Saturday, August 31, 2013

"Save Yourself"

New from Crown: Save Yourself by Kelly Braffet.

About the book, from the publisher:

A gripping novel full of suspense and pathos that Dennis Lehane calls an "electrifying, tomahawk missile of a thriller."

Patrick Cusimano’s life can’t get much worse. His father is in jail, he works the midnight shift at a grubby convenience store, and his brother’s girlfriend, Caro, has pushed their friendship to an uncomfortable new level. On top of all that, he can’t shake the attentions of Layla Elshere, a goth teenager who befriends Patrick for reasons he doesn’t understand, and doesn’t fully trust. The temptations these two women offer are pushing Patrick to his breaking point.

Meanwhile, Layla’s little sister, Verna, is suffering through her first year of high school. She’s become a prime target for her cruel classmates, and not just because of her strange name and her fundamentalist parents. Layla’s bad-girl rep casts a shadow too heavy for Verna to bear alone, so she falls in with her sister’s tribe of outcasts. But their world is far darker than she ever imagined…

Unless Patrick, Layla, Caro, and Verna can forge their own twisted paths to peace—with themselves, with each other—then they’re stuck on a dangerous collision course where the stakes couldn’t be higher.

Kelly Braffet has written a novel of unnerving power—darkly compelling, compulsively addictive, and shockingly honest.
Visit Kelly Braffet's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Heaven Is Paved with Oreos"

New from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: Heaven Is Paved with Oreos by Catherine Gilbert Murdock.

About the book, from the publisher:

Fourteen-year-old Sarah Zorn intends to spend the Wisconsin summer with her “boyfriend” Curtis, waiting for a dead calf named Boris to decompose in time for the science fair. Her plans upend, however, when her fake-boyfriend strategy goes seriously awry just as her hippie Grandma Z invites her on a last-minute Roman holiday. As Sarah explores Italy’s ancient wonders, she can’t stop “boy-liking” Curtis . . . or puzzling over her grandmother’s odd behavior. Written as Sarah’s journal, this satisfying middle grade novel navigates the murky waters of first love, friendship, and family with heart and good humor.
Visit Catherine Gilbert Murdock's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, August 30, 2013

"Mykonos After Midnight"

New from Poisoned Pen Press: Mykonos After Midnight: A Chief Inspector Kaldis Mystery by Jeffrey Siger.

About the book, from the publisher:

Mykonos holds tight to its past even as it transforms from an obscure, impoverished Aegean island into a tourist mecca and summertime playground for the world’s rich. This process has made the Mykonian people some of the wealthiest in Greece. The old guard is still a force to be reckoned with despite the new money.

One of them, a legendary nightclub owner, has been found savagely bludgeoned in his home. All evidence points to obvious thugs. Yet the murder has put long hidden, politically explosive secrets in play and drawn a dangerous foreign investor to the island paradise. Andreas Kaldis, feared head of Greece’s special crimes division, is certain there’s a far more complex solution to the murder than robbery, and he vows to find it.

His quest for answers cuts straight into the entrenched cultural contradictions that soon have him battling ruthless opportunists preying on his country’s weakened financial condition. Kaldis becomes locked in a war with a powerful, clandestine international force willing to do whatever it takes to change and wrest control of Mykonos, no matter the collateral damage. Such is global crime. And the need for a wily hero to stand against it.
Learn more about the book and author at Jeffrey Siger's website.

The Page 69 Test: Murder in Mykonos.

The Page 69 Test: Prey on Patmos.

The Page 69 Test: Target Tinos.

--Marshal Zeringue

"At the Bottom of Everything"

New from Pantheon: At the Bottom of Everything: A Novel by Ben Dolnick.

About the book, from the publisher:

A stunning novel of friendship, guilt, and madness: two friends, torn apart by a terrible secret, and the dark adventure that neither of them could have ever conceived.

It’s been ten years since the “incident,” and Adam has long since decided he’s better off without his former best friend, Thomas. Adam is working as a tutor, sleeping with the mother of a student, spending lonely nights looking up his ex-girlfriend on Facebook, and pretending that he has some more meaningful plan for an adult life. But when he receives an email from Thomas’s mother begging for his help, he finds himself drawn back into his old friend’s world, and into the past he’s tried so desperately to forget. As Adam embarks upon a magnificently strange and unlikely journey, Ben Dolnick unspools a tale of spiritual reckoning, of search and escape, of longing and reaching for redemption—a tale of near hallucinatory power.
Learn more about the book and author at Ben Dolnick's website.

The Page 69 Test: Ben Dolnick's Zoology.

The Page 69 Test: You Know Who You Are.

Writers Read: Ben Dolnick.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, August 29, 2013

"The Waking Dark"

New from Knopf Books for Young Readers: The Waking Dark by Robin Wasserman.

About the book, from the publisher:

They called it the killing day. Twelve people dead, all in the space of a few hours. Five murderers: neighbors, relatives, friends. All of them so normal. All of them seemingly harmless. All of them now dead by their own hand . . . except one. And that one has no answers to offer the shattered town. She doesn't even know why she killed—or whether she'll do it again.

Something is waking in the sleepy town of Oleander's, Kansas—something dark and hungry that lives in the flat earth and the open sky, in the vengeful hearts of upstanding citizens. As the town begins its descent into blood and madness, five survivors of the killing day are the only ones who can stop Oleander from destroying itself. Jule, the outsider at war with the world; West, the golden boy at war with himself; Daniel, desperate for a different life; Cass, who's not sure she deserves a life at all; and Ellie, who believes in sacrifice, fate, and in evil. Ellie, who always goes too far. They have nothing in common. They have nothing left to lose. And they have no way out. Which means they have no choice but to stand and fight, to face the darkness in their town—and in themselves.
Learn more about the book and author at Robin Wasserman's website and blog.

Wasserman is also the author of the Seven Deadly Sins series, Hacking Harvard, and the Skinned trilogy, which bestselling author Scott Westerfeld called "spellbinding."

Writers Read: Robin Wasserman (April 2012).

My Book, The Movie: The Book of Blood and Shadow.

--Marshal Zeringue


New from Random House: Enon by Paul Harding.

About the book, from the publisher:

Hailed as “a masterpiece” (NPR), Tinkers, Paul Harding’s Pulitzer Prize–winning debut, is a modern classic. The Dallas Morning News observed that “like Faulkner, Harding never shies away from describing what seems impossible to put into words.” Here, in Enon, Harding follows a year in the life of Charlie Crosby as he tries to come to terms with a shattering personal tragedy. Grandson of George Crosby (the protagonist of Tinkers), Charlie inhabits the same dynamic landscape of New England, its seasons mirroring his turbulent emotional odyssey. Along the way, Charlie’s encounters are brought to life by his wit, his insights into history, and his yearning to understand the big questions. A stunning mosaic of human experience, Enon affirms Paul Harding as one of the most gifted and profound writers of his generation.
The Page 69 Test: Tinkers.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

"Knocking on Heaven's Door"

New from Scribner: Knocking on Heaven's Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death by Katy Butler.

About the book, from the publisher:

In this visionary memoir, based on a groundbreaking New York Times Magazine story, award-winning journalist Katy Butler ponders her parents’ desires for “Good Deaths” and the forces within medicine that stood in the way.

Katy Butler was living thousands of miles from her vigorous and self-reliant parents when the call came: a crippling stroke had left her proud seventy-nine-year-old father unable to fasten a belt or complete a sentence. Tragedy at first drew the family closer: her mother devoted herself to caregiving, and Butler joined the twenty-four million Americans helping shepherd parents through their final declines.

