Wednesday, March 31, 2010

"The Executor"

New from Putnam: The Executor by Jesse Kellerman.

About the book, from the publisher:

A masterful, inventive thriller from a remarkably assured and always surprising young writer.

Perpetual graduate student Joseph Geist is at his wit's end. Recently kicked out of their shared apartment by his girlfriend, he's left with little more than a half bust of Nietzsche's head and the realization that he's homeless and unemployed. He's hit a dead end on his dissertation; his funding has been cut off. He doesn't even have a phone. Desperate for some source of income, he searches the local newspaper and finds a curious ad:

CONVERSATIONALIST SOUGHT.
SERIOUS APPLICANTS ONLY.
PLEASE CALL 617-XXX-XXXX
BETWEEN SEVEN A.M. AND TWO P.M.
NO SOLICITORS.

And so Joseph meets Alma Spielman: a woman who, with her old-world ways and razor-sharp mind, is his intellectual soul mate. How is he to know that what seems to be the best decision of his life is the one that seals his fate?

"The Informer"

New from Shaye Areheart Books: The Informer by Craig Nova.

About the book, from the publisher:

Berlin in 1930 is a city of dark paranoia and covert power struggles, where violence can erupt at any moment. The Brownshirts dominate the streets, but the Red Front is building its insurgence.

Gaelle, a beautiful but desperate young prostitute with a scar across one side of her face, trades in something far more powerful—and dangerous—than sex: information. To possess her, men will do more than pay—they will tell her secrets. What Gaelle wants is protection.

Felix, a sixteen-year-old boy with a lame foot, negotiates Gaelle’s price, accompanies her in limousines when she feels threatened, and reminds her to take care of herself. But can he really keep her from harm?

Armina Treffen is an investigator for the Berlin Police. Several women’s bodies have been found in the park, murdered in the same manner, and Armina, too, seeks Gaelle’s confidence to help her catch a serial killer.

Even as Gaelle tries to protect herself by possessing information, she becomes more entangled in a complex web of politics and murder in a city in which men will go to any length to maintain the power of silence.

In this taut literary thriller, acclaimed author Craig Nova masterfully captures the menace and malice of pre-war Berlin through the eyes of characters dealing with forces far beyond their control.
Visit Craig Nova's website and blog.

Read Craig Nova's interview with John Irving.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

"Snakes Can't Run"

New from Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books: Snakes Can't Run by Ed Lin.

About the book, from the publisher:

An epic of New York Chinatown noir in the vein of George Pelecanos and Richard Price, this is the riveting sequel to the highly acclaimed This Is a Bust

It’s a hot summer in New York’s Chinatown in 1976 and Robert Chow, the Chinese-American detective son of an illegal immigrant, takes on a new breed of ruthless human smugglers— snakeheads—when two bodies of smuggled Chinese are found dead under the Brooklyn Bridge underpass. But as Robert comes closer to finding some answers, he discovers a dark secret in his own family’s past...
Visit Ed Lin's website and blog.

"Solar"

New from Nan A. Talese: Solar by Ian McEwan.

About the book, from the publisher:

Michael Beard is a Nobel prize–winning physicist whose best work is behind him. Trading on his reputation, he speaks for enormous fees, lends his name to the letterheads of renowned scientific institutions, and half-heartedly heads a government-backed initiative tackling global warming. While he coasts along in his professional life, Michael’s personal life is another matter entirely. His fifth marriage is crumbling under the weight of his infidelities. But this time the tables are turned: His wife is having an affair, and Michael realizes he is still in love with her.

When Michael’s personal and professional lives begin to intersect in unexpected ways, an opportunity presents itself in the guise of an invitation to travel to New Mexico. Here is a chance for him to extricate himself from his marital problems, reinvigorate his career, and very possibly save the world from environmental disaster. Can a man who has made a mess of his life clean up the messes of humanity?

A complex novel that brilliantly traces the arc of one man’s ambitions and self-deceptions, Solar is a startling, witty, and stylish new work from one of the world’s great writers.

Monday, March 29, 2010

"31 Bond Street"

New from HarperCollins: 31 Bond Street by Ellen Horan.

About the book, from the publisher:

Who killed Dr. Harvey Burdell?

Though there are no witnesses and no clues, fingers point to Emma Cunningham, the refined, pale-skinned widow who managed Burdell’s house and his servants. Rumored to be a black-hearted gold digger with designs on the doctor’s name and fortune, Emma is immediately put under house arrest during a murder investigation. A swift conviction is sure to catapult flamboyant district attorney Abraham Oakey Hall into the mayor’s seat. But one formidable obstacle stands in his way: the defense attorney Henry Clinton. Committed to justice and the law, Clinton will aid the vulnerable widow in her desperate fight to save herself from the gallows.

Set in 1857 New York, this gripping mystery is also a richly detailed excavation of a lost age. Horan vividly re-creates a tumultuous era characterized by a sensationalist press, aggressive new wealth, a booming real-estate market, corruption, racial conflict, economic inequality between men and women, and the erosion of the old codes of behavior. A tale of murder, sex, greed, and politics, this spellbinding narrative transports readers to a time that eerily echoes our own.
Visit Ellen Horan's website.

"A Thread of Sky"

New from The Penguin Press: A Thread of Sky by Deanna Fei.

About the book, from the publisher:

Looking to reconnect with their ancestral home and with one another, three generations of women tour mainland China on a journey that will change their family forever.

A stunning debut, A Thread of Sky is the story of a family of women and the powerful thread that binds their lives. In following the paths chosen by six fiercely independent women, A Thread of Sky explores the terrain we must travel to recognize the strength and vulnerability of those closest to us.

When her husband of thirty years is killed in a devastating accident, Irene Shen and her three daughters are set adrift. Nora, the eldest, retreats into her high-powered New York job and a troubled relationship. Kay, the headstrong middle child, escapes to China to learn the language and heritage of her parents. Sophie, the sensitive and artistic youngest, is trapped at home until college, increasingly estranged from her family-and herself. Terrified of being left alone with her grief, Irene plans a tour of mainland China's must sees, reuniting three generations of women-her three daughters, her distant poet sister, and her formidable eighty-year-old mother-in a desperate attempt to heal her fractured family.

If only it was so easy. Each woman arrives bearing secrets big and small, and as they travel-visiting untouched sections of the Great Wall and the seedy bars of Shanghai, the beautiful ancient temples and cold, modern shopping emporiums-they begin to wonder if they will ever find the China they seek, the one their family fled long ago.

Over days and miles they slowly find their way toward a new understanding of themselves, of one another, and of the vast complexity of their homeland, only to have their new bonds tested as never before when the darkest, most carefully guarded secret of all tumbles to the surface and threatens to tear their family apart forever. A Thread of Sky is a beautifully written and deeply haunting story about love and sacrifice, history and memory, sisterhood and motherhood, and the connections that endure.
Visit Deanna Fei's website.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

"Losing Charlotte"

New from Knopf: Losing Charlotte by Heather Clay.

