Tuesday, June 30, 2009

"Our Lot: How Real Estate Came to Own Us"

New from Bloomsbury USA: Our Lot: How Real Estate Came to Own Us by Alyssa Katz.

About the book, from the publisher:

How the homes we live in turned into the monsters that ate our economy and how the US became a nation obsessed with real estate.

Our Lot tells how an entire nation got swept up in real estate mania, and it casts the business story--the collapse of the subprime empire and the global impact it had on the economy--as part of a project of social engineering beginning in the 1930s by the U.S. government to make homeownership available to those who had never been able to attain it before. Based on original reporting, Our Lot does not dwell on the foibles of executives. It looks at the boom as experienced by ordinary Americans, and examines how our own economic anxieties and realities helped fuel the real estate bubble. Conveyed in accessible language and through narrative reporting, the book looks to help homeowners and would-be homeowners understand what really happened, how it has affected our homes and communities, and how we can move on into a future we'll want to live in.
Visit Alyssa Katz's website.

"Fan Mail"

New from Mira Books: Fan Mail by P. D. Martin.

About the book, from the publisher:

Aussie FBI profiler Sophie Anderson is ready for a new life – a new home and a new job at the Bureau’s Los Angeles office. She hopes working in the field again will bring her closer to her cases…and her ability to see into the minds of killers and victims.

Within days of Sophie’s arrival in LA, her theory is put to the test when a best-selling crime novelist is murdered – strangled with a pair of stockings, just like the character in her last book. Before her death, the writer received letters from ‘A fan’ that had grown increasingly disturbing. When Sophie discovers a link to the murder of a second crime novelist, and another goes missing, she must get inside the mind of the crazed fan.
Visit P. D. Martin's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: The Murderers' Club.

Monday, June 29, 2009

"Six Suspects"

New from Minotaur Books: Six Suspects by Vikas Swarup.

About the book, from the publisher:

There’s a caste system—even in murder

From the author of The New York Times bestseller Slumdog Millionaire comes a richly textured tale of murder, corruption, and redemption.

Seven years ago, Vivek “Vicky” Rai, the playboy son of the Home Minister of Uttar Pradesh, murdered bartender Ruby Gill at a trendy restaurant in New Delhi, simply because she refused to serve him a drink.

Now Vicky Rai has been killed at the party he was throwing to celebrate his acquittal. The police recover six guests with guns in their possession: a corrupt bureaucrat who claims to have become Mahatma Gandhi; an American tourist infatuated with an Indian actress; a Stone Age tribesman on a quest to recover a sacred stone; a Bollywood sex symbol with a guilty secret; a mobile-phone thief who dreams big; and an ambitious politician prepared to stoop low.

Vikas Swarup’s eagerly awaited second offering is fiction at its best. Swarup unravels the lives and motives of the six suspects, offering both a riveting page-turner and an insightful peek into the heart of contemporary India. Audaciously and astutely plotted, with a panoramic imaginative sweep, Six Suspects is the work of a master storyteller.
Visit Vikas Swarup's website.

"Children of the Waters"

New from One World/Ballantine: Children of the Waters by Carleen Brice.

About the book, from the publisher:

Still reeling from divorce and feeling estranged from her teenage son, Trish Taylor is in the midst of salvaging the remnants of her life when she uncovers a shocking secret: her sister is alive. For years Trish believed that her mother and infant sister had died in a car accident. But the truth is that her mother fatally overdosed and that Trish’s grandparents put the baby girl up for adoption because her father was black.

After years of drawing on the strength of her black ancestors, Billie Cousins is shocked to discover that she was adopted. Just as surprising, after finally overcoming a series of health struggles, she is pregnant–a dream come true for Billie but a nightmare for her sweetie, Nick, and for her mother, both determined to protect Billie from anything that may disrupt her well-being.
Visit Carleen Brice's website.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


New from Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books: Bait by Nick Brownlee.

About the book, from the publisher:

Ex-Scotland Yard cop Jake Moore’s career was cut short by a bullet; ten years later, he runs a game fishing business that is about to go broke. But old habits die hard, and when cerebral Mombasa detective Daniel Jouma—seemingly the only good policeman in a city where corruption is king—asks for his help in solving a baffling murder case, the two men find themselves drawn into a deadly conspiracy involving local hoodlums, murderous ex-pats, and a mysterious and psychopathic kingpin who presides over a sickening trade in innocent human life.

Set amid the five-star luxury and Third World squalor of Kenya’s east coast, Bait introduces a new and unique crime-busting double act, and sets Nick Brownlee apart as a hot new talent on the crime scene.
Visit Nick Brownlee's website.

"The Castaways"

New from Little, Brown: The Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand.

About the book, from the publisher:

Greg and Tess MacAvoy are one of four prominent Nantucket couples who count each other as best friends. As pillars of their close-knit community, the MacAvoys, Kapenashes, Drakes, and Wheelers are important to their friends and neighbors, and especially to each other. But just before the beginning of another idyllic summer, Greg and Tess are killed when their boat capsizes during an anniversary sail. As the warm weather approaches and the island mourns their loss, nothing can prepare the MacAvoy's closest friends for what will be revealed.

Once again, Hilderbrand masterfully weaves an intense tale of love and loyalty set against the backdrop of endless summer island life.
Visit Elin Hilderbrand's website.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


New from Millennial Mind Publishing: Toxin by Paul Martin Midden.

About the book:

A timely novel that explores the growing tension between right-wing fundamentalists and secular American culture, Toxin probes a frighteningly-plausible question: could the U.S. withstand an assault from within?

Protagonist Jake Telemark, a junior senator from Wisconsin, enjoys his position as a moderate, common-sense legislator in Washington, D.C.—until the phone call that changes his life forever. Isadore Hathaway, daughter of the late Frank Hathaway, a renowned senatorial powerhouse, demands to see Jake immediately. During a mysterious meeting with Isadore, Jake learns an uncomfortable truth: a group of fanatical right-wing evangelicals, who call themselves The Bookkeepers, are planning to destroy the US democracy.

Shocked by Isadore’s revelation, but initially unwilling to get involved in something he can scarcely believe, Jake soon learns why Isadore Hathaway singled him out for this clandestine meeting: she’d uncovered a part of Jake’s past that he’d fought to keep hidden, not just by law, but by of the demands of his sanity. Isadore’s plea is both startling and matter-of-fact: she wants Jake to kill the men involved in this sinister plot — because if Jake doesn’t kill them, they will kill him.

When parts of Isadore’s scenario begin to come true, Jake becomes ensnared in a dangerous and deadly plot. With the country at risk and freedom hanging in the balance, Jake is thrust into excruciating circumstances. Forced to confront the demons of his past, and the demons that threaten the future of the country he serves, Jake inconveniently falls in love with Isadore. As this burgeoning relationship plays out against the backdrop of the most tumultuous time in US history, Jake Telemark must wage an intense tug-of-war between his promise to never harm another human being, and his duty to the country, and woman, he loves.

