie Green.

About the book, from the publisher:

If you run out of vampires to destroy at home, there’s always work overseas…

Hollywood stuntwoman-turned-vampire-hunter Dawn Madison, along with her comrades, managed to wipe out the Los Angeles Vampire Underground—and uncovered not only her own dark family heritage but also a terrible truth about the man she loves. Now she’s determined to find the next vampire lair, hoping it will help her to make more sense out of her life.

When a new Underground is found in England, Dawn and a vampire-fighting team are dispatched to carry the fight to the enemy in London. Dawn knows by now how deceiving appearances can be—and she is about to find out that it’s not only the beautiful people of Hollywood who are willing to bargain with evil…
A Drop of Red is Book Four in the Vampire Babylon series: Night Rising, Book One, was reissued in mass market format on January 27, 2009, and Midnight Reign and Break of Dawn are already available in trade editions.

Visit Chris Marie Green's website.

My Book, The Movie: the Vampire Babylon series.

"Piercing the Veil"

New from Atlas Books: Piercing the Veil by Jacqueline Fullerton.

About the book, from the publisher:

"Tim's a snake. Be careful, Anne. This man will stop at nothing to get what he wants." In the tradition of Iris Johannsen, Jacqueline Fullerton weaves the supernatural and human greed into a tale of murder set against the backdrop of a sleepy little college town. Piercing the Veil has the unlikely crime-solving duo of court reporter Anne Marshall and her father's ghost investigating Tim Sherman, a divorcing wealthy businessman suspected of hiding assets in an offshore account. In the process of trying to prove his deception, the duo may have set into motion events that result in the murder of a key witness in his divorce trial. Compelled by guilt to solve the murder, Anne Marshall and the dearly departed stumble into the killer's path, putting Anne's own life in jeopardy. You will fall in love with Anne Marshall and friends in this first of Jacqueline Fullerton's murder mysteries.
Visit Jacqueline Fullerton's website.

Friday, February 27, 2009

"The Lost City of Z"

New from Doubleday: The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann.

About the book, from the publisher:

A grand mystery reaching back centuries. A sensational disappearance that made headlines around the world. A quest for truth that leads to death, madness or disappearance for those who seek to solve it. The Lost City of Z is a blockbuster adventure narrative about what lies beneath the impenetrable jungle canopy of the Amazon.

After stumbling upon a hidden trove of diaries, acclaimed New Yorker writer David Grann set out to solve "the greatest exploration mystery of the twentieth century": What happened to the British explorer Percy Fawcett and his quest for the Lost City of Z?

In 1925 Fawcett ventured into the Amazon to find an ancient civilization, hoping to make one of the most important discoveries in history. For centuries Europeans believed the world’s largest jungle concealed the glittering kingdom of El Dorado. Thousands had died looking for it, leaving many scientists convinced that the Amazon was truly inimical to humankind. But Fawcett, whose daring expeditions helped inspire Conan Doyle’s The Lost World, had spent years building his scientific case. Captivating the imagination of millions around the globe, Fawcett embarked with his twenty-one-year-old son, determined to prove that this ancient civilization—which he dubbed “Z”—existed. Then he and his expedition vanished.

Fawcett’s fate—and the tantalizing clues he left behind about “Z”—became an obsession for hundreds who followed him into the uncharted wilderness. For decades scientists and adventurers have searched for evidence of Fawcett’s party and the lost City of Z. Countless have perished, been captured by tribes, or gone mad. As David Grann delved ever deeper into the mystery surrounding Fawcett’s quest, and the greater mystery of what lies within the Amazon, he found himself, like the generations who preceded him, being irresistibly drawn into the jungle’s “green hell.” His quest for the truth and his stunning discoveries about Fawcett’s fate and “Z” form the heart of this complex, enthralling narrative.
Visit David Grann's website.

"Appetite for Self-Destruction"

New from Free Press: Appetite for Self-Destruction: The Spectacular Crash of the Record Industry in the Digital Age by Steve Knopper.

About the book, from the publisher:

For the first time, Appetite for Self-Destruction recounts the epic story of the precipitous rise and fall of the recording industry over the past three decades, when the incredible success of the CD turned the music business into one of the most glamorous, high-profile industries in the world -- and the advent of file sharing brought it to its knees. In a comprehensive, fast-paced account full of larger-than-life personalities, Rolling Stone contributing editor Steve Knopper shows that, after the incredible wealth and excess of the '80s and '90s, Sony, Warner, and the other big players brought about their own downfall through years of denial and bad decisions in the face of dramatic advances in technology.

Big Music has been asleep at the wheel ever since Napster revolutionized the way music was distributed in the 1990s. Now, because powerful people like Doug Morris and Tommy Mottola failed to recognize the incredible potential of file-sharing technology, the labels are in danger of becoming completely obsolete. Knopper, who has been writing about the industry for more than ten years, has unparalleled access to those intimately involved in the music world's highs and lows. Based on interviews with more than two hundred music industry sources -- from Warner Music chairman Edgar Bronfman Jr. to renegade Napster creator Shawn Fanning -- Knopper is the first to offer such a detailed and sweeping contemporary history of the industry's wild ride through the past three decades. From the birth of the compact disc, through the explosion of CD sales in the '80s and '90s, the emergence of Napster, and the secret talks that led to iTunes, to the current collapse of the industry as CD sales plummet, Knopper takes us inside the boardrooms, recording studios, private estates, garage computer labs, company jets, corporate infighting, and secret deals of the big names and behind-the-scenes players who made it all happen.

With unforgettable portraits of the music world's mighty and formerly mighty; detailed accounts of both brilliant and stupid ideas brought to fruition or left on the cutting-room floor; the dish on backroom schemes, negotiations, and brawls; and several previously unreported stories, Appetite for Self-Destruction is a riveting, informative, and highly entertaining read. It offers a broad perspective on the current state of Big Music, how it got into these dire straits, and where it's going from here -- and a cautionary tale for the digital age.
Read the prologue to Appetite for Self-Destruction.

Visit Steve Knopper's website.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

"A Sunday in God-Years"

New from the University of Arkansas Press: A Sunday in God-Years: Poems by Michelle Boisseau.

About the book, from the publisher:

A Sunday in God-Years takes its title from the notion that if we consider ourselves inside the long stretch of geologic time, human history happens in the blink of God's eye as he rolls over during a Sunday nap. The book is centered around the long poem "A Reckoning" made up of fifteen shorter poems/sections (some sections are documents like wills and runaway slave notices). This long poem tries to reckon and recognize the sticky webs that bind the heirs of those who were slave holders (like the Boisseaus) and of those who were held as slaves.

"A Reckoning" builds the context for the rest of the book which, among other things, looks through the metaphors from geology to confront the historic and personal: Boisseau's paternal ancestors fled religious persecution in France in 1685 and soon after their arrival in Virginia became entangled in slave ownership. When one looks on human history through the lens of geologic time, when one shifts the scale from the now and near to the distant, and takes a sky-perch, like God, some fascinating things begins to happens. Looking down on us from a satellite, from a conjectural place in deeper spaces from which our cameras have never looked, or from a moment long before humans ventured from trees, human history is thrillingly diminished and immediate human compassion becomes essential as air.
Read a sample poem from the collection, "Sandcastle Guarded by a Cicada Shell."

