Sunday, September 30, 2012

"Dead Peasants"

New from Thomas Dunne Books: Dead Peasants by Larry D. Thompson.

About the book, from the publisher:

Veteran trial lawyer Larry D. Thompson has decades of courtroom experience in his home state of Texas on controversial and important trials. Now, in Dead Peasants, Thompson has delivered a fast-moving and suspenseful legal thriller featuring a retired lawyer whose life gets turned upside down when a stranger asks for help.

Jack Bryant, exhausted after a high-profile career as a lawyer, takes an early retirement in Fort Worth, Texas, where he plans to kick back, relax, and watch his son play football at TCU. But then an elderly widow shows up with a check for life insurance benefits and that is suspiciously made payable to her dead husband’s employer, Jack can’t turn down her pleas for help and files a civil suit to collect the benefits rightfully due the widow. A chain of events that can’t be stopped thrusts Jack into a vortex of killings, and he and his new love interest find themselves targets of a murderer.

Gripping, engaging, and written with the authority that only a seasoned lawyer could possess, Dead Peasants is a legal thriller that will stun and surprise you.
Visit Larry D. Thompson's website.

"Former People"

New from Farrar, Straus and Giroux: Former People: The Final Days of the Russian Aristocracy by Douglas Smith.

About the book, from the publisher:

Epic in scope, precise in detail, and heart-breaking in its human drama, Former People is the first book to recount the history of the aristocracy caught up in the maelstrom of the Bolshevik Revolution and the creation of Stalin’s Russia. Filled with chilling tales of looted palaces and burning estates, of desperate flights in the night from marauding peasants and Red Army soldiers, of imprisonment, exile, and execution, it is the story of how a centuries’-old elite, famous for its glittering wealth, its service to the Tsar and Empire, and its promotion of the arts and culture, was dispossessed and destroyed along with the rest of old Russia.

Yet Former People is also a story of survival and accommodation, of how many of the tsarist ruling class—so-called “former people” and “class enemies”—overcame the psychological wounds inflicted by the loss of their world and decades of repression as they struggled to find a place for themselves and their families in the new, hostile order of the Soviet Union. Chronicling the fate of two great aristocratic families—the Sheremetevs and the Golitsyns—it reveals how even in the darkest depths of the terror, daily life went on.

Told with sensitivity and nuance by acclaimed historian Douglas Smith, Former People is the dramatic portrait of two of Russia’s most powerful aristocratic families, and a sweeping account of their homeland in violent transition.
Visit Douglas Smith's website.

The Page 69 Test: Douglas Smith's The Pearl.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

"The FitzOsbornes at War"

New from Knopf Books for Young Readers: The FitzOsbornes at War by Michelle Cooper.

About the book, from the publisher:

Michelle Cooper completes her heart-stealing epic drama of history and romance with The FitzOsbornes at War.

Sophie FitzOsborne and the royal family of Montmaray escaped their remote island home when the Nazis attacked. But as war breaks out in England and around the world, nowhere is safe. Sophie fills her journal with tales of a life during wartime. Blackouts and the Blitz. Dancing in nightclubs with soliders on leave. And endlessly waiting for news of her brother Toby, whose plane was shot down over enemy territory.

But even as bombs rain down on London, hope springs up, and love blooms for this most endearing princess. And when the Allies begin to drive their way across Europe, the FitzOsbornes take heart—maybe, just maybe, there will be a way to liberate Montmaray as well.
Learn more about the book and author at Michelle Cooper's website.

Writers Read: Michelle Cooper (May 2011).

"All You Never Wanted"

New from Knopf Books for Young Readers: All You Never Wanted by Adele Griffin.

About the book, from the publisher:

With my eyes closed and Alex's core friends all around me, it was like I'd become my big sister, or something just as good. And so who cared if they were calling it Alex's party? One thing I knew: it would be remembered as mine.

Alex has it all—brains, beauty, popularity, and a dangerously hot boyfriend. Her little sister Thea wants it all, and she's stepped up her game to get it. Even if it means spinning the truth to win the attention she deserves. Even if it means uncovering a shocking secret her older sister never wanted to share. Even if it means crying wolf.

Told in the alternating voices of Alex and Thea, Adele Griffin's mesmerizing new novel is the story of a sibling rivalry on speed.
Visit Adele Griffin’s website and Facebook page.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Adele Griffin and Edith.

Writers Read: Adele Griffin (June 2011).

Friday, September 28, 2012

"The Casual Vacancy"

New from Little, Brown & Company: The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling.

About the book, from the publisher:

When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock.

Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war.

Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils…Pagford is not what it first seems.

And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity, and unexpected revelations?

A big novel about a small town, The Casual Vacancy is J. K. Rowling’s first novel for adults. It is the work of a storyteller like no other.
Visit J.K. Rowling’s website.


New from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: Illuminations: A Novel of Hildegard Von Bingen by Mary Sharratt.

About the book, from the publisher:

A triumphant portrait of a resilient and courageous woman and the life she might have lived...

Skillfully interweaving historical fact with psychological insight and vivid imagination, Sharratt’s redemptive novel, Illuminations, brings to life one of the most extraordinary women of the Middle Ages: Hildegard von Bingen, Benedictine abbess, visionary, and polymath.

Offered to the Church at the age of eight, Hildegard was entombed in a small room where she was expected to live out her days in silent submission as the handmaiden of a renowned but disturbed young nun, Jutta von Sponheim. Instead, Hildegard rejected Jutta’s masochistic piety and found comfort and grace in studying books, growing herbs, and rejoicing in her own secret visions of the divine. When Jutta died some thirty years later, Hildegard broke out of her prison with the heavenly calling to speak and write about her visions and to liberate her sisters and herself from the soul-destroying anchorage. Riveting and utterly unforgettable, Illuminations is a deeply moving portrayal of a woman willing to risk everything for what she believed.
Visit Mary Sharratt's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Vanishing Point.

The Page 69 Test: The Vanishing Point.

Writers Read: Mary Sharratt.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

"Through the Glass"

New from Gallery Books: Through the Glass by Shannon Moroney.

About the book, from the publisher:

“One month into our marriage, my husband committed horrific violent crimes. In that instant, the life I knew was destroyed. I vowed that one day I would be whole again. This is my story.”

An impassioned, harrowing, and ultimately hopeful story of one woman’s pursuit of justice, forgiveness, and healing.

When Shannon Moroney got married in October 2005, she had no idea that her happy life as a newlywed was about to come crashing down around her. One month after her wedding, a police officer arrived at her door to tell her that her husband, Jason, had been arrested and charged in the brutal assault and kidnapping of two women. In the aftermath of these crimes, Shannon dealt with a heavy burden of grief, the stress and publicity of a major criminal investigation, and the painful stigma of guilt by association, all while attempting to understand what had made Jason turn to such violence.

In this intimate and gripping journey into prisons, courtrooms, and the human heart, Shannon reveals the far-reaching impact of Jason’s crimes and the agonizing choices faced by the loved ones of offenders. In so doing, she addresses the implicit dangers of a correctional system and a society that prioritize punishment over rehabilitation and victimhood over recovery.
Visit Shannon Moroney's website.

"The News from Spain"

New from Knopf: The News from Spain: Seven Variations on a Love Story by Joan Wickersham.

About the book, from the publisher:

From the author of the acclaimed memoir The Suicide Index, a virtuosic collection of stories, each a stirring parable of the power of love and the impossibility of understanding, much less controlling, it.

