Monday, November 30, 2009

"Nothing to Envy"

New from Spiegel & Grau: Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick.

About the book, from the publisher:

A remarkable view into North Korea, as seen through the lives of six ordinary citizens

Nothing to Envy follows the lives of six North Koreans over fifteen years—a chaotic period that saw the death of Kim Il-sung, the unchallenged rise to power of his son Kim Jong-il, and the devastation of a far-ranging famine that killed one-fifth of the population.

Taking us into a landscape most of us have never before seen, award-winning journalist Barbara Demick brings to life what it means to be living under the most repressive totalitarian regime today—an Orwellian world that is by choice not connected to the Internet, in which radio and television dials are welded to the one government station, and where displays of affection are punished; a police state where informants are rewarded and where an offhand remark can send a person to the gulag for life.

Demick takes us deep inside the country, beyond the reach of government censors. Through meticulous and sensitive reporting, we see her six subjects—average North Korean citizens—fall in love, raise families, nurture ambitions, and struggle for survival. One by one, we experience the moments when they realize that their government has betrayed them.

Nothing to Envy is a groundbreaking addition to the literature of totalitarianism and an eye-opening look at a closed world that is of increasing global importance.
Visit Barbara Demick's Facebook page.

"English Mercuries"

New from Vanderbilt University Press: English Mercuries: Soldier Poets in the Age of Shakespeare by Adam N. McKeown.

About the book, from the publisher:

English Mercuries examines war and literature through the writings of veterans who came home from their deployments to pursue literary careers. From their often neglected writings emerges a new picture of the Elizabethan world at war. For centuries Elizabethan England has been characterized by booming patriotism and martial energy, and the literature of this period, epitomized in works like Shakespeare's Henry V, has been seen as celebrating a proud and defiant kingdom unified around its wars with Spain. Beneath this patriotic veneer, however, was a country withering under the costs of seemingly endless military commitments and ripped apart by doubts about the purpose of war and mistrust of state officials who advanced their own political interests through war at the expense of the people who had to fight and pay for it.

These misgivings are a powerful undercurrent in much of the literature of the period, even the most ostensibly patriotic works, but it is in the writings on war by soldier poets where they are most clearly pronounced. Fashioning themselves as servants of both Mars and Mercury (the god of war and the god of writing), Elizabethan soldier poets focused their war stories on the gritty realities of military campaigning, the price individuals paid for serving the state, and the difficulties of returning to civilian life. The book reconsiders some familiar writers like John Donne and Ben Jonson in the context of their military experiences and provides comprehensive studies of some important but underappreciated soldier poets like Thomas Churchyard, George Gascoigne, and John Harington.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

"Dazzled and Deceived"

New from Yale University Press: Dazzled and Deceived: Mimicry and Camouflage by Peter Forbes.

About the book, from the publisher:

Nature has perfected the art of deception. Thousands of creatures all over the world—including butterflies, moths, fish, birds, insects and snakes—have honed and practiced camouflage over hundreds of millions of years. Imitating other animals or their surroundings, nature’s fakers use mimicry to protect themselves, to attract and repel, to bluff and warn, to forage, and to hide. The advantages of mimicry are obvious—but how does “blind” nature do it? And how has humanity learned to profit from nature’s ploys?

Dazzled and Deceived tells the unique and fascinating story of mimicry and camouflage in science, art, warfare, and the natural world. Discovered in the 1850s by the young English naturalists Henry Walter Bates and Alfred Russel Wallace in the Amazonian rainforest, the phenomenon of mimicry was seized upon as the first independent validation of Darwin’s theory of natural selection. But mimicry and camouflage also created a huge impact outside the laboratory walls. Peter Forbes’s cultural history links mimicry and camouflage to art, literature, military tactics, and medical cures across the twentieth century, and charts its intricate involvement with the perennial dispute between evolution and creationism.

As Dazzled and Deceived unravels the concept of mimicry, Forbes introduces colorful stories and a dazzling cast of characters—Roosevelt, Picasso, Nabokov, Churchill, and Darwin himself, to name a few—whom its mystery influenced and enthralled. Illuminating and lively, Dazzled and Deceived sheds new light on the greatest quest: to understand the processes of life at its deepest level.


New from Tor Paranormal Romance: Crimson by Jordan Summers.

About the book, from the publisher:

On the run from their enemies, hunted by the law they once dedicated their lives to, werewolves Morgan Hunter and Gina “Red” Santiago have no choice -- they must enter the outlaw territories in order to disappear completely from society. With only themselves to trust, they must somehow navigate this “No Man’s Land” full of outlawed Others and dangerous nomadic tribes.

Losing themselves in this arid wasteland would be easy, but Morgan and Red know that the only way they can regain their life together is by turning the tables on the man who is hunting them -- destroying his plans to rule the united territories once and for all.
Crimson is the 3rd book in the Dead World Series. Read about who the author would like to see directing and starring in a film adaptation of Red, the 1st book in the series.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

"U is for Undertow"

New from Putnam: U is for Undertow by Sue Grafton.

About the book, from the publisher:

Calling T is for Trespass “taut, terrifying, transfixing and terrific,” USA Today went on to ask, “What does it take to write twenty novels about the same character and manage to create a fresh, genre-bending novel every time?” It’s a question worth pondering. Through twenty excursions into the dark side of the human soul, Sue Grafton has never written the same book twice. And so it is with this, her twenty-first. Once again, she breaks genre formulas, giving us a twisting, complex, surprise-filled, and totally satisfying thriller.

It’s April, 1988, a month before Kinsey Millhone’s thirty-eighth birthday, and she’s alone in her office doing paperwork when a young man arrives unannounced. He has a preppy air about him and looks as if he’d be carded if he tried to buy booze, but Michael Sutton is twenty-seven, an unemployed college dropout. Twenty-one years earlier, a four-year-old girl disappeared. A recent reference to her kidnapping has triggered a flood of memories. Sutton now believes he stumbled on her lonely burial when he was six years old. He wants Kinsey’s help in locating the child’s remains and finding the men who killed her. It’s a long shot but he’s willing to pay cash up front, and Kinsey agrees to give him one day. As her investigation unfolds, she discovers Michael Sutton has an uneasy relationship with the truth. In essence, he’s the boy who cried wolf. Is his current story true or simply one more in a long line of fabrications?

Grafton moves the narrative between the eighties and the sixties, changing points of view, building multiple subplots, and creating memorable characters. Gradually, we see how they all connect. But at the beating center of the novel is Kinsey Millhone, sharp-tongued, observant, a loner—“a heroine,” said The New York Times Book Review, “with foibles you can laugh at and faults you can forgive.”

"Marion Zimmer Bradley's Sword of Avalon"

New from Roc: Marion Zimmer Bradley's Sword of Avalon by Diana L. Paxson.

About the book, from the publisher:

Marion Zimmer Bradley’s legendary saga of Avalon’s extraordinary women continues with a tale of fiery visions, a lost king, and a forthcoming destiny…

Epic in its sweep and peopled by the remarkable women who have always inhabited Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Sword of Avalon expands the legendary saga that has enchanted millions of readers over the years and is sure to please Bradley’s loyal readership and anyone who loves wonderfully told stories of history, myth, and fantasy.