"Made to Be Broken"

New from Bantam: Made to Be Broken by Kelley Armstrong.

About the book, from the publisher:

The author of the acclaimed Women of the Otherworld series returns with her latest novel featuring an exciting heroine with a lethal hidden talent. This time she’s hot on the trail of a young woman no one else cares about—and a killer who’s bound to strike again.

Nadia Stafford isn’t your typical nature lodge owner. An ex-cop with a legal code all her own, she’s known only as “Dee” to her current employer: a New York crime family that pays her handsomely to bump off traitors. But when Nadia discovers that a troubled teenage employee and her baby have vanished in the Canadian woods, the memory of a past loss comes back with a vengeance and her old instincts go into overdrive.

With her enigmatic mentor, Jack, covering her back, Nadia unearths sinister clues that point to an increasingly darker and deadlier mystery. Now, with her obsession over the case deepening, the only way Nadia can right the wrongs of the present is to face her own painful ghosts—and either bury them for good, or die trying. Because in her book everyone deserves a chance. And everyone deserves justice.
Read the My Book, The Movie entry for Exit Strategy, the first "Nadia Stafford" novel.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

"Mixed Blood"

New from Henry Holt: Mixed Blood by Roger Smith.

About the book, from the publisher:

An American fugitive hides out in Cape Town—one of the world’s most beautiful and violent cities—in this riveting debut thriller that asks: Can you ever outrun your past?

Reluctant bank robber Jack Burn is on the run after a heist in the United States that left $3 million missing and one cop dead. Hiding out in Cape Town, South Africa, he is desperate to build a new life for his pregnant wife and young son. But on a tranquil evening in their new suburban neighborhood they are the victims of a random gangland assault that changes everything.

Benny Mongrel, an ex-con night watchman guarding a building site next to Burn’s home, is another man desperate to escape his past. After years in the ghetto gangs of Cape Town he knows who went into Burn’s house. And what the American did to them. He also knows his only chance to save his own brown skin is to forget what he saw.

Burn’s actions on that night trap them both in a cat-and-mouse game with Rudi "Gatsby" Barnard—a corrupt Afrikaner cop who loves killing almost as much as he loves Jesus Christ—and Disaster Zondi, a fastidious Zulu detective who wishes to settle an old score. Once Gatsby smells those missing American millions, the four men are drawn into a web of murder and vengeance that builds to an unforgettable conclusion.
Read two chapters of the book, watch a video, and see photographs of the world of Mixed Blood at Roger Smith's website.

"Cutting for Stone"

New from Knopf: Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese.

About the book, from the publisher:

A sweeping, emotionally riveting first novel—an enthralling family saga of Africa and America, doctors and patients, exile and home.

Marion and Shiva Stone are twin brothers born of a secret union between a beautiful Indian nun and a brash British surgeon at a mission hospital in Addis Ababa. Orphaned by their mother’s death in childbirth and their father’s disappearance, bound together by a preternatural connection and a shared fascination with medicine, the twins come of age as Ethiopia hovers on the brink of revolution. Yet it will be love, not politics—their passion for the same woman—that will tear them apart and force Marion, fresh out of medical school, to flee his homeland. He makes his way to America, finding refuge in his work as an intern at an underfunded, overcrowded New York City hospital. When the past catches up to him—nearly destroying him—Marion must entrust his life to the two men he thought he trusted least in the world: the surgeon father who abandoned him and the brother who betrayed him.

An unforgettable journey into one man’s remarkable life, and an epic story about the power, intimacy, and curious beauty of the work of healing others.
Read an excerpt from Cutting for Stone.

Visit Abraham Verghese's website.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

"Out at Night"

New from St. Martin's Minotaur: Out at Night by Susan Arnout Smith.

About the book, from the publisher:

It’s the dead of night, and Professor Thaddeus Bartholomew is frantically crawling through a field to stay alive. With mere moments to act, he has only enough time to type out a text message—a name—before his stalker overcomes him. Later he’s found with a hole in his chest, shot with a crossbow, and burned to death.

Meanwhile, San Diego crime scene tech Grace Descanso has gone on vacation with her daughter, but the FBI feels far from guilty about interrupting them after her name turns up on the professor’s phone. Grace knows vaguely who he is, but can’t imagine why his dying act would involve her in any way—not that it matters. The FBI won’t let her walk away; she can either join the investigation or become a suspect in it. Soon, political leaders and extremists will converge at the world’s largest agricultural conference, and all signs indicate that Bartholomew’s brutal murder in a field of genetically modified soy is just the beginning of something much larger than one man’s death.

A gripping sequel to her heart-racing series debut, The Timer Game, Susan Arnout Smith’s Out at Night entangles Grace in a sweeping conspiracy that hits her dangerously close to home.
Learn more about the author and her work at Susan Arnout Smith's website and the Out at Night webpage.

The Page 69 Test: The Timer Game.

"Angels' Blood"

New from Berkley: Angels' Blood by Nalini Singh.

About the book, from the publisher:

Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux knows she's the best—but she doesn't know if she's good enough for this job. Hired by the dangerously beautiful Archangel Raphael, a being so lethal that no mortal wants his attention, only one thing is clear—failure is not an option...even if the task is impossible.

Because this time, it's not a wayward vamp she has to track. It's an archangel gone bad.

The job will put Elena in the midst of a killing spree like no other...and pull her to the razor's edge of passion. Even if the hunt doesn't destroy her, succumbing to Raphael's seductive touch just may. For when archangels play, mortals break...
Visit Nalini Singh's website and blog.

Monday, February 23, 2009

"The Deepest Cut"

New from Ballantine Books: The Deepest Cut by Dianne Emley.

About the book, from the publisher:

Back from the dead. That’s how it feels for Nan Vining–a Pasadena homicide cop, a struggling single mother, and a woman determined to find the brutal madman who left her for dead a year ago. Now, in Dianne Emley’s brilliant new thriller, Nan Vining must face the truth: her attacker is still out there and he’s killed at least three other women.

She has given a name to her unknown assailant: T. B. Mann–The Bad Man. On the job, Nan breaks rules and steals evidence, building a case file based on the dead certainty that T. B. Mann is obsessed with women who wear uniforms or carry guns, that he hunts them and kills them, then adorns them with a pearl necklace.

At the crime scene of her official assignment, the murder of an ex-con in a clown suit, Nan spots a graffiti tag and is sure, against all reason, that T. B. Mann was there, too. But she is fearful to share her suspicions.

Further complicating matters is Nan’s developing relationship with Detective Jim Kissick. In the grip of her secret obsession, she knows that opening her heart means losing control.

Within this sprawling panorama T. B. Mann reemerges, bringing Nan to the sudden, horrifying realization that her killer has baited the perfect trap.

Smart and gut-wrenching, deeply felt and passionate, The Deepest Cut startles and astounds from the first page to the last.
Visit Dianne Emley's website.

"The Rose Variations"

New from Soho Press: The Rose Variations by Marisha Chamberlain.

About the book, from the publisher:

In 1975, twenty-five-year-old Rose MacGregor moves to St. Paul, Minnesota, with nothing but a few books, her cello, and a temporary professorship at a Midwestern college. The only woman in the music department, the other professors refer to her derisively as "the Girl Composer," but she believes that a brilliant career writing music lies ahead.

