Sunday, May 31, 2009

"They Carry a Promise"

New from Knopf: They Carry a Promise: Selected Poems by Janusz Szuber, translated by Ewa Hryniewicz-Yarbrough.

About the book, from the publisher:

This bracing collection marks the first appearance in English of the Polish poet Janusz Szuber, hailed as the greatest discovery in Polish poetry of the late twentieth century when, in his late forties, he began publishing the work he’d been producing for almost thirty years. Nobel Laureate Wislawa Szymborska has called him a “superb poet,” and Zbigniew Herbert said that “his poetry speaks to the hard part of the soul.”

Szuber is an intensely elegant writer whose poems are short and accessible; his work is poised between the rigors of making poetry and life itself in all its messy glory, between the devastations of history and the quiet act of observing our place in it all. “Grammar is my / Adopted country,” Szuber explains in one poem, yearning at the same time toward the physical, the breathing world: “I’d prefer something less ambiguous: / The bony parachutes of leaves, / The flame of goosefoot, from a frosty page / A star bent over me.” Throughout, there is an intense quiet and modesty to Szuber’s verse, whether he is observing the heron in flight, the froth of blossoming apple trees, or the human images in an old photo album. “Who will carve her fragile profile / in ivory . . . Who in truthful verse will briefly tell / of eternity, impermanent as a broken fan?”

In lovely, astute translations by Ewa Hryniewicz-Yarbrough, the poems in They Carry a Promise are an exhilarating introduction to the work of a contemporary Polish master.


New from Simon & Schuster: Impeached: The Trial of President Andrew Johnson and the Fight for Lincoln's Legacy.

About the book, from the publisher:

In 1868 Congress impeached President Andrew Johnson of Tennessee, the man who had succeeded the murdered Lincoln, bringing the nation to the brink of a second civil war. Enraged to see the freed slaves abandoned to brutal violence at the hands of their former owners, distraught that former rebels threatened to regain control of Southern state governments, and disgusted by Johnson's brawling political style, congressional Republicans seized on a legal technicality as the basis for impeachment -- whether Johnson had the legal right to fire his own secretary of war, Edwin Stanton.

The fiery but mortally ill Congressman Thaddeus Stevens of Pennsylvania led the impeachment drive, abetted behind the scenes by the military hero and president-in-waiting, General Ulysses S. Grant.

The Senate trial featured the most brilliant lawyers of the day, along with some of the least scrupulous, while leading political fixers maneuvered in dark corners to save Johnson's presidency with political deals, promises of patronage jobs, and even cash bribes. Johnson escaped conviction by a single vote.

David Stewart, the author of the highly acclaimed The Summer of 1787, the bestselling account of the writing of the Constitution, challenges the traditional version of this pivotal moment in American history. Rather than seeing Johnson as Abraham Lincoln's political heir, Stewart explains how the Tennessean squandered Lincoln's political legacy of equality and fairness and helped force the freed slaves into a brutal form of agricultural peonage across the South.

When the clash between Congress and president threatened to tear the nation apart, the impeachment process substituted legal combat for violent confrontation. Both sides struggled to inject meaning into the baffling requirement that a president be removed only for "high crimes and misdemeanors," while employing devious courtroom gambits, backstairs spies, and soaring rhetoric. When the dust finally settled, the impeachment process had allowed passions to cool sufficiently for the nation to survive the bitter crisis.

With the dramatic expansion of the powers of the presidency, and after two presidential impeachment crises in the last forty years, the lessons of the first presidential impeachment are more urgent than ever.
Visit David O. Stewart's website and blog.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

"The Family Man"

New from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: The Family Man by Elinor Lipman.

About the book, from the publisher:

A hysterical phone call from his ex-wife and a familiar face in a photograph upend Henry Archer's well-ordered life. They bring him back into contact with the child he adored, a short-term stepdaughter from a misbegotten marriage long ago. Henry is a lawyer, an old-fashioned man, gay, successful, lonely. Thalia is now twenty-nine, an actress-hopeful, estranged from her newly widowed crackpot mother, Denise, Henry's ex. Hoping it will lead to better things for her career, Thalia agrees to pose as the girlfriend of a former sitcom star and current horror-movie luminary who is down on his romantic luck. When Thalia and her complicated social life move into the basement of Henry's Upper West Side townhouse, she finds a champion in her long-lost father, and he finds new life--and maybe even new love--in the commotion.
Visit Elinor Lipman's website.

"The Bolter"

New from Knopf: The Bolter by Frances Osborne.

About the book, from the publisher:

She was irresistible. She inspired fiction, fantasy, legend, and art.

Some say she was “the Bolter” of Nancy Mitford’s novel The Pursuit of Love. She “played” Iris Storm in Michael Arlen’s celebrated novel about fashionable London’s lost generation, The Green Hat, and Greta Garbo played her in A Woman of Affairs, the movie made from Arlen’s book. She was painted by Orpen; photographed by Beaton; she was the model for Molyneaux’s slinky wraparound dresses that became the look fo the age—the Jazz Age.

Though not conventionally beautiful (she had a “shot-away chin”), Idina Sackville dazzled men and women alike, and made a habit of marrying whenever she fell in love—five husbands in all and lovers without number.

Hers was the age of bolters, and Idina was the most celebrated of them all.

Her father was the eighth Earl De La Warr. In a society that valued the antiquity of families and their money, hers was as old as a British family could be (eight hundred years earlier they had followed William the Conqueror from Normandy and been given enough land to live on forever . . . another ancestor, Lord De La Warr, rescued the starving Jamestown colonists in 1610, became governor of Virginia, and gave his name to the state of Delaware). Her mother’s money came from “trade”; Idina’s maternal grandfather had employed more men (85,000) than the British army and built one third of the world’s railroads.

Idina’s first husband was a dazzling cavalry officer, one of the youngest, richest, and best-looking of the available bachelors, with “two million in cash.” They had a seven-story pied-à-terre on Connaught Place overlooking Marble Arch and Hyde Park, as well as three estates in Scotland. Idina had everything in place for a magnificent life, until the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand caused the newlyweds’ world—the world they’d assumed would last forever—to collapse in less than a year.

Like Mitford’s Bolter, young Idina Sackville left her husband and children. But in truth it was her husband who wrecked their marriage, making Idina more a boltee than a bolter. Soon she found a lover of her own—the first of many—and plunged into a Jazz Age haze of morphine. She became a full-blown flapper, driving about London in her Hispano-Suiza, and pusing the boundaries of behavior to the breaking point. British society amy have adored eccentrics whose differences celebrated the values they cherished, but it did not embrace those who upset the order of things. And in 1918, just after the Armistice was signed, Idina Sackville bolted from her life in England and, setting out with her second husband, headed for Mombasa, in search of new adventure.

Frances Osborne deftly tells the tale of her great-grandmother using Idina’s never-before-seen letters; the diaries of Idina’s first husband, Euan Wallace; and stories from family members. Osborne follows Idina from the champagne breakfasts and thé dansants of lost-generation England to the foothills of Kenya’s Aberdare moutnains and the wild abandon of her role in Kenya’s disintegration postwar upper-class life. A parade of lovers, a murdered husband, chaos everywhere—as her madcap world of excess darkened and crumbled around her.
Visit Frances Osborne's website.