A gripping first person novel that reads like non-fiction, Toxin is briskly-paced and filled with urgency. Part provocative political thriller, part powerful psychological narrative, Toxin delivers a terrifyingly-real storyline that deftly blurs the lines between fiction and reality. Novelist Paul Martin Midden displays remarkable dexterity in his extraordinary character development, exquisite understanding of the texture and complexity of human relationships, and ability to keep the pages turning in this powerful thriller.
My Book, The Movie: Toxin.

"The Diva Takes the Cake"

New from Berkley Prime Crime: The Diva Takes the Cake by Krista Davis.

About the book, from the publisher:

The Domestic Diva has some wedding advice: Keep the food...lose the groom.

Sophie's sister Hannah is getting married. But when the groom's ex-wife is found hanging from a tree, the Domestic Diva fears her sister is about to wed a killer.
Watch the trailer for The Diva Takes the Cake.

Visit Krista Davis' website.

Friday, June 26, 2009

"The Missing Ink"

New from NAL/Obsidian: Karen E. Olson's The Missing Ink.

About the book, from the publisher:

Murder leaves a mark

Brett Kavanaugh is a tattoo artist and owner of an elite tattoo parlor in Las Vegas. When a girl makes an appointment for a tattoo of the name of her fiancé embedded in a heart, Brett takes the job but the girl never shows. The next thing Brett knows, the police are looking for her client, and the name she wanted on the tattoo isn’t her fiancé’s...
Learn more about the author and her work at Karen E. Olson's website and blog.

"Murder on Waverly Place"

New from Berkley Prime Crine: Murder on Waverly Place by Victoria Thompson.

About the book, from the publisher:

A scary séance — where talking to the dead takes on a whole new meaning — brings Sarah Brandt and Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy together again...

Sarah is not completely surprised when her very proper socialite mother asks her to attend a séance. She knows that Mrs. Decker still carries great guilt over the long—ago death of Sarah's older daughter, Maggie. So — Sarah accompanies her mother, and the spiritualist does seem to contact Maggie — convincing Mrs. Decker to attend another séance.

Only this time, one of the attendees doesn't succeed in speaking to the dead — she joins them. Now, it's up to Sarah and Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy to protect Mrs. Decker from scandal — by determining how a woman was murdered in the pitch dark when every suspect was holding the hand of the person next to them.

The spiritualist and her manager are immediate suspects in the murder — as are a couple of young Italian immigrants. Behind the scenes at the mansion, nothing is actually the way it seems.

Frank Malloy wants them to hold another séance for his investigation — but who wants to take a chance of being next?
Visit Victoria Thompson's website.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

"Bury Me Deep"

New from Simon & Schuster: Bury Me Deep by Megan Abbott.

About the book, from the publisher:

In October 1931, a station agent found two large trunks abandoned in Los Angeles's Southern Pacific Station. What he found inside ignited one of the most scandalous tabloid sensations of the decade.

Inspired by this notorious true crime, Edgar®-winning author Megan Abbott's novel Bury Me Deep is the story of Marion Seeley, a young woman abandoned in Phoenix by her doctor husband. At the medical clinic where she finds a job, Marion becomes fast friends with Louise, a vivacious nurse, and her roommate, Ginny, a tubercular blonde. Before long, the demure Marion is swept up in the exuberant life of the girls, who supplement their scant income by entertaining the town's most powerful men with wild parties. At one of these events, Marion meets -- and falls hard for -- the charming Joe Lanigan, a local rogue and politician on the rise, whose ties to all three women bring events to a dangerous collision.

A story born of Jazz Age decadence and Depression-era desperation, Bury Me Deep -- with its hothouse of jealousy, illicit sex and shifting loyalties -- is a timeless portrait of the dark side of desire and the glimmer of redemption.
Visit Megan Abbott's website.


New from Knopf: Commencement by J. Courtney Sullivan.

About the book, from the publisher:

A sparkling debut novel: a tender story of friendship, a witty take on liberal arts colleges, and a fascinating portrait of the first generation of women who have all the opportunities in the world, but no clear idea about what to choose.

Assigned to the same dorm their first year at Smith College, Celia, Bree, Sally, and April couldn’t have less in common. Celia, a lapsed Catholic, arrives with her grandmother’s rosary beads in hand and a bottle of vodka in her suitcase; beautiful Bree pines for the fiancé she left behind in Savannah; Sally, pristinely dressed in Lilly Pulitzer, is reeling from the loss of her mother; and April, a radical, redheaded feminist wearing a “Riot: Don’t Diet” T-shirt, wants a room transfer immediately.

Together they experience the ecstatic highs and painful lows of early adulthood: Celia’s trust in men is demolished in one terrible evening, Bree falls in love with someone she could never bring home to her traditional family, Sally seeks solace in her English professor, and April realizes that, for the first time in her life, she has friends she can actually confide in.

When they reunite for Sally’s wedding four years after graduation, their friendships have changed, but they remain fiercely devoted to one another. Schooled in the ideals of feminism, they have to figure out how it applies to their real lives in matters of love, work, family, and sex. For Celia, Bree, and Sally, this means grappling with one-night stands, maiden names, and parental disapproval—along with occasional loneliness and heartbreak. But for April, whose activism has become her life’s work, it means something far more dangerous.

Written with radiant style and a wicked sense of humor, Commencement not only captures the intensity of college friendships and first loves, but also explores with great candor the complicated and contradictory landscape facing young women today.
Visit J. Courtney Sullivan's website.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

"Let the Great World Spin"

New from Random House: Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann.

About the book, from the publisher:

In the dawning light of a late-summer morning, the people of lower Manhattan stand hushed, staring up in disbelief at the Twin Towers. It is August 1974, and a mysterious tightrope walker is running, dancing, leaping between the towers, suspended a quarter mile above the ground. In the streets below, a slew of ordinary lives become extraordinary in bestselling novelist Colum McCann’s stunningly intricate portrait of a city and its people.

Let the Great World Spin is the critically acclaimed author’s most ambitious novel yet: a dazzlingly rich vision of the pain, loveliness, mystery, and promise of New York City in the 1970s.

Corrigan, a radical young Irish monk, struggles with his own demons as he lives among the prostitutes in the middle of the burning Bronx. A group of mothers gather in a Park Avenue apartment to mourn their sons who died in Vietnam, only to discover just how much divides them even in grief. A young artist finds herself at the scene of a hit-and-run that sends her own life careening sideways. Tillie, a thirty-eight-year-old grandmother, turns tricks alongside her teenage daughter, determined not only to take care of her family but to prove her own worth.
Elegantly weaving together these and other seemingly disparate lives, McCann’s powerful allegory comes alive in the unforgettable voices of the city’s people, unexpectedly drawn together by hope, beauty, and the “artistic crime of the century.” A sweeping and radical social novel, Let the Great World Spin captures the spirit of America in a time of transition, extraordinary promise, and, in hindsight, heartbreaking innocence. Hailed as a “fiercely original talent” (San Francisco Chronicle), award-winning novelist McCann has delivered a triumphantly American masterpiece that awakens in us a sense of what the novel can achieve, confront, and even heal.
Visit Colum McCann's website.

"Burn This Book"

New from HarperStudio: Burn This Book: PEN Writers Speak Out on the Power of the Word, edited by Toni Morrison.