Passionately focused on her art, she also longs to find love, but her fierce independence always seems to get in the way of romantic relationships. Struggling with loneliness and ambition, she gets tangled up with a gay colleague, a self-made stonemason, a lesbian cellist, and the troubles of her wayward younger sister, before finally finding happiness.
Visit Marisha Chamberlain's website.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

"Dark of Night"

New from Ballantine Books: Dark of Night by Suzanne Brockmann.

About the book, from the publisher:

Taking on the world’s deadliest criminals is what the elite security force Troubleshooters Incorporated does best. But now they face a new and powerful threat from their most lethal enemy yet–a shadowy government outfit known only as The Agency.

For years, operative James Nash has performed ultra-covert “Black Ops” missions for The Agency, but when he decide to walk away from their dirty work, his corrupt bosses aren’t about to let him go. After Nash is nearly assassinated, Troubleshooters team leader Lawrence Decker launches a skillful deception to neutralize the threat and protect his friend. With the FBI’s help, Decker fakes Nash’s death, then brings him to a safe house with his fiancée, Tess Bailey, to recover from his injuries and strategize their next move.

Only a handful of people know that Nash is still alive–and fellow Troubleshooters Dave Malkoff, Sophia Ghaffari, and receptionist Tracy Shapiro aren’t among them. Believing that Nash is dead and that Decker has begun a romantic relationship with Tess, Sophia settles for second best and begins a love affair with Dave, who has adored her for years. But Tracy puts two and two together, discovering the truth about Nash–much to Decker’s dismay.

As passions flare, Decker struggles to keep his scheme afloat, and to keep Nash alive. But when he finds himself targeted for death, the game turns even more perilous, and Sophia, Tracy, and Dave are swept into the deadly play. Under fire and racing to unmask their relentless adversary, the Troubleshooters know that the closer they get, the greater the risks. But sacrifices and consequences come with the territory. Forced to choose between love and loyalty, they are no longer just solving a crime–they’re fighting for survival.
Visit Suzanne Brockmann's website.

"Little Bee"

New from Simon & Schuster: Little Bee by Chris Cleave.

About the book, from the publisher:

WE DON'T WANT TO TELL YOU TOO MUCH ABOUT THIS BOOK.

It is a truly special story and we don't want to spoil it.

Nevertheless, you need to know something, so we will just say this:

It is extremely funny, but the African beach scene is horrific.

The story starts there, but the book doesn't.

And it's what happens afterward that is most important.

Once you have read it, you'll want to tell everyone about it. When you do, please don't tell them what happens either. The magic is in how it unfolds.
Read an excerpt from Little Bee.

Visit Chris Cleave's website.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

"The Accordionist's Son"

New from Graywolf Press: The Accordionist's Son by Bernardo Atxaga.

About the book, from the publisher:

David Imaz, the protagonist in The Accordionist’s Son, was raised in the village of Obaba and is now living in exile on a ranch in California. Nearing fifty and in failing health, he decides to write the story of his youth, a narrative that takes the reader from 1936 to 1999. David’s pastoral childhood in Obaba is ruptured when, as a teenager forced to learn the accordion (like his father), he finds a letter implicating his father in fascist activities during the Spanish Civil War, including the execution of local republican sympathizers. This letter leads to other discoveries—like the fact that David’s uncle opposed his father’s activities—and Obaba’s history slowly cracks open to reveal to David the political tensions still raw beneath the surface, and the long shadow cast by the war. With The Accordionist’s Son, Atxaga delivers a politically charged and deeply personal novel —It is his finest work to date.

"Posed for Murder"

New from St. Martin's Minotaur: Posed for Murder by Meredith Cole.

About the book, from the publisher:

Lydia McKenzie is an artist whose medium is the camera. She’s having her first one-woman show. It is a series that ties to actual murders committed in the city’s past. Her method is to find a model—someone who can match in a general way the actual female victim—and pose her in the clothes and position in which the actual victim was found. The night of her showing, however, is disappointing; the owner of the gallery makes her pay for the invitations down to the stamps, hang the whole show herself, and rush for the usual wine and snacks. But what happens next is much worse: two plainclothes policemen shut down the event and take Lydia in for questioning. A young woman whom she knew well, and who was the model in one of her photographs, has been murdered. Worried that the police aren’t doing what they should, Lydia and another friend set out to find the killer.

The winner of the celebrated St. Martin’s Minotaur/Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery Novel Competition, Posed for Murder presents a snapshot of crime in a lasting and memorable story.
Visit Meredith Cole's website.

Friday, February 20, 2009

"Crime of Fashion"

New from McClelland: Crime of Fashion by José Latour.

About the book, from the publisher:

Latour’s first novel since his immigration to Canada is a tale of heart-stopping action, deceit, and desperation that sees Elliot Steil race from Miami to Toronto to rescue a fashion model from her kidnappers

In Latour's latest novel Jenny Scheindlin, an ex-New York fashion model and daughter of Steil's former boss, has been kidnapped. The abductors choose Steil as intermediary in the negotiations to free her. Two Israeli agents formulate a devious plan to get the ransom to Toronto and bring Jenny home. But Steil is standing on quaking terrain, where nothing is as it seems, and no one can be trusted. Are the kidnappers members of the Islamic Army of Canada as they claim, or is Jenny the victim of an elaborate conspiracy? Is Steil himself a hero on a mission or a patsy who's walked right into a trap? As he tries to stay calm and one step ahead of a frightening and unknown nemesis, a noose is tightening around Steil's neck.

Crime of Fashion’s serpentine story and its mix of mystery, international espionage, and deceit make it a nail-biter. Latour is a master of suspense and surprises, and he’s writing at the top of his considerable powers in Crime of Fashion.
Visit José Latour's website.

At The Rap Sheet, Linda L. Richards wrote of Crime of Fashion: "[I]t’s wonderful. The story takes place mostly in Miami and Toronto and it involves fashion, espionage, and kidnapping. If it happens your way, grab hard and hold on: I finished it in just a couple of days ago and I still haven’t dreamed up any quibbles."

"Precious"

New from Random House: Precious by Sandra Novack.

About the book, from the publisher:

The summer of 1978, ten-year-old Vicki Anderson rides her bike to the local park and goes missing. Her tight-knit blue-collar Pennsylvania neighborhood, where children roam the streets at night playing lightning tag, aboveground pools sparkle in backyards, and flowers scent the air, will never be the same.

Down the street from Vicki’s house, another family is in crisis. Troubled by her past, headstrong Natalia Kisch has abandoned her husband and two daughters for another man. Frank Kisch, grappling with his anger, is left to raise their girls alone, oblivious to his daughters’ struggles with both disappearances: Eva, seventeen, plunges into an affair with her married high school teacher, and nine-year-old Sissy escapes to a world of imagination and storytelling that becomes so magical it pierces the reality of the everyday.

When Natalia unexpectedly returns, the struggles and tensions that have built over the summer erupt into a series of events that change the Kisches irrevocably—forcing them to piece together their complicated pasts and commitments to each other.

In this haunting, atmospheric debut, Sandra Novack examines loss, loyalty, and a family in crisis. Lyrical and elegiac, Precious illuminates our attempts to make sense of the volatility that surrounds and consumes us, and explores our ability, even during the most trying times, to remember and hold on to those we love most.
Visit Sandra Novack's website.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

"Dream House"

New from Harper: Dream House by Valerie Laken.