In these seven beautifully wrought variations on a theme, a series of characters trace and retrace eternal yet ever-changing patterns of love and longing, connection and loss. The stories range over centuries and continents—from eighteenth-century Vienna, where Mozart and his librettist Da Ponte are collaborating on their operas, to America in the 1940s, where a love triangle unfolds among a doctor, a journalist, and the president’s wife. A race-car driver’s widow, a nursing-home resident and her daughter, a paralyzed dancer married to a famous choreographer—all feel the overwhelming force of passion and renunciation. With uncanny emotional exactitude, Wickersham shows how we never really know what’s in someone else’s heart, or in our own; how we continually try to explain others and to console ourselves; and how love, like storytelling, is ultimately a work of the imagination.
Writers Read: Joan Wickersham (January 2009).

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

"Marc Blitzstein"

New from Oxford University Press: Marc Blitzstein: His Life, His Work, His World by Howard Pollack.

About the book, from the publisher:

A composer and lyricist of enormous innovation and influence, Marc Blitzstein remains one of the most versatile and fascinating figures in the history of American music, his creative output running the gamut from films scores and Broadway operas to art songs and chamber pieces. A prominent leftist and social maverick, Blitzstein constantly pushed the boundaries of convention in mid-century America in both his work and his life.

Award-winning music historian Howard Pollack's new biography covers Blitzstein's life in full, from his childhood in Philadelphia to his violent death in Martinique at age 58. The author describes how this student of contemporary luminaries Nadia Boulanger and Arnold Schoenberg became swept up in the stormy political atmosphere of the 1920s and 1930s and throughout his career walked the fine line between his formal training and his populist principles. Indeed, Blitzstein developed a unique sound that drew on everything contemporary, from the high modernism of Stravinsky and Hindemith to jazz and Broadway show tunes. Pollack captures the astonishing breadth of Blitzstein's work--from provocative operas like The Cradle Will Rock, No for an Answer, and Regina, to the wartime Airborne Symphony composed during his years in service, to lesser known ballets, film scores, and stage works. A courageous artist, Blitzstein translated Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill's The Threepenny Opera during the heyday of McCarthyism and the red scare, and turned it into an off-Broadway sensation, its "Mack the Knife" becoming one of the era's biggest hits.

Beautifully written, drawing on new interviews with friends and family of the composer, and making extensive use of new archival and secondary sources, Marc Blitzstein presents the most complete biography of this important American artist.


New from Graywolf Press: Familiar by J. Robert Lennon.

About the book, from the publisher:

A haunting, enigmatic novel about a woman who is given a second chance—and isn’t sure whether she really wants it

Elisa Brown is driving back from her annual, somber visit to her son Silas’s grave when something changes. Actually, everything changes: her body is more voluptuous; she’s wearing different clothes and driving a new car. When she arrives home, her life is familiar—but different. There is her house, her husband. But in the world she now inhabits, Silas is no longer dead, and his brother is disturbingly changed. Elisa has a new job, and her marriage seems sturdier, and stranger, than she remembers. She finds herself faking her way through a life she is convinced is not her own. Has she had a psychotic break? Or has she entered a parallel universe? Elisa believed that Silas was doomed from the start, but now that he is alive, what can she do to repair her strained relations with her children? She soon discovers that these questions hinge on being able to see herself as she really is—something that might be impossible for Elisa, or for anyone. In Familiar, J. Robert Lennon continues his profound and exhilarating exploration of the surreal undercurrents of contemporary American life.
Learn more about the book and author at J. Robert Lennon's website.

The Page 69 Test: J. Robert Lennon's Castle.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

"Strom Thurmond's America"

New from Hill and Wang: Strom Thurmond's America by Joseph Crespino.

About the book, from the publisher:

“Do not forget that ‘skill and integrity’ are the keys to success.” This was the last piece of advice on a list Will Thurmond gave his son Strom in 1923. The younger Thurmond would keep the words in mind throughout his long and colorful career as one of the South’s last race-baiting demagogues and as a national power broker who, along with Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan, was a major figure in modern conservative politics.

But as the historian Joseph Crespino demonstrates in Strom Thurmond’s America, the late South Carolina senator followed only part of his father’s counsel. Political skill was the key to Thurmond’s many successes; a consummate opportunist, he had less use for integrity. He was a thoroughgoing racist—he is best remembered today for his twenty-four-hour filibuster in opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1957—but he fathered an illegitimate black daughter whose existence he did not publicly acknowledge during his lifetime. A onetime Democrat and labor supporter, he switched parties in 1964 and helped to dismantle New Deal protections for working Americans.

If Thurmond was a great hypocrite, though, he was also an innovator who saw the future of conservative politics before just about anyone else. As early as the 1950s, he began to forge alliances with Christian Right activists, and he eagerly took up the causes of big business, military spending, and anticommunism. Crespino’s adroit, lucid portrait reveals that Thurmond was, in fact, both a segregationist and a Sunbelt conservative. The implications of this insight are vast. Thurmond was not a curiosity from a bygone era, but rather one of the first conservative Republicans we would recognize as such today. Strom Thurmond’s America is about how he made his brand of politics central to American life.
The Page 69 Test: Joseph Crespino's In Search of Another Country.

"A Plague of Lies"

New from Berkley: A Plague of Lies by Judith Rock.

About the book, from the publisher:

In her historic mysteries The Rhetoric of Death and The Eloquence of Blood, Judith Rock created an atmosphere that "takes you back to fascinating and dangerous seventeenth-century Paris so well that I suspect her of being a time-traveler who's been there" (Ariana Franklin, national bestselling author of A Murderous Procession). Now, the latest novel to feature Charles du Luc finds the ex-soldier-turned-Jesuit caught up in royal intrigue...

Versailles, 1687

Madame de Maintenon is King Louis XIV’s second wife. The daughter of a minor noble of ill-repute, she has not forgiven the king's Jesuit confessor for encouraging him to withhold the title of Queen from her. To placate her, the prestigious Louis le Grand Jesuit school has sent a delegation—including her distant cousin Pere Jouvancy and rhetoric teacher Charles du Luc—to Versailles with a gift of reliquary.

But while the Sun King’s palace might be spectacular, this visit is anything but pleasant. Their first night, a courtier dies, and court whispers claim poison. Then the Jesuit delegation falls direly ill, and a palace gardener is found murdered. Fear grips a court already on edge. In the midst of all this, Charles learns that one of his students is in love with the king’s rebellious (and betrothed) daughter, and may ruin not only himself, but all of them…
Visit Judith Rock's website.

Monday, September 24, 2012

"What's Left of Me"

New from HarperCollins: What's Left of Me (Hybrid Chronicles Series #1) by Kat Zhang.

About the book, from the publisher:

I should not exist. But I do.

Eva and Addie started out the same way as everyone else—two souls woven together in one body, taking turns controlling their movements as they learned how to walk, how to sing, how to dance. But as they grew, so did the worried whispers. Why aren't they settling? Why isn't one of them fading? The doctors ran tests, the neighbors shied away, and their parents begged for more time. Finally Addie was pronounced healthy and Eva was declared gone. Except, she wasn't....

For the past three years, Eva has clung to the remnants of her life. Only Addie knows she's still there, trapped inside their body. Then one day, they discover there may be a way for Eva to move again. The risks are unimaginable—hybrids are considered a threat to society, so if they are caught, Addie and Eva will be locked away with the others. And yet ... for a chance to smile, to twirl, to speak, Eva will do anything.
Visit Kat Zhang's website and blog.

"That's Not a Feeling"

New from Soho Press: That's Not a Feeling by Dan Josefson.