About the book, from the publisher:

Published in conjunction with the PEN American Center, Burn this Book is a powerful collection of essays that explore the meaning of censorship, and the power of literature to inform the way we see the world, and ourselves. Contributors include literary heavyweights like Toni Morrison, Salman Rushdie, Orhan Pamuk, David Grossman and Nadine Gordimer, and others.

In “Witness: The Inward Testimony” Nadine Gordimer discusses the role of the writer as observer, and as someone who sees “what is really taking place.” She looks to Proust, Oe, Flaubert, Graham Green to see how their philosophy squares with her own, ultimately concluding “Literature has been and remains a means of people rediscovering themselves.” “In Freedom to Write” Orhan Pamuk elegantly describes escorting Arthur Miller and Harold Pinter around Turkey and how that experience changed his life.

In “The Value of the Word” Salman Rushdie shares a story from Bulgakov’s novel The Master and the Margarita in which the Devil talks to a frustrated writer called “The Master” The writer is so upset with his own work he decides to burn it: “How could you do that?” the Devil asks… “Manuscripts to not burn.” Indeed, manuscripts do not burn, Rushdie argues, but writers do.

As Americans we often take our freedom of speech for granted. When we talk about censorship we talk about China, the former Soviet Union. But the recent presidential election has shined a spotlight on profound acts of censorship in our own backyard. Both provocative and timely, Burn this Book include a sterling list of award winning writers; it sure to ignite spirited dialogue.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

"The Baker Street Letters"

New from Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books: The Baker Street Letters by Michael Robertson.

About the book, from the publisher:

First in a spectacular new series about two brother lawyers who lease offices on London’s Baker Street--and begin receiving mail addressed to Sherlock Holmes

In Los Angeles, a geological surveyor maps out a proposed subway route--and then goes missing. His eight-year-old daughter, in her desperation, turns to the one person she thinks might help--she writes a letter to Sherlock Holmes.

That letter creates an uproar at 221b Baker Street, which now houses the law offices of attorney and man about town Reggie Heath and his hapless brother, Nigel. Instead of filing the letter like he’s supposed to, Nigel decides to investigate. Soon he’s flying off to Los Angeles, inconsiderately leaving a very dead body on the floor in his office. Big brother Reggie follows Nigel to California, as does Reggie’s sometime lover, Laura---a quick-witted stage actress who’s captured the hearts of both brothers.

When Nigel is arrested, Reggie must use all his wits to solve a case that Sherlock Holmes would have savored and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle fans will adore.

"A Vindication of Love"

New from Harper: A Vindication of Love: Reclaiming Romance for the Twenty-first Century by Cristina Nehring.

About the book, from the publisher:

A thinking-person's guide to romantic love, a bold and challenging book that makes the case for love in an age both cynical about and fearful of strong passion

At the dawn of the twenty-first century, political correctness, cynicism, pragmatism, and the commodification of sex have reduced romantic love to a discredited myth or a recreational sport—"a cause for embarrassment," argues Cristina Nehring. In her brilliantly researched first book, Nehring wrests romantic love from the clutches of retrograde feminists and cutting-edge capitalists, thrill-seeking convenience shoppers and safe-sex moralists. With help from celebrated lovers ranging from Hélöise and Abelard to Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, and from literature as diverse as Ovid's Art of Love and the poems of Emily Dickinson, Nehring celebrates the wild, irreverent, and uncompromising models of love we have inherited. As she rediscovers romantic love's fearless and heroic provenance, she challenges readers to demand partnerships that fully engage body, heart, and mind.

In an age when "settling" is encouraged and marriage is often described in business terms, Nehring's passionate defense of romantic love is timely and thoroughly refreshing. By reclaiming the right to love, to yearn, and—yes—to risk, A Vindication of Love aims to establish a new romantic paradigm for a new century.

Monday, June 22, 2009

"Zadayi Red"

New from Tor Books: Zadayi Red by Caleb Fox.

About the book, from the publisher:

A compelling new voice in fantasy brings us a tale like no other in the genre.

A young Shaman of the Galayi people has had a powerful and frightening vision: it is of the Eagle Feather Cape, the gift of the Thunderbird, which is worn by the Seer of the People to see the future and gain the guidance of the gods. The cape is torn and bloody, and it will no longer bring visions to the Seer of the People. But the Shaman's vision also tells her of the cure: a child will be born to the People, a hero who will restore the cape and return the goodwill of the gods to the People.

Dahzi may be that hero, if he can survive the hatred of his grandfather. He was born after his mother’s death, as she fled from her father’s anger. But Dahzi carries the hope of all of his People, along with the power to become a great Chief. He will be tested--by his family, by his people, and by the Gods.

Zadayi Red is a magnificent retelling of a Cherokee legend. It brings to life an ancient people and a time of magic in a warm and intimate storyteller’s voice.
Visit Caleb Fox's website and blog.

"Good Things I Wish You"

New from Harper: Good Things I Wish You by A. Manette Ansay.

About the book, from the publisher:

The acclaimed author of Vinegar Hill returns with a story of two unlikely romances—one historical, the other modern-day—separated by thousands of miles and well over a century.

Battling feelings of loss and apathy in the wake of a painful divorce, novelist Jeanette struggles to complete a book about the long-term relationship between Clara Schumann, a celebrated pianist and the wife of the composer Robert Schumann, and her husband's protégé, the handsome young composer Johannes Brahms. Although this legendary love triangle has been studied exhaustively, Jeanette—herself a gifted pianist—wonders about the enduring nature of Clara and Johannes's lifelong attachment. Were they just "best friends," as both steadfastly claimed? Or was the relationship complicated by desires that may or may not have been consummated?

Through a chance encounter, Jeanette meets Hart, a mysterious, worldly entrepreneur who is a native of Clara's birthplace, Leipzig, Germany. Hart's casual help with translations quickly blossoms into something more. There are things about men and women, he insists, that do not change. The two embark on a whirlwind emotional journey that leads Jeanette across Germany and Switzerland to a crossroads similar to that faced by Clara Schumann—also a mother, also an artist—more than a century earlier.

Accompanied by photographs, sketches, and notes from past and present, A. Manette Ansay's original blend of fiction and history captures the timeless nature of love and friendship between women and men.
Visit A. Manette Ansay's website and blog.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

"The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work"

New from Pantheon Books: The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work by by Alain De Botton.

About the book, from the publisher:

We spend most of our waking lives at work–in occupations often chosen by our unthinking younger selves. And yet we rarely ask ourselves how we got there or what our occupations mean to us.

The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work is an exploration of the joys and perils of the modern workplace, beautifully evoking what other people wake up to do each day–and night–to make the frenzied contemporary world function. With a philosophical eye and his signature combination of wit and wisdom, Alain de Botton leads us on a journey around a deliberately eclectic range of occupations, from rocket science to biscuit manufacture, accountancy to art–in search of what make jobs either fulfilling or soul-destroying.

