Monday, October 31, 2011

"Breaking Point"

New from Minotaur Books: Breaking Point by Dana Haynes.

About the book, from the publisher:

Three NTSB experts - people brought in to help investigate whenever a plane goes down - find themselves victims and witnesses rather than investigators when the plane they are on crashes.

En route to a conference, three NTSB experts -- known to insiders as "Crashers" -- Tommy Tomzak, a pathologist from Texas; Kiki Duvall, a sound engineer and former naval officer; and Isaiah Grey, investigator and former FBI agent – are aboard a twin turbo prop plane when, just outside of Helena, Montana, the plane crashes into a thickly forested moutainside. But the crash isn’t an accident - it was brought down on purpose - and the "Crashers" weren't the target. The plane was brought down by mercenaries, led by an enigmatic, shadowy self-described patriot known only as Calendar, using weapons technology banned by international treaty. The targets - three men who planned to blow the whistle on the weapons technology and the power brokers behind its development.

In a twisty, compelling thriller that goes from the streets of Spain, to the mountains of the western United States, to the heart of the dark, hidden corridors of power where there are dangerous secrets that few suspect and fewer know, the “Crashers” are literally dropped in the middle of a case that neither starts, nor ends, with a plane crash with some of their own on-board. A new team of Crashers fights time, as a fire rages ever closer to the wreckage, conflicting and confusing evidence, and unpredictable outside forces trying to prevent them from uncovering the truth. With alllies - unseen and even unknown - working behind the scenes to help them, the team is trapped in the midst of a high-stakes game of cat-and-mouse with the deadliest of consquences, a game that not all of them will survive...
Visit Dana Haynes' website and blog.

Writers Read: Dana Haynes.

The Page 69 Test: Crashers.

"The Ionia Sanction"

New from Minotaur Books: The Ionia Sanction by Gary Corby.

About the book, from the publisher:

Athens, 460 B.C. Life's tough for Nicolaos, the only investigating agent in ancient Athens. His girlfriend's left him and his boss wants to fire him. But when an Athenian official is murdered, the brilliant statesman Pericles has no choice but to put Nico on the job.

The case takes Nico, in the company of a beautiful slave girl, to the land of Ionia within the Persian Empire. The Persians will execute him on the spot if they think he's a spy. Beyond that, there are only a few minor problems:

He's being chased by brigands who are only waiting for the right price before they kill him.

Somehow he has to placate his girlfriend, who is very angry about that slave girl.

He must meet Themistocles, the military genius who saved Greece during the Persian Wars, and then defected to the hated enemy.

And to solve the crime, Nico must uncover a secret that could not only destroy Athens, but will force him to choose between love, and ambition, and his own life.
Visit Gary Corby's blog.

The Page 69 Test: The Pericles Commission.

Writers Read: Gary Corby.

My Book, The Movie: The Pericles Commission.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

"Freud's Couch, Scott's Buttocks, Bronte's Grave"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Freud's Couch, Scott's Buttocks, Bronte's Grave by Simon Goldhill.

About the book, from the publisher:

The Victorian era was the high point of literary tourism. Writers such as Charles Dickens, George Eliot, and Sir Walter Scott became celebrities, and readers trekked far and wide for a glimpse of the places where their heroes wrote and thought, walked and talked. Even Shakespeare was roped in, as Victorian entrepreneurs transformed quiet Stratford-upon-Avon into a combination shrine and tourist trap.

Stratford continues to lure the tourists today, as do many other sites of literary pilgrimage throughout Britain. And our modern age could have no better guide to such places than Simon Goldhill. In Freud's Couch, Scott’s Buttocks, Brontë's Grave, Goldhill makes a pilgrimage to Sir Walter Scott's baronial mansion, Wordsworth's cottage in the Lake District, the Bront ë parsonage, Shakespeare's birthplace, and Freud's office in Hampstead. Traveling, as much as possible, by methods available to Victorians—and gamely negotiating distractions ranging from broken bicycles to a flock of giggling Japanese schoolgirls—he tries to discern what our forebears were looking for at these sites, as well as what they have to say to the modern mind. What does it matter that Emily Brontë’s hidden passions burned in this specific room? What does it mean, especially now that his fame has faded, that Scott self-consciously built an extravagant castle suitable for Ivanhoe—and star-struck tourists visited it while he was still living there? Or that Freud's meticulous recreation of his Vienna office is now a meticulously preserved museum of itself? Or that Shakespeare’s birthplace features student actors declaiming snippets of his plays ... in the garden of a house where he almost certainly never wrote a single line?

Goldhill brings to these inquiries his trademark wry humor and a lifetime's engagement with literature. The result is a travel book like no other, a reminder that even today, the writing life still has the power to inspire.

"A Meaning for Wife"

New from Ig Publishing: A Meaning for Wife by Mark Yakich.

About the book, from the publisher:

Your wife is killed by a cashew (anaphylactic shock), but there isn’t time to grieve because your toddler son is always at your heels—wanting to be fed, to be played with, or to sleep next to you all night long. A change of pace seems necessary, so you decide to visit your parents in order to attend your twenty-year high school reunion. What begins as a weekend getaway quickly becomes a theater for dealing with the past—a past that you will have to re-imagine in order to have any hope of a future for you and your son.

Told in second person, A Meaning for Wife is the story of a man trying to come to terms with the sudden death of his wife, the aging parents he has long avoided, and the tribulations of single parenthood.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

"Cool, Calm & Contentious"

New from Villard: Cool, Calm & Contentious by Merrill Markoe.

About the book, from the publisher:

In this hilarious collection of personal essays, New York Times bestselling author Merrill Markoe reveals, among other things, the secret formula for comedy: Start out with a difficult mother, develop some classic teenage insecurities, add a few relationships with narcissistic men, toss in an unruly pack of selfish dogs, finish it off with the kind of crystalline perspective that only comes from years of navigating a roiling sea of unpleasant and unappeasable people, and—voilà!—you’re funny!

But in Cool, Calm & Contentious, Markoe also reveals something more: herself. This is by far her most personal, affecting collection yet—honest, unapologetic, often painful, but always shot through with the bracing, wicked sense of humor that has made her such a beloved and incisive observer of life, both human and canine. In Cool, Calm & Contentious, she goes there: from the anal-retentive father who once spent ten minutes lecturing Markoe’s forty-year-old, Ph.D.-wielding brother on how to fold a napkin, to the eternally aggrieved mother who took pleasure in being unpleasant to waiters and spent most of her life, Markoe says, in “varying degrees of pissed off”; from the way she surrendered her virginity as a freshman in college (to her, it was “something to be gotten rid of quickly, then never discussed again, like body odor”), to why, later in life, she ultimately came to find dogs so much more appealing than humans, Markoe holds nothing back. It’s all here, in all its messy, poignant glory, and told the way only Merril Markoe knows how—with honesty, wit, and bite.

Cool, Calm & Contentious offers something for everyone—fans of humorous essays, fans of memoir, fans of great writing and finely drawn characters, fans of dogs, fans of talking dogs, and fans of reading about mothers who are so difficult and demanding they actually make you feel good about your own life. But most of all, this book is for the many fans of Merrill Markoe, who will finally get a chance to learn what makes her tick—and what makes her so funny and wise.
Visit Merrill Markoe's website.

The Page 69 Test: Nose Down, Eyes Up.

Coffee with a Canine: Merrill Markoe & Jimmy, Ginger, Puppyboy, and Hedda.

My Book, The Movie: Merrill Markoe's talking dog script/novel.

"Remedy and Reaction"

New from Yale University Press: Remedy and Reaction: The Peculiar American Struggle over Health Care Reform by Paul Starr.

About the book, from the publisher:

In no other country has health care served as such a volatile flashpoint of ideological conflict. America has endured a century of rancorous debate on health insurance, and despite the passage of legislation in 2010, the battle is not yet over. This book is a history of how and why the United States became so stubbornly different in health care, presented by an expert with unsurpassed knowledge of the issues.