Then doctors outfitted her father with a pacemaker, keeping his heart going but doing nothing to prevent his six-year slide into dementia, near-blindness, and misery. When he told his exhausted wife, “I’m living too long,” mother and daughter were forced to confront a series of wrenching moral questions. When does death stop being a curse and become a blessing? Where is the line between saving a life and prolonging a dying? When do you say to a doctor, “Let my loved one go?”

When doctors refused to disable the pacemaker, condemning her father to a prolonged and agonizing death, Butler set out to understand why. Her quest had barely begun when her mother took another path. Faced with her own grave illness, she rebelled against her doctors, refused open-heart surgery, and met death head-on.

With a reporter’s skill and a daughter’s love, Butler explores what happens when our terror of death collides with the technological imperatives of medicine. Her provocative thesis is that modern medicine, in its pursuit of maximum longevity, often creates more suffering than it prevents.

This revolutionary blend of memoir and investigative reporting lays bare the tangled web of technology, medicine, and commerce that dying has become. And it chronicles the rise of Slow Medicine, a new movement trying to reclaim the “Good Deaths” our ancestors prized.

Knocking on Heaven’s Door is a map through the labyrinth of a broken medical system. It will inspire the difficult conversations we need to have with loved ones as it illuminates the path to a better way of death.
Visit Katy Butler's website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

"I don't know: In Praise of Admitting Ignorance"

New from Riverhead: I don't know: In Praise of Admitting Ignorance (Except When You Shouldn't) by Leah Hager Cohen.

About the book, from the publisher:

A short, concise book in favor of honoring doubt and admitting when the answer is: I don’t know.

In a tight, enlightening narrative, Leah Hager Cohen explores why, so often, we attempt to hide our ignorance, and why, in so many different areas, we would be better off coming clean. Weaving entertaining, anecdotal reporting with eye-opening research, she considers both the ramifications of and alternatives to this ubiquitous habit in arenas as varied as education, finance, medicine, politics, warfare, trial courts, and climate change. But it’s more than just encouraging readers to confess their ignorance—Cohen proposes that we have much to gain by embracing uncertainty. Three little words can in fact liberate and empower, and increase the possibilities for true communication. So much becomes possible when we honor doubt.
Visit Leah Hager Cohen's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

"Hearts of Sand"

New from Minotaur Books: Hearts of Sand: A Gregor Demarkian Novel by Jane Haddam.

About the book, from the publisher:

The "endearing and brilliant" (Publishers Weekly) Gregor Demarkian returns with a case of an unresolved crime and a new, brutal murder, in Jane Haddam's Hearts of Sand

Alwych, Connecticut, is the stereotypical old money Connecticut beach town—the best families live in mini-mansions on Beach Drive, their children go to Alwych Country Day School, and the parents have memberships to the Atlantic Club. And Chapin Waring is the worst thing that ever happened to this town. She was a well turned-out debutante from one of the richest families in Alwych until thirty years ago when the young debutante, destined to attend the right school, marry the right man, and have the right life, was revealed to a bank robber and a murderer. She disappeared, never to be heard from again.

But Alwych has never forgotten her, or let her friends and family forget. So when, after a day of being spotted around town, Chapin turns up dead—stabbed to death in her family’s old home—it’s baffling. To learn why she died—and to end the rampant speculation and media coverage—Gregor Demarkian, retired profiler for the FBI, is brought in to finally solve the mysteries surrounding Chapin Waring. Not just how and why she died where she did, but where she’d been and what happened that night thirty years ago that set everything in motion.
Visit Jane Haddam's website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Swastika Nation"

New from St. Martin's Press: Swastika Nation: Fritz Kuhn and the Rise and Fall of the German-American Bund by Arnie Bernstein.

About the book, from the publisher:

In the late 1930s, the German–American Bund, led by its popinjay dictator Fritz Kuhn, was a small but powerful national movement, determined to conquer the United States government with a fascist dictatorship. They met in private social halls and beer garden backrooms, gathered at private resorts and public rallies, developed their own version of the SS and Hitler Youth, published a national newspaper and—for a brief moment of their own imagined glory—seemed poised to make an impact on American politics.

But while the American Nazi leadership dreamed of their Swastika Nation, an amalgamation of politicians, a rising legal star, an ego-charged newspaper columnist, and denizens of the criminal underworld utilized their respective means and muscle to bring down the movement and its dreams of a United Reich States.

Swastika Nation by Arnie Bernstein is a story of bad guys, good guys, and a few guys who fell somewhere in-between. The rise and fall of Fritz Kuhn and his German-American Bund at the hands of these disparate fighters is a sometimes funny, sometimes harrowing, and always compelling story from start to finish.
Visit Arnie Bernstein's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, August 26, 2013

"The Explanation for Everything"

New from Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill: The Explanation for Everything: A Novel by Lauren Grodstein.

About the book, from the publisher:

There is nothing inherently threatening about Melissa, a young evangelist hoping to write the definitive paper on intelligent design. But when she implores Andy Waite, a biology professor and a hardcore evolutionist, to direct her independent study, she becomes the catalyst for the collapsing house of cards surrounding him. As he works with Melissa, Andy finds that everything about his world is starting to add up differently. Suddenly there is the possibility of faith. But with it come responsibility and guilt—the very things that Andy has sidestepped for years.

Professor Waite is nearing the moment when his life might settle down a bit: tenure is in sight, his daughters are starting to grow up, and he’s slowly but surely healing from the sudden loss of his wife. His life is starting to make sense again—until the scientific stance that has defined his life(and his work) is challenged by this charismatic student.

In a bravura performance, Lauren Grodstein dissects the permeable line between faith and doubt to create a fiercely intelligent story about the lies we tell ourselves, the deceptions we sustain with others, and how violated boundaries—between students and teachers, believers and nonbelievers—can have devastating consequences.
Learn more about the book and author at Lauren Grodstein’s website.

The Page 69 Test: A Friend of the Family.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Fourth and Long"

New from Simon & Schuster: Fourth and Long: The Fight for the Soul of College Football by John U. Bacon.

About the book, from the publisher:

Why we love the game, what is at risk, and the fight to save it.

In search of the sport’s old ideals amid the roaring flood of hypocrisy and greed, bestselling author John U. Bacon embedded himself in four programs—Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan, and Northwestern—and captured college football’s oldest, biggest, most storied league, the Big Ten, at its tipping point. He sat in as coaches dissected game film, he ate dinner at training tables, and he listened in locker rooms. He talked with tailgating fans and college presidents, and he spent months in the company of the gifted young athletes who play the game.

None of Bacon’s discoveries is more poignant than this: the last, true defenders of the student-athlete ideal are the players themselves, who, even as money changes everything around them, are left to carry the future of the league, the game, and more than a century of tradition on their backs every fall Saturday.

Fourth and Long reveals intimate scenes behind closed doors, from a team’s angry face-off with their athletic director to a defensive lineman acing his master’s exams in theoretical math. It captures the private moment when coach Urban Meyer earned the devotion of Ohio State’s Buckeyes on their way to a perfect season. It shows Michigan’s athletic department endangering the very traditions that distinguish the college game from all others. And it recreates the euphoria of the Northwestern Wildcats winning their first bowl game in decades, even as they do honor to the student-athlete ideal.

Most unforgettably, Fourth and Long finds what the national media missed in the ugly aftermath of Penn State’s tragic scandal: the unheralded story of players who joined forces with Coach Bill O’Brien to save the university’s treasured program—and with it, a piece of the game’s soul.

