Wednesday, September 30, 2009

"Loot the Moon"

New from Minotaur Books: Loot the Moon by Mark Arsenault.

About the book, from the publisher:

From the Shamus Award nominee of Spiked comes this much-anticipated sequel to the highly acclaimed Gravewriter

In this next electifying thriller from up-and-coming author Mark Arsenault, former journalist and beaten-down gambler Billy Povich returns to aid Martin Smothers, the Patron Lawyer of Hopeless Causes.

Martin’s old law partner, the well-respected superior court judge Gilbert Harmony, has been shot by a thief who dies in a car crash. The cops close the case, but Martin doesn’t believe a two-bit shoplifter would suddenly kill a judge---somebody must have paid him to do it.

The suspects range from a vengeful mobster to a jealous brother to the judge's widow, and---oops---his mistress and her son. And as Billy comes closer to the truth, it isn't long before the killer takes aim at him.
Visit Mark Arsenault's website.

"The Test"

New from Oceanview Publishing: The Test by Patricia Gussin.

About the book, from the publisher:

Renowned philanthropist and billionaire Paul Parnell had reached the pinnacle of monetary success, but not without cost. Had he put too much emphasis on work, and spent too little time with his family?

Determined to leave something far more valuable than money to his six children, Paul instructs his lawyers to create an unusual last will and testament. This unorthodox will, which stipulates that the lion’s share of Paul’s 2 billion dollar estate be given to the heirs who pass “the test,” was Paul’s last hope of creating a lasting legacy by inspiring his children to give back to society and embrace a code of moral values.

The six children, Rory, Frank, Dan, Monica, Carla, and Ashley, have only one year to make a difference. But what a difference one year will make.

Before these six very different siblings can complete the test, they’ll be forced to face their personal demons, and the incredibly evil influence that could claim one of their own.
Visit Patricia Gussin's website.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

"Dragon's Ring"

New from Baen: Dragon's Ring by Dave Freer.

About the book, from the publisher:

Tasmarin is a place of dragons, a plane cut off from all other worlds, where dragons can be dragons and humans can be dinner. It’s a place of islands, forests, mountains and wild oceans, filled with magical denizens. Fionn—the black dragon—calmly tells anyone who will listen that he’s going to destroy the place. Of course he’s a joker, a troublemaker and a dragon of no fixed abode. No one ever believes him. He’s dead serious. Others strive to refresh the magics that built this place. To do so they need the combined magics of all the intelligent species, to renew the ancient balance and compact. There is just one problem. They need a human mage, and dragons systematically eliminated those centuries ago. Their augury has revealed that there is one, and they seek her desperately. Unfortunately, she’s fallen in with Fionn, who really doesn’t want them to succeed. He has his own reasons and dark designs. The part he hadn’t worked out is that she will affect his plans too. Chaos, roguery, heroism, theft, love, kidnapping, magic and war follow. And more chaos.
Visit Dave Freer's website and blog, and the Save the Dragons site.

Read--Coffee with Canine: Dave Freer & Roly and family.

"The Ghosts of Belfast"

New from Soho Crime: The Ghosts of Belfast by Stuart Neville.

About the book, from the publisher:

Fegan has been a "hard man," an IRA killer in Northern Ireland. Now that peace has come, he is being haunted, day and night, by twelve ghosts: a mother and infant, a schoolboy, a butcher, an RUC constable, and seven other of his innocent victims. In order to appease them, he's going to have to kill the men who gave him orders. As he's working his way down the list he encounters the wife of a policeman, a woman who may offer him redemption. Now he has given Fate—and his quarry—a hostage. Is this Fegan's ultimate mistake?
Read an excerpt from The Ghosts of Belfast.

Visit Stuart Neville's website and blog.

Monday, September 28, 2009

"Stained Glass"

New from Minotaur Books: Stained Glass by Ralph McInerny.

About the book, from the publisher:

Tough times and the unsolved murders of anyone with ties to the Deveres---a family of wealthy parish patrons---back Father Dowling up against a wall in his struggle to save his church from the chopping block.

With too many churches and not enough people to fill them, the Archdiocese has to make some cuts, and many of them, including the proposed closing of St. Hilary’s, are dangerously close to the bone. Father Dowling rushes to drum up support from church officials and parishioners, including the Deveres, who don’t want to see the stained glass windows they donated go anywhere other than the church they were meant for, but they can hardly be of help when those closest to them start turning up dead.

Church politics, long-kept family secrets, and a determined killer come together to put St. Hilary’s---a church that countless characters and devoted readers have come to love---and its parishioners in peril in Stained Glass, the latest in Ralph McInerny’s treasured mystery series.

"The Interrogative Mood"

New from Ecco: The Interrogative Mood by Padgett Powell.

About the book, from the publisher:

Are you happy? Do we need galoshes? Are bluebirds perfect? Do you know the distinctions, empirical or theoretical, between moss and lichen? Is it clear to you why I am asking you all these questions? Should I go away? Leave you alone? Should I bother but myself with the interrogative mood?

The acclaimed writer Padgett Powell is fascinated by what it feels like to walk through everyday life, to hear the swing and snap of American talk, to be both electrified and overwhelmed by the mad cacophony—the "muchness"—of America. The Interrogative Mood is Powell's playful and profound response, a bebop solo of a book in which every sentence is a question.

Perhaps only Powell—a writer who was once touted as the best of his generation by Saul Bellow and "among the top five writers of fiction in the country" by Barry Hannah—could pull off such a remarkable stylistic feat. Is it a novel? Whatever it is, The Interrogative Mood is one of the most audacious literary high-wire acts since Nicholson Baker's The Mezzanine. Powell's unnamed narrator forces us to consider our core beliefs, our most cherished memories, our views on life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In fiction as in life, there may be no easy answers—but The Interrogative Mood is an exuberant book that leaves the reader feeling a little more alive.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

"The White Garden"

New from Bantam: The White Garden by Stephanie Barron.

About the book, from the publisher:

In March 1941, Virginia Woolf filled her pockets with stones and drowned herself in England’s River Ouse. Her body was found three weeks later. What seemed like a tragic ending at the time was, in fact, just the beginning of a mystery....

Six decades after Virginia Woolf’s death, landscape designer Jo Bellamy has come to Sissinghurst Castle for two reasons: to study the celebrated White Garden created by Woolf’s lover Vita Sackville-West and to recover from the terrible wound of her grandfather’s unexplained suicide. In the shadow of one of England’s most famous castles, Jo makes a shocking find: Woolf’s last diary, its first entry dated the day after she allegedly killed herself.

If authenticated, Jo’s discovery could shatter everything historians believe about Woolf’s final hours. But when the Woolf diary is suddenly stolen, Jo’s quest to uncover the truth will lead her on a perilous journey into the tumultuous inner life of a literary icon whose connection to the White Garden ultimately proved devastating.