Tracing health-care reform from its beginnings to its current uncertain prospects, Paul Starr argues that the United States ensnared itself in a trap through policies that satisfied enough of the public and so enriched the health-care industry as to make the system difficult to change.

He reveals the inside story of the rise and fall of the Clinton health plan in the early 1990s—and of the Gingrich counterrevolution that followed. And he explains the curious tale of how Mitt Romney’s reforms in Massachusetts became a model for Democrats and then follows both the passage of those reforms under Obama and the explosive reaction they elicited from conservatives. Writing concisely and with an even hand, the author offers exactly what is needed as the debate continues—a penetrating account of how health care became such treacherous terrain in American politics.

Friday, October 28, 2011

"How the Mistakes Were Made"

New from St. Martin's Griffin: How the Mistakes Were Made by Tyler McMahon.

About the novel, from the publisher:

Laura Loss came of age in the hardcore punk scene of the early 1980s. The jailbait bass player in her brother Anthony’s band, she grew up traveling the country, playing her heart out in a tight network of show venues to crowds soaked in blood and sweat. The band became notorious, the stars of a shadow music industry. But when Laura was 18, it all fell apart. Anthony’s own fans destroyed him, something which Laura never forgot.

Ten years later, Laura finds her true fame with the formation of The Mistakes, a gifted rock band that bursts out of ‘90s Seattle to god-like celebrity. When she discovered Nathan and Sean, the two flannel-clad misfits who, along with her, composed the band, she instantly understood that Sean’s synesthesia—a blending of the senses that allows him to “see” the music— infused his playing with an edge that would take them to the top. And it did. But it, along with his love for Laura, would also be their downfall.

At the moment of their greatest fame, the volatile bonds between the three explode in a mushroom cloud of betrayal, deceit, and untimely endings. The world blames Laura for destroying its rock heroes. Hated by the fans she’s spent her life serving, she finally tells her side of the story, the “true” story, of the rise and fall of The Mistakes.
Visit Tyler McMahon's website.

"Love and Shame and Love"

New from Little, Brown: Love and Shame and Love by Peter Orner.

About the book, from the publisher:

Alexander Popper can't stop remembering. Four years old when his father tossed him into Lake Michigan, he was told, Sink or swim, kid. In his mind, he's still bobbing in that frigid water. The rest of this novel's vivid cast of characters also struggle to remain afloat: Popper's mother, stymied by an unhappy marriage, seeks solace in the relentless energy of Chicago; his brother, Leo, shadow boss of the family, retreats into books; paternal grandparents, Seymour and Bernice, once high fliers, now mourn for long lost days; his father, a lawyer and would-be politician obsessed with his own success, fails to see that the family is falling apart; and his college girlfriend, the fiercely independent Kat, wrestles with impossible choices.

Covering four generations of the Popper family, Peter Orner illuminates the countless ways that love both makes us whole and completely unravels us. A comic and sorrowful tapestry of memory of connection and disconnection, Love and Shame and Love explores the universals with stunning originality and wisdom.
The Page 69 Test: Peter Orner's The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

"The Time In Between"

New from Atria Books: The Time In Between by Maria Duenas.

About the book, from the publisher:

The inspiring international bestseller of a seemingly ordinary woman who uses her talent and courage to transform herself first into a prestigious couturier and then into an undercover agent for the Allies during World War II

Between Youth and Adulthood...

At age twelve, Sira Quiroga sweeps the atelier floors where her single mother works as a seamstress. At fourteen, she quietly begins her own apprenticeship. By her early twenties she has learned the ropes of the business and is engaged to a modest government clerk. But everything changes when two charismatic men burst unexpectedly into her neatly mapped-out life: an attractive salesman and the father she never knew.

Between War and Peace...

With the Spanish Civil War brewing in Madrid, Sira leaves her mother and her fiancÉ, impetuously following her handsome lover to Morocco. However, she soon finds herself abandoned, penniless, and heartbroken in an exotic land. Among the odd collection of European expatriates trapped there by the worsening political situation back on the Continent, Sira reinvents herself by turning to the one skill that can save her: her gift for creating beautiful clothes.

Between Love and Duty...

As England, Germany, and the other great powers launch into the dire conflict of World War II, Sira is persuaded to return to Madrid, where she takes on a new identity to embark upon the most dangerous undertaking of her career. As the preeminent couturier for an eager clientele of Nazi officers' wives, Sira becomes embroiled in the half-lit world of espionage and political conspiracy rife with love, intrigue, and betrayal.

Already a runaway bestseller across Europe, The Time In Between is one of those rare, richly textured novels that enthrall down to the last page. MarÍa DueÑas reminds us how it feels to be swept away by a masterful storyteller.

"Survival of the Beautiful"

New from Bloomsbury USA: Survival of the Beautiful: Art, Science, and Evolution by David Rothenberg.

About the book, from the publisher:

A brilliant investigation of why nature is beautiful and how art has influenced science, sure to stimulate readers of The Art Instinct.

"The peacock's tail," said Charles Darwin, "makes me sick." That's because the theory of evolution as adaptation can't explain why nature is so beautiful. It took the concept of sexual selection for Darwin to explain that, a process that has more to do with aesthetics than the practical. Survival of the Beautiful is a revolutionary new examination of the interplay of beauty, art, and culture in evolution. Taking inspiration from Darwin's observation that animals have a natural aesthetic sense, philosopher and musician David Rothenberg probes why animals, humans included, have innate appreciation for beauty-and why nature is, indeed, beautiful.

Sexual selection may explain why animals desire, but it says very little about what they desire. Why will a bowerbird literally murder another bird to decorate its bower with the victim's blue feathers? Why do butterfly wings boast such brilliantly varied patterns? The beauty of nature is not arbitrary, even if random mutation has played a role in evolution. What can we learn from the amazing range of animal aesthetic behavior-about animals, and about ourselves?

Readers who enjoyed the bestsellers The Art Instinct and The Mind's Eye will find Survival of the Beautiful an equally stimulating and profound exploration of art, science, and the creative impulse.
Visit the Survival of the Beautiful website.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


New from Atria Books: Roam: A Novel with Music by Alan Lazar.

About the book, from the publisher:

They say you never forget your first love...

Born under a sparkling crescent moon, Nelson is a bright-eyed, inquisitive half beagle, half poodle. He lives with Katey and Don, newlyweds whose marriage is straining under the pressures of domesticity, but Katey's devotion to Nelson buoys the pup even as he worries his home may be falling apart.

But there are few things Nelson likes better than to follow a scent, and one day he follows his nose and gets lost ... very lost. Though he searches frantically for Katey—and she for him—Nelson can't seem to find his way home, and he soon realizes that if he's ever to see his great love again, he must make his way on his own and try to survive in the wild.

Over the course of eight years, Roam follows Nelson as he crosses the country searching for his family. For a time he rides shotgun with a truck driver named Thatcher, then he lives in the woods with a pack of wolves. A terrible accident takes his hind leg, but Nelson's strength and longing to find Katey keep him alive. Escaping death in a shelter, Nelson grows into an old dog with a cynical eye and a world-weary demeanor, but underneath it all, a fearless and courageous spirit. After all, he believes that one day he'll make it home ... and maybe, just maybe, he will....

Much more than the story of one dog's incredible journey, this is a deeply moving story of survival and enduring love, which once again confirms the unbreakable bond between humans and their best friends. In the tradition of The Art of Racing in the Rain and The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, Roam is an unforgettable tale of love lost and found, the trials that test families, and an affirmation that no matter how far or how long you may travel, there's always a place you can call home.
Visit Alan Lazar's website.

"Fever Dream"

New from Poisoned Pen Press: Fever Dream by Dennis Palumbo.