Along the way he tries to answer some of the most urgent questions we can ask about work: Why do we do it? What makes it pleasurable? What is its meaning? And why do we daily exhaust not only ourselves but also the planet? Characteristically lucid, witty and inventive, Alain de Botton’s “song for occupations” is a celebration and exploration of an aspect of life which is all too often ignored and a book that shines a revealing light on the essential meaning of work in our lives.

"April and Oliver"

New from Grand Central Publishing: April and Oliver by Tess Callahan.

About the book, from the publisher:

Best friends since childhood, the sexual tension between April and Oliver has always been palpable. Years after being completely inseparable, they become strangers, but the wildly different paths of their lives cross once again with the sudden death of April's brother. Oliver, the responsible, newly engaged law student finds himself drawn more than ever to the reckless, mystifying April - and cracks begin to appear in his carefully constructed life. Even as Oliver attempts to "save" his childhood friend from her grief, her menacing boyfriend and herself, it soon becomes apparent that Oliver has some secrets of his own--secrets he hasn't shared with anyone, even his fiancé. But April knows, and her reappearance in his life derails him. Is it really April's life that is unraveling, or is it his own? The answer awaits at the end of a downward spiral...towards salvation.
Visit Tess Callahan's website.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

"Personal Effects"

New from St. Martin's Griffin: Personal Effects: Dark Art by J.C. Hutchins and Jordan Weisman.

About the book, from the publisher:

Personal Effects follows the extensive notes of therapist Zach Taylor’s investigation into the life and madness of Martin Grace, an accused serial killer who claims to have foreseen, but not caused, his victims’ deaths. Zach’s investigations start with interviews and art sessions, but then take him far from the hospital grounds—and often very far from the reality that we know.

The items among Grace’s personal effects are the keys to understanding his haunted past, and finding the terrifying truth Grace hoped to keep buried:

• Call the phone numbers: you’ll get a character’s voicemail.

• Google the characters and institutions in the text: you’ll find real websites

• Examine the art and other printed artifacts included inside the cover: if you pay attention, you’ll find more information than the characters themselves discover Personal Effects, the ultimate in voyeuristic storytelling, represents a revolutionary step forward in changing the way people interact with novels.
Visit J.C. Hutchins' website.

"The Angel's Game"

New from Doubleday: The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón.

About the book, from the publisher:

From master storyteller Carlos Ruiz Zafón, author of the international phenomenon The Shadow of the Wind, comes The Angel’s Game—a dazzling new page-turner about the perilous nature of obsession, in literature and in love.

“The whole of Barcelona stretched out at my feet and I wanted to believe that, when I opened those windows, its streets would whisper stories to me, secrets I could capture on paper and narrate to whomever cared to listen...”

In an abandoned mansion at the heart of Barcelona, a young man, David Martín, makes his living by writing sensationalist novels under a pseudonym. The survivor of a troubled childhood, he has taken refuge in the world of books and spends his nights spinning baroque tales about the city’s underworld. But perhaps his dark imaginings are not as strange as they seem, for in a locked room deep within the house lie photographs and letters hinting at the mysterious death of the previous owner.

Like a slow poison, the history of the place seeps into his bones as he struggles with an impossible love. Close to despair, David receives a letter from a reclusive French editor, Andreas Corelli, who makes him the offer of a lifetime. He is to write a book unlike anything that has ever existed—a book with the power to change hearts and minds. In return, he will receive a fortune, and perhaps more. But as David begins the work, he realizes that there is a connection between his haunting book and the shadows that surround his home.

Once again, Zafón takes us into a dark, gothic universe first seen in the Shadow of the Wind and creates a breathtaking adventure of intrigue, romance, and tragedy. Through a dizzingly constructed labyrinth of secrets, the magic of books, passion, and friendship blend into a masterful story.

Friday, June 19, 2009

"Last Night in Montreal"

New from Unbridled Books: Last Night in Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel.

About the book, from the publisher:

Lilia Albert has been leaving people behind for her entire life. She spends her childhood and adolescence traveling constantly and changing identities. In adulthood, she finds it impossible to stop. Haunted by an inability to remember her early childhood, she moves restlessly from city to city, abandoning lovers along with way, possibly still followed by a private detective who has pursued her for years. Then her latest lover follows her from New York to Montreal, determined to learn her secrets and make sure she’s safe. Last Night in Montreal is a story of love, amnesia, compulsive travel, the depths and the limits of family bonds, and the nature of obsession. In this extraordinary debut, Emily St. John Mandel casts a powerful spell that captures the reader in a gritty, youthful world—charged with an atmosphere of mystery, promise and foreboding—where small revelations continuously change our understanding of the truth and lead to desperate consequences. Mandel’s characters will resonate with you long after the final page is turned.
Visit Emily St. John Mandel's website.

"Everything Matters!"

New from Viking Books: Everything Matters! by Ron Currie, Jr.

About the book, from the publisher:

In infancy, Junior Thibodeaux is encoded with a prophesy: a comet will obliterate life on Earth in thirty-six years. Alone in this knowledge, he comes of age in rural Maine grappling with the question: Does anything I do matter? While the voice that has accompanied him since conception appraises his choices, Junior’s loved ones emerge with parallel stories—his anxious mother; his brother, a cocaine addict turned pro-baseball phenomenon; his exalted father, whose own mortality summons Junior’s best and worst instincts; and Amy, the love of Junior’s life and a North Star to his journey through romance and heartbreak, drug-addled despair, and superheroic feats that could save humanity. While our recognizable world is transformed into a bizarre nation at endgame, where government agents conspire in subterranean bunkers, preparing citizens for emigration from a doomed planet, Junior’s final triumph confounds all expectation, building to an astonishing and deeply moving resolution. Ron Currie, Jr., gets to the heart of character, and the voices who narrate this uniquely American tour de force leave an indelible, exhilarating impression.
Read an excerpt from Everything Matters!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

"This Wicked World"

New from Little, Brown: This Wicked World by Richard Lange.

About the book, from the publisher:

Elmore Leonard meets Denis Johnson in this explosive first novel set on the seedy side of Southern California.

Ex-marine Jimmy Boone-former bodyguard to Los Angeles's rich and famous-is fresh out of Corcoran, on parole, and trying to keep his nose clean until he figures out his next move. He has a job tending bar on Hollywood Boulevard, serving drinks to tourists, and is determined to put the past behind him.

But trying to do the right thing has always been Boone's downfall. When he backs up a buddy on a hero-for-hire gig-looking into the mysterious death of a kid on a downtown bus-he once again finds himself in a world of trouble.

As Boone learns more about the boy, an innocent who got involved with the wrong people, his investigation becomes a mission. Along the dangerous margins of Los Angeles, he encounters down-on-their-luck drug dealers, a vengeful stripper, a dog-fighting ring, a beautiful ex-cop, a vicious crime boss and his crew, and a fortune in counterfeit bills. Before long, Boone realizes that his quest to get at the truth about a ruthless murder may also turn out to be his last chance at redemption.

This Wicked World is a knock-out blend of superb writing and breakneck storytelling that grabs you by the collar and makes it impossible to stop reading.
Visit Richard Lange's website.

Writers Read: Richard Lange.

"All the Dead Voices"

New from William Morrow: All the Dead Voices by Declan Hughes.