Rich with historical detail, The White Garden is an enthralling novel of literary suspense that explores the many ways the past haunts the present–and the dark secrets that lurk beneath the surface of the most carefully tended garden.
Visit Stephanie Barron's website.

"The Gates"

New from Atria: The Gates by John Connolly.

About the book, from the publisher:

Young Samuel Johnson and his dachshund, Boswell, are trying to show initiative by trick-or-treating a full three days before Halloween, which is how they come to witness strange goings-on at 666 Crowley Road. The Abernathys don't mean any harm by their flirtation with the underworld, but when they unknowingly call forth Satan himself, they create a gap in the universe, a gap through which a pair of enormous gates is visible. The gates to Hell. And there are some pretty terrifying beings just itching to get out....

Can one small boy defeat evil? Can he harness the power of science, faith, and love to save the world as we know it?

Bursting with imagination and impossible to put down, The Gates is about the pull between good and evil, physics and fantasy. It is about a quirky and eccentric boy, who is impossible not to love, and the unlikely cast of characters who give him the strength to stand up to a demonic power.

In this wonderfully strange and brilliant novel, John Connolly manages to re-create the magical and scary world of childhood that we've all left behind but so love to visit. And for those of you who thought you knew everything you could about particle physics and the universe, think again. This novel makes anything seem possible.
Visit John Connolly's website and blog.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


New from Harper: Hummingbirds by Joshua Gaylord.

About the book, from the publisher:

A wonderfully compelling debut novel about the intertwining—and darkly surprising—relationships between the teachers and students at an all-girls prep school Spend a year at the Carmine-Casey School for Girls, an elite prep school on Manhattan's Upper East Side: the year when the intimate private school community becomes tempestuous and dangerously incestuous as the rivalries and secrets of teachers and students intersect and eventually collide.

In the world of students, popular and coquettish Dixie Doyle, with her ironic pigtails, battles to wrest attention away from the smart and disdainful Liz Warren, who spends her time writing and directing plays based on the Oresteia. In the world of teachers, the adored Leo Binhammer struggles to share his territory with Ted Hughes, the charming new English teacher who threatens to usurp Binhammer's status as the department's only male teacher and owner of the girls' hearts. When a secret is revealed between them, Binhammer grows increasingly fascinated by the man he has determined is out to get him.

As seasons change and tensions mount, the girls long for entry into the adult world, toying with their premature powers of flirtation. Meanwhile, the deceptive innocence of the adolescent world—complete with plaid skirts and scented highlighters—becomes a trap into which the flailing teachers fall. By the end of the year the line between maturity and youth begins to blur, and the question on the final exam is: Who are the adults and who are the children?
Read an excerpt from Hummingbirds.

Visit Joshua Gaylord's website.

"The Violet Hour"

New from Minotaur Books: The Violet Hour by Daniel Judson.

About the book, from the publisher:

In Daniel Judson’s powerful new thriller, Bridgehampton auto mechanic Caleb Rakowski gets paid under the table at his friend Eric Carver's auto repair shop and lives in an apartment above. He's good at his job, he's a hard worker, and he’s making a decent living.

But right now he's sheltering a pregnant friend who’ll do anything to keep her abusive husband away from herself and her baby. Cal has sworn to protect her; that's the kind of guy he is, a true friend. Little does he know, though, the trouble destined to come down on them over the course of three days---Mischief Night, Halloween, and the Day of the Dead---when he learns the truth about Eric Carver and what he's been hiding all these years. And little does Cal know how those lies will force him to risk everything to save the people closest to him.

Daniel Judson is a craftsman of modern noir, an incredibly talented writer in the vein of Ellroy or Chandler but with the Hamptons in all their glitz and stark shadows as his canvas. Like his two previous Hamptons novels, The Water's Edge and The Darkest Place, The Violet Hour is tightly drawn, hauntingly atmospheric, and completely searing.

Friday, September 25, 2009

"The Story About the Story"

New from Tin House Books: The Story about the Story: Great Writers Explore Great Literature, edited by J. C. Hallman.

About the book, from the publisher:

Editor J. C. Hallman has pored through countless collected essays of notable authors, searching for pieces in which the author approaches literature from a personal angle. The results are a fantastic, provocative, intelligent, and, at times, hilarious discussion of literature and life. Never before collected in a single volume, the essays in The Story About the Story feature lively discussions of great literature by some of the most prominent authors of all time. With over thirty essays written by authors as diverse as Oscar Wilde and Virginia Woolf to Cynthia Ozick and Salman Rushdie, this collection offers an invaluable course on literature as well as a look into “Creative Criticism,” a form of critical essay that involves a personal perspective.

Writers such as William Gass, Wallace Stegner, Albert Camus, Milan Kundera, Susan Sontag, James Wood, E. B. White, Herman Hesse, Cynthia Ozick, Walter Kirn, and Michael Chabon discuss the work of such luminaries as Marcel Proust, J. D. Salinger, Franz Kafka, John Keats, Malcolm Lowry, T. S. Eliot, Anton Chekhov, Robert Lowell, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Henry David Thoreau, Cormac McCarthy, Truman Capote, and John Steinbeck.
Visit J.C. Hallman's website.


New from Bleak House Books: Doubleback by Libby Fischer Hellmann.

About the book, from the publisher:

Little Molly Messenger is kidnapped on a sunny June morning. Three days later she's returned, apparently unharmed. Molly's mother, Chris, is so grateful to have her daughter back that she's willing to overlook the odd circumstances.

A few days later, the brakes go out on Chris's car.

An accident? Maybe. Except that it turns out that Chris, the IT manager at a large Chicago bank, may have misappropriated three million dollars. Not convinced that his daughter is safe, Molly's father hires PI Georgia Davis to follow the money and investigate Chris's death.

Doubleback reunites PI Georgia Davis with video producer Ellie Foreman. The two women track leads from Northern Wisconsin to an Arizona border town, where illegal immigrants, smuggled drugs, and an independent contractor called Delton Security come into play. Georgia and Ellie go to great lengths to find the truth, and Georgia discovers that you can cross a line, but sometimes you have to double back.
Read an excerpt from Doubleback and watch the video trailer.

My Book, The Movie: A Shot To Die For.

The Page 69 Test: Easy Innocence.

My Book, The Movie: Easy Innocence.

Visit Libby Fischer Hellmann's website.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

"Blood's A Rover"

New from Knopf: Blood's A Rover by James Ellroy.

About the book, from the publisher:

Summer, 1968. Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy are dead. The assassination conspiracies have begun to unravel. A dirty-tricks squad is getting ready to deploy at the Democratic Convention in Chicago. Black militants are warring in southside L.A. The Feds are concocting draconian countermeasures. And fate has placed three men at the vortex of History.

Dwight Holly is J. Edgar Hoover’s pet strong-arm goon, implementing Hoover’s racist designs and obsessed with a leftist shadow figure named Joan Rosen Klein. Wayne Tedrow—ex-cop and heroin runner—is building a mob gambling mecca in the Dominican Republic and quickly becoming radicalized. Don Crutchfield is a window-peeping kid private-eye within tantalizing reach of right-wing assassins, left-wing revolutionaries and the powermongers of an incendiary era. Their lives collide in pursuit of the Red Goddess Joan—and each of them will pay “a dear and savage price to live History.”

