Saturday, May 31, 2014

"The Arsenal of Democracy"

New from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: The Arsenal of Democracy: FDR, Detroit, and an Epic Quest to Arm an America at War by A.J. Baime.

About the book, from the publisher:

In 1941, as Hitler’s threat loomed ever larger, President Roosevelt realized he needed weaponry to fight the Nazis—most important, airplanes—and he needed them fast. So he turned to Detroit and the auto industry for help.

The Arsenal of Democracy tells the incredible story of how Detroit answered the call, centering on Henry Ford and his tortured son Edsel, who, when asked if they could deliver 50,000 airplanes, made an outrageous claim: Ford Motor Company would erect a plant that could yield a “bomber an hour.” Critics scoffed: Ford didn’t make planes; they made simple, affordable cars. But bucking his father’s resistance, Edsel charged ahead. Ford would apply assembly-line production to the American military’s largest, fastest, most destructive bomber; they would build a plant vast in size and ambition on a plot of farmland and call it Willow Run; they would bring in tens of thousands of workers from across the country, transforming Detroit, almost overnight, from Motor City to the “great arsenal of democracy.” And eventually they would help the Allies win the war.

Drawing on exhaustive research from the Ford Archives, the National Archives, and the FDR Library, A. J. Baime has crafted an enthralling, character-driven narrative of American innovation that has never been fully told, leaving readers with a vivid new portrait of America—and Detroit—during the war.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Those Who Wish Me Dead"

New from Little, Brown and Company: Those Who Wish Me Dead by Michael Koryta.

About the book, from the publisher:

When fourteen-year-old Jace Wilson witnesses a brutal murder, he's plunged into a new life, issued a false identity and hidden in a wilderness skills program for troubled teens. The plan is to get Jace off the grid while police find the two killers. The result is the start of a nightmare.

The killers, known as the Blackwell Brothers, are slaughtering anyone who gets in their way in a methodical quest to reach him. Now all that remains between them and the boy are Ethan and Allison Serbin, who run the wilderness survival program; Hannah Faber, who occupies a lonely fire lookout tower; and endless miles of desolate Montana mountains.

The clock is ticking, the mountains are burning, and those who wish Jace Wilson dead are no longer far behind.
Visit Michael Koryta's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, May 30, 2014

"Ecosickness in Contemporary U.S. Fiction"

New from Columbia University Press: Ecosickness in Contemporary U.S. Fiction: Environment and Affect by Heather Houser.

About the book, from the publisher:

The 1970s brought a new understanding of the biological and intellectual impact of environmental crises on human beings. As efforts to prevent ecological and bodily injury aligned, a new literature of sickness emerged. “Ecosickness fiction” imaginatively rethinks the link between these forms of threat and the sick body to bring readers to environmental consciousness.

Tracing the development of ecosickness through a compelling archive of contemporary U.S. novels and memoirs, Ecosickness in Contemporary U.S. Fiction establishes that we cannot comprehend environmental and medical dilemmas through data alone and must call on the sometimes surprising emotions that literary metaphors, tropes, and narratives deploy. In chapters on David Foster Wallace, Richard Powers, Leslie Marmon Silko, Marge Piercy, Jan Zita Grover, and David Wojnarowicz, Heather Houser shows how narrative affects such as wonder and disgust organize perception of an endangered world and orient us ethically toward it.

The study builds the connective tissue between contemporary literature, ecocriticism, affect studies, and the medical humanities. It also positions ecosickness fiction relative to emergent forms of environmentalism and technoscientific innovations such as regenerative medicine and alternative ecosystems. Houser models an approach to contemporary fiction as a laboratory for affective changes that spark or squelch ethical projects.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Hell with the Lid Blown Off"

New from Poisoned Pen Press: Hell with the Lid Blown Off: An Alafair Tucker Mystery by Donis Casey.

About the book, from the publisher:

In the summer of 1916, a big twister brings destruction to the land around Boynton OK. Alafair Tucker’s family and neighbors are not spared the ruin and grief spread by the storm. But no one is going to mourn for Jubal Beldon, who made it his business to know the ugly secrets of everyone in town. It doesn’t matter if Jubal’s insinuations are true or not. In a small town like Boynton, rumor is as damaging as fact.But as Mr. Lee the undertaker does his grim duty for the storm victims, he discovers that even in death Jubal isn’t going to leave his neighbors in peace. He was already dead when the tornado carried his body to the middle of a fallow field. Had he died in an accident or had he been murdered by someone whose secret he had threatened to expose? There are dozens of people who would have been happy to do the deed, including members of Jubal’s own family. As Sheriff Scott Tucker and his deputy Trenton Calder look into the circumstances surrounding Jubal’s demise, it begins to look like the prime suspect may be someone very dear to the widow Beckie MacKenzie, the beloved music teacher and mentor of Alafair’s daughter Ruth. Ruth fears that the secrets exposed by the investigation are going to cause more damage to her friend’s life than the tornado. Alafair has her own suspicions about how Jubal Beldon came to die, and the reason may hit very close to home.
Visit Donis Casey's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, May 29, 2014

"Young God"

New from Farrar, Straus and Giroux: Young God: A Novel by Katherine Faw Morris.

About the book, from the publisher:

Stripped down and stylized—Winter’s Bone plus Less Than Zero—the sharpest, boldest, brashest debut of the year

Meet Nikki, the most determined young woman in the North Carolina hills. Determined not to let deadbeats and dropouts set her future. Determined to use whatever tools she can get her hands on to shape the world to her will. Determined to preserve her family’s domination of the local drug trade. Nikki is thirteen years old.

Opening with a deadly plunge from a high cliff into a tiny swimming hole, Young God refuses to slow down for a moment as it charts Nikki’s battles against isolation and victimhood. Nikki may be young, but she's a fast learner, and soon—perhaps too soon, if in fact it's not too late—she knows exactly how to wield her powers over the people around her. The only thing slowing her down is the inheritance she's been promised but can't seem to find, buried somewhere deep in those hills and always just out of reach.

With prose stripped down to its bare essence, brash and electifying, brutal yet starkly beautiful, Katherine Faw Morris's Young God is a debut that demands your attention and won't be forgotten—just like Nikki, who will cut you if you let that attention waver.
Visit Katherine Faw Morris's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Women Drummers"

New from Rowman & Littlefield: Women Drummers: A History from Rock and Jazz to Blues and Country by Angela Smith.

About the book, from the publisher:

In 1942, drummer Viola Smith sent shock waves through the jazz world by claiming in Down Beat magazine that “hep girls” could sit in on any jam session and hold their own. In Women Drummers: A History from Rock and Jazz to Blues and Country, Angela Smith takes Viola at her word, offering a comprehensive look at the world of professional drumming and the women who had the courage and chops to break the barriers of this all-too-male field. Combining archival research with personal interviews of more than fifty female drummers representing more than eight decades in music history, Smith paints a vivid picture of their struggles to overcome discrimination—not only as professional musicians but in other parts of their lives. Women Drummers outlines the evolution of female drumming from pre-biblical times when women held important leadership roles to their silencing by the church during the Middle Ages to spearheading the fight for women’s rights in the modern era. The stories and personal accounts of female drummers who bucked tradition and societal norms are told against the backdrop of the times in which they performed and the genres they represented, from rock and jazz to blues and country.

Although women have proven time and time again that they can more than hold their own against their male counterparts, female drummers not only remain a minority, but their contributions have been obscured by the traditional chauvinistic attitudes in the music business and gender stereotypes that surround the drum itself as a “male” instrument. Women Drummers takes a major step forward in undoing this misconception by acknowledging the talent, contribution, and growing power of women drummers in today’s music environment.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

"The Literary Churchill"

New from Yale University Press: The Literary Churchill: Author, Reader, Actor by Jonathan Rose.

