Sunday, July 31, 2011


New from Crown: fathermothergod: My Journey Out of Christian Science by Lucia Greenhouse.

About the book, from the publisher:

Lucia Ewing had what looked like an all-American childhood. She lived with her mother, father, sister, and brother in an affluent suburb of Minneapolis, where they enjoyed private schools, sleep-away camps, a country club membership, and skiing vacations. Surrounded by a tight-knit extended family, and doted upon by her parents, Lucia had no doubt she was loved and cared for. But when it came to accidents and illnesses, Lucia’s parents didn't take their kids to the doctor's office--they prayed, and called a Christian Science practitioner.

fathermothergod is Lucia Greenhouse's story about growing up in Christian Science, in a house where you could not be sick, because you were perfect; where no medicine, even aspirin, was allowed. As a teenager, her visit to an ophthalmologist created a family crisis. She was a sophomore in college before she had her first annual physical. And in December 1985, when Lucia and her siblings, by then young adults, discovered that their mother was sick, they came face-to-face with the reality that they had few--if any--options to save her. Powerless as they watched their mother’s agonizing suffering, Lucia and her siblings struggled with their own grief, anger, and confusion, facing scrutiny from the doctors to whom their parents finally allowed them to turn, and stinging rebuke from relatives who didn’t share their parents’ religious values.

In this haunting, beautifully written book, Lucia pulls back the curtain on the Christian Science faith and chronicles its complicated legacy for her family. At once an essentially American coming-of-age story and a glimpse into the practices of a religion few really understand, fathermothergod is an unflinching exploration of personal loss and the boundaries of family and faith.
Visit Lucia Greenhouse's website.

"Thirteen Million Dollar Pop"

New from Doubleday: Thirteen Million Dollar Pop (Frank Behr Series #3) by David Levien.

About the book, from the publisher:

The bestselling author of City of the Sun returns with a relentlessly taut new novel featuring enigmatic private investigator Frank Behr and the American heartland setting that has won David Levien critical acclaim.

In an Indianapolis underground parking structure, Frank Behr is on an executive protection detail for Bernard “Bernie Cool” Kolodnik, a hard-driving business mogul on the verge of making a move into big-time Indiana politics. Behr is working for an exclusive investigation company, and it’s an uncomfortable fit, both literally and philosophi­cally. The uneasy stability is quickly rocked by a burst of automatic weapons fire as an attempt is made on the promi­nent client, and Behr manages to protect him and repel the attackers. Though Behr is celebrated for his heroism, he can’t help but investigate what happened in that garage—and why the Indianapolis cops seem to be burying the incident.

As David Levien has masterfully done in his previous nov­els, he weaves a crime story that is teeming with real charac­ters and electric energy—centered on the brooding psyche of Frank Behr. Thirteen Million Dollar Pop is unyieldingly compelling and will give readers yet another reason to enlist with this superbly talented writer.
Visit David Levien's website.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

"Home Improvement: Undead Edition"

New from Ace: Home Improvement: Undead Edition by (eds.) Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner.

About the book, from the publisher:

The editors of the New York Times bestselling Death's Excellent Vacation bring home a new collection...with a never-before- published Sookie Stackhouse story!

There's nothing like home renovation for finding skeletons in the closet or otherwordly portals in the attic. Now, for any homeowner who's ever wondered, "What's that creaking sound?" or fans of "how to" television who'd like a little unreality mixed in with their reality shows, editors Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner return with an all-new collection of the paranormal perils of Do-It-Yourself.

Sookie Stackhouse resides in these pages, in a never-before-published story by #1 New York Times bestselling author Charlaine Harris. And New York Times bestselling authors Patricia Briggs, James Grady, Heather Graham, Melissa Marr, and nine other outstanding writers have constructed more frightening and funny fixer-upper tales guaranteed to shake foundations and rattle readers' pipes.
Read--Coffee with a Canine: Charlaine Harris & Scrunch, Rocky, and Oscar.

"Murder by Mocha"

New from Berkley Prime Crime: Murder by Mocha (Coffeehouse Mystery Series #10) by Cleo Coyle.

About the book, from the publisher:

A divorced, single mom in her forties, Clare Cosi is a coffee shop manager by day, an irrepressible snoop by night. When something is wrong, she considers it her mission in life to right it, and murder is as wrong as it gets.

Can coffee enhance your love life? Coffee and chocolate have long been considered aphrodisiacs. Now Clare’s Village Blend beans are being used in conjunction with a proprietary formula of exotic herbs to create a lucrative new product, Mocha Magic Coffee, billed as “a miracle brew” that will put the “magic moments” back into your relationship. Clare even plans to test this very special chocolate coffee on her boyfriend, NYPD detective Mike Quinn (when he’s off duty, of course).

The product was developed by an old friend of the Village Blend’s flamboyant, elderly owner, Madame Dreyfus Allegro Dubois. Madame’s friend is also the food and beverage editor of Aphrodite’s Village, one of the web’s most popular communities for women. This Internet site will be the exclusive place to buy Mocha Magic, which is expected to rake in millions, but not all goes well with the rollout of this product. At the launch party, the Mocha has far too many people acting loco! Then one of the website’s editors is found dead. When more of the website’s Sisters of Aphrodite start to die, Clare is convinced someone wants control of the coffee’s secret formula and is willing to kill to get it. Can Clare stir up some evidence against a bitter killer? Or will she be next on the hit list?
Visit Cleo Coyle's website.

Friday, July 29, 2011

"The Family Fang"

New from Ecco: The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson.

About the book, from the publisher:

Mr. and Mrs. Fang called it art.

Their children called it mischief.

Performance artists Caleb and Camille Fang dedicated themselves to making great art. But when an artist’s work lies in subverting normality, it can be difficult to raise well-adjusted children. Just ask Buster and Annie Fang. For as long as they can remember, they starred (unwillingly) in their parents’ madcap pieces. But now that they are grown up, the chaos of their childhood has made it difficult to cope with life outside the fishbowl of their parents’ strange world.

When the lives they’ve built come crashing down, brother and sister have nowhere to go but home, where they discover that Caleb and Camille are planning one last performance–their magnum opus–whether the kids agree to participate or not. Soon, ambition breeds conflict, bringing the Fangs to face the difficult decision about what’s ultimately more important: their family or their art.

Filled with Kevin Wilson’s endless creativity, vibrant prose, sharp humor, and keen sense of the complex performances that unfold in the relationships of people who love one another, The Family Fang is a masterfully executed tale that is as bizarre as it is touching.
Visit Kevin Wilson's website and blog.


New from Soho Press: Wyatt (Wyatt Warren Series #1)
by Garry Disher.

About the book, from the publisher:

Wyatt's newest job is a jewel heist. It's just the kind of job he likes: simple. Nothing extravagant, nothing greedy. Stake out the international courier with the goods, intercept the diamonds, and get away fast. The thing is, Wyatt prefers to work alone, and this is Eddie Oberin's job. Eddie's very smart ex-wife Lydia has the inside information. With Wyatt's planning genius and meticulous preparation, what could possibly go wrong? Plenty. And when you wrong Wyatt, you don't just walk away.
Visit Garry Disher's website.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

"Lip Service"

New from W. W. Norton: Lip Service: Smiles in Life, Death, Trust, Lies, Work, Memory, Sex, and Politics by Marianne LaFrance.

About the book, from the publisher:

An expert in nonverbal communication tackles the science of smiles and their extraordinary social impact.

When someone smiles, the effects are often positive: a glum mood lifts; an apology is accepted; a deal is struck; a flirtation begins. But not all smiles are equally benign: a rival grins to get under your skin; a bully's smirk unsettles his mark. Who flashes more fake smiles, popular kids or unpopular kids? Is it good or bad when a bereaved person smiles? Much more than cheerful expressions, smiles are social acts with powerful consequences. Drawing on her research conducted at Yale University and Boston College as well as the latest studies in psychology, medicine, anthropology, biology, and computer science, Marianne LaFrance explores the compelling science behind the smile, revealing that this familiar expression is not as simple as it first may seem. Her groundbreaking work shows how the smile says much more than we realize-or care to admit. To read this book is to learn just how much the smile influences our lives and our relationships.
Visit Marianne LaFranc's website.