This is the work of a writer in love with an old game—a game he sees at the precipice. Bacon’s deep knowledge of sports history and his sensitivity to the tribal subcultures of the college game power this elegy to a beloved and endangered American institution.
Visit John U. Bacon's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, August 25, 2013

"Early Decision: Based on a True Frenzy"

New from William Morrow: Early Decision: Based on a True Frenzy by Lacy Crawford.

About the book, from the publisher:

A delightful and salacious debut novel about the frightful world of high school, SATs, the college essay, and the Common Application—and how getting in is getting in the way of growing up.

Tiger mothers, eat your hearts out. Anne the "application whisperer" is the golden ticket to success. Working one-on-one with burned-out, helicopter-parented kids, she can make Harvard a reality. Her phone number is a national secret. Her students end up at the best of the best.

But sometimes acceptance comes at an enormous cost. In a world of cheating scandals, huge alumni donations, and lots of inside pull, some parents know no bounds when it comes to ensuring that their children get in. It's Anne's job to guide students to their own destinies, beginning with their essays. Early Decision follows five students—four privileged, one without a penny to her name—as they make their applications and wrestle with fate.

To write the perfect personal statement, they must tell the truth. And the stories they tell are of greed, excess, jealousy, deceit, money, ego, and pressure, as well as of endurance, tenacity, victory, and the hope of surviving their parents' wildest dreams so they can begin to live their own lives.

Early Decision captures the most ferocious season in a modern family's life. Parents only want the best for their children, and students are fighting for college seats that will give them a head start into work and adulthood. Is it possible to face the fall semester of senior year without losing your mind?

Told in part through the students' essays, unsparingly revealing the secrets of college advisors at the highest levels, Early Decision is an explosive insider's guide to college admissions in our day. It's also a sharp commentary on modern parenting. The truth is, the kids are all right. Their essays are fabulous. But the system is broken. With humor and hard-earned wisdom, Early Decision illuminates the madness of the college race.
--Marshal Zeringue

"The Book of Immortality"

New from Scribner: The Book of Immortality: The Science, Belief, and Magic Behind Living Forever by Adam Leith Gollner.

About the book, from the publisher:

What have we not done to live forever? Adam Leith Gollner, the critically acclaimed author of The Fruit Hunters, weaves together religion, science, and mythology in a gripping exploration of the most universal of human obsessions: immortality.

Raised without religion, Adam Leith Gollner was struck by mankind’s tireless efforts to cheat aging and death. In a narrative that pivots between profundity and hilarity, he brings us into the world of those whose lives are shaped by a belief in immortality. From a Jesuit priest on his deathbed to antiaging researchers at Harvard, Gollner— sorting truth from absurdity—canvasses religion and science for insight, along with an array of cults, myths, and fringe figures.

He journeys to David Copperfield’s archipelago in the Bahamas, where the magician claims to have found “a liquid that reverses genes.” He explores a cryonics facility, attends a costume party set in the year 2068 with a group of radical life-extensionists, and soaks in the transformative mineral waters at the Esalen Institute. Looking to history, Gollner visits St. Augustine, Florida, where Ponce de León is thought to have sought the Fountain of Youth.

Combining immersive reporting, rigorous research, and lyrical prose, Gollner charts the rise of longevity science from its alchemical beginnings to modern-day genetic interventions. He delves into the symbolic representation of eternal life and its connection to water. Interlaced throughout is a compelling meditation on the nature of belief, showing how every story we tell about immortality is a story about the meaning of death.

“Part journalist, part detective, part scientist.” (New York Post). Adam Leith Gollner has written a rollicking and revelatory examination of our age-old notion of living forever.
Visit Adam Leith Gollner's website.

See: Adam Leith Gollner's top 10 fruit scenes in literature.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

"The Rathbones"

New from Doubleday: The Rathbones by Janice Clark.

About the book, from the publisher:

A gothic, literary adventure set in New England, Janice Clark's haunting debut chronicles one hundred years of a once prosperous and now crumbling whaling family, told by its last surviving member.

Mercy Rathbone, fifteen years old, is the diminutive scion of the Rathbone clan. Her father, the last in the beleaguered dynasty, has been lost at sea for seven years - ever since the last whale was seen off the coast of Naiwayonk, Connecticut. Mercy's memories of her father grow dimmer each day, and she spends most of her time in the attic hideaway of her reclusive uncle Mordecai, who teaches her the secrets of Greek history and nautical navigation through his collection of specimens and moldering books. But when a strange, violent visitor turns up one night, Mercy and Mordecai are forced to flee the crumbling mansion and set sail on a journey that will bring them deep into the haunted history of the Rathbone family, and the reasons for its undoing.

As Mercy and Mordecai sail from island to island off the Connecticut coast, encountering dangers and mysteries, friends and foes, they untangle the knots of the Rathbone story, discovering secrets long encased in memory. They learn the history of the family’s founder and patriarch, Moses Rathbone, and the legendary empire he built of ships staffed with the sons of his many, many wives. Sons who stumbled in their father’s shadow, distracted by the arrival of the Stark sisters, a trio of “golden” girls, whose mesmerizing beauty may have sparked the Rathbone’s decline.

From the depths of the sea to the lonely heights of the widow’s walk; from the wisdom of the worn Rathbone wives to the mysterious origins of a sinking island, Mercy and Mordecai’s journey will bring them to places they never thought possible. But will they piece together a possible future from the mistakes of the past, or is the once great family’s fate doomed to match that of the whales themselves?

Inspired by The Odyssey by way of Edgar Allan Poe and Moby Dick, The Rathbones is an ambitious, mythic, and courageous tour de force that marks the debut of a dazzling new literary voice.
Visit Janice Clark's website.


New from Riverhead: Margot: A Novel by Jillian Cantor.

About the book, from the publisher:

Anne Frank has long been a symbol of bravery and hope, but there were two sisters hidden in the annex, two young Jewish girls, one a cultural icon made famous by her published diary and the other, nearly forgotten.

In the spring of 1959, The Diary of Anne Frank has just come to the silver screen to great acclaim, and a young woman named Margie Franklin is working in Philadelphia as a secretary at a Jewish law firm. On the surface she lives a quiet life, but Margie has a secret: a life she once lived, a past and a religion she has denied, and a family and a country she left behind.

Margie Franklin is really Margot Frank, older sister of Anne, who did not die in Bergen-Belsen as reported, but who instead escaped the Nazis for America. But now, as her sister becomes a global icon, Margie’s carefully constructed American life begins to fall apart. A new relationship threatens to overtake the young love that sustained her during the war, and her past and present begin to collide. Margie is forced to come to terms with Margot, with the people she loved, and with a life swept up into the course of history.
Visit Jillian Cantor's website.

Friday, August 23, 2013

"A Blind Goddess"

New from Soho Press: A Blind Goddess by James R. Benn.

About the book, from the publisher:

March, 1944: US Army Lieutenant Billy Boyle, back in England after a dangerous mission in Italy, is due for a little R&R, and also a promotion. But the now-Captain Boyle doesn't get to kick back and enjoy his leisure time because two upsetting cases fall into his lap at once.

The first is a personal request from an estranged friend: Sergeant Eugene "Tree" Jackson, who grew up with Billy in Boston, is part of the 617th Tank Destroyers, the all-African American battalion poised to make history by being the US Army's first combatant African American company. But making history isn't easy, and the 617 faces racism at every turn. One of Tree's men, a gunner named Angry Smith, has been arrested for a crime he almost certainly didn't commit, and faces the gallows if the real killer isn't found. Tree knows US top brass won't care about justice in this instance, and asks Billy if he'll look into it.