A boy raised in secret after traitors kill his parents will return to Avalon—and when he does, he’ll be faced with a formidable task: to prove his worth as a son of the kings and priestesses of his land and lead his followers to victory, wielding the newly-forged sword Excalibur.
Visit Diana L. Paxson's website.

Friday, November 27, 2009


New from Simon & Schuster: Golf: An Unofficial and Unauthorized History of the World's Most Preposterous Sport by Henry Beard.

About the book, from the publisher:

As a serious player, a high handicapper, or simply a baffled onlooker to the awesome nonsense that is golf, have you ever wondered why, say, the golf balls have dimples, and the tee is both the thing you stick in the ground and the place you hit from, and the hole is so small, and the courses have all these big pits full of sand where any sane person would put grass?

Well, so did noted humor writer and avid hacker Henry Beard, who brought twenty-first-century computer search-engine technology to bear on this thousand-year-old game, tapping the internet's inherent capacity to confer a thin veneer of authenticity to far-fetched accounts of great moments in the history of golf, warped portraits of its legendary players, and fanciful conjectures about its origins and evolution.

Employing an easy-to-read and simple-to-fudge timeline format, he chronicles the amazing process through which this screwy pastime with wacky equipment and loony rules played for penny wagers by a bunch of bored-silly shepherds was gradually transformed into a screwy sport with wacky equipment and loony rules played for million-dollar purses by superstar athletes.

As he peers through the mists of time to the birthplace of the game, Beard resolves once and for all its many mysteries, like where those weird-looking pants came from, when the first telling of the "Hit, drag Harry" joke was, what a Stimpmeter is, and who dreamed up the idea of those stupid blimps.

Here, then, in one convenient golf-bag-side-pocket-sized volume is a rich, wildly embroidered, ludicrously embellished tapestry of colorful fabrications and highly entertaining but thoroughly dubious speculations that tell the tall tale of golf -- the game that deranged the world.

"Faces in the Pool"

New from Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books: Faces in the Pool by Jonathan Gash.

About the book, from the U.K. publisher:

Lovejoy has been wrongfully imprisoned, again. So when he is offered a way out by visitor Ellen Jaynor, he takes it, although it becomes clear that there is a big catch involving speed-dating, marriage and the perfect robbery.

Forced to use his antiques knowledge for representatives of the Forgotten White Tribes, remnants of emigrant peoples from around the globe, events spiral out of Lovejoy’s control leaving him trapped inside a burning mansion. Betrayed on all sides, Lovejoy’s only hope is the World Champion Pole Dancer Erosa Sexotica, but who is she and how can she possibly save him? All seems lost, for even Lydia and Tinker seem bent on his ruin…

Thursday, November 26, 2009

"The Talented Miss Highsmith"

New from St. Martin's Press: The Talented Miss Highsmith: The Secret Life and Serious Art of Patricia Highsmith by Joan Schenkar.

About the book, from the publisher:

Patricia Highsmith, one of the great writers of 20th Century American fiction, had a life as darkly compelling as that of her favorite "hero-criminal," talented Tom Ripley. In this revolutionary biography, Joan Schenkar paints a riveting portrait, from Highsmith's birth in Texas to Hitchcock's filming of her first novel, Strangers On a Train, to her long, strange, self-exile in Europe. We see her as a secret writer for the comics, a brilliant creator of disturbing fictions, and erotic predator with dozens of women (and a few good men) on her love list. The Talented Miss Highsmith is the first literary biography with access to Highsmith's whole story: her closest friends, her oeuvre, her archives. It's a compulsive page-turner unlike any other, a book worthy of Highsmith herself.
Visit Joan Schenkar's website.

"Too Many Murders"

New from Simon & Schuster: Too Many Murders by Colleen McCullough.

About the book, from the publisher:

Proving once again that she is a master of suspense, bestselling author Colleen McCullough returns with a riveting sequel to On, Off.

The year is 1967, and the world teeters on the brink of nuclear holocaust as the Cold War goes relentlessly on. On a beautiful spring day in the little city of Holloman, Connecticut, home to prestigious Chubb University and armaments giant Cornucopia, chief of detectives Captain Carmine Delmonico has more pressing concerns than finding a name for his infant son: twelve murders have taken place in one day, and Delmonico is drawn into a gruesome web of secrets and lies.

Supported by his detective sergeants Abe Goldberg and Corey Marshall and new team member the meticulous Delia Carstairs, Delmonico embarks on what looks like an unsolvable mystery. All the murders are different and they all seem unconnected. Are they dealing with one killer, or many? How is the murder of Dee-Dee Hall, a local prostitute, related to the deaths of a mother and her disabled child? How is Chubb student Evan Pugh connected to Desmond Skeps, head of Cornucopia? And as if twelve murders were not enough, Carmine soon finds himself pitted against the mysterious Ulysses, a spy giving Cornucopia's armaments secrets to the Russians. Are the murders and espionage different cases, or are they somehow linked?

When FBI special agent Ted Kelly makes himself part of the investigation, it appears the stakes are far higher than anyone had imagined, and murder is only one part of the puzzle in the set of crimes that has sent Holloman into a panic. As the overtaxed police force contends with small town politics, academic rivalry and corporate greed, the death toll mounts, and Carmine and his team discover that the answers are not what they seem -- but then, are they ever?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

"Desert Lost"

New from Poisoned Pen Press: Desert Lost by Betty Webb.

About the book, from the publisher:

While running surveillance in an industrial section of Scottsdale, P.I. Lena Jones discovers the body of a woman connected to Second Zion, an infamous polygamy cult based in northern Arizona. Lena joins forces with Rosella, a former polygamist sister wife, to find the victim's killer, and soon discovers a shocking secret: in a society where one man can have ten wives, nine men will have none. Second Zion makes certain these possible rivals don't stick around.
Library Journal chose Desert Lost as one of the Top Five Mystery Novels of 2009.

Learn more about the author and her work at Betty Webb's website and her blog.

Betty Webb is the author of Desert Run, Desert Shadows, Desert Wives: Polygamy Can Be Murder, Desert Noir, and Desert Cut.

The Page 99 Test: Desert Cut.

"Dead Air"

New from Oceanview Publishing: Dead Air by Deborah Shlian and Linda Reid.

About the book, from the publisher:

Talk is cheap, but when this radio host takes action, she may pay the ultimate price.

An outspoken, brash, native New Yorker, Sammy Greene isn’t afraid to ruffle a few feathers at Ellsford University, her ultra-conservative New England college. The host of “The Hot Line,” a talk radio show on campus station WELL, Sammy tackles the toughest, most controversial issues facing Ellsford’s student body.

When Sammy discovers the body of Dr. Burton Conrad, one of Ellsford’s most revered and esteemed professors, her journalistic drive kicks in and she sets out to find answers to what happened to the beloved professor. But when several Ellsford students mysteriously disappear, Sammy realizes she’s uncovered the seamy, terrifying underbelly of this prestigious institute of higher education.

With the entire campus in peril and demons from her past close behind, Sammy Greene must race to find answers. Along the way, she’ll discover some unlikely allies—and even more unlikely enemies.

If Sammy isn’t careful, someone is going to make sure that she signs off—for good.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

"Luck of the Draw"

New from Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books: Luck of the Draw by Anthony J. Cardieri.