"Thick as Thieves"

New from Knopf: Thick as Thieves by Peter Spiegelman.

About the book, from the publisher:

A new thriller that takes us inside a hair-raising heist, where paranoia hangs as heavy as the tropical heat, and the only law is Murphy’s.

Carr—ex-CIA—is the reluctant leader of an elite crew planning a robbery of such extraordinary proportions that it will leave them all set for life. Diamonds, money-laundering, and extortion go into a timed-to-the-minute scheme that unfurls across South America, Miami, and Grand Cayman Island. Carr’s cohorts are seasoned pros, but they’re wound drum-tight: months before, the man who brought them together was killed in what Carr suspects was a setup. And there are other loose ends. Some of the intel they’re paying for is badly inaccurate, and one of the gang—lately, Carr’s lover—may have an agenda of her own. Carr finds himself “working the paranoid calculus ... mapping the shifting landscape of who-owes-who and who-owns-who, of loyalty, grudge, and pressure”—but his biggest problems are yet to come: few of his crew are what they seem to be, and even his own past will turn out to be built on a lie.

Terrifically suspenseful and psychologically complex, Thick as Thieves is a rare, penetrating look into the sophisticated machinations of an unparalleled crime, and Peter Spiegelman’s most accomplished and galvanizing novel yet.
Visit Peter Spiegelman's website.

The Page 99 Test: Red Cat.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

"All the Pretty Hearses"

New from William Morrow: All the Pretty Hearses (Bed-and-Breakfast Series #26) by Mary Daheim.

About the book, from the publisher:

Bed-and-breakfast owner and amateur sleuth Judith McMonigle Flynn has to deal with a case of insurance fraud—and mystery meat gone bad—in this delightful entry to the beloved series by USA Today bestselling author Mary Daheim

All the Pretty Hearses

There’s no “fun” in “fund-raiser” for Judith McMonigle Flynn when she donates an overnight stay at Hillside Manor for the parish school’s annual auction—not when the pricey winning bid goes to the persnickety Paine family. Dinner is included—if Judith can sort through the endless allergies and aversions of the painfully picky Paines. The last thing she needs is another B&B guest who checks out permanently. Thankfully, her husband, Joe, is home early. His latest surveillance job has just ended abruptly with a .38 Smith & Wesson blowing away the insurance fraud suspect. Unfortunately, the gun belongs to Joe, who finds himself in a jail cell as a murder suspect while Judith tries to find what’s left of her mind—and the real killer.

But Joe’s dilemma and the unbearable Paines aren’t Judith’s only problems. Her cantankerous mother, Gertrude, has agreed to let a wealthy parishioner stable a horse in her toolshed apartment; cousin Renie is trying to force-feed her loathsome Shrimp Dump recipe to the parish cookbook fundraising committee; and neighbor Arlene Rankers wants to know why some parish schoolkids, including her grandson, are sick after the weekly hamburger lunch.

Judith figures she’s already got way too much on her plate, so what else could possibly go wrong? On the other hand, at Hillside Manor, what can possibly go right?
Learn more about the book and author at Mary Daheim's website.

The Page 69 Test: Vi Agra Falls.

The Page 99 Test: The Alpine Uproar.

"The Magician King"

New from Viking: The Magician King by Lev Grossman.

About the book, from the publisher:

Return to Fillory in the riveting sequel to The New York Times bestseller and literary phenomenon of 2009--The Magicians.

The Magicians was praised as a triumph by readers and critics of both mainstream and fantasy literature. Now Grossman takes us back to Fillory, where the Brakebills graduates have fled the sorrows of the mundane world, only to face terrifying new challenges.

Quentin and his friends are now the kings and queens of Fillory, but the days and nights of royal luxury are starting to pall. After a morning hunt takes a sinister turn, Quentin and his old friend Julia charter a magical sailing ship and set out on an errand to the wild outer reaches of their kingdom. Their pleasure cruise becomes an adventure when the two are unceremoniously dumped back into the last place Quentin ever wants to see: his parent's house in Chesterton, Massachusetts. And only the black, twisted magic that Julia learned on the streets can save them.

The Magician King is a grand voyage into the dark, glittering heart of magic, an epic quest for the Harry Potter generation. It also introduces a powerful new voice, that of Julia, whose angry genius is thrilling. Once again Grossman proves that he is the modern heir to C.S. Lewis, and the cutting edge of literary fantasy.
Learn more about the book and author at Lev Grossman's website and The Magicians website.

The Page 69 Test: The Magicians.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

"In Malice, Quite Close"

New from Viking: In Malice, Quite Close by Brandi Lynn Ryder.

About the book, from the publisher:

A haunting and sophisticated debut in which priceless art and unspeakable desires converge.

French ex-pat Tristan Mourault is the wealthy, urbane heir to a world- renowned collection of art-and an insatiable voyeur enamored with Karen Miller, a fifteen-year-old girl from a working-class family in San Francisco. Deciding he must "rescue" Karen from her unhappy circumstances, Tristan kidnaps her and stages her death to mask his true crime.

Years later, Karen is now "Gisele" and the pair lead an opulent life in idyllic and rarefied Devon, Washington. But when Nicola, Gisele's young daughter, stumbles upon a secret cache of paintings-all nudes of Gisele-Tristan's carefully constructed world begins to crumble. As Nicola grapples with the tragedy that follows, she crosses paths with Amanda Miller, who comes to Devon to investigate the portraits' uncanny resemblance to her long-lost sister.

Set against a byzantine backdrop of greed, artifice, and dangerous manipulations, In Malice, Quite Close is an intoxicating debut that keeps its darkest secrets until the very last page.
Visit Brandi Lynn Ryder's website.


New from Scribner: Missing: A Memoir by Lindsay Harrison.

About the book, from the publisher:

A twenty-five-year-old recent graduate of Columbia University's MFA program, Lindsay Harrison began writing Missing as a way to cope with a terrible loss. During her sophomore year at Brown University, Lindsay received a phone call from her brother that her mother was missing. Forty days later they discover the unthinkable: Their mother's body had been found in the ocean.

Missing is at first a page-turning account of those first forty days, as it chronicles dealings with detectives, false sightings, wild hope, and deep despair. The balance of the story is a candid, emotional exploration of a daughter's search for solace after tragedy as she tries to understand who her mother truly was, makes peace with her grief, and becomes closer to her father and brothers as her mother's death forces her to learn more about her mother than she ever knew before.
Visit Lindsay Harrison's website.

Monday, July 25, 2011

"Secrets of the Wolves"

New from Simon & Schuster: Secrets of the Wolves by Dorothy Hearst.

About the book, from the publisher:

Years of research into the world of wolves combines with mythical tale-telling to present a fantastical adventure set in a world filled with lore. The rules of the Wide Valley wolves were clear: Never consort with humans; never kill a human unprovoked; never allow a mixed-blood wolf to live. But they were rules destined to be broken.

Now, in the second riveting installment of The Wolf Chronicles the stakes are higher than ever. Young Kaala of the Swift River pack shattered the rules of the valley and exposed the lies hidden beneath them. Now, responsibility for the consequences rests with her. Along with her young packmates and the humans they have befriended, she must find a way for the wolves and humans of the Wide Valley to live in harmony. If they succeed, Kaala will finally prove herself worthy of her pack. But if she fails, the Greatwolves who rule wolf-kind will kill every wolf and human in the valley.

Told from the wolf 's point-of-view and set 14,000 years ago in a time when the cultures of wolves and humans were not so different, Secrets of the Wolves transports us to a world where instincts are our only compass and cooperation between potential enemies could mean the difference between life and death.
Learn more about the book and author at Dorothy Hearst's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Promise of the Wolves.