But Billy can't use any of his leave to investigate, because British intelligence agent Major Cosgrove puts him on a bizarre and delicate case. A British accountant has been murdered in an English village, and he may or may not have had some connection with the US Army—Billy doesn't know, because Cosgrove won't tell him. Billy is supposed to go into the village and investigate the murder, but everything seems fishy—he's not allowed to interrogate certain key witnesses, and his friends and helpers keep being whisked away. Billy is confused about whether Cosgrove even wants him to solve the murder, and why.

The good news is the mysterious murder gives Billy an excuse to spend time in and around the village where Tree and his unit are stationed. If he's lucky, maybe he can get to the bottom of both mysteries—and save more than one innocent life.
Learn more about the Billy Boyle WWII Mystery Series at James R. Benn's website.

The Page 99 Test: The First Wave.

The Page 69 Test: Evil for Evil.

The Page 69 Test: Rag and Bone.

My Book, The Movie: Death's Door.

"Man Alive!"

New from Farrar, Straus and Giroux: Man Alive!: A Novel by Mary Kay Zuravleff.

About the book, from the publisher:

A warm, funny, and profoundly original novel about a family dealing with disaster, from a rising literary star

All it takes is a quarter to change pediatric psychiatrist Dr. Owen Lerner’s life. When the coin he’s feeding into a parking meter is struck by lightning, Lerner survives, except that now all he wants to do is barbecue. What will happen to his patients, who rely on him to make sense of their world? More important, what will happen to his family?

The bolt of lightning that lifts Lerner into the air sends the entire Lerner clan into free fall. Mary Kay Zuravleff depicts family-on-family pain with generosity and devastating humor as she explores how much we are each allowed to change within a family—and without. Man Alive! captures Owen and Toni Lerner and their nearly grown children so vividly you’ll be looking over your shoulder to make sure the author hasn’t been watching your own family in action.
Visit Mary Kay Zuravleff's website.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

"Junipero Serra"

New from Hill and Wang: Junipero Serra: California's Founding Father by Steven W. Hackel.

About the book, from the publisher:

A portrait of the priest and colonialist who is one of the most important figures in California’s history

In the 1770s, just as Britain’s American subjects were freeing themselves from the burdens of colonial rule, Spaniards moved up the California coast to build frontier outposts of empire and church. At the head of this effort was Junípero Serra, an ambitious Franciscan who hoped to convert California Indians to Catholicism and turn them into European-style farmers. For his efforts, he has been beatified by the Catholic Church and widely celebrated as the man who laid the foundation for modern California. But his legacy is divisive. The missions Serra founded would devastate California’s Native American population, and much more than his counterparts in colonial America, he remains a contentious and contested figure to this day.

Steven W. Hackel’s groundbreaking biography, Junípero Serra: California’s Founding Father, is the first to remove Serra from the realm of polemic and place him within the currents of history. Born into a poor family on the Spanish island of Mallorca, Serra joined the Franciscan order and rose to prominence as a priest and professor through his feats of devotion and powers of intellect. But he could imagine no greater service to God than converting Indians, and in 1749 he set off for the new world. In Mexico, Serra first worked as a missionary to Indians and as an uncompromising agent of the Inquisition. He then became an itinerant preacher, gaining a reputation as a mesmerizing orator who could inspire, enthrall, and terrify his audiences at will. With a potent blend of Franciscan piety and worldly cunning, he outmaneuvered Spanish royal officials, rival religious orders, and avaricious settlers to establish himself as a peerless frontier administrator. In the culminating years of his life, he extended Spanish dominion north, founding and promoting missions in present-day San Diego, Los Angeles, Monterey, and San Francisco. But even Serra could not overcome the forces massing against him. California’s military leaders rarely shared his zeal, Indians often opposed his efforts, and ultimately the missions proved to be cauldrons of disease and discontent. Serra, in his hope to save souls, unwittingly helped bring about the massive decline of California’s indigenous population.

On the three-hundredth anniversary of Junípero Serra’s birth, Hackel’s complex, authoritative biography tells the full story of a man whose life and legacies continue to be both celebrated and denounced. Based on exhaustive research and a vivid narrative, this is an essential portrait of America’s least understood founder.

"Middle Man"

New from Dutton: Middle Man: A Lieutenant Rollie Waters Novel by David Rich.

About the book, from the publisher:

David Rich—whose acclaimed debut, Caravan of Thieves, drew comparisons to Elmore Leonard, Robert Ludlum, and John le Carré—returns with a crime thriller featuring Lieutenant Rollie Waters.

Recruited into SHADE, the elite, covert group formed by the U.S. military, Rollie Waters must locate and retrieve the countless millions taken from Saddam’s cache during the Iraq War and shipped home in the coffins of dead soldiers. But when a sniper attacks the team, Rollie is forced to go undercover to solve the riddle of the graves and to apprehend the puppet master behind the whole plot.

Rollie’s own father, inveterate liar and charming con artist Dan Waters, was killed attempting to steal the first $25 million after stumbling across the conspiracy involving powerful military officers, would-be kings, and the very general who nearly destroyed Rollie during his last tour in Afghanistan.

Rollie’s undercover quest takes him from Houston and the self-proclaimed king of Kurdistan, to the treacherous, labyrinthine streets of Erbil, Iraq, and into the arms of a stunning, enigmatic woman whose motives he can’t discern. As a confirmed citizen of the fog, now more spy than soldier, Waters must uncover the man pulling the strings behind a backdrop of murder, deceit, and stolen fortune—before he disappears forever into the mist.
Learn more about the book and author at David Rich's website.

Writers Read: David Rich.

My Book, The Movie: Caravan of Thieves.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

"The House of Journalists"

New from Farrar, Straus and Giroux: The House of Journalists: A Novel by Tim Finch.

About the book, from the publisher:

Welcome to the House of Journalists. Who are you and what is your story?

These are the questions that confront newcomers to the House of Journalists, the internationally renowned refuge for writers in exile at the center of this haunting Orwellian novel. Home to a select group of fellows, the House is located in a fashionable London terrace. But just how stable is this hallowed institution? Julian Snowman, the obsessive founder and chair, sees the threat of dissolution at every turn. Perhaps this explains why petty rules and restrictions abide: men live in one wing, women in the other; smoking is restricted to the central courtyard; tea is optional, but everyone attends.

As the fellows strive to remake their lives, they are urged to share their tales. Epic and intimate by turns, these stories—of courage, tragedy, and shame—become a mesmerizing chorus of voices in search of home. Among the fellows are Mustapha, who yearns for the family he tore himself from when he resisted a coup; Agnes, a photojournalist implicated in a brutal civil war; Sonny, a slight figure with don’t-mess-with-me hair, who describes a harrowing escape across continents; Edson, who perilously confides his story to his writing mentor; and Mr. Stan, who draws on the noxious cigarettes of his home island, despite having been tortured there.

Only one man manages to guard his past: the mysterious new fellow AA, whose secrecy ratchets up Julian’s paranoia. Julian suspects that AA is conspiring with a celebrated visiting writer to bring down the House. In fact, AA is planning something else entirely.

A world as beguiling as it is disturbing, Tim Finch’s The House of Journalists is a novel of heartbreak, humanity, and wit, and announces the arrival of a striking new voice in fiction.
Visit Tim Finch's Twitter perch.