About the book, from the publisher:

This strikingly original book introduces a Winston Churchill we have not known before. Award-winning author Jonathan Rose explores in tandem Churchill’s careers as statesman and author, revealing the profound influence of literature and theater on Churchill’s personal, carefully composed grand story and on the decisions he made throughout his political life.

Rose provides in this expansive literary biography an analysis of Churchill’s writings and their reception (he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953 and was a best-selling author), and a chronicle of his dealings with publishers, editors, literary agents, and censors. The book also identifies an array of authors who shaped Churchill’s own writings and politics: George Bernard Shaw, H. G. Wells, Margaret Mitchell, George Orwell, Oscar Wilde, and many more. Rose investigates the effect of Churchill’s passion for theater on his approach to reportage, memoirs, and historical works. Perhaps most remarkably, Rose reveals the unmistakable influence of Churchill’s reading on every important episode of his public life, including his championship of social reform, plans for the Gallipoli invasion, command during the Blitz, crusade for Zionism, and efforts to prevent a nuclear arms race. In a fascinating conclusion, Rose traces the significance of Churchill’s writings to later generations of politicians, among them President John F. Kennedy as he struggled to extricate the U.S. from the Cuban Missile Crisis.
--Marshal Zeringue

"The Chronicle of Secret Riven"

New from Atria Books: The Chronicle of Secret Riven--Keeper of Tales Trilogy: Book Two by Ronlyn Domingue.

About the book, from the publisher:

An uncanny child born to brilliant parents, befriended by a prince, mentored by a wise woman, pursued by a powerful man, Secret Riven has no idea what destiny will demand of her or the courage she must have to confront it in the breathtakingly epic, genre-spanning sequel to The Mapmaker’s War.
* * *

To see is a trick of the mind, but to believe is a trick of the heart.

One thousand years after a great conflict known as The Mapmaker’s War, a daughter is born to an ambitious historian and a gifted translator. Secret Riven doesn’t speak until her seventh year but can mysteriously communicate with plants and animals. Unsettled by visions and dreams since childhood, she tries to hide her strangeness, especially from her mercurial father and cold mother. When her knowledge of an esoteric symbol brings unwelcome attention, gentle, watchful Secret finds acceptance from Prince Nikolas, her best friend, and Old Woman, who lives in the distant woods.

When Secret is twelve, her mother, Zavet, receives an arcane manuscript to translate from an anonymous owner. Zavet begins to suffer nightmares and withdraws into herself. Secret sickens with a fever and awakens able to speak an ancient language, discovering that her mother is fluent as well. Suddenly, Zavet dies. The manuscript is missing, but a cipher has been left for Secret to find. Soon, Secret will have a choice to make: confront a destiny tied to an ancient past or deny it, never to know its whole truth.

A spellbinding story, rich with vivid characters and set in a fascinating world, The Chronicle of Secret Riven explores the tension between love and hate, trust and betrayal, fate and free will.
Learn more about the book and author at Ronlyn Domingue's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

The Page 69 Test: The Mapmaker's War.

My Book, The Movie: The Mapmaker's War.

Writers Read: Ronlyn Domingue.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

"China Dolls"

New from Random House: China Dolls by Lisa See.

About the book, from the publisher:

The New York Times bestselling author of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Peony in Love, and Shanghai Girls has garnered international acclaim for her great skill at rendering the intricate relationships of women and the complex meeting of history and fate. Now comes Lisa See’s highly anticipated new novel, China Dolls.

It’s 1938 in San Francisco: a world’s fair is preparing to open on Treasure Island, a war is brewing overseas, and the city is alive with possibilities. Grace, Helen, and Ruby, three young women from very different backgrounds, meet by chance at the exclusive and glamorous Forbidden City nightclub. Grace Lee, an American-born Chinese girl, has fled the Midwest with nothing but heartache, talent, and a pair of dancing shoes. Helen Fong lives with her extended family in Chinatown, where her traditional parents insist that she guard her reputation like a piece of jade. The stunning Ruby Tom challenges the boundaries of convention at every turn with her defiant attitude and no-holds-barred ambition.

The girls become fast friends, relying on one another through unexpected challenges and shifting fortunes. When their dark secrets are exposed and the invisible thread of fate binds them even tighter, they find the strength and resilience to reach for their dreams. But after the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, paranoia and suspicion threaten to destroy their lives, and a shocking act of betrayal changes everything.
Visit Lisa See's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Face Value"

New from Poisoned Pen Press: Face Value: A Rachel Gold Mystery by Michael A. Kahn.

About the book, from the publisher:

As St. Louis attorney Rachel Gold knows firsthand, the grueling hours and demands of Big Law take their toll on young lawyers. Some turn to drugs, some quit the profession, and occasionally one quits altogether. According to the medical examiner, Sari Bashir quit altogether on that Thursday night. That’s when she fell to her death from the eighth floor of the downtown garage where she parked her car.

The police ruled her death a suicide. Stanley Plotkin, however, rules it a homicide. Stanley is the weird mailroom clerk at Sari’s law firm, but he is also a true genius. Among his obsessions is the Facial Action Coding System (FACS), a massive compilation that correlates hundreds of facial muscle actions with specific emotions and mental states. For someone like Stanley, whose Asperger’s Syndrome renders him incapable of intuiting emotions from facial expressions, his mastery of FACS has caused him to conclude that Sari did not kill herself.

Rachel had been close with Sari, who worked for her during law school. She also knows Stanley—and his quirkiness and his genius—because their mothers are friends. Thus when Stanley announces his conclusion to Rachel as she drives him home from Sari’s memorial service, she can’t simply dismiss it. And when Sari’s father pleads with Rachel to review the police file on his daughter’s suicide, she reluctantly starts down a path that will lead into the heart of a dark criminal enterprise in which Sari was simply collateral damage.
Visit Michael A. Kahn's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, May 26, 2014

"The Lobster Kings"

New from W.W. Norton: The Lobster Kings: A Novel by Alexi Zentner.

About the book, from the publisher:

From the internationally acclaimed author of Touch, praised as "breathtaking" (People) and "lovely…at once dreamy and riveting" (Washington Post), comes a powerful family saga steeped in the legends of the sea. Set in a lobster fishing village, The Lobster Kings introduces a fiery and unforgettable heroine, Cordelia Kings.

The Kings family has lived on Loosewood Island for three hundred years, blessed with the bounty of the sea. But for the Kings, this blessing comes with a curse: the loss of every firstborn son. Now, Woody Kings, the leader of the island’s lobster fishing community and the family patriarch, teeters on the throne, and Cordelia, the oldest of Woody’s three daughters, stands to inherit the crown. To do so, however, she must defend her island from meth dealers from the mainland while navigating sibling rivalry and the vulnerable nature of her own heart when she falls in love with her sternman.

Inspired by King Lear, The Lobster Kings is the story of Cordelia’s struggle to maintain her island’s way of life in the face of danger from offshore and the rich, looming, mythical legacy of her family’s namesake.
Visit Alexi Zentner's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Devil May Care"

New from Minotaur Books: The Devil May Care by David Housewright.

About the book, from the publisher:

Riley Brodin is the granddaughter of Walter Muehlenhaus—a man as rich, powerful, and connected as anyone since the days of J. P. Morgan. Despite her family’s connections, it’s McKenzie she reaches out to when her relatively new boyfriend goes missing. Despite his reservations about getting involved with the Muehlenhaus family—again—Mac McKenzie agrees to look for one Juan Carlos Navarre. What he finds, though, is a man who appears to be a ghost.

