Saturday, June 12, 2021

"The Portrait of a Mirror"

New from The Overlook Press: The Portrait of a Mirror: A Novel by A. Natasha Joukovsky.

About the book, from the publisher:

A stunning reinvention of the myth of Narcissus as a modern novel of manners, about two young, well-heeled couples whose parallel lives intertwine over the course of a summer, by a sharp new voice in fiction

Wes and Diana are the kind of privileged, well-educated, self-involved New Yorkers you may not want to like but can't help wanting to like you. With his boyish good looks, blue-blood pedigree, and the recent tidy valuation of his tech startup, Wes would have made any woman weak in the knees—any woman, that is, except perhaps his wife. Brilliant to the point of cunning, Diana possesses her own arsenal of charms, handily deployed against Wes in their constant wars of will and rhetorical sparring.

Vivien and Dale live in Philadelphia, but with ties to the same prep schools and management consulting firms as Wes and Diana, they’re of the same ilk. With a wedding date on the horizon and carefully curated life of coupledom, Vivien and Dale make a picture-perfect pair on Instagram. But when Vivien becomes a visiting curator at The Metropolitan Museum of Art just as Diana is starting a new consulting project in Philadelphia, the two couples’ lives cross and tangle. It’s the summer of 2015 and they’re all enraptured by one another and too engulfed in desire to know what they want—despite knowing just how to act.

In this wickedly fun debut, A. Natasha Joukovsky crafts an absorbing portrait of modern romance, rousing real sympathy for these flawed characters even as she skewers them. Shrewdly observed, whip-smart, and shot through with wit and good humor, The Portrait of a Mirror is a piercing exploration of narcissism, desire, self-delusion, and the great mythology of love.
Visit A. Natasha Joukovsky's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, June 11, 2021

"Tony Hillerman: A Life"

Coming October 2021 from the University of Oklahoma Press: Tony Hillerman: A Life by James McGrath Morris.

About the book, from the publisher:

The author of eighteen spellbinding detective novels set on the Navajo Nation, Tony Hillerman simultaneously transformed a traditional genre and unlocked the mysteries of the Navajo culture to an audience of millions. His best-selling novels added Navajo Tribal Police detectives Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee to the pantheon of American fictional detectives.

Morris offers a balanced portrait of Hillerman’s personal and professional life and provides a timely appreciation of his work. In intimate detail, Morris captures the author’s early years in Depression-era Oklahoma; his near-death experience in World War II; his sixty-year marriage to Marie; his family life, including six children, five of them adopted; his work in the trenches of journalism; his affliction with PTSD and its connection to his enchantment with Navajo spirituality; and his ascension as one of America’s best-known authors of mysteries. Further, Morris uncovers the almost accidental invention of Hillerman’s iconic detective Joe Leaphorn and the circumstances that led to the addition of Jim Chee as his partner.

Hillerman’s novels were not without controversy. Morris examines the charges of cultural appropriation leveled at the author toward the end of his life. Yet, for many readers, including many Native Americans, Hillerman deserves critical acclaim for his knowledgeable and sensitive portrayal of DinĂ© (Navajo) history, culture, and identity.

At the time of Hillerman’s death, more than 20 million copies of his books were in print, and his novels inspired Robert Redford to adapt several of them to film. In weaving together all the elements of the author’s life, Morris drew on the untapped collection of the author’s papers, extensive archival research, interviews with friends, colleagues, and family, as well as travel in the Navajo Nation. Filled with never-before-told anecdotes and fresh insights, Tony Hillerman will thrill the author’s fans and awaken new interest in his life and literary legacy.
Learn more about the book and author at the official James McGrath Morris website.

The Page 99 Test: Pulitzer: A Life in Politics, Print, and Power.

The Page 99 Test: Eye on the Struggle.

The Page 99 Test: The Ambulance Drivers.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Killing Hills"

New from Grove Press: The Killing Hills by Chris Offutt.

About the book, from the publisher:

A literary master across genres, award-winning author Chris Offutt’s latest novel, The Killing Hills, is a compelling, propulsive thriller in which a suspicious death exposes the loyalties and rivalries of a deep-rooted and fiercely private community in the Kentucky backwoods.

Mick Hardin, a combat veteran now working as an Army CID agent, is home on a leave that is almost done. His wife is about to give birth, but they aren’t getting along. His sister, newly risen to sheriff, has just landed her first murder case, and local politicians are pushing for city police or the FBI to take the case. Are they convinced she can’t handle it, or is there something else at work? She calls on Mick who, with his homicide investigation experience and familiarity with the terrain, is well-suited to staying under the radar. As he delves into the investigation, he dodges his commanding officer’s increasingly urgent calls while attempting to head off further murders. And he needs to talk to his wife.