Political noir as only James Ellroy can write it—our recent past razed and fully reconstructed—Blood’s A Rover is a novel of astonishing depth and scope, a massive tale of corruption and retribution, of ideals at war and the extremity of love. It is the largest and greatest work of fiction from an American master.
Read an interview with James Ellroy.

"Ordinary Injustice"

New from Metropolitan Books: Ordinary Injustice: How America Holds Court by Amy Bach.

About the book, from the publisher:

From an award-winning lawyer-reporter, a radically new explanation for America’s failing justice system

The stories of grave injustice are all too familiar: the lawyer who sleeps through a trial, the false confessions, the convictions of the innocent. Less visible is the chronic injustice meted out daily by a profoundly defective system.

In a sweeping investigation that moves from small-town Georgia to upstate New York, from Chicago to Mississippi, Amy Bach reveals a judicial process so deeply compromised that it constitutes a menace to the people it is designed to serve. Here is the public defender who pleads most of his clients guilty; the judge who sets outrageous bail for negligible crimes; the prosecutor who brings almost no cases to trial; the court that works together to achieve a wrong verdict. Going beyond the usual explanations of bad apples and meager funding, Bach identifies an assembly-line approach that rewards shoddiness and sacrifices defendants to keep the court calendar moving, and she exposes the collusion between judge, prosecutor, and defense that puts the interests of the system above the obligation to the people. It is time, Bach argues, to institute a new method of checks and balances that will make injustice visible—the first and necessary step to any reform.

Full of gripping human stories, sharp analyses, and a crusader’s sense of urgency, Ordinary Injustice is a major reassessment of the health of the nation’s courtrooms.
Visit the Ordinary Injustice website.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

"The Last Resort"

New from Harmony Books: The Last Resort: A Memoir of Zimbabwe by Douglas Rogers.

About the book, from the publisher:

Thrilling, heartbreaking, and, at times, absurdly funny, The Last Resort is a remarkable true story about one family in a country under siege and a testament to the love, perseverance, and resilience of the human spirit.

Born and raised in Zimbabwe, Douglas Rogers is the son of white farmers living through that country’s long and tense transition from postcolonial rule. He escaped the dull future mapped out for him by his parents for one of adventure and excitement in Europe and the United States. But when Zimbabwe’s president Robert Mugabe launched his violent program to reclaim white-owned land and Rogers’s parents were caught in the cross fire, everything changed. Lyn and Ros, the owners of Drifters–a famous game farm and backpacker lodge in the eastern mountains that was one of the most popular budget resorts in the country–found their home and resort under siege, their friends and neighbors expelled, and their lives in danger. But instead of leaving, as their son pleads with them to do, they haul out a shotgun and decide to stay.

On returning to the country of his birth, Rogers finds his once orderly and progressive home transformed into something resembling a Marx Brothers romp crossed with Heart of Darkness: pot has supplanted maize in the fields; hookers have replaced college kids as guests; and soldiers, spies, and teenage diamond dealers guzzle beer at the bar.

And yet, in spite of it all, Rogers’s parents–with the help of friends, farmworkers, lodge guests, and residents–among them black political dissidents and white refugee farmers–continue to hold on. But can they survive to the end?

In the midst of a nation stuck between its stubborn past and an impatient future, Rogers soon begins to see his parents in a new light: unbowed, with passions and purpose renewed, even heroic. And, in the process, he learns that the "big story" he had relentlessly pursued his entire adult life as a roving journalist and travel writer was actually happening in his own backyard.

Evoking elements of The Tender Bar and Absurdistan, The Last Resort is an inspiring, coming-of-age tale about home, love, hope, responsibility, and redemption. An edgy, roller-coaster adventure, it is also a deeply moving story about how to survive a corrupt Third World dictatorship with a little innovation, humor, bribery, and brothel management.
Visit Douglas Rogers' website and blog.

"Crude World"

New from Knopf: Crude World: The Violent Twilight of Oil by Peter Maass.

About the book, from the publisher:

A stunning and revealing examination of oil’s indelible impact on the countries that produce it and the people who possess it.

Every unhappy oil-producing nation is unhappy in its own way, but all are touched by the “resource curse”—the power of oil to exacerbate existing problems and create new ones. In Crude World, Peter Maass presents a vivid portrait of the troubled world oil has created. He takes us to Saudi Arabia, where officials deflect inquiries about the amount of petroleum remaining in the country’s largest reservoir; to Equatorial Guinea, where two tennis courts grace an oil-rich dictator’s estate but bandages and aspirin are a hospital’s only supplies; and to Venezuela, where Hugo Chávez’s campaign to redistribute oil wealth creates new economic and political crises.

Maass, a New York Times Magazine writer, also introduces us to Iraqi oilmen trying to rebuild their industry after the invasion of 2003, an American lawyer leading Ecuadorians in an unprecedented lawsuit against Chevron, a Russian oil billionaire imprisoned for his defiance of Vladimir Putin’s leadership, and Nigerian villagers whose livelihoods are destroyed by the discovery of oil. Rebels, royalty, middlemen, environmentalists, indigenous activists, CEOs—their stories, deftly and sensitively presented, tell the larger story of oil in our time.

Crude World is a startling and essential account of the consequences of our addiction to oil.
Visit Peter Maass' website.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


New from Orbit: Soulless by Gail Carriger.

About the book, from the publisher:

Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.

Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire -- and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.

With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?

SOULLESS is a comedy of manners set in Victorian London: full of werewolves, vampires, dirigibles, and tea-drinking.
Visit Gail Carriger's website and blog.

"Serpent in the Thorns"

New from Minotaur Books: Serpent in the Thorns by Jeri Westerson.

About the book, from the publisher:

Convicted of treason, Crispin Guest was stripped of his title, his land, his money and his friends. Now with only his considerable wits to sustain him, Guest works the mean streets of 14th century London, building a small reputation for his skill. In 1383, a simple-minded tavern girl comes to his door—a body was found where she works and she’s the only person who could have killed him. Except for the fact that the man was killed in place by a precisely aimed crossbow bolt. Making matters worse, the murdered man was one of three couriers from the French king, transporting a relic intended to smooth the troubled relations between France and England. Events quickly spin out of control and Guest now finds himself the prime suspect in the murder, one with terrible diplomatic implications. As the drumbeat of war between the two countries grow, Guest must unravel the con spiracy behind the murder to save not only his country, but himself as well.
Learn more about the book and author at Jeri Westerson's website, her "Getting Medieval" blog, and the Crispin Guest Medieval Noir blog.

Westerson wrote about Crispin Guest's place among fictional detectives for The Rap Sheet.

The Page 69 Test: Veil of Lies.

