Wednesday, July 31, 2013

"Big Egos"

New from Gallery: Big Egos by S.G. Browne.

About the book, from the publisher:

Does your lifestyle not fit the person inside you? Then try someone else on for size!

Call him whatever. Call him whomever. He can be any legally authorized fictional character or dead celebrity he wants for six to eight hours, simply by injecting a DNA-laced cocktail into his brain stem. It’s called Big Egos and it’s the ultimate role-playing fantasy from Engineering Genetics Organization and Systems (aka EGOS.) And, as one of the quality controllers for EGOS, he’s the ultimate ego-tripper, taking on more artificial identities than advisable—and having a hell of a time doing it. Problem is, he’s starting to lose the ability to separate fact from fiction. His every fantasy is the new reality. And the more roles he plays, the less of him remains. Sure, it’s dangerous. Yes, he’s probably losing his mind. Okay, hundreds of others could be at risk. But sometimes who you are isn’t good enough. And the truth is, reality is so overrated....

With his insightful wit, smart humor, and electrifying narrative, acclaimed author S. G. Browne takes readers on a satirical and provocative trip into the not-too-distant future, where, for some, pretending to be someone you’re not is just another day at the office.
Visit S.G. Browne's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Breathers: A Zombie's Lament.

The Page 69 Test: Lucky Bastard.

Writers Read: S.G. Browne.

My Book, The Movie: Lucky Bastard.

"Paris Was the Place"

New from Knopf: Paris Was the Place by Susan Conley.

About the book, from the publisher:

When Willie Pears begins teaching at a center for immigrant girls who are all hoping for French asylum, she has no idea it will change her life. As she learns their stories, the lines between teaching and mothering quickly begin to blur. Willie has fled to Paris to create a new family for herself by reaching out to her beloved brother, Luke, and her straight-talking friend, Sara. She soon falls for Macon, a charming, passionate French lawyer, and her new family circle seems complete. But Gita, a young girl at the detention center, is determined to escape her circumstances, no matter the cost. And just as Willie is faced with a decision that could have potentially dire consequences for both her relationship with Macon and the future of the center, Luke is taken with a serious, as-yet-unnamed illness, forcing Willie to reconcile with her father and examine the lengths we will go to for the people we care the most about.

In Paris Was the Place, Conley has given us a beautiful portrait of on how much it matters to belong: to a family, to a country, to any one place, and how this belonging can mean the difference in our survival. This is a profoundly moving portrait of some of the most complicated and glorious aspects of the human existence: love and sex and parenthood and the extraordinary bonds of brothers and sisters. It is a story that reaffirms the ties that bind us to one another.
Learn more about the book and author at Susan Conley's website and blog.

Writers Read: Susan Conley (March 2011).

The Page 99 Test: The Foremost Good Fortune.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

"The Ghost Bride"

New from William Morrow: The Ghost Bride: A Novel by Yangsze Choo.

About the book, from the publisher:

A startlingly original voice makes her literary debut with this wondrous coming-of-age story infused with Chinese folklore, romantic intrigue, adventure, and fascinating, dreamlike twists

One evening, my father asked me whether I would like to become a ghost bride....

Though ruled by British overlords, the Chinese of colonial Malaya still cling to ancient customs. And in the sleepy port town of Malacca, ghosts and superstitions abound.

Li Lan, the daughter of a genteel but bankrupt family, has few prospects. But fate intervenes when she receives an unusual proposal from the wealthy and powerful Lim family. They want her to become a ghost bride for the family's only son, who recently died under mysterious circumstances. Rarely practiced, traditional ghost marriages are used to placate restless spirits. Such a union would guarantee Li Lan a home for the rest of her days, but at a terrible price.

After an ominous visit to the opulent Lim mansion, Li Lan finds herself haunted not only by her ghostly would-be suitor, but also by her desire for the Lims' handsome new heir, Tian Bai. Night after night, she is drawn into the shadowy parallel world of the Chinese afterlife, with its ghost cities, paper funeral offerings, vengeful spirits, and monstrous bureaucracy—including the mysterious Er Lang, a charming but unpredictable guardian spirit. Li Lan must uncover the Lim family's darkest secrets—and the truth about her own family—before she is trapped in this ghostly world forever.
Visit Yangsze Choo's website.

"Helium"

New from Bloomsbury USA: Helium: A Novel by Jaspreet Singh.

About the book, from the publisher:

On November 1st 1984, a day after the assassination of Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, a nineteen-year-old student travels back from a class trip with his mentor and chemistry teacher, Professor Singh. As the group disembark at Delhi station a mob surrounds the professor, throws a tire over him, douses him in gasoline and sets him alight.

Years later the student, Raj, is compelled to find his professor's widow, the beautiful Nelly. As the two walk through the misty mountains of Shimla, Nelly comes up against a nation in denial, Raj faces the truth about his father's role in the Sikh massacre and they both find the path leads back to the train station. Jaspreet Singh crafts an affecting and important story of a largely untouched moment in Indian memory.
Visit Jaspreet Singh's website.

Monday, July 29, 2013

"Shoot the Dog"

New from Scribner: Shoot the Dog: A Virgil Cain Mystery by Brad Smith.

About the book, from the publisher:

In upstate New York, Virgil Cain is drawing hay behind his team of massive Percherons when two movie scouts show up and offer $500 a day to use the horses in a film to be shot in the area. Virgil, in need of cash, reluctantly pockets the money, but he soon finds the chaotic set of Frontier Woman to be more trouble than it’s worth. Savvy producer Sam Sawchuk is in over her head; when she’s not propping up her talent-challenged husband-cum-director, she’s trying to keep tabs on a new inves­tor, the Native American casino owner Ronnie Red Hawk, a rambling egomaniac with designs on an infamous starlet. When the film’s leading lady turns up dead, Virgil discovers that more is at stake than the carnal interests of a casino magnate and the production of a major motion picture. And although he’d rather leave the whole bunch to stew in their own juices, he realizes he needs to step in before a charming ten-year-old actress named Georgia becomes the next victim.
Visit Brad Smith's website and Facebook page.

"Snow Hunters"

New from Simon & Schuster: Snow Hunters: A Novel by Paul Yoon.

About the book, from the publisher:

In this elegant, haunting, and highly anticipated debut novel from 5 Under 35 National Book Foundation honoree Paul Yoon, a North Korean war refugee confronts the wreckage of his past. With spare, evocative prose, Snow Hunters traces the extraordinary journey of Yohan, who defects from his country at the end of the war, leaving his friends and family behind to seek a new life in a port town on the coast of Brazil.

Though he is a stranger in a strange land, throughout the years in this town, four people slip in and out of Yohan’s life: Kiyoshi, the Japanese tailor for whom he works, and who has his own secrets and a past he does not speak of; Peixe, the groundskeeper at the town church; and two vagrant children named Santi and Bia, a boy and a girl, who spend their days in the alleyways and the streets of the town. Yohan longs to connect with these people, but to do so he must sift through his traumatic past so he might let go and move on.

In Snow Hunters, Yoon proves that love can dissolve loneliness; that hope can wipe away despair; and that a man who has lost a country can find a new home. This is a heartrending story of second chances, told with unerring elegance and absolute tenderness.
Visit Paul Yoon's Tumblr.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

"Bloody Breathitt"

New from the University Press of Kentucky: Bloody Breathitt: Politics and Violence in the Appalachian South by T.R.C. Hutton.

About the book, from the publisher:

The notorious conflict between the Hatfield and the McCoy families of West Virginia and Kentucky is often remembered as America’s most famous feud, but it was relatively brief and subdued compared to the violence in Breathitt County, Kentucky. From the Reconstruction period until the early twentieth century, Breathitt’s 500 square miles of rugged upcountry land was known as “the darkest and bloodiest of all the dark and bloody feud counties” due to its considerable number of homicides, which were not always related to the factional conflicts that swept the region.