About the book, from the publisher:

Dream House is a riveting debut novel that tells the story of a domestic drama that will forever change the lives of two families.

One terrible night. One outraged act. What price will people pay to hold their homes and dreams together?

When Kate and Stuart Kinzler buy a run-down, historic house in Ann Arbor, Michigan, they're looking for a decent remodeling investment and a little space in which to rekindle their troubled marriage. Instead they discover that their home was the scene of a terrible crime many years ago—a revelation that tips the balance of their precarious union.

When a mysterious man begins lurking around her yard, Kate—now alone—is forced to confront her home's dangerous past. Hers is not the only life that has crumbled under this roof. But the stranger who has returned to this house—once his own childhood home—is in search of something Kate may never fully understand.

Featuring a diverse cast of characters and building to an unforgettable climax, Dream House embraces the volatile issues of race and class to chart the concentric effects of one fateful decision—a moment of rage that will echo forever within these four walls.
Visit Valerie Laken's website and blog.

"Blood and Ice"

New from Bantam: Blood and Ice by Robert Masello.

About the book, from the publisher:

In this haunting and suspenseful thriller, Robert Masello delivers an adventure that spans continents and centuries—a spellbinding story that ranges from Victorian England to a remote antarctic research station, where an ancient glacier yields a shocking prize it has held captive for nearly two hundred years….

Journalist Michael Wilde—his world recently shattered by tragedy—hopes that a monthlong assignment to the South Pole will give him a new lease on life. Here, in the most inhospitable place on earth, he is simply looking to find solace . . . until, on a routine dive in to the polar sea, he unexpectedly finds something else entirely: a young man and woman, bound with chains and sealed forever in a block of ice. Beside them a chest filled with a strange, and sinister, cargo.

Now, in a bleak but breathtaking world of shimmering icebergs, deep blue crevasses, and never-ending sun, Wilde must unravel the mystery of this doomed couple. Were they the innocent victims of fear and superstition—or were they something far darker? His search will lead from the barracks and battlefields of the Crimean War to the unexplored depths of the Antarctic Ocean, from the ill-fated charge of the Light Brigade to an age-old curse that survives to this day.

As the ice around the murdered lovers begins to melt, Wilde will have to grapple with a miracle—or a nightmare—in the making. For what is dead, it turns out, may not be gone. And here, at the very end of the known world, there’s nowhere to hide and no place left for the living to run.
Visit Robert Masello's website.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

"Stranger"

New from Harlequin/Spice: Stranger by Megan Hart.

About the book, from the publisher:

I pay strangers to sleep with me. I have my reasons….

But they're not the ones you'd expect.

For starters, I'm a funeral director taking over my dad's business. Not exactly the kind of person you'd expect to fork over cash for the lust and urgency only live skin-to-skin contact can create. Looking at me, you wouldn't have a clue I carry this little secret so close it creases up like the folds of a fan. Tight. Personal. Ready to unravel in the heat of the moment.

Unsurprisingly, my line of work brings me face-to-face with loss. So I decided long ago that paying for sex would be one of the best (and arousing) ways to save myself from the one thing that would eventually cut far too deep.

But Sam was a mistake. Literally. I signed on to ""pick up"" a stranger at a bar, but took Sam home instead. And now that I've felt his heat, his sweat and everything else, can I really go back to impersonal?

Let's just hope he never finds out about my other life.…
Visit Megan Hart's website.

"Mother in the Middle"

New from Touchstone: Mother in the Middle: A Biologist's Story of Caring for Parent and Child by Sybil Lockhart.

About the book, from the publisher:

Sybil Lockhart, a Berkeley neurobiologist, became a "mother in the middle" when she was pregnant with her second daughter and her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. What makes Sybil's story different, and so powerful, is that she understood the neurological processes, by turns exciting and devastating, that were taking place in the brains of those she loved. Interweaving her scientific expertise with her own complicated emotions, she writes with elegant simplicity and breathtaking honesty about biology's inevitable, powerful effects on the people around her.

When her mother begins to show the first subtle signs of the disease that is slowly ravaging her brain, Sybil refuses to consider the possibility of dementia, insisting that all her mother needs is a daughter nearby. She relocates her young family to her beloved San Francisco Bay Area, where her memories of her mother and her childhood are deeply anchored. As Sybil sets about creating new memories against the backdrop of her past, the emerging undeniable truth about her mother's condition threatens to overwhelm her ability to maintain her career, nurture her marriage, raise her young daughter, and care for herself during her second pregnancy. Even though she appreciates the beauty of the dramatic biological processes at work inside the brains of her family members, she also understands their inevitable power, and she bravely describes the complicated emotions -- denial, rage, ambivalence, exhaustion -- that so many caregivers experience.

With a unique combination of science and intimate experience, Mother in the Middle is a story of mothers and daughters, science and creativity, and life's exquisite intertwining of love and loss.
Visit Sybil Lockhart's website.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

"Levittown"

New from Walker & Company: Levittown: Two Extraordinary Families, One Ruthless Tycoon, and the Fight for the American Dream by David Kushner.

About the book, from the publisher:

The dark side of the American dream: the true story of the first African-American family to move into the iconic suburb, Levittown, PA.

In the decade after World War II , one entrepreneurial family helped thousands of people buy into the American dream of owning a home. The Levitts—William, Alfred, and their father, Abe—pooled their talents to create storybook towns with affordable little houses. They laid out the welcome mat, but not to everyone. Levittown had a whites-only policy.

The events that unfolded in Levittown, PA, in the unseasonably hot summer of 1957 would rock the community. There, a white Jewish Communist family named Wechsler secretly arranged for a black family, the Myerses, to buy the pink house next door. The explosive reaction would transform their lives, and the nation, leading to the downfall of a titan and the integration of the most famous suburb in the world. Levittown is a story of hope and fear, invention and rebellion, and the power that comes when ordinary people take an extraordinary stand. And it is as relevant today, more than fifty years later, as it was then.
Visit David Kushner's website.

"The Sweet By and By"

New from William Morrow: The Sweet By and By by Todd Johnson.

About the book, from the publisher:

"I want you to know something if you don't already. Life is choosing whom and what you love. Everything else follows..."

Among the longleaf pines and family farms of eastern North Carolina, days seem to pass without incident for Margaret Clayton and Bernice Stokes until they discover each other in a friendship that will take them on the most important journey of their lives. Margaret, droll and whip smart, has a will of iron that never fails her even when her body does, while Bernice, an avid country-music fan, is rarely lucid. Irreverent and brazen at every turn, they make a formidable pair at the home where they live, breaking all the rules and ultimately changing the lives of those around them. Lorraine, their churchgoing, God-questioning nurse, both protects and provokes them while they are under her watchful eye, as her daughter, April, bright and ambitious, determinedly makes her way through medical school. Rounding out the group of unlikely and often outrageous friends is Rhonda, the Bud-swilling beautician who does the ladies' hair on her day off and whose sassy talk hides a vulnerable heart, one that finally opens to love.