About the book, from the publisher:

Dublin PI Ed Loy is trying to escape his past—a task easier said than done—in this new novel from Shamus Award-winning author Declan Hughes

Shortly after moving from his childhood home on the outskirts of Dublin to an apartment in the city, Ed Loy is approached by Anne Fogarty, a woman whose father was killed fifteen years ago. She thinks the police nabbed the wrong person, and now she wants Loy to find the truth. At the top of the list of possible suspects are three men Anne's father, a revenue inspector, was preparing claims against for criminal activity: Bobby Doyle, an ex-IRA man turned property developer; Jack Cullen, also ex-IRA, now the head of a gang of disgruntled IRA men; and George Halligan, Loy's underworld nemesis.

At the same time, Loy is asked to look into the death of Paul Delaney, a rising soccer star who may have been connected with Jack Cullen. With the two cases on a collision course, Loy scours the streets of a city divided—where the wounded Celtic Tiger walks hand in hand with the ghosts of a violent past.

With his gripping mysteries in the tradition of Raymond Chandler's and Ross MacDonald's best, a striking portrayal of an Ireland seldom seen, and a classic hero in Ed Loy, Declan Hughes cements his place as one of the most talented new crime writers working today.
"Written in the laconic and staccato rhythms of the classic hard-boiled private eye novel, and featuring a cast of vividly drawn ne’er-do-wells and no little amount of pitch-black humour, All the Dead Voices is crucial reading for anyone who wishes to understand how modern Ireland works."
Declan Burke

Learn more about Declan Hughes and his books at his website and his blog. Read Kevin Burton Smith's June 2007 interview with Hughes at January Magazine.

Hughes has worked for more than twenty years in the theater in Dublin as director and playwright. In 1984, he co-founded Rough Magic, Ireland's leading independent theater company. He has been writer in association with the Abbey Theatre and remains an artistic associate of Rough Magic. His novels include The Wrong Kind of Blood and The Color of Blood.

The Page 69 Test: The Price of Blood.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

"In the Kitchen"

New from Scribner: In the Kitchen by Monica Ali.

About the book, from the publisher:

Monica Ali, nominated for the Man Booker Prize, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the National Book Critics Circle Award, has written a follow-up to Brick Lane that will further establish her as one of England's most compelling and original voices.

Gabriel Lightfoot is an enterprising man from a northern England mill town, making good in London. As executive chef at the once-splendid Imperial Hotel, he is trying to run a tight kitchen. But his integrity, to say nothing of his sanity, is under constant challenge from the competing demands of an exuberant multinational staff, a gimlet-eyed hotel management, and business partners with whom he is secretly planning a move to a restaurant of his own. Despite the pressures, all his hard work looks set to pay off.

Until a worker is found dead in the kitchen's basement. It is a small death, a lonely death -- but it is enough to disturb the tenuous balance of Gabe's life.

Elsewhere, Gabriel faces other complications. His father is dying of cancer, his girlfriend wants more from their relationship, and the restaurant manager appears to be running an illegal business under Gabe's nose.

Enter Lena, an eerily attractive young woman with mysterious ties to the dead man. Under her spell, Gabe makes a decision, the consequences of which strip him naked and change the course of the life he knows -- and the future he thought he wanted.

Readers and reviewers have been stunned by the breadth of humanity in Monica Ali's fiction. She is compared to Dickens and called one of three British novelists who are "the voice of a generation" by Time magazine. In the Kitchen is utterly contemporary yet has all the drama and heartbreak of a great nineteenth-century novel. Ali is sheer pleasure to read, a truly magnificent writer.
See Monica Ali: best books.

"The Scenic Route"

New from Harper Perennial: The Scenic Route by Binnie Kirshenbaum.

About the book, from the publisher:

Divorced, alone, and unexpectedly unemployed, Sylvia Landsman flees to Italy, where she meets Henry, a wistful, married, middle-aged expatriate. Taking off on a grand tour of Europe bankrolled with his wife's money, Henry and Sylvia follow a circuitous route around the continent—as Sylvia entertains Henry with stories of her peculiar family and her damaged friends, of dead ducks and Alma Mahler. Her narrative is a tapestry of remembrances and regrets...and her secret shame: a small, cowardly sin of omission. Yet when the opportunity arises for Sylvia and Henry to do something small but brave, the refrain "if only" returns to haunt her, leaving Sylvia with one more story of love lived and lost.
Visit Binnie Kirshenbaum's website.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

"Holy Hullabaloos"

New from Beacon Press: Holy Hullabaloos: A Road Trip to the Battlegrounds of the Church/State Wars by Jay Wexler.

About the book, from the publisher:

Prayer in schools? Animal sacrifices in public? Ten Commandments on the courthouse lawn? Jay Wexler has seen it all...

After ten years spent riddling over the intricacies of church/state law from the ivory tower, law professor Jay Wexler decided it was high time to hit the road to learn what really happened in some of the most controversial Supreme Court cases involving this hot-button issue. In Holy Hullabaloos, he takes us along for the ride, crossing the country to meet the people and visit the places responsible for landmark decisions in recent judicial history, from a high school football field where fans once recited prayers before kickoff to a Santeria church notorious for animal sacrifice, from a publicly funded Muslim school to a creationist museum. Wexler's no-holds-barred approach to investigating famous church/state brouhahas is as funny as it is informative.
Visit the Holy Hullabaloos website.

"Finger Lickin' Fifteen"

New from St. Martin's Press: Finger Lickin' Fifteen by Janet Evanovich.

About the book, from the author's website:


Recipe for disaster:

Celebrity chef Stanley Chipotle comes to Trenton to participate in a barbecue cook-off and loses his head --literally.

Throw in some spice:

Bail bonds office worker Lula is witness to the crime, and the only one she’ll talk to is Trenton cop, Joe Morelli.

Pump up the heat:

Chipotle’s sponsor is offering a million dollar reward to anyone who can provide information leading to the capture of the killers.

Stir the pot:

Lula recruits bounty hunter Stephanie Plum to help her find the killers and collect the moolah.

Add a secret ingredient:

Stephanie Plum’s Grandma Mazur. Enough said.

Bring to a boil:

Stephanie Plum is working overtime tracking felons for the bonds office at night and snooping for security expert Carlos Manoso, A.K.A. Ranger, during the day. Can Stephanie hunt down two killers, a traitor, five skips, keep her grandmother out of the sauce, solve Ranger’s problems and not jump his bones?


Habanero hot. So good you’ll want seconds.
Visit Janet Evanovich's website.

Monday, June 15, 2009

"Julian Comstock"

New from Tor Books: Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd-Century America by Robert Charles Wilson.

About the book, from the publisher:

From the Hugo-winning author of Spin, an exuberant adventure in a post-climate-change America

In the reign of President Deklan Comstock, a reborn United States is struggling back to prosperity. Over a century after the Efflorescence of Oil, after the Fall of the Cities, after the Plague of Infertility, after the False Tribulation, after the days of the Pious Presidents, the sixty stars and thirteen stripes wave from the plains of Athabaska to the national capital in New York City. In Colorado Springs, the Dominion sees to the nation’s spiritual needs. In Labrador, the Army wages war on the Dutch. America, unified, is rising once again.