About the book, from the publisher:

Raised on their parents’ Kentucky horse farm, Charlotte and Knox Bolling grow up steeped in the cycles of breeding, foaling, weaning, and preparation for sale that the Thoroughbreds around them undergo each year. As sisters, they are as tightly connected within that vast and beautiful landscape as their opposing natures—and the subtly shifting allegiances within their close family—allow.

When Charlotte leaves Four Corners Farm, marries Bruce, and moves to Manhattan’s West Village, the sisters’ feelings for each other remain as intense and contradictory as ever, despite the distance between them. But nothing will solder their lives more fatefully than Charlotte’s pregnancy and the day on which she delivers twin boys, then dies of complications following their birth.

Together, Knox and Bruce—sister- and brother-in-law in name, but strangers in every other respect—take up the work of caring for Charlotte’s two motherless boys. In their mourning, and in the joy and desolation that flood in as their love for the children deepens, Bruce and Knox confront the ways in which their bonds to Charlotte have shaped them and struggle to define the tentative bond they are forming with each other as they navigate their exhausting, emotional daily rounds. A gripping, powerfully affecting debut novel from a stunning new writer.
Read an excerpt from Losing Charlotte.

"Seeing Stars"

New from Harper Paperbacks: Seeing Stars by Diane Hammond.

About the book, from the publisher:

Ruth Rabinowitz believes. She believes that her daughter, Bethany, is a terrific little actress, so they have come to Hollywood, where dreams come true. Ruth’s husband and Bethany’s father, who thinks their quest for stardom is delusional, has been left behind in Seattle.

Joining Bethany Rabinowitz in Hollywood’s often toxic waters are fellow child actors Quinn Reilly, who has been cast adrift by his family and excels only on Hollywood sets; beautiful Allison Addison, who is misled by her powerful need for love; and Laurel Buehl, who brings a desperate secret to LA that makes the stakes impossibly high. As talent managers, agents, coaches, directors, and teachers nurture—and feed on—their ambitions, stars will be made, hearts will be broken, children will grow up, and dreams will both be realized and die.
Learn more about the book and author at Diane Hammond's website.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

"Heaven"

New from Harper: Heaven: Our Enduring Fascination with the Afterlife by Lisa Miller.

About the book, from the publisher:

A groundbreaking and accessible history of heaven—from the earliest biblical conceptions of the afterlife to the theologians who frame our understandings to the convictions and perceptions of everyday people

Drawing on history and popular culture, biblical research and everyday beliefs, Heaven offers a new understanding of one of the most cherished—and shared—ideals of spiritual life. Lisa Miller raises debates and discussions not just about our visions of the afterlife, but about how our beliefs have influenced the societies we have built and the lifestyles to which we have subscribed, exploring the roots of our beliefs in heaven and how these have evolved throughout the ages to offer comfort and hope.

She also reveals how the notion of heaven has been used for manipulation—to promulgate goodness and evil—as inspiration for selfless behavior, and as justification for mass murder.

As Miller demonstrates in this absorbing and enlightening book, the desire for a celestial afterlife is universal—shared by the faithful around the world and across religions. It is as old as the Bible itself. While there are many notions of what exactly heaven is and how we get there, Jews, Christians, and Muslims all agree that heaven is God's home. From the Revelation to the Left Behind series, Augustine to Osama bin Laden, Muslims in the West Bank to American Mormons baptizing their dead, Heaven is a penetrating look at one of our most cherished religious ideals.
Visit Lisa Miller's website.

"This Is Not The Story You Think It Is..."

New from Penguin: This Is Not the Story You Think It Is... : A Season of Unlikely Happiness by Laura Munson.

About the book, from the publisher:

Laura Munson's essay in the New York Times, about the time she was tested in a way she never anticipated, created a firestorm-now here's the whole story.

When Laura Munson's essay was published, The New York Times was so flooded with responses that they had to close down the comment feature. Readers wrote in saying that they had sent the column to all of their friends. Therapists wrote Munson to tell her that they were passing it out to their clients.

What did Munson write that caused such a fervor?

Laura detailed what happened when her husband of more than twenty years told her he wasn't sure he loved her anymore and wanted to move out. And while you might think you know where this story is going, this isn't the story you think it is. Laura's response to her husband: I don't buy it.

In this poignant, wise, and often funny memoir, Munson recounts a period of months in which her faith in herself-and her marriage-was put to the test. Shaken to the core after the death of her beloved father, not finding the professional success that she had hoped for, and after countless hours of therapy, Laura finally, at age forty, realized she had to stop basing her happiness on things outside her control and commit herself to an "End of Suffering." This Is Not The Story You Think It Is... chronicles a woman coming to terms with the myths we tell ourselves-and others-about our life and realizing that ultimately happiness is completely within our control.
Visit Laura Munson's website and blog.

Friday, March 26, 2010

"Sham Rock"

New from Minotaur Books: Sham Rock by Ralph McInerny.

About the book, from the publisher:

The University of Notre Dame relies on Roger Knight, the rotund professor of Catholic Studies, and his brother Philip, a semiretired PI, to investigate certain delicate situations that could put the school in a bad light. Students, faculty, and alumni, like David Williams, are all fair game.

Having been a successful financial adviser until recently, David has returned to campus to renege on a pledged donation to the university’s ethics program. While he’s there, one of his former classmates sends a letter confessing to the murder and a secret burial of one of their closest friends, a student who had gone missing decades before and was never found. As students, David, Patrick, and Timothy made up the “Trinity,” an irreverent nickname for three close friends and fierce rivals---be it for on-campus prestige or the affections of a beautiful St. Mary’s student from across the road.

Ready to help the school put the whole sordid tragedy behind them, Roger and Philip set about the sad task of unearthing Timothy’s body, only to find that they have a much bigger mystery with which to contend.

With rivalries rekindled and the brothers Knight digging into the university’s past, Sham Rock, the latest in Ralph McInerny’s well-loved mystery series, is as witty and charming as ever.

"He Walked Among Us"

New from Tor Books: He Walked Among Us by Norman Spinrad.

About the book, from the publisher:

When hack agent Jimmy “Tex” Balaban discovers Ralf on a Borscht Belt stage, his act appears to be a clever joke. Ralf claims to be from the future, shouting foul-mouthed prophecies of where we went wrong. And he delivers a harrowing message.

The world is in chaos. Our biosphere has been devastated, our air is unbreathable and the final stalwarts of mankind have taken refuge in pressurized shopping malls. Humanity clings to the last mediocre vestiges of life on a dead planet that we did not know how to save. But it might not be too late. Has Ralf returned to the past to awaken our consciences? Is he who he says he is or is he insane? And if we have one last chance to save the world, does any of this matter?

Then Dexter D. Lampkin, a fading science fiction writer, and Amanda Robin, a New Age guru-wannabe, magnificently transform Ralf into what the world really needs: a messenger sent from the future to save us from ourselves. Together with Tex they polish Ralf’s television persona to captivate America. The problem is that Ralf never goes out of character. He truly believes he is a prophet.
Visit Norman Spinrad's website.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

"This is Just Exactly Like You"

New from Viking: This is Just Exactly Like You by Drew Perry.

