Saturday, March 31, 2012

"Hand Me Down"

New from Dutton: Hand Me Down by Melanie Thorne.

About the book, from the publisher:

A tough, tender, debut novel, in the tradition of Dorothy Allison and Janet Fitch, Hand Me Down is the unforgettable story of a girl who travels between California and Utah in search of her true family, having never been loved best of all.

Fourteen-year-old Elizabeth Reid has spent her life protecting her sister, Jaime, from their parents' cruel mistakes. Their father, who'd rather work the system than a job, pours every dollar into his many vices, denying his daughters the shoes and clothing they need. Their mother, once a loving parent, is going through a post-post-adolescent rebellious streak and finds love with a dangerous ex-con. When she chooses starting a new family over raising her first-born girls, Elizabeth and Jaime are separated and forced to rely on the begrudging kindness of increasingly distant relatives.

A string of broken promises that begins with Liz's mother swearing, "I would never hurt you, Liz. You're family," propels her between guest beds in two states searching for a safe home. All the while, Liz is burdened by her stake in a bleak pact with a deceitful adult: to tell the truth about the darkest of her circumstances will cost her the ability to shelter Jaime. As Liz spirals into the abyss of fear and shame that haunts her sleepless nights, can she break free from her bonds in time to fight for her life?

Thorne writes with a command of language that is at once affecting and enticing. Her debut is the kind of voice-driven reading experience fiction lovers crave.
Visit Melanie Thorne's website and blog.

"Skeleton Picnic"

New from Poisoned Pen Press: The Skeleton Picnic: a J.D. Books Mystery by Michael Norman.

About the book, from the publisher:

Third generation Kanab residents Rolly and Abigail Rogers come from a long line of dedicated pot hunters who scour the desert southwest in search of valuable antiquities. When the Utah couple fails to return from a weekend skeleton picnic, (pot hunting trip) along the desolate Arizona Strip, local Sheriff Charley Sutter turns to BLM Law Enforcement Ranger J.D. Books for help.

When Books searches the missing couple’s home for clues about their disappearance, he discovers the house has been burglarized and a valuable collection of ancient Anasazi and Fremont Indian antiquities stolen. Soon a search and rescue operation finds the Rogers’ truck and trailer at an abandoned campsite near an ancient Anasazi ruin that has been recently excavated. Footprints and other evidence lead Books to conclude that the couple may have been overpowered by a small group of unknown assailants.

Sheriff Sutter assigns an attractive young deputy, Beth Tanner, to investigate the burglary of the Rogers’ home under the watchful eye of Books. Together they track some of the stolen property to a pawn shop in St. George, and ultimately to a young Navajo man with a criminal record. Keeping this man alive long enough to make him talk, however, proves difficult.

Books and Tanner soon learn of a shadowy group of armed Indian police who patrol vast swaths of tribal and federal lands in search of anyone desecrating ancient Native American burial sites. They also discover several recent unsolved cases in the Four Corners region where individuals disappeared into the desert wilderness under suspicious circumstances, never to be heard from again. Could the disappearance of the Rogers, and others, be the responsibility of this group?

As Books and Tanner close in on those responsible, Books’ own survival skills will be tested when he is unwittingly drawn into a remote part of the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. There he is forced into a deadly game of cat-and-mouse, where the hunter becomes the hunted, and only one person gets to go home alive.
Visit Michael Norman's website.

Friday, March 30, 2012

"The Fallen"

New from Soho Press: The Fallen: A Jade de Jong Investigation by Jassy Mackenzie.

About the book, from the publisher:

When P.I. Jade de Jong invites Superintendent David Patel on a scuba diving holiday in St Lucia, she hopes the time away will rebuild their conflicted relationship. Jade's dreams are soon shattered when David calls off their affair, forcing her into the arms of environmentalist Craig Niewoudt, who has just been rejected by his traveling companion, too. But the next morning, romantic issues are put aside when a scuba diving instructor, Amanda Bolton, is found brutally stabbed to death.

Amanda is a most unlikely candidate for murder - a quiet and intelligent woman who until a few months ago pursued a high-powered career as an air traffic controller. She had few acquaintances and no lovers. The only loose end is a postcard in her room from Jo'burg based Themba Msamaya, asking how she is doing after 813 and The Fallen.

In contrast, the resort's other dive instructor, Sharlene, has a history of theft, job-hopping, drug-taking, and multiple liaisons with unsuitable men. The police are eager to question her, but soon discover that she has disappeared.

Was Amanda murdered in error? Did Sharlene hear or see the crime being committed and then flee to save her own life? Convinced that she possesses vital information, Jade and David put their differences aside and start the deadly hunt.
Learn more about the book and author at Jassy Mackenzie's website.

The Page 69 Test: Random Violence.

The Page 69 Test: Stolen Lives.

"The Book of Madness and Cures"

New from Little, Brown: The Book of Madness and Cures by Regina O'Melveny.

About the book, from the publisher:

Gabriella Mondini is a rarity in 16th century Venice: a woman who practices medicine. Her father, a renowned physician, has provided her entrée to this all-male profession, and inspired in her a shared mission to understand the secrets of the human body.

Then her father disappears and Gabriella faces a crisis: she is no longer permitted to treat her patients, women who need her desperately, without her father's patronage. She sets out across Europe to find where-and why-he has gone. Following clues from his occasional enigmatic letters, Gabriella crosses Switzerland, Germany and France, entering strange and forbidding cities. She travels to Scotland, the Netherlands, and finally to Morocco. In each new land she probes the mystery of her father's flight, and open new mysteries of her own. Not just mysteries of ailments and treatments, but ultimate mysteries of mortality, love, and the timeless human spirit.

Filled with medical lore and sensuous, vivid details of Renaissance life, The Book of Madness and Cures is an intoxicating and unforgettable debut.
Visit Regina O'Melveny's website.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

"A Deeper Darkness"

New from Mira: A Deeper Darkness by J. T. Ellison.

About the book, from the publisher:

Into the Flood Again...

As a medical examiner, Samantha Owens knows her job is to make a certain sense of death with crisp methodology and precision instruments. But the day the Tennessee floods took her husband and children, the light vanished from Sam's life. She's pulled into a suffocating grief no amount of workaholic ardor can penetrate—until she receives a peculiar call from Washington, D.C.

On the other end of line is an old boyfriend’s mother, asking Sam to do a second autopsy on her son. Eddie Donovan is officially the victim of a vicious carjacking, but under Sam’s sharp eye the forensics tell a darker story. The ex-Ranger was murdered, though not for his car.

Forced to confront the burning memories and feelings about yet another loved one killed brutally, Sam loses herself in the mystery contained within Donovan’s old notes. Leading her to the untouchable Xander Whitfield, a soldier off-grid since his return from Afghanistan, and then to a series of brutal crimes stretching from that harsh mountainous war zone to this nation’s capital, the tale told between the lines makes it clear that nobody’s hands are clean, and that making sense of murder sometimes means putting yourself in the crosshairs of death.
Learn more about the book and author at J.T. Ellison's website and blog.

“Multiplication Is for White People”

New from The New Press: "Multiplication Is for White People": Raising Expectations for Other People’s Children by Lisa Delpit.

About the book, from the publisher:

Why you trying to teach me to multiply, Ms. Lisa? Black people don’t multiply, black people just add and subtract.
"Multiplication Is for White People"

As award-winning educator Lisa Delpit reminds us—and as all research shows—there is no achievement gap at birth. In her long-awaited second book, Delpit presents a striking picture of the elements of contemporary public education that conspire against the prospects for poor children of color, creating a persistent gap in achievement during the school years that has eluded several decades of reform.