In Bloody Breathitt, T. R. C. Hutton casts a critical eye on this territory for the first time. He carefully investigates instances of individual and mass violence in the county from the Civil War through the Progressive era, exploring links between specific incidents and broader national and regional events. Although the killings were typically portrayed as depoliticized occurrences, Hutton explains how their causes and implications often reflected distinctly political intentions. By framing the incidents as “feuds,” those in positions of authority disguised politically motivated murders by placing them in a fictive past, preventing outsiders from understanding the complex reality.

This meticulously researched volume offers the first comprehensive narrative of the violence in this infamous Kentucky county, examining Breathitt’s brutal history and its significance to the state, the South, and the nation. While the United States has enjoyed unparalleled longevity as a republic, Hutton’s timely study reminds readers that the nation’s political stability has had a tremendous cost in terms of bloodshed.

"Downtown Strut"

New from Poisoned Pen Press: Downtown Strut: An Edna Ferber Mystery by Ed Ifkovic.

About the book, from the publisher:

Manhattan, 1927: Edna Ferber prepares for “the Ferber season on Broadway.” On December 27, the musical adaptation of Show Boat by Oscar Hammerstein and Jerome Kern opens. On December 28, The Royal Family, her comedy of manners written with George Kaufman, hits the stage despite Ethel Barrymore’s disapproval of the play’s depiction of “theatrical royalty.” But despite the excitement, Edna misses both opening nights. She has something else on her mind—murder.

Recently, Edna has been absorbed by the heady milieu of the Roaring Twenties’ Harlem Renaissance—the jazz clubs, the faddish dances, the frenzy—and the lively pulse of Broadway that entices talented young “Negroes” to push for mainstream recognition of black voices and talents.

Edna has also been mentoring some of these young writers and actors, including her housekeeeper’s son, Waters Turpin. And then there’s the boyishly handsome Roddy Parsons, a charismatic man most recently in the “Negro chorus” of Show Boat. But when Edna heads to Harlem to take Parsons to lunch, she discovers he’s been stabbed to death in his bed.

Who murdered Roddy? There are the writers who meet at Edna’s apartment, among them Bella Davenport, a beautiful vamp; Ellie Payne, a jazz singer; Freddy Holder, a rabble-rouser; and Lawson Hicks, Bella’s handsome boyfriend. There is also Jed Harris, the young producer of The Royal Family, a darling of the Broadway set, but a notoriously cruel man. Aided by Waters Turpin and his mother, as well as by poet Langston Hughes, Edna eschews theatrics to track down a dangerous and real killer.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

"Night Pilgrims"

New from Tor: Night Pilgrims: A Saint-Germain Novel by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro.

About the book, from the publisher:

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's first Saint-Germain novel, Hotel Transylvania, was recently nominated as Vampire Novel of the Century. Her Saint-Germain cycle, now comprised of more than twenty-five books, is a masterwork of historical horror fiction. The vampire Count Saint-Germain has crisscrossed the world many times, seeking love and the blood of life and seeing humanity at its best and worst.

In Night Pilgrims, Saint-Germain is living in a monastery in Egypt when he is hired to guide a group of pilgrims to underground churches in southern Egypt. The vampire finds a companion in a lovely widow who later fears that her dalliance with the Count will prevent her from reaching Heaven.

The pilgrims begin to fall prey to the trials of travel in the Holy Lands; some see visions and hear the word of God; others are seduced by desires for riches and power. A visit to the Chapel of the Holy Grail brings many quarrels to a head; Saint-Germain must use all his diplomacy and a good deal of his strength to keep the pilgrims from slaughtering one another.
Visit Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's website.

My Book, The Movie: Saint-Germain Chronicles.

"Divine Love: Islamic Literature and the Path to God"

New from Yale University Press: Divine Love: Islamic Literature and the Path to God by William C. Chittick.

About the book, from the publisher:

The very heart of the Islamic tradition is love; no other word adequately captures the quest for transformation that lies at this tradition’s center. So argues esteemed professor of medieval Islam William C. Chittick in this survey of the extensive Arabic and Persian literature on topics ranging from the Qur’an up through the twelfth century. Bringing to light extensive foundational Persian sources never before presented, Chittick draws on more than a thousand pages of newly translated material to depict the rich prose literature at the center of Islamic thought.
William C. Chittick, professor of religious studies at Stony Brook University, is a leading translator and interpreter of classical Islamic texts. His books include The Sufi Path of Love and In Search of the Lost Heart.

Friday, July 26, 2013

"Lights On!: The Science of Power Generation"

New from Johns Hopkins University Press: Lights On!: The Science of Power Generation by Mark Denny.

About the book, from the publisher:

Power generation is a relatively recent concern because humans had little need for sustained power until the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. Today, modern civilization is wholly dependent on the production and distribution of power. Without it, our way of life would be extinguished.

In Lights On!, Mark Denny reveals the mysterious world of power generation. He takes us on a fun tour, examining the nature of energy, tracing the history of power generation, explaining the processes from production through transmission to use, and addressing questions that are currently in the headlines, such as:
• Is natural gas the best alternative energy source in the near term?
• Could solar power be the answer to all our problems?
• Why is nuclear power such a hard sell, and are the concerns valid?

Devoting individual chapters to each of the forms of power in use today—electrical, coal, oil and natural gas, hydro, nuclear, and solar—Denny explains the pros and cons of each, their availability worldwide, and which are in dwindling supply. Making clear that his approach is that of "a scientist and engineer, not a politician or businessman," Denny addresses environmental concerns by providing information to help readers understand the science and engineering of power generation so they can discuss contemporary energy issues from an informed perspective. For those who wish to delve deeper into the science, a technical appendix provides estimations for a variety of power generators.

Anyone who is interested in how energy works and how it is transformed to power our lives will get a charge out of Lights On!
The Page 99 Test: The Science of Navigation.

Writers Read: Mark Denny (July 2012).

"The Night of the Comet"

New from Ballantine Books: The Night of the Comet: A Novel by George Bishop.

About the book, from the publisher:

From the acclaimed author of Letter to My Daughter comes an engrossing coming-of-age tale that deftly conveys the hopes and heartaches of adolescence and the unfulfilled dreams that divide a family, played out against the backdrop of a small southern town in 1973.

For his fourteenth birthday, Alan Broussard, Jr., receives a telescope from his father, a science teacher at the local high school who’s eagerly awaiting what he promises will be the astronomical event of the century: the coming of Comet Kohoutek. For Alan Broussard, Sr.—frustrated in his job, remote from his family—the comet is a connection to his past and a bridge to his son, with whom he’s eager to share his love for the stars.

But the only heavenly body Junior has any interest in is his captivating new neighbor and classmate, Gabriella Martello, whose bedroom sits within eyeshot of his telescope’s lens. Meanwhile, his mother, Lydia, sees the comet—and her husband’s obsession with it—as one more thing that keeps her from the bigger, brighter life she once imagined for herself far from the swampy environs of Terrebonne, Louisiana. With Kohoutek drawing ever closer, the family begins to crumble under the weight of expectations, until a startling turn of events will leave both father and son much less certain about the laws that govern their universe.

Illuminating and unforgettable, The Night of the Comet is a novel about the perils of growing up, the longing for connection, and the idea that love and redemption can be found among the stars.
Visit George Bishop's website.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

"When the Stars Threw Down Their Spears"

New from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: When the Stars Threw Down Their Spears: The Goblin Wars, Book Three by Kersten Hamilton.