About the book, from the publisher:

A darkly humorous debut novel of suburban survival and life's occasional miracles

When Jack Lang impulsively buys a second house directly across the street from his own, his wife Beth leaves him-and their six-year-old autistic son, Hendrick-to move in with Jack's best friend, Terry Canavan. Jack tells everyone in his life he's okay, but no one believes him. Not his employees at Patriot Mulch & Tree in suburban North Carolina, not Beth herself, and not Canavan's estranged girlfriend Rena, who arrives on Jack's doorstep to see how, and whether, he's bearing up. When Jack starts letting Rena further into his life, and when Hendrick suddenly starts speaking fluent Spanish-stunning everyone-it becomes apparent to Jack that the world is far more complicated than he believed.

As Drew Perry's characters change houses, partners, and perceptions, Hendrick emerges from his shell in unexpected and delightful ways and becomes, at times, this witty and winning debut novel's center of gravity-he's parenting the confused grown-ups as often as they are him. Perry's fresh and funny insights into marriage, autism, parenthood, and sub­urban ennui (not to mention mulch) create a landscape that will charm and captivate fans of Tom Perrotta and Jennifer Haigh.
Visit Drew Perry's website.

"Caught"

New from Dutton: Caught by Harlan Coben.

About the book, from the publisher:

From the #1 New York Times bestselling master of suspense comes a fast-paced, emotion-packed novel about guilt, grief, and our capacity to forgive

17-year-old Haley McWaid is a good girl, the pride of her suburban New Jersey family, captain of the lacrosse team, headed off to college next year with all the hopes and dreams her doting parents can pin on her. Which is why, when her mother wakes one morning to find that Haley never came home the night before, and three months quickly pass without word from the girl, the community assumes the worst.

Wendy Tynes is a reporter on a mission, to identify and bring down sexual predators via elaborate-and nationally televised-sting operations. Working with local police on her news program Caught in the Act, Wendy and her team have publicly shamed dozens of men by the time she encounters her latest target. Dan Mercer is a social worker known as a friend to troubled teens, but his story soon becomes more complicated than Wendy could have imagined.

In a novel that challenges as much as it thrills, filled with the astonishing tension and unseen suburban machinations that have become Coben's trademark, Caught tells the story of a missing girl, the community stunned by her loss, the predator who may have taken her, and the reporter who suddenly realizes she can't trust her own instincts about this story-or the motives of the people around her.
Last year, Ali Karim interviewed Harlan Coben for The Rap Sheet.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

"The Lotus Eaters"

New from St. Martin's Press: The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli.

About the book, from the publisher:

A unique and sweeping debut novel of an American female combat photographer in the Vietnam War, as she captures the wrenching chaos and finds herself torn between the love of two men.

On a stifling day in 1975, the North Vietnamese army is poised to roll into Saigon. As the fall of the city begins, two lovers make their way through the streets to escape to a new life. Helen Adams, an American photojournalist, must take leave of a war she is addicted to and a devastated country she has come to love. Linh, the Vietnamese man who loves her, must grapple with his own conflicted loyalties of heart and homeland. As they race to leave, they play out a drama of devotion and betrayal that spins them back through twelve war-torn years, beginning in the splendor of Angkor Wat, with their mentor, larger-than-life war correspondent Sam Darrow, once Helen's infuriating love and fiercest competitor, and Linh's secret keeper, boss and truest friend.

Tatjana Soli paints a searing portrait of an American woman’s struggle and triumph in Vietnam, a stirring canvas contrasting the wrenching horror of war and the treacherous narcotic of obsession with the redemptive power of love. Readers will be transfixed by this stunning novel of passion, duty and ambition among the ruins of war.
Visit Tatjana Soli's website.

"The History of White People"

New from W. W. Norton: The History of White People by Nell Irvin Painter.

About the book, from the publisher:

A mind-expanding and myth-destroying exploration of “whiteness”—an illuminating work on the history of race and power.

Eminent historian Nell Irvin Painter tells perhaps the most important forgotten story in American history. Beginning at the roots of Western civilization, she traces the invention of the idea of a white race—often for economic, scientific, and political ends. She shows how the origins of American identity in the eighteenth century were intrinsically tied to the elevation of white skin into the embodiment of beauty, power, and intelligence; how the great American intellectuals— including Ralph Waldo Emerson—insisted that only Anglo Saxons were truly American; and how the definitions of who is “white” and who is “American” have evolved over time.

A story filled with towering historical figures, The History of White People closes an enormous gap in a literature that has long focused on the nonwhite, and it forcefully reminds us that the concept of “race” is an all-too-human invention whose meaning, importance, and reality have changed according to a long and rich history.
Visit Nell Irvin Painter's website.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

"The Book of Spies"

New from St. Martin's Press: The Book of Spies by Gayle Lynds.

About the book, from the publisher:

For centuries, emperors, historians, and even the Vatican have tried to locate Ivan the Terrible’s magnificent Library of Gold — a long-missing archive containing gold-covered, bejeweled books dating all the way back to the ancient Greeks. Now one of the volumes, The Book of Spies, has surfaced, and along with it the highly secret book club that owns the Library of Gold. They form a cabal of the globe’s most powerful men – men who will do anything to achieve their aims and protect their interests. When the CIA discovers a connection between the legendary library and a bank account linked to terrorists, they turn to rare books curator Eva Blake for help. Soon an attempt is made on Eva’s life. Determined not only to survive but to uncover the truth, Eva turns to the only person she can trust—Judd Ryder, a former intelligence agent with his own agenda and a troubled past. Together, Judd and Eva embark on an international adventure from London to Rome, Istanbul, and Athens. Somehow they must do what no one else has been able to do – find the library and stay alive.
Pg. 69: The Last Spymaster.

Visit Gayle Lynds' official website.

"Sick Like That"

New from Minotaur Books: Sick Like That by Norman Green.

About the book, from the publisher:

P I Marty Stiles was shot and paralyzed and is now in rehab, trying to decide whether to fight to recover. Meanwhile, his agency is being run by two women: the street-smart and savvy Alessandra Martillo, who’s the muscle, and Sarah Waters, a na├»ve, single mom, new to the job but who quickly becomes the brains. Though the two women grew up only a few miles from each other in Brooklyn, it might as well have been worlds apart. Now they’re partners, and for all their differences, are committed to their joint venture. When Sarah’s deadbeat ex-husband gets into trouble, Al would rather let him suffer, but she agrees to help Sarah figure out where he is and why another man has ended up dead.

This follow-up to The Last Gig features a tough and edgy, one-of-a-kind heroine—an entirely fresh take on the hardboiled women private investigators who dominate so many crime fiction classics.
Visit Norman Green's website.

Monday, March 22, 2010

"Changeless"

New from Orbit: Changeless by Gail Carriger.