The Killing Hills is a novel of betrayal—sexual, personal, within and between the clans that populate the hollers—and the way it so often shades into violence. Chris Offutt has delivered a dark, witty, and absolutely compelling novel of murder and honor, with an investigator-hero unlike any in fiction.
Visit Chris Offutt's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, June 10, 2021

"Darling"

New from Imprint: Darling by K. Ancrum.

About the book, from the publisher:

A teen girl finds herself lost on a dangerous adventure in this YA thriller by the acclaimed author of The Wicker King and The Weight of the Stars—reimagining Peter Pan for today’s world.

On Wendy Darling’s first night in Chicago, a boy called Peter appears at her window. He’s dizzying, captivating, beautiful—so she agrees to join him for a night on the town.

Wendy thinks they’re heading to a party, but instead they’re soon running in the city’s underground. She makes friends—a punk girl named Tinkerbelle and the lost boys Peter watches over. And she makes enemies—the terrifying Detective Hook, and maybe Peter himself, as his sinister secrets start coming to light. Can Wendy find the courage to survive this night—and make sure everyone else does, too?

Acclaimed author K. Ancrum has re-envisioned Peter Pan with a central twist that will send all your previous memories of J. M. Barrie’s classic permanently off to Neverland.
Visit Kayla Ancrum's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Male Chauvinist Pig"

New from the University of North Carolina Press: The Male Chauvinist Pig: A History by Julie Willett.

About the book, from the publisher:

In the social upheavals of the 1960s and 1970s, a series of stock characters emerged to define and bolster white masculinity. Alongside such caricatures as "the Playboy" and "the Redneck" came a new creation: "the Male Chauvinist Pig." Coined by second-wave feminists as an insult, the Male Chauvinist Pig was largely defined by an anti-feminism that manifested in boorish sexist jokes. But the epithet backfired: being a sexist pig quickly transformed into a badge of honor worn proudly by misogynists, and, in time, it would come to define a strain of right-wing politics. Historian Julie Willett tracks the ways in which the sexist pig was sanitized by racism, popularized by consumer culture, weaponized to demean feminists, and politicized to mobilize libertine sexists to adopt reactionary politics. Mapping out a trajectory that links the sexist buffoonery of Bobby Riggs in the 1970s, the popularity of Rush Limbaugh’s screeds against "Feminazis" in the 1990s, and the present day misogyny underpinning Trumpism, Willett makes a case for the potency of this seemingly laughable cultural symbol, showing what can happen when we neglect or trivialize the political power of humor.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

"A Distant Grave"

New from Minotaur Books: A Distant Grave: A Mystery (Maggie D'arcy Mysteries, Volume 2) by Sarah Stewart Taylor.

About the book, from the publisher:

In the follow up to the critically acclaimed The Mountains Wild, Detective Maggie D'arcy tackles another intricate case that bridges Long Island and Ireland in A Distant Grave.

Long Island homicide detective Maggie D'arcy and her teenage daughter, Lilly, are still recovering from the events of last fall when a strange new case demands Maggie's attention. The body of an unidentified Irish national turns up in a wealthy Long Island beach community and with little to go on but the scars on his back, Maggie once again teams up with Garda detectives in Ireland to find out who the man was and what he was doing on Long Island. The strands of the mystery take Maggie to a quiet village in rural County Clare that's full of secrets and introduce her to the world of humanitarian aid workers half a world away. And as she gets closer to the truth about the murder, what she learns leads her back to her home turf and into range of a dangerous and determined killer who will do anything to keep the victim's story hidden forever.

With the lyrical prose, deeply drawn characters, and atmospheric setting that put The Mountains Wild on multiple best of the year lists, Sarah Stewart Taylor delivers another gripping mystery novel about family, survival, and the meaning of home.
Visit Sarah Stewart Taylor's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Mountains Wild.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Jesus and John Wayne"

New from Liveright: Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation by Kristin Kobes Du Mez.

About the book, from the publisher:

The “paradigm-influencing” book (Christianity Today) that is fundamentally transforming our understanding of white evangelicalism in America.

Jesus and John Wayne is a sweeping, revisionist history of the last seventy-five years of white evangelicalism, revealing how evangelicals have worked to replace the Jesus of the Gospels with an idol of rugged masculinity and Christian nationalism—or in the words of one modern chaplain, with “a spiritual badass.”