Monday, September 21, 2009


New from Busted Flush Press: Tower by Ken Bruen and Reed Farrel Coleman.

About the book, from the publisher:

Born into a rough Brooklyn neighborhood, outsiders in their own families, Nick and Todd forge a lifelong bond that persists in the face of crushing loss, blood, and betrayal. Low-level wiseguys with little ambition and even less of a future, the friends become major players in the potential destruction of an international crime syndicate that stretches from the cargo area at Kennedy Airport to the streets of New York, Belfast, and Boston to the alleyways of Mexican border towns. Their paths are littered with the bodies of undercover cops, snitches, lovers, and stone-cold killers.

In the tradition of The Long Goodbye, Mystic River, and The Departed, Tower is a powerful meditation on friendship, fate, and fatality. A twice-told tale done in the unique format of parallel narratives that intersect at deadly crossroads, Tower is like a beautifully crafted knife to the heart.

Imagine a Brooklyn rabbi/poet—Reed Farrel Coleman—collaborating with a mad Celt from the West of Ireland—Ken Bruen—to produce a novel unlike anything you've ever encountered. A ferocious blast of gut-wrenching passion that blends the fierce granite of Galway and the streetwise rap of Brooklyn. Fasten your seat belts, this is an experience that is as incendiary as it is heart shriven.
Learn more about Tower.

Visit Reed Farrel Coleman's website and Ken Bruen's website.

The Page 69 Test: Tower.

The Page 99 Test: Tower.

"You Were Always Mom's Favorite!"

New from Random House: You Were Always Mom's Favorite!: Sisters in Conversation Throughout Their Lives by Deborah Tannen.

About the book, from the publisher:

"I love her to death. I can't imagine life without her," a woman says about her sister. Another remarks, "I don't want anyone to kill my sister because I want to have that privilege myself." With these two comments, begins this eye-opening and entertaining new book.

New York Times bestselling author Deborah Tannen is renowned for illuminating the way we communicate–and revolutionizing relationships in the process. What she did for women and men in You Just Don't Understand, and mothers and daughters in You're Wearing THAT?, she now does for sisters in a groundbreaking book that explores one of the most powerful and perplexing relationships in our lives.

Conversations between sisters reveal a deep and constant tug between two dynamics–an impulse towards closeness and an impulse towards competition, as sisters are continually compared to each other. When you're with her, you laugh your head off, and can giggle and be silly like when you were kids. But she also might be the one person who can send you into a tailspin with just one wrong word. For many women, a sister is both.

With a witty and wise voice, Tannen shares insights and anecdotes from well over a hundred women she interviewed, along with moving and funny recollections of her own two sisters. You'll come away with a profound new understanding, as well as effective techniques to improve and accessible solutions for problems in this unique and precious relationship.
Visit Deborah Tannen's website.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

"Juliet, Naked"

New from Riverhead: Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby.

About the book, from the publisher:

From the beloved New York Times– bestselling author, a quintessential Nick Hornby tale of music, superfandom, and the truths and lies we tell ourselves about life and love.

Annie loves Duncan—or thinks she does. Duncan loves Annie, but then, all of a sudden, he doesn’t. Duncan really loves Tucker Crowe, a reclusive Dylanish singer-songwriter who stopped making music ten years ago. Annie stops loving Duncan, and starts getting her own life.

In doing so, she initiates an e-mail correspondence with Tucker, and a connection is forged between two lonely people who are looking for more out of what they’ve got. Tucker’s been languishing (and he’s unnervingly aware of it), living in rural Pennsylvania with what he sees as his one hope for redemption amid a life of emotional and artistic ruin—his young son, Jackson. But then there’s also the new material he’s about to release to the world: an acoustic, stripped-down version of his greatest album, Juliet—entitled, Juliet, Naked.

What happens when a washed-up musician looks for another chance? And miles away, a restless, childless woman looks for a change? Juliet, Naked is a powerfully engrossing, humblingly humorous novel about music, love, loneliness, and the struggle to live up to one’s promise.
Visit Nick Hornby's website.

"The Wrong Mother"

New from Penguin: The Wrong Mother by Sophie Hannah.

About the book, from the publisher:

A chilling exploration of a mother’s unspeakable betrayal from the author of Little Face

Sally Thorning is watching the news with her husband when she hears an unexpected name—Mark Bretherick. It’s a name she shouldn’t know, but last year Sally treated herself to a secret vacation—away from her hectic family life—and met a man. After their brief affair, the two planned to never meet again. But now, Mark’s wife and daughter are dead—and the safety of Sally’s own family is in doubt. Sophie Hannah established herself as a new master of psychological suspense with her previous novel, Little Face. Now with accomplished prose and a plot guaranteed to keep readers guessing, The Wrong Mother is Hannah’s most captivating work yet.
Sophie Hannah is a bestselling poet and novelist who regularly performs her work both in the U.K. and abroad.

The Page 69 Test: Hurting Distance.

The Page 69 Test: Little Face.

My Book, The Movie: Little Face and Hurting Distance.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

"After the Prophet"

New from Doubleday Books: After the Prophet: The Epic Story of the Shia-Sunni Split in Islam by Lesley Hazleton.

About the book, from the publisher:

Narrative history at its most compelling, After the Prophet relates the dramatic tragic story at the heart of the ongoing rivalry between Shia and Sunni Islam.

Even as Muhammad lay dying, the battle over his successor had begun. Pitting the family of his favorite wife, the controversial Aisha, against supporters of his son-in-law, the philosopher-warrior Ali, the struggle would reach its breaking point fifty years later in Iraq, when soldiers of the first Sunni dynasty massacred seventy-two warriors led by Muhammad's grandson Hussein at Karbala. Hussein's agonizing ordeal at Karbala was soon to become the Passion story at the core of Shia Islam.

Hazleton's vivid, gripping prose provides extraordinary insight into the origins of the world's most volatile blend of politics and religion. Balancing past and present, she shows how these seventh-century events are as alive in Middle Eastern hearts and minds today as though they had just happened, shaping modern headlines from Iran's Islamic Revolution to the civil war in Iraq.

After the Prophet is narrative nonfiction at its finest, and an emotional and political revelation for Western readers.
Read an excerpt from After the Prophet.

"Before the Big Bang"

New from St. Martin's Press: Before the Big Bang: The Prehistory of Our Universe by Brian Clegg.

About the book, from the publisher:

According to a recent survey, the most popular question about science from the general public was: what came before the Big Bang? We all know on some level what the Big Bang is, but we don’t know how it became the accepted theory, or how we might know what came before. In Before the Big Bang, Brian Clegg (the critically acclaimed author of Upgrade Me and The God Effect) explores the history of this remarkable concept. From the earliest creation myths, through Hershel’s realization that the Milky Way was one of many galaxies, to on-going debates about Black Holes, this is an incredible look at the origins of the universe and the many theories that led to the acceptance of the Big Bang. But in classic scientist fashion Clegg challenges the notion of the “Big Bang” itself, and raises the deep philosophical question of why we might want to rethink the origin of the universe. This is popular science at its best, exploratory, controversial, and utterly engrossing.
Visit Brian Clegg's website and blog.