"Bitter River"

New from Minotaur Books: Bitter River by Julia Keller.

About the book, from the publisher:

In the next stunning novel from Pulitzer Prize-winning Julia Keller, following the popular A Killing in the Hills, a pregnant teenager is found murdered at the bottom of a river.

Phone calls before dawn are never good news. And when you’re the county’s prosecuting attorney, calls from the sheriff are rarely good news, either. So when Bell Elkins picks up the phone she already knows she won’t like what she’s about to hear, but she’s still not prepared for this: 16-year-old Lucinda Trimble’s body has been found at the bottom of Bitter River. And Lucinda didn't drown—she was dead before her body ever hit the water.

With a case like that, Bell knows the coming weeks are going to be tough. But that’s not all Bell is coping with these days. Her daughter is now living with Bell’s ex-husband, hours away. Sheriff Nick Fogelsong, one of Bell’s closest friends, is behaving oddly. Furthermore, a face from her past has resurfaced for reasons Bell can’t quite figure. Searching for the truth, both behind Lucinda’s murder and behind her own complicated relationships, will lead Bell down a path that might put her very life at risk.

In Bitter River, Pulitzer Prize-winner Julia Keller once again weaves a compelling, haunting mystery against the stark beauty and extreme poverty of a small West Virginia mountain town.
Learn more about the book and author at Julia Keller's website.

Writers Read: Julia Keller (September 2012).

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

"The Internet Police"

New from W.W. Norton: The Internet Police: How Crime Went Online, and the Cops Followed by Nate Anderson.

About the book, from the publisher:

Chaos and order clash in this riveting exploration of crime and punishment on the Internet.

Once considered a borderless and chaotic virtual landscape, the Internet is now home to the forces of international law and order. It’s not just computer hackers and cyber crooks who lurk in the dark corners of the Web—the cops are there, too.

In The Internet Police, Ars Technica editor Nate Anderson takes readers on a behind-the-screens tour of landmark cybercrime cases, revealing how criminals continue to find digital and legal loopholes even as police hurry to cinch them closed.

From the Cleveland man whose “natural male enhancement” pill inadvertently protected the privacy of your e-mail to the Russian spam king who ended up in a Milwaukee jail to the Australian arrest that ultimately led to the breakup of the largest child pornography ring in the United States, Anderson draws on interviews, court documents, and law-enforcement reports to reconstruct accounts of how online policing actually works.

Questions of online crime are as complex and interconnected as the Internet itself. With each episode in The Internet Police, Anderson shows the dark side of online spaces—but also how dystopian a fully “ordered” alternative would be.
Visit Nate Anderson's Twitter perch.

"Detroit Shuffle"

New from Minotaur: Detroit Shuffle (Detroit Mysteries, Volume 4) by D. E. Johnson.

About the book, from the publisher:

Will Anderson and Elizabeth Hume get caught up in the political turmoil over women’s suffrage in Detroit Shuffle, the fourth book in D. E. Johnson’s critically acclaimed 1910s Detroit series

Will Anderson inadvertently breaks up a key suffrage rally when he thwarts a gunman set on killing his lover, Elizabeth Hume. No one else saw the man, and Elizabeth believes he hallucinated the entire incident, a side effect of the radium “treatment” he received at Eloise Hospital. She asks him to sit on the sidelines while she and her companions try to get the women’s suffrage amendment passed by Michigan voters.

Instead, Will sets out to protect Elizabeth and prove his sanity. Will’s nemesis, Sapphira Xanakis, contacts him with news of a conspiracy to defeat the amendment, led by Andrew Murphy, head of the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association. Against his better judgment, Will believes she is trying to help. The man she directs him to dies under suspicious circumstances. An old acquaintance of Will’s, who is working for the MLBA, is shot and killed in front of him. Still, no one believes Will, including his former ally, Detective Riordan, who not only is unwilling to help, but seems to have secrets of his own.

With new death threats against Elizabeth and the next rally only a few days away, Will has to unravel a complicated tapestry of blackmail, double-dealing, conspiracy, and murder—before the killer has his next chance to strike. Johnson’s immaculate plotting and high-tension writing make for a spellbinding read set in early twentieth-century Detroit.
Learn more about the book and author at D.E. Johnson's website and blog.

Read D.E. “Dan” Johnson's interview with J. Kingston Pierce at The Rap Sheet.

The Page 69 Test: Motor City Shakedown.

Writers Read: D.E. Johnson.

The Page 69 Test: Detroit Breakdown.

My Book, The Movie: Detroit Breakdown.

Monday, August 19, 2013

"The Affairs of Others"

New from Picador: The Affairs of Others by Amy Grace Loyd.

About the book, from the publisher:


Five years after her young husband’s death, Celia Cassill has moved from one Brooklyn neighborhood to another, but she has not moved on. The owner of a small apartment building, she has chosen her tenants for their ability to respect one another’s privacy. Celia believes in boundaries, solitude, that she has a right to her ghosts. She is determined to live a life at a remove from the chaos and competition of modern life. Everything changes with the arrival of a new tenant, Hope, a dazzling woman of a certain age on the run from her husband’s recent betrayal. When Hope begins a torrid and noisy affair, and another tenant mysteriously disappears, the carefully constructed walls of Celia’s world are tested and the sanctity of her building is shattered—through violence and sex, in turns tender and dark. Ultimately, Celia and her tenants are forced to abandon their separate spaces for a far more intimate one, leading to a surprising conclusion and the promise of genuine joy.

Amy Grace Loyd investigates interior spaces of the body and the New York warrens in which her characters live, offering a startling emotional honesty about the traffic between men and women. The Affairs of Others is a story about the irrepressibility of life and desire, no matter the sorrows or obstacles.
Follow Amy Grace Loyd on Twitter.

"Human Remains"

New from Harper Paperbacks: Human Remains by Elizabeth Haynes.

About the book, from the publisher:

New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Haynes returns with a disturbing and powerful tale that preys on our darkest fears.

Police analyst Annabel wouldn't describe herself as lonely. Her work and the needs of her aging mother keep her busy. But Annabel is shocked when she discovers her neighbor's decomposing body in the house next door, and she is appalled to think that no one, including herself, noticed the woman's absence. Annabel sets out to investigate, despite her colleagues' lack of interest, and discovers that such cases are frighteningly common in her hometown.

A chilling thriller and a hymn to all the lonely people whose individual voices haunt its pages, Human Remains shows how vulnerable we are when we live alone, and how easily ordinary lives can fall apart when no one is watching.
Visit the official Elizabeth Haynes website and blog.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

"The Profligate Son"

New from Basic Books: The Profligate Son: Or, A True Story of Family Conflict, Fashionable Vice, and Financial Ruin in Regency Britain by Nicola Phillips.

About the book, from the publisher:

Foppish, impulsive, and philandering: William Jackson was every Georgian parent’s worst nightmare. Gentlemen were expected to be honorable and virtuous, but William was the opposite, much to the dismay of his father, a well-to-do representative of the East India Company in Madras. In The Profligate Son, historian Nicola Phillips meticulously reconstructs William’s life from a recently discovered family archive, describing how his youthful misbehavior reduced his family to ruin. At first, William seemed destined for a life of great fortune, but before long, he was indulging regularly in pornography and brothels and using his father’s abundant credit to swindle tradesmen. Eventually, William found himself in debtor’s prison and then on a long, typhus-ridden voyage to an Australian penal colony. He spent the rest of his days there, dying a pauper at the age of thirty-seven. A masterpiece of literary nonfiction as dramatic as any Dickens novel, The Profligate Son transports readers from the steamy streets of India, to London’s elegant squares and seedy brothels, to the sunbaked shores of Australia, tracing the arc of a life long buried in history.
Visit Nicola Phillips's website.

