Monday, June 30, 2014


New from Pamela Dorman Books: Dollbaby: A Novel by Laura Lane McNeal.

About the book, from the publisher:

A big-hearted coming-of-age debut set in civil rights-era New Orleans—a novel of Southern eccentricity and secrets

When Ibby Bell’s father dies unexpectedly in the summer of 1964, her mother unceremoniously deposits Ibby with her eccentric grandmother Fannie and throws in her father’s urn for good measure. Fannie’s New Orleans house is like no place Ibby has ever been—and Fannie, who has a tendency to end up in the local asylum—is like no one she has ever met. Fortunately, Fannie’s black cook, Queenie, and her smart-mouthed daughter, Dollbaby, take it upon themselves to initiate Ibby into the ways of the South, both its grand traditions and its darkest secrets.

For Fannie’s own family history is fraught with tragedy, hidden behind the closed rooms in her ornate Uptown mansion. It will take Ibby’s arrival to begin to unlock the mysteries there. And it will take Queenie and Dollbaby’s hard-won wisdom to show Ibby that family can sometimes be found in the least expected places.

For fans of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt and The Help, Dollbaby brings to life the charm and unrest of 1960s New Orleans through the eyes of a young girl learning to understand race for the first time.

By turns uplifting and funny, poignant and full of verve, Dollbaby is a novel readers will take to their hearts.
Visit Laura Lane McNeal's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"One Evening in Paris"

New from St. Martin's Griffin: One Evening in Paris by Nicolas Barreau.

About the book, from the publisher:

Alain Bonnard, the owner of a small art cinema in Paris, is a dyed-in-the-wool nostalgic. In his Cinéma Paradis there are no buckets of popcorn, no XXL coca-colas, no Hollywood blockbusters. Not a good business plan if you want to survive, but Alain holds firm to his principles of quality. He wants to show films that create dreams, and he likes most of the people that come to his cinema. Particularly the enchanting, shy woman in the red coat who turns up every Wednesday in row 17. What could her story be? One evening, Alain plucks up courage and invites the unknown beauty to dinner. The most tender of love stories is just getting under way when something incredible happens: The Cinéma Paradis is going to be the location of Allan Woods’ new film Tender Memories of Paris. Solène Avril, the famous American director’s favourite actress, has known the cinema since childhood and has got it into her head that she wants the film to be shot there. Alain is totally overwhelmed when he meets her in person. Suddenly, the little cinema and its owner are the focus of public attention, and the red-plush seats are sold out every evening.

But the mystery woman Alain has just fallen in love with seems suddenly to have vanished. Is this just coincidence? In One Evening in Paris by Nicolas Barreau, Alain sets off in search of her and becomes part of a story more delightful than anything the cinema has to offer.
Visit Nicolas Barreau's Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, June 29, 2014

"Beautiful Game Theory"

New from Princeton University Press: Beautiful Game Theory: How Soccer Can Help Economics by Ignacio Palacios-Huerta.

About the book, from the publisher:

A wealth of research in recent decades has seen the economic approach to human behavior extended over many areas previously considered to belong to sociology, political science, law, and other fields. Research has also shown that economics can provide insight into many aspects of sports, including soccer. Beautiful Game Theory is the first book that uses soccer to test economic theories and document novel human behavior.

In this brilliant and entertaining book, Ignacio Palacios-Huerta illuminates economics through the world's most popular sport. He offers unique and often startling insights into game theory and microeconomics, covering topics such as mixed strategies, discrimination, incentives, and human preferences. He also looks at finance, experimental economics, behavioral economics, and neuroeconomics. Soccer provides rich data sets and environments that shed light on universal economic principles in interesting and useful ways.

Essential reading for students, researchers, and sports enthusiasts, Beautiful Game Theory is the first book to show what soccer can do for economics.
--Marshal Zeringue


New from G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers: Conversion by Katherine Howe.

About the book, from the publisher:

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane comes a chilling mystery—Prep meets The Crucible.

It’s senior year at St. Joan’s Academy, and school is a pressure cooker. College applications, the battle for valedictorian, deciphering boys’ texts: Through it all, Colleen Rowley and her friends are expected to keep it together. Until they can’t.

First it’s the school’s queen bee, Clara Rutherford, who suddenly falls into uncontrollable tics in the middle of class. Her mystery illness quickly spreads to her closest clique of friends, then more students and symptoms follow: seizures, hair loss, violent coughing fits. St. Joan’s buzzes with rumor; rumor blossoms into full-blown panic.

Soon the media descends on Danvers, Massachusetts, as everyone scrambles to find something, or someone, to blame. Pollution? Stress? Or are the girls faking? Only Colleen—who’s been reading The Crucible for extra credit—comes to realize what nobody else has: Danvers was once Salem Village, where another group of girls suffered from a similarly bizarre epidemic three centuries ago...

Inspired by true events—from seventeenth-century colonial life to the halls of a modern-day high school—Conversion casts a spell. With her signature wit and passion, New York Times bestselling author Katherine Howe delivers an exciting and suspenseful novel, a chilling mystery that raises the question, what’s really happening to the girls at St. Joan’s?
Learn more about the book and author at Katherine Howe's website.

The Page 69 Test: The House of Velvet and Glass.

My Book, The Movie: The House of Velvet and Glass.

Writers Read: Katherine Howe (February 2013).

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, June 28, 2014

"Word of Mouth"

New from the University of California Press: Word of Mouth: What We Talk About When We Talk About Food by Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson.