"Thieves Get Rich, Saints Get Shot"

New from Crown: Thieves Get Rich, Saints Get Shot by Jodi Compton.

About the book, from the publisher:

Thieves Get Rich, Saints Get Shot is the gripping sequel to Jodi Compton’s Hailey’s War. When we last left her, West Point dropout Hailey Cain had defied a powerful mobster to protect a pregnant teenager and child. The events of Hailey’s War nearly cost Cain her life, but Thieves Get Rich, Saints Get Shot sees Hailey back in Los Angeles, now second-in-command to rising gangster Serena “Warchild” Delgadillo.

At the heart of this thrilling novel is a complex case of stolen identity, ruthless motives, and violent crime that puts Hailey back on the road, with her old friend Warchild by her side, to reclaim her name and chase down the murderer who has taken it.

Fast-paced, suspenseful, and teeming with powerful young characters, Thieves Get Rich, Saints Get Shot is a ringing affirmation of Jodi Compton’s high-octane talent.
Learn more about the book and author at Jodi Compton's website.

Writers Read: Jodi Compton.

The Page 69 Test: Hailey's War.

My Book, The Movie: Hailey's War.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

"Beast of Burden"

New from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: Beast of Burden (Cal Innes Series #4) by Ray Banks.

About the book, from the publisher:

In his short career as Manchester’s most indestructible private eye, Callum Innes has been run over by a car, beaten within an inch of his life, shot in the ear, left for dead on a desert roadside, and halfway blown up by a car bomb.

Now, mourning the death of his addict brother, walking with a cane, and barely able to speak following a massive drug-related stroke, Cal is a wreck. Enter Manchester ganglord Morris Tiernan to make his life even worse. Tiernan’s ne’er-do-well son Mo has gone missing, and Cal Innes is the only person the distraught gangster trusts enough to conduct the search. There’s nobody Cal would like to find less, but you don’t say no to Uncle Morris. And it turns out that Innes is not the only one working the case — the corrupt and parasitic Detective Sergeant “Donkey” Donkin has a vested interest in the fate of the Tiernans, as well as a long-standing grudge against the intrepid private eye.

In this fourth and final installment of the Cal Innes series, our hero gives up acting as a pawn in Manchester’s underworld disputes. He has his own burdens to bear and scores to settle — with the Tiernan family, with Sergeant Donkin, and with the darkness in his own past.
Visit Ray Banks's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Big Blind.

My Book, The Movie: The Big Blind.

The Page 99 Test: Saturday's Child.

"What Language Is"

New from Gotham Books: What Language Is (And What It Isn't and What It Could Be) by John McWhorter.

About the book, from the publisher:

New York Times bestselling author and renowned linguist, John McWhorter, explores the complicated and fascinating world of languages. From Standard English to Black English; obscure tongues only spoken by a few thousand people in the world to the big ones like Mandarin - What Language Is celebrates the history and curiosities of languages around the world and smashes our assumptions about "correct" grammar.

An eye-opening tour for all language lovers, What Language Is offers a fascinating new perspective on the way humans communicate. From vanishing languages spoken by a few hundred people to major tongues like Chinese, with copious revelations about the hodgepodge nature of English, John McWhorter shows readers how to see and hear languages as a linguist does. Packed with Big Ideas about language alongside wonderful trivia, What Language Is explains how languages across the globe (the Queen's English and Surinam creoles alike) originate, evolve, multiply, and divide. Raising provocative questions about what qualifies as a language (so-called slang does have structured grammar), McWhorter also takes readers on a marvelous journey through time and place-from Persian to the languages of Sri Lanka- to deliver a feast of facts about the wonders of human linguistic expression.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


New from HarperTeen: Supernaturally by Kiersten White.

About the book, from the publisher:

Evie finally has the normal life she’s always longed for. But she’s shocked to discover that being ordinary can be ... kind of boring. Just when Evie starts to long for her days at the International Paranormal Containment Agency, she’s given a chance to work for them again. Desperate for a break from all the normalcy, she agrees.

But as one disastrous mission leads to another, Evie starts to wonder if she made the right choice. And when Evie’s faerie ex-boyfriend Reth appears with devastating revelations about her past, she discovers that there’s a battle brewing between the faerie courts that could throw the whole supernatural world into chaos. The prize in question? Evie herself.

So much for normal.
Visit Kiersten White's website and blog.

"Seeing Stars"

New from Knopf: Seeing Stars by Simon Armitage.

About the book, from the publisher:

A thrilling new collection from the hugely acclaimed British poet Simon Armitage. With its vivid array of dramatic monologues, allegories, and tall tales, this absurdist, unreal exploration of modern society brings us a chorus of unique and unforgettable voices.

All are welcome at this twilit, visionary carnival: the man whose wife drapes a border-curtain across the middle of the marital home; the black bear with a dark secret; the woman who oversees giant snowballs in the freezer. “My girlfriend won me in a sealed auction but wouldn’t / tell me how much she bid,” begins one speaker; “I hadn’t meant to go grave robbing with Richard Dawkins / but he can be very persuasive,” another tells us. The storyteller behind this human tapestry has about him a sly undercover idealism: he shares with many of his characters a stargazing capacity for belief, or for being, at the very least, entirely “genuine in his disbelief.” In these startling poems, with their unique cartoon-strip energy and air of misrule, Armitage creates world after world, peculiar and always particular, where the only certainty is the unexpected.
Learn about Simon Armitage's six best books and top ten bird poems.

Friday, July 22, 2011

"A Murder in Tuscany"

New from Minotaur Books: A Murder in Tuscany by Christobel Kent.

About the book, from the publisher:

Sandro Cellini, P. I., Florence’s answer to Donna Leon’s Guido Brunetti, returns in this atmospheric mystery set in a forbidding castle.

As Sandro Cellini comes to grips with the tough realities of life as a private detective, touting for business among old contacts and following errant teenagers, an old case comes back to haunt him.

Once the subject of a routine background check back in Sandro’s earliest days as a private investigator, the glamorous, charming, and ruthless Loni Meadows, the director of an American-Italian artistic retreat in a castle in the hills outside Florence, goes off the icy road in her car one night. The circumstances of her death seem less than accidental to Sandro. However inconvenient his suspicions might be, both to Sandro—whose marriage appears to be disintegrating in the aftermath of his wife’s illness—and to Meadows’s erstwhile employers, the detective presses on. As he attempts to uncover the truth of Meadows’s violent and lonely death, Sandro finds himself drawn into the lives of the castle’s highly strung community and the closed world they inhabit in the isolated Etruscan hills of the Maremma.

Reminiscent of a locked-room mystery in the style of Agatha Christie, A Murder in Tuscany leads the reader from one possible perpetrator to the next; to Sandro’s chagrin, all of the artists in residence at the time of Loni’s demise had more than enough reason to dislike her. But who in the group had the most compelling motive to want her dead?

Kent is a masterful investigator of character and mood, and her second mystery conveys the gloom of the Orfeo castle as well as the individual dark lives of its inhabitants in a chilling, memorable way.

"Back of Beyond"

New from Minotaur Books: Back of Beyond by C. J. Box.

About the book, from the publisher:

The Edgar® Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author delivers a thriller about a troubled cop trying to save his son from a killer in Yellowstone.

Cody Hoyt, while a brilliant cop, is an alcoholic struggling with two months of sobriety when his mentor and AA sponsor Hank Winters is found burned to death in a remote mountain cabin. At first it looks like the suicide of a man who’s fallen off the wagon, but Cody knows Hank better than that. Sober for fourteen years, Hank took pride in his hard-won sobriety and never hesitated to drop whatever he was doing to talk Cody off a ledge. When Cody takes a closer look at the scene of his friend’s death, it becomes apparent that foul play is at hand. After years of bad behavior with his department, he’s in no position to be investigating a homicide, but this man was a friend and Cody’s determined to find his killer.