About the book, from the publisher:

There’s a sweltering heat wave outside. Nearly a year after Pittsburgh psychologist and trauma expert Daniel Rinaldi helped unravel a baffling murder, he finds himself drawn into another case.

When a daring bank robbery goes horribly wrong, resulting in the deaths of all the hostages except one, Rinaldi is called in to question Treva Williams, the traumatized young woman who survived. However, what seemed a simple robbery soon explodes into a series of events that plunge the investigating officers, Sgt. Harry Polk and Det. Eleanor Lowrey—as well as Rinaldi himself—into a vortex of mistaken identity and kidnapping.

Meanwhile, thrown together by the demands of the case, Rinaldi and Eleanor deal with the growing attraction between them. Then there’s the gubernatorial campaign of Rinaldi’s former romantic rival, District Attorney Leland Sinclair. Plot twists multiply as a frenzy of accusations and political maneuvering gathers steam.
Visit Dennis Palumbo's website.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"In War's Wake"

New from Oxford University Press: In War's Wake: Europe's Displaced Persons in the Postwar Order by Gerard Daniel Cohen.

About the book, from the publisher:

The end of the Second World War in Europe gave way to a gigantic refugee crisis. Thoroughly prepared by Allied military planners, the swift repatriation of millions of former forced laborers, concentration camp inmates and prisoners of war nearly brought this dramatic episode top a close. Yet in September 1945, the number of displaced persons placed under the guardianship of Allied armies and relief agencies in occupied Germany amounted to 1.5 million. A costly burden for the occupying powers, the Jewish, Polish, Ukrainian, Yugoslav and Baltic DPs unwilling to return to their countries of origin presented a complex international problem. Massed in refugee camps stretched from Northern Germany to Sicily, the DPs had become long-term asylum seekers.

Based on the records of the International Refugee Organization, this book describes how the European DP crisis impinged on the shape of the postwar order. The DP question directly affected the outbreak of the Cold War; the transformation of the "West" into a new geopolitical entity; the conduct of political purges and retribution; the ideology and methods of modern humanitarian interventions; the appearance of international agencies and non-governmental organizations; the emergence of an international human rights system; the organization of migration movements and the redistribution of "surplus populations"; the advent of Jewish nationhood; and postwar categorizations of political and humanitarian refugees.

"Chelsea Mansions"

New from St. Martin's Press: Chelsea Mansions: A Brock and Kolla Mystery by Barry Maitlan.

About the book, from the publisher:

The annual Chelsea Flower Show is one of the tourist highlights of London. But this year, the event is tainted by the murder of an American tourist in a random act of violence. But when DCI David Brock's Serious Crime division of Scotland Yard investigates, they quickly discover that the killer somehow avoided having both his face and his escape captured on any of the many closed circuit cameras in the area. The conclusion is inescapable - what seemed a senseless, but random, event was in fact a carefully planned murder.

But how could the victim- a retired widow traveling with a long time family friend - be worth the trouble and expense of such an elaborate killing? When a very wealthy Russian oligarch is killed in the garden of his palatial estate not far from the hotel where the murdered tourist was staying, Brock and Kolla suspect that something more complicated is going on and that the two killings are somehow related. In a case that takes Brock and his team all the way to the States and back, secrets from a long forgotten past are the key to a string of bloody murders that are just beginning...
Visit Barry Maitland's website.

Monday, October 24, 2011

"Zero Day"

New from Grand Central Publishing: Zero Day by David Baldacci.

About the book, from the publisher:

From David Baldacci-the modern master of the thriller and #1 worldwide bestselling novelist-comes a new hero: a lone Army Special Agent taking on the toughest crimes facing the nation.

And Zero Day is where it all begins....

John Puller is a combat veteran and the best military investigator in the U.S. Army's Criminal Investigative Division. His father was an Army fighting legend, and his brother is serving a life sentence for treason in a federal military prison. Puller has an indomitable spirit and an unstoppable drive to find the truth.

Now, Puller is called out on a case in a remote, rural area in West Virginia coal country far from any military outpost. Someone has stumbled onto a brutal crime scene, a family slaughtered. The local homicide detective, a headstrong woman with personal demons of her own, joins forces with Puller in the investigation. As Puller digs through deception after deception, he realizes that absolutely nothing he's seen in this small town, and no one in it, are what they seem. Facing a potential conspiracy that reaches far beyond the hills of West Virginia, he is one man on the hunt for justice against an overwhelming force.

"The Barbary Dogs"

New from Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books: The Barbary Dogs by Cynthia Robinson.

About the book, from the publisher:

Opera singer extraordinaire Max Bravo is back in this sequel to THE DOG PARK CLUB that explores both mysterious disappearances and misleading appearances.

Max Bravo is ready for some rest and relaxation. But when an old friend takes a leap off the Golden Gate Bridge, Max realizes that rest and relaxation simply aren't in the cards. The jumper, Frank Kelly, was a failed writer and an accomplished hothead. Max acquires Frank's journal, and is soon following the dead man through a foggy landscape of artistic manias and romantic intrigues. Along the way, he encounters a motley crew of crackpots, bohemians, and wily ghosts that refuse to be buried in San Francisco’s Barbary Coast past. Fans of quirky, literary mysteries will love this second dose of Max Bravo and his outrageous adventures.
Learn more about the book and author at Cynthia Robinson's website.

Writers Read: Cynthia Robinson.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

"A Corpse's Nightmare"

New from Minotaur Books: A Corpse's Nightmare by Phillip Depoy.

About the book, from the publisher:

Fever Devilin is killed by an intruder. He doesn’t stay dead - thanks to an emergency medical team - but he does slip into a months-long coma. When he comes out of it, there are two things he now knows: that he’s been dreaming about the legendary Paris 20's café scene and that his would-be killer was after a blue tin box, containing a photo of what Fever believes to be an angel. As Fever struggles to recover, out there is a would-be killer who must be found while there's still time.
Learn more about the book and author at Phillip DePoy's website.

The Page 69 Test: Phillip DePoy's The Drifter's Wheel.

"Rights Gone Wrong"

New from Farrar, Straus and Giroux: Rights Gone Wrong: How Law Corrupts the Struggle for Equality by Richard Thompson Ford.

About the book, from the publisher:

Since the 1960s, ideas developed during the civil rights movement have been astonishingly successful in fighting overt discrimina­tion and prejudice. But how successful are they at combating the whole spectrum of social injustice—including conditions that aren’t directly caused by bigotry? How do they stand up to segregation, for instance—a legacy of racism, but not the direct result of ongoing discrimina­tion? It’s tempting to believe that civil rights litigation can combat these social ills as efficiently as it has fought blatant discrimination.

In Rights Gone Wrong, Richard Thompson Ford, author of the New York Times Notable Book The Race Card, argues that this is seldom the case. Civil rights do too much and not enough: opportunists use them to get a competitive edge in schools and job markets, while special-interest groups use them to demand special privileges. Extremists on both the left and the right have hijacked civil rights for personal advantage. Worst of all, their theatrics have drawn attention away from more seri­ous social injustices.

Ford, a professor of law at Stanford University, shows us the many ways in which civil rights can go terribly wrong. He examines newsworthy lawsuits with shrewdness and humor, proving that the distinction between civil rights and personal entitlements is often anything but clear. Finally, he reveals how many of today’s social injustices actually can’t be remedied by civil rights law, and demands more creative and nuanced solutions. In order to live up to the legacy of the civil rights movement, we must renew our commitment to civil rights, and move beyond them.
The Page 69 Test: Richard Thompson Ford's Racial Culture.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

"The Paris Correspondent"

New from The Overlook Press: The Paris Correspondent by Alan S. Cowell

About the book, from the publisher:

High-profile journalist Alan S. Cowell's latest novel is a fast-paced trip into the dark heart of a newspaper office abroad. Addictive and illuminating, it deftly portrays the rivalries and complicated passions at the story's heart. Ed Clancy and Joe Shelby are journalists with The Paris Star, an English-language paper based in Paris. Relics from a time when print news was in its heyday, when being a reporter meant watching a city crumble around you as you called in one last dispatch, the Internet age has taken them by surprise. The two friends are faced with the death of what they hold most dear--their careers, and, for Shelby, a woman he cannot bring himself to mention.