Friday, May 29, 2009


New from Bloomsbury USA: Methland: The Death and Life of an American Small Town by Nick Reding.

About the book, from the publisher:

The dramatic story of Methamphetamine as it comes to the American Heartland—at timely, moving, very human account of one community's attempt to confront the epidemic and see their way to a brighter future.

Crystal methamphetamine is widely considered to be the most dangerous drug in the world, and nowhere is that more true than in the small towns of the American heartland. Methland is the story of the drug as it infiltrates the community of Oelwein, Iowa (pop. 6,159), a once-thriving farming and railroad community. Tracing the connections between the lives touched by meth and the global forces that have set the stage for the epidemic, Methland offers a vital and unique perspective on a pressing contemporary tragedy.

Oelwein, Iowa is like thousand of other small towns across the county. It has been left in the dust by the consolidation of the agricultural industry, a depressed local economy and an out-migration of people. If this wasn't enough to deal with, an incredibly cheap, long-lasting, and highly addictive drug has come to town, touching virtually everyone's lives. Journalist Nick Reding reported this story over a period of four years, and he brings us into the heart of the town through an ensemble cast of intimately drawn characters, including: Clay Hallburg, the town doctor, who fights meth even as he struggles with his own alcoholism; Nathan Lein, the town prosecutor, whose case load is filled almost exclusively with meth-related crime, and Jeff Rohrick, who is still trying to kick a meth habit after four years.

Methland is a portrait of a community under siege, of the lives the drug has devastated, and of the heroes who continue to fight the war. It will appeal to readers of David Sheff's bestselling Beautiful Boy, and serve as inspiration for those who believe in the power of everyday people to change their world for the better.
Visit the Methland website.

"You or Someone Like You"

New from Ecco: You or Someone Like You by Chandler Burr.

About the book, from the publisher:

Anne Rosenbaum leads a life of quiet Los Angeles privilege, the wife of Hollywood executive Howard Rosenbaum and mother of their seventeen-year-old son, Sam. Years ago Anne and Howard met studying literature at Columbia—she, the daughter of a British diplomat from London, he a boy from an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn. Now on sleek blue California evenings, Anne attends halogen-lit movie premieres on the arm of her powerful husband. But her private life is lived in the world of her garden, reading books.

When one of Howard's friends, the head of a studio, asks Anne to make a reading list, she casually agrees—though, as a director reminds her, "no one reads in Hollywood." To her surprise, they begin calling: screen-writers; producers, from their bungalows; and agents, from their plush offices on Wilshire and Beverly. Soon Anne finds herself leading an exclusive book club for the industry elite. Emerging gradually from her seclu-sion, she guides her readers into the ideas and beauties of Donne, Yeats, Auden, and Mamet, with her brilliant and increasingly bold opinions. But when a crisis of identity unexpectedly turns an anguished Howard back toward the Orthodoxy he left behind as a young man, Anne must set out to save what she values above all else: her husband's love.

At once fiercely intelligent and emotionally gripping, You or Someone Like You confronts the fault lines between inherited faith and personal creed, and, through the surprising transformation of one exceptional, unforgettable woman, illuminates literature's power to change our lives.
Visit Chandler Burr's website.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

"Tears in the Darkness"

New from Farrar Straus and Giroux: Tears in the Darkness: The Story of the Bataan Death March and Its Aftermath by Michael Norman and Elizabeth M. Norman.

About the book, from the publisher:

For the first four months of 1942, U.S., Filipino, and Japanese soldiers fought what was America’s first major land battle of World War II, the battle for the tiny Philippine peninsula of Bataan. It ended with the surrender of 76,000 Filipinos and Americans, the single largest defeat in American military history.

The defeat, though, was only the beginning, as Michael and Elizabeth M. Norman make dramatically clear in this powerfully original book. From then until the Japanese surrendered in August 1945, the prisoners of war suffered an ordeal of unparalleled cruelty and savagery: forty-one months of captivity, starvation rations, dehydration, hard labor, deadly disease, and torture—far from the machinations of General Douglas MacArthur.

The Normans bring to the story remarkable feats of reportage and literary empathy. Their protagonist, Ben Steele, is a figure out of Hemingway: a young cowboy turned sketch artist from Montana who joined the army to see the world. Juxtaposed against Steele’s story and the sobering tale of the Death March and its aftermath is the story of a number of Japanese soldiers.

The result is an altogether new and original World War II book: it exposes the myths of military heroism as shallow and inadequate; it makes clear, with great literary and human power, that war causes suffering for people on all sides.


New from Bleak House Books: Hogdoggin’ by Anthony Neil Smith.

About the book, from the publisher:

Former Deputy Billy Lafitte is a no-good, crap-for-brains, despicable and dangerous traitor — Special Agent Franklin Rome is sure of it. So sure, in fact, that he’s willing to investigate outside departmental bounds. Willing to blackmail and bribe his fellow lawmen into helping him. Willing to ferret Lafitte out of whatever snake-hole he’s hidden himself in, and do what the too-lax government wouldn’t let him do back in Yellow Medicine county, just months ago…

And Rome’s plan is working. Squeeze a man’s ex-wife, especially an ex-wife as unstable as Ginny Lafitte, and watch her overprotective man appear from thin air to stand by his family. No matter that Rome’s had to bend a few rules in order to make it happen; Billy’s end will justify Rome’s means.

Of course, Rome didn’t count on Billy riding in to save the day on a turquoise motorcycle — with a beard, fifty extra pounds of muscle, and the weight of a man named Steel God at his back. Nor did he think Billy would go and get himself caught up with paint-huffing, knife-wielding rednecks. And Rome certainly never predicted that a broken-hearted, vengeful woman named Colleen would be just as hot for Lafitte’s blood as he is …
Visit Anthony Neil Smith's website and MySpace page.

Anthony Neil Smith is also the editor of Plots With Guns and the author of Pyschosomatic, The Drummer, and Yellow Medicine.

"My Book, The Movie" -- Pyschosomatic.

The Page 69 Test: Yellow Medicine.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

"Killing Red"

New from Pinnacle Books: Killing Red by Henry Perez.

About the book, from the publisher:

He’s Been Waiting…

On death row, serial killer Kenneth Lee Grubb has six days to live. His last request? An interview with reporter Alex Chapa. What begins as a dream story soon turns into a nightmare for Alex. For amidst Grubb’s taunts and boasts lies the horrific claim that someone is carefully repeating his past crimes…

For The Moment…

When nine people suddenly turn up dead, Alex realizes Grubb is telling the truth. Now the copycat killer is ready to pay his ultimate tribute to his idol. He’s set his sights on Annie Sykes—or “Red” as Grubb calls her—the only survivor of his bloodlust fifteen years ago…

To Commit The Perfect Murder…

In a desperate race against time, Alex must find Annie and rescue her from the same fate she escaped a decade earlier. But what Alex doesn’t know is that “Red” isn’t the only one whose life is in danger…
Visit Henry Perez's website.

"Come Sunday"

New from Farrar, Straus, and Giroux: Come Sunday by Isla Morley.