As acclaimed scholar Kristin Du Mez explains, the key to understanding this transformation is to recognize the centrality of popular culture in contemporary American evangelicalism. Many of today’s evangelicals might not be theologically astute, but they know their VeggieTales, they’ve read John Eldredge’s Wild at Heart, and they learned about purity before they learned about sex—and they have a silver ring to prove it. Evangelical books, films, music, clothing, and merchandise shape the beliefs of millions. And evangelical culture is teeming with muscular heroes—mythical warriors and rugged soldiers, men like Oliver North, Ronald Reagan, Mel Gibson, and the Duck Dynasty clan, who assert white masculine power in defense of “Christian America.” Chief among these evangelical legends is John Wayne, an icon of a lost time when men were uncowed by political correctness, unafraid to tell it like it was, and did what needed to be done.

Challenging the commonly held assumption that the “moral majority” backed Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020 for purely pragmatic reasons, Du Mez reveals that Trump in fact represented the fulfillment, rather than the betrayal, of white evangelicals’ most deeply held values: patriarchy, authoritarian rule, aggressive foreign policy, fear of Islam, ambivalence toward #MeToo, and opposition to Black Lives Matter and the LGBTQ community. A much-needed reexamination of perhaps the most influential subculture in this country, Jesus and John Wayne shows that, far from adhering to biblical principles, modern white evangelicals have remade their faith, with enduring consequences for all Americans.
Visit Kristin Kobes Du Mez's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Suburban Dicks"

New from G.P. Putnam’s Sons: Suburban Dicks by Fabian Nicieza.

About the book, from the publisher:

From the cocreator of Deadpool comes a hilariously entertaining debut featuring two unlikely and unforgettable amateur sleuths. An engrossing and entertaining murder mystery full of skewering social commentary, Suburban Dicks examines the racial tensions exposed in a New Jersey suburb after the murder of a gas station attendant.

Andie Stern thought she’d solved her final homicide. Once a budding FBI profiler, she gave up her career to raise her four (soon to be five) children in West Windsor, New Jersey. But one day, between soccer games, recitals, and trips to the local pool, a very pregnant Andie pulls into a gas station–and stumbles across a murder scene. An attendant has been killed, and the bumbling local cops are in way over their heads. Suddenly, Andie is obsessed with the case, and back on the trail of a killer, this time with kids in tow.

She soon crosses paths with disgraced local journalist Kenneth Lee, who also has everything to prove in solving the case. A string of unusual occurrences–and, eventually, body parts–surface around town, and Andie and Kenneth uncover simmering racial tensions and a decades-old conspiracy. Hilarious, insightful, and a killer whodunit, Suburban Dicks is the one-of-a-kind mystery that readers will not be able to stop talking about.
Visit Fabian Nicieza's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

"Reckoning with Slavery"

New from Duke University Press: Reckoning with Slavery: Gender, Kinship, and Capitalism in the Early Black Atlantic by Jennifer L. Morgan.

About the book, from the publisher:

In Reckoning with Slavery Jennifer L. Morgan draws on the lived experiences of enslaved African women in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries to reveal the contours of early modern notions of trade, race, and commodification in the Black Atlantic. From capture to transport to sale to childbirth, these women were demographically counted as commodities during the Middle Passage, vulnerable to rape, separated from their kin at slave markets, and subject to laws that enslaved their children upon birth. In this way, they were central to the binding of reproductive labor with kinship, racial hierarchy, and the economics of slavery. Throughout this groundbreaking study, Morgan demonstrates that the development of Western notions of value and race occurred simultaneously. In so doing, she illustrates how racial capitalism denied the enslaved their kinship and affective ties while simultaneously relying on kinship to reproduce and enforce slavery through enslaved female bodies.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Between You, Me, and the Honeybees"

New from Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers: Between You, Me, and the Honeybees by Amelia Diane Coombs.

About the book, from the publisher:

Perfect for fans of Jenn Bennett and Sarah Dessen, this swoon-worthy novel follows a teen girl during her California summer of beekeeping, secrets, and stolen kisses.

Josie Hazeldine has just graduated from high school, and she’s ready for a summer full of sunshine, beekeeping, and…lying to her mom.

Josie’s mom couldn’t be more proud of her daughter going to college, something she never got to do. But Josie wants to stay in her California hometown and take over the family business, Hazeldine Honey. So that college acceptance her mom is thrilled about? Yeah, Josie turned it down. But she’s going to come clean—just not yet.

The neighbor’s artsy, adorable grandson who’s in town for the summer makes Josie’s web of lies even more tangled. He’s into Josie and the feeling is very mutual, but he’s a Blumstein—the sworn enemy of the Hazeldines and their number one competition in the annual Honey Show at the end of July. As their secret fling goes on, Josie knows she’s getting in way too deep to leave him behind when summer’s over.

Can Josie keep the boy she can’t stop thinking about without the secrets she’s juggling crashing down around her?
Visit Amelia Diane Coombs's website.

--Marshal Zeringue