The house—mansion, really—he told Riley he owned is actually a rental, barely lived in and practically devoid of personal effects. The restaurant he claimed to own is owned by another and Navarre merely an investor. He apparently has no friends, no traceable past, and McKenzie isn’t the only one looking for him. Whoever Juan Carlos Navarre is and wherever he’s gone, the one thing that is clear is that he’s trouble, and is perhaps someone—as Riley’s family makes clear—better out of the picture. Unfortunately for everyone, McKenzie likes trouble and trouble likes him, in The Devil May Care by David Housewright.
Learn more about the book and author at David Housewright's website and Facebook page.

My Book, The Movie: The Last Kind Word.

Writers Read: David Housewright (June 2013).

The Page 69 Test: The Last Kind Word.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, May 25, 2014

"Christ Child: Cultural Memories of a Young Jesus"

New from Yale University Press: Christ Child: Cultural Memories of a Young Jesus by Stephen J. Davis.

About the bookAbout the book, from the publisher:

Little is known about the early childhood of Jesus Christ. But in the decades after his death, stories began circulating about his origins. One collection of such tales was the so-called Infancy Gospel of Thomas, known in antiquity as the Paidika or “Childhood Deeds” of Jesus. In it, Jesus not only performs miracles while at play (such as turning clay birds into live sparrows) but also gets enmeshed in a series of interpersonal conflicts and curses to death children and teachers who rub him the wrong way. How would early readers have made sense of this young Jesus?

In this highly innovative book, Stephen Davis draws on current theories about how human communities construe the past to answer this question. He explores how ancient readers would have used texts, images, places, and other key reference points from their own social world to understand the Christ child’s curious actions. He then shows how the figure of a young Jesus was later picked up and exploited in the context of medieval Jewish-Christian and Christian-Muslim encounters. Challenging many scholarly assumptions, Davis adds a crucial dimension to the story of how Christian history was created.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Artemis Awakening"

New from Tor Books: Artemis Awakening by Jane Lindskold.

About the book, from the publisher:

Artemis Awakening is the start of a new series by New York Times bestseller Jane Lindskold. The distant world Artemis is a pleasure planet created out of bare rock by a technologically advanced human empire that provided its richest citizens with a veritable Eden to play in. All tech was concealed and the animals (and the humans brought to live there) were bioengineered to help the guests enjoy their stay…but there was always the possibility of danger so that visitors could brag that they had “bested” the environment.

The Empire was shattered in a horrific war; centuries later humanity has lost much of the advanced technology and Artemis is a fable told to children. Until young archeologist Griffin Dane finds intriguing hints that send him on a quest to find the lost world. Stranded on Artemis after crashing his ship, he encounters the Huntress Adara and her psych-linked companion, the puma Sand Shadow. Their journey with her will lead Dane to discover the planet’s secrets…and perhaps provide a key to give unimagined power back to mankind.
Visit Jane Lindskold's website and blog.

Writers Read: Jane Lindskold (February 2009).

The Page 69 Test: Thirteen Orphans.

The Page 69 Test: Five Odd Honors.

Writers Read: Jane Lindskold (May 2011).

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, May 24, 2014

"The Abduction"

New from Harper: The Abduction by Jonathan Holt.

About the book, from the publisher:

The Abduction is an adrenaline-fuelled tale of mystery and intrigue that moves between the physical world of Venice, Italy, and its online counterpart, blurring the boundary between dark fantasy and even darker reality.

Captain Kat Tapo of the Venice Carabinieri knows that the social media site harbors disturbing secrets—she's already endured one encounter with this digital incarnation of Venice and its creator, the reclusive hacker Daniele Barbo. But she's shocked to discover a webcam feed that streams video of a terrified teenage girl, hooded and shackled. A strand of text repeatedly scrolls across the screen: Stressful Standing Is Not Torture.

At the same time, Second Lieutenant Holly Boland is desperately trying to find the daughter of a US Army officer, missing from an American military base near the city. An intelligence analyst trained to look for clues that others miss, Holly is sure the kidnappers are after more than just money.

When responsibility is claimed by a group demanding an end to US bases in Italy, it seems that the motive behind the kidnapping is clear. But the more the two women investigate, the more the case becomes as murky as the dark waters of Venice's lagoon itself.

Uncooperative at the best of times, Daniele has never before allowed to yield its hidden truths to the authorities. But when secrets from Italy's complicated wartime past begin to surface, revelations that could put them all in danger, he must make a difficult choice. How far will he let them in? If the shocking truth is not discovered, more than one innocent life will be sacrificed....

With The Abduction, the second book in the Carnivia Trilogy, Jonathan Holt delivers a heart-pounding sequel to his acclaimed international thriller The Abomination.
Learn more about the book and author at the Carniva website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Night of the Living Thread"

New from Berkley: Night of the Living Thread (Threadville Mystery Series #4) by Janet Bolin.

About the book, from the publisher:

Zombies, killer dresses, and ancient curses prove that Halloween in Threadville can be sew spooky...

It’s early October, and hordes of visitors have descended on the tiny, celebrated village of Threadville, Pennsylvania, to attend a Halloween crafts fair, a zombie retreat, and the wedding of Edna Battersby—dear friend to Willow Vanderling, owner of the chic machine embroidery boutique, In Stitches.

As a friendly prank for Edna’s wedding, Willow and the rest of the Threadville gang have fashioned an overly extravagant hoopskirt, complete with lights and music. But in a bizarre turn of events, the garish gown is implicated in a mysterious lakeside murder.

Now Willow must follow a trail of glow-in-the-dark thread, delve into ancient Egyptian curses, and creep through a haunted graveyard to unearth a killer—before she becomes the next fashion victim...
Visit Janet Bolin's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Janet Bolin and Laddie and Lacy.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, May 23, 2014


New from Dutton: Suspicion by Joseph Finder.

About the book, from the publisher:

When single father Danny Goodman suddenly finds himself unable to afford the private school his teenage daughter adores, he has no one to turn to for financial support.

In what seems like a stroke of brilliant luck, Danny meets Thomas Galvin, the father of his daughter’s new best friend, who also happens to be one of the wealthiest men in Boston. Galvin is aware of Danny’s situation and out of the blue offers a $50,000 loan to help Danny cover his daughter’s tuition. Uncomfortable but desperate, Danny takes the money, promising to pay Galvin back.

What transpires is something Danny never imagined. The moment the money is wired into his account, the DEA comes knocking on his door. Danny’s impossible choice: an indictment for accepting drug money that he can’t afford to fight in court, or an unthinkably treacherous undercover assignment helping the government get close to his new family friend.

As Danny begins to lie to everyone in his life, including those he loves most in the world, he must decide once and for all who the real enemy is or risk losing everything—and everyone—that matters to him.
--Marshal Zeringue

"The Bones Beneath"

New from Atlantic Monthly Press: The Bones Beneath: A Tom Thorne Novel by Mark Billingham.

About the book, from the publisher:

The Bones Beneath, the twelfth novel in the internationally bestselling Tom Thorne series shows Thorne facing perhaps the most dangerous killer he has ever put away, Stuart Nicklin. When Nicklin announces that he wishes to reveal the whereabouts of one of his earliest victims and that he wants the cop who caught him to be there when he does it, it becomes clear that Thorne’s life is about to become seriously unpleasant. Thorne is forced to accompany Nicklin to a remote island off the Welsh coast which is cut off from the mainland in every sense. Shrouded in myth and legend, it is said to be the resting place of 20,000 saints and as Thorne and his team search for bones that are somewhat more recent, it becomes clear that Nicklin’s motives are far from altruistic.