The Paris Correspondent is a tribute to journalism, love, and liquor in a turbulent era. Written in riveting prose that captures the changing world of a foreign correspondent's life, Alan S. Cowell's breakout novel is not to be missed. Writing from experience and in homage to Reynolds Packard's Dateline Paris, his razor-sharp and darkly funny style will win readers the world over.

"Taking Liberties"

New from Oxford University Press: Taking Liberties: The War on Terror and the Erosion of American Democracy by Susan N. Herman.

About the book, from the publisher:

In this eye-opening work, the president of the ACLU takes a hard look at the human and social costs of the War on Terror. A decade after 9/11, it is far from clear that the government's hastily adopted antiterrorist tactics--such as the Patriot Act--are keeping us safe, but it is increasingly clear that these emergency measures in fact have the potential to ravage our lives--and have already done just that to countless Americans.

From the Oregon lawyer falsely suspected of involvement with terrorism in Spain to the former University of Idaho football player arrested on the pretext that he was needed as a "material witness" (though he was never called to testify), this book is filled with unsettling stories of ordinary people caught in the government's dragnet. These are not just isolated mistakes in an otherwise sound program, but demonstrations of what can happen when our constitutional protections against government abuse are abandoned. Whether it's running a chat room, contributing to a charity, or even urging a terrorist group to forego its violent tactics, activities that should be protected by the First Amendment can now lead to prosecution. Blacklists and watchlists keep people grounded at airports and strand American citizens abroad, although these lists are rife with errors--errors that cannot be challenged. National Security Letters allow the FBI to demand records about innocent people from libraries, financial institutions, and internet service providers without ever going to court. Government databanks now brim with information about every aspect of our private lives, while efforts to mount legal challenges to these measures have been stymied.

Barack Obama, like George W. Bush, relies on secrecy and exaggerated claims of presidential prerogative to keep the courts and Congress from fully examining whether these laws and policies are constitutional, effective, or even counterproductive. Democracy itself is undermined. This book is a wake-up call for all Americans, who remain largely unaware of the post-9/11 surveillance regime's insidious and continuing growth.

Friday, October 21, 2011

"When the Devil Drives"

New from Severn House: When the Devil Drives by Caro Peacock.

About the book, from the publisher:

Autumn, 1839. As the London nights darken, rumours spread about the devil’s chariot, which preys on young women walking alone at night. Novice private investigator Liberty Lane has no time for such horror stories, so when a poetic young man begs her to find his missing fiancée, she accepts, suspecting there is a more prosaic explanation. Meanwhile, she is engaged to help prevent a royal scandal involving Prince Albert’s worldlier brother, Prince Ernest. Liberty begins work on both cases, but when young women begin showing up dead, the tales of the devil’s chariot don’t seem so ridiculous any more...
Visit Caro Peacock's website.


New from Night Shade Books: Seed by Rob Ziegler.

About the book, from the publisher:

It's the dawn of the 22nd century, and the world has fallen apart. Decades of war and resource depletion have toppled governments. The ecosystem has collapsed. A new dust bowl sweeps the American West. The United States has become a nation of migrants--starving masses of nomads roaming across wastelands and encamped outside government seed distribution warehouses.

In this new world, there is a new power: Satori. More than just a corporation, Satori is an intelligent, living city risen from the ruins of the heartland. She manufactures climate-resistant seed to feed humanity, and bio-engineers her own perfected castes of post-humans Designers, Advocates and Laborers. What remains of the United States government now exists solely to distribute Satori product; a defeated American military doles out bar-coded, single-use seed to the nation's hungry citizens.

Secret Service Agent Sienna Doss has watched her world collapse. Once an Army Ranger fighting wars across the globe, she now spends her days protecting glorified warlords and gangsters. As her country slides further into chaos, Doss feels her own life slipping into ruin.

When a Satori Designer goes rogue, Doss is tasked with hunting down the scientist-savant--a chance to break Satori's stranglehold on seed production and undo its dominance. In a race against Satori's genetically honed assassins, Doss's best chance at success lies in an unlikely alliance with Brood--orphan, scavenger and small-time thief--scraping by on the fringes of the wasteland, whose young brother may possess the key to unlocking Satori's power.

As events spin out of control, Sienna Doss and Brood find themselves at the heart of Satori, where an explosive finale promises to reshape the future of the world.
Visit Rob Ziegler's website.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


New from Ace: Firebird by Jack McDevitt.

About the book, from the publisher:

Forty-one years ago the renowned physicist Chris Robin vanished. Before his disappearance, his fringe science theories about the existence of endless alternate universes had earned him both admirers and enemies.

Alex Benedict and Chase Kolpath discover that Robin had several interstellar yachts flown far outside the planetary system where they too vanished. And following Robin's trail into the unknown puts Benedict and Kolpath in danger...
Writers Read: Jack McDevitt (February 2009).

"The Strange Death of Father Candy"

New from Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books: The Strange Death of Father Candy by Les Roberts.

About the book, from the publisher:

Vietnam veteran Dominick Candiotti has been long estranged from his family. His late parents were close to the ruling mob clan in Youngstown, his sister was a bad-tempered and dissatisfied nag, and his middle brother was a corruptible police lieutenant. But in 1985, their oldest brother Richard Candiotti---beloved by every Italian Catholic in Youngstown as “Father Candy”---dies, and Dominick returns home for the funeral.

Dominick is greatly disturbed by Richard’s death, which has been ruled a suicide. Dissatisfied with this answer, he sets out to find the truth, revealing secrets and coming face-to-face with brutality and violence.

Award-winning author Les Roberts pens a riveting and moving tale about walking the fragile tightrope between love and hatred.
Visit the official Les Roberts website.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

"American Emperor"

New from Simon & Schuster: American Emperor: Aaron Burr's Challenge to Jefferson's America by David O. Stewart.

About the book, from the publisher:

In this vivid and brilliant biography, David Stewart describes Aaron Burr, the third vice president, as a daring and perhaps deluded figure who shook the nation's foundations in its earliest, most vulnerable decades.

In 1805, the United States was not twenty years old, an unformed infant. The government consisted of a few hundred people. The immense frontier swallowed up a tiny army of 3,300 soldiers. Following the Louisiana Purchase, no one even knew where the nation's western border lay. Secessionist sentiment flared in New England and beyond the Appalachians.

Burr had challenged Jefferson, his own running mate, in the presidential election of 1800. Indicted for murder in the dueling death of Alexander Hamilton in 1804, he dreamt huge dreams. He imagined an insurrection in New Orleans, a private invasion of Spanish Mexico and Florida, and a great empire rising on the Gulf of Mexico, which would swell when America's western lands seceded from the Union. For two years, Burr pursued this audacious dream, enlisting support from the General-in-Chief of the Army, a paid agent of the Spanish king, and from other western leaders, including Andrew Jackson. When the army chief double-crossed Burr, Jefferson finally roused himself and ordered Burr prosecuted for treason.

The trial featured the nation's finest lawyers before the greatest judge in our history, Chief Justice John Marshall, Jefferson's distant cousin and determined adversary. It became a contest over the nation's identity: Should individual rights be sacrificed to punish a political apostate who challenged the nation's very existence? In a revealing reversal of political philosophies, Jefferson championed government power over individual rights, while Marshall shielded the nation's most notorious defendant. By concealing evidence, appealing to the rule of law, and exploiting the weaknesses of the government's case, Burr won his freedom.