Delpit’s bestselling and paradigm-shifting first book, Other People’s Children, focused on cultural slippage in the classroom between white teachers and students of color. Called “phenomenal” (San Francisco Review of Books) and “a godsend [that is] honest and fair, yet visionary and firm” (Quarterly Black Review), it received multiple awards and continues to garner high acclaim. Now, in “Multiplication Is for White People”, Delpit reflects on two decades of reform efforts—including No Child Left Behind, standardized testing, the creation of alternative teacher certification paths, and the charter school movement—that still have left a generation of poor children of color feeling that higher math isn’t for them.

In her wonderful trademark style, punctuated with telling classroom anecdotes and informed by time spent at dozens of schools across the country, Delpit outlines an inspiring and uplifting blueprint for raising expectations for other people’s children, based on a simple premise: multiplication is for everyone.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

"Kings of Midnight"

New from Minotaur Books: Kings of Midnight by Wallace Stroby.

About the book, from the publisher:

Crissa Stone is a career criminal who has pulled a number of impressive heists by knowing how to keep her mouth shut and her temper in check. Still, as good as she is, she wants to get out of the life. All she needs is one last big score, enough to bribe her lover’s way out on parole, set up a safe and stable new life, and get her daughter back. However, things keep going wrong, like when her last two partners lost their cool and fought over the take instead of walking away $150K richer. The mess they made of the job and each other has put her on the run again.

She’s not the only one. Benny Roth, a former mobster, has been straight for years, but now he has his own problems. A face from the past has popped up to tell him that boss Joey Dio is finally dead and to ask about the five million dollars that Joey was rumored to have stashed away years ago. Benny denies knowing anything about it and claims he’s out of the business. That may be what he says, but he’s willing to risk almost everything for one last shot.

With the law and mobsters on the lookout and five million dollars on the line, it isn’t long before Crissa and Benny find themselves on a collision course that neither of them can avoid. This hard-boiled world, where the stakes---and the risks---are always high, unfolds at breakneck speed in Kings of Midnight, another dark and thrilling masterwork of crime fiction from Wallace Stroby.
Learn more about the author and his novels at the official Wallace Stroby website and The Heartbreak Blog.

The Page 69 Test: Gone 'til November.

The Page 69 Test: Cold Shot to the Heart.

Writers Read: Wallace Stroby (February 2011).

"Strange Flesh"

New from Simon & Schuster: Strange Flesh by Michael Olson.

About the book, from the publisher:


“The only clue we have to our brother’s whereabouts is this place that doesn’t really exist.” Ten years ago, Blythe Randall broke James Pryce’s heart. Now she needs his help. Her enigmatic appeal lures the elite hacker into his most tantalizing, and most personal, assignment yet. A Harvard dropout employed by Manhattan-based RedRook Security, James makes a living finding people who don’t want to be found, pursuing their digital tracks around the globe, flushing out criminals, and exacting creative high-tech revenge on behalf of his clients. But this time he’s following his target—billionaire multimedia artist Billy Randall—into an exotic and treacherous world: a virtual one.

Capping off an erratic, increasingly violent series of stunts meant to plague his family’s media empire, black sheep Billy sends a video of his own suicide to his older siblings, aristocratic twins Blythe and Blake. In it, Billy “jacks out,” reanimating onscreen as an avatar in a decadent online world called NOD. The performance is pure Billy—he has always been obsessed with “the Bleed”: the moment when real and virtual selves intersect, where actions in one life breed consequences in another.

Blythe uses her influence to install James at GAME, a downtown media collective and one of Billy’s recent haunts. Posing as a documentarian, James gains access to a small band of artists and programmers—contemporaries, and in some cases enemies, of Billy Randall—whose top secret project represents the holy grail of virtual reality. Meanwhile, James learns that as part of his most recent scheme, Billy himself has designed a lavish alternate reality game, an escalating, high-stakes virtual landscape of strange flesh.

In order to find him, James must play along.
Visit Michael Olson's blog.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


New from Ace/Penguin: Triggers by Robert J. Sawyer.

About the book, from the publisher:

On the eve of a secret military operation, an assassin's bullet strikes President Seth Jerrison. He is rushed to the hospital, where surgeons struggle to save his life.

At the same hospital, researcher Dr. Ranjip Singh is experimenting with a device that can erase traumatic memories.

Then a terrorist bomb detonates. In the operating room, the president suffers cardiac arrest. He has a near-death experience-but the memories that flash through Jerrison's mind are not his memories.

It quickly becomes clear that the electromagnetic pulse generated by the bomb amplified and scrambled Dr. Singh's equipment, allowing a random group of people to access one another's minds.

And now one of those people has access to the president's memories- including classified information regarding the upcoming military mission, which, if revealed, could cost countless lives. But the task of determining who has switched memories with whom is a daunting one- particularly when some of the people involved have reason to lie...
Learn more about the book and author at Robert J. Sawyer's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: WWW: Wake.

The Page 69 Test: WWW: Watch.

The Page 69 Test:: WWW: Wonder.

Writers Read: Robert Sawyer.

"The Cove"

New from Ecco: The Cove by Ron Rash.

About the book, from the publisher:

The New York Times bestselling author of Serena returns to Appalachia, this time at the height of World War I, with the story of a blazing but doomed love affair caught in the turmoil of a nation at war

Deep in the rugged Appalachians of North Carolina lies the cove, a dark, forbidding place where spirits and fetches wander, and even the light fears to travel. Or so the townsfolk of Mars Hill believe–just as they know that Laurel Shelton, the lonely young woman who lives within its shadows, is a witch. Alone except for her brother, Hank, newly returned from the trenches of France, she aches for her life to begin.

Then it happens–a stranger appears, carrying nothing but a beautiful silver flute and a note explaining that his name is Walter, he is mute, and is bound for New York. Laurel finds him in the woods, nearly stung to death by yellow jackets, and nurses him back to health. As the days pass, Walter slips easily into life in the cove and into Laurel's heart, bringing her the only real happiness she has ever known.

But Walter harbors a secret that could destroy everything–and danger is closer than they know. Though the war in Europe is near its end, patriotic fervor flourishes thanks to the likes of Chauncey Feith, an ambitious young army recruiter who stokes fear and outrage throughout the county. In a time of uncertainty, when fear and ignorance reign, Laurel and Walter will discover that love may not be enough to protect them.

This lyrical, heart-rending tale, as mesmerizing as its award-winning predecessor Serena, shows once again this masterful novelist at the height of his powers.
The Page 99 Test: Ron Rash's One Foot in Eden.

Monday, March 26, 2012

"Red Weather"

New from the University of Arizona Press: Red Weather by Janet McAdams.

About the book, from the publisher:

This trip wasn’t about her, her need to escape. She had been too young when it happened. Too young to understand what could be worth risking everything for. Even now they seemed naïve, foolish in their belief that anything could change. They had tried to save a generation. If she couldn’t save them, she might find a way to finish their story.

Neva Greene is seeking answers.

The daughter of American Indian activists, Neva hasn’t seen or heard from her parents since they vanished a decade earlier, after planning an act of resistance that went terribly wrong. Discovering a long-overlooked clue to their disappearance, Neva follows their trail to Central America, leaving behind an uncaring husband, an estranged brother, and a life of lukewarm commitments.

Determined to solve the mystery of her parents’ disappearance, Neva finds work teaching English in the capital city of tiny Coatepeque, a country torn by its government’s escalating war on its Indigenous population. As the violence and political unrest grow around her, Neva meets a man whose tenderness toward her seems to contradict his shadowy political connections.

Against the backdrop of Central American politics, this suspenseful first novel from award-winning poet Janet McAdams explores an important chapter in American Indian history. Through finely drawn, compelling characters and lucidly beautiful prose, Red Weather explores the journey from loss to possibility, from the secrets of the past to the longings of the present.
Visit Janet McAdams's website.