The twisted scheme of a dangerous and manipulative psychopath will result in many more victims and will leave Tom Thorne with the most terrible choice he has ever had to make.
Visit Mark Billingham's website.

The Page 69 Test: Buried.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, May 22, 2014

"I Am Pilgrim"

New from Atria/Emily Bestler Books: I Am Pilgrim: A Thriller by Terry Hayes.

About the book, from the publisher:

This astonishing debut espionage thriller depicts the collision course between two geniuses, one a tortured hero and one a determined terrorist, in a breakneck story reminiscent of John le Carré and Robert Ludlum at their finest.

PILGRIM is the code name for a world class and legendary secret agent. His adversary is a man known only to the reader as the Saracen. As a young boy, the Saracen barely sees his dissident father beheaded in a Saudi Arabian public square. But the event marks him for life and creates a burning desire to destroy the special relationship between the US and the Kingdom. Everything in the Saracen’s life from this moment forward will be in service to jihad.

At the novel’s opening, we find ourselves in a seedy hotel near Ground Zero. A woman lies face down in a pool of acid, features melted off her face, teeth missing, fingerprints gone. The room has been sprayed down with DNA-eradicating antiseptic spray. All the techniques are pulled directly from Pilgrim's book, a cult classic of forensic science written under a pen name.

In offering the NYPD some casual assistance with the case, Pilgrim gets pulled back into the intelligence underground. What follows is a thriller that jockeys between astonishingly detailed character study and breakneck globetrotting. The author shifts effortlessly from Pilgrim’s hidden life of leisure in Paris to the Saracen’s squalid warrior life in Afghanistan, from the hallways of an exclusive Swiss bank to the laboratories of a nefarious biotech facility in Syria.

The inevitable encounter between Pilgrim and the Saracen will come in Turkey, around the murder of a wealthy American, in a thrilling, twisting, beautifully orchestrated finale.
--Marshal Zeringue

"The Vacationers"

New from Riverhead: The Vacationers: A Novel by Emma Straub.

About the book, from the publisher:

An irresistible, deftly observed novel about the secrets, joys, and jealousies that rise to the surface over the course of an American family’s two-week stay in Mallorca.

For the Posts, a two-week trip to the Balearic island of Mallorca with their extended family and friends is a celebration: Franny and Jim are observing their thirty-fifth wedding anniversary, and their daughter, Sylvia, has graduated from high school. The sunlit island, its mountains and beaches, its tapas and tennis courts, also promise an escape from the tensions simmering at home in Manhattan. But all does not go according to plan: over the course of the vacation, secrets come to light, old and new humiliations are experienced, childhood rivalries resurface, and ancient wounds are exacerbated.

This is a story of the sides of ourselves that we choose to show and those we try to conceal, of the ways we tear each other down and build each other up again, and the bonds that ultimately hold us together. With wry humor and tremendous heart, Emma Straub delivers a richly satisfying story of a family in the midst of a maelstrom of change, emerging irrevocably altered yet whole.
Visit Emma Straub's website.

See: Emma Straub's ten top books that mimic the feeling of a summer vacation.

--Mashal Zeringue

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

"Hit and Run"

New from Severn House: Hit and Run: A Main Street Murder in the mountains of North Carolina by Sandra Balzo.

About the book, from the publisher:

Journalist AnnaLise Griggs' return to her hometown in North Carolina's western mountains has led to some unexpected surprises – most notably the discovery that legendary womanizer Dickens Hart is her birth father, and she an heir to Hart's huge fortune.

Founder of the White Tail Lodge – a High Country knock-off of the Playboy concept – Hart now claims he wants to ‘do right’ by any other children he may have fathered. To that end, he's invited all his former lovers and potential heirs, including AnnaLise and her own mother, Daisy, to what Hart envisions as a festive Thanksgiving weekend at the sprawling lakeside mansion.

But not everybody is in a celebratory mood, and when a body is discovered dead in the bed, AnnaLise is left with the impossible task of identifying the killer.
Learn more about the book and author at Sandra Balzo's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Phantom of Fifth Avenue"

New from Grand Central Publishing: The Phantom of Fifth Avenue by Meryl Gordon.

About the book, from the publisher:

Born in 1906, Huguette Clark grew up in her family's 121-room Beaux Arts mansion in New York and was one of the leading celebrities of her day. Her father William Andrews Clark, was a copper magnate, the second richest man in American, and not above bribing his way into the Senate.

Huguette attended the coronation of King George V. And at twenty-two with a personal fortune of $50 million to her name, she married a Princeton man and childhood friend William MacDonald Gower. Two-years later the couple divorced. After a series of failed romances, Huguette began to withdraw from society--first living with her mother in a kind of Grey Gardens isolation then as a modern-day Miss Havisham, spending her days in a vast apartment overlooking Central Park, eating crackers and watching The Flintstones with only servants for company.

All her money and all her real estate could not protect her in her later life from being manipulated by shady hangers-on and hospitals that were only too happy to admit (and bill) a healthy woman. But what happened to Huguette that turned a vivacious, young socialite into a recluse? And what was her life like inside that gilded, copper cage?
Visit Meryl Gordon's website.

See: Meryl Gordon's five best chronicles of high society.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

"The Map Thief"

New from Gotham Books: The Map Thief: The Gripping Story of an Esteemed Rare-Map Dealer Who Made Millions Stealing Priceless Maps by Michael Blanding.

About the book, from the publisher:

The story of an infamous crime, a revered map dealer with an unsavory secret, and the ruthless subculture that consumed him

Maps have long exerted a special fascination on viewers—both as beautiful works of art and as practical tools to navigate the world. But to those who collect them, the map trade can be a cutthroat business, inhabited by quirky and sometimes disreputable characters in search of a finite number of extremely rare objects.

Once considered a respectable antiquarian map dealer, E. Forbes Smiley spent years doubling as a map thief —until he was finally arrested slipping maps out of books in the Yale University library. The Map Thief delves into the untold history of this fascinating high-stakes criminal and the inside story of the industry that consumed him.

Acclaimed reporter Michael Blanding has interviewed all the key players in this stranger-than-fiction story, and shares the fascinating histories of maps that charted the New World, and how they went from being practical instruments to quirky heirlooms to highly coveted objects. Though pieces of the map theft story have been written before, Blanding is the first reporter to explore the story in full—and had the rare privilege of having access to Smiley himself after he’d gone silent in the wake of his crimes. Moreover, although Smiley swears he has admitted to all of the maps he stole, libraries claim he stole hundreds more—and offer intriguing clues to prove it. Now, through a series of exclusive interviews with Smiley and other key individuals, Blanding teases out an astonishing tale of destruction and redemption.

The Map Thief interweaves Smiley’s escapades with the stories of the explorers and mapmakers he knew better than anyone. Tracking a series of thefts as brazen as the art heists in Provenance and a subculture as obsessive as the oenophiles in The Billionaire’s Vinegar, Blanding has pieced together an unforgettable story of high-stakes crime.
Visit Michael Blanding's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Black Current"

New from Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books: Black Current: A Mystery by Karen Keskinen.

About the book, from the publisher:

How far would you go to avenge someone you love?

It’s August, and Santa Barbara, California hasn’t tasted a drop of rain for months when P.I. Jaymie Zarlin learns a popular high school athlete has drowned in a tank at the city aquarium. The police are calling Skye Rasmussen’s death an accident, but his distraught parents, unconvinced, hire Jaymie to find out the truth.

Eager to prove she’s up to the challenge of solving the case, Jaymie investigates and uncovers an array of suspects. But when information begins to surface about her own brother, who died three years ago in the downtown jail, Jaymie is torn between doing right by her clients and exposing the truth about a mystery that lies much closer to home.