About the book, from the publisher:

Alexia Tarabotti, the Lady Woolsey, awakens in the wee hours of the mid-afternoon to find her husband, who should be decently asleep like any normal werewolf, yelling at the top of his lungs. Then he disappears - leaving her to deal with a regiment of supernatural soldiers encamped on her doorstep, a plethora of exorcised ghosts, and an angry Queen Victoria.

But Alexia is armed with her trusty parasol, the latest fashions, and an arsenal of biting civility. Even when her investigations take her to Scotland, the backwater of ugly waistcoats, she is prepared: upending werewolf pack dynamics as only the soulless can.

She might even find time to track down her wayward husband, if she feels like it.
Visit Gail Carriger's website and blog.

My Book, The Movie: Soulless by Gail Carriger.

"Expiration Date"

New from Minotaur Books: Expiration Date by Duane Swierczynski.

About the book, from the publisher:

In this neighborhood, make a wrong turn…

… and you’re history.

Mickey Wade is a recently-unemployed journalist who lucked into a rent-free apartment—his sick grandfather’s place. The only problem: it’s in a lousy neighborhood—the one where Mickey grew up, in fact. The one he was so desperate to escape.

But now he’s back. Dead broke. And just when he thinks he’s reached rock bottom, Mickey wakes up in the past. Literally.

At first he thinks it’s a dream. All of the stores he remembered from his childhood, the cars, the rumble of the elevated train. But as he digs deeper into the past, searching for answers about the grandfather he hardly knows, Mickey meets the twelve-year-old kid who lives in the apartment below.

The kid who will grow up to someday murder Mickey’s father.
Visit Swierczynski's Secret Dead Blog.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

"Insectopedia"

New from Pantheon: Insectopedia by Hugh Raffles.

About the book, from the publisher:

A stunningly original exploration of the ties that bind us to the beautiful, ancient, astoundingly accomplished, largely unknown, and unfathomably different species with whom we share the world.

For as long as humans have existed, insects have existed, too. Wherever we’ve traveled, they’ve traveled, too. Yet we hardly know them, not even the ones we’re closest to: those that eat our food, share our beds, and live in our homes.

Organizing his book alphabetically with one entry for each letter, weaving together brief vignettes, meditations, and extended essays, Hugh Raffles embarks on a mesmerizing exploration of history and science, anthropology and travel, economics, philosophy, and popular culture to show us how insects have triggered our obsessions, stirred our passions, and beguiled our imaginations.

Raffles offers us a glimpse into the high-stakes world of Chinese cricket fighting, the deceptive courtship rites of the dance fly, the intriguing possibilities of queer insect sex, the vital and vicious role locusts play in the famines of west Africa, how beetles deformed by Chernobyl inspired art, and how our desire and disgust for insects has prompted our own aberrant behavior.

Deftly fusing the literary and the scientific, Hugh Raffles has given us an essential book of reference that is also a fascination of the highest order.
Visit the Insectopedia website.

"Master of None"

New from Pocket: Master of None by Sonya Bateman.

About the book, from the publisher:

ONE UNLUCKY THIEF. ONE UNLIKELY GENIE. ONE VERY ODD COUPLE.

Gavyn Donatti is the world’s unluckiest thief. Just ask all the partners he’s lost over the years. And when he misplaces an irreplaceable item he was hired to steal for his ruthless employer, Trevor—well, his latest bungle just might be his last. But then his luck finally turns: right when Trevor’s thugs have him cornered, a djinn, otherwise known as a genie, appears to save him.

Unfortunately, this genie—who goes by the very non-magical name of “Ian”—is more Hellboy than dream girl. An overgrown and extremely surly man who seems to hate Donatti on the spot, he may call Donatti master, but he isn’t interested in granting three wishes. He informs Donatti that he is bound to help the thief fulfill his life’s purpose, and then he will be free. The problem is that neither Donatti nor Ian has any idea what exactly that purpose is.

At first Donatti’s too concerned with his own survival to look a gift genie in the mouth, but when his ex-girlfriend Jazz and her young son get drawn into the crossfire, the stakes skyrocket. And when Ian reveals that he has an agenda of his own—with both Donatti and the murderous Trevor at the center of it—Donatti will have to become the man he never knew he could be, or the entire world could pay the price....
Visit Sonya Bateman's website.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

"Curtains"

New from Da Capo Press: Curtains: Adventures of an Undertaker-in-Training by Tom Jokinen.

About the book, from the publisher:

At forty-four, Tom Jokinen decided to quit his job in order to become an apprentice undertaker, setting out to ask the questions: What is the right thing to do when someone dies? With the marketplace offering new options (go green, go anti-corporate, go Disney, be packed into an artificial reef and dropped in the Atlantic...), is there still room for tradition? In a year of adventures both hair-raising and hilarious, Jokinen finds a world that is radically changed since Jessica Mitford revised The American Way of Death, more surprising than Six Feet Under, and even funnier and more illuminating than Stiff. If Bill Bryson were to apprentice at a funeral home, searching for the meaning of life and death, you’d have Curtains.

"The Tale of Halcyon Crane"

New from Holt Paperbacks: The Tale of Halcyon Crane by Wendy Webb.

About the book, from the publisher:

A young woman travels alone to a remote island to uncover a past she never knew was hers in this thrilling modern ghost story

When a mysterious letter lands in Hallie James’s mailbox, her life is upended. Hallie was raised by her loving father, having been told her mother died in a fire decades earlier. But it turns out that her mother, Madlyn, was alive until very recently. Why would Hallie’s father have taken her away from Madlyn? What really happened to her family thirty years ago?

In search of answers, Hallie travels to the place where her mother lived, a remote island in the middle of the Great Lakes. The stiff islanders fix her first with icy stares and then unabashed amazement as they recognize why she looks so familiar, and Hallie quickly realizes her family’s dark secrets are enmeshed in the history of this strange place. But not everyone greets her with such a chilly reception—a coffee-shop owner and the family’s lawyer both warm to Hallie, and the possibility of romance blooms. And then there’s the grand Victorian house bequeathed to her—maybe it’s the eerie atmosphere or maybe it’s the prim, elderly maid who used to work for her mother, but Hallie just can’t shake the feeling that strange things are starting to happen...

In The Tale of Halcyon Crane, Wendy Webb has created a haunting story full of delicious thrills, vibrant characters, and family secrets.
Visit Wendy Webb's website and blog.

Friday, March 19, 2010

"What If the Earth Had Two Moons?"

New from St. Martin's Press: What If the Earth Had Two Moons?: And Nine Other Thought-Provoking Speculations on the Solar System by Neil F. Comins.

About the book, from the publisher:

“What if?” questions stimulate people to think in new ways, to refresh old ideas, and to make new discoveries. In What If the Earth Had Two Moons, Neil Comins leads us on a fascinating ten-world journey as we explore what our planet would be like under alternative astronomical conditions. In each case, the Earth would be different, often in surprising ways.

The title chapter, for example, gives us a second moon orbiting closer to Earth than the one we have now. The night sky is a lot brighter, but that won’t last forever. Eventually the moons collide, with one extra-massive moon emerging after a period during which Earth sports a Saturn-like ring.