About the book, from the publisher:

Killing a teacher in the school cafeteria lands Teagan, Finn, and Abby's family in trouble with the law. Mamieo calls in a young half-Traveler half-Scottish lawyer, Seamus McGillahee, telling him the Almighty has spoken to her about a great mending and tending to be done in Mag Mell.

Seamus and Tea get along well until he finds out that she is sídhe—but that is just the beginning of the unsettling things he encounters as he joins the battle against goblin kind. The Wylltsons try to carry on with their lives, but Aiden is badly scared by a new song that is stuck to him. More goblins have snuck into the city, and Ms. Skinner is still causing trouble for Teagan and her family. Meanwhile, Tea and Finn’s relationship is heating up, but he is still bound by the curse of the Mac Cumhaill to fight goblins his entire life, and by blood she is one of them. Nonetheless, at night Teagan leaves her flesh and bones behind and hunts goblins across Chicago with Finn and the phookah Gil.

Then the gateway to Mag Mell opens, and the Wylltsons find themselves caught in a trap. Mab and Fear Doirich are back together again, and they are angry. As her loved ones begin to die, Teagan realizes that she must return to Mag Mell and fight to set things right and save those who remain. . . . But can she destroy the Dark Man and his minions and release Finn from his curse before it's too late?
Visit Kersten Hamilton's website.

"Sea Creatures"

New from Harper: Sea Creatures by Susanna Daniel.

About the book, from the publisher:

When Georgia Quillian returns to her hometown of Miami, her husband, Graham, and their young son in tow, she is hoping for a fresh start. The family has fled Illinois trailing scandal and disappointment, the fallout from Graham's severe sleep disorder and Georgia's failed business. To make matters worse, their charming three-year-old son, Frankie, has for months refused to speak a word.

Although Georgia is still grieving her mother's death from five years earlier, her father and stepmother offer warm welcome—and a slip for the dilapidated houseboat Georgia and Graham have chosen to call home. On a lark, Georgia takes a job as an errand runner for a reclusive artist who lives in the middle of the bay, and she soon finds that time spent with the intense hermit might help Frankie find the courage to speak, and might also help her reconcile the woman she was with the woman she has become.

But when Graham leaves to work on a research vessel in Hurricane Alley, and the truth behind Frankie's mutism is revealed, the family's challenges return, more complicated than before. As a hurricane bears down on South Florida later that summer, Georgia must face the fact that her choices have put her only child in grave danger.

Sea Creatures is a mesmerizing exploration of the high stakes of marriage and parenthood, the story of a woman forced to choose between her husband, her child, and the possibility of new love.
Learn more about the book and author at Susanna Daniel's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Stiltsville.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

"Bubble World"

New from Henry Holt and Co.: Bubble World by Carol Snow.

About the book, from the publisher:

Freesia’s life is perfect. She lives on the beautiful tropical island of Agalinas, surrounded by idyllic weather, fancy dress shops, and peacocks who sing her favorite song to wake her up in the morning. She has so many outfits she could wear a different one every day for a year and not run out.

Lately things on the island may have been a bit flippy: sudden blackouts, students disappearing, even Freesia’s reflection looking slightly . . . off. But in Freesia’s experience, it’s better not to think about things like that too much.

Unfortunately for her, these signs are more than random blips in the universe. Freesia’s perfect bubble is about to pop.
Learn more about the book and author at Carol Snow's website.

My Book, The Movie: Just Like Me, Only Better.

My Book, The Movie: What Came First.

"Seeing What Others Don't"

New from PublicAffairs: Seeing What Others Don't: The Remarkable Ways We Gain Insights by Gary Klein.

About the book, from the publisher:

Insights—like Darwin's understanding of the way evolution actually works, and Watson and Crick's breakthrough discoveries about the structure of DNA—can change the world. We also need insights into the everyday things that frustrate and confuse us so that we can more effectively solve problems and get things done. Yet we know very little about when, why, or how insights are formed—or what blocks them. In Seeing What Others Don't, renowned cognitive psychologist Gary Klein unravels the mystery.

Klein is a keen observer of people in their natural settings—scientists, businesspeople, firefighters, police officers, soldiers, family members, friends, himself—and uses a marvelous variety of stories to illuminate his research into what insights are and how they happen. What, for example, enabled Harry Markopolos to put the finger on Bernie Madoff? How did Dr. Michael Gottlieb make the connections between different patients that allowed him to publish the first announcement of the AIDS epidemic? What did Admiral Yamamoto see (and what did the Americans miss) in a 1940 British attack on the Italian fleet that enabled him to develop the strategy of attack at Pearl Harbor? How did a "smokejumper" see that setting another fire would save his life, while those who ignored his insight perished? How did Martin Chalfie come up with a million-dollar idea (and a Nobel Prize) for a natural flashlight that enabled researchers to look inside living organisms to watch biological processes in action?

Klein also dissects impediments to insight, such as when organizations claim to value employee creativity and to encourage breakthroughs but in reality block disruptive ideas and prioritize avoidance of mistakes. Or when information technology systems are "dumb by design" and block potential discoveries.

Both scientifically sophisticated and fun to read, Seeing What Others Don't shows that insight is not just a "eureka!" moment but a whole new way of understanding.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

"The Joy of Pain"

New from Oxford University Press: The Joy of Pain: Schadenfreude and the Dark Side of Human Nature by Richard H. Smith.

About the book, from the publisher:

Few people will easily admit to taking pleasure in the misfortunes of others. But who doesn't enjoy it when an arrogant but untalented contestant is humiliated on American Idol, or when the embarrassing vice of a self-righteous politician is exposed, or even when an envied friend suffers a small setback? The truth is that joy in someone else's pain-known by the German word schadenfreude--permeates our society.

In schadenfreude, psychologist Richard Smith, one of the world's foremost authorities on envy and shame, sheds much light on a feeling we dare not admit. Smith argues that schadenfreude is a natural human emotion, one worth taking a closer look at, as it reveals much about who we are as human beings. We have a passion for justice. Sometimes, schadenfreude can feel like getting one's revenge, when the suffering person has previously harmed us. But most of us are also motivated to feel good about ourselves, Smith notes, and look for ways to maintain a positive sense of self. One common way to do this is to compare ourselves to others and find areas where we are better. Similarly, the downfall of others--especially when they have seemed superior to us--can lead to a boost in our self-esteem, a lessening of feelings of inferiority. This is often at the root of schadenfreude. As the author points out, most instances of schadenfreude are harmless, on par with the pleasures of light gossip. Yet we must also be mindful that envy can motivate, without full awareness, the engineering of the misfortune we delight in. And envy-induced aggression can take us into dark territory indeed, as Smith shows as he examines the role of envy and schadenfreude in the Nazi persecution of the Jews.

Filled with engaging examples of schadenfreude, from popular reality shows to the Duke-Kentucky basketball rivalry, The Joy of Pain provides an intriguing glimpse into a hidden corner of the human psyche.

"The Secrets of Lost Cats"

New from St. Martin's Press: The Secrets of Lost Cats: One Woman, Twenty Posters, and a New Understanding of Love by Dr. Nancy Davidson.

About the book, from the publisher:

You've seen them. Hanging on telephone poles and posted on supermarket bulletin boards.

But have you ever wondered about the stories behind them?


When her orange tabby, Zak, disappeared, Nancy Davidson did what countless people before her had done. She made a lost cat poster. And after days of frantic searching, she found him. Nancy was ecstatic. Zak seemed happy, too—although being a cat, it was hard to tell.

Zak may have remained his old self, but Nancy had changed. From that moment on, she became acutely aware of lost cat posters. She studied their language, composition, and design. She was drawn to their folk art. Mostly, however, she was intrigued by the messages themselves—the stories behind the posters. It wasn’t long before Nancy reached out to other owners of lost and found cats to offer empathy and support. They told hilarious and often poignant stories. They sought advice.