"The Coldest Night"

New from Algonquin Books: The Coldest Night by Robert Olmstead.

About the book, from the publisher:

Henry Childs is just seventeen when he falls into a love affair so intense it nearly consumes him. But when young Mercy’s disapproving father threatens Henry’s life, Henry runs as far as he can—to the other side of the world.

The time is 1950, and the Korean War hangs in the balance. Descended from a long line of soldiers, Henry enlists in the marines and arrives in Korea on the eve of the brutal seventeen-day battle of the Chosin Reservoir—the turning point of the war—completely unprepared for the forbidding Korean landscape and the unimaginable circumstances of a war well beyond the scope of anything his ancestors ever faced. But the challenges he meets upon his return home, scarred and haunted, are greater by far.

Robert Olmstead’s riveting new novel is not only a passionate story of love and war, it is a timeless story of soldiers coming home to a country with little regard for, and even less knowledge of, what they’ve confronted. Through his hero, Olmstead reveals an unspoken truth about combat: that for many men, the experience of war is the most enlivening, electric, and extraordinary experience of their lives.
Visit Robert Olmstead's website.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

"Uncle John's Band"

New from Plus One Press: Uncle John's Band: Book #6 of the JP Kinkaid Chronicles by Deborah Grabien.

About the book, from the author's website:

The conclusion of Blacklight’s exhausting Book of Days tour finds guitarist JP Kinkaid recuperating at home in San Francisco. As JP’s local band, the Fog City Geezers, plan gigs at Marin County’s 707 Club, the club is put up for sale. Blacklight, seeing an opportunity to preserve a classic venue, acquires the majority stake.

But the minority ownership comes with strings attached. There are troubling questions about the source of the stake money. There’s prickly, unpredictable promoter Norfolk Lind, whose son Curtis is romantically involved with Blacklight band baby Solange Hedley, now in cooking school in San Francisco. And Lind’s partner, Esther Woodley, has some dark history of her own with JP’s wife, Bree.

The Geezers celebrate the opening of the newly refurbished 707 with a private show. But when the club is destroyed by arson, Blacklight’s new security chief, retired homicide cop Patrick Ormand, must dig deep into the local music scene’s murky past to find the truth.
Learn more about the book and author at Deborah Grabien's website.

The Page 69 Test: While My Guitar Gently Weeps Book #6 of the JP Kinkaid Chronicles.

"Colonel Sanders and the American Dream"

New from the University of Texas Press: Colonel Sanders and the American Dream by Josh Ozersky.

About the book, from the publisher:

From Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben to the Jolly Green Giant and Ronald McDonald, corporate icons sell billions of dollars’ worth of products. But only one of them was ever a real person—Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken/KFC. From a 1930s roadside café in Corbin, Kentucky, Harland Sanders launched a fried chicken business that now circles the globe, serving “finger lickin’ good” chicken to more than twelve million people every day. But to get there, he had to give up control of his company and even his own image, becoming a mere symbol to people today who don’t know that Colonel Sanders was a very real human being. This book tells his story—the story of a dirt-poor striver with unlimited ambition who personified the American Dream.

Acclaimed cultural historian Josh Ozersky defines the American Dream as being able to transcend your roots and create yourself as you see fit. Harland Sanders did exactly that. Forced at age ten to go to work to help support his widowed mother and sisters, he failed at job after job until he went into business for himself as a gas station/café/motel owner and finally achieved a comfortable, middle-class life. But then the interstate bypassed his business and, at sixty-five, Sanders went broke again. Packing his car with a pressure cooker and his secret blend of eleven herbs and spices, he began peddling the recipe for “Colonel Sanders’ Kentucky Fried Chicken” to small-town diners in exchange for a nickel for each chicken they sold. Ozersky traces the rise of Kentucky Fried Chicken from this unlikely beginning, telling the dramatic story of Sanders’ self-transformation into “The Colonel,” his truculent relationship with KFC management as their often-disregarded goodwill ambassador, and his equally turbulent afterlife as the world’s most recognizable commercial icon.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

"Real Vampires Hate Skinny Jeans"

New from Berkley: Real Vampires Hate Skinny Jeans by Gerry Bartlett.

About the book, from the publisher:

Someone is eating for two...

Full-figured vampire Glory St. Clair thinks things are finally going her way. She's no longer possessed by a demon, the legions of hell aren't on her tail, and her love life is heating up since she managed to reconnect with her maker-and longtime lover-Jeremy Blade.

When a pregnant demon shows up on her doorstep, Glory knows that everything is about to go to hell. Alesa is claiming that the baby she's carrying is Rafe's, conceived while she was inhabiting Glory's body. A clever trap? Or could it be true?

Booties and bibs are the last thing on Glory's mind when she discovers dark secrets from her own forgotten past. Who is she? What is she? And how will the men in her life deal with the fact that she may be more powerful than she knew? One thing is certain. Glory has way more to worry about than fitting into her favorite pair of jeans...
Learn more about the book and author at Gerry Bartlet's website and blog.

Coffee with a Canine: Gerry Bartlett & Jet (2009).

The Page 69 Test: Real Vampires Have More to Love.

Writers Read: Gerry Bartlett (December 2010).

My Book, The Movie: Real Vampires Have More to Love.

Writers Read: Gerry Bartlett.

Coffee with a Canine: Gerry Bartlett and Jet (September 2011).

"Caring Is Creepy"

New from Soho Press: Caring Is Creepy by David Zimmerman.

About the book, from the publisher:

Fifteen-year-old Lynn Marie Sugrue is doing her best to make it through a difficult summer. Her mother works long hours as a nurse, and Lynn suspects that her mother’s pill-popping boyfriend has enlisted her in his petty criminal enterprises. Lynn finds refuge in online flirtations, eventually meeting up with a troubled young soldier, Logan Loy, and inviting him home. When he’s forced to stay over in a storage space accessible through her closet, and the Army subsequently lists him as AWOL, she realizes that he’s the one thing in her life that she can control. Meanwhile, her mother’s boyfriend is on the receiving end of a series of increasingly violent threats, which places Lynn squarely in the cross-hairs.

Friday, March 23, 2012

"Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage"

New from Crown: Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage: The Titanic's First-Class Passengers and Their World by Hugh Brewster.

About the book, from the publisher:

Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage takes us behind the paneled doors of the Titanic’s elegant private suites to present compelling, memorable portraits of her most notable passengers. The intimate atmosphere onboard history’s most famous ship is recreated as never before.

The Titanic has often been called “an exquisite microcosm of the Edwardian era,” but until now, her story has not been presented as such. In Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage, historian Hugh Brewster seamlessly interweaves personal narratives of the lost liner’s most fascinating people with a haunting account of the fateful maiden crossing. Employing scrupulous research and featuring 100 rarely-seen photographs, he accurately depicts the ship’s brief life and tragic denouement, presenting the very latest thinking on everything from when and how the lifeboats were loaded to the last tune played by the orchestra. Yet here too is a convincing evocation of the table talk at the famous Widener dinner party held in the Ritz Restaurant on the last night. And here we also experience the rustle of elegant undergarments as first-class ladies proceed down the grand staircase in their soigné evening gowns, some of them designed by Lady Duff Gordon, the celebrated couterière, who was also on board.

Another well-known passenger was the artist Frank Millet, who led an astonishing life that seemed to encapsulate America’s Gilded Age—from serving as a drummer boy in the Civil War to being the man who made Chicago’s White City white for the 1893 World Exposition. His traveling companion Major Archibald Butt was President Taft’s closest aide and was returning home for a grueling fall election campaign that his boss was expected to lose. Today, both of these once-famous men are almost forgotten, but their ship-mate Margaret Tobin Brown lives on as “the Unsinkable Molly Brown,” a name that she was never called during her lifetime.