About the book, from the publisher:

Benjamin arrives with his parents for a tour of Roaring Orchards, a therapeutic boarding school tucked away in upstate New York. Suddenly, his parents are gone and Benjamin learns that he is there to stay. Sixteen years old, a two-time failed suicide, Benjamin must navigate his way through a new world of morning meds, popped privileges, candor meetings and cartoon brunches--all run by adults who themselves have yet to really come of age.

The only person who comprehends the school's many rules and rituals is Aubrey, the founder and headmaster. Fragile, brilliant, and prone to rage, he is as likely to use his authority to reward students as to punish them. But when Aubrey falls ill, life at the school begins to unravel. Benjamin has no one to rely on but the other students, especially Tidbit, an intriguing but untrustworthy girl with a "self-afflicting personality." More and more, Benjamin thinks about running away from Roaring Orchards--but he feels an equal need to know just what it is he would be leaving behind.
Visit Dan Josefson's website.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

"Ghosts of Manhattan"

New from Touchstone: Ghosts of Manhattan: A Novel by Douglas Brunt.

About the book, from the publisher:

A wryly comic, first-person debut novel offering a withering view of life on Wall Street from the perspective of an unhappy insider who is too hooked on the money to find a way out, even as his career is ruining his marriage and corroding his soul.

It’s 2005. Nick Farmer is a thirty-five-year-old bond trader with Bear Stearns clearing seven figures a year. The novelty of a work-related nightlife centering on liquor, hookers, and cocaine has long since worn thin, though Nick remains keenly addicted to his annual bonus. But the lifestyle is taking a toll on his marriage and on him.

When a nerdy analyst approaches him with apocalyptic prognostications of where Bear’s high-flying mortgage-backed securities trading may lead, Nick is presented with the kind of ethical dilemma he’s spent a lifetime avoiding. Throw in a hot financial journalist who seems to be more interested in him than in the percolating financial armageddon and the prospect that his own wife may have found a new romantic interest of her own, and you have the recipe for Nick’s personal and professional implosion.

By turns hilarious and harrowing, Ghosts of Manhattan follows a winning but flawed character as he struggles to find the right path in a complicated urban heart of darkness.
Visit Douglas Brunt's website.

"Dive Deeper"

New from Oxford University Press: Dive Deeper: Journeys with Moby-Dick by George Cotkin.

About the book, from the publisher:

Herman Melville's epic tale of obsession has all the ingredients of a first rate drama--fascinating characters in solitude and society, battles between good and evil, a thrilling chase to the death--and yet its allusions, digressions, and sheer scope can prove daunting to even the most intrepid reader. George Cotkin's Dive Deeper provides both a guide to the novel and a record of its dazzling cultural train. It supplies easy-to-follow plot points for each of the novel's 135 sections before taking up a salient phrase, image, or idea in each for further exploration. Through these forays, Cotkin traces the astonishing reach of the novel, sighting the White Whale in mainstream and obscure subcultures alike, from impressionist painting circles to political terrorist cells. In a lively and engaging style, Dive Deeper immerses us into the depths of Melville's influence on the literature, film, and art of our modern world. Cotkin's playful wit and critical precision stretch from Camus to Led Zeppelin, from Emerson to Bob Dylan, and bring to life the terrors and wonders of what is arguably America's greatest novel.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

"Mixed Signals"

New from Poisoned Pen Press: Mixed Signals: A Grace Street Mystery by Jane Tesh.

About the book, from the publisher:

It’s Christmas in Parkland, North Carolina, and PI David Randall is looking forward to his mother’s visit to 302 Grace Street, even though he knows she’ll want to talk about his daughter, Lindsey, who died in a car accident. Then he and his friend Camden find Camden’s friend Jared Hunter brutally stabbed. Cam has violent flashbacks to the crime, making him fear he’s linked with the killer. The suspects include Boyd Taylor, who hires Randall. Randall’s investigations reveal Jared served time for breaking into the Parkland Museum of History, and Bert Galvin, son of Ralph Galvin, editor of the Parkland Herald, was also involved.

Randall believes inept superhero, the Parkland Avenger, is a set up by award-hungry Herald reporter, Brooke Verner. The Super Hero Society of Parkland insists the Avenger isn’t one of them. To his dismay, Kary, wanting a more active role in his cases, joins the SHS.

Brooke tells Randall she saw a letter from Bert promising not to tell about the museum funds. By comparing museum records and newsletters, Randall discovers a collector of valuable letters was never paid the full amount and died in a car crash suspiciously soon after the sale. He realizes Galvin used the museum break in to cover up this embezzlement scheme.

A map found in Jared’s comic collection leads Randall and Cam to a series of tunnels underneath several stores that have been recently robbed. Kary, in her guise as Wonder Star, helps them trap Galvin in the tunnels and end Cam’s troubling visions.
Visit Jane Tesh's website.

"Seduced by Logic"

New from Oxford University Press: Seduced by Logic: Émilie Du Châtelet, Mary Somerville and the Newtonian Revolution by Robyn Arianrhod.

About the book, from the publisher:

Newton's explanation of the natural law of universal gravity shattered the way mankind perceived the universe, and hence it was not immediately embraced. After all, how can anyone warm to a force that cannot be seen or touched? But for two women, separated by time and space but joined in their passion for Newtonian physics, the intellectual power of that force drove them to great achievements. Brilliant, determined, and almost entirely self-taught, they dedicated their lives to explaining and disseminating Newton's discoveries.

Robyn Arianrhod's Seduced by Logic tells the story of Emilie du Chatelet and Mary Somerville, who, despite living a century apart, were connected by their love for mathematics and their places at the heart of the most advanced scientific society of their age. When Newton published his revolutionary theory of gravity, in his monumental Principia of 1687, most of his Continental peers rejected it for its reliance on physical observation and mathematical insight instead of religious or metaphysical hypotheses. But the brilliant French aristocrat and intellectual Emilie du Chatelet and some of her early eighteenth-century Enlightenment colleagues--including her lover, Voltaire--realized the Principia had changed everything, marking the beginning of theoretical science as a predictive, quantitative, and secular discipline. Emilie devoted herself to furthering Newton's ideas in France, and her translation of the Principia is still the accepted French version of this groundbreaking work. Almost a century later, in Scotland, Mary Somerville taught herself mathematics and rose from genteel poverty to become a world authority on Newtonian physics. She was fêted by the famous French Newtonian, Pierre Simon Laplace, whose six-volume Celestial Mechanics was considered the greatest intellectual achievement since the Principia. Laplace's work was the basis of Mary's first book, Mechanism of the Heavens; it is a bittersweet irony that this book, written by a woman denied entry to university because of her gender, remained an advanced university astronomy text for the next century.

Combining biography, history, and popular science, Seduced by Logic not only reveals the fascinating story of two incredibly talented women, but also brings to life a period of dramatic political and scientific change. With lucidity and skill, Arianrhod explains the science behind the story, and explores - through the lives of her protagonists - the intimate links between the unfolding Newtonian revolution and the development of intellectual and political liberty.

Friday, September 21, 2012


New from ECW Press: Husk: A Novel by Corey Redekop.

About the book, from the publisher:

An outlandishly funny, unambiguously bloody novel about fame, love, religion, politics, and appetite

It is one thing to die, alone and confused, trapped with your pants down around your ankles in the filthiest bus restroom in existence. It’s quite another thing to wake up during the autopsy, attack the coroner, and flee into the wintry streets of Toronto.

It’s not like Sheldon Funk didn’t have enough on his plate. His last audition, for the reality television series House Bingo, had gone disastrously wrong. His mother was in the late stages of dementia. His savings were depleted, his agent couldn’t care less, and his boyfriend was little more than a nice set of abs. Now, Sheldon also has to contend with decomposition, the scent of the open grave, and an unending appetite for human flesh. Plus another audition in the morning.