This and nine and other speculative essays provide us with insights into the Earth as it exists today, while shedding new light on the burgeoning search for life on planets orbiting other stars.

Appealing to adult and young adult readers alike, this book follows on the author’s previous bestseller, What If the Moon Didn’t Exist?, with completely new scenarios backed by the latest astronomical research.

"The Dogs of Rome"

New from Bloomsbury USA: The Dogs of Rome: A Commissario Alec Blume Novel by Conor Fitzgerald.

About the book, from the publisher:

An engrossing novel of murder, organized crime, and politics in contemporary Italy--the first in a series of Italian crime novels by a promising new writer.

On a hot summer morning, Arturo Clemente is sloppily murdered in his Roman apartment by a mysterious slasher. When his wife, an eminent politician, finds his body, she swiftly springs into action--by calling the Ministry of the Interior.

By the time police inspector Alec Blume arrives at the scene, evidence has been collected, command taken, and, in short--his investigation has been compromised. As the details of the case continue to trickle out, Blume soon realizes he is being watched from on high--and that solving this crime may be the least of his worries. Losing sleep and unsure who to trust, Blume feels the case spinning out of control: does anyone involved even want justice? At what price will it come? And who runs this town--the police, the politicians, or organized criminals?

In this riveting novel, we are introduced to Blume, an American expatriate and seasoned police veteran. Intelligent yet sometimes petulant, instinctive yet flawed, Blume is a likeable and trustworthy protagonist for this, the first installment of a gritty and promising series.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

"In the Company of Angels"

New from Bloomsbury USA: In the Company of Angels by Thomas E. Kennedy.

About the book, from the publisher:

A luminous love story and an internationally acclaimed masterpiece, published in the US for the first time.

In the Company of Angels is the powerful story of two damaged souls trying to find their way from darkness toward light.

Imprisoned and tortured for months by Pinochet's henchmen for teaching political poetry to his students, Bernardo Greene is visited by two angels, who promise him that he will survive to experience beauty and love once again. Months later, at the Torture Rehabilitation Center in Copenhagen, the Chilean exile befriends Michela Ibsen, herself a survivor of domestic abuse. In the long nights of summer, the two of them struggle to heal, to forgive those who have left them damaged, and to trust themselves to love.

Dense with wisdom and humanity, possessed of a timeless, fable-like quality, In the Company of Angels is a riveting read and a testament to the resilience and complexity of the human heart.

The novel marks the first large-scale US publication of a major American author, known internationally but only within literary circles in his homeland.
Visit Thomas E. Kennedy's website.

"Every Dog Has a Gift"

New from Penguin: Every Dog Has a Gift: True Stories of Dogs Who Bring Hope and Healing into Our Lives by Rachel McPherson.

About the book, from the publisher:

Inspiring stories of dogs who do good.

Anyone who has ever had a relationship with a dog will tell you: They want nothing more than to give love and be loved in return. In Every Dog Has a Gift, Rachel McPherson draws on her experience as the founder and executive director of The Good Dog Foundation, the largest animal-assisted therapy organization on the East Coast, to share the amazing stories of dogs that bring hope and healing into our lives.

Much has been said about the heroic roles dogs played following September 11th and Hurricane Katrina in providing support and comfort for the families and victims of these terrible tragedies, but the truth is that millions of dogs around the world are heroes every day. These therapy and service dogs (and often quite ordinary, "uncertified" dogs just like your own!) can:

*serve as the perfect audience for kids who need help with practicing and improving their reading skills;

*hold troubled families together;

*provide a calm and centering presence for autistic children, and

*help individuals who have lost the ability to walk to more easily navigate the world.

Every Dog Has a Gift is a celebration of the gift that each and every dog possesses: the ability to bring the healing power of unconditional love into our lives.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

"Dark's Tale"

New from EgmontUSA: Dark's Tale by Deborah Grabien.

About the book, from the publisher:

After being abandoned in Golden Gate Park by owners who no longer want her, Dark must quickly learn how to take care of herself. Befriended by a racoon, Rattail, and Casablanca, another feral cat, Dark quickly learns her place in the park's hierarchy, and discovers who she can trust--the Warms (nice people who feed the ferals every day)--and who's to be avoided--the Cores (homeless kids who live in the park) and the Dangers (who include clueless humans who don't always consider their impact on the park and its social structure).

But when coyotes start invading the park and the streets immediately surrounding it, the stability of San Francisco and the park are threatened. Guided by the ghost stories and mysterious musings of a homeless woman and the determination of Jesse, a human sometimes-park resident, Dark must make difficult decisions about friendship, loyalty, and the meaning of survival.
Learn more about the book and author at Deborah Grabien's website.

The Page 69 Test: While My Guitar Gently Weeps.

"Shadow Princess"

New from Atria: Shadow Princess by Indu Sundaresan.

About the book, from the publisher:

In Shadow Princess, Indu Sundaresan picks up where she left off in The Twentieth Wife and The Feast of Roses, returning to seventeenth-century India a few years after Mehrunnisa's death, as two royal princesses struggle for power.

The daughters of the emperor, Jahangir and Roshanara, conspire and scheme against one another in an attempt to gain power over their father's harem. As royal princesses, they are confined in the imperial harem and not allowed to marry. However, this does not stop them from having illicit affairs or plotting who will be the next heir to the throne.

These royal sisters are in competition for everything: control over the harem, their father's affection, and the future of their country. Unfortunately, only one of them can succeed. And despite their best efforts to affect the future, their schemes are eclipsed, both during their lives and in posterity, as they live in the shadow of the greatest monument in Indian history, the Taj Mahal.

With a flair and enthusiasm for history and culture, Sundaresan creates a story full of rich details that brings the reader deep into the world of the lives of Indian women and their struggles for power and the profound history of the Taj Mahal, one of the most celebrated works of architecture in the world.
Visit Indu Sundaresan's website.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

"Next"

New from Reagan Arthur: Next by James Hynes.

About the novel, from the publisher:

Kevin Quinn is an average, middle-aged, liberal-leaning, self-centered, emotionally-damaged American. As he travels to Austin, Texas, for a job interview, he contemplates lost opportunities in romance, apocalyptic visions, and how to reinvent himself. Next is a funny, moving, sexy, and surprising novel that takes place over the course of a day that begins unusually and will end dramatically, when Kevin learns, at last, what happens next.
Read an excerpt from Next.

Visit James Hynes's website.

"The 24th Letter"

New from Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books: The 24th Letter by Tom Lowe.

About the book, from the publisher:

When Father John Callahan hears the confession of a frightened prison inmate, he learns that a man facing lethal injection is innocent. The lead investigator on the case, his friend Sean O’Brien, is still haunted by the case. The 24th letter in the Greek alphabet—Omega—may provide the key to uncovering the killer’s identity.
Watch the trailer for The 24th Letter.

Visit Tom Lowe's website.

Monday, March 15, 2010

"Not Less Than Gods"

New from Tor Books: Not Less Than Gods: The Company by Kage Baker.