"The United States of Paranoia"

New from Harper: The United States of Paranoia: A Conspiracy Theory by Jesse Walker.

About the book, from the publisher:

A history of America's demons

1693: Cotton Mather suggests that the spirits attacking Salem are allied with the colony's human enemies. At their "Cheef Witch-meetings," he writes, "there has been present some French canadians, and some Indian Sagamores, to concert the methods of ruining New England."

1835: A gunman tries to kill Andrew Jackson. The president accuses a senator of plotting the assassination. Jackson's critics counter that the shooting was arranged by the president himself to gain public support.

1868: An article in the New-York Tribune declares that the Democrats have engineered malaria outbreaks in the nation's capital, pumping "the air, and the water, and the whisky of Washington full of poison."

1967: President Lyndon Johnson asks his cabinet if the Communists are behind the country's urban riots. The attorney general tells him that the evidence isn't there, but Johnson isn't convinced.

Conspiracy theories aren't just a feature of the fringe. They've been a potent force across the political spectrum, at the center as well as the extremes, from the colonial era to the present. In The United States of Paranoia, Jesse Walker explores this rich history, arguing that conspiracy stories should be read not just as claims to be either believed or debunked but also as folklore. When a tale takes hold, it reveals something true about the anxieties and experiences of those who believe and repeat it, even if the story says nothing true about the objects of the theory itself.

In a story that stretches from the seventeenth century to today, Walker lays out five conspiracy narratives that recur in American politics and popular culture. With intensive research and a deadpan sense of humor, The United States of Paranoia combines the rigor of real history with the punch of pulp fiction.
Visit Jesse Walker's blog and follow him on Twitter.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

"The Gift of Adversity"

New from Tarcher: The Gift of Adversity: The Unexpected Benefits of Life's Difficulties, Setbacks, and Imperfections by Norman E. Rosenthal.

About the book, from the publisher:

The noted research psychiatrist explores how life's disappointments and difficulties provide us with the lessons we need to become better, bigger, and more resilient human beings.

Adversity is an irreducible fact of life. Although we can and should learn from all experiences, both positive and negative, bestselling author Dr. Norman E. Rosenthal, believes that adversity is by far the best teacher most of us will ever encounter.

Whether the adversity one experiences is the result of poor decision-making, a desire to test one’s mettle, or plain bad luck, Rosenthal believes life’s most important lessons—from the value of family to the importance of occasionally cutting corners—can be best learned from it.

Running counter to society’s current prevailing message that “excellence” must always be aspired to, and failure or mistakes of any sort are to be avoided at all costs, Rosenthal shows that engaging with our own failures and defeats is one of the only ways we are able to live authentic and meaningful lives, and that each different type of adversity carries its own challenges and has the potential to yield its own form of wisdom.

Using stories from his own life—including his childhood in apartheid-era South Africa, his years after suffering a violent attack from a stranger, and his career as a psychiatrist—as well as case studies and discussions with well-known figures like Viktor Frankl and David Lynch, Rosenthal shows that true innovation, emotional resilience, wisdom, and dignity can only come from confronting and understanding the adversity we have experienced. Even when life is hardest, there are meanings to be found, riches to be harvested, and gifts that can last a lifetime.

Rosenthal illustrates his message through a series of compact, memorable chapters, each one drawn from episodes in the lives of his patients, colleagues, or himself, and concluded with a take-away maxim on the lesson learned.

"The Secret World of Sleep"

New from Palgrave Macmillan: The Secret World of Sleep: The Surprising Science of the Mind at Rest by Penelope A. Lewis.

About the book, from the publisher:

In recent years neuroscientists have uncovered the countless ways our brain trips us up in day-to-day life, from its propensity toward irrational thought to how our intuitions deceive us. The latest research on sleep, however, points in the opposite direction. Where old wives tales have long advised to "sleep on a problem," today scientists are discovering the truth behind these folk sayings, and how the busy brain radically improves our minds through sleep and dreams. In The Secret World of Sleep, neuroscientist Penny Lewis explores the latest research into the nighttime brain to understand the real benefits of sleep. She shows how, while our body rests, the brain practices tasks it learned during the day, replays traumatic events to mollify them, and forges connections between distant concepts. By understanding the roles that the nocturnal brain plays in our waking life, we can improve the relationship between the two, and even boost creativity and become smarter. This is a fascinating exploration of one of the most surprising corners of neuroscience that shows how science may be able to harness the power of sleep to improve learning, health, and more.

Friday, August 16, 2013

"How the Light Gets In"

New from Minotaur Books: How the Light Gets In (Armand Gamache Series #9) by Louise Penny.

About the book, from the publisher:

“There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” —Leonard Cohen

Christmas is approaching, and in Québec it’s a time of dazzling snowfalls, bright lights, and gatherings with friends in front of blazing hearths. But shadows are falling on the usually festive season for Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. Most of his best agents have left the Homicide Department, his old friend and lieutenant Jean-Guy Beauvoir hasn’t spoken to him in months, and hostile forces are lining up against him. When Gamache receives a message from Myrna Landers that a longtime friend has failed to arrive for Christmas in the village of Three Pines, he welcomes the chance to get away from the city. Mystified by Myrna's reluctance to reveal her friend's name, Gamache soon discovers the missing woman was once one of the most famous people not just in North America, but in the world, and now goes unrecognized by virtually everyone except the mad, brilliant poet Ruth Zardo.

As events come to a head, Gamache is drawn ever deeper into the world of Three Pines. Increasingly, he is not only investigating the disappearance of Myrna’s friend but also seeking a safe place for himself and his still-loyal colleagues. Is there peace to be found even in Three Pines, and at what cost to Gamache and the people he holds dear?
Visit Louise Penny's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Still Life.

My Book, The Movie: A Fatal Grace.

The Page 99 Test: The Cruelest Month.

The Page 99 Test: A Rule Against Murder.

The Page 69 Test: The Brutal Telling.

My Book, The Movie: The Brutal Telling.

Coffee with a Canine: Louise Penny & Trudy.

Writers Read: Louise Penny (January 2011).

"Mountain Dog"

New from Henry Holt and Co.: Mountain Dog by Margarita Engle.

About the book, from the publisher:

When Tony’s mother is sent to jail, he is sent to stay with a great uncle he has never met in Sierra Nevada. It is a daunting move—Tony’s new world bears no semblance to his previous one. But slowly, against a remote and remarkable backdrop, the scars from Tony’s troubled past begin to heal.

With his Tió and a search-and-rescue dog named Gabe by his side, he learns how to track wild animals, is welcomed to the Cowboy Church, and makes new friends at the Mountain School. Most importantly though, it is through Gabe that Tony discovers unconditional love for the first time, in Mountain Dog by Margarita Engle.
Learn more about the book and author at Margarita Engle's website.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Margarita Engle & Maggi and Chance.

My Book, The Movie: The Lightning Dreamer.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

"Good As Gone"

New from Minotaur Books: Good As Gone by Douglas Corleone.

About the book, from the publisher:

Former U.S. Marshal Simon Fisk now works as a private contractor, tracking down and recovering children who were kidnapped by their own estranged parents. He only has one rule: he won’t touch stranger abduction cases. He’s still haunted by the disappearance of his own daughter years ago when she was just a child, still unsolved, and stranger kidnappings hit too close to home.