Friday, September 18, 2009

"Friends Like These"

New from Little, Brown: Friends Like These: My Worldwide Quest to Find My Best Childhood Friends, Knock on Their Doors, and Ask Them to Come Out and Play by Danny Wallace.

About the book, from the publisher:

Danny Wallace has friends. He has a wife and goes to brunch, and his new house has a couch with throw pillows. But as he nears 30, he can't help wondering about his best
childhood friends, whose names he finds in a long-forgotten address book. Where
are they now-and where, really, is he?

Acting on an impulse we've all had at least once, he travels from London to Berlin, Tokyo, Australia, and California, risking rejection and ridicule to show up on his old pals' doorsteps. Memories of his 1980s childhood-from Michael Jackson to Ghostbusters-overwhelm him as he meets former buddies who have blossomed into
rappers and ninjas, time-traveling pioneers, mediocre restaurant managers, and
even Fijian royalty.

Danny's attempt to re-befriend them all gives remarkable new resonance to the age-old mantra, "friends forever!"
Visit Danny Wallace's website.


New from Grand Central Publishing: Spooner by Pete Dexter.

About the book, from the publisher:

Warren Spooner was born after a prolonged delivery in a makeshift delivery room in a doctor's office in Milledgeville, Georgia, on the first Saturday of December, 1956. His father died shortly afterward, long before Spooner had even a memory of his face, and was replaced eventually by a once-brilliant young naval officer, Calmer Ottosson, recently court-martialed out of service. This is the story of the lifelong tie between the two men, poles apart, of Spooner's troubled childhood, troubled adolescence, violent and troubled adulthood and Calmer Ottosson's inexhaustible patience, undertaking a life-long struggle to salvage his step-son, a man he will never understand.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

"Her Fearful Symmetry"

New from Scribner: Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger.

About the book, from the publisher:

Audrey Niffenegger's spectacularly compelling second novel opens with a letter that alters the fate of every character. Julia and Valentina Poole are semi-normal American twenty-year-olds with seemingly little interest in college or finding jobs. Their attachment to one another is intense. One morning the mailman delivers a thick envelope to their house in the suburbs of Chicago. From a London solicitor, the enclosed letter informs Valentina and Julia that their English aunt Elspeth Noblin, whom they never knew, has died of cancer and left them her London apartment. There are two conditions to this inheritance: that they live in it for a year before they sell it and that their parents not enter it. Julia and Valentina are twins. So were the estranged Elspeth and Edie, their mother.

The girls move to Elspeth's flat, which borders the vast and ornate Highgate Cemetery, where Christina Rossetti, George Eliot, Radclyffe Hall, Stella Gibbons and Karl Marx are buried. Julia and Valentina come to know the living residents of their building. There is Martin, a brilliant and charming crossword-puzzle setter suffering from crippling obsessive compulsive disorder; Marijke, Martin's devoted but trapped wife; and Robert, Elspeth's elusive lover, a scholar of the cemetery. As the girls become embroiled in the fraying lives of their aunt's neighbors, they also discover that much is still alive in Highgate, including -- perhaps -- their aunt.

Author of one of the most beloved first novels in recent years, Niffenegger returns with an unnerving, unforgettable and enchanting ghost story, a novel about love and identity, secrets and sisterhood and the tenacity of life -- even after death.
Visit Audrew Niffeneger's website.

"Scary Stuff"

New from Minotaur Books: Scary Stuff by Sharon Fiffer.

About the book, from the publisher:

Antique picker Jane Wheel has always loved old stuff, from vintage salt and pepper shakers to other families’ old photos and orphaned Bakelite buttons, and she can’t really explain why. But she makes a living out of it, searching high and low at estate sales and antique shops and reselling her finds to other collectors. At least, it’s half a living---she makes the other half as an associate to a private detective, because she’s just as talented at digging up secrets as antiques.

While visiting her brother for the first time in years, Jane’s fascinated by a story of mistaken identity: On three occasions, someone has accused him of swindling them on eBay, only to realize he’s not the right guy. Even though he doesn’t see the point, she wants to look into it. Then back at home one of her parents’ friends is attacked, leading Jane to vow to get to the bottom of things.

Out of nowhere, Jane suddenly has two cases, both edging a little too close to her loved ones for comfort, because one thing’s for sure---whenever family gets wrapped up in your personal business, it’s bound to be some scary stuff.
Visit Sharon Fiffer's website.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

"The Kids Are All Right"

New from Harmony Books: The Kids Are All Right by Diana Welch and Liz Welch with Amdana Welch and Dan Welch.

About the book, from the publisher:

“Perfect is boring.”

Well, 1983 certainly wasn’t boring for the Welch family. Somehow, between their handsome father’s mysterious death, their glamorous soap-opera-star mother’s cancer diagnosis, and a phalanx of lawyers intent on bankruptcy proceedings, the four Welch siblings managed to handle each new heartbreaking misfortune in the same way they dealt with the unexpected arrival of the forgotten-about Chilean exchange student–together.

All that changed with the death of their mother. While nineteen-year-old Amanda was legally on her own, the three younger siblings–Liz, sixteen; Dan, fourteen; and Diana, eight–were each dispatched to a different set of family friends. Quick-witted and sharp-tongued, Amanda headed for college in New York City and immersed herself in an ’80s world of alternative music and drugs. Liz, living with the couple for whom she babysat, followed in Amanda’s footsteps until high school graduation when she took a job in Norway as a nanny. Mischievous, rebellious Dan, bounced from guardian to boarding school and back again, getting deeper into trouble and drugs. And Diana, the red-haired baby of the family, was given a new life and identity and told to forget her past. But Diana’s siblings refused to forget her–or let her go.

Told in the alternating voices of the four siblings, their poignant, harrowing story of un­breakable bonds unfolds with ferocious emotion. Despite the Welch children’s wrenching loss and subsequent separation, they retained the resilience and humor that both their mother and father endowed them with–growing up as lost souls, taking disastrous turns along the way, but eventually coming out right side up. The kids are not only all right; they’re back together.
Visit the official The Kids Are All Right website and blog.

"Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'easter"

New from Thomas Dunne Books: Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'easter by Lisa Patton.

About the book, from the publisher:

Leelee Satterfield seemed to have it all: a gorgeous husband, two adorable daughters, and roots in the sunny city of Memphis, Tennessee. So when her husband gets the idea to uproot the family to run a quaint Vermont inn, Leelee is devastated…and her three best friends are outraged. But she’s loved Baker Satterfield since the tenth grade, how can she not indulge his dream? Plus, the glossy photos of bright autumn trees and smiling children in ski suits push her over the edge…after all, how much trouble can it really be?