When clues found at the scene link the murderer to an outfitter leading tourists on a multi-day wilderness horseback trip into the remote corners of Yellowstone National Park—a pack trip that includes his son Justin—Cody is desperate to get on their trail and stop the killer before the group heads into the wild. Among the tourists is fourteen-year-old Gracie Sullivan, an awkward but intelligent loner who begins to suspect that someone in their party is dangerous.

In a fatal cat and mouse game, where it becomes apparent the murderer is somehow aware of Cody’s every move, Cody treks into the wilderness to stop a killer hell bent on ruining the only thing in his life he cares about.
Visit C. J. Box's website.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

"Groove Interrupted"

New from St. Martin's Press: Groove Interrupted: Loss, Renewal, and the Music of New Orleans by Keith Spera.

About the book, from the publisher:

The recent history of New Orleans is fraught with tragedy and triumph. Both are reflected in the city’s vibrant, idiosyncratic music community. In Keith Spera’s intimately reported Groove Interrupted, Aaron Neville returns to New Orleans for the first time after Hurricane Katrina to bury his wife. Fats Domino improbably rambles around Manhattan to promote a post-Katrina tribute CD. Alex Chilton lives anonymously in a battered cottage in the Treme neighborhood. Platinum-selling rapper Mystikal rekindles his career after six years in prison. Jazz trumpeter Terence Blanchard struggles to translate Katrina into music. The spotlight also shines on Allen Toussaint, Pete Fountain, Gatemouth Brown, the Rebirth Brass Band, Phil Anselmo, Juvenile, Jeremy Davenport and the 2006 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. With heartache, hope, humor and resolve, each of these contemporary narratives stands on its own. Together, they convey that the funky, syncopated spirit of New Orleans music is unbreakable, in spite of Katrina’s interruption.

"Stealing Mona Lisa"

New from Minotaur Books: Stealing Mona Lisa by Carson Morton.

About the book, from the publisher:

What happens when you mix a Parisian street orphan, a hot-tempered Spanish forger, a beautiful American pickpocket, an unloved wife, and one priceless painting?

The charming Eduardo de Valfierno makes a very respectable living in Argentina fleecing the nouveau rich—they pay him to steal valuable pieces of art, and Valfierno sells them flawless forgeries instead. But when Eduardo meets the beautiful Mrs. Hart on his latest con, he takes a risk that forces him back to the city he loved and left behind—Paris. There he assembles his team of con artists for their final and most ambitious theft, one that will enable them to leave the game forever: The Mona Lisa.

But when a member of the team turns up missing, and Mr. Hart shows up in Paris, Valfierno and his crew must stay one step ahead of a relentless police inspector, endure a devastating flood, and conquer their own doubts to keep the priceless painting in play—and survive.

Based on the actual theft of the Mona Lisa from the Louvre in 1911, and published on the 100th anniversary of the crime, Stealing Mona Lisa is a sophisticated, engaging caper, complete with a richly imagined group of con artists and a historical mystery that will keep you guessing until the very end.
Visit Carson Morton's website.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

"Where the Shadows Lie"

New from Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books: Where the Shadows Lie by Michael Ridpath.

About the book, from the publisher:

An ancient saga. A modern legend. A secret worth killing for.

Amid Iceland’s wild, volcanic landscape, rumors swirl of an ancient manuscript inscribed with a long-lost saga about a ring of terrible power. A rediscovered saga alone would be worth a fortune, but, if the rumors can be believed, there is something much more valuable about this one. Something worth killing for. Something that will cost Professor Agnar Haraldsson his life.

Untangling murder from myth is Iceland-born, Boston-raised detective Magnus Jonson. On loan to the Icelandic Police Force for his own protection after a Massachusetts drug cartel puts a bounty on his head, Magnus is eager work the Haraldsson case, a rare lethal crime for the island nation. But his unorthodox investigative technique soon gets him into trouble with his more traditional superiors, intensifying his mixed feelings about returning to his native country—a place of tangled family loyalties haunted by his father’s unsolved murder—after nearly two decades. And as Magnus is about to discover, the past casts a long shadow in Iceland.

Binding Iceland’s landscape and history, secrets and superstitions in a strikingly original plot in the tradition of Arnaldur Indridason and Henning Mankell, Where the Shadows Lie is a heart-pounding new series from an established master.
Visit Michael Ridpath's website.

"The Good Thief's Guide to Venice"

New from Minotaur Books: The Good Thief's Guide to Venice by Chris Ewan.

About the book, from the publisher:

Charlie, a gentleman thief to rival Cary Grant in “To Catch a Thief,” gallivants around Venice in the next caper in this “sparkling”* series.

After a particularly bad streak of luck in Vegas, Charlie has retreated to Venice, having vowed to give up a life of crime to write crime fiction full-time. But inspiration has yet to strike. And to make matters worse, Charlie’s agent Victoria shows up at his door just as his prized first edition of The Maltese Falcon flies out the window with a femme-fatale burglar. Blackmailed into committing a dastardly crime in order to get his book back, Charlie is catapulted into yet another adventure, this one even more explosive than the last.
Learn more about Chris Ewan and his work at his website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: The Good Thief's Guide to Paris.

Writers Read: Chris Ewan.

The Page 69 Test: The Good Thief's Guide to Vegas.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

"Silent Enemy"

New from Putnam: Silent Enemy by Thomas W. Young.

About the book, from the publisher:

The extraordinary new suspense novel from "one of the most exciting new thriller talents in years" (Vince Flynn).

Four years after the events of The Mullah's Storm ("an irresistible adventure story"-USA Today), jihadists strike the Afghan National Police training center in Kabul, killing many and wounding others, including Sergeant Major Sophia Gold. The injured are hurriedly loaded onto a C-5 Galaxy bound for Germany, but once airborne, the commander, Major Michael Parson, receives a message. The jihadists have placed bombs on some planes leaving Afghanistan, and the Galaxy is one of them. If Parson tries to descend-the bomb will go off.

Parson, Gold, and everybody else aboard are trapped at altitude, until either they or someone on the ground can figure out what to do. They can refuel in midair, but not indefinitely. The aircraft is deteriorating, the condition of the patients is worsening, the crew is tiring-and their biggest challenges are yet to come. The enemy is all around ... and will take surprising form.
Learn more about the book and author at Thomas W. Young's website and blog.

My Book, The Movie: The Mullah's Storm.

"Hot, Shot, and Bothered"

New from Touchstone: Hot, Shot, and Bothered by Nora McFarland.

About the book, from the publisher:

TV news photographer Lilly Hawkins is on the biggest assignment of her career. A deadly wildfire is racing through the California mountains toward the town of Elizabeth Lake. After barely slipping in ahead of road closures, Lilly has her hands full photographing the massive evacuation and approaching inferno. She has no time to cover the accidental drowning of a reckless party girl in the lake ... until she learns the victim's name.

When Lilly knew her thirteen years ago, Jessica Egan was a principled environmental activist and not a bit reckless or wild. Could she have changed that much, or is a killer exploiting the chaos surrounding the fire to disguise a murder?

Soon Lilly's juggling the story she should be covering with the story she can't let go. What could have been the motive for Jessica's death? Was it sexual jealousy, long-held grudges, or just plain old-fashioned greed that got Jessica killed? Meanwhile, Lily has to contend with her station's low-budget technology, the antics of her dodgy uncle Bud, and the alarming job offers her boyfriend is fielding from big-city competitors. Lilly is racing against the clock to get answers. If only the murderer—or the fire—doesn't get her first...
My Book, The Movie: Nora McFarland's A Bad Day's Work.

Monday, July 18, 2011

"Dead Man’s Switch"

New from Poisoned Pen Press: Dead Man’s Switch by Tammy Kaehler.