Millionaires John Jacob Astor and Benjamin Guggenheim, writer Helen Churchill Candee, movie actress Dorothy Gibson, aristocrat Noelle, the Countess of Rothes, and a host of other travelers on this fateful crossing are also vividly brought to life within these pages. Through them, we gain insight into the arts, politics, culture, and sexual mores of a world both distant and near to our own. And with them, we gather on the Titanic’s sloping deck on that cold, starlit night and observe their all-too-human reactions as the disaster unfolds. More than ever, we ask ourselves, “What would we have done?”
Visit Hugh Brewster's website.

"The Lifeboat"

New from Reagan Arthur/ Little, Brown: The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan.

About the book, from the publisher:

Grace Winter, 22, is both a newlywed and a widow. She is also on trial for her life.

In the summer of 1914, the elegant ocean liner carrying her and her husband Henry across the Atlantic suffers a mysterious explosion. Setting aside his own safety, Henry secures Grace a place in a lifeboat, which the survivors quickly realize is over capacity. For any to live, some must die.

As the castaways battle the elements, and each other, Grace recollects the unorthodox way she and Henry met, and the new life of privilege she thought she'd found. Will she pay any price to keep it?

The Lifeboat is a page-turning novel of hard choices and survival, narrated by a woman as unforgettable and complex as the events she describes.
Visit Charlotte Rogan's website.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

"The Memory of Blood"

New from Bantam: The Memory of Blood (Peculiar Crimes Unit Series #8) by Christopher Fowler.

About the book, from the publisher:

Christopher Fowler’s acclaimed Peculiar Crimes Unit novels crackle with sly wit, lively suspense, and twists as chilling as London’s fog. Now the indomitable duo of Arthur Bryant and John May, along with the rest of their quirky team, return to solve a confounding case with dark ties to the British theater and a killer who may mean curtains for all involved.

For the crew of the New Strand Theatre, the play The Two Murderers seems less performance than prophecy when a cast party ends in the shocking death of the theater owner’s son. The crime scene is most unusual, even for Bryant and May. In a locked bedroom without any trace of fingerprints or blood, the only sign of disturbance is a gruesome life-size puppet of Mr. Punch laying on the floor. Everyone at the party is a suspect, including the corrupt producer, the rakish male lead, the dour set designer, and the assistant stage manager, who is the wild daughter of a prominent government official.

It’s this last fact that threatens the Peculiar Crimes Unit’s investigation, as the government’s Home Office, wary of the team’s eccentric methods, seeks to throw them off the case. But the nimble minds of Bryant and May are not so easily deterred. Delving into the history of the London theater and the disturbing origins of Punch and Judy, the detectives race to find the maniacal killer before he reaches his even deadlier final act.

Whip-smart and endlessly entertaining, The Memory of Blood is an ingeniously intricate mystery from the deliciously inventive Christopher Fowler.
Learn more about the book and author at Christopher Fowler's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Victoria Vanishes (Peculiar Crimes Unit Series #6).

"Edge of Dark Water"

New from Mulholland Books: Edge of Dark Water by Joe R. Lansdale.

About the book, from the publisher:

May Lynn is a pretty girl who dreams of becoming a Hollywood star. Until her dead body is dredged up from the Sabine River.

Sue Ellen, May Lynn’s strong-willed teenage friend, and her friends Terry and Jinx set out to dig up May Lynn’s body, burn it to ash, and take those ashes to Hollywood. If May Lynn can’t become a star, then at least her remains can be spread in the land of her dreams.

All they need is some money and a raft; while the raft is easily available, stealing the money requires some gumption, but they manage it. Then they head downriver together with Sue Ellen’s agoraphobic mother: a motley crew on a mission.

Pursued by Uncle Gene and Constable Sy, who’re after the money, and Skunk, an all-too-real legendary killer who’s after their lives, they begin to understand that when you set out to make the dreams of a friend your own, your worst nightmares might come along for the ride.
Visit Joe R. Lansdale's official website.

The Page 69 Test: Lost Echoes.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

"The Blind Spy"

New from Ecco: The Blind Spy by Alex Dryden.

About the book, from the publisher:

Superspy Anna Resnikov is back in Alex Dryden's latest, masterful international thriller—The Blind Spy

Russia has never accepted Ukraine's independence and now the Patrioti—Putin, his elder statesmen, and seasoned generals dedicated to rebuilding their fallen empire—are using the KGB's controversial elite and clandestine forces of Department S to destabilize the young democratic nation and bring it back under Russian control.

But Cougar, the powerful private intelligence company that overshadows even the CIA in its reach, learns of Russia's plans and strikes at the heart of its plot with its own lethal weapon—the gorgeous ex–KGB colonel Anna Resnikov. More than a gifted spy and expert killer, Anna lost the love of her life and the father of her child at the hands of her former countrymen. Her defection to Cougar has made her the most wanted woman in Russia, but she'll risk any danger to herself for the chance to destroy the evil that rules her homeland. And on the ground in Ukraine, she meets a formidable foe, a mysterious KGB spy whose aims are suspiciously unclear but whose power is unmistakably deadly.

New York Times bestselling author James Grippando raves, "Alex Dryden...can please everyone from fans of old le Carré to students of current affairs." The Blind Spy is another killer cocktail of page-turning suspense, high-octane action, and riveting intrigue that will hold you captive from beginning to end.
Visit Alex Dryden's website.

"A Partial History of Lost Causes"

New from The Dial Press: A Partial History of Lost Causes by Jennifer DuBois.

About the book, from the publisher:

In Jennifer duBois’s mesmerizing and exquisitely rendered debut novel, a long-lost letter links two disparate characters, each searching for meaning against seemingly insurmountable odds.

In St. Petersburg, Russia, world chess champion Aleksandr Bezetov begins a quixotic quest. With his renowned Cold War–era tournaments behind him, Aleksandr has turned to politics, launching a dissident presidential campaign against Vladimir Putin. He knows he will not win—and that he is risking his life in the process—but a deeper conviction propels him forward. And in the same way that he cannot abandon his aims, he cannot erase the memory of a mysterious woman he loved in his youth.

In Cambridge, Massachusetts, thirty-year-old English lecturer Irina Ellison is on an improbable quest of her own. Certain she has inherited Huntington’s disease—the same cruel illness that ended her father’s life—she struggles with a sense of purpose. When Irina finds an old, photocopied letter her father had written to the young Aleksandr Bezetov, she makes a fateful decision. Her father had asked the Soviet chess prodigy a profound question—How does one proceed against a lost cause?—but never received an adequate reply. Leaving everything behind, Irina travels to Russia to find Bezetov and get an answer for her father, and for herself.

Spanning two continents and the dramatic sweep of history, A Partial History of Lost Causes reveals the stubbornness and splendor of the human will even in the most trying times. With uncommon perception and wit, Jennifer duBois explores the power of memory, the depths of human courage, and the endurance of love.
Visit the official Jennifer DuBois website.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

"The Bluebird Effect"

New from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: The Bluebird Effect: Uncommon Bonds with Common Birds by Julie Zickefoose.

About the book, from the publisher:

Julie Zickefoose lives for the moment when a wild, free living bird that she has raised or rehabilitated comes back to visit her; their eyes meet and they share a spark of understanding. Her reward for the grueling work of rescuing birds—such as feeding baby hummingbirds every twenty minutes all day long—is her empathy with them and the satisfaction of knowing the world is a birdier and more beautiful place.

The Bluebird Effect is about the change that's set in motion by one single act, such as saving an injured bluebird—or a hummingbird, swift, or phoebe. Each of the twenty five chapters covers a different species, and many depict an individual bird, each with its own personality, habits, and quirks. And each chapter is illustrated with Zickefoose's stunning watercolor paintings and drawings. Not just individual tales about the trials and triumphs of raising birds, The Bluebird Effect mixes humor, natural history, and memoir to give readers an intimate story of a life lived among wild birds.
Read--Coffee with a Canine: Julie Zickefoose & Chet Baker.