About the book, from the publisher:

Recently returned from war, young Edward Anton Bell-Fairfax is grateful to be taken under the wing of the Gentleman’s Speculative Society. At the Society, Edward soon learns that a secret world flourishes beneath the surface of London’s society, a world of wondrous and terrible inventions and devices used to tip the balance of power in a long-running game of high-stakes intrigue. Through his intensive training Edward Anton Bell-Fairfax, unwanted and lonely boy, becomes Edward Anton Bell-Fairfax, Victorian super-assassin, fleeing across the Turkish countryside in steam-powered coaches and honing his fighting skills against clockwork opponents.

As Edward travels across Europe with a team of companions, all disguised as gentleman dandies on tour, he learns more about himself and the curious abilities he is gradually developing. He begins to wonder if there isn’t more going on than simple international intrigue, and if he and his companions are maybe part of a political and economic game stretching through the centuries. But, in the end, is it a game he can bring himself to play?

Edward Anton Bell-Fairfax, the idealistic assassin. Perhaps the most dangerous man alive.
Kage Baker died at 1:15 AM on January 31, 2010.

"Still Life"

New from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: Still Life: Adventures in Taxidermy by Melissa Milgrom.

About the book, from the publisher:

It's easy to dismiss taxidermy as a kitschy or morbid sideline, the realm of trophy fish and jackalopes or an anachronistic throwback to the dusty diorama. Yet theirs is a world of intrepid hunter-explorers, eccentric naturalists, and gifted museum artisans, all devoted to the paradoxical pursuit of creating the illusion of life.

Into this subculture of insanely passionate animal lovers ventures journalist Melissa Milgrom, whose journey stretches from the anachronistic family workshop of the last chief taxidermist for the American Museum of Natural History to the studio where an English sculptor, granddaughter of a surrealist artist, preserves the animals for Damien Hirst's most disturbing artworks. She wanders through Mr. Potter's Museum of Curiosities in the final days of its existence to watch dealers vie for preserved Victorian oddities, and visits the Smithsonian's offsite lab, where taxidermists transform zoo skins into vivacious beasts. She tags along with a Canadian bear trapper and former Roy Orbison impersonator--the three-time World Taxidermy Champion--as he resurrects an extinct Irish elk using DNA studies and Paleolithic cave art for reference; she even ultimately picks up a scalpel and stuffs her own squirrel. Transformed from a curious onlooker to an empathetic participant, Milgrom takes us deep into the world of taxidermy and reveals its uncanny appeal.
Visit Melissa Milgrom's website.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

"Easy for You"

New from Simon & Schuster: Easy for You: Stories by Shannan Rouss.

About the book, from the publisher:

In this debut collection, Shannan Rouss delivers ten sharply etched stories set against the endless freeways and twinkling lights of Los Angeles. Each one provides a momentary glimpse into the lives of the inhabitants of this sprawling space where lines and lives intersect.

We are introduced to the world of a millionaire who plays host to his ex-lover's wedding, a young bulimic woman whose relationship with a chef crumbles over a truffle, a Laurel Canyon housewife whose only confidante is the daughter of her Russian maid, and other stories from the City of Angels.

Filled with heartbreak and humor, Easy for You depicts the universal desire to find something true, and the lengths people will go to connect.
Visit Shannan Rouss' website.

"No More Heroes"

New from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: No More Heroes by Ray Banks.

About the book, from the publisher:

It’s the hottest summer on record in Manchester, England, and down-at-heel private eye Cal Innes is struggling to keep cool. He has taken a job evicting families on behalf of local slumlord Donald Plummer, while the English National Socialists bring racial tensions to the boiling point. A firebomb attack on a Plummer property thrusts Innes into the spotlight as he rescues a child from the burning building. But when Plummer hires him to track down the arsonists, Innes finds himself dealing with more than neo-Nazis and his rapidly worsening painkiller addiction.

Time's running out and the temperature keeps rising. Manchester needs a hero and Cal Innes is the closest it has.

Discover why bestselling author Laura Lippman declared that Ray Banks "raises the bar for hardboiled fiction on both sides of the Atlantic."
Visit the official Ray Banks website.

The Page 69 Test: The Big Blind.

My Book, The Movie: The Big Blind.

The Page 99 Test: Saturday's Child.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

"Once A Spy"

New from Doubleday: Once A Spy by Keith Thomson.

About the book, from the publisher:

Drummond Clark was once a spy of legendary proportions. Now Alzheimer’s disease has taken its toll and he’s just a confused old man who’s wandered away from home, waiting for his son to fetch him.

When Charlie Clark takes a break from his latest losing streak at the track to bring Drummond back to his Brooklyn home, they find it blown sky high—and then bullets start flying in every direction. At first, Charlie thinks his Russian “creditors” are employing aggressive collection tactics. But once Drummond effortlessly hot-wires a car as their escape vehicle, Charlie begins to suspect there’s much more to his father than meets the eye. He soon discovers that Drummond’s unremarkable career as an appliance salesman was actually a clever cover for an elaborate plan to sell would-be terrorists faulty nuclear detonators. Drummond’s intricate knowledge of the “device” is extremely dangerous information to have rattling around in an Alzheimer’s-addled brain. The CIA wants to “contain” him--and so do some other shady characters who send Charlie and Drummond on a wild chase that gives “father and son quality time” a whole new meaning.

With Once a Spy, Keith Thomson makes his debut on the thriller stage with energy, wit, and style to spare.
Visit Keith Thomson's website.

"The Long Man"

New from Tor Books: The Long Man by Steve Englehart.

About the book, from the publisher:

In The Point Man, DJ Max August was thrust into a hidden war between the forces of chaos and order, where he learned how to use magick and become Timeless!

More than twenty-five years later, Max is summoned by a friend to save Dr. Pamela Blackwell from a mysterious force that is using magick to kill her. Pam’s research could save the lives of countless millions, putting her in the crosshairs of the FRC, a cabal of powerbrokers intent on world domination.

From San Francisco to Barbados to the shores of Suriname, Max and Pam must fight off magick-wielding assassins and legions of zombies. Max may be powerful and Timeless, but he’s not indestructible. He’s going to have to keep his wits about him if he’s going to stop the FRC before they kill millions.

Supernatural enemies, dazzling magic, and romance abound in this page-turner from a longtime master of storytelling.
Visit Steve Englehart's website.

Friday, March 12, 2010

"The Genius in All of Us"

New from Doubleday: The Genius in All of Us: Why Everything You've Been Told About Genetics, Talent, and IQ Is Wrong by David Shenk.

About the book, from the publisher:

With irresistibly persuasive vigor, David Shenk debunks the long-standing notion of genetic “giftedness,” and presents dazzling new scientific research showing how greatness is in the reach of every individual.

DNA does not make us who we are. “Forget everything you think you know about genes, talent, and intelligence,” he writes. “In recent years, a mountain of scientific evidence has emerged suggesting a completely new paradigm: not talent scarcity, but latent talent abundance.”