About the book, from the publisher:

Aspiring race car driver Kate Reilly goes looking for a full-time ride in the American Le Mans Series—and stumbles over a dead driver. When she takes that driver’s job just hours later, she also takes pole position on the list of suspects in his murder. Suddenly she’s in the hot seat with little time to clear her name and get ready to race a Corvette at Lime Rock Park.

Amid suspicion, Kate buckles down, quickly getting to know the race car and team, bumping into plenty of suspects who might have committed murder. Clues fly at her as fast as the turns on the track, including a cryptic list of blackmail victims, unexplainable car performance at racing speed, a jealous husband with an adulterous wife, and drivers and crew who are openly happy her predecessor is dead. Kate finds exhilaration and hazards exist on- and off-track as she throttles up both the Corvette’s V8 and a murder investigation.

The green-flag countdown ticks away, and Kate must decide who she can trust to help probe alibis, untangle rumors of team breakups and personal betrayals, and determine whose drive to win also constitutes a willingness to kill. Because what’s at stake in Kate’s race to the truth is her career … only by uncovering a murderer can Kate restore her reputation and prove she belongs in the racing world.
Visit Tammy Kaehler's website and blog.

"Rules Of Civility"

New from Viking: Rules Of Civility by Amor Towles.

About the book, from the publisher:

A sophisticated and entertaining debut novel about an irresistible young woman with an uncommon sense of purpose.

Set in New York City in 1938, Rules of Civility tells the story of a watershed year in the life of an uncompromising twenty-five-year- old named Katey Kontent. Armed with little more than a formidable intellect, a bracing wit, and her own brand of cool nerve, Katey embarks on a journey from a Wall Street secretarial pool through the upper echelons of New York society in search of a brighter future.

The story opens on New Year's Eve in a Greenwich Village jazz bar, where Katey and her boardinghouse roommate Eve happen to meet Tinker Grey, a handsome banker with royal blue eyes and a ready smile. This chance encounter and its startling consequences cast Katey off her current course, but end up providing her unexpected access to the rarified offices of Conde Nast and a glittering new social circle. Befriended in turn by a shy, principled multimillionaire, an Upper East Side ne'er-do-well, and a single-minded widow who is ahead of her times, Katey has the chance to experience first hand the poise secured by wealth and station, but also the aspirations, envy, disloyalty, and desires that reside just below the surface. Even as she waits for circumstances to bring Tinker back into her orbit, she will learn how individual choices become the means by which life crystallizes loss.

Elegant and captivating, Rules of Civility turns a Jamesian eye on how spur of the moment decisions define life for decades to come. A love letter to a great American city at the end of the Depression, readers will quickly fall under its spell of crisp writing, sparkling atmosphere and breathtaking revelations, as Towles evokes the ghosts of Fitzgerald, Capote, and McCarthy.
Visit Amor Towles's website.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

"The Chitlin' Circuit"

New from W.W. Norton: The Chitlin' Circuit: And the Road to Rock 'n' Roll by Preston Lauterbach.

About the book, from the publisher:

The first history of the network of black juke joints that spawned rock 'n' roll through an unholy alliance between vice and entertainment.

A definitive account of the birth of rock 'n' roll in black America, this book establishes the Chitlin' Circuit as a major force in American musical history. Combining terrific firsthand reporting with deep historical research, Preston Lauterbach uncovers characters like Chicago Defender columnist Walter Barnes, who pioneered the circuit in the 1930s, and larger-than-life promoters such as Denver Ferguson, the Indianapolis gambling chieftain who consolidated it in the 1940s. Charging from Memphis to Houston and now-obscure points in between, The Chitlin' Circuit brings us into the sweaty back rooms where such stars as James Brown, B. B. King, and Little Richard got their start. With his unforgettable portraits of unsung heroes including King Kolax, Sax Kari, and Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Lauterbach writes of a world of clubs and con men that has managed to avoid much examination despite its wealth of brash characters, intriguing plotlines, and vulgar glory, and gives us an excavation of an underground musical America.
Visit Preston Lauterbach's website.

"The Memory of All That"

New from Crown: The Memory of All That: George Gershwin, Kay Swift, and My Family's Legacy of Infidelities by Katharine Weber.

About the book, from the publisher:

The Memory of All That is Katharine Weber’s memoir of her extraordinary family.

Her maternal grandmother, Kay Swift, was known both for her own music (she was the first woman to compose the score to a hit Broadway show, Fine and Dandy) and for her ten-year romance with George Gershwin. Their love affair began during Swift’s marriage to James Paul Warburg, the multitalented banker and economist who advised (and feuded with) FDR. Weber creates an intriguing and intimate group portrait of the renowned Warburg family, from her great-great-uncle, the eccentric art historian Aby Warburg, whose madness inspired modern theories of iconography, to her great-grandfather Paul M. Warburg, the architect of the Federal Reserve System whose unheeded warnings about the stock-market crash of 1929 made him “the Cassandra of Wall Street.”

As she throws new light on her beloved grandmother’s life and many amours, Weber also considers the role the psychoanalyst Gregory Zilboorg played in her family history, along with the ways the Warburg family has been as celebrated for its accomplishments as it has been vilified over the years by countless conspiracy theorists (from Henry Ford to Louis Farrakhan), who labeled Paul Warburg the ringleader of the so-called international Jewish banking conspiracy.

Her mother, Andrea Swift Warburg, married Sidney Kaufman, but their unlikely union, Weber believes, was a direct consequence of George Gershwin’s looming presence in the Warburg family. A notorious womanizer, Weber’s father was a peripatetic filmmaker who made propaganda and training films for the OSS during World War II before producing the first movie with smells, the regrettable flop that was AromaRama. He was as much an enigma to his daughter as he was to the FBI, which had him under surveillance for more than forty years, and even noted Katharine’s birth in a memo to J. Edgar Hoover.

Colorful, evocative, insightful, and very funny, The Memory of All That is an enthralling look at a tremendously influential—and highly eccentric—family, as well as a consideration of how their stories, with their myriad layers of truth and fiction, have both provoked and influenced one of our most prodigiously gifted writers.
Learn more about the book and author at Katharine Weber's website.

The Page 99 Test: Triangle.

Writers Read: Katharine Weber.

The Page 69 Test: True Confections.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

"The Triple Agent"

New from Doubleday: The Triple Agent: The al-Qaeda Mole who Infiltrated the CIA by Joby Warrick.

About the book, from the publisher:

A stunning narrative account of the mysterious Jordanian who penetrated both the inner circle of al-Qaeda and the highest reaches of the CIA, with a devastating impact on the war on terror.

In December 2009, a group of the CIA’s top terrorist hunters gathered at a secret base in Khost, Afghanistan, to greet a rising superspy: Humam Khalil al-Balawi, a Jordanian double-agent who infiltrated the upper ranks of al-Qaeda. For months, he had sent shocking revelations from inside the terrorist network and now promised to help the CIA assassinate Osama bin Laden’s top deputy. Instead, as he stepped from his car, he detonated a thirty-pound bomb strapped to his chest, instantly killing seven CIA operatives, the agency’s worst loss of life in decades.

In The Triple Agent, Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter Joby Warrick takes us deep inside the CIA’s secret war against al-Qaeda, a war that pits robotic planes and laser-guided missiles against a cunning enemy intent on unleashing carnage in American cities. Flitting precariously between the two sides was Balawi, a young man with extraordinary gifts who managed to win the confidence of hardened terrorists as well as veteran spymasters. With his breathtaking accounts from inside al-Qaeda’s lair, Balawi appeared poised to become America’s greatest double-agent in half a century—but he was not at all what he seemed. Combining the powerful momentum of Black Hawk Down with the institutional insight of Jane Mayer’s The Dark Side, Warrick takes the readers on a harrowing journey from the slums of Amman to the inner chambers of the White House in an untold true story of miscalculation, deception, and revenge.

"The Big Switch"

New from Del Ray: The Big Switch (War That Came Early Series #3) by Harry Turtledove.