For Sheldon to survive his death without literally falling apart at the seams, he has to find a way to balance family, career, and cannibalism, which would be a lot easier if he could stop eating hoboes. Husk, the story of the everyzombie.
Read more about the novel and author at the Shelf Monkey blog and Corey Redekop's website.

The Page 99 Test: Shelf Monkey.

My Book, The Movie: Shelf Monkey.

"Rest for the Wicked"

New from Minotaur Books: Rest for the Wicked (Jane Lawless Mysteries, Volume 20) by Ellen Hart.

About the book, from the publisher:

DeAndre Moore came to Minneapolis from St. Louis with a purpose, but things aren’t going as he planned. When it becomes clear he’s in way over his head, DeAndre can think of only one person to call for help—his Uncle Nolan’s business partner, newly licensed private investigator Jane Lawless. However, by the time Jane listens to his voice mail, she’s hearing a voice from beyond the grave—DeAndre left the message only minutes before he was knifed to death outside a gentlemen’s club. Soon his murder isn’t the only one.

With Nolan in the hospital, Jane sets out to find out who killed DeAndre, how his death is connected with the others, and what he was doing in Minneapolis in the first place.

Rest for the Wicked is another outstanding addition to Ellen Hart’s award-winning mystery series.
Learn more about the book and author at Ellen Hart's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Lost Women of Lost Lake.

Writers Read: Ellen Hart (November 2011).

Thursday, September 20, 2012


New from Minotaur Books: Rogue by Mark Sullivan.

About the book, from the publisher:

Mark Sullivan has created a propulsive, compelling new thriller. Rogue, is one part Bourne Identity and one part Mission: Impossible, but readers will also love the nod to Hitchcock’s It Takes a Thief.

Two years ago, Robin Monarch was a top level CIA operative—perhaps the best they had when it came to black bag operations. Then one day, in the middle of an operation, with his team around him in the field, Monarch walked away, leaving his old life and friends behind without a word of explanation.

Now this ex-soldier, ex-operative, and orphan with a murky past is a thief, stealing from the super-rich and has surfaced in St. Tropez. But when a complicated, high profile jewel heist goes wrong, Monarch is led into a carefully woven trap designed to force him to complete the very same mission he walked away from years ago.

It will take all of his skills (as well as those of the team he burned) and all of his cunning, if Monarch is to thwart the violent and deadly goals of the very powerful cabal who will do whatever it takes to bring the very dangerous "Green Fields" technology under their control.
Visit Mark Sullivan's website.

"Tell Everyone I Said Hi"

New from University of Iowa Press: Tell Everyone I Said Hi by Chad Simpson.

About the book, from the publisher:

The world of Tell Everyone I Said Hi is geographically small but far from provincial in its portrayal of emotionally complicated lives. With all the heartbreaking earnestness of a Wilco song, these eighteen stories by Chad Simpson roam the small-town playgrounds, blue-collar neighborhoods, and rural highways of Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky to find people who’ve lost someone or something they love and have not yet found ways to move forward.

Simpson’s remarkable voice masterfully moves between male and female and adolescent and adult characters. He embraces their helplessness and shares their sad, strange, and sometimes creepy slices of life with grace, humor, and mounds of empathy. In “Peloma,” a steelworker grapples with his preteen daughter’s feeble suicide attempts while the aftermath of his wife’s death and the politics of factory life vie to hem him in. The narrator of “Fostering” struggles to determine the ramifications of his foster child’s past now that he and his wife are expecting their first biological child. In just two pages, “Let x” negotiates the yearnings and regrets of childhood through mathematical variables and the summertime interactions of two fifth-graders.

Poignant, fresh, and convincing, these are stories of women who smell of hairspray and beer and of landscapers who worry about their livers, of flooded basements and loud trucks, of bad exes and horrible jobs, of people who remain loyal to sports teams that always lose. Displaced by circumstances both in and out of their control, the characters who populate Tell Everyone I Said Hi are lost in their own surroundings, thwarted by misguided aspirations and long-buried disappointments, but fully open to the possibility that they will again find their way.
Visit Chad Simpson's website.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

"Glass Heart"

New from HarperTeen: Glass Heart by Amy Garvey.

About the book, from the publisher:

Wren can do things that other people can only dream of. Make it snow on a clear, crisp day. Fly through an abandoned tunnel. Bring a paper bird to life.

Wren knows her abilities are tinged with danger—knows how easy it is to lose control—but she can't resist the intoxicating rush. And now that she has Gabriel by her side, someone who knows what she can do—what she has done—she finally feels free to be herself.

But as Wren explores the possibilities of her simmering powers, Gabriel starts pushing her away. Telling her to be careful. Telling her to stop. The more he cautions her, the more determined Wren becomes to prove that she can handle things on her own. And by the time she realizes that Gabriel may be right, it could be too late to bring him back to her side.
Visit Amy Garvey's website.

"More Than Sorrow"

New from Poisoned Pen Press: More Than Sorrow by Vicki Delany.

About the book, from the publisher:

Once, Hannah Manning was an internationally-renowned journalist and war correspondent. Today, she’s a woman suffering from a traumatic brain injury. Unable to read, unable to concentrate, full of pain, lost and confused, haunted by her memories, Hannah goes to her sister’s small-scale vegetable farm in Prince Edward County, Ontario to recover.

As summer settles on the farm, she finds comfort in the soft rolling hills and neat fields as well as friendship in the company of Hila Popalzai, an Afghan woman also traumatized by war.

Unable to read the printed word, Hannah retreats into the attic and boxes of moldy letters that have accumulated for more than two centuries. As she learns about the original settlers of this land, Loyalist refugees fleeing the United States in 1784, she is increasingly drawn to the space beneath the old house. More than carrots and potatoes, soups and jams, are down in the dark damp root cellar.

Hannah experiences visions of a woman, emerging from the icy cold mist. Is the woman real? Or the product of a severely damaged brain?

Which would be worse?

Then Hila disappears. When Hannah cannot account for her time, not even to herself, old enemies begin to circle.

In this modern Gothic novel of heart-wrenching suspense, past and present merge into a terrifying threat to the only thing Hannah still holds dear – her ten-year-old niece, Lily.
Learn more about the book and author at Vicki Delany's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

The Page 69 Test: Among the Departed.

My Book, The Movie: Among the Departed.

Writers Read: Vicki Delany.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

"Come August, Come Freedom"

New from Candlewick Press: Come August, Come Freedom: The Bellows, The Gallows, and The Black General Gabriel by Gigi Amateau.

About the book, from the publisher:

In a time of post-Revolutionary fervor in Richmond, Virginia, an imposing twenty-four-year-old slave named Gabriel, known for his courage and intellect, plotted a rebellion involving thousands of African- American freedom seekers armed with refashioned pitchforks and other implements of Gabriel’s blacksmith trade. The revolt would be thwarted by a confluence of fierce weather and human betrayal, but Gabriel retained his dignity to the end. History knows little of Gabriel’s early life. But here, author Gigi Amateau imagines a childhood shaped by a mother’s devotion, a father’s passion for liberation, and a friendship with a white master’s son who later proved cowardly and cruel. She gives vibrant life to Gabriel’s love for his wife-to-be, Nanny, a slave woman whose freedom he worked tirelessly, and futilely, to buy. Interwoven with original documents, this poignant, illuminating novel gives a personal face to a remarkable moment in history.