About the book, from the publisher:

A wonderful new storyteller unleashes a soaring debut that sweeps from the hills of Hawaii to the veldt of South Africa.

Come Sunday is that joyous, special thing: a saga that captivates from the very first page, breaking our hearts while making our spirits soar.

Abbe Deighton is a woman who has lost her bearings. Once a child of the African plains, she is now settled in Hawaii, married to a minister, and waging her battles in a hallway of monotony. There is the leaky roof, the chafing expectations of her husband’s congregation, and the constant demands of motherhood. But in an instant, beginning with the skid of tires, Abbe’s battlefield is transformed when her three-year-old daughter is killed, triggering in Abbe a seismic grief that will cut a swath through the landscape of her life and her identity.

What an enthralling debut this is! What a storyteller we have here! As Isla Morley’s novel sweeps from the hills of Honolulu to the veldt of South Africa, we catch a hint of the spirit of Barbara Kingsolver and the mesmerizing truth of Jodi Picoult. We are reminded of how it felt, a while ago, to dive into the drama of The Thorn Birds.

Come Sunday is a novel about searching for a true homeland, family bonds torn asunder, and the unearthing of decades-old secrets. It is a novel to celebrate, and Isla Morley is a writer to love.
Visit Isla Morley's website.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

"Who's the Blonde That Married What's-His-Name?"

New from Penguin: Who's the Blonde That Married What's-His-Name?: The Ultimate Tip-of-the-Tongue Test of Everything You Know You Know--But Can't Remember Right Now by Carol Boswell and Lenore Skenazy.

About the book, from the publisher:

Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon meets The Book of Useless Information via Mad Libs in this fun new twist on classic trivia games.

“WHO’S THE BLONDE THAT MARRIED WHAT’S-HIS-NAME whose last name sounds like a BIRD, but then they split, and she was in that SUPER-HIP MOVIE that totally revived the career of the DANCING SCIENTOLOGIST before he played a woman in that MUSICAL by the FUNNY BALTIMORE ECCENTRIC?”

The answer’s on the tip of my tongue!

Everyone’s been there—groping for a name or a title and then, in desperation, using roundabout phrases and weird associations in a frantic effort to remember the ENGLISH LADY who wrote all those mysteries, like the ONE ON THE TRAIN with that BELGIAN DETECTIVE and whenever you play that BOARD GAME with the knife in the conservatory and the gun in the billiard room and that COLONEL, it feels like you’re in one of her books?

These “tongue-tipper” moments affect everyone. Now they can be put to good use with this innovative pop culture game that will help trivia buffs and useless-information fans remember all the things they didn’t even realize they’d forgotten.
Visit the Who's the Blonde That Married What's-His-Name? website.

"Black Water Rising"

New from Harper: Black Water Rising by Attica Locke.

About the book, from the publisher:

Writing in the tradition of Dennis Lehane and Greg Iles, Attica Locke, a powerful new voice in American fiction, delivers a brilliant debut thriller that readers will not soon forget.

Jay Porter is hardly the lawyer he set out to be. His most promising client is a low-rent call girl and he runs his fledgling law practice out of a dingy strip mall. But he's long since made peace with not living the American Dream and carefully tucked away his darkest sins: the guns, the FBI file, the trial that nearly destroyed him.

Houston, Texas, 1981. It is here that Jay believes he can make a fresh start. That is, until the night in a boat out on the bayou when he impulsively saves a woman from drowning—and opens a Pandora's box. Her secrets put Jay in danger, ensnaring him in a murder investigation that could cost him his practice, his family, and even his life. But before he can get to the bottom of a tangled mystery that reaches into the upper echelons of Houston's corporate power brokers, Jay must confront the demons of his past.

With pacing that captures the reader from the first scene through an exhilarating climax, Black Water Rising marks the arrival of an electrifying new talent.
Visit Attica Locke's website.

Monday, May 25, 2009

"The Wide Smiles of Girls"

New from Thomas Dunne Books: The Wide Smiles of Girls by Jennifer Manske Fenske.

About the book, from the publisher:

Sisters Mae Wallace and March are two years apart, and worlds away from being anything alike. Mae Wallace is the dependable, older sister, who weighs her words before she speaks, and sees the world as a project to be saved. March, happily overweight and charismatic, has the world on a string. Babies, men, and teachers love March, and she loves them right back. Mae Wallace doesn’t so much live in her sister’s shadow as be amused by it, and generally try to manage her younger sister’s scrapes.

But a tragic accident tears them apart, and all of a sudden the vivacious March is incapacitated and Mae Wallace bears the guilt from the incident. Relocated to a small island-town in South Carolina where March undergoes therapy, Mae Wallace befriends a local artist who is still grieving his wife’s mysterious death. As the two become closer, their mutual pain turns into a budding friendship. But Mae Wallace must free herself from guilt if she’s ever to live and love again---and March must grapple with the loss of her vibrant self, and accept the new realities of her life and sisterhood.

The Wide Smiles of Girls is a poignant ode to the bond of two sisters, the grief we sometimes have to overcome, and the redemptive power of love that can make us smile again.
Visit Jennifer Manske Fenske's website.

"My Judy Garland Life"

New from Bloomsbury USA: My Judy Garland Life by Susie Boyt.

About the book, from the publisher:

An irresistible mixture of memoir, biography, cultural analysis, hero worship and sequin-studded self help that will speak to anyone who's ever nursed an obsession.

Judy Garland has been an important figure in Susie Boyt's life since she was three years old, comforting, inspiring, and at times disturbing her. In this unique book Boyt travels deep into the underworld of hero-worship, examining our understanding of rescue, consolation, love, grief, and fame through the prism of Judy. Her journey takes in a duetting breakfast with Mickey Rooney, a munchkin luncheon, a late-night spree at the Minnesota Judy Garland Museum, and a breathless, semi-sacred encounter with Liza Minnelli.

Layering key episodes from Garland's life with defining moments from her own, Boyt demands with insight and humor, what it means, exactly, to adore someone you don't know. Does hero worship have to be a pursuit that's low in status or can it be performed with pride and style? Are there similarities that lie at the heart of all fans? Chronicling her obsession, Boyt illuminates her own life and perfectly distills why Judy Garland is such a legend.
Visit Susie Boyt's website.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

"The Burning Skies"

New from Spectra Books: The Burning Skies by David J. Williams.

About the book, from the publisher:

In his electrifying debut, The Mirrored Heavens, David J. Williams created a dark futuristic world grounded in the military rivalries, terror tactics, and political wrangling of our own time. Now he takes his masterful blend of military SF, espionage thriller, and dystopian cyberpunk one step further—to the edge of annihilation....

Life as U.S. counterintelligence agent Claire Haskell once knew it is in tatters—her mission betrayed, her lover dead, and her memories of the past suspect. Worse, the defeat of the mysterious insurgent group known as Autumn Rain was not as complete as many believed. It is quickly becoming clear that the group’s ultimate goal is not simply to destroy the tenuous global alliances of the 22nd century—but to rule all of humanity. And they’re starting with the violent destruction of the Net and the assassination of the U.S. president. Now it’s up to Claire, with her ability to jack her brain into the systems of the enemy, to win this impossible war.