That’s when Dr. Nancy, the cat lover and the seasoned therapist, stepped in and offered insights brought to light by her shrewd, but never self-serious analysis. What they told her—and what she learns – creates a captivating look into the heart of our relationships with our pets and each other. For seven years, Dr. Nancy followed the lost cat trail discovering answers to a question that eventually touches all of us: What will you do for love?

The Secrets of Lost Cats traces the evolution of Nancy Davidson’s seven-year passion for lost cat posters. From the astonishing, almost implausible posters she encounters across the country—and indeed, the world—to the daring, dedication, and emotional complexity of the cat owners themselves, The Secrets of Lost Cats offers readers an absorbing journey that illuminates love, loss, and learning to love again, even more deeply.
Visit Nancy Davidson'a website.

Monday, July 22, 2013

"Chimera"

New from William Morrow: Chimera: A Jim Chapel Mission by David Wellington.

About the book, from the publisher:

Afghanistan veteran Jim Chapel has been enlisted in a new war.

This time it's in his own backyard ... and even more deadly.

A small band of fugitives escapes from a secret upstate New York military facility, leaving a trail of bodies in its wake. Each fugitive has a target—an innocent civilian—and will not stop until that target has been eliminated.

Wounded Special Forces veteran Jim Chapel has been stuck behind a desk rather than out in the field, but medical technology has finally caught up with his ambitions. Coupled with his unstoppable determination, it will take him back to where he thrives: the thick of the action.

Drafted into a new war, this time in our homeland, Chapel is tasked with hunting a group of escapees from a top secret military compound—all extremely deadly, genetically modified killers—and unraveling the mystery behind their existence. Aided by an enigmatic woman named Angel and a courageous, beautiful veterinarian, Chapel begins a cross-country hunt to stop the murders. But are the killers really rogues, or are they part of a sinister conspiracy that reaches into the highest levels?
Visit David Wellington's website.

The Page 69 Test: Monster Nation.

My Book, The Movie: 13 Bullets and 99 Coffins.

The Page 69 Test: Overwinter.

"Shaping Jazz"

New from Princeton University Press: Shaping Jazz: Cities, Labels, and the Global Emergence of an Art Form by Damon J. Phillips.

About the book, from the publisher:
There are over a million jazz recordings, but only a few hundred tunes have been recorded repeatedly. Why did a minority of songs become jazz standards? Why do some songs--and not others--get rerecorded by many musicians? Shaping Jazz answers this question and more, exploring the underappreciated yet crucial roles played by initial production and markets--in particular, organizations and geography--in the development of early twentieth-century jazz.

Damon Phillips considers why places like New York played more important roles as engines of diffusion than as the sources of standards. He demonstrates why and when certain geographical references in tune and group titles were considered more desirable. He also explains why a place like Berlin, which produced jazz abundantly from the 1920s to early 1930s, is now on jazz's historical sidelines. Phillips shows the key influences of firms in the recording industry, including how record companies and their executives affected what music was recorded, and why major companies would rerelease recordings under artistic pseudonyms. He indicates how a recording's appeal was related to the narrative around its creation, and how the identities of its firm and musicians influenced the tune's long-run popularity.

Applying fascinating ideas about market emergence to a music's commercialization, Shaping Jazz offers a unique look at the origins of a groundbreaking art form.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

"On Gaia"

New from Princeton University Press: On Gaia: A Critical Investigation of the Relationship between Life and Earth by Toby Tyrrell.

About the book, from the publisher:

One of the enduring questions about our planet is how it has remained continuously habitable over vast stretches of geological time despite the fact that its atmosphere and climate are potentially unstable. James Lovelock's Gaia hypothesis posits that life itself has intervened in the regulation of the planetary environment in order to keep it stable and favorable for life. First proposed in the 1970s, Lovelock's hypothesis remains highly controversial and continues to provoke fierce debate. On Gaia undertakes the first in-depth investigation of the arguments put forward by Lovelock and others--and concludes that the evidence doesn't stack up in support of Gaia.

Toby Tyrrell draws on the latest findings in fields as diverse as climate science, oceanography, atmospheric science, geology, ecology, and evolutionary biology. He takes readers to obscure corners of the natural world, from southern Africa where ancient rocks reveal that icebergs were once present near the equator, to mimics of cleaner fish on Indonesian reefs, to blind fish deep in Mexican caves. Tyrrell weaves these and many other intriguing observations into a comprehensive analysis of the major assertions and lines of argument underpinning Gaia, and finds that it is not a credible picture of how life and Earth interact.

On Gaia reflects on the scientific evidence indicating that life and environment mutually affect each other, and proposes that feedbacks on Earth do not provide robust protection against the environment becoming uninhabitable--or against poor stewardship by us.

"The Age of Ice"

New from Scribner: The Age of Ice: A Novel by J. M. Sidorova.

About The Age of Ice, from the publisher:

The Empress Anna Ioannovna has issued her latest eccentric order: construct a palace out of ice blocks. Inside its walls her slaves build a wedding chamber, a canopy bed on a dais, heavy drapes cascading to the floor—all made of ice. Sealed inside are a disgraced nobleman and a deformed female jester. On the empress’s command—for her entertainment—these two are to be married, the relationship consummated inside this frozen prison. In the morning, guards enter to find them half-dead. Nine months later, two boys are born.

Surrounded by servants and animals, Prince Alexander Velitzyn and his twin brother, Andrei, have an idyllic childhood on the family’s large country estate. But as they approach manhood, stark differences coalesce. Andrei is daring and ambitious; Alexander is tentative and adrift. One frigid winter night on the road between St. Petersburg and Moscow, as he flees his army post, Alexander comes to a horrifying revelation: his body is immune to cold.

J. M. Sidorova’s boldly original and genrebending novel takes readers from the grisly fields of the Napoleonic Wars to the blazing heat of Afghanistan, from the outer reaches of Siberia to the cacophonous streets of nineteenth-century Paris. The adventures of its protagonist, Prince Alexander Velitzyn—on a lifelong quest for the truth behind his strange physiology—will span three continents and two centuries and bring him into contact with an incredible range of real historical figures, from Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein, to the licentious Russian empress Elizaveta and Arctic explorer Joseph Billings.

The Age of Ice is one of the most enchanting and inventive debut novels of the year.
Learn more about the book and author at J.M. Sidorova's website, blog and the Scribner website.

The Page 69 Test: The Age of Ice.

Writers Read: J. M. Sidorova.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

"Undercurrent"

New from HarperTeen: Undercurrent by Paul Blackwell.

About the book, from the publisher:

A shadowy figure. An intense roar. The sensation of falling—fast.

That's all Callum Harris remembers from his tumble over the waterfall. But when he wakes up in a hospital bed and finds his best friend trying to kill him, Callum knows something is seriously wrong. Unfortunately for him, the mysteries are just getting started.

Why are his parents acting like he's some big sports star all of a sudden? And why are all the buildings in town more run-down than Callum remembers? Worst of all . . . what happened to Callum's brother? Either Callum has gone seriously crazy or something happened when he went over the edge of the falls. Something impossible. Callum needs answers, and now. Because in this twisted new version of the life Callum knew, his former best friend isn't the only one who wants to see him dead.
Follow Paul Blackwell on Twitter.

"Contaminated"

New from EgmontUSA: Contaminated by Em Garner.

About the book, from the publisher:

After the Contamination - an epidemic caused by the super-trendy diet drink SlimPro that turned ordinary citizens into shambling creatures unable to control their violent impulses - the government rounded up the "Connies" to protect the remaining population. But now, two years later, the government's started sending the rehabilitated back home, complete with shock collars that will either stop the Connies from committing violent acts or kill them before they do any further harm.