An 1800 insurrection planned by a literate slave known as "Prosser’s Gabriel" inspires a historical novel following one extraordinary man’s life.
Visit Gigi Amateau's website.

"All in the Family"

New from Hill and Wang: All in the Family: The Realignment of American Democracy Since the 1960s by Robert O. Self.

About the book, from the publisher:

In the 1960s, Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society and War on Poverty promised an array of federal programs to assist working-class families. In the 1980s, Ronald Reagan declared the GOP the party of “family values” and promised to keep government out of Americans’ lives. Again and again, historians have sought to explain the nation’s profound political realignment from the 1960s to the 2000s, five decades that witnessed the fracturing of liberalism and the rise of the conservative right. The award-winning historian Robert O. Self is the first to argue that the separate threads of that realignment—from civil rights to women’s rights, from the antiwar movement to Nixon’s “silent majority,” from the abortion wars to gay marriage, from the welfare state to neoliberal economic policies—all ran through the politicized American family.

Based on an astonishing range of sources, All in the Family rethinks an entire era. Self opens his narrative with the Great Society and its assumption of a white, patriotic, heterosexual man at the head of each family. Soon enough, civil rights activists, feminists, and gay rights activists, animated by broader visions of citizenship, began to fight for equal rights, protections, and opportunities. Led by Pauli Murray, Gloria Steinem, Harvey Milk, and Shirley Chisholm, among many others, they achieved lasting successes, including Roe v. Wade, antidiscrimination protections in the workplace, and a more inclusive idea of the American family.

Yet the establishment of new rights and the visibility of alternative families provoked, beginning in the 1970s, a furious conservative backlash. Politicians and activists on the right, most notably George Wallace, Phyllis Schlafly, Anita Bryant, and Jerry Falwell, built a political movement based on the perceived moral threat to the traditional family. Self writes that “family values” conservatives in fact “paved the way” for fiscal conservatives, who shared a belief in liberalism’s invasiveness but lacked a populist message. Reagan’s presidency united the two constituencies, which remain, even in these tumultuous times, the base of the Republican Party. All in the Family, an erudite, passionate, and persuasive explanation of our current political situation and how we arrived in it, will allow us to think anew about the last fifty years of American politics.

Monday, September 17, 2012

"The Dawn of the Deed"

New from University of Chicago Press: The Dawn of the Deed: The Prehistoric Origins of Sex by John A. Long.

About the book, from the publisher:

We all know about the birds and the bees, but what about the ancient placoderm fishes and the dinosaurs? The history of sex is as old as life itself—and as complicated and mysterious. And despite centuries of study there is always more to know. In 2008, paleontologist John A. Long and a team of researchers revealed their discovery of a placoderm fish fossil, known as “the mother fish,” which at 380 million years old revealed the oldest vertebrate embryo—the earliest known example of internal fertilization. As Long explains, this find led to the reexamination of countless fish fossils and the discovery of previously undetected embryos. As a result, placoderms are now considered to be the first species to have had intimate sexual reproduction or sex as we know it—sort of.

Inspired by this incredible find, Long began a quest to uncover the paleontological and evolutionary history of copulation and insemination. In The Dawn of the Deed, he takes readers on an entertaining and lively tour through the sex lives of ancient fish and exposes the unusual mating habits of arthropods, tortoises, and even a well-endowed (16.5 inches!) Argentine Duck. Long discusses these significant discoveries alongside what we know about reproductive biology and evolutionary theory, using the fossil record to provide a provocative account of prehistoric sex. The Dawn of the Deed also explores fascinating revelations about animal reproduction, from homosexual penguins to monogamous seahorses to the difficulties of dinosaur romance and how sexual organs in ancient shark-like fishes actually relate to our own sexual anatomy.

The Dawn of the Deed is Long’s own story of what it’s like to be a part of a discovery that rewrites evolutionary history as well as an absolutely rollicking guide to sex throughout the ages in the animal kingdom. It’s natural history with a naughty wink.

"The Life of Objects"

New from Knopf: The Life of Objects by Susanna Moore.

About the book, from the publisher:

In 1938, seventeen-year-old Beatrice, an Irish Protestant lace maker, finds herself at the center of a fairy tale when she is whisked away from her dreary life to join the Berlin household of Felix and Dorothea Metzenburg. Art collectors, and friends to the most fascinating men and women in Europe, the Metzenburgs introduce Beatrice to a world in which she finds more to desire than she ever imagined.

But Germany has launched its campaign of aggression across Europe, and, before long, the conflict reaches the Metzenburgs’ threshold. Retreating with Beatrice to their country estate, Felix and Dorothea do their best to preserve the traditions of the old world. But the realities of hunger and illness, as well as the even graver threats of Nazi terror, the deportation and murder of Jews, and the hordes of refugees fleeing the advancing Red Army begin to threaten their existence. When the Metzenburgs are forced to join a growing population of men and women in hiding, Beatrice, increasingly attached to the family and its unlikely wartime community, bears heartrending witness to the atrocities of the age and to the human capacity for strength in the face of irrevocable loss.

In searing physical and emotional detail, The Life of Objects illuminates Beatrice’s journey from childhood to womanhood, from naïveté to wisdom, as a continent collapses into darkness around her. It is Susanna Moore’s most powerful and haunting novel yet.
Visit Susanna Moore's website.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

"A Wanted Man"

New from Delacorte Press: A Wanted Man by Lee Child.

About the book, from the publisher:

Four people in a car, hoping to make Chicago by morning. One man driving, eyes on the road. Another man next to him, telling stories that don’t add up. A woman in the back, silent and worried. And next to her, a huge man with a broken nose, hitching a ride east to Virginia.

An hour behind them, a man lies stabbed to death in an old pumping station. He was seen going in with two others, but he never came out. He has been executed, the knife work professional, the killers vanished. Within minutes, the police are notified. Within hours, the FBI descends, laying claim to the victim without ever saying who he was or why he was there.

All Reacher wanted was a ride to Virginia. All he did was stick out his thumb. But he soon discovers he has hitched more than a ride. He has tied himself to a massive conspiracy that makes him a threat—to both sides at once.

In Lee Child’s white-hot thriller, nothing is what it seems, and nobody is telling the truth. As the tension rises, the twists come fast and furious, keeping readers guessing and gasping until the explosive finale.
Learn about Lee Child's hero from outside literature and the crime novel Child would most like to have written.

"Murder in the Rue Dumas"

New from Penguin: Murder in the Rue Dumas by M. L. Longworth.

About the book, from Publishers Weekly:

Longworth’s entertaining second mystery set in Aix-en-Provence (after 2011’s Death at the Château Bremont) plunges magistrate Antoine Verlaque and his law professor girlfriend, Marine Bonnet, into the world of academe following a murder. Someone has battered in the head of Dr. Georges Moutte, the chair of the theology department at the University d’Aix, who was about to retire. The body was found by two students who broke into Moutte’s office to learn if either of them had won a prestigious fellowship, but who left the scene without reporting the murder in order to conceal their own breaking and entering. Apart from probing the rivalries among the university’s faculty, Verlaque also looks into the possibility that the killer was an art thief. Fans of European sleuths with a taste for good food such as Martin Walker’s Bruno (Bruno, Chief of Police) will have fun.
Visit M. L. Longworth's website.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

"Love Bomb"

New from Farrar, Straus and Giroux: Love Bomb: A Novel by Lisa Zeidner.

About the book, from the publisher:

An inventive, mordantly funny novel about love, marriage, stalkers, and the indignities of parenthood

In quaint Haddonfield, New Jersey, Tess is about to marry Gabe in her childhood home. Her mother, Helen, is in a panic about the guests, who include warring exes, crying babies, jealous girlfriends, and too many psychiatrists. But the most difficult guest was never on the list at all: a woman in a wedding dress and a gas mask, armed with a rifle, a bomb trigger strapped to her arm.