Afterwards Burr left for Europe to pursue an equally outrageous scheme to liberate Spain's American colonies, but finding no European sponsor, he returned to America and lived to an unrepentant old age.

Stewart's vivid account of Burr's tumultuous life offers a rare and eye-opening description of the brand-new nation struggling to define itself.
The Page 99 Test: David O. Stewart's Impeached.

"The Territory"

New from Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books: The Territory by Tricia Fields.

About the book, from the publisher:

At the end of State Road 170 and just past a ghost town lies Artemis, population 2,500. The townspeople had sought out this remote corner of Western Texas in hopes of living lives of solitude and independence. None of them realized that their small town would become a hot spot for Mexican drug runners, whose turf battles have turned both sides of the Rio Grande into a war zone. Still, many of the locals would rather take the law into their own hands than get help from police chief Josie Gray, even when they're up against a cartel's private army.

After arresting one of the cartel's hit men and killing another, Josie finds her life at risk for doing a job that many people would rather see her quit. And when the town's self-appointed protector of the Second Amendment is murdered and his cache of weapons disappears, it's clear that she doesn't have to pick sides in this war. She's battling them both.

Set in a desert landscape as beautiful as it is dangerous, The Territory captures the current border issues from the eyes of a tough, compelling heroine and richly evokes the American Southwest.
Visit the official Tricia Fields website.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

"Twelve Drummers Drumming"

New from Delacorte Press: Twelve Drummers Drumming: A Mystery by C. C. Benison.

About the book, from the publisher:

Introducing Father Tom Christmas, the wise, warmhearted new vicar of a picturesque English village that seems to be a haven of peace. But appearances can be very deceiving....

Thornford Regis has never been lovelier: larks on the wing, lilacs in bloom, and the May Fayre in full swing. But inside the empty village hall, the huge Japanese o-daiko drum that’s featured in the festivities has been viciously sliced open—and curled up inside is the bludgeoned body of Sybella Parry, the beautiful nineteen-year-old daughter of the choir director.

That she was too young to die, everyone agrees. But did Sybella’s apparent affinity for Goth and the black arts, and her rumored drug use, attract a shady element that led to her distressing demise?

Father Tom Christmas, still haunted by the tragedy that has left him a widower and his nine-year-old daughter motherless, soon realizes that this idyllic village is not the refuge he’d hoped for. He also comes to a disturbing conclusion: Sybella’s killer must be one of his parishioners. No one is above suspicion—not Sebastian John, Father Tom’s deeply reserved verger, nor Mitsuko Drewe, a local artist, nor irritable Colonel Northmore, survivor of a World War II prison camp. One by one, infidelity, theft, and intrigue are exposed. And over all, like an approaching storm, hangs the long-unsolved mystery of a sudden disappearance, one that brought Father Tom to a picture-perfect place to live—or die.

Smart, funny, edgy, and packing a terrific emotional charge, Twelve Drummers Drumming is a brilliant launch for C. C. Benison’s series starring Father Tom Christmas, an appealing new detective on the mystery scene.
Visit C. C. Benison's website.

"The Devil's Ribbon"

New from Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books: The Devil's Ribbon: A Hatton and Roumande Mystery (Volume 2) by Denise Meredith.

About the book, from the publisher:

A trail of beribboned murders. A ticking bomb. A city about to explode.

July, 1858: London swelters under the oppressive heat of the hottest summer on record, and trouble is brewing. Forensic scientist Professor Adolphus Hatton and his trusty assistant, Albert Roumande, have a morgue full of cholera victims. The dead are all Irish, the poorest of London’s poor. They came in their thousands ten years ago, forced into the London slums by the terrible famine. Now they live segregated from the rest of Victorian society, a race apart in this heaving city who are at once everywhere and nowhere. But they are a close knit people, and deeply politicised. From the docks in Limehouse to the taverns of St Giles, Fenian groups are talking of violence and of liberation.

When a series of violent murders threatens to cause tensions to boil over, Scotland Yard calls on Hatton and Roumande to help investigate. The seemingly unconnected victims, who hail from all strata of society, are linked by the same macabre calling card: a bright Fenian green ribbon placed strategically about their corpses. While Hatton’s search for clues leads him into the spell of a blindingly beautiful woman, a widow of one of the slain, rumblings of a bombing campaign led by an agitator priest and his gang of would-be terrorists build throughout the slums. As the orchestra of veiled motives, divided loyalties, and violent retribution reaches a crescendo, Hatton’s skills are tested to the limit. With Roumande, he must race across London to an island with a shipwreck and a secret on a nail-biting race against time in this gripping, elegantly executed Victorian mystery in the tradition of The Dante Club and The Somnambulist.
Visit Denise Meredith's website.

Monday, October 17, 2011

"Tides of War"

New from Henry Holt and Co.: Tides of War by Stella Tillyard.

About the book, from the publisher:

An epic novel about love and war, set in Regency England and Spain during the Peninsular War (1812-15), by the acclaimed historian and bestselling author of Aristocrats

Tides of War opens in England with the recently married, charmingly unconventional Harriet preparing to say goodbye to her husband, James, as he leaves to join the Duke of Wellington's troops in Spain.

Harriet and James's interwoven stories of love and betrayal propel this sweeping and dramatic novel as it moves between Regency London on the cusp of modernity—a city in love with science, the machine, money—and the shocking violence of war in Spain. With dazzling skill Stella Tillyard explores not only the effects of war on the men at the front but also the freedoms it offers the women left behind. As Harriet befriends the older and protective Kitty, Lady Wellington, her life begins to change in unexpected ways. Meanwhile, James is seduced by the violence of battle, and then by love in Seville.

As the novel moves between war and peace, Spain and London, its large cast of characters includes the serial adulterer and war hero the Duke of Wellington, and the émigrés Nathan Rothschild and Frederic Winsor who will usher in the future, creating a world brightly lit by gaslight where credit and financial speculation rule. Whether describing the daily lives and desires of strong female characters or the horror of battle, Tides of War is set to be the fiction debut of the year.
Visit Stella Tillyard's website.


New from Harper: Snuff by Terry Pratchett.

About the book, from the publisher:

For nearly three decades, Terry Pratchett has enthralled millions of fans worldwide with his irreverent, wonderfully funny satires set in the fabulously imaginative Discworld, a universe remarkably similar to our own. From sports to religion, politics to education, science to capitalism, and everything in between, Pratchett has skewered sacred cows with both laughter and wisdom, and exposed our warts, foibles, and eccentricities in a unique, entertaining, and ultimately serious way.

At long last, Lady Sybil has lured her husband, Sam Vimes, on a well-deserved holiday away from the crime and grime of Ankh-Morpork. But for the commander of the City Watch, a vacation in the country is anything but relaxing. The balls, the teas, the muck—not to mention all that fresh air and birdsong—are more than a bit taxing on a cynical city-born and -bred copper.

Yet a policeman will find a crime anywhere if he decides to look hard enough, and it’s not long before a body is discovered, and Sam—out of his jurisdiction, out of his element, and out of bacon sandwiches (thanks to his well-meaning wife)—must rely on his instincts, guile, and street smarts to see justice done. As he sets off on the chase, though, he must remember to watch where he steps.... This is the countryside, after all, and the streets most definitely are not paved with gold.

Hailed as the “purely funniest English writer since Wodehouse” (Washington Post Book World), with a “satirist’s instinct for the absurd and a cartoonist’s eye for the telling detail” (Daily Telegraph, London), Terry Pratchett offers a novel of crime, class, prejudice, and punishment that shows this master at his dazzling best.
Read about Terry Pratchett's hero from outside literature.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


New from St. Martin's Press: Bonnie by Iris Johansen.

About the book, from the publisher:

The truth has eluded her for years.... Now is she ready to face it?