Weaving this tightly knit and compelling novel in alternating chapters, each woman gets to tell her story her own way, as all five learn to reconcile troubled pasts, find forgiveness, choose hope, and relish the joy of life. Rich with irresistible characters whose uniquely musical voices overflow the pages, The Sweet By and By is a testament to the truth that the most vibrant lives are not necessarily the most visible ones.
Visit Todd Johnson's website.

Monday, February 16, 2009

"Safer"

New from Delacorte Press: Safer by Sean Doolittle.

About the book, from the publisher:

From Dirt to The Cleanup, Sean Doolittle has dazzled critics and defied expectations, garnering bolder critical raves with each new novel. “Stylishly written” hailed the New York Times Book Review… “Superb” declared the Wall Street Journal… “Heart-stopping, gut-clenching, eye-opening” raved the Chicago Tribune. Now Doolittle fulfills all that promise—and more—in his latest novel, a powerhouse of suspense that will catch you off guard at every turn.…Because in Safer, a young couple moves into an idyllic little cul-de- sac—and ignites a harrowing journey into darkness as a shocking accusation is made, a family is shattered, and the mystery of a long-ago crime begins to unravel.

For Paul Callaway and his wife, Sara, moving from the East Coast to a quiet midwestern town was a major adjustment. But right from the start, Paul has tried to fit in. He’s played golf with the guys. He’s even joined the Neighborhood Patrol, grabbing a flashlight and a walkie-talkie to make these neatly tended streets even safer. Then Paul makes one mistake—and now they want him gone. But nothing could have prepared Paul and Sara for the quarrel that has erupted between Paul and a neighbor—the self-appointed leader of the Neighborhood Patrol. Or for the next outrage, as police arrest Paul for a sordid crime he didn’t commit. Suddenly Paul’s life, university career, and marriage are at risk, as he finds himself locked in a desperate fight with an angry man, a dark conspiracy, and a secret that began with a child’s disappearance ten years before.
Visit Sean Doolittle's website and blog.

"Dog on It"

New from Atria Books: Dog on It by Spencer Quinn.

About the book, from the publisher:

Meet Chet, the wise and lovable canine narrator of Dog on It, who works alongside Bernie, a down-on-his-luck private investigator. Chet might have flunked out of police school ("I'd been the best leaper in K-9 class, which had led to all the trouble in a way I couldn't remember exactly, although blood was involved"), but he's a detective through and through.

In this, their first adventure, Chet and Bernie investigate the disappearance of Madison, a teenage girl who may or may not have been kidnapped, but who has definitely gotten mixed up with some very unsavory characters. A well-behaved, gifted student, she didn't arrive home after school and her divorced mother is frantic. Bernie is quick to take the case -- something about a cash flow problem that Chet's not all that clear about -- and he's relieved, if vaguely suspicious, when Madison turns up unharmed with a story that doesn't add up. But when she disappears for a second time in a week, Bernie and Chet aren't taking any chances; they launch a full-blown investigation. Without a ransom demand, they're not convinced it's a kidnapping, but they are sure of one thing: something smells funny.

Their search for clues takes them into the desert to biker bars and other exotic locals, with Chet's highly trained nose leading the way. Both Chet and Bernie bring their own special skills to the hunt, one that puts each of them in peril. But even as the bad guys try to turn the tables, this duo is nothing if not resourceful, and the result is an uncommonly satisfying adventure.

With his doggy ways and his endearingly hardboiled voice, Chet is full of heart and occasionally prone to mischief. He is intensely loyal to Bernie, who, though distracted by issues that Chet has difficulty understanding -- like divorce, child custody, and other peculiar human concerns -- is enormously likable himself, in his flawed, all-too-human way.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

"Black Blood"

New from Spectra: Black Blood by John Meaney.

About the book, from the publisher:

From John Meaney, the author of Bone Song and “the most important new SF writer of the 21st century,”* comes a new novel, Black Blood. In it he offers his intoxicating blend of futuristic noir and gothic fantasy in a thriller that carries a cop with a personal vendetta across the barrier between life and death. Here, in a morbidly lush necropolis, he must stop a conspiracy of killers whose power is fueled by spilling…

He’s lucky to be alive. That’s what everyone tells him. Except Tristopolitan police lieutenant Donal Riordan doesn’t feel lucky and he isn’t really alive. In one horrific moment not even death can erase from memory, Donal lost the woman he loved even as her ultimate sacrifice saved his life. Now it’s literally her heart that beats in his chest and her murder that Donal “lives” to avenge.

While being a zombie cop has its upsides—including inhuman reaction time and razor-sharp senses—Donal’s new undead status makes him the target of Tristopolis’s powerful Unity Party, whose startling rise to power is built on a platform of antizombie paranoia and persecution. The Party is no friend, to be sure—but it’s the secret cabal known as the Black Circle and their stranglehold on the city’s elite that consume Donal’s black heart. For at the center of this ring of evil is the man responsible for his lover’s murder—a man Donal has already had to kill once before.

Now, with ominous reports of white wolf sightings throughout the city and a dangerous sabotage attempt at police headquarters, all signs indicate that the Black Circle is planning a magical coup d’état. And the terror will begin with a political assassination triggered by a necroninja already hidden… in a place no one expects.

For Donal, it’s no longer a matter of life and death but something far more serious. How can he stop a killer who won’t stay dead and an evil that death only makes stronger?

*Times (London)
Visit John Meaney's website.

"The Big Dirt Nap"

New from St. Martin's Minotaur: The Big Dirt Nap by Rosemary Harris.

About the book, from the publisher:

A hit with mystery lovers and gardening fans nationwide, Pushing Up Daisies introduced Paula Holliday, ex-NYC media exec turned Connecticut gardener, in Rosemary Harris’s celebrated series debut. Now in The Big Dirt Nap, Paula is back in a second scent-sational thriller.

Something stinks to Paula Holliday, and it isn’t just the corpse flower, titan arum, named for its off-putting fragrance. When Paula’s friend Lucy asks her to tag along on an all-expense-paid junket to the Titans Hotel, it seems like a good idea. Paula even manages to squeeze a few bucks and a byline out of the local paper for writing an article on the titan arum, a rare flower that’s just about to bloom and on display at the hotel.

But when her friend is unavoidably detained, a would-be suitor is found with a gaping hole in his head, and the corpse flower refuses to bloom, the entire venture starts to seem like less of a good idea.

Brimming with wit and wisecracks, The Big Dirt Nap is sure to win rising mystery star Rosemary Harris a whole new slew of ardent fans.
Visit Rosemary Harris' website and blog.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

"Flannery: A Life of Flannery O'Connor"

New from Little, Brown: Flannery: A Life of Flannery O'Connor by Brad Gooch.

About the book, from the publisher:

The landscape of American literature was fundamentally changed when Flannery O'Connor stepped onto the scene with her first published book, Wise Blood, in 1952. Her fierce, sometimes comic novels and stories reflected the darkly funny, vibrant, and theologically sophisticated woman who wrote them. Brad Gooch brings to life O'Connor's significant friendships--with Robert Lowell, Elizabeth Hardwick, Walker Percy, and James Dickey among others--and her deeply felt convictions, as expressed in her communications with Thomas Merton, Elizabeth Bishop, and Betty Hester. Hester was famously known as "A" in O'Connor's collected letters, The Habit of Being, and a large cache of correspondence to her from O'Connor was made available to scholars, including Brad Gooch, in 2006. O'Connor's capacity to live fully--despite the chronic disease that eventually confined her to her mother's farm in Georgia--is illuminated in this engaging and authoritative biography.