But Leelee discovers pretty fast that there’s a truckload of things nobody tells you about Vermont until you live there: such as mud season, vampire flies, and the danger of ice sheets careening off roofs. Not to mention when her beloved Yorkie decides to pick New Year’s Eve to go to doggie heaven—she encounters one more New England oddity: frozen ground means you can’t bury your dead in the winter. And that Yankee idiosyncrasy just won’t do.

The inn they’ve bought also has its host of problems: an odor that no amount of potpourri can erase, tacky décor, and a staff of peculiar Vermonters whose personalities are as unique as the hippopotamus collection gracing the fireplace mantle. The whole operation is managed by Helga, a stern German woman who takes special delight in bullying Leelee for her southern gentility. Needless to say, it doesn’t take long for Leelee to start wondering when to drag out the moving boxes again.

But when an unexpected hardship takes Leelee by surprise, she finds herself left alone with an inn to run, a mortgage to pay, and two daughters to raise. But this Southern belle won’t be run out of town so easily. Drawing on the Southern grit and inner strength she didn’t know she had, Leelee decides to turn around the Inn, her attitude and her life. In doing so, she makes friends with her neighbors, finds a little romance, and realizes there’s a lot more in common with Vermont than she first thought.

In this moving and comedic debut, Lisa Patton paints a hilarious portrait of life in Vermont as seen through the eyes of a southern belle readers won’t soon forget. A charming fish-out-of-water tale of one woman who learns to stand up for herself—in sandals and snow boots—against the odds.
Visit Lisa Patton's website and blog.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

"9800 Savage Road"

New from Forge Books: 9800 Savage Road: A Novel of the National Security Agency by M.E. Harrigan.

About the book, from the publisher:

December, 2000: In a tiny office in the basement of the National Security Agency, a handful of analysts work on a project so secret its existence is known to fewer than a hundred people. They are intercepting Osama bin Laden’s every word as he talks on his satellite phone to al Qaeda cells. What he’s planning is big—a strike against the U.S.—and they know from the intercepts they’ll learn the details any day… any minute. Suddenly, the conversations stop.

A Senior Executive is murdered inside the NSA complex, the first in a series of disasters inflicted from both inside and outside the carefully concealed house of spies. Alexandra O’Malley, consummate Intelligence Analyst, must sort through the clues and scramble to stop the escalating crises… but to succeed, she’ll have to break all the rules.

In 9800 Savage Road, reality and fiction intersect in a terrifying story of the events leading up to 9/11 from deep within the cloistered walls of NSA. M. E. Harrigan delivers the first insider’s perspective in NSA’s history. She shreds the thick veil of secrecy and explores the thoughts and actions, the dedication and bureaucratic infighting, and the occasional scandals of the hidden workforce. It’s a story of betrayal and treachery, courage and loyalty… so real you’ll wonder how much is true.
Visit M.E. Harrigan's website.

"Occult America"

New from Bantam: Occult America: The Secret History of How Mysticism Shaped Our Nation by Mitch Horowitz.

About the book, from the publisher:

It touched lives as disparate as those of Frederick Douglass, Franklin Roosevelt, and Mary Todd Lincoln—who once convinced her husband, Abe, to host a séance in the White House. Americans all, they were among the famous figures whose paths intertwined with the mystical and esoteric movement broadly known as the occult. Brought over from the Old World and spread throughout the New by some of the most obscure but gifted men and women of early U.S. history, this “hidden wisdom” transformed the spiritual life of the still-young nation and, through it, much of the Western world.

Yet the story of the American occult has remained largely untold. Now a leading writer on the subject of alternative spirituality brings it out of the shadows. Here is a rich, fascinating, and colorful history of a religious revolution and an epic of offbeat history.

From the meaning of the symbols on the one-dollar bill to the origins of the Ouija board, Occult America briskly sweeps from the nation’s earliest days to the birth of the New Age era and traces many people and episodes, including:

•The spirit medium who became America’s first female religious leader in 1776
•The supernatural passions that marked the career of Mormon prophet Joseph Smith
•The rural Sunday-school teacher whose clairvoyant visions instigated the dawn of the New Age
•The prominence of mind-power mysticism in the black-nationalist politics of Marcus Garvey
•The Idaho druggist whose mail-order mystical religion ranked as the eighth-largest faith in the world during the Great Depression

Here, too, are America’s homegrown religious movements, from transcendentalism to spiritualism to Christian Science to the positive-thinking philosophy that continues to exert such a powerful pull on the public today. A feast for believers in alternative spirituality, an eye-opener for anyone curious about the unknown byroads of American history, Occult America is an engaging, long-overdue portrait of one nation, under many gods, whose revolutionary influence is still being felt in every corner of the globe.
Visit Mitch Horowitz's website.

Monday, September 14, 2009

"Inside of a Dog"

New from Scribner: Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know by Alexandra Horowitz.

About the book, from the publisher:

What do dogs know? How do they think? The answers will surprise and delight you as Alexandra Horowitz, a cognitive scientist, explains how dogs perceive their daily worlds, each other, and that other quirky animal, the human.

Inside of a Dog is a fresh look at the world of dogs -- from the dog's point of view. As a dog owner, Horowitz is naturally curious to learn what her dog thinks about and knows. And as a scientist, she is intent on understanding the minds of animals who cannot speak for themselves.

In clear, crisp prose, Horowitz introduces the reader to dogs' perceptual and cognitive abilities and then draws a picture of what it might be like to be a dog. What's it like to be able to smell not just every bit of open food in the house but also to smell sadness in humans or even the passage of time? How does a tiny dog manage to play successfully with a Great Dane? What is it like to hear the bodily vibrations of insects or the hum of a fluorescent light? Why must a person on a bicycle be chased? What's it like to use your mouth as a hand? In short, what is it like for a dog to experience life from two feet off the ground, amidst the smells of the sidewalk, gazing at our ankles or knees?

Inside of a Dog explains these things and much more. The answers can be surprising -- once we set aside our natural inclination to anthropomorphize dogs. Inside of a Dog also contains up-to-the-minute research -- on dogs' detection of disease, the secrets of their tails, and their skill at reading our attention -- that Horowitz puts into useful context. Although not a formal training guide, Inside of a Dog has practical application for dog lovers interested in understanding why their dogs do what they do.

The relationship between dogs and humans is arguably the most fascinating animal-human bond because dogs evolved from wild creatures to become our companions, an adaptation that changed their bodies, brains, and behavior. Yet dogs always remain animals, familiar but mysterious. With a light touch and the weight of science behind her, Alexandra Horowitz examines the animal we think we know best but may actually understand the least. This book is as close as you can get to knowing about dogs without being a dog yourself.
Read an excerpt from Inside of a Dog and learn more about the book at the publisher's website.

Visit Alexandra Horowitz's dog cognition website and her quasi-academic website.

The Page 99 Test: Inside of a Dog.

"Naming Nature"

New from W. W. Norton: Naming Nature: The Clash Between Instinct and Science by Carol Kaesuk Yoon.