Battling ferociously across the Earth-Moon system, and navigating a complex world filled with both steadfast loyalists and ruthless traitors, Claire must be ready for the Rain’s next move. But the true enemy may already be one step ahead of her.
Visit the official website of David J. Williams.


New from Tin House Books: Erased by Jim Krusoe.

About the book, from the publisher:

Abandonment, life, death, and, oddly, Cleveland are explored in the hilarious second installment of Jim Krusoe's trilogy about resurrection.

In Erased, Krusoe takes on a dead mother who mysteriously sends notes from the beyond to her grown son, Theodore, the owner of a mail-order gardening-implement business. "I need to see you," the first card reads. Theodore does what any sensible person would: he ignores it. But when he gets a second card that's even more urgent, Theodore leaves his quiet home in St. Nils for a radiantly imagined Cleveland, Ohio, to track down his mother. There, aided by Uleene, the last remaining member of Satan's Samaritans, an all-girl biker club, he searches through the realms of women's clubs, art, rodent extermination, and sport fishing until he finds the answers he seeks.
Read an excerpt from Erased.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

"The Secret Speech"

New from Grand Central Publishing: The Secret Speech by Tom Rob Smith.

About the book, from the publisher:

Tom Rob Smith-the author whose debut, Child 44, has been called "brilliant" (Chicago Tribune), "remarkable" (Newsweek) and "sensational" (Entertainment Weekly)-returns with an intense, suspenseful new novel: a story where the sins of the past threaten to destroy the present, where families must overcome unimaginable obstacles to save their loved ones, and where hope for a better tomorrow is found in the most unlikely of circumstances...


Soviet Union, 1956. Stalin is dead, and a violent regime is beginning to fracture-leaving behind a society where the police are the criminals, and the criminals are innocent. A secret speech composed by Stalin's successor Khrushchev is distributed to the entire nation. Its message: Stalin was a tyrant. Its promise: The Soviet Union will change.

Facing his own personal turmoil, former state security officer Leo Demidov is also struggling to change. The two young girls he and his wife Raisa adopted have yet to forgive him for his part in the death of their parents. They are not alone. Now that the truth is out, Leo, Raisa, and their family are in grave danger from someone consumed by the dark legacy of Leo's past career. Someone transformed beyond recognition into the perfect model of vengeance.

From the streets of Moscow in the throes of political upheaval, to the Siberian gulags, and to the center of the Hungarian uprising in Budapest, THE SECRET SPEECH is a breathtaking, epic novel that confirms Tom Rob Smith as one of the most exciting new authors writing today.
Child 44 is Tom Rob Smith's first novel.

The Page 69 Test: Child 44.

"Little Lamb Lost"

New from Oceanview Publishing: Little Lamb Lost by Margaret Fenton.

About the book, from the publisher:

Social worker Clare Conover is about to be thrust into her worst nightmare. She just never dreamed it would be this case.

Claire Conover honestly believed she could make a difference in the world until she gets the phone call she’s dreaded her entire career. One of her young clients, Michael, has been found dead and his mother, Ashley, has been arrested for his murder. And who made the decision to return Michael to Ashley? Claire Conover.

Ashley had seemingly done everything right—gotten clean, found a place to live, worked two jobs, and earned back custody of her son. Devastated but determined to discover where her instincts failed her, Claire vows to find the truth about what really happened to Michael.

What Claire finds is no shortage of suspects. Ashley’s boyfriend made no secret that he didn’t want children. And Ashley’s stepfather, an alcoholic and chronic gambler, has a shady past. And what about Michael’s mysterious father and his family? Or Ashley herself? Was she really using again?

Amidst a heap of unanswered questions, one thing is for certain: Claire Conover is about to uncover secrets that could ruin lives—or end her own.
Visit Margaret Fenton's website.

Friday, May 22, 2009


New from Harper: Fugitive by Phillip Margolin.

About the book, from the publisher:

Amanda Jaffe, the heroine of Wild Justice and Proof Positive, is back—in this twisting tale of international intrigue and murder that leads her deep into the past . . . and into the crosshairs of a killer.

Charlie Marsh, a petty thief and con man, becomes a national hero when he rescues the warden of a state penitentiary during a prison riot, but it doesn't take long before he is wanted again, suspected of killing a United States congressman. After twelve years of living in the African nation of Batanga, at the mercy of Jean-Claude Baptiste, a sadistic, power-mad dictator, Charlie flees for home to face his murder charge, when Baptiste learns about Charlie's affair with the tyrant's favorite wife.

But it's not just the state of Oregon that's got it in for the philandering con. Criminal lawyer Amanda Jaffe has her work cut out for her. She must keep Charlie off death row, protect him from the head of Baptiste's deadly secret police, and prevent him from being caught by a shadowy killer who will stop at nothing to keep the truth about a decade-old crime buried forever.
Visit Phillip Margolin's website.

"Haunting Bombay"

New from Soho Press: Haunting Bombay by Shilpa Agarwal.

About the book, from the publisher:

After her mother's death crossing the border from Pakistan to India during Partition, baby Pinky was taken in by her grandmother, Maji, the matriarch of the powerful Mittal family. Now thirteen-years-old, Pinky lives with her grandmother and her uncle's family in a bungalow on the Malabar Heights in Bombay. While she has never really been accepted by her uncle's family, she has always had Maji's love.

One day, as monsoons engulf the city, Pinky opens a mysteriously bolted door, unleashing the ghost of an infant who drowned shortly before Pinky's arrival and of the nursemaid in whose charge the child was. Three generations of the Mittal family must struggle to come to terms with their secrets amidst hidden shame, forbidden love, and a call for absolute sacrifice.
Visit Shilpa Agarwal's website and blog.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

"The Scarecrow"

New from Little, Brown: Michael Connelly's The Scarecrow.

About the book, from the publisher:

Forced out of the Los Angeles Times amid the latest budget cuts, newspaperman Jack McEvoy decides to go out with a bang, using his final days at the paper to write the definitive murder story of his career.

He focuses on Alonzo Winslow, a 16-year-old drug dealer in jail after confessing to a brutal murder. But as he delves into the story, Jack realizes that Winslow's so-called confession is bogus. The kid might actually be innocent.

Jack is soon running with his biggest story since The Poet made his career years ago. He is tracking a killer who operates completely below police radar--and with perfect knowledge of any move against him. Including Jack's.

"Where Petals Fall"

New from Soho Press: Where Petals Fall by Shirley Wells.

About the book, from the publisher:

A woman's body is found in a quarry, wrapped in a shroud. Five years earlier, four women were killed the same way. But the man whom Jill Kennedy and Max Trentham believed to be guilty is dead—or is he?
Visit Shirley Wells' website and blog.

Shirley Wells lives in Lancashire, UK. Into the Shadows and A Darker Side, are the first two volumes in the Jill Kennedy and DCI Max Trentham series.

My Book, The Movie: Into the Shadows.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

"Blood and Politics"

New from Farrar, Straus and Giroux: Blood and Politics: The History of the White Nationalist Movement from the Margins to the Mainstream by Leonard Zeskind.

About the book, from the publisher:

More than fifteen years in the making, Blood and Politics is the most comprehensive history to date of the white supremacist movement as it has evolved over the past three-plus decades. Leonard Zeskind draws heavily upon court documents, racist publications, and first-person reports, along with his own personal observations.