When Eve Duncan gave birth to her daughter, she experienced a love she never knew existed. Nothing would stand in the way of giving Bonnie a wonderful life---until the unthinkable happened and the seven-year-old vanished into thin air. Eve found herself in the throes of a nightmare from which there was no escape. But a new Eve emerged: a woman who would use her remarkable talent as a forensic sculptor to help others find closure in the face of tragedy. Now with the help of her beloved Joe Quinn and CIA agent Catherine Ling, Eve has come closer than ever to the truth. But the deeper she digs, the more she realizes that Bonnie’s father is a key player in solving this monstrous puzzle. And that Bonnie’s disappearance was not as random as everyone had always believed...
Visit Iris Johansen's website.

"The City that Became Safe"

New from Oxford University Press: The City that Became Safe: New York's Lessons for Urban Crime and Its Control by Franklin E. Zimring.

About the book, from the publisher:

The 40% drop in crime that occurred across the U.S. from 1991 to 2000 largely remains an unsolved mystery. Even more puzzling then is the crime rate drop in New York City, which lasted twice long and was twice as large. This 80% drop in crime over nineteen years represents the largest crime decline on record.

In The City that Became Safe, Franklin Zimring sets off in search of the New York difference through a detailed and comprehensive statistical investigation into the city's falling crime rates and possible explanations. If you listen to City Hall, aggressive police created a zero tolerance law enforcement regime that drove crime rates down. Is this self-serving political sound bite true? Are the official statistics generated by the police accurate? Zimring shows the numbers are correct and argues that some combination of more cops, new tactics, and new management can take some credit for the decline, but zero tolerance policing and quality of life were never a consistent part of the NYPD's strategy. That the police can make a difference in preventing crime overturns decades of conventional wisdom for criminologists, but Zimring points out the New York experience challenges the major assumptions dominating American crime and drug control policies that most everyone else has missed. First, imprisonment in actually New York decreased significantly from 1990 to 2009 and was well below the national average, proving that it is possible to have substantially less crime without increases in incarceration. Second, the NYPD sharply reduced drug violence (over 90%) without any reduction in hard drug use. In other words, they won the war on drug violence without winning the war on drugs. Finally, the stability of New York's population, economy, education, demographics, or immigration patterns calls into question the long-accepted cultural and structural causes of violence in America's cities. That high rates of crime are not hard wired into modern city life is welcome news for policy makers, criminal justice officials, and urban dwellers everywhere.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

"The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt"

New from Ecco: The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt: A Novel in Pictures by Caroline Preston.

About the book, from the publisher:

For her graduation from high school in 1920, Frankie Pratt receives a scrapbook and her father’s old Corona typewriter. Despite Frankie’s dreams of becoming a writer, she must forgo a college scholarship to help her widowed mother. But when a mysterious Captain James sweeps her off her feet, her mother finds a way to protect Frankie from the less-than-noble intentions of her unsuitable beau.

Through a kaleidoscopic array of vintage postcards, letters, magazine ads, ticket stubs, catalog pages, fabric swatches, candy wrappers, fashion spreads, menus, and more, we meet and follow Frankie on her journey in search of success and love. Once at Vassar, Frankie crosses paths with intellectuals and writers, among them “Vincent” (alumna Edna St. Vincent Millay), who encourages Frankie to move to Greenwich Village and pursue her writing. When heartbreak finds her in New York, she sets off for Paris aboard the S.S. Mauritania, where she keeps company with two exiled Russian princes and a “spinster adventuress” who is paying her way across the Atlantic with her unused trousseau. In Paris, Frankie takes a garret apartment above Shakespeare & Company, the hub of expat life, only to have a certain ne’er-do-well captain from her past reappear. But when a family crisis compels Frankie to return to her small New England hometown, she finds exactly what she had been looking for all along.

Author of the New York Times Notable Book Jackie by Josie, Caroline Preston pulls from her extraordinary collection of vintage ephemera to create the first-ever scrapbook novel, transporting us back to the vibrant, burgeoning bohemian culture of the 1920s and introducing us to an unforgettable heroine, the spirited, ambitious, and lovely Frankie Pratt.
Visit Caroline Preston's website.

"Double Dexter"

New from Doubleday: Double Dexter (Dexter Series #6) by Jeff Lindsay.

About the book, from the publisher:

Dexter Morgan is not your average serial killer. He enjoys his day job as a blood spatter analyst for the Miami Police Department ... but he lives for his nighttime hobby of hunting other killers. Dexter is therefore not pleased to discover that someone is shadowing him, observ­ing him, and copying his methods. Dexter is not one to tol­erate displeasure ... in fact, he has a knack for extricating himself from trouble in his own pleasurable way.

Like the previous five best-selling novels in the Dexter series, Double Dexter showcases the witty, macabre origi­nality that has propelled Jeff Lindsay to international suc­cess. Double Dexter is raucously entertaining ... full of smart suspense and dark laughs.

Friday, October 14, 2011

"The Lost Songs"

New from Delacorte Books for Young Readers: The Lost Songs by Caroline B. Cooney.

About the book, from the publisher:

The day Lutie Painter takes the city bus north instead of the school bus west, cutting class for the first time ever, her aunt and uncle have no idea what she is up to. They cannot prevent her from riding into danger.

That same morning, Lutie's pastor, Miss Veola, whispers as always, "This is the day that the Lord hath made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it."

A block from Miss Veola and up a hill in Chalk, Train Greene, thin and hungry, burns with anger. He has a decision to make, and he's running out of time.

A few miles away, among finer houses, Kelvin Hartley yawns and gets ready for another day at school, where he is a friend to all and makes an effort at nothing.

And Doria Bell, who recently moved to the South from Connecticut, walks to the bus stop, hoping the high school kids who live nearby will say hello.

All of these lives intertwine and—in surprising ways—become connected to Lutie's ancestors, who are buried in the cemetery in Chalk. Who would have dreamed that the long-dead Mabel Painter, who passed down the Laundry List songs to her great-great-granddaughter Lutie, had passed along a piece of American history that speaks to so many who feel lost and need hope. Big changes are in store for all, and things will never be the same.

In this luminous novel, Caroline B. Cooney delves deeply into a Southern community. Cooney reveals the comfort, inspiration, and hope its members draw from the power of faith, the glory of music, and the meaning of family.
Writers Read: Caroline B. Cooney (January 2010).

"Life: An Exploded Diagram"

New from Candlewick: Life: An Exploded Diagram by Mal Peet.

About the book, from the publisher:

Can love survive a lifetime? When working-class Clem Ackroyd falls for Frankie Mortimer, the gorgeous daughter of a wealthy local landowner, he has no hope that it can. After all, the world teeters on the brink of war, and bombs could rain down any minute over the bleak English countryside—just as they did seventeen years ago as his mother, pregnant with him, tended her garden. This time, Clem may not survive. Told in cinematic style by acclaimed writer Mal Peet, this brilliant coming-of-age novel is a gripping family portrait that interweaves the stories of three generations and the terrifying crises that define them. With its urgent sense of history, sweeping emotion, and winning young narrator, Mal Peet’s latest is an unforgettable, timely exploration of life during wartime.
Learn more about a top ten list of books that Mal Peet's children liked to have read to them and that he liked reading.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


New from Doubleday: Damned by Chuck Palahniuk.

About the book, from the publisher:

“Are you there, Satan? It’s me, Madison,” declares the whip-tongued thirteen-year-old narrator of Damned, Chuck Palahniuk’s subversive new work of fiction. The daughter of a narcissistic film star and a billionaire, Madison is abandoned at her Swiss boarding school over Christmas, while her parents are off touting their new projects and adopting more orphans. She dies over the holiday of a mari­juana overdose—and the next thing she knows, she’s in Hell. Madison shares her cell with a motley crew of young sinners that is almost too good to be true: a cheerleader, a jock, a nerd, and a punk rocker, united by fate to form the six-feet-under version of everyone’s favorite detention movie. Madison and her pals trek across the Dandruff Desert and climb the treacherous Mountain of Toenail Clippings to confront Satan in his citadel. All the popcorn balls and wax lips that serve as the currency of Hell won’t buy them off.