Lisa Zeidner’s audacious novel Love Bomb begins as a hostage drama and blossoms into a far-reaching tale about the infinite varieties of passion and heartbreak.

Who has offended this nutcase, and how? Does she seek revenge against the twice-divorced philanderer? Or is her agenda political—against the army general? Or the polygamous Muslim from Mali? While the warm, wise Helen attempts to bond with the masked woman and control the hysteria, the hostages begin to untangle what connects them to one another, and to their captor. But not until the SWAT team arrives does “the terrorist of love” unveil her real motives.
Visit Lisa Zeidner's website.

"Foul Play at the Fair"

New from Berkley Prime Crime: Foul Play at the Fair by Shelley Freydont.

About the book, from the publisher:

Every day is a holiday in Celebration Bay ...but unfortunately death doesn’t take a holiday.

As more and more tourists flock to Celebration Bay, New York, to enjoy their seasonal festivals, the town is in need of a professional coordinator. Enter Manhattan event planner Liv Montgomery, tired of big-city stress and looking for an idyllic spot where she and her Westie terrier, Whiskey, can put down roots. The Harvest by the Bay Festival is Liv’s first chance to prove herself, and everything from apple bobbing to pumpkin painting goes perfectly—until the body of an itinerant juggler is discovered stuffed into an antique apple press.

With a murderer on the loose, town leaders threaten to shut down the upcoming Halloween and Christmas festivals. But the town’s livelihood is at stake, and there is no way Liv is going to let that happen, even if she has to solve the murder herself. No matter how many balls she needs to keep in the air, Liv is determined to find a killer who’s rotten to the core...
Visit Shelley Freydont's website.

Friday, September 14, 2012

"Who Stole the American Dream?"

New from Random House: Who Stole the American Dream? by Hedrick Smith.

About the book, from the publisher:

Pulitzer Prize winner Hedrick Smith’s new book is an extraordinary achievement, an eye-opening account of how, over the past four decades, the American Dream has been dismantled and we became two Americas.

In his bestselling The Russians, Smith took millions of readers inside the Soviet Union. In The Power Game, he took us inside Washington’s corridors of power. Now Smith takes us across America to show how seismic changes, sparked by a sequence of landmark political and economic decisions, have transformed America. As only a veteran reporter can, Smith fits the puzzle together, starting with Lewis Powell’s provocative memo that triggered a political rebellion that dramatically altered the landscape of power from then until today.

This is a book full of surprises and revelations—the accidental beginnings of the 401(k) plan, with disastrous economic consequences for many; the major policy changes that began under Jimmy Carter; how the New Economy disrupted America’s engine of shared prosperity, the “virtuous circle” of growth, and how America lost the title of “Land of Opportunity.” Smith documents the transfer of $6 trillion in middle-class wealth from homeowners to banks even before the housing boom went bust, and how the U.S. policy tilt favoring the rich is stunting America’s economic growth.

This book is essential reading for all of us who want to understand America today, or why average Americans are struggling to keep afloat. Smith reveals how pivotal laws and policies were altered while the public wasn’t looking, how Congress often ignores public opinion, why moderate politicians got shoved to the sidelines, and how Wall Street often wins politically by hiring over 1,400 former government officials as lobbyists.

Smith talks to a wide range of people, telling the stories of Americans high and low. From political leaders such as Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, and Martin Luther King, Jr., to CEOs such as Al Dunlap, Bob Galvin, and Andy Grove, to heartland Middle Americans such as airline mechanic Pat O’Neill, software systems manager Kristine Serrano, small businessman John Terboss, and subcontractor Eliseo Guardado, Smith puts a human face on how middle-class America and the American Dream have been undermined.

This magnificent work of history and reportage is filled with the penetrating insights, provocative discoveries, and the great empathy of a master journalist. Finally, Smith offers ideas for restoring America’s great promise and reclaiming the American Dream.
Visit Hedrick Smith's website.

"The Yellow Birds"

New from Little, Brown: The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers.

About the book, from the publisher:

"The war tried to kill us in the spring," begins this breathtaking account of friendship and loss. In Al Tafar, Iraq, twenty-one-year old Private Bartle and eighteen-year-old Private Murphy cling to life as their platoon launches a bloody battle for the city. In the endless days that follow, the two young soldiers do everything to protect each other from the forces that press in on every side: the insurgents, physical fatigue, and the mental stress that comes from constant danger.

Bound together since basic training when their tough-as-nails Sergeant ordered Bartle to watch over Murphy, the two have been dropped into a war neither is prepared for. As reality begins to blur into a hazy nightmare, Murphy becomes increasingly unmoored from the world around him and Bartle takes impossible actions.

With profound emotional insight, especially into the effects of a hidden war on mothers and families at home, THE YELLOW BIRDS is a groundbreaking novel about the costs of war that is destined to become a classic.
Visit Kevin Powers's website.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

"The Cocktail Waitress"

New from Titan: The Cocktail Waitress by James M. Cain.

About the book, from the publisher:

Following her husband's death in a suspicious car accident, beautiful young widow Joan Medford is forced to take a job serving drinks in a cocktail lounge to make ends meet and to have a chance of regaining custody of her young son. At the job she encounters two men who take an interest in her, a handsome young schemer who makes her blood race and a wealthy but unwell older man who rewards her for her attentions with a $50,000 tip and an unconventional offer of marriage...
Read a sample chapter from The Cocktail Waitress.

"The Cutting Season"

New from Harper: The Cutting Season by Attica Locke.

About the book, from the publisher:

In Black Water Rising, Attica Locke delivered one of the most stunning and sure-handed fiction debuts in recent memory, garnering effusive critical praise, several award nominations, and passionate reader response. Now Locke returns with The Cutting Season, a riveting thriller that intertwines two murders separated across more than a century.

Caren Gray manages Belle Vie, a sprawling antebellum plantation that sits between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, where the past and the present coexist uneasily. The estate's owners have turned the place into an eerie tourist attraction, complete with full-dress re-enactments and carefully restored slave quarters. Outside the gates, a corporation with ambitious plans has been busy snapping up land from struggling families who have been growing sugar cane for generations, and now replacing local employees with illegal laborers. Tensions mount when the body of a female migrant worker is found in a shallow grave on the edge of the property, her throat cut clean.

As the investigation gets under way, the list of suspects grows. But when fresh evidence comes to light and the sheriff's department zeros in on a person of interest, Caren has a bad feeling that the police are chasing the wrong leads. Putting herself at risk, she ventures into dangerous territory as she unearths startling new facts about a very old mystery—the long-ago disappearance of a former slave—that has unsettling ties to the current murder. In pursuit of the truth about Belle Vie's history and her own, Caren discovers secrets about both cases—ones that an increasingly desperate killer will stop at nothing to keep buried.

Taut, hauntingly resonant, and beautifully written, The Cutting Season is at once a thoughtful meditation on how America reckons its past with its future, and a high-octane page-turner that unfolds with tremendous skill and vision. With her rare gift for depicting human nature in all its complexities, Attica Locke demonstrates once again that she is "destined for literary stardom" (Dallas Morning News).
Learn more about the book and author at Attica Locke's website.

The Page 69 Test: Attica Locke's Black Water Rising.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


New from Delacorte Books for Young Readers: Crusher by Niall Leonard.