"Death by Leisure"

New from Grove Press: Death by Leisure: A Cautionary Tale by Chris Ayres.

About the book, from the publisher:

The intrepid young author of War Reporting for Cowards (“Hilarious” —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times) returns from his stint as a war correspondent only to dive headfirst into another absurd, terrifying world: the American leisure economy.

For Chris Ayres, the young British journalist whose first book, War Reporting for Cowards, was celebrated as “gripping” (People), “blushingly honest” (Los Angeles Times), and “hysterically funny” (CNN), life as a Hollywood correspondent is no celebrity junket. It’s a full-immersion gonzo experiment. After returning to Los Angeles from his undignified experience as an embedded journalist in Iraq—he lasted all of nine days—Ayres decides to trade the front lines of war for the front lines of the extreme leisure economy. Like Hunter Thompson crossed with one of David Brooks’s bobos in paradise, Ayres embeds himself in L.A.’s “leisuretocracy”: an over-the-top-everything world of caviar facials, billionaire charity balls, souped-up SUVs, and sketchy home loans ... not to mention $1,000-a-night brothels and dates with supermodels. But as the cost of Ayres’s lifestyle escalates—he officially becomes a “reverse millionaire”— a series of environmental and economic disasters begins to unfold around him. By the time he decides to change his ways, he fears it could already be too late. Told with the same blend of offbeat irreverence, genuine pathos, and incisive social commentary as War Reporting for Cowards, Ayres’s Death by Leisure is a savage and darkly humorous odyssey that taps directly into the contemporary psyche.
Visit Chris Ayres' website.

Friday, February 13, 2009

"Muhammad Ali: The Making of an Icon"

New from Temple University Press: Muhammad Ali: The Making of an Icon by Michael Ezra.

About the book, from the publisher:

Muhammad Ali (born Cassius Clay) has always engendered an emotional reaction from the public. From his appearance as an Olympic champion to his iconic status as a national hero, his carefully constructed image and controversial persona have always been intensely scrutinized. In Muhammad Ali, Michael Ezra considers the boxer who calls himself “The Greatest” from a new perspective. He writes about Ali’s pre-championship bouts, the management of his career and his current legacy, exploring the promotional aspects of Ali and how they were wrapped up in political, economic, and cultural “ownership.”

Ezra’s incisive study examines the relationships between Ali’s cultural appeal and its commercial manifestations. Citing examples of the boxer’s relationship to the Vietnam War and the Nation of Islam—which serve as barometers of his “public moral authority”—Muhammad Ali analyzes the difficulties of creating and maintaining these cultural images, as well as the impact these themes have on Ali’s meaning to the public.
Read an excerpt from Muhammad Ali: The Making of an Icon.

"Hater"

New from Thomas Dunne Books: Hater by David Moody.

About the book, from the publisher:

Soon to be a major motion picture—produced by Guillermo del Toro and directed by J.A. Bayona

REMAIN CALM DO NOT PANIC TAKE SHELTER WAIT FOR FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS THE SITUATION IS UNDER CONTROL Society is rocked by a sudden increase in the number of violent assaults on individuals. Christened 'Haters' by the media, the attackers strike without warning, killing all who cross their path. The assaults are brutal, remorseless and extreme: within seconds, normally rational, self-controlled people become frenzied, vicious killers. There are no apparent links as a hundred random attacks become a thousand, then hundreds of thousands. Everyone, irrespective of gender, age, race or any other difference, has the potential to become a victim - or a Hater. People are afraid to go to work, afraid to leave their homes and, increasingly, afraid that at any moment their friends, even their closest family, could turn on them with ultra violent intent. Waking up each morning, no matter how well defended, everyone must now consider the fact that by the end of the day, they might be dead. Or perhaps worse, become a killer themselves. As the status quo shifts, ATTACK FIRST, ASK QUESTIONS LATER becomes the order of the day... only, the answers might be much different than what you expect....

In the tradition of H. G. Wells and Richard Matheson, Hater is one man’s story of his place in a world gone mad— a world infected with fear, violence, and HATE.
Visit David Moody's website.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

"Script and Scribble"

New from Melville House Publishing: Script and Scribble: The Rise and Fall of Handwriting by Kitty Burns Florey.

About the book, from the publisher:

Steeped in the Palmer Method of Handwriting she learned in Catholic school, Kitty Burns Florey is a self-confessed “penmanship nut” who loves the act of taking pen to paper. So when she discovered that schools today forego handwriting drills in favor of teaching something called keyboarding, it gave her pause: “There is a widespread belief that, in a digital world, forming letters on paper with a pen is pointless and obsolete,” she says, “and anyone who thinks otherwise is right up there with folks who still have fallout shelters in their backyards.”

Florey tackles the importance of writing by hand and its place in our increasingly electronic society in this fascinating exploration of the history of handwriting. Weaving together the evolution of writing implements and scripts, pen-collecting societies, the golden age of American penmanship, the growth in popularity of handwriting analysis, and the many aficionados who still prefer scribbling on paper to tapping on keys, she asks the question: Is writing by hand really no longer necessary in today’s busy world?
Visit Kitty Burns Florey's website.

"The Laws of Harmony"

New from Harper Paperbacks: The Laws of Harmony by Judith R. Hendricks.

About the book, from the publisher:

Sunny Cooper has been running since she was eighteen—from the New Mexican commune where she grew up . . . and from the haunting memory of the freak accident that took the life of her younger sister. Now, at thirty-two, Sunny voices radio spots in Albuquerque while struggling to hold on to a floundering relationship. But when a second tragic accident—and the devastating truths that come to light in its aftermath—turns her world upside down, Sunny runs again.

In the town of Harmony on San Miguel Island, she takes a new job, learns to ride a motorcycle, and makes some surprising new friends. But the past is never far behind. A startling discovery—along with an emotional and revelatory reunion with her estranged mother—is forcing Sunny to step out from the shadows of yesterday to embrace an uncertain future.
Visit Judith R. Hendricks' website.

The Page 69 Test: The Laws of Harmony.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

"Potato: A History of the Propitious Esculent"

New from Yale University Press: Potato: A History of the Propitious Esculent by John Reader.

About the book, from the publisher:

The potato—humble, lumpy, bland, familiar—is a decidedly unglamorous staple of the dinner table. Or is it? John Reader’s narrative on the role of the potato in world history suggests we may be underestimating this remarkable tuber. From domestication in Peru 8,000 years ago to its status today as the world’s fourth largest food crop, the potato has played a starring—or at least supporting—role in many chapters of human history. In this witty and engaging book, Reader opens our eyes to the power of the potato.

Whether embraced as the solution to hunger or wielded as a weapon of exploitation, blamed for famine and death or recognized for spurring progress, the potato has often changed the course of human events. Reader focuses on sixteenth-century South America, where the indigenous potato enabled Spanish conquerors to feed thousands of conscripted native people; eighteenth-century Europe, where the nutrition-packed potato brought about a population explosion; and today’s global world, where the potato is an essential food source but also the world’s most chemically-dependent crop. Where potatoes have been adopted as a staple food, social change has always followed. It may be “just” a humble vegetable, John Reader shows, yet the history of the potato has been anything but dull.
Learn about John Reader's top 10 potato books.