Since her parents were taken in the roundup, Velvet Ellis has struggled to care for her ten-year-old sister and maintain a sense of normalcy, despite brutal government rations and curfews. She goes to the "Kennels" every day searching for her parents, and when she finds her mother, she's eager to bring her home. Maybe, eventually, they'll be able to get back to the way things were before. But even though it seems that her mother is getting better (something that the government says is impossible), there will be no happy transition. Anti-Connie sentiment is high, and rumor has it that an even worse wave of the Contamination is imminent. And then the government declares that the Connies will be rounded up and neutralized, once and for all.

Sacrificing everything - her boyfriend, her home, and her job - Velvet will do anything to protect her mother. Velvet has to get the collar off her mother before the military comes to take her away. Even if it means risking all of their lives.

Gritty and grabbing, Contaminated is a harrowing, emotionally charged dystopic venture into YA from a well-known and respected writer of women's fiction.
Visit Em Garner's website and Facebook page.

Friday, July 19, 2013

"Imperfect Spiral"

New from Walker Childrens: Imperfect Spiral by Debbie Levy.

About the book, from the publisher:

Danielle Snyder's summer of babysitting turns into one of overwhelming guilt and sadness when Humphrey, her five-year-old charge is killed suddenly. Danielle gets caught up in the machinery of tragedy: police investigations, neighborhood squabbling, and, when the driver of the car that struck Humphrey turns out to be an undocumented alien, a politically charged immigration debate. Wanting only to mourn the sweet little boy she grew to love, Danielle tries to avoid the world around her, until a new and unexpected friendship with Justin, a boy she meets at the park, helps her find a way to preserve Humphrey's memory, stand up for what she believes in, and find her own path to forgiveness. Readers will be swept away by this heart-wrenching, but uplifting story.
Visit Debbie Levy's website and blog.

"What's Wrong with Climate Politics and How to Fix It"

New from John Wiley & Sons: What's Wrong with Climate Politics and How to Fix It by Paul G. Harris.

About the book, from the publisher:

Governments have failed to stem global emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases causing climate change. Indeed, climate-changing pollution is increasing globally, and will do so for decades to come without far more aggressive action. What explains this failure to effectively tackle one of the world's most serious problems? And what can we do about it?

To answer these questions, Paul G. Harris looks at climate politics as a doctor might look at a very sick patient. He performs urgent diagnoses and prescribes vital treatments to revive our ailing planet before it's too late.

The book begins by diagnosing what’s most wrong with climate politics, including the anachronistic international system, which encourages nations to fight for their narrowly perceived interests and makes major cuts in greenhouse pollution extraordinarily difficult; the deadlock between the United States and China, which together produce over one-third of global greenhouse gas pollution but do little more than demand that the other act first; and affluent lifestyles and overconsumption, which are spreading rapidly from industrialized nations to the developing world.

The book then prescribes several "remedies" for the failed politics of climate change, including a new kind of climate diplomacy with people at its center, national policies that put the common but differentiated responsibilities of individuals alongside those of nations, and a campaign for simultaneously enhancing human wellbeing and environmental sustainability. While these treatments are aspirational, they are not intended to be utopian. As Harris shows, they are genuine, workable solutions to what ails the politics of climate change today.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

"Countdown City"

New from Quirk Books: Countdown City: The Last Policeman Book II by Ben Winters.

About the book, from the publisher:

The Last Policeman received the 2013 Edgar Award for Best Paperback Original--along with plenty of glowing reviews.

Now Detective Hank Palace returns in Countdown City, the second volume of the Last Policeman trilogy. There are just 77 days before a deadly asteroid collides with Earth, and Detective Palace is out of a job. With the Concord police force operating under the auspices of the U.S. Justice Department, Hank's days of solving crimes are over...until a woman from his past begs for help finding her missing husband.

Brett Cavatone disappeared without a trace—an easy feat in a world with no phones, no cars, and no way to tell whether someone’s gone “bucket list” or justgone. With society falling to shambles, Hank pieces together what few clues he can, on a search that leads him from a college-campus-turned-anarchist-encampment to a crumbling coastal landscape where anti-immigrant militia fend off “impact zone” refugees.

Countdown City presents another fascinating mystery set on brink of an apocalypse--and once again, Hank Palace confronts questions way beyond "whodunit." What do we as human beings owe to one another? And what does it mean to be civilized when civilization is collapsing all around you?
Visit the official Ben H. Winters website.

My Book, The Movie: The Last Policeman.

The Page 69 Test: The Last Policeman.

"Ten Things I've Learnt About Love"

New from The Penguin Press: Ten Things I've Learnt About Love by Sarah Butler.

About the book, from the publisher:

About to turn thirty, Alice is the youngest of three daughters, and the black sheep of her family. Drawn to traveling in far-flung and often dangerous countries, she has never enjoyed the closeness with her father that her two older sisters have and has eschewed their more conventional career paths. She has left behind a failed relationship in London with the man she thought she might marry and is late to hear the news that her father is dying. She returns to the family home only just in time to say good-bye.

Daniel is called many things—"tramp", "bum", "lost." He hasn't had a roof over his head for almost thirty years, but he once had a steady job and a passionate love affair with a woman he’s never forgotten. To him, the city of London has come to be like home in a way that no bricks and mortar dwelling ever was. He makes sculptures out of the objects he finds on his walks throughout the city—bits of string and scraps of paper, a child’s hair tie, and a lost earring—and experiences synesthesia, a neurological condition which causes him to see words and individual letters of the alphabet as colors. But as he approaches his sixties his health is faltering, and he is kept alive by the knowledge of one thing—that he has a daughter somewhere in the world whom he has never been able to find.

A searching and inventive debut, Ten Things I’ve Learnt About Love is a story about finding love in unexpected places, about rootlessness and homecoming, and the power of the ties that bind. It announces Sarah Butler as a major new talent for telling stories that are heart-wrenching, page-turning, and unforgettable.
Visit Sarah Butler's website.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

"The Cat Sitter's Cradle"

New from Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books: The Cat Sitter's Cradle (Dixie Hemingway Series #8) by Blaize Clement and John Clement.

About the book, from the publisher:

No mission is impawsible for pet sitter Dixie Hemingway (no relation to you-know-who). On an early morning walk, she spots an exotic bird rarely seen north of the equator, much less in the sleepy beach-side town of Siesta Key, Florida. At first, Dixie thinks the bird has been blown off course by a terrible storm, but as she digs deeper into where the bird came from, Dixie becomes increasingly suspicious of its origins. When one client is found dead and a new friend and her baby disappear without warning, Dixie is pulled into a whirlwind of greed, deception, and danger. The eighth in this popular cozy series, John Clement and Blaize Clement's The Cat Sitter's Cradle, will keep both newcomers and loyal Dixie fans perched on the edge of their seats.
Visit the official Dixie Hemingway Mystery series website.

The Page 99 Test: Even Cat Sitters Get the Blues.

The Page 99 Test: Cat Sitter on a Hot Tin Roof.

The Page 69 Test: Raining Cat Sitters and Dogs.

"Her Best-Kept Secret"

New from Simon & Schuster: Her Best-Kept Secret: Why Women Drink-And How They Can Regain Control by Gabrielle Glaser.

About the book, from the publisher:

What’s the first thing many women do when they go home? Make a dash for the white wine in the refrigerator.