About the book, from the publisher:

When Detective Deke Durgess finds himself at the scene of a brutal murder in Lower Manhattan, he has no idea that it’s just the beginning of the most prolific murder spree in New York City history, one where entire families will be wiped out by a vicious killer dubbed The Daily Killer.

The murders are being meticulously committed, with no forensic evidence left behind except for the killer’s callous calling card, a short note left on the body of the victim. The mayor and police commissioner are coming down hard on Deke to make progress, but Deke and his team of detectives and FBI agents are at a standstill until a series of events, and one misstep by the killer, leads them toward cracking the code in the victim selection pro - cess. Believing he knows where the killer will strike next, Deke sets up a sting operation, only to be slapped back down as the killer turns the tables on him, forcing the police department to take a good hard look at its own finest.

Anthony J. Cardieri’s first crime novel is an adrenaline-charged ride through the streets of New York.
Visit the Luck of the Draw website and Anthony J. Cardieri's Facebook page.

"Trial by Fire"

New from Touchstone: Trial by Fire by J.A. Jance.

About the book, from the publisher:

In the heat of the Arizona desert, a raging fire pushes temperatures to a deadly degree, and one woman is left to burn. Pulled naked and barely breathing from the fire, the victim has no idea who she is, let alone who would do this to her -- or why. In her hospital bed she drifts in and out of consciousness, her only means of communicating a blink of the eye. And then an angel appears. Misguidedly known around town as the "Angel of Death," Sister Anselm has devoted her life to working as an advocate for unidentified patients. To her burn patient, she is a savior. But to this Jane Doe's would-be killer, Sister Anselm's efforts pose a serious threat.

Ali Reynolds is on the scene as the new media relations consultant for the Yavapai County Police Department, keeping reporters at bay and circumventing questions about arson and a link to a domestic terrorist group called Earth Liberation Front. But her job quickly becomes much more. As Ali struggles to help Sister Anselm uncover the helpless woman's identity, they realize that by locating the missing relatives they may be exposing the victim once more to a remorseless killer determined to finish the job. Faced with the possibility of putting all three of their lives in jeopardy, Ali fearlessly pursues justice -- and what she discovers is a secret even darker and more twisted than she ever could have imagined.

With unerring skill, Jance delivers relentless suspense in what is surely her finest novel yet in this riveting and addictive series.

Monday, November 23, 2009

"Flesh Circus"

New from Orbit Books: Flesh Circus by Lilith Saintcrow.

About the book, from the publisher:

The Cirque de Charnu has come.

They will clean out the demons and the suicides, and move on. As long as they stay within the rules, Jill Kismet can't deny them entry. But she can watch--and if they step out of line, she'll send them packing.

When Cirque performers start dying grotesquely, Kismet has to find out why, or the fragile truce won't hold and her entire city will become a carnival of horror. She also has to play the resident hellbreed power against the Cirque to keep them in line, and find out why ordinary people are needing exorcisms. And then there's the murdered voodoo practitioners, and the zombies.

An ancient vengeance is about to be enacted. The Cirque is about to explode. And Jill Kismet is about to find out some games are played for keeps...
Flesh Circus is the 4th book in the Jill Kismet series. Learn more about the author and her work at Lilith Saintcrow's website.

The Page 99 Test: Night Shift, #1 in the Jill Kismet series.

"The Good Son"

New from Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books: The Good Son by Russel D. McLean.

About the book, from the publisher:

Recipient of widespread praise for his award-winning crime short stories, Russel McLean’s full-length debut has been characterized by key crime authors and critics alike as the emergence of a major talent.

There is something rotten behind the apparent sucide of Daniel Robertson and it’s about to come bursting into the life of J. McNee, a Scottish private investigator with a near-crushing level of personal baggage. James Robertson, a local farmer, finds his estranged brother’s corpse hanging from a tree. The police claim suicide. But McNee is about to uncover the disturbing truth behind the death. With a pair of vicious London thugs on the move in the Scottish countryside, it’s only a matter of time before people start dying. As the body count rises, McNee finds himself on a collision course with his own demons and an increasing array of brutal killers in a violent, bloody showdown that threatens to leave none involved alive. Plumbing the depths of love, loss, betrayal, and one broken man’s attempt to come to terms with his past, The Good Son successfully blends the classic style of the gumshoe era with the outer edges of modern noir.
Visit Russel McLean's website and blog.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

"Faces of the Gone"

New from Minotaur Books: Faces of the Gone by Brad Parks.

About the book, from the publisher:

Four bodies, each with a single bullet wound in the back of the head, stacked like cordwood in a weed-choked vacant lot: That’s the front-page news facing Carter Ross, investigative reporter with the Newark Eagle-Examiner. Immediately dispatched to the scene, Carter learns that the four victims—an exotic dancer, a drug dealer, a hustler, and a mama’s boy—came from different parts of the city and didn’t seem to know one another.

The police, eager to calm jittery residents, leak a theory that the murders are revenge for a bar stickup, and Carter’s paper, hungry for a scoop, hastily prints it. Carter doesn’t come from the streets, but he understands a thing or two about Newark’s neighborhoods. And he knows there are no quick answers when dealing with a crime like this.

Determined to uncover the true story, he enlists the aide of Tina Thompson, the paper’s smoking-hot city editor, to run interference at the office; Tommy Hernandez, the paper’s gay Cuban intern, to help him with legwork on the streets; and Tynesha Dales, a local stripper, to take him to Newark’s underside. It turns out that the four victims have one connection after all, and this knowledge will put Carter on the path of one very ambitious killer.

Treading the same literary turf as Harlan Coben, and writing with a fresh Jersey voice, Brad Parks makes an energetic, impressive debut.
Visit the official Brad Parks website.

"On Thin Ice"

New from Knopf: On Thin Ice: The Changing World of the Polar Bear by Richard Ellis.

About the book, from the publisher:

Polar bears—fierce and majestic—have captivated us for centuries. Feared by explorers, revered by the Inuit, and beloved by zoo goers everywhere, polar bears are a symbol for the harsh beauty and muscular grace of the Arctic. Today, as global warming threatens the ice caps’ integrity, the polar bear has also come to symbolize the peril that faces all life on earth as a result of harmful human practices. Here, the acclaimed science writer Richard Ellis offers an impassioned and moving statement on behalf of polar bears—and all they stand for.

Ellis gives a vivid and brilliantly articulated picture of earth’s largest land predators—including their hunting, mating, and hibernation habits. Polar bears are exceptionally well suited for hunting—especially when it comes to ringed seals, their favorite prey, which they can smell from more than a mile away. But as the ice melts in the Arctic, the ability of polar bears to find food diminishes in spite of their incredible physical capacities. Some bears will vainly take to the water in search of ice on which to hunt, and many of them swim until they drown. In the past twenty years alone, the world population of polar bears has shrunk by half. Today they number just 22,000.

Still, On Thin Ice is an ode, not an elegy: Ellis reminds us that the extinction of the polar bear—and the disappearance of our ice caps—is not inevitable. While the killing of polar bears remains a matter of ritual solemnity among the Inuit, U.S. government officials continue to balk at placing the polar bear on the endangered species list because doing so would place the bears’ territory off-limits for oil drilling. As the polar bears’ habitat disappears beneath them, their survival rests entirely on our willingness to take such critical steps.