An internationally recognized expert on the subject who received a MacArthur Fellowship for his work, Zeskind ties together seemingly disparate strands—from neo-Nazi skinheads, to Holocaust deniers, to Christian Identity churches, to David Duke, to the militia and beyond. Among these elements, two political strategies—mainstreaming and vanguardism—vie for dominance. Mainstreamers believe that a majority of white Christians will eventually support their cause. Vanguardists build small organizations made up of a highly dedicated cadre and plan a naked seizure of power. Zeskind shows how these factions have evolved into a normative social movement that looks like a demographic slice of white America, mostly blue-collar and working middle class, with lawyers and Ph.D.s among its leaders.

When the Cold War ended, traditional conservatives helped birth a new white nationalism, most evident now among anti-immigrant organizations. With the dawn of a new millennium, they are fixated on predictions that white people will lose their majority status and become one minority among many. The book concludes with a look to the future, elucidating the growing threat these groups will pose to coming generations.

"The Last War"

New from Harper: The Last War by Ana Menendez.

About the book, from the publisher:

A breathtaking novel of love, war, and betrayal

Flash, a photojournalist, chases conflicts around the globe with her war correspondent husband, Brando. Now Brando is in Iraq, awaiting her arrival. Yet instead of racing to join him, Flash idles in Istanbul, vaguely aware that her marriage is faltering.

Losing herself in a fog of memory and recrimination, Flash ponders her life with the ambitious and handsome husband she calls "Wonderboy." Her malaise is compounded by the arrival of a mysterious letter informing her that Brando has been unfaithful to her in Baghdad. Devastated and unwilling to confront him over the phone, Flash spirals deeper into regret, anger, and indecision. Were she and Brando ever happy?

Wandering the strange, shimmering streets of Istanbul, Flash is followed by a woman in a black abaya—Alexandra, a fierce and captivating colleague who shared dangerous days with the couple in Afghanistan. Their meeting rekindles long-buried secrets and forces Flash to face hard truths about her marriage, her husband, and herself. The Last War is a haunting and intense novel that reveals the personal costs of combat journalism while probing crucial questions of cruelty and violence, love and identity.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"A Windfall of Musicians"

New from Yale University Press: A Windfall of Musicians: Hitler's Émigrés and Exiles in Southern California by Dorothy Lamb Crawford.

About the book, from the publisher:

This book is the first to examine the brilliant gathering of composers, conductors, and other musicians who fled Nazi Germany and arrived in the Los Angeles area. Musicologist Dorothy Lamb Crawford looks closely at the lives, creative work, and influence of sixteen performers, fourteen composers, and one opera stage director, who joined this immense migration beginning in the 1930s. Some in this group were famous when they fled Europe, others would gain recognition in the young musical culture of Los Angeles, and still others struggled to establish themselves in an environment often resistant to musical innovation.

Emphasizing individual voices, Crawford presents short portraits of Igor Stravinsky, Arnold Schoenberg, and the other musicians while also considering their influence as a group—in the film industry, in music institutions in and around Los Angeles, and as teachers who trained the next generation. The book reveals a uniquely vibrant era when Southern California became a hub of unprecedented musical talent.

"Shanghai Girls"

New from Random House: Shanghai Girls by Lisa See.

About the book, from the publisher:

In 1937, Shanghai is the Paris of Asia, a city of great wealth and glamour, the home of millionaires and beggars, gangsters and gamblers, patriots and revolutionaries, artists and warlords. Thanks to the financial security and material comforts provided by their father’s prosperous rickshaw business, twenty-one-year-old Pearl Chin and her younger sister, May, are having the time of their lives. Though both sisters wave off authority and tradition, they couldn’t be more different: Pearl is a Dragon sign, strong and stubborn, while May is a true Sheep, adorable and placid. Both are beautiful, modern, and carefree . . . until the day their father tells them that he has gambled away their wealth and that in order to repay his debts he must sell the girls as wives to suitors who have traveled from California to find Chinese brides.

As Japanese bombs fall on their beloved city, Pearl and May set out on the journey of a lifetime, one that will take them through the Chinese countryside, in and out of the clutch of brutal soldiers, and across the Pacific to the shores of America. In Los Angeles they begin a fresh chapter, trying to find love with the strangers they have married, brushing against the seduction of Hollywood, and striving to embrace American life even as they fight against discrimination, brave Communist witch hunts, and find themselves hemmed in by Chinatown’s old ways and rules.

At its heart, Shanghai Girls is a story of sisters: Pearl and May are inseparable best friends who share hopes, dreams, and a deep connection, but like sisters everywhere they also harbor petty jealousies and rivalries. They love each other, but each knows exactly where to drive the knife to hurt the other the most. Along the way they face terrible sacrifices, make impossible choices, and confront a devastating, life-changing secret, but through it all the two heroines of this astounding new novel hold fast to who they are–Shanghai girls.
The Page 99 Test: Lisa See's Peony in Love.

Monday, May 18, 2009

"Dead Men's Dust"

New from William Morrow: Dead Men's Dust by Matt Hilton.

About the book, from the publisher:

The electrifying debut of ex-military officer and all-around tough guy Joe Hunter, who is on the trail of his missing and estranged brother ... and the madman who may have taken him

Joe Hunter solves problems. Or, as he likes to put it, he's "the weapon sent in when all the planning is done and all that's left is the ass kicking." And as a former military operative and ex-CIA agent, he's good at what he does. But when he's told that his brother—with whom he hasn't been on the best of terms—has disappeared, he learns that everything he's faced before is child's play compared to what's coming.

Tubal Cain is a killer—smart, stealthy, and arrogant—but he's also sentimental. His most precious possession is the set of knives he uses, and when one of them (his favorite Bowie) is stolen along a deserted stretch of highway, Cain will stop at nothing to get it back.

Unfortunately for Hunter, the thief is his brother, a man who has been on the run from his own mis-takes but is now in the crosshairs of a seriously deranged man. To find his brother, Hunter must find Cain, and the chase takes all three men on a hair-raising journey across the country to a barren spot in the American Southwest, where bones have become nothing more than dead men's dust.

With its cinematic pacing, nonstop thrills, and strong, charismatic hero, Dead Men's Dust introduces Matt Hilton as a powerful and irresistible new voice in thriller fiction.
Visit Matt Hilton's website and blog.

"A Sandhills Ballad"

New from University of New Mexico Press: A Sandhills Ballad by Ladette Randolph.

About the book, from the publisher:

After her life as she knows it is ended by heartbreak, Mary Rasmussen, a strong-willed and independent young ranch woman living in the Sandhills of western Nebraska, suddenly feels that all she has believed in--God, her instincts, the land itself--has failed her, and she abandons her cultural and emotional ties, succumbing to circumstances she thinks she is powerless to control. In a rash decision, she marries a conservative, patriarchal preacher who doesn't understand Mary, the ranching community, or anything beyond his own beliefs.

"This is good, old-fashioned storytelling at its best, and Mary Rasmussen will live forever in your hearts as a young woman who faces enormous tests and survives in order to protect those she loves. Stubborn, determined, and loyal, Mary makes a life that requires both imagination and grit and you end up rooting for her every inch of the way.