Set in a seaside city splashed in sunshine and laced with poisonous secrets, Karen Keskinen's Black Current is a riveting story about the treacherous secrets we keep and the costly sacrifices we make - all to hold on to the people we love.
Visit Karen Keskinen's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, May 19, 2014

"All Day and a Night"

New from Harper: All Day and a Night by Alafair Burke.

About the book, from the publisher:

A new murder case with ties to a convicted serial killer leads Detective Ellie Hatcher into a twisting investigation with explosive and deadly results in this superb mystery from the “terrific web spinner” (Entertainment Weekly) Alafair Burke.

When pyschotherapist Helen Brunswick is murdered in her Park Slope office, the entire city suspects her estranged husband—until the District Attorney’s office receives an anonymous letter. The letter’s author knows a chilling detail that police have kept secret: the victim’s bones were broken after she was killed. Her injuries were eerily similar to the signature used twenty years earlier by Anthony Amaro, a serial killer serving a life sentence for his crimes. Now, Amaro is asking to be released from prison, arguing that he was wrongly convicted, and that the true killer is still on the loose.

NYPD Detectives Ellie Hatcher and JJ Rogan are tapped as the “fresh look” team to reassess the original investigation that led to Amaro’s conviction. The case pits them against both their fellow officers and a hard-charging celebrity defense lawyer with a young associate named Carrie Blank, whose older sister was one of Amaro’s victims. As both the NYPD and Amaro’s legal team search for certainty in years of conflicting evidence, their investigations take them back to Carrie’s hometown and secrets left behind there. And when Carrie falls victim to a brutal attack, Hatcher knows that the young attorney got too close to the truth.
Learn more about the book and author at Alafair Burke's website and blog.

Writers Read: Alafair Burke (July 2011).

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Sixteenth of June"

New from Scribner: The Sixteenth of June: A Novel by Maya Lang.

About the book, from the publisher:

A finely observed, wry social satire set in Philadelphia over the course of a single day, this soaring debut novel paints a moving portrait of a family at a turning point.

Leopold Portman, a young IT manager a few years out of college, dreams of settling down in Philly’s bucolic suburbs and starting a family with his fiancée, Nora. A talented singer in mourning for her mother, Nora has abandoned a promising opera career and wonders what her destiny holds. Her best friend, Stephen, Leopold’s brother, dithers in his seventh year of graduate school and privately questions Leo and Nora’s relationship. On June 16, 2004, the three are brought together—first for a funeral, then for an annual Bloomsday party. As the long-simmering tensions between them come to a head, they are forced to confront the choices of their pasts and their hopes for the future.

Clever, lyrical, and often hilarious, The Sixteenth of June is a feat of storytelling and a sharp depiction of modern American family life. It delves into the tensions and allegiances of friendships, the murky uncertainty of early adulthood, and the yearning to belong. This remarkable novel offers a nod to James Joyce's celebrated classic, Ulysses, and it is about the secrets we keep and the lengths we’ll go to for acceptance and love.
Visit Maya Lang's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, May 18, 2014

"Age of Ambition"

New from Farrar, Straus and Giroux: Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China by Evan Osnos.

About the book, from the publisher:

A vibrant, colorful, and revelatory inner history of China during a moment of profound transformation

From abroad, we often see China as a caricature: a nation of pragmatic plutocrats and ruthlessly dedicated students destined to rule the global economy—or an addled Goliath, riddled with corruption and on the edge of stagnation. What we don’t see is how both powerful and ordinary people are remaking their lives as their country dramatically changes.

As the Beijing correspondent for The New Yorker, Evan Osnos was on the ground in China for years, witness to profound political, economic, and cultural upheaval. In Age of Ambition, he describes the greatest collision taking place in that country: the clash between the rise of the individual and the Communist Party’s struggle to retain control. He asks probing questions: Why does a government with more success lifting people from poverty than any civilization in history choose to put strict restraints on freedom of expression? Why do millions of young Chinese professionals—fluent in English and devoted to Western pop culture—consider themselves “angry youth,” dedicated to resisting the West’s influence? How are Chinese from all strata finding meaning after two decades of the relentless pursuit of wealth?

Writing with great narrative verve and a keen sense of irony, Osnos follows the moving stories of everyday people and reveals life in the new China to be a battleground between aspiration and authoritarianism, in which only one can prevail.
Visit Evan Osnos's website.

--Marshal Zeringue


New from Riverhead: Sundance: A Novel by David Fuller.

About the book, from the publisher:

A gripping historical novel of love and vengeance starring Harry Longbaugh, better known as the Sundance Kid.

Legend has it that bank robber Harry Longbaugh and his partner Robert Parker were killed in a shootout in Bolivia. That was the supposed end of the Sundance Kid and Butch Cassidy.

Sundance tells a different story. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Longbaugh is very much alive, though serving in a Wyoming prison under an alias.

When he is released in 1913, Longbaugh reenters a changed world. Horses are being replaced by automobiles. Gas lamps are giving way to electric lights. Workers fight for safety, and women for the vote. What hasn’t changed are Longbaugh’s ingenuity, his deadly aim, and his love for his wife, Etta Place.

It’s been two years since Etta stopped visiting him, and, determined to find her, Longbaugh follows her trail to New York City. Confounded by the city’s immensity, energy, chaos, and crowds, he learns that his wife was very different from the woman he thought he knew. Longbaugh finds himself in a tense game of cat and mouse, racing against time before the legend of the Sundance Kid catches up to destroy him.

By turns suspenseful, rollicking, and poignant, Sundance is the story of a man dogged by his own past, seeking his true place in this new world.
Learn more about the book and author at David Fuller's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Sweetsmoke.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, May 17, 2014

"Child Migration and Human Rights in a Global Age"

New from Princeton University Press: Child Migration and Human Rights in a Global Age by Jacqueline Bhabha.

About the book, from the publisher:

Why, despite massive public concern, is child trafficking on the rise? Why are unaccompanied migrant children living on the streets and routinely threatened with deportation to their countries of origin? Why do so many young refugees of war-ravaged and failed states end up warehoused in camps, victimized by the sex trade, or enlisted as child soldiers? This book provides the first comprehensive account of the widespread but neglected global phenomenon of child migration, exploring the complex challenges facing children and adolescents who move to join their families, those who are moved to be exploited, and those who move simply to survive.

Spanning several continents and drawing on the actual stories of young migrants, the book shows how difficult it is for children to reunite with parents who left them behind to seek work abroad. It looks at the often-insurmountable obstacles we place in the paths of adolescents fleeing war, exploitation, or destitution; the contradictory elements in our approach to international adoption; and the limited support we give to young people brutalized as child soldiers. Part history, part in-depth legal and political analysis, this powerful book challenges the prevailing wisdom that widespread protection failures are caused by our lack of awareness of the problems these children face, arguing instead that our societies have a deep-seated ambivalence to migrant children--one we need to address head-on.

Child Migration and Human Rights in a Global Age offers a road map for doing just that, and makes a compelling and courageous case for an international ethics of children's human rights.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Dark Aemilia"

New from Picador: Dark Aemilia: A Novel of Shakespeare's Dark Lady by Sally O'Reilly.

About the book, from the publisher:


The daughter of a Venetian musician, Aemilia Bassano came of age in Queen Elizabeth’s royal court. The Queen’s favorite, she develops a love of poetry and learning, maturing into a young woman known not only for her beauty but also her sharp mind and quick tongue. Aemilia becomes the mistress of Lord Hunsdon, but her position is precarious. Then she crosses paths with an impetuous playwright named William Shakespeare and begins an impassioned but ill-fated affair.