Urgent and stirring, On Thin Ice is both a celebration and a rallying cry on behalf of one of earth’s greatest natural treasures.
Visit Richard Ellis' website.

See the Page 99 Test: Tuna: A Love Story by Richard Ellis.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

"Ford County"

New from Doubleday Books: Ford County by John Grisham.

About the book, from the publisher:

In his first collection of short stories John Grisham takes us back to Ford County, Mississippi, the setting of his first novel, A Time to Kill.

Wheelchair-bound Inez Graney and her two older sons, Leon and Butch, take a bizarre road trip through the Mississippi Delta to visit the youngest Graney brother, Raymond, who's been locked away on death row for eleven years. It could well be their last visit.

Mack Stafford, a hard-drinking and low-grossing run-of-the-mill divorce lawyer gets a miracle phone call with a completely unexpected offer to settle some old, forgotten cases for more money than he has ever seen. Mack is suddenly bored with the law, fed up with his wife and his life, and makes drastic plans to finally escape.

Quiet, dull Sidney, a data collector for an insurance company, perfects his blackjack skills in hopes of bringing down the casino empire of Clanton's most ambitious hustler, Bobby Carl Leach, who, among other crimes, has stolen Sidney's wife.

Three good ol' boys from rural Ford County begin a journey to the big city of Memphis to give blood to a grievously injured friend. However, they are unable to drive past a beer store as the trip takes longer and longer. The journey comes to an abrupt end when they make a fateful stop at a Memphis strip club.

The Quiet Haven Retirement Home is the final stop for the elderly of Clanton. It's a sad, languid place with little controversy, until Gilbert arrives. Posing as a lowly paid bedpan boy, he is in reality a brilliant stalker with an uncanny ability to sniff out the assets of those "seniors" he professes to love.

One of the hazards of litigating against people in a small town is that one day, long after the trial, you will probably come face-to-face with someone you've beaten in a lawsuit. Lawyer Stanley Wade bumps into an old adversary, a man with a long memory, and the encounter becomes a violent ordeal.

Clanton is rocked with the rumor that the gay son of a prominent family has finally come home, to die. Of AIDS. Fear permeates the town as gossip runs unabated. But in Lowtown, the colored section of Clanton, the young man finds a soul mate in his final days.

Featuring a cast of characters you'll never forget, these stories bring Ford County to vivid and colorful life. Often hilarious, frequently moving, and always entertaining, this collection makes it abundantly clear why John Grisham is our most popular storyteller.
Visit John Grisham's website.

"Tempest Rising"

New from Orbit Books: Tempest Rising by Nicole Peeler.

About the book, from the publisher:

Living in small town Rockabill, Maine, Jane True always knew she didn't quite fit in with so-called normal society. During her nightly, clandestine swim in the freezing winter ocean, a grisly find leads Jane to startling revelations about her heritage: she is only half-human.

Now, Jane must enter a world filled with supernatural creatures alternatively terrifying, beautiful, and deadly- all of which perfectly describe her new "friend," Ryu, a gorgeous and powerful vampire.

It is a world where nothing can be taken for granted: a dog can heal with a lick; spirits bag your groceries; and whatever you do, never-ever-rub the genie's lamp.

If you love Sookie Stackhouse, then you'll want to dive into Nicole Peeler's enchanting debut novel.
Visit Nicole Peeler's website.

Friday, November 20, 2009

"Acts of Violence"

New from Macmillan New Writing: Acts of Violence by Ryan David Jahn.

About the book, from the publisher:

Katrina Marino is about to become America’s most infamous murder victim.

This is Katrina’s story, and the story of her killer.

It is also the story of Katrina’s neighbours, those who witnessed her murder and did nothing: the terrified Vietnam draftee; the woman who thinks she’s killed a child, and her husband who will risk everything for the truth; the former soldier planning suicide and the man who saves him. And others whose lives are touched by the crime: the elderly teacher whose past is catching up with him; the amateur blackmailer who’s about to find out just what sort of people he’s been threatening; the corrupt cop who believes he is God’s ‘red right hand’.

Shocking and compassionate, angry and gripping, ACTS OF VIOLENCE is a sprawling, cinematic tour-de-force, a terrifying crime novel unlike any other.
Visit Ryan David Jahn's website and blog.


New from Free Press: Dogtown: Death and Enchantment in a New England Ghost Town by Elyssa East.

About the book, from the publisher:

The area known as Dogtown -- an isolated colonial ruin and surrounding 3,000-acre woodland in storied seaside Gloucester, Massachusetts -- has long exerted a powerful influence over artists, writers, eccentrics, and nature lovers. But its history is also woven through with tales of witches, supernatural sightings, pirates, former slaves, drifters, and the many dogs Revolutionary War widows kept for protection and for which the area was named. In 1984, a brutal murder took place there: a mentally disturbed local outcast crushed the skull of a beloved schoolteacher as she walked in the woods. Dogtown's peculiar atmosphere -- it is strewn with giant boulders and has been compared to Stonehenge -- and eerie past deepened the pall of this horrific event that continues to haunt Gloucester even today.

In alternating chapters, Elyssa East interlaces the story of this grisly murder with the strange, dark history of this wilderness ghost town and explores the possibility that certain landscapes wield their own unique power.

East knew nothing of Dogtown's bizarre past when she first became interested in the area. As an art student in the early 1990s, she fell in love with the celebrated Modernist painter Marsden Hartley's stark and arresting Dogtown landscapes. She also learned that in the 1930s, Dogtown saved Hartley from a paralyzing depression. Years later, struggling in her own life, East set out to find the mysterious setting that had changed Hartley's life, hoping that she too would find solace and renewal in Dogtown's odd beauty. Instead, she discovered a landscape steeped in intrigue and a community deeply ambivalent about the place: while many residents declare their passion for this profoundly affecting landscape, others avoid it out of a sense of foreboding.

Throughout this richly braided first-person narrative, East brings Dogtown's enigmatic past to life. Losses sustained during the American Revolution dealt this once thriving community its final blow. Destitute war widows and former slaves took up shelter in its decaying homes until 1839, when the last inhabitant was taken to the poorhouse. He died seven days later. Dogtown has remained abandoned ever since, but continues to occupy many people's imaginations. In addition to Marsden Hartley, it inspired a Bible-thumping millionaire who carved the region's rocks with words to live by; the innovative and influential postmodernist poet Charles Olson, who based much of his epic Maximus Poems on Dogtown; an idiosyncratic octogenarian who vigilantly patrols the land to this day; and a murderer who claimed that the spirit of the woods called out to him.

In luminous, insightful prose, Dogtown takes the reader into an unforgettable place brimming with tragedy, eccentricity, and fascinating lore, and examines the idea that some places can inspire both good and evil, poetry and murder.
Visit the Dogtown website.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


New from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: Tinsel: A Search for America's Christmas Present by Hank Stuever.

About the book, from the publisher:

In TINSEL, Hank Stuever turns his unerring eye for the idiosyncrasies of modern life to Frisco, Texas, a suburb at once all-American and completely itself, to tell the story of the nation's most over-the-top celebration: Christmas.