Randolph is revisioning the American plains in this novel, telling the stories of the women who struggle side-by-side with men on their Sandhills ranches and in their small towns. These are people of great courage and even greater integrity, who love and lose and love again, as undaunted as their pioneer forebears in their efforts to make a life for themselves and future generations....

Sunday, May 17, 2009

"The Odds"

New from Minotaur Books: The Odds by Kathleen George.

About the book, from the publisher:

The Homicide Department is upside down—Richard Christie is in the hospital, Artie Dolan is headed away on vacation, John Potocki’s life is falling apart, and Colleen Greer is so worried about her boss’s health, she can hardly think. A young boy in Pittsburgh’s North Side neighborhood dies of a suspicious overdose. The Narcotics police are working on tips and they draft Colleen and Potocki to help them. In this same neighborhood, four young kids have been abandoned and are living on their own. The Philips kids, brainy in school, are reluctant to compromise themselves. But they need cash. Connecting these people and their stories is Nick Banks, just out of prison and working off a debt to an old acquaintance involved in the drug trade. Nick is a charmer, a gentle fellow who’s had a lot of trouble in his life. One day he gives free food to the Philips kids, little guessing how connected their lives are about to become.

Kathleen George’s latest work pushes the edge—a spectacularly original crime novel.
Kathleen George is a professor of theatre at the University of Pittsburgh. She is also the author of the acclaimed novels Taken, Fallen, Afterimage, the short story collection The Man in the Buick, scholarly theatrical books and articles, and many short stories.

"The Crimes of Paris"

New from Little, Brown: The Crimes of Paris: A True Story of Murder, Theft, and Detection by Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler.

About the book, from the publisher:

Turn-of-the-century Paris was the beating heart of a rapidly changing world. Painters, scientists, revolutionaries, poets--all were there. But so, too, were the shadows: Paris was a violent, criminal place, its sinister alleyways the haunts of Apache gangsters and its cafes the gathering places of murderous anarchists. In 1911, it fell victim to perhaps the greatest theft of all time--the taking of the Mona Lisa from the Louvre. Immediately, Alphonse Bertillon, a detective world-renowned for pioneering crime-scene investigation techniques, was called upon to solve the crime. And quickly the Paris police had a suspect: a young Spanish artist named Pablo Picasso....
Visit the official website of Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

"The Parents We Mean To Be"

New from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: The Parents We Mean To Be: How Adults Nurture--and Undermine--Children's Moral and Emotional Development by Richard Weissbourd.

About the book, from the publisher:

Harvard psychologist Richard Weissbourd argues incisively that parents--not peers, not television--are the primary shapers of their children's moral lives. And yet, it is parents' lack of self-awareness and confused priorities that are dangerously undermining children's development.

Through the author's own original field research, including hundreds of rich, revealing conversations with children, parents, teachers, and coaches, a surprising picture emerges.

Parents' intense focus on their children's happiness is turning many children into self-involved, fragile conformists.The suddenly widespread desire of parents to be closer to their children--a heartening trend in many ways--often undercuts kids' morality. Our fixation with being great parents--and our need for our children to reflect that greatness--can actually make them feel ashamed for failing to measure up. Finally, parents' interactions with coaches and teachers--and coaches' and teachers' interactions with children--are critical arenas for nurturing, or eroding, children's moral lives.

Weissbourd's ultimately compassionate message--based on compelling new research--is that the intense, crisis-filled, and profoundly joyous process of raising a child can be a powerful force for our own moral development.
Visit Richard Weissbourd's website.

"Where It Lies"

New from Minotaur Books: Where It Lies by K. J. Egan.

About the book, from the publisher:

Jenny Chase loves her job as assistant pro at the Harbor Terrace Country Club. But her idyllic lifestyle is threatened when she discovers the body of a greenskeeper hanging from a rafter in the cart barn. The police rule the death a suicide, but Jenny has her doubts. As evidence of foul play mounts, so does Jenny’s fear for her own life.
Visit K. J. Egan's website.

Friday, May 15, 2009

"The Writer's Notebook: Craft Essays from Tin House "

New from Tin House Books: The Writer's Notebook: Craft Essays from Tin House.

About the book, from the publisher:

The Writer's Notebook: Craft Essays from Tin House combines the best craft seminars in the history of the Tin House Summer Writers Workshop with a variety of essays written by some of Tin House's favorite authors, offering aspiring writers insight into the craft of writing.

Dorothy Allison, Jim Shepard, Aimee Bender, Steve Almond, D. A. Powell, and others break down elements of craft and share insights into the joys and pains of their own writing. This cast of deeply respected poets and prose writers explore topics that vary from writing dialogue to the dos and don'ts of writing about sex. With how-tos, close readings, and personal anecdotes, The Writer's Notebook offers future scribes advice and inspiration. Included is a CD of workshop discussions and panels.

Featuring: Dorothy Allison, Steve Almond, Rick Bass, Susan Bell, Aimee Bender, Kate Bernheimer, Lucy Corin, Tom Grimes, Matthea Harvey, Anna Keesey, Jim Krusoe, Margot Livesey, Antonya Nelson, Chris Offutt, D. A. Powell, Peter Rock, and Jim Shepard.

"Please Step Back"

New from Melville House: Please Step Back by Ben Greenman.

About the book, from the publisher:

A swirling Sixties saga of the rise and fall of a true American icon: A rock star...

…But not just any rock star. Rock Foxx is one of the special, genre-busting stars of the era who created a new kind of music that both embodied the times and took it someplace exhilarating, the way Sly Stone did, or James Brown.

Foxx is an outrageous showman whose unprecedented mixed-race/mixed gender band makes socially conscious music that's tribal and infectious, taking him to the height of worldwide rock stardom. But then his contagious, upbeat music begins to darken, get edgier, angrier … then ends abruptly amidst rumors of sexual debauchery and drugs and violence, even as the culture itself explodes into assassinations and massive riots … until people ask themselves: Whatever happened to Rock Foxx?

New Yorker editor Ben Greenman answers the question by getting inside the turbulent life of Foxx and the people who love him to make Please Step Back more than a tale of fleeting pop stardom. Instead, it's the absorbing story of a complicated moment in our history, when music played a key part, and an artistic genius could lead the way.
Ben Greenman is an editor at The New Yorker. His short fiction has appeared in the Paris Review, Zoetrope: All Story, McSweeney’s, Opium Magazine, the Mississippi Review, and elsewhere. His previous book is A Circle is a Balloon and Compass Both: Stories About Human Love.

The Page 99 Test: A Circle Is a Balloon and Compass Both.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

"Old World Daughter, New World Mother"

New from W.W. Norton: Old World Daughter, New World Mother: An Education in Love & Freedom by Maria Laurino.

About the book, from the publisher:

A warm, smart, and witty personal investigation of ethnicity and womanhood.

In the second-generation immigrant home where Maria Laurino grew up, “independent” was a dirty word and “sacrifice” was the ideal and reality of motherhood. But out in the world, Mary Tyler Moore was throwing her hat in the air, personifying the excitement and opportunities of the freedom-loving American career woman. How, then, to reconcile one’s inner Livia Soprano—the archetypal ethnic mother—with a feminist icon?