Until, that is, six-year-old Lindsay Sorkin disappears from her parents’ hotel room in Paris, and the French police deliver Simon an ultimatum: he can spend years in a French jail for his actions during a past case, or he can work with them now to find Lindsay Sorkin. So, Simon sets out in pursuit of the missing child and the truth behind her disappearance. But Lindsay’s captors did not leave an easy trail, and following it will take Simon across the continent, through the ritziest nightclubs and the seediest back alleys, into a terrifying world of international intrigue and dark corners of his past he’d rather never face again.

With lightning-fast pacing and a twist behind every turn, Douglas Corleone's Good as Gone is a gripping race against the clock for a young girl with her life on the line and a man who has nothing left to lose.
Learn more about the book and author at Douglas Corleone's website.

The Page 69 Test: One Man's Paradise.

The Page 69 Test: Night on Fire.

Writers Read: Douglas Corleone (May 2011).

My Book, The Movie: Night on Fire.

The Page 69 Test: Last Lawyer Standing.

Writers Read: Douglas Corleone.

"City of Mirrors"

New from Pegasus Books: City of Mirrors: A Diana Poole Thriller by Melodie Johnson-Howe.

About the book, from the publisher:

Running out of money, Diana Poole is forced to go back to the only work she knows: acting. Her much-loved husband and movie-star mother have died, and now Diana is over thirty-five. In Hollywood that means she might as well be dead. Still, a few key people remember her talent, and she lands a role in a new movie. But an actress should never get her hopes up, especially when she discovers the female lead’s murdered body. Raised in her mother’s shadow, Diana knows people in “the business”will go to dangerous lengths to protect their images. When her own life and career are threatened, Diana decides to fight back and find the killer. But unmasking the surprising murderer isn’t that easy, especially when she uncovers what’s real—and unreal—in her own life.
Visit Melodie Johnson-Howe's website.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

"The Virgins"

New from Tin House Books: The Virgins: A Novel by Pamela Erens.

About the book, from the publisher:

It’s 1979, and Aviva Rossner and Seung Jung are notorious at Auburn Academy. They’re an unlikely pair at an elite East Coast boarding school (she’s Jewish; he’s Korean American) and hardly shy when it comes to their sexuality. Aviva is a formerly bookish girl looking for liberation from an unhappy childhood; Seung is an enthusiastic dabbler in drugs and a covert rebel against his demanding immigrant parents. In the minds of their titillated classmates—particularly that of Bruce Bennett-Jones—the couple lives in a realm of pure, indulgent pleasure. But, as is often the case, their fabled relationship is more complicated than it seems: despite their lust and urgency, their virginity remains intact, and as they struggle to understand each other, the relationship spirals into disaster.

The Virgins is the story of Aviva and Seung’s descent into confusion and shame, as re-imagined in richly detailed episodes by their classmate Bruce, a once-embittered voyeur turned repentant narrator. With unflinching honesty and breathtaking prose, Pamela Erens brings a fresh voice to the tradition of the great boarding school novel.
Visit Pamela Erens's website.

Writers Read: Pamela Erens (March 2008).

"Lara's Gift"

New from Knopf Books for Young Readers: Lara's Gift by Annemarie O'Brien.

About the book, from the publisher:

Young Lara is being groomed in the family tradition to take over as Count Voronstov's next kennel steward, breeding borzoi dogs worthy of the Tsar. But then Lara's baby brother is born and she finds herself supplanted as her father decides to make her brother the next kennel steward. Going against her father's wishes and becoming increasingly sure of her special gift of understanding these incredible dogs, Lara risks everything when she reveals the truth about her visions. Now she must save Zar, her favorite borzoi and the one she raised from birth, from a hungry pack of wolves. Only then can she find her own, extraordinary destiny....
Visit Annemarie O’Brien's website, blog, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Annemarie O’Brien & Zar and Zola.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

"Dancer, Daughter, Traitor, Spy"

New from Soho Teen: Dancer, Daughter, Traitor, Spy by Elizabeth Kiem.

About the book, from the publisher:

A new breed of spy novel combines classic thrills (The Americans, John Le Carre, and Alan Furst), Bolshoi intrigue, and elements of the paranormal.

Marina is born of privilege. Her mother, Sveta, is the Soviet Union's prima ballerina: an international star handpicked by the regime. But Sveta is afflicted with a mysterious second sight and becomes obsessed with exposing a horrific state secret. Then she disappears.

Fearing for their lives, Marina and her father defect to Brooklyn. Marina struggles to reestablish herself as a dancer at Juilliard. But her enigmatic partner, Sergei, makes concentration almost impossible, as does the fact that Marina shares her mother's “gift,” and has a vision of her father’s murder at the hands of the Russian crooks and con artists she thought they'd left behind.

Now Marina must navigate the web of intrigue surrounding her mother's disappearance, her ability, and exactly whom she can—and can't—trust.

"The Boy Who Could See Demons"

New from Delacorte Press: The Boy Who Could See Demons: A Novel by Carolyn Jess-Cooke.

About the book, from the publisher:

Bestselling author Carolyn Jess-Cooke has written a brilliant novel of suspense that delves into the recesses of the human mind and soul—perfect for fans of Gillian Flynn and Lisa Unger. The Boy Who Could See Demons follows a child psychologist who comes up against a career-defining case—one that threatens to unravel her own painful past and jeopardizes the life of a boy who can see the impossible.

Dr. Anya Molokova, a child psychiatrist, is called in to work at MacNeice House, an adolescent mental health treatment center. There she is told to observe and assess Alex Connolly, a keenly intelligent, sensitive ten-year-old coping with his mother’s latest suicide attempt. Alex is in need of serious counseling: He has been harming himself and others, often during blackouts. At the root of his destructive behavior, Alex claims, is his imaginary “friend” Ruen, a cunning demon who urges Alex to bend to his often violent will.

But Anya has seen this kind of behavior before—with her own daughter, Poppy, who suffered from early-onset schizophrenia. Determined to help Alex out of his darkness, Anya begins to treat the child. But soon strange and alarming coincidences compel Anya to wonder: Is Alex’s condition a cruel trick of the mind? Or is Ruen not so make-believe after all? The reality, it turns out, is more terrifying than anything she has ever encountered.

A rich and deeply moving page-turner, The Boy Who Could See Demons sets out to challenge the imagination and capture the way life takes unexpected turns. In the best storytelling tradition, it leaves the reader changed.
Visit Carolyn Jess-Cooke's website and blog.

Monday, August 12, 2013

"Son of a Gun"

New from Random House: Son of a Gun: A Memoir by Justin St. Germain.

About the book, from the publisher:

In the tradition of Tobias Wolff, James Ellroy, and Mary Karr, a stunning memoir of a mother-son relationship that is also the searing, unflinching account of a murder and its aftermath

Tombstone, Arizona, September 2001. Debbie St. Germain’s death, apparently at the hands of her fifth husband, is a passing curiosity. “A real-life old West murder mystery,” the local TV announcers intone, while barroom gossips snicker cruelly. But for her twenty-year-old son, Justin St. Germain, the tragedy marks the line that separates his world into before and after.

Distancing himself from the legendary town of his childhood, Justin makes another life a world away in San Francisco and achieves all the surface successes that would have filled his mother with pride. Yet years later he’s still sleeping with a loaded rifle under his bed. Ultimately, he is pulled back to the desert landscape of his childhood on a search to make sense of the unfathomable. What made his mother, a onetime army paratrooper, the type of woman who would stand up to any man except the men she was in love with? What led her to move from place to place, man to man, job to job, until finally she found herself in a desperate and deteriorating situation, living on an isolated patch of desert with an unstable ex-cop?