About the book, from the publisher:

The surprising, untold story about the poetic and deeply human (cognitive) capacity to name the natural world.

Two hundred and fifty years ago, the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus set out to order and name the entire living world and ended up founding a science: the field of scientific classification, or taxonomy. Yet, in spite of Linnaeus’s pioneering work and the genius of those who followed him, from Darwin to E. O. Wilson, taxonomy went from being revered as one of the most significant of intellectual pursuits to being largely ignored. Today, taxonomy is viewed by many as an outdated field, one nearly irrelevant to the rest of science and of even less interest to the rest of the world.

Now, as Carol Kaesuk Yoon, biologist and longtime science writer for the New York Times, reminds us in Naming Nature, taxonomy is critically important, because it turns out to be much more than mere science. It is also the latest incarnation of a long-unrecognized human practice that has gone on across the globe, in every culture, in every language since before time: the deeply human act of ordering and naming the living world.

In Naming Nature, Yoon takes us on a guided tour of science’s brilliant, if sometimes misguided, attempts to order and name the overwhelming diversity of earth’s living things. We follow a trail of scattered clues that reveals taxonomy’s real origins in humanity’s distant past. Yoon’s journey brings us from New Guinea tribesmen who call a giant bird a mammal to the trials and tribulations of patients with a curious form of brain damage that causes them to be unable to distinguish among living things.

Finally, Yoon shows us how the reclaiming of taxonomy—a renewed interest in learning the kinds and names of things around us—will rekindle humanity’s dwindling connection with wild nature. Naming Nature has much to tell us, not only about how scientists create a science but also about how the progress of science can alter the expression of our own human nature.
Visit Carol Kaesuk Yoon's website.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

"Collision of Evil"

New from Oceanview Publishing: Collision of Evil by John J. Le Beau.

About the book, from the publisher:

As evening falls against the majestic backdrop of the Bavarian Alps, Charles Hirter, an American tourist, is savagely murdered. Shattering the peace, quiet, and pastoral splendor of this magnificent setting, Charles Hirter draws his last breath. Was Charles simply in the wrong place at the wrong time?

Kommissar Franz Waldbaer, the German detective in charge of the case, faces an investigation that yields neither clues nor suspects nor motives. A gruff, go-it-alone detective, Waldbaer is dismayed by the arrival of Robert Hirter, the victim’s brother, who insists on joining the investigation. But there is more to Robert than meets the eye.

As Robert and the Kommissar uncover a nefarious nexus of evil past and evil present, they find themselves probing dark, long-forgotten episodes from the Third Reich in order to identify the present threat.

Thrust into a violent world of fanatic passions, malevolent intentions, and excruciating urgency, Robert Hirter and Kommissar Waldbaer must race against the clock to stop a sophisticated, covert, and deadly plot.
Visit John J. Le Beau's website.

"The Man Who Loved Books Too Much"

New from Riverhead: The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession by Allison Hoover Bartlett.

About the book, from the publisher:

In the tradition of The Orchid Thief, a compelling narrative set within the strange and genteel world of rare-book collecting: the true story of an infamous book thief, his victims, and the man determined to catch him.

Rare-book theft is even more widespread than fine-art theft. Most thieves, of course, steal for profit. John Charles Gilkey steals purely for the love of books. In an attempt to understand him better, journalist Allison Hoover Bartlett plunged herself into the world of book lust and discovered just how dangerous it can be.

Gilkey is an obsessed, unrepentant book thief who has stolen hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of rare books from book fairs, stores, and libraries around the country. Ken Sanders is the self-appointed “bibliodick” (book dealer with a penchant for detective work) driven to catch him. Bartlett befriended both outlandish characters and found herself caught in the middle of efforts to recover hidden treasure. With a mixture of suspense, insight, and humor, she has woven this entertaining cat-and-mouse chase into a narrative that not only reveals exactly how Gilkey pulled off his dirtiest crimes, where he stashed the loot, and how Sanders ultimately caught him but also explores the romance of books, the lure to collect them, and the temptation to steal them. Immersing the reader in a rich, wide world of literary obsession, Bartlett looks at the history of book passion, collection, and theft through the ages, to examine the craving that makes some people willing to stop at nothing to possess the books they love.
Visit Allison Hoover Bartlett's website.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

"Half the Sky"

New from Knopf: Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.

About the book, from the publisher:

From two of our most fiercely moral voices, a passionate call to arms against our era’s most pervasive human rights violation: the oppression of women and girls in the developing world.

With Pulitzer Prize winners Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn as our guides, we undertake an odyssey through Africa and Asia to meet the extraordinary women struggling there, among them a Cambodian teenager sold into sex slavery and an Ethiopian woman who suffered devastating injuries in childbirth. Drawing on the breadth of their combined reporting experience, Kristof and WuDunn depict our world with anger, sadness, clarity, and, ultimately, hope.

They show how a little help can transform the lives of women and girls abroad. That Cambodian girl eventually escaped from her brothel and, with assistance from an aid group, built a thriving retail business that supports her family. The Ethiopian woman had her injuries repaired and in time became a surgeon. A Zimbabwean mother of five, counseled to return to school, earned her doctorate and became an expert on AIDS.

Through these stories, Kristof and WuDunn help us see that the key to economic progress lies in unleashing women’s potential. They make clear how so many people have helped to do just that, and how we can each do our part. Throughout much of the world, the greatest unexploited economic resource is the female half of the population. Countries such as China have prospered precisely because they emancipated women and brought them into the formal economy. Unleashing that process globally is not only the right thing to do; it’s also the best strategy for fighting poverty.

Deeply felt, pragmatic, and inspirational, Half the Sky is essential reading for every global citizen.

"Evil for Evil"

New from Soho Crime: Evil for Evil by James R. Benn.

About the book, from the publisher:

Fifty BARs have been stolen from a US army base in Northern Ireland. His uncle Ike Eisenhower sends Billy to recover the weapons which might be used in a German-sponsored IRA uprising. Bodies begin to accumulate as Billy finds unexpected challenges to his Boston-Irish upbringing and IRA sympathies. There are rogues on both sides, he learns.
Learn more about the Billy Boyle WWII Mystery Series at James R. Benn's website.

The Page 99 Test: The First Wave.

Friday, September 11, 2009

"Recapturing a Homeric Legacy"

New from Harvard University Press: Recapturing a Homeric Legacy: Images and Insights from the Venetus A Manuscript of the Iliad, edited by Casey Dué.

About the book, from the publisher:

Marcianus Graecus Z. 454 [= 822], known to Homeric scholars as the Venetus A, is the oldest complete text of the Iliad in existence, meticulously crafted during the tenth century ce. An impressive thousand years old and then some, its historical reach is far greater. The Venetus A preserves in its entirety a text that was composed within an oral tradition that can be shown to go back as far as the second millennium bce, and the writings in its margins preserve the scholarship of Ptolemaic scholars working in the second century bce and in the centuries following. Two thousand years later, technology offers a new opportunity to rediscover this scholarship and better understand the epic that is the foundation of Western literature. The high-resolution images of the manuscript that accompany these essays were acquired by a multinational team of scholars and conservators in May 2007.