A decade later, the Queen is dead, and Aemilia Bassano is now Aemilia Lanyer, fallen from favor and married to a fool. Like the rest of London, she fears the plague. And when her young son Henry takes ill, Aemilia resolves to do anything to save him, even if it means seeking help from her estranged lover, Will—or worse, making a pact with the Devil himself.

In rich, vivid detail, Sally O’Reilly breathes life into England’s first female poet, a mysterious woman nearly forgotten by history. Full of passion and devilish schemes, Dark Aemilia is a tale worthy of the Bard.
See Sally O'Reilly's ten top novels inspired by Shakespeare.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, May 16, 2014

"Goodnight June"

New from Plume: Goodnight June: A Novel by Sarah Jio.

About the book, from the publisher:

The New York Times bestselling author of Blackberry Winter imagines the inspiration for Goodnight Moon

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown (Goodnight Songs) is an adored childhood classic, but its real origins are lost to history. In Goodnight June, Sarah Jio offers a suspenseful and heartfelt take on how the “great green room” might have come to be.

June Andersen is professionally successful, but her personal life is marred by unhappiness. Unexpectedly, she is called to settle her great-aunt Ruby’s estate and determine the fate of Bluebird Books, the children’s bookstore Ruby founded in the 1940s. Amidst the store’s papers, June stumbles upon letters between her great-aunt and the late Margaret Wise Brown—and steps into the pages of American literature.
Visit Sarah Jio's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, May 15, 2014

"Dreaming for Freud"

New from Penguin: Dreaming for Freud: A Novel by Sheila Kohler.

About the book, from the publisher:

An award-winning author reimagines one of Freud’s most famous and controversial cases

Acclaimed for her spare prose and exceptional psychological insights in her novels Becoming Jane Eyre and Love Child, Sheila Kohler’s latest is inspired by Sigmund Freud’s Dora: An Analysis of a Case of Hysteria. Dreaming for Freud paints a provocative and sensual portrait of one of history’s most famous patients.

In the fall of 1900, Dora’s father forces her to begin treatment with the doctor. Visiting him daily, the seventeen-year-old girl lies on his ottoman and tells him frankly about her strange life, and above all about her father’s desires as far as she is concerned. But Dora abruptly ends her treatment after only eleven weeks, just as Freud was convinced he was on the cusp of a major discovery. In Dreaming for Freud, Kohler explores what might have happened between the man who changed the face of psychotherapy and the beautiful young woman who gave him her dreams.
Visit Sheila Kohler's website.

Writers Read: Sheila Kohler (December 2009).

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Art of Lainey"

New from HarperTeen: The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes.

About the book, from the publisher:

To win back the one she loves, she'll have to go to "war."

Soccer star Lainey Mitchell is gearing up to spend an epic summer with her amazing boyfriend, Jason, when he suddenly breaks up with her—no reasons, no warnings, and in public no less! Lainey is more than crushed, but with help from her friend Bianca, she resolves to do whatever it takes to get Jason back.

And that's when Lainey and Bianca stumble across a copy of The Art of War. The girls are sure they can use the military handbook to lure Jason back into Lainey's arms. So Lainey channels her inner warlord, recruiting spies to gather intel and persuading her coworker Micah to pose as her new boyfriend to make Jason jealous.

After a few "dates," it looks like her plan is going to work! But now her relationship with Micah is starting to feel like more than just a game. Can fighting for what she wants help Lainey find what she really needs?
Visit Paula Stokes's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

"The Devil's Workshop"

New from G.P. Putnam’s Sons: The Devil's Workshop by Alex Grecian.

About the book, from the publisher:

They thought he was gone, but they were wrong. Jack the Ripper is loose in London once more.

Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad faces the most shocking case of its existence, in the extraordinary new historical thriller from the author of the acclaimed national bestsellers
The Yard and The Black Country.

London, 1890. A small group of the city’s elite, fed up with the murder rate, have made it their business to capture violent criminals and mete out their own terrible brand of retribution. Now they are taking it a step further: They have arranged for four murderers to escape from prison, and into the group’s hands.

But the plan goes wrong. The killers elude them, and now it is up to Walter Day, Nevil Hammersmith, and the rest of Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad to hunt the convicts down before they can resume their bloody spree. But the Murder Squad may already be too late. The killers have retribution in mind, and one of them is heading straight toward a member of the Murder Squad, and his family.

And that isn’t even the worst of it. During the escape, one of the killers has stumbled upon the location of another notorious murderer, one thought gone for good, but who is now prepared to join forces with them.

And Saucy Jack has learned some new tricks while he’s been away.
Visit Alex Grecian's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Secrets of Tree Taylor"

New from Knopf Books for Young Readers: The Secrets of Tree Taylor by Dandi Daley Mackall.

About The Secrets of Tree Taylor, from the publisher:

Thirteen-year-old Tree Taylor has two goals for the summer of '63:

1. Experience her first real kiss. A kiss delivered by a boy. A boy who is not related to her. A kiss worth writing about.
2. Become a famous writer. (Or, at least, write an investigative article that will land her the freshman spot on the Blue and Gold staff.)

So when a gunshot is fired right across the street, Tree knows this is the big story she's been waiting for. But the more she goes digging, the more secrets she uncovers, and soon she begins to wonder: When is it important to expose the truth? And when is it right to keep a secret?
Visit Dandi Daley Mackall's website.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Dandi Daley Mackall & Moxie and Munch.

The Page 69 Test: The Secrets of Tree Taylor.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

"Searching for Sky"

New from Bloomsbury USA: Searching for Sky by Jillian Cantor.

About the book, from the publisher:

Sky and River have always lived on Island, the only world they’ve ever known. Until the day River spots a boat. Across Ocean, in a place called California, Sky is separated from River and forced to live with a grandmother she’s just met. Here the rules for survival are different. People rely on strange things like cars and cell phones. They keep secrets from one another. And without River, nothing makes sense. Sky yearns for her old life where she was strong and capable, not lost and confused. She must find River so they can return to Island, but the truth behind how they ended up there in the first place will come as the biggest shock of all.
Visit Jillian Cantor's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, May 12, 2014

"Free to Fall"

New from HarperTeen: Free to Fall by Lauren Miller.

About the book, from the publisher:


Rory Vaughn: a brainy, introverted sixteen-year-old who has always felt like an outsider, although she can't put her finger on a reason why. When she is accepted into her dream school, Theden, she is shocked to find out that her mother, who died when she was born, also went there and dropped out just before graduation. This is a secret her father has kept for sixteen years.

Theden Academy: the only high school of its kind, Theden is an intense two-year liberal arts program for the strong willed and highly gifted. Students are designated by seven Greek numerical prefixes (the Hepta being the best). Rory is a Hepta.

North Pascal: a handsome, tattooed, coffee barista townie who can quote Milton and knows as much about philosophy as Rory's classmates. He was banned from Theden's campus for breaking and entering. This isn't North's only secret. Lux: the decision-making app that everyone uses. No longer caught up in the details of their everyday lives—all those endless decisions!—people are free to just enjoy themselves.

Akratic Personality Disorder (APD): a mental illness whose name comes from the Greek word akrasia, the term Plato used for those who act against their better judgment. See also the Doubt.

The Doubt: the colloquial name for the "whisper within" that children hear but adults are taught to ignore.
Visit Lauren Miller's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Black Rock"

New from ECW Press: Black Rock: An Eddie Dougherty Mystery by John McFetridge.

About the book, from the publisher:

An artfully told police procedural set in an explosive era in recent history

Montreal 1970. The "Vampire Killer" has murdered three women and a fourth is missing. Bombs explode in the stock exchange, McGill University, and houses in Westmount. Riots break out at Sir George Williams University. James Cross and Pierre Laporte are kidnapped and the Canadian army moves onto the streets of Montreal.