"The O'Briens"

New from Pantheon: The O'Briens by Peter Behrens.

About the book, from the publisher:

An unforgettable saga of love, loss, and exhilarating change spanning half a century in the lives of a restless family, from the author of the acclaimed novel The Law of Dreams.

The O’Briens is a family story unlike any told before, a tale that pours straight from the heart of a splendid, tragic, ambitious clan. In Joe O’Brien—grandson of a potato-famine emigrant, and a backwoods boy, railroad magnate, patriarch, brooding soul—Peter Behrens gives us a fiercely compelling man who exchanges isolation and poverty in the Canadian wilds for a share in the dazzling riches and consuming sorrows of the twentieth century.

When Joe meets Iseult Wilkins in Venice, California, the story of their courtship—told in Behrens’s gorgeous, honed style—becomes the first movement in a symphony of the generations. Husband and wife, brothers, sisters-in-law, children and grandchildren, the O’Briens engage unselfconsciously with their century, and we experience their times not as historical tableaux but as lives passionately lived. At the heart of this clan—at the heart of the novel—is mystery and madness grounded in the history of Irish sorrow. The O’Briens is the story of a man, a marriage, and a family, told with epic precision and wondrous imagination.
Read more about the novel and author at Peter Behrens' website.

The Page 69 Test: The Law of Dreams.

My Book, The Movie: The Law of Dreams.

Monday, March 19, 2012

"The Professionals"

New from Putnam: The Professionals by Owen Laukkanen.

About the book, from the publisher:

Four friends, recent college graduates, caught in a terrible job market, joke about turning to kidnapping to survive. And then, suddenly, it's no joke. For two years, the strategy they devise-quick, efficient, low risk-works like a charm. Until they kidnap the wrong man.

Now two groups they've very much wanted to avoid are after them-the law, in the form of veteran state investigator Kirk Stevens and hotshot young FBI agent Carla Windermere, and an organized-crime outfit looking for payback. As they all crisscross the country in deadly pursuit and a series of increasingly explosive confrontations, each of them is ultimately forced to recognize the truth: The true professionals, cop or criminal, are those who are willing to sacrifice ... everything.

A finger-burning page-turner, filled with twists, surprises, and memorably complex characters, The Professionals marks the arrival of a remarkable new writer.
Visit Owen Laukkanen's website.

"Blood in the Water"

New from Minotaur Books: Blood in the Water by Jane Haddam.

About the book, from the publisher:

Gregor Demarkian returns in a mindbending case of death and disappearance amongst the wealthy suburban elite.

In Waldorf Pines, a very rich, gated suburb of Philadelphia, ostentation and pretension are the order of the day. But even by the local standards, Martha Heydrich is a stone cold pain. She’s the stay-at-home wife of a very rich husband, drives a pink sports car everywhere and is on all the prominent local committees. She’s fake, into everybody’s business and is rumored to be having an affair with a local teenager, Michael Platte. One morning she seemingly vanishes from her house and later that night her husband Arthur returns home to find the pool house ablaze. Once the fire is extinguished, the police discover two bodies—one is Michael Platte and the other, too damaged to be recognizable, is presumed to be Martha Heydrich. The police think they know what happened—that Arthur killed his wife and her lover over the affair. But then the DNA results come back and the second body isn’t Martha’s at all, it is an unknown man. With their theory in tatters, and Martha nowhere to be found, the police to turn to ex-FBI agent Gregor Demarkian to help them unravel this most puzzling of cases.
Visit Jane Haddam's website and blog.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

"Lone Survivors"

New from Henry Holt: Lone Survivors: How We Came to Be the Only Humans on Earth by Chris Stringer.

About the book, from the publisher:

A leading researcher on human evolution proposes a new and controversial theory of how our species came to be

In this groundbreaking and engaging work of science, world-renowned paleoanthropologist Chris Stringer sets out a new theory of humanity's origin, challenging both the multiregionalists (who hold that modern humans developed from ancient ancestors in different parts of the world) and his own "out of Africa" theory, which maintains that humans emerged rapidly in one small part of Africa and then spread to replace all other humans within and outside the continent. Stringer's new theory, based on archeological and genetic evidence, holds that distinct humans coexisted and competed across the African continent—exchanging genes, tools, and behavioral strategies.

Stringer draws on analyses of old and new fossils from around the world, DNA studies of Neanderthals (using the full genome map) and other species, and recent archeological digs to unveil his new theory. He shows how the most sensational recent fossil findings fit with his model, and he questions previous concepts (including his own) of modernity and how it evolved.

Lone Survivors will be the definitive account of who and what we were, and will change perceptions about our origins and about what it means to be human.


New from Knopf: Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway.

About the book, from the publisher:

From the acclaimed author of The Gone-Away World, blistering gangster noir meets howling absurdist comedy as the forces of good square off against the forces of evil, and only an unassuming clockwork repairman and an octogenarian former superspy can save the world from total destruction.

Joe Spork spends his days fixing antique clocks. The son of infamous London criminal Mathew “Tommy Gun” Spork, he has turned his back on his family’s mobster history and aims to live a quiet life. That orderly existence is suddenly upended when Joe activates a particularly unusual clockwork mechanism. His client, Edie Banister, is more than the kindly old lady she appears to be—she’s a retired international secret agent. And the device? It’s a 1950s doomsday machine. Having triggered it, Joe now faces the wrath of both the British government and a diabolical South Asian dictator who is also Edie’s old arch-nemesis. On the upside, Joe’s got a girl: a bold receptionist named Polly whose smarts, savvy and sex appeal may be just what he needs. With Joe’s once-quiet world suddenly overrun by mad monks, psychopathic serial killers, scientific geniuses and threats to the future of conscious life in the universe, he realizes that the only way to survive is to muster the courage to fight, help Edie complete a mission she abandoned years ago and pick up his father’s old gun...
Learn about Harkaway's heroines from outside literature.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

"The Reeducation of Cherry Truong"

New from St. Martin's Press: The Reeducation of Cherry Truong: A Novel by Aimee Phan.

About the book, from the publisher:

Cherry Truong’s parents have exiled her wayward older brother from their Southern California home, sending him to Vietnam to live with distant relatives. Determined to bring him back, twenty-one-year-old Cherry travels to their homeland and finds herself on a journey to uncover her family’s decades-old secrets—hidden loves, desperate choices, and lives ripped apart by the march of war and currents of history.

The Reeducation of Cherry Truong tells the story of two fierce and unforgettable families, the Truongs and the Vos: their harrowing escape from Vietnam after the war, the betrayal that divided them, and the stubborn memories that continue to bind them years later, even as they come to terms with their hidden sacrifices and bitter mistakes. Kim-Ly, Cherry’s grandmother, once wealthy and powerful in Vietnam, now struggles to survive in Little Saigon, California without English or a driver’s license. Cherry’s other grandmother Hoa, whose domineering husband has developed dementia, discovers a cache of letters from a woman she thought had been left behind. As Cherry pieces their stories together, she uncovers the burden of her family’s love and the consequences of their choices.

Set in Vietnam, France, and the United States, Aimee Phan’s sweeping debut novel reveals a family still yearning for reconciliation, redemption, and a place to call home.
Visit Aimee Phan's website and blog.

"A Magnificent Obsession"

New from St. Martin's Press: A Magnificent Obsession: Victoria, Albert, and the Death That Changed the British Monarchy by Helen Rappaport.