Stuever starts the narrative as so many start the Christmas season: standing in line with the people waiting to purchase flat-screen TVs on Black Friday. From there he follows three of Frisco's true holiday believers as they navigate through the Nativity and all its attendant crises. Tammie Parnell, an eternally optimistic suburban mom, is the proprietor of "Two Elves with a Twist," a company that decorates other people's big houses for Christmas. Jeff and Bridgette Trykoski own that house every town has: the one with the visible-from-space, most awe-inspiring Christmas lights. And single mother Caroll Cavazos just hopes that the life-affirming moments of Christmas might overcome the struggles of the rest of the year. Stuever's portraits of this happy, megachurchy, shopariffic community are at once humane, heartfelt, revealing - and very funny.

TINSEL is a compelling tale of our half-trillion-dollar holiday, measuring what we we've become against the ancient rituals of what we've always been.
Visit Hank Stuever's website and blog.

"Searching for Whitopia"

New from Hyperion: Searching for Whitopia: An Improbable Journey to the Heart of White America by Rich Benjamin.

About the book, from the publisher:

Between 2007 and 2009, Rich Benjamin, a journalist-adventurer, packed his bags and embarked on a 26,909-mile journey throughout the heart of white America, to some of the fastest-growing and whitest locales in our nation.

By 2042, whites will no longer be the American majority. As immigrant populations—largely people of color—increase in cities and suburbs, more and more whites are moving to small towns and exurban areas that are predominately, even extremely, white.

Rich Benjamin calls these enclaves “Whitopias” (pronounced: “White-o-pias”).

His journey to unlock the mysteries of Whitopias took him from a three-day white separatist retreat with links to Aryan Nations in North Idaho to the inner sanctum of George W. Bush’s White House—and many points in between. And to learn what makes Whitopias tick, and why and how they are growing, he lived in three of them (in Georgia, Idaho, and Utah) for several months apiece. A compelling raconteur, bon vivant, and scholar, Benjamin reveals what Whitopias are like and explores the urgent social and political implications of this startling phenomenon.

The glow of Barack Obama’s historic election cannot obscure the racial and economic segregation still vexing America. Obama’s presidency has actually raised the stakes in a battle royale between two versions of America: one that is broadly comfortable with diversity yet residentially segregated (ObamaNation) and one that does not mind a little ethnic food or a few mariachi dancers—as long as these trends do not overwhelm a white dominant culture (Whitopia).
Visit Rich Benjamin's website.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

"But Not for Long"

New from Thomas Dunne Books: But Not for Long by Michelle Wildgen.

About the book, from the publisher:

Hard-shelled, career-minded Greta is the newest and least likely member of a sustainable foods cooperative house in Madison, Wisconsin. Shortly after she joins Karin and Hal in their stately residence near campus, the husband Greta left appears on their porch, drunk, and the reason for her sudden appearance becomes clear. Yet the house members already have plenty to occupy them: a series of summer blackouts has unearthed a disquietude lurking just under the surface for each of the three residents. Gas is dwindling, electricity is unreliable, and the natural world around them is in upheaval. The uneasiness of the environment mirrors that of Greta, Hal, and Karin as they each make efforts to resolve their own personal crises. With subtle attunement to the hovering uncertainty affecting each of her characters, Wildgen crafts a story both terrifying and beautiful.
Learn more about the author and her writing at Michelle Wildgen’s website.

The Page 99 Test: Michelle Wildgen’s You’re Not You.

"Cherries in Winter"

New from Doubleday: Cherries in Winter: My Family's Recipe for Hope in Hard Times by Suzan Colón.

About the book, from the publisher:

What is the secret to finding hope in hard times?

When Suzan Colón was laid off from her dream job at a magazine during the economic downturn of 2008, she needed to cut her budget way, way back, and that meant home cooking. Her mother suggested, “Why don’t you look in Nana’s recipe folder?” In the basement, Suzan found the tattered treasure, full of handwritten and meticulously typed recipes, peppered with her grandmother Matilda’s commentary in the margins. Reading it, Suzan realized she had found something more than a collection of recipes—she had found the key to her family’s survival through hard times.

Suzan began re-creating Matilda’s “sturdy food” recipes for baked pork chops and beef stew, and Aunt Nettie’s clam chowder made with clams dug up by Suzan’s grandfather Charlie in Long Island Sound. And she began uncovering the stories of her resilient family’s past. Taking inspiration from stylish, indomitable Matilda, who was the sole support of her family as a teenager during the Great Depression (and who always answered “How are you?” with “Fabulous, never better!”), and from dashing, twice-widowed Charlie, Suzan starts to approach her own crisis with a sense of wonder and gratitude. It turns out that the gift to survive and thrive through hard times had been bred in her bones all along.

Cherries in Winter is an irresistible gem of a book. It makes you want to cook, it makes you want to know your own family’s stories, and, above all, it makes you feel rich no matter what.
Visit Suzan Colón's website and blog.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"Where Armadillos Go to Die"

New from Minotaur Books: Where Armadillos Go to Die by James Hime.

About the book, from the publisher:

Sylvester Bradshaw owns the Bouree restaurant, home of the best catfish within a hundred miles of Brenham, Texas. Besides being known for his cooking and for being one of the town’s nastiest residents, he also happens to have invented a machine that several venture capitalists and one former NFL star would like to invest in at almost any cost. But Bradshaw---stubborn and miserly---can’t be enticed no matter what offer they put on the table. Nobody gets a look and nobody gets to know how the device works, not even his family.

When the restaurant is ransacked and he goes missing, the only person willing to take his disappearance seriously is Jeremiah Spur. The retired Texas Ranger and rancher is a dedicated customer, if not a friend, which makes him the only man on whom the Bradshaws can pin their hopes.

James Hime’s Where Armadillos Go to Die eloquently captures the voice and spirit of a small Texas town with troubles every bit as big as the whole state, making for some of the most engaging crime fiction on bookshelves today.
Visit James Hime's website.

"Tragedy at Two"

New from Berkley: Tragedy at Two by Ann Purser.

About the book, from the publisher:

From the author of Warning at One--another Lois Meade mystery that proves there’s no good time for murder.

Lois Meade’s daughter was admittedly considering leaving her partner, Rob—but she never expected him to be found badly beaten and left for dead in a ditch by the side of the road. When Rob tragically dies from his injuries without regaining consciousness, Inspector Cowgill has a murder investigation on his hands, and once again he engages the assistance of the woman he respects above all others—Lois.

Suspicion quickly falls on the traveling gypsies who are camped out on Alf Smith’s property. There is strong prejudice among many in the village who consider the gypsies no better than tramps and thieves. Lois must follow a twisted path that leads to arson, local delinquents, secret assignations, and blackmail—before she can discover who’s been tinkering with the truth…
Visit Ann Purser's website.

Monday, November 16, 2009

"Candle in the Storm"

New from Del Ray: Candle in the Storm (The Shadowed Path Book 2) by Morgan Howell.

About the book, from the publisher:

The malign shadow of the Devourer has darkened the land, extinguishing life and hope. The followers of the benevolent goddess Karm are hunted mercilessly and cut down by an army of bewitched slayers led by Lord Bahl, the Devourer’s flesh-and-blood incarnation. Only two people stand in the way of an apocalyptic bloodbath that will literally bring hell to earth: a man and a woman linked by a love as strong as it is unlikely–Honus, a grim-faced warrior dedicated to Karm, and Yim, a beautiful former slave with the divine power to stop Lord Bahl.