Then out of Labrador come tales of a new Ajax—Captain Commongold, the Youthful Hero of the Saguenay. The ordinary people follow his adventures in the popular press. The Army adores him. The President is…troubled. Especially when the dashing Captain turns out to be his nephew Julian, son of the falsely accused and executed Bryce.

Treachery and intrigue dog Julian’s footsteps. Hairsbreadth escapes and daring rescues fill his days. Stern resolve and tender sentiment dice for Julian’s soul, while his admiration for the works of the Secular Ancients, and his adherence to the evolutionary doctrines of the heretical Darwin, set him at fatal odds with the hierarchy of the Dominion. Plague and fire swirl around the Presidential palace when at last he arrives with the acclamation of the mob.

As told by Julian’s best friend and faithful companion, a rustic yet observant lad from the west, this tale of the 22nd Century asks— and answers—the age-old question: “Do you want to tell the truth, or do you want to tell a story?”
Visit Robert Charles Wilson's website.

"The Lace Makers of Glenmara"

New from Harper: The Lace Makers of Glenmara by Heather Barbieri.

About the book, from the publisher:

"You can always start again," Kate Robinson's mother once told her, "all it takes is a new thread." Overwhelmed by heartbreak and loss, the struggling twenty-six-year-old fashion designer follows her mother's advice and flees to her ancestral homeland of Ireland, hoping to break free of old patterns and reinvent herself.

She arrives on the west coast, in the seaside hamlet of Glenmara. In this charming, fading Gaelic village, Kate quickly develops a bond with members of the local lace-making society: Bernie, alone and yearning for a new purpose since the death of her beloved husband, John; Aileen, plagued by doubt, helplessly watching her teenage daughter grow distant; Moira, caught in a cycle of abuse and denial, stubbornly refusing help from those closest to her; Oona, in remission from breast cancer, secretly harboring misgivings about her marriage; Colleen, the leader of the group, worried about her fisherman husband, missing at sea. And outside this newfound circle is local artist Sullivan Deane, an enigmatic man trying to overcome a tragedy of his own.

Under Glenmara's spell, Kate finds the inspiration that has eluded her, and soon she and the lace makers are creating a line of exquisite lingerie. In their skilled hands, flowers, Celtic dragons, nymphs, fish, saints, kings, and queens come to life, rendered with painterly skill. The circle also offers them something more—the strength to face their long-denied desires and fears. But not everyone welcomes Kate, and a series of unexpected events threatens to unravel everything the women have worked so hard for....
Visit Heather Barbieri's website.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

"Trust No One"

New from St. Martin's Press: Trust No One by Gregg Hurwitz.

About the book, from the publisher:

Over the past two decades, Nick Horrigan has built a quiet, safe life for himself, living as much under the radar as possible. But all of that shatters when, in the middle of the night, a SWAT team bursts into his apartment, grabs him and drags him to a waiting helicopter. A terrorist— someone Nick has never heard of—has seized control of a nuclear reactor, threatening to blow it up. And the only person he’ll talk to is Nick, promising to tell Nick the truth behind the events that shattered his life twenty years ago.

At seventeen years old, Nick Horrigan made a deadly mistake—one that cost his stepfather his life, endangered his mother, and sent him into hiding for years. Now, what Nick discovers in that nuclear plant leaves him with only two choices—to start running again, or to fight and finally uncover the secrets that have held him hostage all these years.

As Nick peels back layer after layer of lies and deception, buffeted between the buried horrors of the past and the deadly intrigues of the present, he finds his own life—and the lives of nearly everyone he loves—at risk. And the only thing guiding him through this deadly labyrinth are his stepfather’s dying words: TRUST NO ONE. Acclaimed for years by both critics and his peers as one of the finest thriller writers today, Gregg Hurwitz has lived up to all the accolades and expectations with Trust No One, an electrifying and compelling novel that will be remembered for years to come.
My Book, The Movie: The Crime Writer.

Visit Gregg Hurwitz's website.

"Southern Peril"

New from Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books: Southern Peril by T. Lynn Ocean.

About the book, from the publisher:

Why is it so hard for Jersey Barnes to retire? When a state supreme judge calls in a favor, she tells herself (again) that this is her last case. She must investigate the judge’s brother, Morgan, and his newly-inherited business. When Jersey realizes the DEA is checking on Morgan, too, she finds herself in the middle of a twenty-year-old mystery and a drug ring investigation. Still checking up on her geriatric father and his trouble-making friends, negotiating the steamy friendship/relationship with her bartender Ox, and dodging the flirtacious sparks flying back and forth with the cute DEA agent, Jersey begins to wonder if retirement is ever in her future. On the heels of the lauded Southern Poison, readers will welcome another hilarious, suspenseful, and sun-soaked adventure from the unforgettable Jersey Barnes.
A freelance writer for more than ten years, T. Lynn Ocean has published in magazines nationwide. She is the author of the novels Fool Me Once, Sweet Home Carolina, Southern Fatality, and Southern poison.

The Page 69 Test: Southern Fatality.

The Page 69 Test: Southern Poison.

Learn more about the author and her work at T. Lynn Ocean's website.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

"Mind Scrambler"

New from Minotaur Books: Mind Scrambler by Chris Grabenstein.

About the book, from the publisher:

John Ceepak and Danny Boyle are making the rounds in Atlantic City when Danny runs into his former crush, Katie. She’s working for a magician named Rock, and her life seems to be in better order than Boyle could have hoped for. But Ceepak and Boyle soon find themselves on another case when Katie is found strangled to death. It is up to Ceepak and Boyle to find out who killed her. Their lives and the lives of others depend on it.
Learn more about the author and his work at Chris Grabenstein's website.

Mind Scrambler is the 5th John Ceepak mystery.

Chris Grabenstein won the Anthony Award for "Best First Mystery" (given at Bouchercon 2006) for his debut novel Tilt A Whirl—the first in a series of John Ceepak stories to be set "Down The Shore" in a New Jersey tourist town called Sea Haven. It was followed by Mad Mouse, Whack A Mole, and Hell Hole.

The Page 69 Test: Hell Hole.

"My Father's Tears and Other Stories"

New from Knopf: My Father's Tears and Other Stories by John Updike.

About the book, from the publisher:

John Updike’s first collection of new short fiction since the year 2000, My Father’s Tears finds the author in a valedictory mood as he mingles narratives of his native Pennsylvania with stories of New England suburbia and of foreign travel.

“Personal Archaeology” considers life as a sequence of half-buried layers, and “The Full Glass” distills a lifetime’s happiness into one brimming moment of an old man’s bedtime routine. High-school class reunions, in “The Walk with Elizanne” and “The Road Home,” restore their hero to youth’s commonwealth where, as the narrator of the title story confides, “the self I value is stored, however infrequently I check on its condition.” Exotic locales encountered in the journeys of adulthood include Morocco, Florida, Spain, Italy, and India. The territory of childhood, with its fundamental, formative mysteries, is explored in “The Guardians,” “The Laughter of the Gods,” and “Kinderszenen.” Love’s fumblings among the bourgeoisie yield the tart comedy of “Free,” “Delicate Wives,” “The Apparition,” and “Outage.”