About the book, from the publisher:

As she did in her critically acclaimed The Last Days of the Romanovs, Helen Rappaport brings a compelling documentary feel to the story of this royal marriage and of the queen’s obsessive love for her husband – a story that began as fairy tale and ended in tragedy.

After the untimely death of Prince Albert, the queen and her nation were plunged into a state of grief so profound that this one event would dramatically alter the shape of the British monarchy. For Britain had not just lost a prince: during his twenty year marriage to Queen Victoria, Prince Albert had increasingly performed the function of King in all but name. The outpouring of grief after Albert’s death was so extreme, that its like would not be seen again until the death of Princess Diana 136 years later.

Drawing on many letters, diaries and memoirs from the Royal Archives and other neglected sources, as well as the newspapers of the day, Rappaport offers a new perspective on this compelling historical psychodrama--the crucial final months of the prince’s life and the first long, dark ten years of the Queen’s retreat from public view. She draws a portrait of a queen obsessed with her living husband and – after his death – with his enduring place in history. Magnificent Obsession will also throw new light on the true nature of the prince’s chronic physical condition, overturning for good the 150-year old myth that he died of typhoid fever.
Visit Helen Rappaport's website.

Friday, March 16, 2012

"Language: The Cultural Tool"

New from Pantheon: Language: The Cultural Tool by Daniel L. Everett.

About the book, from the publisher:

A bold and provocative study that presents language not as an innate component of the brain—as most linguists do—but as an essential tool unique to each culture worldwide.

For years, the prevailing opinion among academics has been that language is embedded in our genes, existing as an innate and instinctual part of us. But linguist Daniel Everett argues that, like other tools, language was invented by humans and can be reinvented or lost. He shows how the evolution of different language forms—that is, different grammar—reflects how language is influenced by human societies and experiences, and how it expresses their great variety.

For example, the Amazonian Pirahã put words together in ways that violate our long-held under-standing of how language works, and Pirahã grammar expresses complex ideas very differently than English grammar does. Drawing on the Wari’ language of Brazil, Everett explains that speakers of all languages, in constructing their stories, omit things that all members of the culture understand. In addition, Everett discusses how some cultures can get by without words for numbers or counting, without verbs for “to say” or “to give,” illustrating how the very nature of what’s important in a language is culturally determined.

Combining anthropology, primatology, computer science, philosophy, linguistics, psychology, and his own pioneering—and adventurous—research with the Amazonian Pirahã, and using insights from many different languages and cultures, Everett gives us an unprecedented elucidation of this society-defined nature of language. In doing so, he also gives us a new understanding of how we think and who we are.
The Page 99 Test: Don't Sleep, There Are Snakes.

"How to Eat a Cupcake"

New from William Morrow Paperbacks: How to Eat a Cupcake: A Novel by Meg Donohue.

About the book, from the publisher:

Free-spirited Annie Quintana and sophisticated Julia St. Clair come from two different worlds. Yet, as the daughter of the St. Clairs' housekeeper, Annie grew up in Julia's San Francisco mansion and they forged a bond that only two little girls oblivious to class differences could—until a life-altering betrayal destroyed their friendship.

A decade later, Annie bakes to fill the void left in her heart by her mother's death, and a painful secret jeopardizes Julia's engagement to the man she loves. A chance reunion prompts the unlikely duo to open a cupcakery, but when a mysterious saboteur opens up old wounds, they must finally face the truth about their past or risk losing everything.
Visit Meg Donohue's website and blog.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

"Helsinki White"

New from Putnam: Helsinki White by James Thompson.

About the book, from the publisher:

Two days after their daughter is born, Kari Vaara drops a bombshell on his American wife, Kate: He has a brain tumor ... and he's been handpicked to run a rogue black-ops unit, using crime to fight crime.

After recovering from surgery, he gets to work. The black-ops unit is small, and reports directly to Finland's national chief of police. They have secrecy, autonomy, and the cash to buy all the high-tech gear. Soon the unit is cleaning house, robbing Helsinki's mobsters blind of their cash, dope, and illegal firearms. But Kari's team is too good, and their actions have unintended consequences....

Meanwhile, Finland roils with hatred as its most extreme right political party gains popularity despite having no agenda besides xenophobia. When the country's leading immigrants' rights advocate is assassinated and her head sent by mail to the Finnish Somalia Network, the president assigns Kari to the murder. Cracking this case will involve the unsolved kidnapping of a billionaire's children, a Faustian bargain with a former French legionnaire-and Kate.
Learn more about the book and author at James Thompson's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Snow Angels.

"In Pursuit of the Unknown"

New from Basic Books: In Pursuit of the Unknown: 17 Equations That Changed the World by Ian Stewart.

About the book, from the publisher:

In In Pursuit of the Unknown, celebrated mathematician Ian Stewart uses a handful of mathematical equations to explore the vitally important connections between math and human progress. We often overlook the historical link between mathematics and technological advances, says Stewart—but this connection is integral to any complete understanding of human history.Equations are modeled on the patterns we find in the world around us, says Stewart, and it is through equations that we are able to make sense of, and in turn influence, our world. Stewart locates the origins of each equation he presents—from Pythagoras’s Theorem to Newton’s Law of Gravity to Einstein’s Theory of Relativity—within a particular historical moment, elucidating the development of mathematical and philosophical thought necessary for each equation’s discovery. None of these equations emerged in a vacuum, Stewart shows; each drew, in some way, on past equations and the thinking of the day. In turn, all of these equations paved the way for major developments in mathematics, science, philosophy, and technology. Without logarithms (invented in the early 17th century by John Napier and improved by Henry Briggs), scientists would not have been able to calculate the movement of the planets, and mathematicians would not have been able to develop fractal geometry. The Wave Equation is one of the most important equations in physics, and is crucial for engineers studying the vibrations in vehicles and the response of buildings to earthquakes. And the equation at the heart of Information Theory, devised by Claude Shannon, is the basis of digital communication today.An approachable and informative guide to the equations upon which nearly every aspect of scientific and mathematical understanding depends, In Pursuit of the Unknown is also a reminder that equations have profoundly influenced our thinking and continue to make possible many of the advances that we take for granted.
The Page 99 Test: Why Beauty Is Truth.

See Ian Stewart's top ten popular mathematics books.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

"Dublin Dead"

New from Scribner: Dublin Dead by Gerard O'Donovan.

About the book, from the publisher:

Irish detective Mike Mulcahy returns in this suspenseful follow-up to the highly acclaimed international bestseller The Priest—and now he’s hot on the trail of an international drugs gang.

One year later, DI Mike Mulcahy is exactly where he wants to be, coordinating international intelligence for Ireland’s National Drugs Unit. But with the economy in meltdown and his department facing tough cutbacks, his dream job is in jeopardy. Then Mulcahy spots a possible link between the murder of a Dublin gangster in Spain and a massive shipment of cocaine abandoned off the south coast of Ireland. Could this be the break he’s been praying for? Meanwhile, reporter Siobhan Fallon is still recovering from her ordeal at the hands of a sadistic killer. Work is her only refuge, and while she’s an emotional basket case, her nose for a story is as sharp as ever. When a suicide turns out to have a bizarre missing-person’s angle, she’s convinced there is something darker to it. But with a vital piece of evidence beyond her grasp, she has to turn to Mulcahy for help. Mulcahy and Fallon have no idea what deadly ground they’re setting out on together, or that their journey will lead them on a twisted trail of terror to the rocky shores and windswept hills of West Cork and a blood-drenched showdown with a remorseless killer.
Visit Gerard O'Donovan's website.

"The Gods of Gotham"

New from Putnam/Amy Einhorn: The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye.

About the book, from the publisher:

1845. New York City forms its first police force. The great potato famine hits Ireland. These two seemingly disparate events will change New York City. Forever.