But that power will prove a terrible curse as Yim is called upon to make a costly sacrifice–a sacrifice that will not only put her love for Honus to the test but call into question her very faith. As the evil storm descends, can the flame of hope endure?
Learn more about the book and author at Morgan Howell's website.

The Page 69 Test: A Woman Worth Ten Coppers.

"Murder on the Cliffs"

New from Minotaur Books: Murder on the Cliffs by Joanna Challis.

About the book, from the publisher:

The storm led me to Padthaway.

I could never resist the allure of dark swirling clouds, windswept leaves sweeping down cobbled lanes or a view of the sea stirring up its defiant nature. The sea possessed a power all of its own and this part of Cornwall, an isolated stretch of rocky cliff tops and unexplored beaches both enchanted and terrified me.

It is not a lie to say I felt drawn out that day, led to a certain destiny...

So begins this new mystery series featuring young Daphne du Maurier, headstrong, adventurous, and standing at the cusp of greatness.

Walking on the cliffs in Cornwall, she stumbles upon the drowned body of a beautiful woman, dressed only in a nightgown, her hair strewn along the rocks, her eyes gazing up to the heavens. Daphne soon learns that the mysterious woman was engaged to marry Lord Hartley of Padthaway, an Elizabethan mansion full of intriguing secrets.

As the daughter of the famous Sir Gerald du Maurier, Daphne is welcomed into the Hartley home, but when the drowning turns out to be murder, Daphne determines to get to the bottom of the mysteries of Padthaway—in part to find fresh inspiration for her writing, and in part because she cannot resist the allure of grand houses and long buried secrets.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

"You Better Not Cry"

New from St. Martin's Press: You Better Not Cry: Stories for Christmas by Augusten Burroughs.

About the book, from the publisher:

You’ve eaten too much candy at Christmas…but have you ever eaten the face off a six-footstuffed Santa? You’ve seen gingerbread houses…but have you ever made your own gingerbread tenement? You’ve woken up with a hangover…but have you ever woken up next to Kris Kringle himself? Augusten Burroughs has, and in this caustically funny, nostalgic, poignant, and moving collection he recounts Christmases past and present—as only he could. With gimleteyed wit and illuminated prose, Augusten shows how the holidays bring out the worst in us and sometimes, just sometimes, the very, very best.
Read about Burroughs' five most important books.

"The Fourth Part of the World"

New from Free Press: The Fourth Part of the World: The Race to the Ends of the Earth, and the Epic Story of the Map That Gave America Its Name by Toby Lester.

About the book, from the publisher:

"Old maps lead you to strange and unexpected places, and none does so more ineluctably than the subject of this book: the giant, beguiling Waldseemüller world map of 1507." So begins this remarkable story of the map that gave America its name.

For millennia Europeans believed that the world consisted of three parts: Europe, Africa, and Asia. They drew the three continents in countless shapes and sizes on their maps, but occasionally they hinted at the existence of a "fourth part of the world," a mysterious, inaccessible place, separated from the rest by a vast expanse of ocean. It was a land of myth -- until 1507, that is, when Martin Waldseemüller and Matthias Ringmann, two obscure scholars working in the mountains of eastern France, made it real. Columbus had died the year before convinced that he had sailed to Asia, but Waldseemüller and Ringmann, after reading about the Atlantic discoveries of Columbus's contemporary Amerigo Vespucci, came to a startling conclusion: Vespucci had reached the fourth part of the world. To celebrate his achievement, Waldseemüller and Ringmann printed a huge map, for the first time showing the New World surrounded by water and distinct from Asia, and in Vespucci's honor they gave this New World a name: America.

The Fourth Part of the World is the story behind that map, a thrilling saga of geographical and intellectual exploration, full of outsize thinkers and voyages. Taking a kaleidoscopic approach, Toby Lester traces the origins of our modern worldview. His narrative sweeps across continents and centuries, zeroing in on different portions of the map to reveal strands of ancient legend, Biblical prophecy, classical learning, medieval exploration, imperial ambitions, and more. In Lester's telling the map comes alive: Marco Polo and the early Christian missionaries trek across Central Asia and China; Europe's early humanists travel to monastic libraries to recover ancient texts; Portuguese merchants round up the first West African slaves; Christopher Columbus and Amerigo Vespucci make their epic voyages of discovery; and finally, vitally, Nicholas Copernicus makes an appearance, deducing from the new geography shown on the Waldseemüller map that the earth could not lie at the center of the cosmos. The map literally altered humanity's worldview.

One thousand copies of the map were printed, yet only one remains. Discovered accidentally in 1901 in the library of a German castle it was bought in 2003 for the unprecedented sum of $10 million by the Library of Congress, where it is now on permanent public display. Lavishly illustrated with rare maps and diagrams, The Fourth Part of the World is the story of that map: the dazzling story of the geographical and intellectual journeys that have helped us decipher our world.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

"The Widow's Revenge"

New from Minotaur Books: The Widow's Revenge by James D. Doss.

About the book, from the publisher:

Even with some of the toughest hombres and nastiest outlaws roaming the Southwest, bestselling author James D. Doss’s seven-foot-tall rancher and sometime tribal investigator Charlie Moon does a fair job on the side of the good guys. So it’s no surprise that he gets the call when the widow Loyola Montoya starts making a fuss about witches.


She swears there’s a whole midnight brood lurking in the woods just off her property, mocking her with lewd songs and harassing her with the carcasses of dead animals. When no one takes her seriously—she has been known to cry wolf from time to time—she takes matters into her own hands, with disastrous results. By the time Charlie arrives, it’s too late to save her, and while he knows he can’t bring her back, that doesn’t mean he can’t help the widow get her revenge after all.

Told in Doss’s whimsical style, The Widow’s Revenge is a wonderfully tall tale that requires wide-open spaces and larger-than-life heroes like Charlie Moon to saddle up and make sure that justice is served.

"Bowled Over"

New from the University of North Carolina Press: Bowled Over: Big-Time College Football from the Sixties to the BCS Era by Michael Oriard.

About the book, from the publisher:

In this compellingly argued and deeply personal book, respected sports historian Michael Oriard--who was himself a former second-team All-American at Notre Dame--explores a wide range of trends that have changed the face of big-time college football and transformed the role of the student-athlete.

Oriard considers such issues as the politicization of football in the 1960s and the implications of the integration of college football. The heart of the book examines a handful of decisions by the NCAA in the early seventies--to make freshmen eligible to play, to lower admission standards, and, most critically, to replace four-year athletic scholarships with one-year renewable scholarships--that helped transform student-athletes into athlete-students and turned the college game into a virtual farm league for professional football.

Oriard then traces the subsequent history of the sport as it has tried to grapple with the fundamental contradiction of college football as both extracurricular activity and multi-billion-dollar mass entertainment. The relentless necessity to pursue revenue, Oriard argues, undermines attempts to maintain academic standards, and it fosters a football culture in which athletes are both excessively entitled and exploited.

As a former college football player, Oriard brings a unique perspective to his topic, and his sympathies are always with the players and for the game. This original and compelling study will interest everyone concerned about the future of college football.
Writers Read: Michael Oriard.