In Her Best-Kept Secret, journalist Gabrielle Glaser uncovers this hidden-in-plain-sight drinking epidemic—but doesn’t cause you to recoil in alarm. She is the first to document that American women are drinking more often than ever and in ever larger quantities. And she is the first to show that contrary to the impression fostered by reality shows and Gossip Girl, young women alone are not driving these statistics—their moms and grandmothers are, too. But Glaser doesn’t wag a finger. Instead, in a funny and tender voice, Glaser looks at the roots of the problem, explores the strange history of women and alcohol in America, drills into the emerging and counterintuitive science about that relationship, and asks: Are women really getting the help they need? Is it possible to come back from beyond the sipping point and develop a healthy relationship with the bottle?

Glaser reveals that, for many women, joining Alcoholics Anonymous is not the answer—it is part of the problem. She shows that as scientists and health professionals learn more about women’s particular reactions to alcohol, they are coming up with new and more effective approaches to excessive drinking. In that sense, Glaser offers modern solutions to a very modern problem.
Visit Gabrielle Glaser's website.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

"The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp"

New from Atheneum Books for Young Readers: The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp by Kathi Appelt.

About the book, from the publisher:

Meet Bingo and J’miah, raccoon brothers on a mission to save Sugar Man Swamp in this tale from Newbery Honoree Kathi Appelt.

Raccoon brothers Bingo and J’miah are the newest recruits of the Official Sugar Man Swamp Scouts. The opportunity to serve the Sugar Man—the massive creature who delights in delicious sugar cane and magnanimously rules over the swamp—is an honor, and also a big responsibility, since the rest of the swamp critters rely heavily on the intel of these hardworking Scouts.

Twelve-year-old Chap Brayburn is not a member of any such organization. But he loves the swamp something fierce, and he’ll do anything to help protect it.

And help is surely needed, because world-class alligator wrestler Jaeger Stitch wants to turn Sugar Man swamp into an Alligator World Wrestling Arena and Theme Park, and the troubles don’t end there. There is alsoa gang of wild feral hogs on the march, headed straight toward them all.

The Scouts are ready. All they have to do is wake up the Sugar Man. Problem is, no one’s been able to wake that fellow up in a decade or four…

Newbery Honoree and National Book Award finalist Kathi Appelt presents a story of care and conservation, funny as all get out and ripe for reading aloud.
Writers Read: Kathi Appelt (March 2009).

Visit Kathi Appelt's website.

"The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells"

New from Ecco: The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells by Andrew Sean Greer.

About the book, from the publisher:

1985. After the death of her beloved twin brother, Felix, and the breakup with her longtime lover, Nathan, Greta Wells embarks on a radical psychiatric treatment to alleviate her suffocating depression. But the treatment has unexpected effects, and Greta finds herself transported to the lives she might have had if she'd been born in different eras.

During the course of her treatment, Greta cycles between her own time and alternate lives in 1918, where she is a bohemian adulteress, and 1941, which transforms her into a devoted mother and wife. Separated by time and social mores, Greta's three lives are remarkably similar, fraught with familiar tensions and difficult choices. Each reality has its own losses, its own rewards, and each extracts a different price. And the modern Greta learns that her alternate selves are unpredictable, driven by their own desires and needs.

As her final treatment looms, questions arise: What will happen once each Greta learns how to remain in one of the other worlds? Who will choose to stay in which life?

Magically atmospheric, achingly romantic, The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells beautifully imagines "what if" and wondrously wrestles with the impossibility of what could be.
Visit Andrew Sean Greer's website and follow him on Facebook.

Monday, July 15, 2013

"On the Noodle Road"

New from Riverhead: On the Noodle Road: From Beijing to Rome, with Love and Pasta by Jen Lin-Liu.

About the book, from the publisher:

A food writer travels the Silk Road, immersing herself in a moveable feast of foods and cultures and discovering some surprising truths about commitment, independence, and love.

Feasting her way through an Italian honeymoon, Jen Lin-Liu was struck by culinary echoes of the delicacies she ate and cooked back in China, where she’d lived for more than a decade. Who really invented the noodle? she wondered, like many before her. But also: How had food and culture moved along the Silk Road, the ancient trade route linking Asia to Europe—and what could still be felt of those long-ago migrations? With her new husband’s blessing, she set out to discover the connections, both historical and personal, eating a path through western China and on into Central Asia, Iran, Turkey, and across the Mediterranean.

The journey takes Lin-Liu into the private kitchens where the headscarves come off and women not only knead and simmer but also confess and confide. The thin rounds of dough stuffed with meat that are dumplings in Beijing evolve into manti in Turkey—their tiny size the measure of a bride’s worth—and end as tortellini in Italy. And as she stirs and samples, listening to the women talk about their lives and longings, Lin-Liu gains a new appreciation of her own marriage, learning to savor the sweetness of love freely chosen.
Visit Jen Lin-Liu's website.

Writers Read: Jen Lin-Liu (November 2008).

"Mystery Girl"

New from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: Mystery Girl: A Novel by David Gordon.

About the book, from the publisher:

When Sam Kornberg’s wife, Lala, walks out on him, he’s an unemployed used bookstore clerk and failed experimental novelist with a broken heart. Desperate to win her back, he takes a job as assistant detective to the enigmatic Solar Lonsky, a private eye who might be an eccentric and morbid genius or just a morbidly obese madman.

It’s a simple tail job, following a beautiful and mysterious lady around L.A., but Sam soon finds himself helplessly falling for his quarry and hopelessly entangled in a murder case involving Satanists, succubi, underground filmmakers, Hollywood bigshots, Mexican shootouts, video-store geekery, and sexy dopplegangers from beyond the grave. A case that heralds the risks of hardcore reading and the mournful death of the novel…or perhaps just the decline of Western Civilization.

Mystery Girl is a thriller about the dangers of marriage and a detective story about the unsolvable mysteries of love, art, and other people.
Learn more about the book and author at David Gordon's blog.

The Page 69 Test: The Serialist.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

"The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P."

New from Henry Holt and Co.: The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.: A Novel by Adelle Waldman.

About the book, from the publisher:

Bold, touching, and funny—a debut novel by a brilliant young woman about the coming-of-age of a brilliant young literary man

“He was not the kind of guy who disappeared after sleeping with a woman—and certainly not after the condom broke. On the contrary: Nathaniel Piven was a product of a postfeminist 1980s childhood and politically correct, 1990s college education. He had learned all about male privilege. Moreover, he was in possession of a functional and frankly rather clamorous conscience.” – From The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.

Nate Piven is a rising star in Brooklyn’s literary scene. After several lean and striving years, he has his pick of both magazine assignments and women: Juliet, the hotshot business reporter; Elisa, his gorgeous ex-girlfriend, now friend; and Hannah, “almost universally regarded as nice and smart, or smart and nice,” who is lively fun and holds her own in conversation with his friends.

In this 21st-century literary world, wit and conversation are not at all dead. Is romance? Novelist Adelle Waldman plunges into the psyche of a modern man—who thinks of himself as beyond superficial judgment, yet constantly struggles with his own status anxiety, who is drawn to women, yet has a habit of letting them down. With tough-minded intelligence and wry good humor The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. is an absorbing tale of one young man’s search for happiness—and an inside look at how he really thinks about women, sex and love.
Visit Adelle Waldman's website.

"Nearer Home"

New from Thomas Dunne Books: Nearer Home by Joy Castro.

About the book, from the publisher:

The irresistible, razor-sharp second book in the post-Katrina New Orleans-set crime series featuring unforgettable and gutsy reporter Nola Céspedes

Early one morning, Times-Picayune crime reporter Nola Céspedes goes for her regular run in Audubon Park. More than the heat of the dawning New Orleans day, she’s trying to outrun her growing unease with the man she's seeing, who is pushing her to get more serious. Instead, Nola finds herself at the scene of a crime when she discovers a dead body. Worse, Nola recognizes the victim: Judith Taffner, her former journalism professor at Tulane.