Combining lived experience with research and reporting on our contemporary work-family dilemmas, Laurino brews an unusual and affirming blend of contemporary and traditional values. No other book has attempted to discuss feminism through the prism of ethnic identity, or to merge the personal and the analytical with such a passionate and intelligent literary voice. Prizing both individual freedom and an Old World in which the dependent young and old are cherished, Laurino makes clear how much the New World offers and how much it has yet to learn.

"Blokes: The Bad Boys of British Literature"

New from Continuum: Blokes: The Bad Boys of British Literature by David Castronovo.

About the book, from the publisher:

They came from unpromising places and unglamorous backgrounds. They crashed the Establishment party in one generation, raided the citadels of culture, and brought their idioms, ideas, and passions to the center of British life. The blokes were writers who revitalized British drama, fiction, poetry, and criticism. When Britain was in the economic doldrums, when its supply of great authors was dwindling after World War II, they rebuilt a world-class reputation. Between the early 1950s and the early 1970s, Britain had a great transformation.

This book is the story, told in a series of profiles and of New Britannia. The cast of characters includes playwrights John Osborne and Arnold Wesker, novelist Kingsley Amis, critic Kenneth Tynan, poet Philip Larkin, fiction writer Alan Sillitoe, plus lesser-known figures such as John Braine, David Storey, Stan Barstow, Keith Waterhouse, and Shelagh Delaney. Commentators customarily label them "angry young men" (from a remark by a British journalist), but actually anger is not quite right. Essentially, they were restless, bored with the same old British way of life, and eager to break with social conventions.

The central focus of this book is how these writers, and others, transformed the British literary world—how they worked with the materials of their own backgrounds—the class system, tradition, and artistic convention—to make new art.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

"The Dark Horse"

New from Penguin: The Dark Horse by Craig Johnson.

About the book, from the publisher:

Walt Longmire goes undercover to save a woman in an unfriendly place

Interweaving classic noir sensibilities and humor with contemporary themes of social justice, Craig Johnson’s popular Walt Longmire mysteries transport readers to the sparse and rugged landscape of Wyoming. In The Dark Horse, the sheriff investigates when his instincts tell him something isn’t right about a prisoner accused of killing her husband.

Wade Barsad, a man with a dubious past, locked his wife’s horses in their barn and burned the animals alive. In return, Mary shot Wade in the head six times—or so the story goes. Walt doesn’t believe Mary’s confession, and he’s determined to dig deeper. Posing as an insurance claims investigator, Walt soon discovers other people who might have wanted Wade dead, including a beautiful Guatemalan bartender and a rancher with a taste for liquor, but not for honesty.

The Dark Horse is sure to build on the success of Another Man’s Moccasins as Sheriff Longmire unpins his star and ventures into a town without pity to save a woman without hope.
The previous Walt Longmire mysteries are The Cold Dish, Death Without Company, Kindness Goes Unpunished and Another Man’s Moccasins.

Read more about the novels and the author at Craig Johnson's website.

The Page 69 Test: Kindness Goes Unpunished.

My Book, The Movie: The Cold Dish.

"Plastic Fantastic"

New from Palgrave Macmillan: Plastic Fantastic: How the Biggest Fraud in Physics Shook the Scientific World by Eugenie Samuel Reich.

About the book, from the publisher:

This is the story of wunderkind physicist Jan Hendrik Schön who faked the discovery of a new superconductor made from plastic. A star researcher at the world-renowned Bell Laboratories in New Jersey, he claimed to have stumbled across a powerful method for making carbon-based crystals into transistors, the switches found on computer chips. Had his experiments worked, they would have paved the way for huge advances in technology--computer chips that we could stick on a dress or eyewear, or even use to make electronic screens as thin and easy-to-fold as sheets of paper.

But as other researchers tried to recreate Schön's experiments, the scientific community learned that it had been duped. Why did so many top experts, including Nobel prize-winners, support Schön? What led the major scientific journals to publish his work, and promote it with press releases? And what drove Schön, by all accounts a mild-mannered, modest and obliging young man, to tell such outrageous lies?
Visit Eugenie Samuel Reich's website.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

"The Walking People"

New from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: The Walking People by Mary Beth Keane.

About the book, from the publisher:

Greta Cahill never believed she would leave her village in the west of Ireland until she found herself on a ship bound for New York, along with her sister Johanna and a boy named Michael Ward. Labeled a "softheaded goose" by her family, Greta discovers that in America she can fall in love, raise her own family, and earn a living. Though she longs to return and show her family what she has made of herself, her decision to spare her children knowledge of a secret in her past forces her to keep her life in New York separate from the life she once loved in Ireland, and tears her apart from the people she is closest to. Even fifty years later, when the Ireland of her memory bears little resemblance to that of present day, she fears that it is still possible to lose all when she discovers that her children—with the best of intentions— have conspired to unite the worlds she’s so carefully kept separate for decades. A beautifully old-fashioned novel, The Walking People is a debut of remarkable range and power.
Visit Mary Beth Keane's website.

"Road Dogs"

New from William Morrow: Road Dogs by Elmore Leonard.

About the book, from the publisher:

Legendary New York Times bestselling author Elmore Leonard returns with three of his favorite characters: Jack Foley from Out of Sight, Cundo Rey from LaBrava, and Dawn Navarro from Riding the Rap.

Jack Foley, the charming bank robber from Out of Sight, is serving a thirty-year sentence in a Miami penitentiary, but he's made an unlikely friend on the inside who just might be able to do something about that. Fellow inmate Cundo Rey, an extremely wealthy Cuban criminal, arranges for Foley's sentence to be reduced from thirty years to three months, and when Jack is released just two weeks ahead of Cundo, he agrees to wait for him in Venice Beach, California.

Also waiting for Cundo is his common-law wife, Dawn Navarro, a professional psychic with a slightly ulterior motive for staying with Cundo: namely, she wants his money. And with the arrival of Jack, she sees the perfect partner in a plan to relieve Cundo of his fortune. Cundo may be Jack's friend, but does that mean he can trust him? And can either of them trust Dawn?

Road Dogs is Elmore Leonard at his best—with his trademark tight plotting and pitch-perfect dialogue—and readers will love seeing Cundo, Jack, and Dawn back in action and working together ... or are they?
Visit Elmore Leonard's website.

Monday, May 11, 2009

"The Cold Light of Mourning"

New from Minotaur Books: The Cold Light of Mourning by Elizabeth J. Duncan.

About the book, from the publisher:

Elizabeth J. Duncan spins a charming tale of murder and intrigue in this winning first novel.

The picturesque North Wales market town of Llanelen is shocked when Meg Wynne Thompson, a self-made beauty who has turned out to be something of an unpopular bride, goes missing on her wedding day…and turns up dead. The last person believed to have seen her is manicurist Penny Brannigan, an expatriate Canadian who has lived in North Wales for almost twenty-five years. When Penny notices that something is not quite right at the funeral of her dearest friend, she becomes emotionally invested in the case, and sets out to investigate.

It seems that several people, including the bride’s drunken, abusive father, had reasons to wish Meg dead, but when the trail leads to her groom’s home, an explosive secret will shake the small town.