Justin’s journey takes him back to the ghost town of Wyatt Earp, to the trailers he and Debbie shared, to the string of stepfathers who were a constant, sometimes threatening presence in his life, to a harsh world on the margins full of men and women all struggling to define what family means. He decides to confront people from his past and delve into the police records in an attempt to make sense of his mother’s life and death. All the while he tries to be the type of man she would have wanted him to be.
Visit Justin St. Germain's website.

"The Gravity of Birds"

New from Simon & Schuster: The Gravity of Birds: A Novel by Tracy Guzeman.

About the book, from the publisher:

How do you find someone who wants to be lost?

Sisters Natalie and Alice Kessler were close, until adolescence wrenched them apart. Natalie is headstrong, manipulative—and beautiful; Alice is a dreamer who loves books and birds. During their family’s summer holiday at the lake, Alice falls under the thrall of a struggling young painter, Thomas Bayber, in whom she finds a kindred spirit. Natalie, however, remains strangely unmoved, sitting for a family portrait with surprising indifference. But by the end of the summer, three lives are shattered.

Decades later, Bayber, now a reclusive, world-renowned artist, unveils a never-before-seen work, Kessler Sisters—a provocative painting depicting the young Thomas, Natalie, and Alice. Bayber asks Dennis Finch, an art history professor, and Stephen Jameson, an eccentric young art authenticator, to sell the painting for him. That task becomes more complicated when the artist requires that they first locate Natalie and Alice, who seem to have vanished. And Finch finds himself wondering why Thomas is suddenly so intent on resurrecting the past.

In The Gravity of Birds histories and memories refuse to stay buried; in the end only the excavation of the past will enable its survivors to love again.
Visit Tracy Guzeman's website and blog.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

"Devil's Night"

New from Minotaur Books: Devil's Night by Todd Ritter.

About the book, from the publisher:

Two things Perry Hollow Police Chief Kat Campbell never thought she would do again: Enter a burning building, and lay eyes on Henry Goll, the man who was trapped inside with her the last time she was in one. So Kat's on high alert when, barely a year after the dust settled around the Grim Reaper killings, both happen on the same day.

She's jolted awake at 1a.m. by a desperate phone call telling her Perry Hollow’s one and only museum—home to all the town’s historical artifacts—has been set on fire. Arriving at the scene, Kat catches just a glimpse of Henry's face among the crowd before she's rushed into the charred building, only to find the museum curator dead…bludgeoned, not burned. Kat has lived through some tense moments and seen some gruesome crimes, but the next twenty-four hours will be the most dangerous of her life as she and Henry seek out a killer and the motivation behind these terrifying crimes.

Todd Ritter returns to the beloved town of Perry Hollow, Pennsylvania with Devil's Night, his most poignant, cleverly plotted novel yet.
Learn more about the book and author at Todd Ritter's website.

Writers Read: Todd Ritter (October 2010).

The Page 69 Test: Todd Ritter's Death Notice.

My Book, The Movie: Death Notice.

Writers Read: Todd Ritter (October 2011).

"Runaway Man"

New from Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books: Runaway Man: A Mystery by David Handler.

About the book, from the publisher:

Benji Golden works in his family’s struggling mom-and-pop business above a twenty-four-hour diner on Broadway and West 103rd Street. Golden Legal Services, a private detective agency, was started by Benji’s hero-cop father. The business is now run by Benji’s mother, who used to be the only Jewish pole dancer in New York City, and is staffed by Lovely Rita, an eye-popping computer wizard and a former lap dancer.

Baby-faced Benji—who is exactly one-quarter inch shy of five-foot-six, weighs a buck thirty-seven, and answers to the nickname “Bunny”—specializes in tracking down teen runaways. One day, when a lawyer in fancy shoes arrives from Park Avenue’s classiest law firm offering a job and lots of money, Benji and his mother can’t say no.

Bruce Weiner is a senior at prestigious Canterbury College. A client of the firm has bestowed a considerable inheritance on Bruce, but Bruce has gone missing, and it’s up to Benji to find him. One murder later, Benji finds himself on a dangerous investigation that will take him to the highly secretive core of the most powerful city on earth.

Runaway Man delivers all that a David Handler novel promises: smart humor, a thrilling and sexy story, and characters you won’t soon forget.
Learn more about the book and author at David Handler's website and blog.

Writers Read: David Handler (October 2011).

Writers Read: David Handler (October 2012).

Saturday, August 10, 2013

"Rising Tide"

New from Grand Central Publishing: Rising Tide: Bear Bryant, Joe Namath, and Dixie's Last Quarter by Randy Roberts and Ed Krzemiensk.

About the book, from the publisher:

The extraordinary story of how Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant and Joe Namath, his star quarterback at the University of Alabama, led the Crimson Tide to victory and transformed football into a truly national pastime.

During the bloodiest years of the civil rights movement, Bear Bryant and Joe Namath-two of the most iconic and controversial figures in American sports-changed the game of college football forever. Brilliantly and urgently drawn, this is the gripping account of how these two very different men-Bryant a legendary coach in the South who was facing a pair of ethics scandals that threatened his career, and Namath a cocky Northerner from a steel mill town in Pennsylvania-led the Crimson Tide to a national championship.

To Bryant and Namath, the game was everything. But no one could ignore the changes sweeping the nation between 1961 and 1965-from the Freedom Rides to the integration of colleges across the South and the assassination of President Kennedy. Against this explosive backdrop, Bryant and Namath changed the meaning of football. Their final contest together, the 1965 Orange Bowl, was the first football game broadcast nationally, in color, during prime time, signaling a new era for the sport and the nation.

Award-winning biographer Randy Roberts and sports historian Ed Krzemienski showcase the moment when two thoroughly American traditions-football and Dixie-collided. A compelling story of race and politics, honor and the will to win, RISING TIDE captures a singular time in America. More than a history of college football, this is the story of the struggle and triumph of a nation in transition and the legacy of two of the greatest heroes the sport has ever seen.
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"Tell No Lies"

New from St. Martin's Press: Tell No Lies by Gregg Hurwitz.

About the book, from the publisher:

A series of anonymous threats intended for others puts a man—and everyone he loves—in the path of a relentless killer, in Tell No Lies by Gregg Hurwitz

Daniel Brasher has always been something of a disappointment to his old-money aristocratic San Francisco mother. Daniel left his high-paying job as a money manager to marry his community organizer wife and work at a job he loves, leading group counseling sessions with recently paroled ex-cons. Now he’s ready to move on and start a private practice.

But before he leaves, he finds an envelope in his department mailbox—one intended for someone else that was placed in his slot by accident. Inside it is an unsigned piece of paper, a note that says only “admit what you’ve done or you will bleed for it. you have 'til november 15 at midnite.” The deadline has already passed and the person to whom the envelope was addressed was brutally murdered. But this first warning is only the beginning.

Soon, Daniel finds more warnings in his office mail, to people that the police cannot track down, and to victims that cannot be saved. Daniel's efforts, however, have alerted the killer to his involvement and next he gets a threat of his own. Now, with the clock ticking, Daniel—with no clue what he’s supposed to have done or to what action he must confess—must somehow appease, or outwit, a seemingly unstoppable killer.
Learn more about the book and author at Gregg Hurwitz's website and blog.

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The Page 69 Test: You're Next.