Integrating cutting-edge research from a wide swath of disciplines—cognitive science, genetics, biology, child development—Shenk offers a highly optimistic new view of human potential. The problem isn't our inadequate genetic assets, but our inability, so far, to tap into what we already have. IQ testing and widespread acceptance of “innate” abilities have created an unnecessarily pessimistic view of humanity—and fostered much misdirected public policy, especially in education.

The truth is much more exciting. Genes are not a “blueprint” that bless some with greatness and doom most of us to mediocrity or worse. Rather our individual destinies are a product of the complex interplay between genes and outside stimuli-a dynamic that we, as people and as parents, can influence.

This is a revolutionary and optimistic message. We are not prisoners of our DNA. We all have the potential for greatness.

"212"

New from Harper: 212 by Alafair Burke.

About the book, from the publisher:

In New York City, Nights Are Dangerous. Days Are Numbered.

When New York University sophomore Megan Gunther finds personal threats posted to a Web site specializing in campus gossip, she's taken aback by their menacing tone. Someone knows her daily routine down to the minute and is watching her—but thanks to the anonymity provided by the Internet, the police tell her there's nothing they can do. Her friends are sure it's someone's idea of a joke, but when Megan is murdered in a vicious attack, NYPD Detective Ellie Hatcher is convinced that the online threats are more than just empty words.

With smooth, straight-talking partner J. J. Rogan at her side, Ellie tries to identify Megan's enemies, but she begins to wonder if the coed's murder was more than just the culmination of a cyber obsession. Phone records reveal a link between Megan and a murdered real estate agent who was living a dangerous double life. The detectives also learn that the dead real estate agent shared a secret connection to a celebrity mogul whose bodyguard was mysteriously killed a few months earlier. And when Megan's roommate suddenly disappears, they know they have to find her before another young woman dies.

Exposing the darkness that lurks beneath the glamorous surface of New York City, 212 delivers yet another "knuckle-biting journey that'll keep you turning pages until the very end" (Faye Kellerman).
Learn more about the book and author at Alafair Burke's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Dead Connection.

The Page 69 Test: Angel’s Tip.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

"Down to the Wire"

New from Minotaur Books: Down to the Wire by David Rosenfelt.

About the book, from the publisher:

A reporter for the Bergen News, Chris Turley could never measure up to his father. Edward Turley, a combination of Bob Woodward and Ernie Pyle, was one of the last great investigative reporters and a difficult man to impress. While stuck covering press conferences and town hall meetings, Chris, his father’s legend in mind, has always dreamed of his own Pulitzer, however unlikely it seems.

Then one day while he’s waiting to meet a source, a giant explosion takes out half of an office building next door. Shocked into action, Chris saves five people from the burning building. His firsthand account in the next day’s paper makes him a hero and a celebrity.

And that’s not all. The source’s next tip delivers a second headline-grabber of a story for Chris, and suddenly his career is looking a lot more like his dad’s. But then it seems this anonymous source has had a plan for Chris all along, and his luck for being in the right place at the right time is not a coincidence at all. What seemed like a reporter’s dream quickly becomes an inescapable nightmare.

Down to the Wire, David Rosenfelt’s shocking new thriller about an ordinary man who gets exactly what he’s always wanted at a price he can never pay, is an intense thrill ride that will have readers racing through the pages right up to the end.
Visit David Rosenfelt's website.

"The Long Way Home"

New from Harper: The Long Way Home: An American Journey from Ellis Island to the Great War by David Laskin.

About the book, from the publisher:

From the author of The Children's Blizzard comes an epic story of the sacrifice and service of an immigrant generation.

When the United States entered World War I in 1917, one-third of the nation's population had been born overseas or had a parent who was an immigrant. At the peak of U.S. involvement in the war, nearly one in five American soldiers was foreign-born. Many of these immigrant soldiers—most of whom had been drafted—knew little of America outside of tight-knit ghettos and backbreaking labor. Yet World War I would change their lives and ultimately reshape the nation itself. Italians, Jews, Poles, Norwegians, Slovaks, Russians, and Irishmen entered the army as aliens and returned as Americans, often as heroes.

In The Long Way Home, award-winning writer David Laskin traces the lives of a dozen men, eleven of whom left their childhood homes in Europe, journeyed through Ellis Island, and started over in a strange land. After detailing the daily realities of immigrant life in the factories, farms, mines, and cities of a rapidly growing nation, Laskin tells the heartbreaking stories of how these men—both conscripts and volunteers—joined the army, were swept into the ordeal of boot camp, and endured the month of hell that ended the war at the Argonne, where they truly became Americans. Those who survived were profoundly altered—and their experiences would shape the lives of their families as well.

Epic, inspiring, and masterfully written, The Long Way Home is the unforgettable true story of the Great War, the world it remade, and the men who fought for a country not of their birth, but which held the hope and opportunity of a better way of life.
Visit the official The Long Way Home website and blog.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

"Water Hazard"

New from Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books: Water Hazard by Don Dahler.

About the book, from the publisher:

The follow-up to the critically acclaimed A Tight Lie--a darkly funny, fast-talking mystery with a dash of sports and no shortage of action

Golf is a game of consistency, and after too many missed fairways, missed putts, and missed cuts, Huck Doyle’s career as a Tour pro is on life support. The sometime private eye has lost his full-time PGA player status and is back to scraping it out on minor tournaments. So it’s only by the generosity of the father of an old law-school pal, Rick Wong, that Huck finds himself in paradise with a rare sponsor’s exemption, gearing up to play in the Sony Open in Hawaii. But when his benefactor keels over dead from a gunshot during a practice round, Huck is obligated to find out who killed the millionaire banker and pillar of the community. Is it the young wife? A competitor trying to stop a secret bank merger? Or was it an assassination ordered from some distant shores?

With his brother undergoing an experimental spinal-cord treatment and his relationship with a beautiful medical examiner showing some strain, Huck has more than enough on his mind as he tees off in a career-changing match. As the investigation carries him into the murky waters of international finance, computer encryptions, and the dark side of paradise, Huck finds himself playing the game of his life, on and off the golf course.

In the footsteps of Tim Green and Mike Lupica, Don Dahler has once again written a riveting mystery that brings the world of sports into crime fiction. Water Hazard will satisfy thriller readers and golf fanatics alike.
Visit Don Dahler's website.

"The Queen's Lover"

New from William Morrow: The Queen's Lover by Vanora Bennett.

About the book, from the publisher:

Catherine de Valois, daughter of the French king Charles VI, is born into troubled times. Though she is brought up in a royal court, it is a stormy and unstable environment. Before she is out of her teens, Catherine is married off to England's Henry V as part of a treaty honoring his victory over France. She is terrified at the idea of being married to a man who is a foreigner, an enemy, and a rough soldier, and is forced to leave her home for England.