About the book, from the publisher:

In this extraordinary World War II alternate history, master storyteller Harry Turtledove begins with a big switch: what if Neville Chamberlain, instead of appeasing Hitler, had stood up to him in 1938? Enraged, Hitler reacts by lashing out at the West, promising his soldiers that they will reach Paris by the new year. They don’t. Three years later, his genocidal apparatus not fully in place, Hitler has barely survived a coup, while Jews cling to survival. But England and France wonder whether the war is still worthwhile.

Weaving together a cast of characters that ranges from a brawling American fighter in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade in Spain to a woman who has seen Hitler’s evil face-to-face, Harry Turtledove takes us into a world shaping up very differently in 1941. The Germans and their Polish allies have slammed into the gut of the Soviet Union in the west, while Japan pummels away in the east. In trench warfare in France, French and Czech fighters are outmanned but not outfought by their Nazi enemy. Then the stalemate is shattered. In England, Winston Churchill dies in an apparent accident, and the gray men who walk behind his funeral cortege wonder who their real enemy is. The USSR, fighting for its life, makes peace with Japan—and Japan’s war with America is about to begin.

A sweeping saga of human passions, foolishness, and courage, of families and lovers and soldiers by choice and by chance, The Big Switch is a provocative, gripping, and utterly convincing work of alternate history at its best. For history buffs and fans of big, blood-and-guts fiction, Harry Turtledove delivers a panoramic clash of ideals as powerful as armies themselves.

Friday, July 15, 2011

"The Last Werewolf"

New from Knopf: The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan.

About the book, from the publisher:

Then she opened her mouth to scream—and recognised me. It was what I’d been waiting for. She froze. She looked into my eyes. She said, “It’s you.”

Meet Jake. A bit on the elderly side (he turns 201 in March), but you’d never suspect it. Nonstop sex and exercise will do that for you—and a diet with lots of animal protein. Jake is a werewolf, and after the unfortunate and violent death of his one contemporary, he is now the last of his species. Although he is physically healthy, Jake is deeply distraught and lonely.

Jake’s depression has carried him to the point where he is actually contemplating suicide—even if it means terminating a legend thousands of years old. It would seem to be easy enough for him to end everything. But for very different reasons there are two dangerous groups pursuing him who will stop at nothing to keep him alive.

Here is a powerful, definitive new version of the werewolf legend—mesmerising and incredibly sexy. In Jake, Glen Duncan has given us a werewolf for the twenty-first century—a man whose deeds can only be described as monstrous but who is in some magical way deeply human.

One of the most original, audacious, and terrifying novels in years.

"Rock the Casbah"

New from Simon & Schuster: Rock the Casbah: Rage and Rebellion Across the Islamic World by Robin Wright.

About the book, from the publisher:

A decade after the 9/11 attacks, this groundbreaking book takes readers deep into rebellions against both autocrats and extremists that are redefining politics, culture, and security threats across the Islamic world. The awakening involves hundreds of millions of people. And the political transformations— and tectonic changes—are only beginning.

Robin Wright, an acclaimed foreign correspondent and television commentator, has covered the region for four decades. She witnessed the full cycle, from extremism's angry birth and globalization to the rise of new movements transforming the last bloc of countries to hold out against democracy. Now, in Rock the Casbah, she chronicles the new order being shaped by youth inspired revolts toppling leaders, clerics repudiating al Qaeda, playwrights and poets crafting messages of a counter-jihad, comedians ridiculing militancy, hip-hop rapping against guns and bombs, and women mobilizing for their own rights.

This new counter-jihad has many goals. For some, it's about reforming the faith. For others, it's about reforming political systems. For most, it's about achieving basic rights. The common denominator is the rejection of venomous ideologies and suicide bombs, plane hijackings, hostage-takings, and mass violence to achieve those ends.

Wright captures a stunning moment in history, one of the region's four key junctures—along with Iran's revolution, Israel's creation, and the Ottoman Empire's collapse—in a century. The notion of a clash of civilizations is increasingly being replaced by a commonality of civilizations in the twenty-first century. But she candidly details both the possibilities and pitfalls ahead. The new counter-jihad is imaginative and defiant, but Muslim societies are also politically inexperienced and economically challenged.
Visit Robin Wright's website.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

"The Inverted Forest"

New from Scribner: The Inverted Forest by John Dalton.

About the book, from the publisher:

Late on a warm summer night in rural Missouri, an elderly camp director hears a squeal of joyous female laughter and goes to investigate. At the camp swimming pool he comes upon a bewildering scene: his counselors stripped naked and engaged in a provocative celebration. The first camp session is set to start in just two days. He fires them all. As a result, new counselors must be quickly hired and brought to the Kindermann Forest Summer Camp.

One of them is Wyatt Huddy, a genetically disfigured young man who has been living in a Salvation Army facility. Gentle and diligent, large and imposing, Wyatt suffers a deep anxiety that his intelligence might be subnormal. All his life he's been misjudged because of his irregular features. But while Wyatt is not worldly, he is also not an innocent. He has escaped a punishing home life with a reclusive and violent older sister.

Along with the other new counselors, Wyatt arrives expecting to care for children. To their astonishment, they learn that for the first two weeks of the camping season they will be responsible for 104 severely developmentally disabled adults, all of them wards of the state. For Wyatt it is a dilemma that turns his world inside out. Physically, he is indistinguishable from the state hospital campers he cares for. Inwardly, he would like to believe he is not of their tribe. Fortunately for Wyatt, there is a young woman on staff who understands his predicament better than he might have hoped.

At once the new counselors and disabled campers begin to reveal themselves. Most are well-intentioned; others unprepared. Some harbor dangerous inclinations. Among the campers is a perplexing array of ailments and appearances and behavior both tender and disturbing. To encounter them is to be reminded just how wide the possibilities are when one is describing human beings.

Soon Wyatt is called upon to prevent a terrible tragedy. In doing so, he commits an act whose repercussions will alter his own life and the lives of the other Kindermann Forest staff members for years to come.

Written with scrupulous fidelity to the strong passions running beneath the surface of camp life, The Inverted Forest is filled with yearning, desire, lust, banked hope, and unexpected devotion. This remarkable and audacious novel amply underscores Heaven Lake's wide acclaim and confirms John Dalton's rising prominence as a major American novelist.
Visit John Dalton's website.

"Killed at the Whim of a Hat"

New from Minotaur Books: Killed at the Whim of a Hat by Colin Cotterill.

About the book, from the publisher:

The launch of a brand new series by the internationally bestselling, critically acclaimed author of The Coroner’s Lunch

With worldwide critical acclaim, Colin Cotterill is one of the most highly regarded “cult favorite” crime writers today. Now, with this new series, Cotterill is poised to break into the mainstream. Set in present day rural Thailand, Cotterill is as sharp and witty, yet more engaging and charming, than ever before.

Jimm Juree was a crime reporter for the Chiang Mai Daily Mail with a somewhat eccentric family—a mother who might be drifting mentally; a grandfather—a retired cop—who rarely talks; a younger brother obsessed with body-building, and a transgendered, former beauty pageant queen, former older brother. When Jimm is forced to follow her family to a rural village on the coast of Southern Thailand, she’s convinced her career—maybe her life—is over. So when a van containing the skeletal remains of two hippies, one of them wearing a hat, is inexplicably unearthed in a local farmer’s field, Jimm is thrilled. Shortly thereafter an abbot at a local Buddhist temple is viciously murdered, with the temple’s monk and nun the only suspects.

Suddenly Jimm’s new life becomes somewhat more promising—and a lot more deadly. And if Jimm is to make the most of this opportunity, and unravel the mysteries that underlie these inexplicable events, it will take luck, perseverance, and the help of her entire family.
Visit Colin Cotterill's website and his Crimespace page.

The Page 69 Test: Anarchy and Old Dogs.

My Book, The Movie: Curse of the Pogo Stick.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

"The Nightmare Thief"

New from Dutton: The Nightmare Thief by Meg Gardiner.