A young beat cop working out of Station Ten finds himself almost alone hunting the serial killer, as the rest of the force focuses on the FLQ crisis. Constable Eddie Dougherty, the son of a French mother and an Irish-Canadian father, decides to take matters into his own hands to catch the killer before he strikes again.

Set against actual historical events, Black Rock is both a compelling page-turner and an accomplished novel in the style of Dennis Lehane.
Visit John McFetridge's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, May 11, 2014

"Count Like an Egyptian"

New from Princeton University Press: Count Like an Egyptian: A Hands-on Introduction to Ancient Mathematics by David Reimer.

About the book, from the publisher:

The mathematics of ancient Egypt was fundamentally different from our math today. Contrary to what people might think, it wasn't a primitive forerunner of modern mathematics. In fact, it can't be understood using our current computational methods. Count Like an Egyptian provides a fun, hands-on introduction to the intuitive and often-surprising art of ancient Egyptian math. David Reimer guides you step-by-step through addition, subtraction, multiplication, and more. He even shows you how fractions and decimals may have been calculated--they technically didn't exist in the land of the pharaohs. You'll be counting like an Egyptian in no time, and along the way you'll learn firsthand how mathematics is an expression of the culture that uses it, and why there's more to math than rote memorization and bewildering abstraction.

Reimer takes you on a lively and entertaining tour of the ancient Egyptian world, providing rich historical details and amusing anecdotes as he presents a host of mathematical problems drawn from different eras of the Egyptian past. Each of these problems is like a tantalizing puzzle, often with a beautiful and elegant solution. As you solve them, you'll be immersed in many facets of Egyptian life, from hieroglyphs and pyramid building to agriculture, religion, and even bread baking and beer brewing.

Fully illustrated in color throughout, Count Like an Egyptian also teaches you some Babylonian computation--the precursor to our modern system--and compares ancient Egyptian mathematics to today's math, letting you decide for yourself which is better.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, May 10, 2014


New from Aurum Press: Jumbo: The Unauthorised Biography of a Victorian Sensation by John Sutherland.

About the book, from the publisher:

Born in 1861 in French Sudan, imported to Paris as a two year old calf, then later sold to the London Zoo at Regent's Park, Jumbo the elephant delighted countless children (including Winston Churchill and Theodore Roosevelt) with rides and treats gently taken from outstretched hands. Each night, after the children and their families had gone home, he was mistreated in an attempt to keep him docile. By the time he reached sexual maturity, the abused and isolated animal had become dangerously unstable. He was sold to showman P.T. Barnum in 1881 (despite letters from 100,000 British schoolchildren who wrote to Queen Victoria begging her to prevent the sale) and brought to America. There, in the company of other elephants and amid greater physical freedom, Jumbo stabilized and went on to become one of the most lucrative circus acts of all time - as well as the most beloved. The world mourned when his life ended in 1885, with a storied (and most likely embellished) act of animal heroism. Jumbo reportedly rushed in front of an oncoming train in an effort to save a smaller elephant – his companion "Tom Thumb" – then perished while reaching his trunk out toward his longtime handler Matthew Scott – whose intense connection with the pachyderm spawned legends of its own.

Integrating the history of elephants in captivity along with the details of Jumbo's celebrity life, dramatic death, and lasting cultural legacy, John Sutherland has written the first comprehensive "biography" of this incredible animal - one whose name has given us one of our most common and hyperbolic adjectives.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, May 9, 2014

"Bellweather Rhapsody"

New from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: Bellweather Rhapsody by Kate Racculia.

About the book, from the publisher:

A high school music festival goes awry when a young prodigy disappears from a hotel room that was the site of a famous crime, in a whip-smart novel sparkling with the dark and giddy pop culture pleasures of The Shining, Agatha Christie, and Glee

Fifteen years ago, a murder/suicide in room 712 rocked the grand old Bellweather Hotel and the young bridesmaid who witnessed it. Now hundreds of high school musicians, including quiet bassoonist Rabbit Hatmaker and his brassy diva twin, Alice, have gathered in its cavernous, crumbling halls for the annual Statewide festival; the grown-up bridesmaid has returned to face her demons; and a snowstorm is forecast that will trap everyone on the grounds. Then one of the orchestra’s stars disappears—from room 712. Is it a prank, or has murder struck the Bellweather once again?

The search for answers entwines a hilariously eccentric cast of characters—conductors and caretakers, failures and stars, teenagers on the verge and adults trapped in memories. For everyone has come to the Bellweather with a secret, and everyone is haunted.

Full of knowing nods to the shivery pleasures of suspense and the transporting power of music, this is a wholly winning new novel from a writer lauded as “charming” (Los Angeles Times), “witty” (O, The Oprah Magazine), and “whimsical” (People).
Visit Kate Racculia's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Closed Doors"

New from Harper: Closed Doors by Lisa O'Donnell.

About the book, from the publisher:

In this tense and brilliant tale from the national bestselling author of The Death of Bees, a young boy on a small Scottish island, where everyone knows everything about everyone else, discovers that a secret can be a dangerous thing.

Eleven-year-old Michael Murray is the best at two things: hacky sack and keeping secrets. His family thinks he's too young to hear grown-up stuff, but he listens at doors—it's the only way to find out anything. And Michael's heard a secret, one that may explain the bruises on his mother's face.

When the whispers at home and on the street become too loud to ignore, Michael begins to wonder if there is an even bigger secret he doesn't know about. Scared of what might happen if anyone finds out, and desperate for life to return to normal, Michael sets out to piece together the truth. But he also has to prepare for the upcoming talent show, keep an eye out for Dirty Alice—his archnemesis from down the street—and avoid eating Granny's watery stew.

Closed Doors is the startling new novel from Lisa O'Donnell, the acclaimed author of The Death of Bees. It is a vivid evocation of the fears and freedoms of childhood and a powerful tale of love, of the loss of innocence, and of the importance of family in difficult times.
Learn more about the book and author at Lisa O'Donnell's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Death of Bees.

Writers Read: Lisa O'Donnell (December 2012).

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, May 8, 2014


New from Poisoned Pen Press: Muzzled by Eileen Brady.

About the book, from the publisher:

Making rounds to homes one wet spring morning, veterinarian Dr. Kate Turner rescues a family’s hamster from a vacuum cleaner, then visits an estate whose owners breed champion Cavalier King Charles spaniels. Instead of sharing traditional tea with the couple, she confronts a bloody scene of bodies and twenty-seven blue-ribbon dogs running wild.

Police initially suspect a murder-suicide, but when Dr. Kate proves the famous best-in-show champion is missing, a darker reality intrudes. She remembers her grandfather saying that there are two motives for murder—love and money. While treating local pets, Dr. Kate discovers suspects and motives everywhere in this charming town filled with people who wanted the couple dead.

Was the couple murdered for money their champion could bring to another breeder? How is their daughter, anxious to rid herself of the pampered dogs, handling the wealth she inherits? Would the celebrity filmmaker living nearby kill to end a multi-million dollar lawsuit? Did long-buried personal secrets cause the deaths? And what’s going on at the office behind her back? Is Dr. Kate now in danger?
--Marshal Zeringue

"How the Bible Became Holy"

New from Yale University Press: How the Bible Became Holy by Michael L. Satlow.

About the book, from the publisher:

In this sweeping narrative, Michael Satlow tells the fascinating story of how an ancient collection of obscure Israelite writings became the founding texts of both Judaism and Christianity, considered holy by followers of each faith. Drawing on cutting-edge historical and archeological research, he traces the story of how, when, and why Jews and Christians gradually granted authority to texts that had long lay dormant in a dusty temple archive. The Bible, Satlow maintains, was not the consecrated book it is now until quite late in its history.