This is the afterlife as only Chuck Palahniuk could imagine it: a twisted inferno where The English Patient plays on end­less repeat, roaming demons devour sinners limb by limb, and the damned interrupt your dinner from their sweltering call center to hard-sell you Hell. He makes eternal torment, well, simply divine.
See Chuck Palahniuk's best books.

"Sybil Exposed"

New from Free Press: Sybil Exposed: The Extraordinary Story Behind the Famous Multiple Personality Case by Debbie Nathan.

About the book, from the publisher:

Sybil: a name that conjures up enduring fascination for legions of obsessed fans who followed the nonfiction blockbuster from 1973 and the TV movie based on it—starring Sally Field and Joanne Woodward—about a woman named Sybil with sixteen different personalities. Sybil became both a pop phenomenon and a revolutionary force in the psychotherapy industry. The book rocketed multiple personality disorder (MPD) into public consciousness and played a major role in having the diagnosis added to the psychiatric bible, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

But what do we really know about how Sybil came to be? In her news-breaking book Sybil Exposed, journalist Debbie Nathan gives proof that the allegedly true story was largely fabricated. The actual identity of Sybil (Shirley Mason) has been available for some years, as has the idea that the book might have been exaggerated. But in Sybil Exposed, Nathan reveals what really powered the legend: a trio of women—the willing patient, her ambitious shrink, and the imaginative journalist who spun their story into bestseller gold.

From horrendously irresponsible therapeutic practices—Sybil's psychiatrist often brought an electroshock machine to Sybil's apartment and climbed into bed with her while administering the treatment— to calculated business decisions (under an entity they named Sybil, Inc., the women signed a contract designating a three-way split of profits from the book and its spin-offs, including board games, tee shirts, and dolls), the story Nathan unfurls is full of over-the-top behavior. Sybil's psychiatrist, driven by undisciplined idealism and galloping professional ambition, subjected the young woman to years of antipsychotics, psychedelics, uppers, and downers, including an untold number of injections with Pentothal, once known as "truth serum" but now widely recognized to provoke fantasies. It was during these "treatments" that Sybil produced rambling, garbled, and probably "false-memory"–based narratives of the hideous child abuse that her psychiatrist said caused her MPD. Sybil Exposed uses investigative journalism to tell a fascinating tale that reads like fiction but is fact. Nathan has followed an enormous trail of papers, records, photos, and tapes to unearth the lives and passions of these three women. The Sybil archive became available to the public only recently, and Nathan is the first person to have examined all of it and to provide proof that the story was an elaborate fraud—albeit one that the perpetrators may have half-believed.

Before Sybil was published, there had been fewer than 200 known cases of MPD; within just a few years after, more than 40,000 people would be diagnosed with it. Set across the twentieth century and rooted in a time when few professional roles were available to women, this is a story of corrosive sexism, unchecked ambition, and shaky theories of psychoanalysis exuberantly and drastically practiced. It is the story of how one modest young woman's life turned psychiatry on its head and radically changed the course of therapy, and our culture, as well.
Visit Debbie Nathan's website.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

"The Stranger's Child"

New from Knopf: The Stranger's Child by Alan Hollinghurst.

About the book, from the publisher:

From the Man Booker Prize–winning author of The Line of Beauty: a magnificent, century-spanning saga about a love triangle that spawns a myth, and a family mystery, across generations.

In the late summer of 1913, George Sawle brings his Cambridge schoolmate—a handsome, aristocratic young poet named Cecil Valance—to his family’s modest home outside London for the weekend. George is enthralled by Cecil, and soon his sixteen-year-old sister, Daphne, is equally besotted by him and the stories he tells about Corley Court, the country estate he is heir to. But what Cecil writes in Daphne’s autograph album will change their and their families’ lives forever: a poem that, after Cecil is killed in the Great War and his reputation burnished, will become a touchstone for a generation, a work recited by every schoolchild in England. Over time, a tragic love story is spun, even as other secrets lie buried—until, decades later, an ambitious biographer threatens to unearth them.

Rich with Hollinghurst’s signature gifts—haunting sensuality, delicious wit and exquisite lyricism—The Stranger’s Child is a tour de force: a masterly novel about the lingering power of desire, how the heart creates its own history, and how legends are made.

"Do Chocolate Lovers Have Sweeter Babies?"

New from Free Press: Do Chocolate Lovers Have Sweeter Babies?: The Surprising Science of Pregnancy by Jena Pincott.

About the book, from the publisher:

Brain Candy for expectant parents!

Pregnancy is an adventure.

Lots of books tell you the basics—"the baby is the size of [insert fruit here]." But pregnant science writer Jena Pincott began to wonder just how a baby might tinker with her body—and vice versa—and chased down answers to the questions she wouldn't ask her doctor, such as:

• Does stress sharpen your baby's mind—or dull it?

• Can you predict your baby's temperament?

• Why are babies born in the darker months of the year more likely to grow up to be novelty-loving risk takers?

• Are bossy, dominant women more likely to have boys?

• How can the cells left behind by your baby affect you years later?

This is a different kind of pregnancy book—thoughtful, fun, and filled with information you won't find anywhere else.
Visit Jena Pincott's website and blog.

The Page 99 Test: Jena Pincott's Do Gentlemen Really Prefer Blondes?.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

"Love at First Bark"

New from Riverhead: Love at First Bark: How Saving a Dog Can Sometimes Help You Save Yourself by Julie Klam.

About the book, from the publisher:

The bestselling memoirist shows how saving a dog can sometimes help you save yourself.

Julie Klam writes about dogs with a rollicking wit and a radiating warmth-as no other writer can. In her bestselling memoir You Had Me at Woof, she shared the secrets of happiness she learned as an occasionally frazzled but always devoted owner of Boston terriers. Now, with the same enchanting, pop culture-infused amalgam of humor and poignancy that reached the The New York Times and the Today show and won the hearts of readers across the country, she returns with more humorous insight into life with canine companions.

Klam focuses here on dog rescue, and its healing power not only for the dogs who are cared for and able to find good homes, but also for the people who bond with these animals. Klam became involved with rescue after years as an owner of purebred dogs. She was looking for a way to help and participate in a community, but she never imagined just how much she would receive in return. The dogs she has rescued through the years have filled her life with laughter and contentment, sorrow and frustration, and they have made certain that she never has a dull moment. Along the way, she has collected stories from friends who have also found that guiding dogs to nurturing homes made their own lives richer. These experiences, which show us that even in our smallest gestures we can make a big difference, inspired Love at First Bark.
Learn more about the book and author at Julie Klam's website and her blog.

Julie Klam's "Please Excuse My Daughter," the movie.

"Everyone but You"

New from Random House: Everyone but You: Stories by Sandra Novack.

About the book, from the publisher:

Sandra Novack has earned great acclaim with her short fiction, which has appeared in more than thirty literary venues, including The Gettysburg Review, Gulf Coast, and The Iowa Review. Now, in this new collection of stories, she further demonstrates her mastery of the form while exploring a universal theme: the desire for connection.

In “Cerulean Skies,” a wife must deal with her husband’s artistic calling while reexamining the loss of her own creative passion. A young woman is forced to confront the truth of her past, and its affect on her present love life, when she inherits her late dad’s possessions in “My Father’s Mahogany Leg.” In “Memphis” a man walks a delicate line between caring for his schizophrenic brother and keeping his new marriage afloat. “The Thin Border Between Here and Disaster” finds two married college professors faced with the fallout from their divorce, and a boy wrestles with his faith after the death of his mother in “Morty, El Morto.”