Friday, November 13, 2009

"Too Much Happiness"

New from Knopf: Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro.

About the book, from the publisher:

Ten superb new stories by one of our most beloved and admired writers—the winner of the 2009 Man Booker International Prize.

In the first story a young wife and mother receives release from the unbearable pain of losing her three children from a most surprising source. In another, a young woman, in the aftermath of an unusual and humiliating seduction, reacts in a clever if less-than-admirable fashion. Other stories uncover the “deep-holes” in a marriage, the unsuspected cruelty of children, and how a boy’s disfigured face provides both the good things in his life and the bad. And in the long title story, we accompany Sophia Kovalevsky—a late-nineteenth-century Russian émigré and mathematician—on a winter journey that takes her from the Riviera, where she visits her lover, to Paris, Germany, and, Denmark, where she has a fateful meeting with a local doctor, and finally to Sweden, where she teaches at the only university in Europe willing to employ a female mathematician.

With clarity and ease, Alice Munro once again renders complex, difficult events and emotions into stories that shed light on the unpredictable ways in which men and women accommodate and often transcend what happens in their lives.

Too Much Happiness is a compelling, provocative—even daring—collection.

"The Creed of Violence"

New from Counterpoint: The Creed of Violence by Boston Teran.

About the book:

Mexico, 1910. At the Mexican-American border, the landscape pulses with the force of the upcoming revolution, an atmosphere rich in opportunity for a criminal such as Rawbone. His fortune arrives across the haze of the Sierra Blanca in the form of a truck loaded with weapons, an easy sell to those financing a bloodletting.

But Rawbone's plan spins against him, and he soon finds himself in the hands of the Bureau of Investigation. He is offered a chance for immunity, but only if he agrees to proceed with his scheme to deliver the truck and its goods to the Mexican oil fields - all the while being under the command of agent John Lourdes. Unbeknownst to Rawbone, the agent happens to be the son he abandoned decades earlier, a truth only the agent knows. As they work to expose the criminal network at the core of the revolution, it is clear their journey into the tarred desert is a push toward a certain ruin, and the agent's secret may determine their fates.

Set against a backdrop of intrigue and corruption, The Creed of Violence is a saga about the scars of abandonment, the greed of war, and America's history of foreign intervention for the sake of oil.
Visit the official The Creed of Violence website.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

"Evening's Empire"

New from Little, Brown: Evening's Empire: The Story of My Father's Murder by Zachary Lazar.

About the book, from the publisher:

When he was just six years old, Zachary Lazar's father, Edward, was shot dead by hit men in a Phoenix, Arizona parking garage. The year was 1975, a time when, according to the Arizona Republic, "land-fraud artists roamed the state in sharp suits, gouging money from buyers and investors." How did his father fit into this world and how could his son ever truly understand the man, his time and place, and his motivations? In Evening's Empire, Zachary Lazar, whose novel Sway was named one of the Best Books of 2008 by Rolling Stone, the Los Angeles Times, and other publications, brilliantly attempts to reconstruct the sequence of events that led to his father's murder.
Zachary Lazar's novel Sway is on the list of forty-six essential rock reads.

Related: My Book, The Movie: Sway and the Page 69 Test: Sway.

"The Original of Laura"

New from Knopf: The Original of Laura by Vladimir Nabokov.

About the book, from the publisher:

When Vladimir Nabokov died in 1977, he left instructions for his heirs to burn the 138 handwritten index cards that made up the rough draft of his final and unfinished novel, The Original of Laura. But Nabokov’s wife, Vera, could not bear to destroy her husband’s last work, and when she died, the fate of the manuscript fell to her son. Dmitri Nabokov, now seventy-five—the Russian novelist’s only surviving heir, and translator of many of his books—has wrestled for three decades with the decision of whether to honor his father’s wish or preserve for posterity the last piece of writing of one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century. His decision finally to allow publication of the fragmented narrative—dark yet playful, preoccupied with mortality—affords us one last experience of Nabokov’s magnificent creativity, the quintessence of his unparalleled body of work.

Photos of the handwritten index cards accompany the text. They are perforated and can be removed and rearranged, as the author likely did when he was writing the novel.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

"The Wrecker"

New from Putnam: The Wrecker by Clive Cussler and Justin Scott.

About the book, from the publisher:

In The Chase, Clive Cussler introduced an electrifying new hero, the tall, lean, no-nonsense detective Isaac Bell, who, driven by his sense of justice, travels early-twentieth-century America pursuing thieves and killers ... and sometimes criminals much worse.

It is 1907, a year of financial panic and labor unrest. Train wrecks, fires, and explosions sabotage the Southern Pacific Railroad’s Cascades express line and, desperate, the railroad hires the fabled Van Dorn Detective Agency. Van Dorn sends in his best man, and Bell quickly discovers that a mysterious saboteur haunts the hobo jungles of the West, a man known as the Wrecker, who recruits accomplices from the down-and-out to attack the railroad, and then kills them afterward. The Wrecker traverses the vast spaces of the American West as if he had wings, striking wherever he pleases, causing untold damage and loss of human life. Who is he? What does he want? Is he a striker? An anarchist? A revolutionary determined to displace the “privileged few”? A criminal mastermind engineering some as yet unexplained scheme?

Whoever he is, whatever his motives, the Wrecker knows how to create maximum havoc, and Bell senses that he is far from done—that, in fact, the Wrecker is building up to a grand act unlike anything he has committed before. If Bell doesn’t stop him in time, more than a railroad could be at risk—it could be the future of the entire country.

Filled with intricate plotting and dazzling set pieces, The Wrecker is one of the most entertaining thrillers in years.

"Love in Translation"

New from St. Martin's Griffin: Love in Translation by Wendy Nelson Tokunaga.

About the book, from the publisher:

Stuck. That’s how 33-year-old aspiring singer Celeste Duncan feels, with her deadbeat boyfriend and static career. But then Celeste receives a puzzling phone call and a box full of mysterious family heirlooms which just might be the first real clue to the identity of the father she never knew. Impulsively, Celeste flies to Japan to search for a long-lost relative who could be able to explain. She stumbles head first into a weird, wonderful world where nothing is quite as it seems—a land with an inexplicable fascination with foreigners, karaoke boxes, and unbearably perky TV stars.

With little knowledge of Japanese, Celeste finds a friend in her English-speaking homestay brother, Takuya, and comes to depend on him for all variety of translation, travel and investigatory needs. As they cross the country following a trail after Celeste's family, she discovers she's developing "more-than-sisterly" feelings for him. But with a nosy homestay mom scheming to reunite Takuya with his old girlfriend, and her search growing dimmer, Celeste begins to wonder whether she's made a terrible mistake by coming to Japan. Can Celeste find her true self in this strange land, and discover that love can transcend culture?
Visit Wendy Nelson Tokunaga's website.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

"Plague Zone"

New from Ace Books/Penguin: Plague Zone by Jeff Carlson.

About the book, from the publisher:

After surviving the machine plague and the world war that followed, nanotech researcher Ruth Goldman and ex-army ranger Cam Najarro discovered that a new contagion is about to be unleashed.
Visit Jeff Carlson's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Plague Year.

The Page 99 Test: Plague War.