He describes how elite scribes in the eighth and seventh centuries B.C.E. began the process that led to the creation of several of our biblical texts. It was not until these were translated into Greek in Egypt in the second century B.C.E., however, that some Jews began to see them as culturally authoritative, comparable to Homer’s works in contemporary Greek society. Then, in the first century B.C.E. in Israel, political machinations resulted in the Sadducees assigning legal power to the writings. We see how the world Jesus was born into was largely biblically illiterate and how he knew very little about the texts upon which his apostles would base his spiritual leadership.

Synthesizing an enormous body of scholarly work, Satlow’s groundbreaking study offers provocative new assertions about commonly accepted interpretations of biblical history as well as a unique window into how two of the world’s great faiths came into being.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, May 7, 2014


New from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: Wonderland by Stacey D'Erasmo.

About the book, from the publisher:

Anna Brundage is a rock star. She is tall and sexy, with a powerhouse voice and an unforgettable mane of red hair. She came out of nowhere, an immediate indie sensation. And then, life happened.

Anna went down as fast as she went up, and then walked off the scene for seven years. Without a record deal or clamoring fans, she sells a piece of her famous father’s art to finance just one more album and a European comeback tour.

Anna is forty-four. This may be her last chance to cement her place in the life she chose, the life she struggled for, the life she’s not sure she can sustain. She falls back easily into the ways of the road—sex with strangers, the search for the perfect moment onstage. To see Anna perform is something—watch her find the note, the electric connection with the audience, the transcendence when it all comes together and the music seems to fill the world.

A riveting look at the life of a musician, Wonderland is a moving inquiry into the life of a woman on an unconventional path, wondering what happens next and what her passions might have cost her, seeking a version of herself she might recognize. It takes us deep into a world many of us have spent hours imagining and wishing ourselves into—now we have a bit of that wish come true.
Visit Stacey D'Erasmo website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"This Private Plot"

New from Poisoned Pen Press: This Private Plot: An Oliver Swithin Mystery by Alan Beechey.

About the book, from the publisher:

If a blackmail letter drives a man to suicide, is the sender guilty of murder? “Yes,” says Oliver Swithin, author of bestselling Finsbury the Ferret children’s stories and amateur sleuth, who is on holiday in an ancient village.

A midnight streak with his naked girlfriend—Scotland Yard’s Effie Strongitham—abruptly ends in the discovery of a corpse. Retired radiobroadcaster Dennis Breedlove has hanged himself from the old gibbet. Evidence suggests blackmail may have driven this celebrity to suicide. Irresistibly intrigued, Oliver believes discovering the dead man’s secret will lead to the identity of the blackmailer. But in Britain today, when shame is a ticket to fame, why suicide?

What if it wasn’t?

When the mystery abruptly turns inside out, black-clad strangers attack Oliver in the night. The Vicar behaves strangely. So do the village’s five unmarried Bennet sisters, a mysterious monk, the persistent, self-effacing Underwood Tooth, and Oliver’s Uncle Tim, Effie’s superior at the Yard and a part-time Shakespearean actor. Plus Oliver’s aunt and his mother. Who else might play a role in This Private Plot? Two William Shakespeares?

It’s time to put the laugh back into slaughter with the long-awaited third chapter in the career of Oliver Swithin. Yet under the clever wordplay and bawdy jokes lies an inventive and, yes, scholarly plot.
Visit Alan Beechey's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

"The Marathon Conspiracy"

New from Soho Crime: The Marathon Conspiracy by Gary Corby.

About the book, from the publisher:

Nicolaos, Classical Athens's favorite sleuth, and his partner in investigation, the clever ex-priestess Diotima, have taken time out of their assignments to come home to get married. But if Nico was hoping they'd be able to get hitched without a hitch, he was overly optimistic. When they arrive in Athens, there's a problem waiting for them.

The Sanctuary of Artemis is the ancient world's most famous school for girls. When one of the children is killed, apparently by a bear, and another girl disappears in the night, Diotima's childhood teacher asks her former pupil to help them. Diotima is honor-bound to help her old school.

Meanwhile a skull discovered in a cave not far from the sanctuary has proven to be the remains of the last tyrant to rule Athens. The Athenians fought the Battle Marathon to keep this man out of power. He was supposed to have died thirty years ago, in faraway Persia. What are his remains doing outside the city walls?

Nico's boss, the great Athenian statesman Pericles, wants answers, and he wants Nico to find them.

What makes it all so ominous is that the skull was discovered by the two students of the Sanctuary of Artemis who are dead and missing.

What does a decades-dead tyrant have to do with two young girls? Where is the missing child? Is a killer bear really lurking beyond the walls of Athens? And who is the mysterious stranger who's trying to kill Nico and Diotima? Can the sleuths solve the interlocked crimes and save a child before their wedding?
Visit Gary Corby's blog.

The Page 69 Test: The Pericles Commission.

Writers Read: Gary Corby (November 2010).

My Book, The Movie: The Pericles Commission.

My Book, The Movie: The Ionia Sanction.

Writers Read: Gary Corby (November 2011).

The Page 69 Test: The Ionia Sanction.

The Page 69 Test: Sacred Games.

Writers Read: Gary Corby.

My Book, The Movie: Sacred Games.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Orenda"

New from Knopf: The Orenda by Joseph Boyden.

About the book, from the publisher:

In this hugely acclaimed author’s new novel, history comes alive before us when, in the seventeenth century, a Jesuit missionary ventures into the wilderness in search of converts—the defining moment of first contact between radically different worlds, each at once old and new in its own ways. What unfolds over the next few years is truly epic, constantly illuminating and surprising, sometimes comic, always entrancing, and ultimately all-too-human in its tragic grandeur.

Christophe, as educated as any Frenchman could be about the “sauvages” of the New World whose souls he has sworn to save, begins his true enlightenment shortly after he sets out when his native guides—terrified by even a scent of the Iroquois—abandon him to save themselves. But a Huron warrior and elder named Bird soon takes him prisoner, along with a young Iroquois girl, Snow Falls, whose family he has just killed. The Huron-Iroquois rivalry, now growing vicious, courses through this novel, and these three are its principal characters.

Christophe and Snow Falls are held captive in Bird’s massive village. Champlain’s Iron People have only lately begun trading with the Huron, who mistrust them as well as this Jesuit Crow who has now trespassed onto their land; and Snow Falls’s people, of course, have become the Hurons’ greatest enemy. Bird knows that to get rid of them both would resolve the issue, but he sees Christophe, however puzzling, as a potential envoy to those in New France, and Snow Falls as a replacement for the two daughters he’d lost to the Iroquois.

These relationships wax and wane as life comes at them relentlessly: a lacrosse match with an allied tribe, a dangerous mission to trade furs with the French for the deadly shining wood that could save the Huron nation, shocking victories in combat and devastating defeats, then a sickness the likes of which none of them has ever seen. The world of The Orenda blossoms to include such unforgettable characters as Bird’s oldest friend, Fox; his lover, Gosling, who some believe possesses magical powers; two more Jesuit Crows who arrive to help form a mission; and boys from both tribes whose hearts veer wildly from one side to the other, for one reason or another. Watching over all of them are the spirits that guide their every move.

The Orenda traces a story of blood and hope, suspicion and trust, hatred and love, that comes to a head when Jesuit and Huron join together against the stupendous wrath of the Iroquois, when everything that any of them has ever known or believed in faces nothing less than annihilation. A saga nearly four hundred years old, it is also timeless and eternal.
Visit Joseph Boyden's website.

--Marshal Zeringue