Not convinced Dr. Taffner’s murder was the random work of a psychopath, and not one to put much trust in the good ol’ boys of the NOPD, Nola takes it upon herself to investigate. She discovers that Dr. Taffner was working on two explosive stories, both of which would shock even this notoriously corrupt city. And when an apparently related murder occurs in the middle of New Orleans’ packed Jazz Fest, Nola realizes it’s only a matter of time before she becomes a ruthless killer's next target.

Rich with details of New Orleans and featuring an original, tough heroine as fascinating as the city itself, Nearer Home is the perfect follow-up to Joy Castro’s Hell or High Water, confirming her status as a talented new crime writer to watch.
Learn more about the book and author at Joy Castro’s website and Twitter perch.

The Page 69 Test: Hell or High Water.

Writers Read: Joy Castro (July 2012).

Saturday, July 13, 2013

"The Wednesday Daughters"

New from Ballantine Books: The Wednesday Daughters: A Novel by Meg Waite Clayton.

About the book, from the publisher:

In the tradition of Kristin Hannah and Karen Joy Folwer, Meg Waite Clayton, bestselling author of The Wednesday Sisters, returns with an enthralling new novel of mothers, daughters, and the secrets and dreams passed down through generations.

It is early evening when Hope Tantry arrives at the small cottage in England’s pastoral Lake District where her mother, Ally, spent the last years of her life. Ally—one of a close-knit group of women who called themselves the Wednesday Sisters—had used the cottage as a writer’s retreat while she worked on her unpublished biography of Beatrix Potter, yet Hope knows little about her mother’s time there. Traveling with Hope are friends Anna Page and Julie, first introduced as little girls in The Wednesday Sisters, now grown women grappling with issues of a different era. They’ve come to help Hope sort through her mother’s personal effects, yet what they find is a tangled family history—one steeped in Lake District lore.

Hope finds a stack of Ally’s old notebooks tucked away in a hidden drawer, all written in a mysterious code. As she, Julie, and Anna Page try to decipher Ally’s writings—the reason for their encryption, their possible connection to the Potter manuscript—they are forced to confront their own personal struggles: Hope’s doubts about her marriage, Julie’s grief over losing her twin sister, Anna Page’s fear of commitment in relationships. And as the real reason for Ally’s stay in England comes to light, Hope, Julie, and Anna Page reach a new understanding about the enduring bonds of family, the unwavering strength of love, and the inescapable pull of the past.
Learn more about the book and author at Meg Waite Clayton's website and blog.

Meg Waite Clayton is the author of the national bestseller The Wednesday Sisters and The Language of Light, a finalist for the Bellwether Prize. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School.

"Massacre Pond"

New from Minotaur Books: Massacre Pond: A Novel by Paul Doiron.

About the book, from the publisher:

Edgar finalist Paul Doiron's superb new novel featuring Game Warden Mike Bowditch and a beautiful, enigmatic woman whose mission to save the Maine wilderness may have incited a murder

On an unseasonably hot October morning, Bowditch is called to the scene of a bizarre crime: the corpses of seven moose have been found senselessly butchered on the estate of Elizabeth Morse, a wealthy animal rights activist who is buying up huge parcels of timberland to create a new national park.

What at first seems like mindless slaughter—retribution by locals for the job losses Morse's plan is already causing in the region—becomes far more sinister when a shocking murder is discovered and Mike's investigation becomes a hunt to find a ruthless killer. In order to solve the controversial case, Bowditch risks losing everything he holds dear: his best friends, his career as a law enforcement officer, and the love of his life.

The beauty and magnificence of the Maine woods is the setting for a story of suspense and violence when one powerful woman’s missionary zeal comes face to face with ruthless cruelty.
Learn more about Paul Doiron at his website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: The Poacher's Son.

My Book, The Movie: Trespasser.

Friday, July 12, 2013

"Pilgrim's Wilderness"

New from Crown: Pilgrim's Wilderness: A True Story of Faith and Madness on the Alaska Frontier by Tom Kizzia.

About the book, from the publisher:

Into the Wild meets Helter Skelter in this riveting true story of a modern-day homesteading family in the deepest reaches of the Alaskan wilderness – and of the chilling secrets of its maniacal, spellbinding patriarch.

When Papa Pilgrim appeared in the Alaska frontier outpost of McCarthy with his wife and fifteen children in tow, his new neighbors had little idea of the trouble to come. The Pilgrim Family presented themselves as a shining example of the homespun Christian ideal, with their proud piety and beautiful old-timey music, but their true story ran dark and deep. Within weeks, Papa had bulldozed a road through the mountains to the new family home at an abandoned copper mine, sparking a tense confrontation with the National Park Service and forcing his ghost town neighbors to take sides in an ever-more volatile battle over where a citizen’s rights end and the government’s power begins.

In Pilgrim’s Wilderness, veteran Alaska journalist Tom Kizzia unfolds the remarkable, at times harrowing, story of a charismatic spinner of American myths who was not what he seemed, the townspeople caught in his thrall, and the family he brought to the brink of ruin. As Kizzia discovered, Papa Pilgrim was in fact the son of a rich Texas family with ties to Hoover’s FBI and strange, oblique connections to the Kennedy assassination and the movie stars of Easy Rider. And as his fight with the government in Alaska grew more intense, the turmoil in his brood made it increasingly difficult to tell whether his children were messianic followers or hostages in desperate need of rescue. In this powerful piece of Americana, written with uncommon grace and high drama, Kizzia uses his unparalleled access to capture an era-defining clash between environmentalists and pioneers ignited by a mesmerizing sociopath who held a town and a family captive.
Visit Tom Kizzia's website.

"The Invention of Murder"

New from Thomas Dunne Books: The Invention of Murder: How the Victorians Revelled in Death and Detection and Created Modern Crime by Judith Flanders.

About the book, from the publisher:

In this fascinating exploration of murder in the nineteenth century, Judith Flanders examines some of the most gripping cases that captivated the Victorians and gave rise to the first detective fiction

Murder in the nineteenth century was rare. But murder as sensation and entertainment became ubiquitous, with cold-blooded killings transformed into novels, broadsides, ballads, opera, and melodrama—even into puppet shows and performing dog-acts. Detective fiction and the new police force developed in parallel, each imitating the other—the founders of Scotland Yard gave rise to Dickens's Inspector Bucket, the first fictional police detective, who in turn influenced Sherlock Holmes and, ultimately, even P.D. James and Patricia Cornwell.

In this meticulously researched and engrossing book, Judith Flanders retells the gruesome stories of many different types of murder, both famous and obscure: from Greenacre, who transported his dismembered fiancée around town by omnibus, to Burke and Hare’s bodysnatching business in Edinburgh; from the crimes (and myths) of Sweeney Todd and Jack the Ripper, to the tragedy of the murdered Marr family in London’s East End. Through these stories of murder—from the brutal to the pathetic—Flanders builds a rich and multi-faceted portrait of Victorian society. With an irresistible cast of swindlers, forgers, and poisoners, the mad, the bad and the utterly dangerous, The Invention of Murder is both a mesmerizing tale of crime and punishment, and history at its most readable.
Visit the official Judith Flanders website and Twitter perch.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

"Downfall"

New from Grand Central Publishing: Downfall by Jeff Abbott.

About the book, from the publisher:

She is a good mother. She will do what she must to ensure that her daughter Diana has a perfect life, just as perfect as the one they've led for the past seven years.

No matter who has to die.


DOWNFALL

The simplest beginnings can unravel a life. For Sam Capra, it is the moment a beautiful young woman walks into his San Francisco bar.