"The Sixties"

New from Picador: The Sixties by Jenny Diski.

About the book, from the publisher:

A brilliant, alternative take on sixties swinging London, Jenny Diski offers radical reconsiderations of the social, political, and personal meaning of that turbulent era.

What was Jenny Diski doing in the sixties? A lot: dropping out, taking drugs, buying clothes, having sex, demonstrating, and spending time in mental hospitals. Now, as Diski herself turns sixty years old, she examines what has been lost in the purple haze of nostalgia and selective memory of that era, what endures, and what has always been the same. From the vantage point of London, she takes stock of the Sexual Revolution, the fashion, the drug culture, and the psychiatric movements and education systems of the day. What she discovers is that the ideas of the sixties often paved the way for their antithesis, and that by confusing liberation and libertarianism, a new kind of radicalism would take over both in the UK and America.

Witty, provocative, and gorgeously written, Jenny Diski promises to feed your head with new insights about everything that was, and is, the sixties.
Learn more about the book and author at Jenny Diski's website.

The Page 99 Test: The Sixties.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

"Sheer Folly"

New from Minotaur Books: Sheer Folly by Carola Dunn.

About the book, from the publisher:

In March of 1926, Daisy Dalrymple Fletcher and her friend and collaborator Lucy (a.k.a. Lady Gerald) head off for several days at stately home reputed to have the best grotto in the country. Working on a book of follies (architectural), they plan to research and photograph it. Leaving her husband and young twins behind, Daisy is expecting a productive weekend at Appsworth Hall, with the only potential difficulty being keeping Lucy from offending the current owner, a manufacturer of plumbing products. Alas, it’s not to be quite so simple. At the home, they find themselves faced with a curious assortment of people including the abominable, tactless Lord Rydal, who is rumored to be having an affair with one of the guests while at the same time in ardent and artless pursuit of the hand in marriage of another. When the grotto explodes with Lord Rydal in it, it’s not a question of who would do it—as most who’ve met him would be sorely tempted—but who actually did do it.
Visit Carola Dunn's website and Facebook page, and her group blog, The Lady Killers.

The Page 69 Test: Black Ship.

The Page 69 Test: Manna from Hades.

"The Pattern in the Carpet"

New from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: The Pattern in the Carpet: A Personal History with Jigsaws by Margaret Drabble.

About the book, from the publisher:

The Pattern in the Carpet: A Personal History with Jigsaws is an original and brilliant work. Margaret Drabble weaves her own story into a history of games, in particular jigsaws, which have offered her and many others relief from melancholy and depression. Alongside curious facts and discoveries about jigsaw puzzles — did you know that the 1929 stock market crash was followed by a boom in puzzle sales? — Drabble introduces us to her beloved Auntie Phyl, and describes childhood visits to the house in Long Bennington on the Great North Road, their first trip to London together, the books they read, the jigsaws they completed. She offers penetrating sketches of her parents, her siblings, and her children; she shares her thoughts on the importance of childhood play, on art and writing, on aging and memory. And she does so with her customary intelligence, energy, and wit. This is a memoir like no other.
Learn about Margaret Drabble's top 10 literary landscapes.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

"Philippa Fisher and the Dream-Maker's Daughter"

New from Candlewick Press: Philippa Fisher and the Dream-Maker's Daughter by Liz Kessler.

About the book, from the publisher:

Philippa Fisher reunites with her spunky fairy godsister in a sparkling new adventure from the creator of Emily Windsnap.

Philippa Fisher is trying to have a good time on vacation with her parents, but she’s feeling lonely. When she meets Robyn, a girl with sad eyes and a strict father, she enjoys the company, but can’t help wondering what Robyn and her dad might be hiding. Meanwhile, Daisy, Philippa’s best friend (and fairy godsister), sneaks into her former charge’s room for a visit, but now has a furtive new mission and must dash away. Philippa longs to uncover the reasons behind her friends’ odd behavior, but friendships can be tricky when there are secrets — and unexpected danger — involved! Best-selling author Liz Kessler is back with a sympathetic story about navigating between old friends and new, a tale full of mystery, whimsy, and all the magic tween readers could wish for.
Visit Liz Kessler's website.

"The Venona Cable"

New from Henry Holt & Company: The Venona Cable by Brent Ghelfi.

About the book, from the publisher:

Russian agent and criminal Alexei Volkovoy pays an action-packed visit to the U.S. to uncover secrets of the infamous Venona cables and to attempt to clear his family name

The past erupts into the present when the police arrest Alexei Volkovoy, known as Volk, at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport and take him to a murder scene. At first, the dead man appears to be just one more victim of Moscow’s out-of-control violence. But Volk soon discovers that he is a famous Hollywood filmmaker whose reputation was destroyed in 1995 when the CIA released decrypted documents from the Venona cables—the top-secret American and British crypto-analysis of Soviet messages that implicated the Rosenbergs, Alger Hiss, Kim Philby, and hundreds of other Soviet spies. Tucked inside the American’s pocket is a marked-up Venona intercept that refers to a Russian used as a spy by the Americans, a man who may have been Volk’s illustrious father.

Aided by his female partner, Valya, Volk’s only hope to clear his family name will be to solve this murder and discover how the Venona papers relate to his father’s disappearance, while powerful forces want to keep him from investigating the past and to remove him from the present.
The Page 69 Test: Volk's Game.

My Book, The Movie: Volk’s Game.

The Page 69 Test: Volk's Shadow.

Visit Brent Ghelfi's website and blog.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

"The Brutal Telling"

New from Minotaur Books: The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny.

About the book, from the publisher:

Chaos is coming, old son.

With those words the peace of Three Pines is shattered. As families prepare to head back to the city and children say goodbye to summer, a stranger is found murdered in the village bistro and antiques store. Once again, Chief Inspector Gamache and his team are called in to strip back layers of lies, exposing both treasures and rancid secrets buried in the wilderness.

No one admits to knowing the murdered man, but as secrets are revealed, chaos begins to close in on the beloved bistro owner, Olivier. How did he make such a spectacular success of his business? What past did he leave behind and why has he buried himself in this tiny village? And why does every lead in the investigation find its way back to him?

As Olivier grows more frantic, a trail of clues and treasures— from first editions of Charlotte’s Web and Jane Eyre to a spider web with the word “WOE” woven in it—lead the Chief Inspector deep into the woods and across the continent in search of the truth, and finally back to Three Pines as the little village braces for the truth and the final, brutal telling.
The Brutal Telling is the fifth novel in the Three Pines mystery series.

The Page 69 Test: Still Life.

My Book, The Movie: A Fatal Grace.

The Page 99 Test: The Cruelest Month.

The Page 99 Test: A Rule Against Murder.

Learn more about the book and author at Louise Penny's website and blog.