Timothy Wilde tends bar near the Exchange, fantasizing about the day he has enough money to win the girl of his dreams. But when his dreams literally incinerate in a fire devastating downtown Manhattan, he finds himself disfigured, unemployed, and homeless. His older brother obtains Timothy a job in the newly minted NYPD, but he is highly skeptical of this new "police force." And he is less than thrilled that his new beat is the notoriously down-and-out Sixth Ward-at the border of Five Points, the world's most notorious slum.

One night while making his rounds, Wilde literally runs into a little slip of a girl-a girl not more than ten years old-dashing through the dark in her nightshift ... covered head to toe in blood.

Timothy knows he should take the girl to the House of Refuge, yet he can't bring himself to abandon her. Instead, he takes her home, where she spins wild stories, claiming that dozens of bodies are buried in the forest north of 23rd Street. Timothy isn't sure whether to believe her or not, but, as the truth unfolds, the reluctant copper star finds himself engaged in a battle for justice that nearly costs him his brother, his romantic obsession, and his own life.
Writers Read: Lyndsay Faye (May 2009).

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

"The Games"

New from Del Ray: The Games by Ted Kosmatka.

About the book, from the publisher:

This stunning first novel from Nebula Award and Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award finalist Ted Kosmatka is a riveting tale of science cut loose from ethics. Set in an amoral future where genetically engineered monstrosities fight each other to the death in an Olympic event, The Games envisions a harrowing world that may arrive sooner than you think.

Silas Williams is the brilliant geneticist in charge of preparing the U.S. entry into the Olympic Gladiator competition, an internationally sanctioned bloodsport with only one rule: no human DNA is permitted in the design of the entrants. Silas lives and breathes genetics; his designs have led the United States to the gold in every previous event. But the other countries are catching up. Now, desperate for an edge in the upcoming Games, Silas’s boss engages an experimental supercomputer to design the genetic code for a gladiator that cannot be beaten.

The result is a highly specialized killing machine, its genome never before seen on earth. Not even Silas, with all his genius and experience, can understand the horror he had a hand in making. And no one, he fears, can anticipate the consequences of entrusting the act of creation to a computer’s cold logic.

Now Silas races to understand what the computer has wrought, aided by a beautiful xenobiologist, Vidonia João. Yet as the fast-growing gladiator demonstrates preternatural strength, speed, and—most disquietingly—intelligence, Silas and Vidonia find their scientific curiosity giving way to a most unexpected emotion: sheer terror.
Visit Ted Kosmatka's website.


New from Simon & Schuster: Hitlerland: American Eyewitnesses to the Nazi Rise to Power by Andrew Nagorski.

About the book, from the publisher:

Hitler’s rise to power, Germany’s march to the abyss, as seen through the eyes of Americans—diplomats, military, expats, visiting authors, Olympic athletes—who watched horrified and up close. By tapping a rich vein of personal testimonies, Hitlerland offers a gripping narrative full of surprising twists—and a startlingly fresh perspective on this heavily dissected era.

Some of the Americans in Weimar and then Hitler’s Germany were merely casual observers, others deliberately blind; a few were Nazi apologists. But most slowly began to understand the horror of what was unfolding, even when they found it difficult to grasp the breadth of the catastrophe.

Among the journalists, William Shirer, Edgar Mowrer, and Dorothy Thompson were increasingly alarmed. Consul General George Messersmith stood out among the American diplomats because of his passion and courage. Truman Smith, the first American official to meet Hitler, was an astute political observer and a remarkably resourceful military attaché. Historian William Dodd, whom FDR tapped as ambassador in Hitler’s Berlin, left disillusioned; his daughter Martha scandalized the embassy with her procession of lovers from her initial infatuation with Nazis she took up with. She ended as a Soviet spy.

On the scene were George Kennan, who would become famous as the architect of containment; Richard Helms, who rose to the top of the CIA; Howard K. Smith, who would coanchor the ABC Evening News. The list of prominent visitors included writers Sinclair Lewis and Thomas Wolfe, famed aviator Charles Lindbergh, the great athlete Jesse Owens, newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst, and black sociologist and historian W.E.B. Dubois.

Observing Hitler and his movement up close, the most perceptive of these Americans helped their reluctant countrymen begin to understand the nature of Nazi Germany as it ruthlessly eliminated political opponents, instilled hatred of Jews and anyone deemed a member of an inferior race, and readied its military and its people for a war for global domination. They helped prepare Americans for the years of struggle ahead.
Writers Read: Andrew Nagorski (February 2008).

Monday, March 12, 2012

"Rizzo's Daughter"

New from Minotaur Books: Rizzo's Daughter by Lou Manfredo.

About the book, from the publisher:

Brooklyn cop Joe Rizzo---“the most authentic cop in contemporary crime fiction” (starred review Kirkus Reviews)---is ready to retire and spend the rest of his days with his wife, doting on their grown-up girls. But when his youngest daughter, Carol, decides to follow her dad onto the force, Joe decides to stay on until she’s settled, calling in favors to get her assigned to the easiest house, the best training officer—anything to protect his baby girl.

While there, of course, he’s still working a few cases, though he never would’ve guessed that one of them would be the most sensational case of his career, the murder of mob boss Louie Quattropa. If mob wars were the worst of his problems, he could handle that, but with a daughter on patrol, Joe knows all too well what dangers await her and what little he can do about them.

With an authentic voice and breathtakingly accurate portrayal of police work, Lou Manfredo’s novels have won wide acclaim, and Rizzo’s Daughter raises the bar to a whole new level.
The Page 69 Test: Rizzo's War.

Writers Read: Lou Manfredo (April 2011).

My Book, The Movie: Rizzo's Fire.

"Another Piece of My Heart"

New from St. Martin's Press: Another Piece of My Heart by Jane Green.

About the book, from the publisher:

From the New York Times bestselling author of JEMIMA J, and THE BEACH HOUSE, comes Jane Green’s most emotional and powerful novel yet: a story that explores the complications of a woman marrying into a ready-made family, and the true meaning of motherhood.

Andi has spent much of her adult life looking for the perfect man, and at thirty-seven, she's finally found him. Ethan--divorced with two daughters, Emily and Sophia--is a devoted father and even better husband. Always hoping one day she would be a mother, Andi embraces the girls like they were her own. But in Emily’s eyes, Andi is an obstacle to her father’s love, and Emily will do whatever it takes to break her down. When the dynamics between the two escalate, they threaten everything Andi believes about love, family, and motherhood—leaving both women standing at a crossroad in their lives…and in their hearts.

ANOTHER PIECE OF MY HEART is a novel that illuminates the nuances and truths about relationships and is Jane Green at her absolute best.
Visit Jane Green's website.

"The Gilly Salt Sisters"

New from Grand Central Publishing:  The Gilly Salt Sisters by Tiffany Baker.

About the book, from the publisher:

The author of the New York Times bestselling The Little Giant of Aberdeen County returns with a magic-tinged tale of dreams, family secrets, and betrayals on a New England salt farm.

In the isolated Cape Cod village of Prospect, the Gilly sisters are as different as can be. Jo, a fierce and quiet loner, is devoted to the mysteries of her family's salt farm, while Claire is popular, pretty, and yearns to flee the salt at any cost. But the Gilly land hides a dark legacy that proves impossible to escape. Although the community half-suspects the Gilly sisters might be witches, it doesn't stop Whit Turner, the town's wealthiest bachelor, from forcing his way into their lives. It's Jo who first steals Whit's heart, but it is Claire--heartbroken over her high school sweetheart--who marries him.

Years later, estranged from her family, Claire finds herself thrust back onto the farm with the last person she would have chosen: her husband's pregnant mistress. Suddenly, alliances change, old loves return, and new battle lines are drawn. What the Gilly sisters learn about each other, the land around them, and the power of the salt, will not only change each of their lives forever, it will also alter Gilly history for good.
Learn more about the author and her work at Tiffany Baker's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: The Little Giant of Aberdeen County.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


New from Oxford University Press: Titanic: The Last Night of a Small Town by John Welshman.