Sam doesn't want trouble. An ex-CIA agent, his only desire now is to build a quiet, peaceful home for himself and his infant son. But Diana Keene is no ordinary customer. She's pursued by two gunmen, and when she finds Sam, she whispers an urgent, desperate plea: "Help me."

And without any warning, Sam is thrust into a fight for his life. For Diana is being hunted by a deadly network-a shadowy alliance of select, influential men and women who use their connections, their authority, and their wealth to bend the world to their will. Now, this network aims its relentless fury against the man interfering with their plans to seize a new level of power: Sam Capra.

Threatened on all sides, Sam has only one hope to survive the network's all-consuming attack and return to his life with his son....he must destroy the man who owns the people who run the world.
Learn more about the book and author at Jeff Abbott's website.

The Page 69 Test: Trust Me.

The Page 69 Test: Adrenaline.

Writers Read: Jeff Abbott (July 2011).

Writers Read: Jeff Abbott (August 2012).

"Finding Colin Firth"

New from Gallery: Finding Colin Firth: A Novel by Mia March.

About the book, from the publisher:

From the author of The Meryl Streep Movie Club, a “heart-warming, spirit-lifting read just in time for beach season” (Kirkus Reviews), comes a new novel about three women, connected in secret and surprising ways, who are in for a life-changing summer when rumor has it that actor Colin Firth is coming to their Maine town to film a movie.

After losing her job and leaving her beloved husband, journalist Gemma Hendricks is sure that scoring an interview with Colin Firth will save her career and marriage. Yet a heart-tugging local story about women, family ties, love, and loss captures her heart— and changes everything. The story concerns Bea Crane, a floundering twenty-two-year-old who learns in a deathbed confession letter that she was adopted at birth. Bea is in Boothbay Harbor to surreptitiously observe her biological mother, Veronica Russo—something of a legend in town—who Bea might not be ready to meet after all. Veronica, a thirty-eight-year-old diner waitress famous for her “healing” pies, has come home to Maine to face her past. But when she’s hired as an extra on the bustling movie set, she wonders if she is hiding from the truth . . . and perhaps the opportunity of a real-life Mr. Darcy.

These three women will discover more than they ever imagined in this coastal Maine town, buzzing with hopes of Colin Firth. Even the conjecture of his arrival inspires daydreams, amplifies complicated lives, and gives incentive to find their own romantic endings.
Visit Mia March's website.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

"The Violet Hour"

New from Scribner: The Violet Hour: A Novel by Katherine Hill.

About the book, from the publisher:

A pitch-perfect, emotionally riveting debut novel about the fracturing of a marriage and a family – from an award-winning young writer with superb storytelling instincts.

Life hasn’t always been perfect for Abe and Cassandra Green, but an afternoon on the San Francisco Bay might be as good as it gets. Abe is a rheumatologist, piloting his coveted new boat. Cassandra is a sculptor, finally gaining modest attention for her art. Their beautiful daughter, Elizabeth, is heading to Harvard in the fall. Somehow, they’ve made things work. But then, out of nowhere, they plunge into a terrible fight. Cassandra has been unfaithful. In a fit of fury, Abe throws himself off the boat.

A love story that begins with the end of a marriage, The Violet Hour follows a modern family through past and present, from the funeral home in the Washington suburbs where Cassandra and her siblings grow up to the San Francisco public health clinic where Abe and Cassandra first meet. As the Greens navigate the passage of time—the expectations of youth, the concessions of middle age, the headiness of desire, the bitterness of loss—they must come to terms with the fragility of their intimacy, the strange legacies they inherit from their parents, and the kind of people they want to be. Exquisitely written, The Violet Hour is the deeply moving story of a family suddenly ripped apart, but then just possibly reborn.
Visit Katherine Hill's website and blog.

"Whistling Past the Graveyard"

New from Gallery Books: Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall.

About the book, from the publisher:

In the summer of 1963, nine-year-old spitfire Starla Claudelle runs away from her strict grandmother’s Mississippi home. Starla hasn’t seen her momma since she was three—that’s when Lulu left for Nashville to become a famous singer. Starla’s daddy works on an oil rig in the Gulf, so Mamie, with her tsk-tsk sounds and her bitter refrain of “Lord, give me strength,” is the nearest thing to family Starla has. After being put on restriction yet again for her sassy mouth, Starla is caught sneaking out for the Fourth of July parade. She fears Mamie will make good on her threat to send Starla to reform school, so Starla walks to the outskirts of town, and just keeps walking.... If she can get to Nashville and find her momma, then all that she promised will come true: Lulu will be a star. Daddy will come to live in Nashville, too. And her family will be whole and perfect. Walking a lonely country road, Starla accepts a ride from Eula, a black woman traveling alone with a white baby. The trio embarks on a road trip that will change Starla’s life forever. She sees for the first time life as it really is—as she reaches for a dream of how it could one day be.
Visit Susan Crandall's website and blog.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

"Letters from Skye"

New from Ballantine Books: Letters from Skye by Jessica Brockmole.

About the book, from the publisher:

A sweeping story told in letters, spanning two continents and two world wars, Jessica Brockmole’s atmospheric debut novel captures the indelible ways that people fall in love, and celebrates the power of the written word to stir the heart.

March 1912: Twenty-four-year-old Elspeth Dunn, a published poet, has never seen the world beyond her home on Scotland’s remote Isle of Skye. So she is astonished when her first fan letter arrives, from a college student, David Graham, in far-away America. As the two strike up a correspondence—sharing their favorite books, wildest hopes, and deepest secrets—their exchanges blossom into friendship, and eventually into love. But as World War I engulfs Europe and David volunteers as an ambulance driver on the Western front, Elspeth can only wait for him on Skye, hoping he’ll survive.

June 1940: At the start of World War II, Elspeth’s daughter, Margaret, has fallen for a pilot in the Royal Air Force. Her mother warns her against seeking love in wartime, an admonition Margaret doesn’t understand. Then, after a bomb rocks Elspeth’s house, and letters that were hidden in a wall come raining down, Elspeth disappears. Only a single letter remains as a clue to Elspeth’s whereabouts. As Margaret sets out to discover where her mother has gone, she must also face the truth of what happened to her family long ago.

Sparkling with charm and full of captivating period detail, Letters from Skye is a testament to the power of love to overcome great adversity, and marks Jessica Brockmole as a stunning new literary voice.
Visit Jessica Brockmole's website.

"The Spy Who Loved"

New from St. Martin's Press: The Spy Who Loved: The Secrets and Lives of Christine Granville by Clare Mulley.

About the book, from the publisher:

The Untold Story of Britain’s First Female Special Agent of World War II

In June 1952, a woman was murdered by an obsessed colleague in a hotel in the South Kensington district of London. Her name was Christine Granville. That she died young was perhaps unsurprising; that she had survived the Second World War was remarkable.

The daughter of a feckless Polish aristocrat and his wealthy Jewish wife, Granville would become one of Britain’s most daring and highly decorated special agents. Having fled to Britain on the outbreak of war, she was recruited by the intelligence services and took on mission after mission. She skied over the hazardous High Tatras into occupied Poland, served in Egypt and North Africa, and was later parachuted behind enemy lines into France, where an agent’s life expectancy was only six weeks. Her courage, quick wit, and determination won her release from arrest more than once, and saved the lives of several fellow officers—including one of her many lovers—just hours before their execution by the Gestapo. More importantly, the intelligence she gathered in her espionage was a significant contribution to the Allied war effort, and she was awarded the George Medal, the OBE, and the Croix de Guerre.

Granville exercised a mesmeric power on those who knew her. In The Spy Who Loved, acclaimed biographer Clare Mulley tells the extraordinary history of this charismatic, difficult, fearless, and altogether extraordinary woman.
Visit Clare Mulley's website.