About the book, from the publisher:

Forensic psychiatrist Jo Beckett returns in a fourth taut, groundbreaking thriller from Edgar Award winner Meg Gardiner.

Autumn Reiniger expects something special for her twenty-first birthday. Daddy's already bought her the sports car, the apartment, and admission to the private college where she parties away her weekends. Now she wants excitement, and she's going to get it.

Her father signs up Autumn and five friends for an "ultimate urban reality" game: a simulated drug deal, manhunt, and jailbreak. It's a high-priced version of cops and robbers, played with fake guns and fast cars on the streets of San Francisco. Edge Adventures alerts the SFPD ahead of time that a "crime situation" is underway, so the authorities can ignore the squealing tires and desperate cries for help.

Which is convenient for the gang of real kidnappers zeroing in on their target and a mammoth payday. Because what Daddy doesn't know is that someone has spotted his hedge fund's bulging profits, and the path to those riches runs right through Daddy's Little Girl.

Working on a case nearby is forensic psychiatrist Jo Beckett and her partner Gabe Quintana. When the pair encounters a suspicious group of men carting six sullen college kids to the woods for a supposed wilderness adventure, alarm bells ring. Jo takes a closer look, and winds up with an invite to Autumn Reiniger's twenty-first birthday party-a party they may never leave.
Learn more about the author and her work at Meg Gardiner's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: The Dirty Secrets Club.

The Page 69 Test: The Memory Collector.

My Book, The Movie: Meg Gardiner's Evan Delaney series.

Writers Read: Meg Gardiner.

The Page 69 Test: The Liar's Lullaby.

My Book, The Movie: Meg Gardiner's Jo Beckett series.

"The Autobiography Of Mrs. Tom Thumb"

New from Delacorte Press: The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb by Melanie Benjamin.

About the book, from the publisher:

In her national bestseller Alice I Have Been, Melanie Benjamin imagined the life of the woman who inspired Alice in Wonderland. Now, in this jubilant new novel, Benjamin shines a dazzling spotlight on another fascinating female figure whose story has never fully been told: a woman who became a nineteenth century icon and inspiration—and whose most daunting limitation became her greatest strength.

“Never would I allow my size to define me. Instead, I would define it.”

She was only two-foot eight-inches tall, but her legend reaches out to us more than a century later. As a child, Mercy Lavinia “Vinnie” Bump was encouraged to live a life hidden away from the public. Instead, she reached out to the immortal impresario P. T. Barnum, married the tiny superstar General Tom Thumb in the wedding of the century, and transformed into the world’s most unexpected celebrity.

Here, in Vinnie’s singular and spirited voice, is her amazing adventure—from a showboat “freak” revue where she endured jeering mobs to her fateful meeting with the two men who would change her life: P. T. Barnum and Charles Stratton, AKA Tom Thumb. Their wedding would captivate the nation, preempt coverage of the Civil War, and usher them into the White House and the company of presidents and queens. But Vinnie’s fame would also endanger the person she prized most: her similarly-sized sister, Minnie, a gentle soul unable to escape the glare of Vinnie’s spotlight.

A barnstorming novel of the Gilded Age, and of a woman’s public triumphs and personal tragedies, The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb is the irresistible epic of a heroine who conquered the country with a heart as big as her dreams—and whose story will surely win over yours.
Learn about the book and author at Melanie Benjamin's website.

The Page 69 Test: Alice I Have Been.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

"This Shared Dream"

New from Tor Books: This Shared Dream by Kathleen Ann Goonan.

About the book, from the publisher:

Kathleen Ann Goonan introduced Sam Dance and his wife, Bette, and their quest to alter our present reality for the better in her novel In War Times (winner of the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Novel and ALA’s Best Science Fiction Novel of 2008). Now, in This Shared Dream, she tells the story of the next generation.

The three Dance kids, seemingly abandoned by both parents when they were younger, are now adults and are all disturbed by memories of a reality that existed in place of their world. The older girl, Jill, even remembers the disappearance of their mother while preventing the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Goonan has created a new kind of utopian SF novel, in which the changes in history have created a present world that is in many ways superior to our own, while in other worlds people strive to prevent their own erasure by restoring the ills to ours. This Shared Dream is certainly the most provocative SF speculation of the year, and perhaps the decade.
Learn more about the author and her work at Kathleen Ann Goonan's website.

The Page 99 Test: In War Times.

"Red Summer"

New from Henry Holt & Co.: Red Summer: The Summer of 1919 and the Awakening of Black America by Cameron McWhirter.

About the book, from the publisher:

A narrative history of America's deadliest episode of race riots and lynchings

After World War I, black Americans fervently hoped for a new epoch of peace, prosperity, and equality. Black soldiers believed their participation in the fight to make the world safe for democracy finally earned them rights they had been promised since the close of the Civil War.

Instead, an unprecedented wave of anti-black riots and lynchings swept the country for eight months. From April to November of 1919, the racial unrest rolled across the South into the North and the Midwest, even to the nation's capital. Millions of lives were disrupted, and hundreds of lives were lost. Blacks responded by fighting back with an intensity and determination never seen before.

Red Summer is the first narrative history written about this epic encounter. Focusing on the worst riots and lynchings—including those in Chicago, Washington, D.C., Charleston, Omaha and Knoxville—Cameron McWhirter chronicles the mayhem, while also exploring the first stirrings of a civil rights movement that would transform American society forty years later.
Visit Cameron McWhirter's website.

Monday, July 11, 2011


New from Minotaur Books: Ringer by Brian M. Wiprud.

About the book, from the publisher:

Charged with recovering a sacred relic for his La Paz diocese, Morty Martinez hunts down a gold ring that rests on the finger of New York City billionaire Robert Tyson Grant. The holy quest lands Morty squarely in murderous cross plots between the billionaire and his tabloid-prone stepdaughter, Purity. Grant’s conniving girlfriend, a decapitation-happy hit man, and an avaricious fortune teller have their own agendas that put Morty at the center of a sensational murder trial in Mexico. All as told by Morty the night before his execution.
Visit Brian M. Wiprud's website.

"The Devil Himself"

New from Thomas Dunne Books: The Devil Himself by Eric Dezenhall.

About the book, from the publisher:

"I'll talk to anybody, a priest, a bank manager, a gangster, the devil himself, if I can get the information I need. This is a war." -- Lt. Commander Charles Radcliffe Haffenden, Naval Intelligence Unit, B-3

In late 1982, a spike in terrorism has the Reagan Administration considering covert action to neutralize the menace before it reaches the United States. There are big risks to waging a secret war against America’s enemies---but there is one little-known precedent.

Forty years earlier, German U-boats had been prowling the Atlantic, sinking hundreds of U.S. ships along the east coast, including the largest cruise ship in the world, Normandie, destroyed at a Manhattan pier after Pearl Harbor. Nazi agents even landed on Long Island with explosives and maps of railways, bridges, and defense plants. Desperate to secure the coast, the Navy turned to Meyer Lansky, the Jewish Mob boss. A newly naturalized American whose fellow Eastern European Jews were being annihilated by Hitler, Lansky headed an unlikely fellowship of mobsters Lucky Luciano, Bugsy Siegel, Frank Costello, and naval intelligence officers.

Young Reagan White House aide Jonah Eastman, grandson of Atlantic City gangster Mickey Price, is approached by the president’s top advisor with an assignment: Discreetly interview his grandfather’s old friend Lansky about his wartime activities. There just might be something to learn from that secret operation.

The notoriously tight-lipped gangster, dying of cancer, is finally ready to talk. Jonah gets a riveting---and darkly comic---history lesson. The Mob caught Nazi agents, planted propaganda with the help of columnist Walter Winchell, and found Mafia spies to plot the invasion of Sicily, where General Patton was poised to strike at the soft underbelly of the Axis. Lansky’s men stopped at nothing to sabotage Hitler’s push toward American shores.