About the book, from the publisher:

The day Finn Maguire discovers his dad bludgeoned to death in a pool of blood, his dreary life is turned upside down. Prime suspect in his father’s murder, Finn must race against time to clear his name and find out who hated his dad enough to kill him.

Scouring the sordid, brutal London underworld for answers, exposing dark family secrets, and facing danger at every turn, Finn is about to learn that it’s the people you trust who can hit you the hardest...
Visit Niall Leonard's website.

"Matters of Fact in Jane Austen"

New from Johns Hopkins University Press: Matters of Fact in Jane Austen: History, Location, and Celebrity by Janine Barchas.

About the book, from the publisher:

In Matters of Fact in Jane Austen: History, Location, and Celebrity, Janine Barchas makes the bold assertion that Jane Austen's novels allude to actual high-profile politicians and contemporary celebrities as well as to famous historical figures and landed estates. Barchas is the first scholar to conduct extensive research into the names and locations in Austen's fiction by taking full advantage of the explosion of archival materials now available online.

According to Barchas, Austen plays confidently with the tension between truth and invention that characterizes the realist novel. Of course, the argument that Austen deployed famous names presupposes an active celebrity culture during the Regency, a phenomenon recently accepted by scholars. The names Austen plucks from history for her protagonists (Dashwood, Wentworth, Woodhouse, Tilney, Fitzwilliam, and many more) were immensely famous in her day. She seems to bank upon this familiarity for interpretive effect, often upending associations with comic intent.

Barchas re-situates Austen's work closer to the historical novels of her contemporary Sir Walter Scott and away from the domestic and biographical perspectives that until recently have dominated Austen studies. This forward-thinking and revealing investigation offers scholars and ardent fans of Jane Austen a wealth of historical facts, while shedding an interpretive light on a new aspect of the beloved writer's work.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

"The Constant Heart"

New from Counterpoint: The Constant Heart by Craig Nova.

About the book, from the publisher:

What does it mean to be a decent man? To love well, with fidelity and constancy? These are the lessons that Jake’s father, a wildlife biologist, tries to impart to his son, often on fishing trips to their beloved Furnace Creek. Bound up in the laws of Einstein’s theories, these lessons will ultimately influence Jake’s own career as an astronomer. Out on the creek, both father and son conquer their greatest challenges: marital infidelity, professional setbacks, and Jake’s long term, passionate obsession with his childhood crush.

The Constant Heart is a potent, and moving book that utilizes the laws of nature and science to illuminate what it means to be a man today. It is an inspiring book that most immediately celebrates the bonds of father and son while exploring the beauty and intensity of love and the profound attachments between human beings, even in the face of great disease and danger.
Learn more about the book and author at Craig Nova's website.

The Page 69 Test: Craig Nova's The Informer.

"Lucky Stuff"

New from Minotaur Books: Lucky Stuff by Sharon Fiffer.

About the book, from the publisher:

Officially divorced, antiques picker and private investigator Jane Wheel finally faces the reality that she needs to sell her house, which means clearing out her extensive—and beloved—antique collection. While it’s a daunting task, the preemptive move proves worthwhile when her house sells in one day. Finding herself suddenly homeless, Jane heads to her hometown, Kankakee, Illinois, to find that it, too, has been turned upside down.

Lucky Miller, a little-known comedian, is staging what he calls a comeback. It’s all part of his plan to break into showbiz by making it seem like he’s always been a big name. Suspicious of what Lucky’s trying to prove and why he’s chosen to prove it in Kankakee, Jane’s mother, Nellie, hires Jane to investigate. But why does Nellie care? Lucky would sure like to know, so he, too, calls on Jane to find out. Still, Nellie may be the least of his problems when a driver on his crew turns up dead hours after claiming that Lucky tried to kill him.

With the charming and dogged Jane Wheel at the center of another clever puzzle, Lucky Stuff is an outstanding addition to Sharon Fiffer’s popular series.
Visit Sharon Fiffer's website.

The Page 69 Test: Scary Stuff.

Writers Read: Sharon Fiffer.

Monday, September 10, 2012

"The White Forest"

New from Touchstone: The White Forest by Adam McOmber.

About the book, from the publisher:

In this hauntingly original debut novel about a young woman whose peculiar abilities help her infiltrate a mysterious secret society, Adam McOmber uses fantastical twists and dark turns to create a fast-paced, unforgettable story.

Young Jane Silverlake lives with her father in a crumbling family estate on the edge of Hampstead Heath. Jane has a secret—an unexplainable gift that allows her to see the souls of man-made objects—and this talent isolates her from the outside world. Her greatest joy is wandering the wild heath with her neighbors, Madeline and Nathan. But as the friends come of age, their idyll is shattered by the feelings both girls develop for Nathan, and by Nathan’s interest in a cult led by Ariston Day, a charismatic mystic popular with London’s elite. Day encourages his followers to explore dream manipulation with the goal of discovering a strange hidden world, a place he calls the Empyrean.

A year later, Nathan has vanished, and the famed Inspector Vidocq arrives in London to untangle the events that led up to Nathan’s disappearance. As a sinister truth emerges, Jane realizes she must discover the origins of her talent, and use it to find Nathan herself, before it’s too late.
Visit Adam McOmber's website and blog.

"A Fistful of Collars"

New from Atria: A Fistful of Collars (Chet and Bernie Series #5) by Spencer Quinn.

About the book, from the publisher:

Everyone’s favorite detective team returns in a new adventure as canine narrator Chet and his human partner P.I. Bernie Little find that Hollywood has gone to the dogs.

Hoping to bring some Tinseltown money to the Valley, the mayor lures a movie studio to town to shoot their next production, a big-budget Western in the classic tradition. The star is none other than ruggedly handsome—and notoriously badly behaved—Thad Perry. When the mayor decides that someone needs to keep an eye on Thad so that he doesn’t get into too much trouble, Bernie and Chet are handpicked for the job. The money is good but something smells fishy, and what should have been a simple matter of babysitting soon gets more complicated—especially when they discover that Thad has a mysterious connection to the Valley that nobody wants to talk about. What kind of secret could Thad have left behind when he went to Hollywood to seek fame and fortune? The only people who might know the answer have a bad habit of turning up dead before they can talk.

As Bernie’s relationship with his longtime girlfriend Suzie goes long-distance, and Chet’s late-night assignations appear to have resulted in an unexpected dividend, it’s all our two sleuths can do to keep Thad and his motley entourage of yes-men, handlers, and hangers-on in their sights. Worst of all, Thad is a self-proclaimed cat person, and his feline friend Brando has taken an instant dislike to Chet.

Like the winning books before it, this fifth book in the series combines a top-notch mystery with genuine humor and a perceptive take on the relationship between human and dog that will stay with you long after the case is solved.
Visit Chet the Dog's blog and Facebook page, and Peter Abrahams's website.

The Page 69 Test: Spencer Quinn's The Dog Who Knew Too Much.

See--Coffee with a Canine: Peter Abrahams and Audrey (September 2011).

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Peter Abrahams and Pearl (August 2012).

Sunday, September 9, 2012

"We Sinners"

New from Henry Holt: We Sinners by Hanna Pylväinen.

About the book, from the publisher:

This stunning debut novel—drawn from the author's own life experience—tells the moving story of a family of eleven in the American Midwest, bound together and torn apart by their faith

The Rovaniemis and their nine children belong to a deeply traditional church (no drinking, no dancing, no TV) in modern-day Michigan. A normal family in many ways, the Rovaniemis struggle with sibling rivalry, parental expectations, and forming their own unique identities in such a large family. But when two of the children venture from the faith, the family fragments and a haunting question emerges: Do we believe for ourselves, or for each other? Each chapter is told from the distinctive point of view of a different Rovaniemi, drawing a nuanced, kaleidoscopic portrait of this unconventional family. The children who reject the church learn that freedom comes at the almost unbearable price of their close family ties, and those who stay struggle daily with the challenges of resisting the temptations of modern culture. With precision and potent detail, We Sinners follows each character on their journey of doubt, self-knowledge, acceptance, and, ultimately, survival.
Visit Hanna Pylväinen's website and Facebook page.