My Book, The Movie: Plague Year.

"The Humbling"

New from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: The Humbling by Philip Roth.

About the book, from the publisher:

Everything is over for Simon Axler, the protagonist of Philip Roth's startling new book. One of the leading American stage actors of his generation, now in his sixties, he has lost his magic, his talent, and his assurance. His Falstaff and Peer Gynt and Vanya, all his great roles, "are melted into air, into thin air." When he goes onstage he feels like a lunatic and looks like an idiot. His confidence in his powers has drained away; he imagines people laughing at him; he can no longer pretend to be someone else. "Something fundamental has vanished." His wife has gone, his audience has left him, his agent can't persuade him to make a comeback.

Into this shattering account of inexplicable and terrifying self-evacuation bursts a counterplot of unusual erotic desire, a consolation for a bereft life so risky and aberrant that it points not toward comfort and gratification but to a yet darker and more shocking end. In this long day's journey into night, told with Roth's inimitable urgency, bravura, and gravity, all the ways that we convince ourselves of our solidity, all our life's performances--talent, love, sex, hope, energy, reputation--are stripped off.

The Humbling is Roth's thirtieth book.

Monday, November 9, 2009

"Destroyer of Worlds"

New from Tor Books: Destroyer of Worlds by Larry Niven and Edward M. Lerner.

About the book, from the publisher:

Worlds closer to the galatic core than Known Space are --or were-- home to intelligent speciers. Some learned of the core explosion in time to flee. Destroyer of Worlds opens in 2670, ten years after Juggler of Worlds closes; with refugee species fleeing in an armada of ramscoops in the direction of the Fleet of Worlds. The onrushing aliens are recognized as a threat; they have left in their trail a host of desolated worlds: some raided for supplies, some attacked to eliminate competition, and some for pure xenophobia.

Only the Puppeteers might have the resources to confront this threat--but the Puppeteers are philosophical cowards... they don't confront anyone. They need sepoys to investigate the situation and take action for them. The source of the sepoys? Their newly independent former slave world, New Terra.
Visit the Edward M. Lerner, Perpetrator of Science Fiction and Technothrillers website and blog, SF and Nonsense.


New from St. Martin's Press: Delilah by India Edghill, author of Queenmaker.

About the book, from the publisher:

Given to the temple of Atargatis as a child, Delilah is raised to be a priestess to the Five Cities that rule Canaan. With her beloved friend Aylah, Delilah grows up under the watchful eyes of high priestess Derceto, who sees the devout young priestesses as valuable playing pieces in her political schemes.

In the hills of Canaan, the Israelites chafe under the rule of the Five Cities, and choose Samson to lead them to victory. A reluctant warrior, Samson is a man of great heart who prefers peace to war. But fearing a rebellion, those who rule the Five Cities will do anything to capture Samson. When Samson catches a glimpse of Delilah, he is ready to risk his freedom to marry her, and Derceto seizes the chance to have Samson at her mercy. The Temple's intrigues against Samson force Aylah and Delilah apart, lead Delilah to question her own heart, and change her future forever.

A glorious and inventive retelling of an ancient story, Delilah is a soaring tale of political turmoil, searing betrayal, passionate friendship, and forbidden love.
Visit India Edghill's website.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

"Larry Bond's Red Dragon Rising"

New from Forge Books: Larry Bond's Red Dragon Rising by Larry Bond and Jim DeFelice.

About the book, from the publisher:

Building off the World War III premise Larry Bond helped Tom Clancy to establish, Red Storm Rising, this new series looks at the world under an omnipresent Chinese superpower. When rapid climate change leads to mass riots in China, a new Communist premier seeks to relieve pressure by marching on traditional Chinese enemies in Southeast Asia. Desperately coping with its own problems, the US wants to avoid nuclear war at all costs - but ultimately must fight to preserve world peace.
Read an excerpt from Red Dragon Rising.

Visit Jim DeFelice's website and blog.

"Wyatt’s Revenge"

New from Oceanview Publishing: Wyatt’s Revenge by H. Terrell Griffin.

About the book, from the publisher:

On balance, retired trial lawyer turned beach bum Matt Royal is a pretty laidback fellow. But when Laurence Wyatt, one of Matt’s best friends, is murdered, Matt trades in his easygoing ways for a hard-hitting quest for revenge. Matt knows the Longboat Key police will do their job in investigating, but for Matt, finding Wyatt’s killer isn’t a job; it’s personal.

Determined to do whatever it takes to solve Wyatt’s murder, Matt takes matters into his own hands and embarks on a clandestine investigation. Soon, Matt finds himself in hot pursuit of a cadre of remorseless criminals and trained killers. But the tables turn and Matt Royal becomes the pursued. Faced with mounting danger, Matt calls for backup from his buddies Jock Algren and Logan Hamilton.

Matt Royal would go to the ends of the earth to exact revenge for Wyatt’s murder, but will he go outside the law?

Expect the unexpected in this wild and dangerous ride from Longboat Key, Florida, to Frankfurt, Germany, because hell hath no fury like Matt Royal scorned.
Read more about the book and author at H. Terrell Griffin's website.

The Page 69 Test: Wyatt’s Revenge.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

"The Murdered House"

New from Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books: The Murdered House by Pierre Magnan.

About the book, from the publisher:

From one of Frances’s leading crime writers, whose The Messengers of Death was named by Publishers Weekly as one of their 10 Best Mysteries of 2008, comes this exceptional classic mystery.

At the turn of the century in Upper Provence, a family is violently massacred. The sole survivor of the tragedy is a three-week-old baby. Twenty years later, the orphaned survivor returns home to avenge his family’s killers. Then unexpected secrets set in motion a dreadful unveiling of the past...

"Changing My Mind"

New from Penguin: Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays by Zadie Smith.

About the book, from the publisher:

A sparkling collection of Zadie Smith’s nonfiction over the past decade.

Zadie Smith brings to her essays all of the curiosity, intellectual rigor, and sharp humor that have attracted so many readers to her fiction, and the result is a collection that is nothing short of extraordinary.

Split into four sections—“Reading,” “Being,” “Seeing,” and “Feeling”—Changing My Mind invites readers to witness the world from Zadie Smith’s unique vantage. Smith casts her acute eye over material both personal and cultural, with wonderfully engaging essays—some published here for the first time—on diverse topics including literature, movies, going to the Oscars, British comedy, family, feminism, Obama, Katharine Hepburn, and Anna Magnani.

In her investigations Smith also reveals much of herself. Her literary criticism shares the wealth of her experiences as a reader and exposes the tremendous influence diverse writers—E. M. Forster, Zora Neale Hurston, George Eliot, and others—have had on her writing life and her self-understanding. Smith also speaks directly to writers as a craftsman, offering precious practical lessons on process. Here and throughout, readers will learn of the wide-ranging experiences—in novels, travel, philosophy, politics, and beyond—that have nourished Smith’s rich life of the mind. Her probing analysis offers tremendous food for thought, encouraging readers to attend to the slippery questions of identity, art, love, and vocation that so often go neglected.

Changing My Mind announces Zadie Smith as one of our most important contemporary essayists, a writer with the rare ability to turn the world on its side with both fact and fiction. Changing My Mind is a gift to readers, writers, and all who want to look at life more expansively.