In sum, American experience from the Depression to the aftermath of 9/11 finds reflection in these glittering pieces of observation, remembrance, and imagination.

Friday, June 12, 2009

"The Chosen One"

New from St. Martin's Griffin: The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams.

About the book, from the publisher:

Thirteen-year-old Kyra has grown up in an isolated community without questioning the fact that her father has three wives and she has twenty brothers and sisters, with two more on the way. That is, without questioning them much---if you don’t count her secret visits to the Mobile Library on Wheels to read forbidden books, or her meetings with Joshua, the boy she hopes to choose for herself instead of having a man chosen for her.

But when the Prophet decrees that she must marry her sixty-year-old uncle---who already has six wives---Kyra must make a desperate choice in the face of violence and her own fears of losing her family forever.
Kathi Appelt on The Chosen One:
"The writing here is so exquisite that it begs to be read out loud, just to savor the sheer beauty of the language. And the story itself is so riveting and heartbreaking that it begs to be shared and shared and shared. This is one of those books that makes you a different person for having read it. Beautiful."

"This Is How It Starts"

New from Simon & Schuster: This Is How It Starts by Grant Ginder.

About the book, from the publisher:

Meet Taylor Mark: a recent college graduate who has moved to Washington, D.C., to work for John Grayson, the less-than-brilliant congressman from his home district in southern California. Inadequately prepared for life among D.C.'s movers and shakers, Taylor quickly learns that Washington is a city where deals are made behind closed doors. And there's no one better to teach him -- and Grayson -- that lesson than Chase Latham, Taylor's former college roommate and the son of a powerful lobbyist. To Chase, the Beltway's bars, restaurants, town houses, and government offices are one big, debauched playground -- a land of milk and honey where secrets are currency, the sex is bipartisan, and rules and boundaries are obsolete. It's a place where, as the stakes are raised, the line between right and wrong becomes blurred and friends' loyalties are nothing more than fragments of the past.

This Is How It Starts is an incisively written debut novel about how far one postcollegiate idealist will go to be an insider in a town that is unyielding in what it will take from a person in exchange for granting him a margin of knowledge and power.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

"The Memory Collector"

New from Dutton Books: The Memory Collector by Meg Gardiner.

About the book, from the publisher:

The second pulse-pounding thriller in Meg Gardiner’s Jo Beckett series, whose “thrilling,”1 “crackerjack,”2 “adrenaline-filled”3 debut was an Independent Mystery Booksellers Association bestseller.

Forensic psychiatrist Jo Beckett’s specialty is the psychological autopsy— an investigation into a person’s life to determine whether a death was natural, accidental, suicide, or homicide. She calls herself a deadshrinker instead of a head-shrinker: The silence of her “patients” is a key part of the job’s attraction. When Jo is asked to do a psychological autopsy on a living person—one with a suspect memory who can’t be trusted to participate in his own medical care—she knows all her skills will be put to the test.

Jo is called to the scene of an aircraft inbound from London to help deal with a passenger who is behaving erratically. She figures out that he’s got anterograde amnesia, and can’t form new memories. Jo finds herself racing to save a patient who can walk and talk and yet can’t help Jo figure out just what happened to him. For every cryptic clue he is able to drag up from his memory, Jo has to sift through a dozen nonsensical statements. Suddenly a string of clues arises, something to do with a superdeadly biological agent code-named “Slick,” a missing wife and son, and a secret partnership gone horribly wrong. Jo realizes her patient’s addled mind may hold the key to preventing something terrible from happening in her beloved San Francisco. In order to prevent it, she will have to get deeper into the life of a patient than she ever has before, hoping the truth emerges from the fog of his mind in time to save her city—and herself.
Learn more about the author and her work at Meg Gardiner's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: The Dirty Secrets Club.

"Hungry Monkey"

New from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: Hungry Monkey: A Food-Loving Father's Quest to Raise an Adventurous Eater by Matthew Amster-Burton.

About the book, from the publisher:

Matthew Amster-Burton was a restaurant critic and food writer long before he and his wife, Laurie, had Iris. Now he’s a full-time, stay-at-home Dad and his experience with food has changed …a little.

Hungry Monkey is the story of Amster-Burton’s life as a food-lover--with a child. It’s the story of how he came to realize that kids don’t need puree in a jar or special menus at restaurants and that raising an adventurous eater is about exposure, invention, and patience. He writes of the highs and lows of teaching your child about food--the high of rediscovering how something tastes for the first time through a child’s unedited reaction, the low of thinking you have a precocious vegetable fiend on your hands only to discover that a child’s preferences change from day to day (and may take years to include vegetables again). Sharing in his culinary capers is little Iris, a budding gourmand and a zippy critic herself--who makes hug sandwiches, gobbles up hot chilis, and even helps around the kitchen sometimes.

A memoir on the wild joys of food and parenting and the marvelous mélange of the two--Hungry Monkey takes food enthusiasts on a new adventure in eating, with dozens of delicious recipes and notes on which can accommodate help from "little fingers." In the end, our guide reminds us: "Food is fun, and you get to enjoy it three times a day, plus snacks!"
Visit the Hungry Monkey website.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

"The Cutting"

New from Minotaur Books: The Cutting by James Hayman.

About the book, from the publisher:

From a formidable new voice in suspense fiction comes an edge-of-the-seat story of a homicide detective on the trail of a killer, who slays with exacting precision, and who harbors a terrifying motive

Detective Sergeant Michael McCabe moved from New York City to Portland, Maine, to escape a dark past: both the ex-wife who’d left him for an investment banker, and the tragic death of his brother, a hero cop gone bad. He sought to raise his young daughter away from the violence of the big city . . . so he’s unprepared for the horrific killer he discovers, whose bloody trail may lead to Portland’s social elite.

Early on a September evening, the mutilated body of a pretty teenaged girl, a high school soccer star, is found dumped in a scrap-metal yard. She had been viciously assaulted, but her heart had been cut out of her chest with surgical precision. The very same day a young businesswoman, also a blonde and an athlete, was abducted as she jogged through the streets of the city’s west end. McCabe suspects both crimes are the work of the same man---a killer who’s targeting the young---who is clearly well-versed in complex surgical procedures, and who may have struck before. Just as the investigation is beginning, McCabe’s ex-wife reemerges, suddenly determined to reclaim the daughter she heedlessly abandoned years earlier.

With the help of his straight-talking (and, at times, alluring) partner, Maggie Savage, McCabe begins a race against time to rescue the missing woman and unmask a sadistic killer---before more lives are lost.
Visit James Hayman's website.

"K Blows Top"

New from PublicAffairs: K Blows Top: A Cold War Comic Interlude Starring Nikita Khrushchev, America's Most Unlikely Tourist by Peter Carlson.