"The Steel Remains"

New from Del Rey: The Steel Remains by Richard K. Morgan.

About the book, from the publisher:

In just a few short years, Richard K. Morgan has vaulted to the pinnacle of the science fiction world. Now he turns his iconoclastic talents to epic fantasy, crafting a darkly violent, tautly plotted adventure sure to thrill old fans and captivate new readers. The Steel Remains is the first of a trilogy–a stunning reinvention of the fantasy genre that places Morgan in the elite company of modern mythmakers like China Miéville and George R. R. Martin.

A dark lord will rise. Such is the prophecy that dogs the footsteps of Ringil Eskiath–Gil, for short–a washed-up mercenary and onetime war hero whose world-weary cynicism is surpassed only by the quickness of his temper and the speed of his sword. That sword, forged by a vanished eldritch race known as the Kiriath, has brought him unlooked-for notoriety, as has his habit of poking his nose where it doesn’t belong.

Gil is estranged from his aristocratic family, but that doesn’t stop his mother from enlisting his help in freeing a cousin sold into slavery. Grumbling all the way, Gil sets out to track her down. But it soon becomes apparent that more is at stake than the fate of one luckless young woman. Grim sorceries that have not been seen for centuries are awakening in the land. Some speak in whispers of the return of an all-but-legendary race known as the Aldrain, cruel yet beautiful demons feared even by the Kiriath.

Now Gil and two old comrades–Egar, a fierce warrior from the savage Majak tribes, and Archeth, a half-Kiriath fighter still mourning her departed brethren–are all that stand in the way of a prophecy whose fulfillment will drown an entire world in blood. But with heroes like these, the cure is likely to be worse than the disease.
Visit Richard K. Morgan's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Steel Remains.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

"Frankly, My Dear"

New from Yale University Press: Frankly, My Dear: "Gone with the Wind" Revisited by Molly Haskell.

About the book, from the publisher:

How and why has the saga of Scarlett O’Hara kept such a tenacious hold on our national imagination for almost three-quarters of a century? In the first book ever to deal simultaneously with Margaret Mitchell’s beloved novel and David Selznick’s spectacular film version of Gone with the Wind, film critic Molly Haskell seeks the answers. By all industry predictions, the film should never have worked. What makes it work so amazingly well are the fascinating and uncompromising personalities that Haskell dissects here: Margaret Mitchell, David Selznick, and Vivien Leigh. As a feminist and onetime Southern adolescent, Haskell understands how the story takes on different shades of meaning according to the age and eye of the beholder. She explores how it has kept its edge because of Margaret Mitchell’s (and our) ambivalence about Scarlett and because of the complex racial and sexual attitudes embedded in a story that at one time or another has offended almost everyone.

Haskell imaginatively weaves together disparate strands, conducting her story as her own inner debate between enchantment and disenchantment. Sensitive to the ways in which history and cinema intersect, she reminds us why these characters, so riveting to Depression audiences, continue to fascinate 70 years later.
Visit Molly Haskell's website.

"That Went Well"

New from Hyperion Books: That Went Well: Adventures in Caring for My Sister by Terrell Harris Dougan.

About the book, from the publisher:

Meet Terrell Dougan’s sister, Irene: a woman in her sixties who still believes in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny—but who also enjoys playing those characters for the children at the local hospital; whose favorite outfit, which she’ll sneak into whenever Terrell’s back is turned, consists of Mickey Mouse kneesocks and shorts; who wins over the neighborhood kids by hosting two fire trucks at her lemonade stand; whose fridge bears a magnet: NORMAL PEOPLE WORRY ME.

When Irene was born, her parents were advised to institutionalize her. They refused and instead became trailblazers in advocating for the rights of people with mental disabilities. The entire family benefited, with a life rich in stress, sorrows, hilarity, joy, and overwhelming kindness from strangers. Terrell has found that the only way to get through the difficult moments is to laugh—even in the most trying of times. In her moving, funny, and unforgettable memoir about life with Irene, Terrell Dougan shows that love, humor, and compassion are enough to heal us, every single day.
Visit Terrell Harris Dougan's website.

Monday, February 9, 2009

"Boca Knights"

New from Forge Books: Boca Knights by Steven M. Forman.

About the book, from the publisher:

In a debut novel sure to both excite passions and elicit laughter, a different kind of hero emerges in that most unlikely criminal hotbed: Boca Raton.

Eddie Perlmutter is capable of fighting with fearless frenzy, but only does so to defend the defenseless. Eddie’s career as a much-honored Boston cop has come to an end. At sixty, he’s still energetic and virile, but decades of harsh New England winters and collaring the pug-uglies of Boston’s underworld have taken their toll—especially on his knees. So what does a lonely, retired cop with arthritic knees do? Head to sunny Florida, of course.

Country-club politics and early-bird specials are a far cry from the street toughs, scuffles, and arrests of his former life. But some things never change. Instead of enjoying a relaxed, laid-back retirement, Eddie quickly discovers the darker side of Boca Raton’s endless sun and palm trees, where hate crimes, counterfeiting, and worse lurk beneath the deceptively calm surface of cushy retirement communities.

With his no-nonsense crime-fighting skills and roll-with-the punches attitude, Eddie hits Boca Raton like of a Nor’easter from Hell, fast, fresh, and unstoppable. A compulsively readable comic thriller with an egalitarian message that will inspire readers of all ages, Boca Knights will have readers in stitches and keep them on the edge of their seats.
Visit Steven M. Forman's website.

"Irreplaceable"

New from Hyperion Books: Irreplaceable by Stephen Lovely.

About the book, from the publisher:

One windy April afternoon, a young woman bicycles alone along a stretch of Iowa highway. She’s pedaling hard, hurrying to get home in time for dinner . . .

Alex Voormann is a cerebral thirty-year-old archaeologist married to the woman of his dreams—a beautiful, ambitious botanist named Isabel. When Isabel, an organ donor, is killed by a reckless driver, Alex reluctantly consents to donate her heart.

Janet Corcoran is a young, headstrong mother of two, an art teacher at an inner-city school in Chicago. Sick with heart disease, she is on the waiting list for a transplant, but her chances are slim. She watches the Weather Channel, secretly praying for foul weather and car accidents, a miracle. The day Isabel dies, she gets her wish.

Flash forward a year. Janet sends Alex a long letter. She’d like to learn something about the woman who saved her life. Alex isn’t interested in talking to the recipient of his dead wife’s heart. Since Isabel’s accident, he’s become grief-stricken and bewildered. His closest companion is his mother-in-law, Bernice. They spend their nights reminiscing about Isabel and hiding out from the world. Meanwhile, a local blues musician named Jasper, the man responsible for Isabel’s death, attempts to atone for his misdeed. Jasper is devastated by the knowledge that he destroyed a life but attracted to the idea that he was partially responsible for saving another life—Janet’s. He sees her as his ultimate salvation.

Irreplaceable is the story of what happens after the transplant—not only to Alex but within the concentric circles of family that spiral outward from him and from Janet. Stephen Lovely takes us vividly inside the lives of these characters to reveal their true intentions—however misguided—and gives us a stunning debut novel of loss and love.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

"The Manual of Detection"

New from The Penguin Press: The Manual of Detection by Jedediah Berry.