Fierce, sexual, and contentious, these moving tales place Sandra Novack’s prodigious talent on full display. Everyone but You illuminates the common truths behind some of the most profound moments in our lives.
Learn more about the author and her work at Sandra Novack's website.

The Page 69 Test: Sandra Novack’s Precious.

Monday, October 10, 2011

"Darkness All Around"

New from Touchstone: Darkness All Around by Doug Magee.

About the book, from the publisher:

When there's DARKNESS ALL AROUND ... some memories are best forgotten

Within the span of one harrowing week, Risa's alcoholic husband, Sean, disappears, and her best friend, Carol, is brutally murdered. Eleven years later, Risa has seemingly put her life back together again, comforted by the love of her new husband, who is a local politician, and the knowledge that Carol's killer has been convicted. But then just as suddenly as he disappeared, Sean resurfaces— sober, plagued by horrific recollections of Carol's murder, and convinced he was the real killer.

Sean's startling claim buzzes through the small, football-crazy Pennsylvania community, and Risa is left to wonder if the man she still loves actually committed the grisly murder. Her growing belief in his innocence sends her on a treacherous search for the truth: a search that reveals ugly secrets that her new husband and the town's law enforcement community are hiding.

Emboldened by her discoveries, Risa convinces Sean to flee as the town's violent forces move in to keep the truth from coming to light. But Risa doesn't realize that her attempts to get vindication for Sean may come at a very high price.

Part murder mystery, part love story, Darkness All Around is a gripping exploration of the depths of the criminal mind, the fine line between the truth and a lie, and the bravery of the human heart.
Learn more about the book and author at Doug Magee's website.

Writers Read: Doug Magee.

The Page 69 Test: Never Wave Goodbye.

My Book, The Movie: Never Wave Goodbye.

"Puppet: An Essay on Uncanny Life"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Puppet: An Essay on Uncanny Life by Kenneth Gross.

About the book, from the publisher:

The puppet creates delight and fear. It may evoke the innocent play of childhood, or become a tool of ritual magic, able to negotiate with ghosts and gods. Puppets can be creepy things, secretive, inanimate while also full of spirit, alive with gesture and voice. In this eloquent book, Kenneth Gross contemplates the fascination of these unsettling objects—objects that are also actors and images of life.

The poetry of the puppet is central here, whether in its blunt grotesquery or symbolic simplicity, and always in its talent for metamorphosis.On a meditative journey to seek the idiosyncratic shapes of puppets on stage, Gross looks at the anarchic Punch and Judy show, the sacred shadow theater of Bali, and experimental theaters in Europe and the United States, where puppets enact everything from Baroque opera and Shakespearean tragedy to Beckettian farce. Throughout, he interweaves accounts of the myriad faces of the puppet in literature—Collodi’s cruel, wooden Pinocchio, puppetlike characters in Kafka and Dickens, Rilke’s puppet-angels, the dark puppeteering of Philip Roth’s Micky Sabbath—as well as in the work of artists Joseph Cornell and Paul Klee. The puppet emerges here as a hungry creature, seducer and destroyer, demon and clown. It is a test of our experience of things, of the human and inhuman. A book about reseeing what we know, or what we think we know, Puppet evokes the startling power of puppets as mirrors of the uncanny in life and art.
The Page 69 Test: Kenneth Gross's Shylock Is Shakespeare.

My Book, The Movie: Shylock Is Shakespeare.

Writers Read: Kenneth Gross.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

"Part Wild"

New from Scribner: Part Wild: One Woman's Journey with a Creature Caught Between the Worlds of Wolves and Dogs by Ceiridwen Terrill.

About the book, from the publisher:

Part Wild is the story of a woman and her wolf, or more specifically, a canine estimated to be 12.5% Siberian husky and 87.5% gray wolf: a high purity and bona fide wolfdog named Inyo. In and out of abusive relationships with damaged men, Ceiridwen Terrill is drawn to Inyo as a source of protection, a beacon of strength, and as a fellow traveler—a partner. But this is not a sentimental account of spiritual healing; Part Wild is a memoir of the beauty and tragedy that comes from living with a measure of wildness.

Over the course of three years, Ceiridwen and Inyo's adventures veer between hilarious and heartbreaking. When Ryan (a rock-climbing line cook with a love of literature) enters the picture, the three of them find peace by escaping suburban Reno for weekends and hiking in the snowy foothills. But back home, Inyo's wild nature and Ryan's insouciance clash with the fences and financial requirements of civilization. Ceiridwen and Ryan's relationship (along with carpets, leashes, and dashboards) frays under the stress of caring for Inyo, insatiable without the stimulation of a life lived outdoors. Forced to move again and again to accommodate the complaints of fearful neighbors and the desires of the space-craving wolfdog, Ceiridwen is finally confronted with the reality of what she has done by trying to tame a part-wild animal. "For some wolfdogs," she ultimately understands, "not even the world is big enough."

Driven to understand the differences between dogs and wolves, Ceiridwen spent five years tracking down and interviewing scientists, wolf biologists, and dog trainers in the United States, Germany, Hungary, Sweden, and Russia, and visited wolf shelters across the United States. The fascinating results of her investigation are interspersed throughout the narrative, elucidating the behaviors she encountered while living with Inyo.

This is a rare story about the alluring call of the wild, the danger and responsibility of heeding that call, and extraordinary animal love. Ceiridwen Terrill is a gifted writer able to capture the beauty and power of the natural world, the complexity of scientific ideas, and the pulse of the human experience.

"The Shattered Vine"

New from Gallery: The Shattered Vine: Book Three of The Vineart War by Laura Anne Gilman.

About the book, from the publisher:

An island nation has vanished. Men of honor and magic have died unnatural deaths. Slaves flee in terror.... Are the silent gods beginning to speak? Or is another force at work in the Lands Vin?

Laura Anne Gilman's critically acclaimed, Nebula Award–nominated Flesh and Fire introduced a brilliantly imagined world where the grapevine—cultivated by the Vinearts who know the secrets of wine magic—holds together disparate lands. Now, confusion, violence, and terror are sweeping over the Lands Vin. And four people are at the center of a storm.

Jerzy, Vineart apprentice and former slave, was sent by his master to investigate strange happenings—and found himself the target of betrayal. Now he must set out on his own journey, to find the source of the foul taint that threatens to destroy everything he holds dear. By Jerzy's side are Ao, who lives for commerce and the art of the deal; Mahault, stoic and wise, risking death in flight from her homeland; and KaÏnam, once Named-Heir of an island principality, whose father has fallen into a magic-tangled madness that endangers them all.

These four companions will travel far from the earth and the soul of the vine, sailing along coastlines aflame with fear, confronting sea creatures summoned by darkness, and following winds imbued with malice. Their journey will take them to the very limits of the Sin Washer's reach ... and into a battle for the soul of the Lands Vin. For two millennia the Sin Washer's Commandment has kept these lands in order: Those of magic shall hold no power over men and those princes of power shall hold no magic. Now, that law has given way. And a hidden force seeks the havoc of revenge.
Learn more about the book and author at Laura Anne Gilman's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Flesh and Fire.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

"The Other Felix"

New from Roaring Brook Press: The Other Felix by Keir Graff.

About the book, from the publisher:

Felix has nightmares. Every night when he falls asleep he goes to the land of monsters, and when he wakes up he's back in his bed with mud on his feet and torn pajamas. One night Felix meets a boy who knows how to fight the monsters, a boy who looks just like him and is also named Felix. The Other Felix is a fantastical, psychological story of growing up for kids who have graduated from Where the Wild Things Are but are still fascinated by the world of dreams.
Visit Keir Graff's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: One Nation, Under God.

The Page 69 Test: The Price of Liberty.

Writers Read: Keir Graff.

My Book, The Movie: The Price of Liberty.