With its bucolic Welsh setting and vivid, colorful characters, this mystery is sure to delight the most discerning of traditional-mystery fans.
Visit Elizabeth J. Duncan's website and blog.

"Jennifer Johnson Is Sick of Being Single"

New from Harper Paperbacks: Jennifer Johnson Is Sick of Being Single by Heather McElhatton.

About the book, from the publisher:

Body conscious, cubicle-working, and lovelorn in the Minneapolis suburbs, Jennifer Johnson is your average American woman. So it’s completely understandable when she freaks out after learning that both her younger sister and her ex-boyfriend are getting married, setting her off on a sometimes neurotic, always hilarious journey to find a partner.

Approaching thirty, single, and still unsatisfied with her career as a copywriter for the family-owned Keller’s department store, Jennifer obsesses about finding a boyfriend, losing weight, and chasing her dream job. When the heir to the Keller’s business enters the picture, it looks like Jennifer’s luck just might be changing. But, in reality, things are never quite as glossy beneath the surface, and life’s decisions aren’t always about following your dream.
Visit Heather McElhatton's website and blog.

The Page 99 Test: Pretty Little Mistakes.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


New from Yale University Press: Squeezed: What You Don't Know About Orange Juice by Alissa Hamilton.

About the book, from the publisher:

Close to three quarters of U.S. households buy orange juice. Its popularity crosses class, cultural, racial, and regional divides. Why do so many of us drink orange juice? How did it turn from a luxury into a staple in just a few years? More important, how is it that we don’t know the real reasons behind OJ’s popularity or understand the processes by which the juice is produced?

In this enlightening book, Alissa Hamilton explores the hidden history of orange juice. She looks at the early forces that propelled orange juice to prominence, including a surplus of oranges that plagued Florida during most of the twentieth century and the army’s need to provide vitamin C to troops overseas during World War II. She tells the stories of the FDA’s decision in the early 1960s to standardize orange juice, and the juice equivalent of the cola wars that followed between Coca-Cola (which owns Minute Maid) and Pepsi (which owns Tropicana). Of particular interest to OJ drinkers will be the revelation that most orange juice comes from Brazil, not Florida, and that even “not from concentrate” orange juice is heated, stripped of flavor, stored for up to a year, and then reflavored before it is packaged and sold. The book concludes with a thought-provoking discussion of why consumers have the right to know how their food is produced.


New from Grand Central Publishing: Admission by Jean Hanff Korelitz.

About the book, from the publisher:

"Admissions. Admission. Aren't there two sides to the word? And two opposing sides...It's what we let in, but it's also what we let out."

For years, 38-year-old Portia Nathan has avoided the past, hiding behind her busy (and sometimes punishing) career as a Princeton University admissions officer and her dependable domestic life. Her reluctance to confront the truth is suddenly overwhelmed by the resurfacing of a life-altering decision, and Portia is faced with an extraordinary test. Just as thousands of the nation's brightest students await her decision regarding their academic admission, so too must Portia decide whether to make her own ultimate admission.

Admission is at once a fascinating look at the complex college admissions process and an emotional examination of what happens when the secrets of the past return and shake a woman's life to its core.
Visit Jean Hanff Korelitz's website.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

"Pop Apocalypse"

New from Harper Perennial: Pop Apocalypse: A Possible Satire by Lee Konstantinou.

About the book, from the publisher:

The United States and its Freedom Coalition allies are conducting serial invasions across the globe, including an attack on the anti-capitalist rebels of Northern California. The Middle East—now a single consumerist Caliphate led by Lebanese pop singer Caliph Fred—is in an uproar after an attack on the al-Aqsa Mosque gets televised on the Holy Land Channel.

The world is on the brink of a total radioactive, no-survivors war, and human­kind's last hope is Eliot R. Vanderthorpe, Jr., celebrity heir, debauched party animal, and Elvis impersonation scholar. But Eliot's got his own problems. His evangelical dad is breeding red heifers in anticipation of the Rapture. Eliot's dissertation is in the toilet. And he has a doppelgänger. An evil doppelgänger.
Visit Lee Konstantinou's website.

"The Empress of Mars"

New from Tor Books: The Empress of Mars by Kage Baker.

About the book, from the publisher:

When the British Arean Company founded its Martian colony, it welcomed any settlers it could get. Outcasts, misfits and dreamers emigrated in droves to undertake the grueling task of terraforming the cold red planet--only to be abandoned when the BAC discovered it couldn't turn a profit on Mars.

This is the story of Mary Griffith, a determined woman with three daughters, who opened the only place to buy a beer on the Tharsis Bulge. It's the story of Manco Inca, whose attempt to terraform Mars brought a new goddess vividly to life; of Stanford Crosley, con man extraordinaire; of Ottorino Vespucci, space cowboy and romantic hero; of the Clan Morrigan, of the denizens of the Martian Motel, and of the machinations of another Company entirely, all of whom contribute to the downfall of the BAC and the founding of a new world. But Mary and her struggles and triumphs is at the center of it all, in her bar, the Empress of Mars.

Based on the Hugo-nominated novella of the same name, this is a rollicking novel of action, planetary romance, and high adventure.
Visit Kage Baker's website.

Friday, May 8, 2009

"Nobody Move"

New from Farrar, Straus and Giroux: Nobody Move by Denis Johnson.

About the book, from the publisher:

From the National Book Award–winning, bestselling author of Tree of Smoke comes a provocative thriller set in the American West. Nobody Move, which first appeared in the pages of Playboy, is the story of an assortment of lowlifes in Bakersfield, California, and their cat-and-mouse game over $2.3 million. Touched by echoes of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, Nobody Move is at once an homage to and a variation on literary form. It salutes one of our most enduring and popular genres—the American crime novel—but with a grisly humor and outrageousness that are Denis Johnson’s own. Sexy, suspenseful, and above all entertaining, Nobody Move shows one of our greatest novelists at his versatile best.
Nobody Move is one of Pierce's Picks.

"To Live or to Perish Forever"

New from Henry Holt: To Live or to Perish Forever: Two Tumultuous Years in Pakistan by Nicholas Schmidle.

About the book, from the publisher:

A gritty, lively, and revelatory look inside the crucial and volatile nation of Pakistan

In To Live or to Perish Forever, Nicholas Schmidle takes readers to Pakistan’s rioting streets, to Taliban camps in the North-West Frontier Province, and on many surprising adventures as he provides a contemporary history of this country long riven by internal conflict. With the intimacy and good humor available only to the most fearless and open-eyed reporters, Schmidle narrates what was arguably the most turbulent period of Pakistan’s recent history, a time when President Pervez Musharraf lost his power and the Taliban found theirs, and when Americans began to realize that Pakistan’s fate is inextricably linked with our own.

In February 2006 Schmidle had traveled to Pakistan hoping to learn about the place dubbed “the most dangerous country in the world.” It was while there that he befriended a radical cleric (who became an enemy of the state and was killed), came to crave the smell of tear gas (because it assured him that he was sufficiently close to the action), and in the end, was deported by the Pakistani authorities, managed to get back into the country, and was chased out a second time.
Visit Nicholas Schmidle's website.