About the book, from the publisher:

In this tightly plotted yet mind- expanding debut novel, an unlikely detective, armed only with an umbrella and a singular handbook, must untangle a string of crimes committed in and through people’s dreams

In an unnamed city always slick with rain, Charles Unwin toils as a clerk at a huge, imperious detective agency. All he knows about solving mysteries comes from the reports he’s filed for the illustrious detective Travis Sivart. When Sivart goes missing and his supervisor turns up murdered, Unwin is suddenly promoted to detective, a rank for which he lacks both the skills and the stomach. His only guidance comes from his new assistant, who would be perfect if she weren’t so sleepy, and from the pithy yet profound Manual of Detection (think The Art of War as told to Damon Runyon).

Unwin mounts his search for Sivart, but is soon framed for murder, pursued by goons and gunmen, and confounded by the infamous femme fatale Cleo Greenwood. Meanwhile, strange and troubling questions proliferate: why does the mummy at the Municipal Museum have modern- day dental work? Where have all the city’s alarm clocks gone? Why is Unwin’s copy of the manual missing Chapter 18?

When he discovers that Sivart’s greatest cases— including the Three Deaths of Colonel Baker and the Man Who Stole November 12th—were solved incorrectly, Unwin must enter the dreams of a murdered man and face a criminal mastermind bent on total control of a slumbering city.

The Manual of Detection will draw comparison to every work of imaginative fiction that ever blew a reader’s mind—from Carlos Ruiz Zafón to Jorge Luis Borges, from The Big Sleep to The Yiddish Policeman’s Union. But, ultimately, it defies comparison; it is a brilliantly conceived, meticulously realized novel that will change what you think about how you think.
Visit Jedediah Berry's website.

"Drink, Play, F@#k"

New from Black Cat and Grove/Atlantic: Drink, Play, F@#k: One Man's Search for Anything Across Ireland, Las Vegas, and Thailand by Andrew Gottlieb.

About the book, from the publisher:

One man’s spiritual journey to rediscover how much he hates spiritual journeys

What’s a guy supposed to do when eight years of marriage end in a nasty divorce? How does he rediscover his manly essence after years of being forced to attend poetry readings, string quartet recitals, and pasta making courses? There is only one way: drink, play, and f@#k.

In Drink, Play, F@#k, Bob Sullivan, jilted husband, sets off to explore the world, have a few laughs, and kill a few brain cells. From his home in New York City, he goes on a bender across Ireland, pumps the action in Las Vegas, and basks in physical pleasures in Thailand. After a lifetime of playing it safe, he lives out man’s great fantasies. For who among us hasn’t dreamed of a drunken knife-throwing contest outside a Dublin pub? What could be more exhilarating than losing every penny you have because an Australian rules football team did something at the last second you don’t even understand? And what sensate creature could ever doubt that the greatest pleasure known to man can be found in a tropical hut on a secret beach at the end of an unnamed jungle road?

Mr. Sullivan has a lot to teach us about life. Let’s just pray we have the wisdom to put aside our preconceptions and listen. Because what he finds, with the help of his guru Rick, who sometimes sleeps in the bathroom at the YMCA, isn’t at all what he expected.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

"Nothing Right"

New from Bloomsbury USA: Nothing Right: Short Stories by Antonya Nelson.

About the book, from the publisher:

A collection of stories from one of the New Yorker’s “twenty young fiction writers of the new millennium,” a series of unforgettable glimpses into contemporary family life.

Set in the American Southwest, and featuring one previously unpublished story, Nothing Right shows one of our best writers working at the top of her game. Antonya Nelson’s stories are masterpieces: poignant, hilarious, truthful explorations of domesticity.

The artfully rendered characters in Nothing Right try to keep themselves intact as their personal lives explode around them. A mother and her teenage son finally find common ground when his girlfriend becomes pregnant. A woman leaves her husband and finds herself living with a stranger who is getting extensive plastic surgery while her best friend is dying of cancer. In “Or Else,” one of three short stories nominated for a National Magazine Award for the New Yorker, a man brings his girlfriend to a house he claims belongs to his family, only to have his lie exposed when one of the real owners comes home to scatter her father’s ashes.

These stories are sure to delight longtime fans and readers lucky enough to be just discovering Antonya Nelson.

"Security"

New from Farrar, Straus and Giroux: Security by Stephen Amidon.

About the book, from the publisher:

There isn’t much crime in Stoneleigh, Massachusetts. It’s a college town, a mountain getaway for the quietly rich, where the average burglar alarm is set off by wildlife. So when Edward Inman, owner of Stoneleigh Sentinel Security, gets a late-night alarm from the home of Doyle Cutler, one of his wealthiest clients, Edward thinks nothing of it—until a local student claims that she was sexually assaulted that same night at Cutler’s house.

From the author of Human Capital (“a wonderfully wicked satire on a twenty-first-century gilded age,” Chicago Tribune), Security is a timely, wry, and riveting story of adults and children, suspicion and sexual hysteria. It confirms Stephen Amidon as a master of the art and one of the foremost chroniclers of American life today.
Visit Stephen Amidon's website.

Friday, February 6, 2009

"Hot Springs"

New from Tin House: Hot Springs by Geoffrey Becker.

About the book, from the publisher:

Vibrant, sexy, and quite possibly crazy, Bernice is determined to reclaim the child she gave up for adoption five years ago. She convinces her boyfriend, Landis, to help carry out her plan, but once the abduction is accomplished, Bernice—whose own mother was given to manic episodes and strange behavior—is plagued with doubts. Will Landis stay with her, given her volatile personality and his own drifter past? Will she and Landis both end up in jail for this crime? And, perhaps most importantly, will she fail at being a mother? Dovetailed with this is the story of the conservative Christian adoptive parents, Tessa and David, and the effect the kidnapping has on their troubled marriage. As Bernice and Landis journey across America, from Colorado Springs to Tucson to Baltimore, Bernice must confront her past and the secrets she has kept.
Visit Geoffrey Becker's website.

"Pleasing the Dead"

New from Poisoned Pen Press: Pleasing the Dead by Deborah Turrell Atkinson.

About the book, from the publisher:

Some nasty predators dwell in paradise, and they aren’t all hiding in the azure waters. The day attorney Storm Kayama arrives in Kahului to help Lara Farrell set up her new dive shop, someone bombs a restaurant. When one of Lara’s employees, a recent Japanese immigrant, kills himself and one of his young daughters, Storm begins to ask questions.

The tentacles of the Yakuza, the dangerous, Japanese organized crime group, grip local businesses, real estate, and politics. Cunning and deadly, the clan leaders exploit underage women and eliminate anyone who dares face up to them.

Storm finds herself up against a lethal and faceless enemy, in a place where disposing of a victim is easy as dumping her in shark-infested waters.

But who is hunting whom? In a struggle to the death, Storm begins to realize that surviving doesn’t always mean living. For some, the ghosts of the past may be more painful than the anguish of the present.

Hawaii lawyer Storm Kayama must battle against the yakuza's presence and an ancient adherence to tradition to save more young girls from a terrible fate.
Visit Deborah Turell Atkinson's website.