About the book, from the publisher:

This hilarious account of Khrushchev's 1959 U.S. tour is also a supremely entertaining evocation of the history and atmosphere of Cold War America

Khrushchev's 1959 trip across America was one of the strangest exercises in international diplomacy ever conducted—"a surreal extravaganza," as historian John Lewis Gaddis called it. Khrushchev told jokes, threw tantrums, sparked a riot in a San Francisco supermarket, wowed the coeds in a home economics class in Iowa, and ogled Shirley MacLaine as she filmed a dance scene in Can-Can. He befriended and offended a cast of characters including Nelson Rockefeller, Richard Nixon, Eleanor Roosevelt, Elizabeth Taylor, and Marilyn Monroe.

Published for the fiftieth anniversary of the trip, K Blows Top is a work of history that reads like a Vonnegut novel. This cantankerous communist's road trip took place against the backdrop of the fifties in capitalist America, with the shadow of the hydrogen bomb hanging over his visit like the Sword of Damocles. As Khrushchev kept reminding people, he was a hot-tempered man who possessed the power to incinerate America.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

"The Fixer Upper"

New from Harper: The Fixer Upper by Mary Kay Andrews.

About the book, from the publisher:

The delightful New York Times bestselling author returns with a hilarious novel about one woman's quest to redo an old house . . . and her life.

After her boss in a high-powered Washington public relations firm is caught in a political scandal, fledgling lobbyist Dempsey Jo Killebrew is left almost broke, unemployed, and homeless. Out of options, she reluctantly accepts her father's offer to help refurbish Birdsong, the old family place he recently inherited in Guthrie, Georgia. All it will take, he tells her, is a little paint and some TLC to turn the fading Victorian mansion into a real-estate cash cow.

But, oh, is Dempsey in for a surprise when she arrives in Guthrie. "Bird Droppings" would more aptly describe the moldering Pepto Bismol–pink dump with duct-taped windows and a driveway full of junk. There's also a murderously grumpy old lady, one of Dempsey's distant relations, who has claimed squatter's rights and isn't moving out. Ever.

Furthermore, everyone in Guthrie seems to know Dempsey's business, from a smooth-talking real-estate agent to a cute lawyer who owns the local newspaper. It wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for the pesky FBI agents who show up on Dempsey's doorstep, hoping to pry information about her ex-boss from her.

All Dempsey can do is roll up her sleeves and get to work. And before long, what started as a job of necessity somehow becomes a labor of love and, ultimately, a journey that takes her to a place she never expected—back home again.
Visit Mary Kay Andrews's website.

"Sworn to Silence"

New from Minotaur Books: Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo.

About the book, from the publisher:

Some secrets are too terrible to reveal... Some crimes are too unspeakable to solve...

In the sleepy rural town of Painters Mill, Ohio, the Amish and “English” residents have lived side by side for two centuries. But sixteen years ago, a series of brutal murders shattered the peaceful farming community. In the aftermath of the violence, the town was left with a sense of fragility, a loss of innocence. Kate Burkholder, a young Amish girl, survived the terror of the Slaughterhouse Killer but came away from its brutality with the realization that she no longer belonged with the Amish.

Now, a wealth of experience later, Kate has been asked to return to Painters Mill as Chief of Police. Her Amish roots and big city law enforcement background make her the perfect candidate. She’s certain she’s come to terms with her past—until the first body is discovered in a snowy field. Kate vows to stop the killer before he strikes again. But to do so, she must betray both her family and her Amish past—and expose a dark secret that could destroy her.
Visit Linda Castillo's website.

Monday, June 8, 2009

"Just Like Family"

New from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: Just Like Family: Inside the Life of Nannies, the Parents They Work for, and the Children They Love by Tasha Blaine.

About the book, from the publisher:

When she was in her early thirties,Tasha Blaine briefly became a nanny. She expected an easy, nine-to-five stint, but instead she discovered the vast, varied, and largely unknown world of nannies. Often overlooked and invisible, these women also hold great power in the families they work for. Blaine was learning what so many parents want to know: What does our nanny think of us? And what happens all day behind our front door? To find out, Blaine interviewed nannies all over the country and immersed herself in the lives of three of them. We meet Claudia, who left the Caribbean to become a nanny in New York and is struggling to support her own child she left behind.We get to know Vivian, a young, white, college-educated woman from Boston, who wins a Nanny of the Year award even as she absorbs the painful truth that her role in the family is shrinking as her charges grow up. And we witness the struggles of Kim, a top Texas nanny who dreams of having her own family, as she moves in with a couple expecting their first baby. In telling the true stories behind the fantasies and fears we have about nannies, Just Like Family takes us deep inside the lives of women whose job it is to love.
Visit Tasha Blaine's website.

"East of the Sun"

New from Touchstone: East of the Sun by Julia Gregson.

About the book, from the publisher:

As the Kaisar-i-Hind weighs anchor for Bombay in the autumn of 1928, its passengers ponder their fate in a distant land. They are part of the "Fishing Fleet" -- the name given to the legions of Englishwomen who sail to India each year in search of husbands, heedless of the life that awaits them. The inexperienced chaperone Viva Holloway has been entrusted to watch over three unsettling charges. There's Rose, as beautiful as she is naïve, who plans to marry a cavalry officer she has met a mere handful of times. Her bridesmaid, Victoria, is hell-bent on losing her virginity en route before finding a husband of her own. And shadowing them all is the malevolent presence of a disturbed schoolboy named Guy Glover.

From the parties of the wealthy Bombay socialites to the poverty of Tamarind Street, from the sooty streets of London to the genteel conversation of the Bombay Yacht Club, East of the Sun is graced with lavish detail and a penetrating sensitivity -- historical fiction at its greatest.
"Gregson delivers 1928 India in livid, vivid color. East of the Sun is a fantastic book, one that endures in the mind long after the final page is turned."
--Monica Stark, January Magazine

Visit Julia Gregson's website.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

"The Pretend Wife"

New from Bantam: Bridget Asher's The Pretend Wife.

About the book, from the publisher:

What would life be like with the one who got away? From the author of My Husband’s Sweethearts—hailed as “a laugh-and-cry novel”* that’s “whip-smart, tender…an undiluted joy to read”**—comes this bighearted, funny, fiercely perceptive tale about a happily married woman and the little white lie that changed everything.…

For Gwen Merchant, love has always been doled out in little packets—from her father, a marine biologist who buried himself in work after her mother’s death; and from her husband, Peter, who’s always been respectable and safe. But when an old college boyfriend, the irrepressible Elliot Hull, invites himself back into Gwen’s life, she starts to remember a time when love was an ocean.

What does Elliot want? In fact, he has a rather surprising proposition: he wants Gwen to become his wife. His pretend wife. Just for a few days. To accompany him to his family’s lake house for the weekend so that he can fulfill his dying mother’s last wish. Reluctantly Gwen agrees to play along—with her husband Peter’s full support. It’s just one weekend—what harm could come of it?

But as Gwen is drawn into Elliot’s quirky, wonderful family—his astonishingly wise and open mother, his warm and welcoming sister, and his adorable, precocious niece—she starts questioning everything she’s ever expected from love. And as she begins to uncover a few secrets about her own family, it suddenly looks like a pretend relationship just might turn out to be the most real thing she’s ever known.
Visit Bridget Asher's website.