"Death in Four Courses"

New from Penguin/ Obsidian: Death in Four Courses: A Key West Food Critic Mystery by Lucy Burdette.

About the book, from the publisher:

The annual Key West Loves Literature seminar is drawing the biggest names in food writing from all over the country, and Haley Snow is there to catch a few fresh morsels of insider gossip. Superstar restaurant critic Jonah Barrows has already ruffled a few foodie feathers with his recent tell-all memoir, and as keynote speaker, he promises more of the same jaw-dropping honesty.

But when Hayley discovers Jonah’s body in a nearby dipping pool, the cocktail hour buzz takes a sour turn, and Hayley finds herself at the center of attention—especially with the police. Now it’s up to her to catch the killer before she comes to her own bitter finish.
Learn more about the book and author at Lucy Burdette's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: An Appetite For Murder.

Writers Read: Lucy Burdette (January 2012).

Saturday, September 8, 2012

"Think Tanks in America"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Think Tanks in America by Thomas Medvetz.

About the book, from the publisher:

Over the past half-century, think tanks have become fixtures of American politics, supplying advice to presidents and policymakers, expert testimony on Capitol Hill, and convenient facts and figures to journalists and media specialists. But what are think tanks? Who funds them? And just how influential have they become?

In Think Tanks in America, Thomas Medvetz argues that the unsettling ambiguity of the think tank is less an accidental feature of its existence than the very key to its impact. By combining elements of more established sources of public knowledge—universities, government agencies, businesses, and the media—think tanks exert a tremendous amount of influence on the way citizens and lawmakers perceive the world, unbound by the more clearly defined roles of those other institutions. In the process, they transform the government of this country, the press, and the political role of intellectuals. Timely, succinct, and instructive, this provocative book will force us to rethink our understanding of the drivers of political debate in the United States.
Visit Tom Medvetz's website.

"Eccentric Objects"

New from Yale University Press: Eccentric Objects: Rethinking Sculpture in 1960s America by Jo Applin.

About the book, from the publisher:

In America during the 1960s, sculpture as an artistic practice underwent a series of radical transformations. Artists including Lee Bontecou, Claes Oldenburg, Lucas Samaras, H. C. Westermann, and Bruce Nauman offered alternative ways of imagining the three-dimensional object. The objects they created were variously described as erotic, soft, figurative, aggressive, bodily, or, in the words of the critic Lucy Lippard, "eccentric."

Looking beyond the familiar and canonic artworks of the 1960s, the book challenges not only how we think about these artists, but how we learn to look at the more familiar narratives of 1960s sculpture, such as Pop and Minimalism. Ambivalent and disruptive, the work of this decade articulated a radical renegotiation—rejection, even—of contemporary paradigms of sculptural practice. This invigorating study explores that shift and the ways in which the kinds of work made in this period defied established categories and questioned the criteria for thinking about sculpture.

Friday, September 7, 2012

"Queen of Vaudeville"

New from Cornell University Press: Queen of Vaudeville: The Story of Eva Tanguay by Andrew L. Erdman.

About the book, from the publisher:

In her day, Eva Tanguay (1879–1947) was one of the most famous women in America. Widely known as the "I Don't Care Girl"—named after a song she popularized and her independent, even brazen persona—Tanguay established herself as a vaudeville and musical comedy star in 1904 with the New York City premiere of the show My Lady—and never looked back. Tanguay was, at the height of a long career that stretched until the early 1930s, a trend-setting performer who embodied the emerging ideal of the bold and sexual female entertainer. Whether suggestively singing songs with titles like "It's All Been Done Before But Not the Way I Do It" and "Go As Far As You Like" or wearing a daring dress made of pennies, she was a precursor to subsequent generations of performers, from Mae West to Madonna and Lady Gaga, who have been both idolized and condemned for simultaneously displaying and playing with blatant displays of female sexuality.

In Queen of Vaudeville, Andrew L. Erdman tells Eva Tanguay's remarkable life story with verve. Born into the family of a country doctor in rural Quebec and raised in a New England mill town, Tanguay found a home on the vaudeville stage. Erdman follows the course of her life as she amasses fame and wealth, marries (and divorces) twice, engages in affairs closely followed in the press, declares herself a Christian Scientist, becomes one of the first celebrities to get plastic surgery, loses her fortune following the Wall Street Crash of 1929, and receives her last notice, an obituary in Variety. The arc of Tanguay's career follows the history of American popular culture in the first half of the twentieth century. Tanguay’s appeal, so dependent on her physical presence and personal charisma, did not come across in the new media of radio and motion pictures. With nineteen rare or previously unpublished images, Queen of Vaudeville is a dynamic portrait of a dazzling and unjustly forgotten show business star.
Visit Andrew L. Erdman's website.

"Jane: The Woman Who Loved Tarzan"

New from Tor Books: Jane: The Woman Who Loved Tarzan by Robin Maxwell.

About the book, from the publisher:

Cambridge, England, 1905. Jane Porter is hardly a typical woman of her time. The only female student in Cambridge University’s medical program, she is far more comfortable in a lab coat dissecting corpses than she is in a corset and gown sipping afternoon tea. A budding paleoanthropologist, Jane dreams of traveling the globe in search of fossils that will prove the evolutionary theories of her scientific hero, Charles Darwin.

When dashing American explorer Ral Conrath invites Jane and her father to join an expedition deep into West Africa, she can hardly believe her luck. Africa is every bit as exotic and fascinating as she has always imagined, but Jane quickly learns that the lush jungle is full of secrets—and so is Ral Conrath. When danger strikes, Jane finds her hero, the key to humanity’s past, and an all-consuming love in one extraordinary man: Tarzan of the Apes.

Jane is the first version of the Tarzan story written by a woman and authorized by the Edgar Rice Burroughs estate. Its publication marks the centennial of the original Tarzan of the Apes.
Visit Robin Maxwell's website.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

"500 Days: Secrets and Lies in the Terror Wars"

New from Touchstone: 500 Days: Secrets and Lies in the Terror Wars by Kurt Eichenwald.

About the book, from the publisher:

Kurt Eichenwald—New York Times bestselling author of Conspiracy of Fools and The Informant— recounts the first 500 days after 9/11 in a comprehensive, compelling page-turner as gripping as any thriller.

In 500 Days, master chronicler Kurt Eichenwald lays bare the harrowing decisions, deceptions, and delusions of the eighteen months that changed the world forever, as leaders raced to protect their citizens in the wake of 9/11.

Eichenwald’s gripping, immediate style and trueto- life dialogue puts readers at the heart of these historic events, from the Oval Office to Number 10 Downing Street, from Guantanamo Bay to the depths of CIA headquarters, from the al-Qaeda training camps to the torture chambers of Egypt and Syria. He reveals previously undisclosed information from the terror wars, including never before reported details about warrantless wiretapping, the anthrax attacks and investigations, and conflicts between Washington and London.

With his signature fast-paced narrative style, Eichenwald— whose book, The Informant, was called “one of the best nonfiction books of the decade” by The New York Times Book Review—exposes a world of secrets and lies that has remained hidden for far too long.
Visit Kurt Eichenwald's website.