About the book, from the publisher:

In his famous book A Night to Remember, Walter Lord described the sinking of the Titanic as "the last night of a small town." Now, a hundred years after her sinking, historian John Welshman reconstructs the fascinating individual experiences of twelve of the inhabitants of this tragically short-lived floating village.

In Titanic, Welshman offers a minute-by-minute account of the doomed liner's last hours, based on a representative cross-section of those who sailed in her: men and women, old and young, passengers and crew, wealthy and poor. He introduces the reader to a fascinating cast of twelve eye-witnesses, including Arthur H. Rostron, Captain of the Carpathia, the first ship to reach the scene; Charles Lightoller, the Titanic's Second Officer; Archibald Gracie, a wealthy American cotton plantation owner; Elin Hakkarainen, a young migrant from Finland, travelling Third Class; and Edith Brown, a teenager from South Africa. The book also documents the experiences of an Assistant Wireless Operator, a Stewardess, an amateur military historian, a governess, a teacher, and a domestic servant. The survivor accounts allow Welshman to construct a graphic and compelling picture of events on a day-to-day and hour-by-hour basis, providing vivid glimpses of the tragedy as seen from their respective vantage points. In addition, Welshman tells the story of where these twelve people were from and what happened to those who survived in the years afterwards. Finally, the author, a respected social historian, offers many insights into nineteenth-century social class, migration, work, and the broader history of Northern Ireland.

Drawing on published autobiographical accounts, diaries, private papers, archival materials, and a wide array of other sources, Titanic: The Last Night of a Small Town offers a unique account of one of the most memorable disasters in modern history.


New from Knopf: Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed.

About the book, from the publisher:

A powerful, blazingly honest memoir: the story of an eleven-hundred-mile solo hike that broke down a young woman reeling from catastrophe—and built her back up again.

At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother's death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life: to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—and to do it alone. She had no experience as a long-distance hiker, and the trail was little more than “an idea, vague and outlandish and full of promise.” But it was a promise of piecing back together a life that had come undone.

Strayed faces down rattlesnakes and black bears, intense heat and record snowfalls, and both the beauty and loneliness of the trail. Told with great suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild vividly captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.
Visit Cheryl Strayed's website.

About Strayed, by Pam Houston, author of Contents May Have Shifted: "I read [Strayed] on a long airplane flight, and by the time I was done the people all around me were seriously afraid of me. I was laughing so hard I was shaking the whole row of seats, and when I wasn’t laughing I was crying."

Saturday, March 10, 2012

"Commedia della Morte"

New from Tor Books: Commedia della Morte: A Novel of the Count Saint-Germain by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro.

About the book, from the publisher:

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's modern classic, Hotel Transylvania, introduced the Count Saint-Germain and his beloved, Madelaine de Montalia. The Count is one of the most critically acclaimed vampire characters ever created, with dedicated fans who have followed his adventures through more than twenty novels, dozens of short stories, and thousands of years of human history. But of all the women the Count has loved, the most popular is the beautiful, ever-youthful Madelaine.

In Commedia della Morte, Saint-Germain learns that Madelaine—now a vampire—has been arrested by France's Revolutionary Tribunal and is soon to lose her head. Desperate to rescue her, the Count sneaks into France with a troupe of actors led by the glamorous Photine, who soon becomes Saint-Germain's mistress. Photine's teenage son, driven by jealousy and revolutionary fervor, betrays the Count. Now Saint-Germain's life, as well as Madelaine's, hangs in the balance, in this darkly romantic historical vampire novel.
Visit Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's website.

My Book, The Movie: Saint-Germain Chronicles.


New from Orbit: Timeless (Parasol Protectorate Series #5) by Gail Carriger.

About the book, from the publisher:

Alexia Tarabotti, Lady Maccon, has settled into domestic bliss. Of course, being Alexia, such bliss involves integrating werewolves into London High society, living in a vampire's second best closet, and coping with a precocious toddler who is prone to turning supernatural willy-nilly. Even Ivy Tunstell's acting troupe's latest play, disastrous to say the least, cannot put a damper on Alexia's enjoyment of her new London lifestyle.

Until, that is, she receives a summons from Alexandria that cannot be ignored. With husband, child, and Tunstells in tow, Alexia boards a steamer to cross the Mediterranean. But Egypt may hold more mysteries than even the indomitable Lady Maccon can handle. What does the vampire Queen of the Alexandria Hive really want from her? Why is the God-Breaker Plague suddenly expanding? And how has Ivy Tunstell suddenly become the most popular actress in all the British Empire?
Where can I purchase this book?
Visit Gail Carriger's website and blog.

My Book, The Movie: Soulless by Gail Carriger.

The Page 69 Test: Changeless.

Writers Read: Gail Carriger.

Friday, March 9, 2012


New from Voice: Arcadia by Lauren Groff.

About the book, from the publisher:

From the bestselling author of The Monsters of Templeton comes a lyrical and gripping story of a great American dream.

In the fields of western New York State in the 1970s, a few dozen idealists set out to live off the land, founding what would become a commune centered on the grounds of a decaying mansion called Arcadia House. Arcadia follows this romantic, rollicking, and tragic utopian dream from its hopeful start through its heyday and after.

Arcadia’s inhabitants include Handy, a musician and the group’s charismatic leader; Astrid, a midwife; Abe, a master carpenter; Hannah, a baker and historian; and Abe and Hannah’s only child, the book’s protagonist, Bit, who is born soon after the commune is created.

While Arcadia rises and falls, Bit, too, ages and changes. If he remains in love with the peaceful agrarian life in Arcadia and deeply attached to its residents—including Handy and Astrid’s lithe and deeply troubled daughter, Helle—how can Bit become his own man? How will he make his way through life and the world outside of Arcadia where he must eventually live?

With Arcadia, her first novel since her lauded debut, The Monsters of Templeton, Lauren Groff establishes herself not only as one of the most gifted young fiction writers at work today but also as one of our most accomplished literary artists.
Visit Lauren Groff's website and blog.

The Page 99 Test: The Monsters of Templeton.

"The Girl Next Door"

New from Minotaur Books: The Girl Next Door (Carter Ross Series #3) by Brad Parks.

About the book, from the publisher:

Reading his own newspaper’s obituaries, veteran reporter Carter Ross comes across that of a woman named Nancy Marino, who was the victim of a hit-and-run while she was on the job delivering copies of that very paper, the Eagle-Examiner. Struck by the opportunity to write a heroic piece about an everyday woman killed too young, he heads to her wake to gather tributes and anecdotes. It’s the last place Ross expects to find controversy—which is exactly what happens when one of Nancy’s sisters convinces him that the accident might not have been accidental at all.

It turns out that the kind and generous Nancy may have made a few enemies, starting with her boss at the diner where she was a part-time waitress, and even including the publisher of the Eagle-Examiner. Carter’s investigation of this seemingly simple story soon has him in big trouble with his full-time editor and sometime girlfriend, Tina Thompson, not to mention the rest of his bosses at the paper, but he can’t let it go—the story is just too good, and it keeps getting better. But will his nose for trouble finally take him too far?

Brad Parks’s smart-mouthed, quick-witted reporter returns in The Girl Next Door—another action-packed entry in his award-winning series, written with an unforgettable mix of humor and suspense.
Learn more about the book and author at the official Brad Parks website and Facebook presence.

The Page 69 Test: Faces of the Gone.

The Page 69 Test: Eyes of the Innocent.

Writers Read: Brad Parks.

My Book, The Movie: Eyes of the Innocent.