Based on real events, The Devil Himself is a high-energy novel of military espionage and Mafia justice.
Visit Eric Dezenhall's website.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

"Dreams of the Dead"

New from Gallery: Dreams of the Dead (Nina Reilly Series #13) by Perri O'Shaughnessy.

About the book, from the publisher:

Perri O'Shaughnessy "will keep you turning pages into the night," applauds USA Today, in praise of the celebrated novels of suspense starring the audacious yet all-too-human defense attorney Nina Reilly. Now, in a spellbinding new thriller, O'Shaughnessy plunges Nina back into the center of a murderous family game, and reawakens a very real nightmare she had every reason to believe was dead ... and buried.

A mix of slick and seamy, South Lake Tahoe, California, is the perfect setting for adventurers, criminals—and lawyers. In addition to coping with her demanding, sometimes creepy, clients, Nina Reilly is dealing with prickly personal issues involving her sixteen-year-old son Bob, his estranged father, and her investigator, confidante, and sometimes lover Paul van Wagoner. Then, in walks disaster. The millionaire owner of a Tahoe ski resort, Philip Strong is the father of Jim Strong, a sociopath who devastated many innocent lives, including Nina's. Two years earlier, she had to defend Jim against charges of murder. He shattered her life, then vanished. Paul van Wagoner made sure of it.

Now in negotiations to sell his ski resort, Philip has received a letter purportedly from his fugitive son in extradition-free Brazil, demanding his share of the profits. Philip is convinced it's authentic. Nina's certain it's a con, but to prove that means exposing the secrets of someone very close to her. Then two local women are brutally murdered. Nina begins to question their links to her new client, and the truth about Jim Strong's sudden disappearance. As Nina's worst fears flood back, with time running out, she's about to discover that the dreams of the dead can still destroy the living.

With its breakneck pace, pulsing human drama, and serpentine twists, Dreams of the Dead establishes once again why Perri O'Shaughnessy has been hailed as "a master of the legal thriller" (Vincent Bugliosi).
Learn more about the authors and their work--and about Nina Reilly--at Perri O'Shaughnessy's website.

Perri O'Shaughnessy is the pen name for sisters Mary and Pamela O’Shaughnessy, authors of the bestselling Nina Reilly novels.

My Book, the Movie: Keeper of the Keys.

"This Burns My Heart"

New from Simon & Schuster: This Burns My Heart by Samuel Park.

About the book, from the publisher:

Chamara is difficult to translate from Korean to English: To stand it, to bear it, to grit your teeth and not cry out? To hold on, to wait until the worst is over? Such is the burden Samuel Park's audacious, beautiful, and strong heroine, Soo-Ja Choi, faces in This Burns My Heart, an epic love story set in the intriguing landscape of postwar South Korea. On the eve of marriage to her weak, timid fiancÉ, Soo-Ja falls in love with a young medical student. But out of duty to her family and her culture she turns him away, choosing instead a world that leaves her trapped by suffocating customs.

In a country torn between past and present, Soo-Ja struggles to find happiness in a loveless marriage and to carve out a successful future for her only daughter. Forced by tradition to move in with her in-laws, she must navigate the dangers of a cruel household and pay the price of choosing the wrong husband. Meanwhile, the man she truly loves remains a lurking shadow in her life, reminding her constantly of the love she could have had.

Will Soo-Ja find a way to reunite with her one true love or be forced to live out her days wondering "what if " and begin to fully understand the meaning of chamara?

He is not just telling her to stand the pain, but giving her comfort, the power to do so. Chamara is an incantation, and if she listens to its sound, she believes that she can do it, that she will push through this sadness. And if she is strong about it, she'll be rewarded in the end. It is a way of saying, I know, I feel it, too. This burns my heart, too.
Visit Samuel Park's website and blog.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

"Stone Arabia"

New from Scribner: Stone Arabia by Dana Spiotta.

About the book, from the publisher:

Stone Arabia, Dana Spiotta's moving and intrepid third novel, is about family, obsession, memory, and the urge to create—in isolation, at the margins of our winner-take-all culture.

In the sibling relationship, "there are no first impressions, no seductions, no getting to know each other," says Denise Kranis. For her and her brother, Nik, now in their forties, no relationship is more significant. They grew up in Los Angeles in the late seventies and early eighties. Nik was always the artist, always wrote music, always had a band. Now he makes his art in private, obsessively documenting the work, but never testing it in the world. Denise remains Nik's most passionate and acute audience, sometimes his only audience. She is also her family's first defense against the world's fragility. Friends die, their mother's memory and mind unravel, and the news of global catastrophe and individual tragedy haunts Denise. When her daughter, Ada, decides to make a film about Nik, everyone's vulnerabilities seem to escalate.

Dana Spiotta has established herself as a "singularly powerful and provocative writer" (The Boston Globe) whose work is fiercely original. Stone Arabia—riveting, unnerving, and strangely beautiful—reexamines what it means to be an artist and redefines the ties that bind.
Visit Dana Spiotta's website.

"The Orphan Sister"

New from Gallery: The Orphan Sister by Gwendolen Gross.

About the book, from the publisher:

Clementine Lord is not an orphan. She just feels like one sometimes. One of triplets, a quirk of nature left her the odd one out. Odette and Olivia are identical; Clementine is a singleton. Biologically speaking, she came from her own egg. Practically speaking, she never quite left it. Then Clementine's father—a pediatric neurologist who is an expert on children's brains, but clueless when it comes to his own daughters—disappears, and his choices, both past and present, force the family dynamics to change at last. As the three sisters struggle to make sense of it, their mother must emerge from the greenhouse and leave the flowers that have long been the focus of her warmth and nurturing.

For Clementine, the next step means retracing the winding route that led her to this very moment: to understand her father's betrayal, the tragedy of her first lost love, her family's divisions, and her best friend Eli's sudden romantic interest. Most of all, she may finally have found the voice with which to share the inside story of being the odd sister out....
Visit Gwendolen Gross's website and The Orphan Sister website.

Friday, July 8, 2011

"Don't Kill the Birthday Girl"

New from Crown: Don't Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life by Sandra Beasley.

About the book, from the publisher:

A beautifully written and darkly funny journey through the world of the allergic.

Like twelve million other Americans, Sandra Beasley suffers from food allergies. Her allergies—severe and lifelong—include dairy, egg, soy, beef, shrimp, pine nuts, cucumbers, cantaloupe, honeydew, mango, macadamias, pistachios, cashews, swordfish, and mustard. Add to that mold, dust, grass and tree pollen, cigarette smoke, dogs, rabbits, horses, and wool, and it’s no wonder Sandra felt she had to live her life as “Allergy Girl.” When butter is deadly and eggs can make your throat swell shut, cupcakes and other treats of childhood are out of the question—and so Sandra’s mother used to warn guests against a toxic, frosting-tinged kiss with “Don’t kill the birthday girl!”

It may seem that such a person is “not really designed to survive,” as one blunt nutritionist declared while visiting Sandra’s fourth-grade class. But Sandra has not only survived, she’s thrived—now an essayist, editor, and award-winning poet, she has learned to navigate a world in which danger can lurk in an unassuming corn chip. Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl is her story.

With candor, wit, and a journalist’s curiosity, Sandra draws on her own experiences while covering the scientific, cultural, and sociological terrain of allergies. She explains exactly what an allergy is, describes surviving a family reunion in heart-of-Texas beef country with her vegetarian sister, delves into how being allergic has affected her romantic relationships, exposes the dark side of Benadryl, explains how parents can work with schools to protect their allergic children, and details how people with allergies should advocate for themselves in a restaurant.

A compelling mix of memoir, cultural history, and science, Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl is mandatory reading for the millions of families navigating the world of allergies—and a not-to-be-missed literary treat for the rest of us.
Learn more about Beasley and her work at her website and her blog, Chicks Dig Poetry.

Writers Read: Sandra Beasley.