Within two years she is widowed, and mother to the future King of England and France—even though her brother has laid claim to the French crown for himself. Caught between warring factions of her own family and under threat by the powerful lords of the English court, she must find a way to keep her infant son safe. In Owain Tudor, a childhood friend for whom Catherine has long had affection and who now controls the Royal household, Catherine finds both strength and kinship. As their friendship turns to love, however, she risks not only her life and that of her son but the uneasy balance of power in England and France that will be forever changed.

History comes alive in this lyrical and moving true story of one woman's courage and the inception of one of the most famous royal lineages of all time.
Learn more about the author and her work at Vanora Bennett's website.

The Page 69 Test: Figures in Silk.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

"The Trade of Queens"

New from Tor Books: The Trade of Queens by Charles Stross.

About the book, from the publisher:

A dissident faction of the Clan, the alternate universe group of families that has traded covertly with our world for a century or more, have carried nuclear devices between the worlds and exploded them in Washington, DC, killing the President of the United States. Now they will exterminate the rest of the Clan and keep Miriam alive only long enough to bear her child, the heir to the throne of their land in the Gruinmarkt world.

The worst and deepest secret is now revealed: behind the horrifying plot is a faction of the US government itself, preparing for a political takeover in the aftermath of disaster. There is no safe place for Miriam and her Clan except, perhaps, in the third alternate world, New Britain--which has just had a revolution and a nuclear incident of its own.

Charles Stross's Merchant Princes series reaches a spectacular climax in this sixth volume. Praised by Nobel laureate Paul Krugman as "great fun," this is state of the art, cutting edge SF grown out of a fantastic premise.
Visit the official Charles Stross blog.

"Burial"

New from Forge Books: Burial by Neil Cross.

About the book, from the publisher:

Everyone makes mistakes.

But what if your biggest mistake was something you could never live down?

Something so awful and despicable that it weighs daily on your soul?

Nathan has never been able to forget the worst night of his life. Only he and an old acquaintance know what really happened and they have made a pact to keep silent.

Now, years later, a knock on his door brings terrifying news. Old wounds are suddenly reopened, threatening to tear Nathan's whole world apart, as he comes face to face with the bleak landscape of lies and deception that has become his life.

Burial is the story of one man’s obsession with redemption.

Can you ever really bury your guiltiest secret?
Learn about Neil Cross' literary top ten.

Read his Q & A with Ali Karim at The Rap Sheet.

Visit the official Neil Cross website.

Monday, March 8, 2010

"Perfect Peace"

New from St. Martin's Press: Perfect Peace by Daniel Black.

About the book, from the publisher:

The heartbreaking portrait of a large, rural southern family’s attempt to grapple with their mother’s desperate decision to make her newborn son into the daughter she will never have

When the seventh child of the Peace family, named Perfect, turns eight, her mother Emma Jean tells her bewildered daughter, “You was born a boy. I made you a girl. But that ain’t what you was supposed to be. So, from now on, you gon’ be a boy. It’ll be a little strange at first, but you’ll get used to it, and this’ll be over after while.” From this point forward, his life becomes a bizarre kaleidoscope of events. Meanwhile, the Peace family is forced to question everything they thought they knew about gender, sexuality, unconditional love, and fulfillment.

"Winging It"

New from Simon Spotlight Entertainment: Winging It: A Memoir of Caring for a Vengeful Parrot Who's Determined to Kill Me by Jenny Gardiner.

About the book, from the publisher:

A hilarious and poignant cautionary tale about two very different types of creatures, thrown together by fate, who learn to make the best of a challenging situation -- feather by feather.

Like many new bird owners, Jenny and Scott Gardiner hoped for a smart, talkative, friendly companion. Instead, as they took on the unexpected task of raising a curmudgeonly wild African gray parrot and a newborn, they learned an important lesson: parrothood is way harder than parenthood.

A gift from Scott's brother who was living in Zaire, Graycie arrived scrawny, pissed-off, and missing a lot of her feathers -- definitely not the Polly-wants-a-cracker type the Gardiners anticipated. Every day became a constant game of chicken with a bird that would do anything to ruffle their feathers. The old adage about not biting the hand that feeds you -- literally -- never applied to Graycie.

But Jenny and Scott learned to adapt as the family grew to three children, a menagerie of dogs and cats, and, of course, Graycie. In this laugh-out-loud funny and touching memoir, Jenny vividly shares the many hazards of parrot ownership, from the endless avian latrine duty and the joyful day the bird learned to mimic the sound of the smoke detector, to the multiple ways a beak can pierce human flesh. Graycie is a court jester, a karaoke partner, an unusual audio record of their family history, and, at times, a nemesis. But most of all, she has taught the family volumes about tolerance, going with the flow, and realizing that you can no sooner make your child fit into a mold than you can turn a wild parrot into a docile house pet. Winging It is an utterly engrossing reminder of the importance of patience, loyalty, and humor when it comes to dealing with even the most unpleasant members of the family.
Watch a video of Gardiner discussing Winging It and another of Graycie performing, and learn more about the book and author at Jenny Gardiner's website and blog.

Writers Read: Jenny Gardiner.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

"The Alchemy of Murder"

New from Forge: The Alchemy of Murder by Carol McCleary.

About the book, from the publisher:

The world’s most famous reporter, the intrepid Nellie Bly, teams up with science fiction genius Jules Verne, the notorious wit and outrageous rogue Oscar Wilde, and the greatest microbe-hunter in history, Louis Pasteur. Together, they must solve the crime of the century.

They are all in Paris—the capital of Europe and center of world culture—for the 1889 World’s Fair. A spectacular extravaganza dedicated to new industries, scientific discoveries, and global exploration, its gateway is the soaring Eiffel Tower. But an enigmatic killer stalks the streets and a virulent plague is striking down Parisians by the thousands. Convinced that the killings are connected to the pandemic, Nellie is determined to stop them both... no matter what the risks.
Visit Carol McCleary's website.

"The Infinities"

New from Knopf: The Infinities by John Banville.

About the book, from the publisher:

On a languid midsummer’s day in the countryside, old Adam Godley, a renowned theoretical mathematician, is dying. His family gathers at his bedside: his son, young Adam, struggling to maintain his marriage to a radiantly beautiful actress; his nineteen-year-old daughter, Petra, filled with voices and visions as she waits for the inevitable; their stepmother, Ursula, whose relations with the Godley children are strained at best; and Petra’s “young man”—very likely more interested in the father than the daughter—who has arrived for a superbly ill-timed visit.

But the Godley family is not alone in their vigil. Around them hovers a family of mischievous immortals—among them, Zeus, who has his eye on young Adam’s wife; Pan, who has taken the doughy, perspiring form of an old unwelcome acquaintance; and Hermes, who is the genial and omniscient narrator: “We too are petty and vindictive,” he tells us, “just like you, when we are put to it.” As old Adam’s days on earth run down, these unearthly beings start to stir up trouble, to sometimes wildly unintended effect....

Blissfully inventive and playful, rich in psychological insight and sensual detail, The Infinities is at once a gloriously earthy romp and a wise look at the terrible, wonderful plight of being human—a dazzling novel from one of the most widely admired and acclaimed writers at work today.
Most important books: John Banville.