About the book, from the publisher:

Today, more than ever, talking about food improves the eating of it. Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson argues that conversation can even trump consumption. Where many works look at the production, preparation, and consumption of food, Word of Mouth captures the language that explains culinary practices. Explanation is more than an elaboration here: how we talk about food says a great deal about the world around us and our place in it.

What does it mean, Ferguson asks, to cook and consume in a globalized culinary world subject to vertiginous change? Answers to this question demand a mastery of food talk in all its forms and applications. To prove its case, Word of Mouth draws on a broad range of cultural documents from interviews, cookbooks, and novels to comic strips, essays, and films.

Although the United States supplies the primary focus of Ferguson's explorations, the French connection remains vital. American food culture comes of age in dialogue with French cuisine even as it strikes out on its own. In the twenty-first century, culinary modernity sets haute food against haute cuisine, creativity against convention, and the individual dish over the communal meal. Ferguson finds a new level of sophistication in what we thought that we already knew: the real pleasure in eating comes through knowing how to talk about it.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Inside Man"

New from Grand Central Publishing: Inside Man by Jeff Abbott.

About the book, from the publisher:

Sam Capra's friend Steve has been murdered, shot dead in the rain outside of his Miami bar. The only lead: a mysterious, beautiful stranger Steve tried to protect. To avenge his friend, Sam goes undercover into the Varelas, one of Miami's most prominent and dangerous families.

Now on the inside, playing a part where one wrong move means death, Sam faces a powerful, unstable tycoon intent on dividing his business empire between his three very different children, who each may hold murderous secrets of their own.

Sam is relentlessly drawn into this family's intense drama, amplifying painful echoes of his own shattered relationships as a son, brother, father, and husband. And just when he thinks he understands why the family is self-destructing, he discovers a lethal secret so shocking that the Varelas cannot let him walk away alive...
Learn more about the book and author at Jeff Abbott's website.

The Page 69 Test: Trust Me.

The Page 69 Test: Adrenaline.

The Page 69 Test: Downfall.

Writers Read: Jeff Abbott (July 2013).

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, June 27, 2014

"Necessary Luxuries"

New from Cornell University Press: Necessary Luxuries: Books, Literature, and the Culture of Consumption in Germany, 1770-1815 by Matt Erlin.

About the book, from the publisher:

The consumer revolution of the eighteenth century brought new and exotic commodities to Europe from abroad—coffee, tea, spices, and new textiles to name a few. Yet one of the most widely distributed luxury commodities in the period was not new at all, and was produced locally: the book. In Necessary Luxuries, Matt Erlin considers books and the culture around books during this period, focusing specifically on Germany where literature, and the fine arts in general, were the subject of soul-searching debates over the legitimacy of luxury in the modern world.

Building on recent work done in the fields of consumption studies as well as the New Economic Criticism, Erlin combines intellectual-historical chapters (on luxury as a concept, luxury editions, and concerns about addictive reading) with contextualized close readings of novels by Campe, Wieland, Moritz, Novalis, and Goethe. As he demonstrates, artists in this period were deeply concerned with their status as luxury producers. The rhetorical strategies they developed to justify their activities evolved in dialogue with more general discussions regarding new forms of discretionary consumption. By emphasizing the fragile legitimacy of the fine arts in the period, Necessary Luxuries offers a fresh perspective on the broader trajectory of German literature in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, recasting the entire period in terms of a dynamic unity, rather than simply as a series of literary trends and countertrends.
--Marshal Zeringue

"The Actress"

New from Simon & Schuster: The Actress by Amy Sohn.

About the book, from the publisher:

A talented young actress. A leading man. A sexy secret. The role of a lifetime.

In this big, juicy literary novel from bestselling author Amy Sohn, an ambitious young actress discovers that every marriage is a mystery, and that sometimes the greatest performances don’t take place on screen.

When Hollywood heartthrob Steven Weller pulls Maddy Freed out of obscurity for a starring part in his newest, Oscar-worthy film, she feels her career roaring onto the express track. Steven’s professional attention soon turns personal as they are thrown together amid Europe’s Old World charm, and Maddy allows herself to tumble headlong into a fairytale romance with the world’s most eligible bachelor. She knows there’s no truth to the gay rumors that have followed him for years.

Yet what is it that Steven sees in Maddy that he has not seen in his string of past girlfriends? Steven tells her he is drawn to her stunning gift as an actress—her ability to inhabit a character so seamlessly, so convincingly, that it is nearly impossible to tell she is playing a role—a compliment that becomes more ominous as their marriage progresses. Ultimately, as Maddy’s own happiness and success grow intertwined with her new husband’s, she cannot afford to ask too many questions about Steven’s complicated past. But can she ignore her inner voice, and her instincts about her own worth?

Set in a tantalizing world of glamour and scandal, of red carpets and ruthless competition, of scheming agents and the prying eye of the press, The Actress is a romantic, sophisticated page-turner about the price of ambition, the treachery of love, and the roles we all play.
Visit Amy Sohn's website.

The Page 69 Test: Motherland.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, June 26, 2014

"Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night"

New from Akashic Books: Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night by Barbara J. Taylor.

About the book, from the publisher:

Almost everyone in town blames eight-year-old Violet Morgan for the death of her nine-year-old sister, Daisy. Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night opens on September 4, 1913, two months after the Fourth of July tragedy. Owen, the girls’ father, “turns to drink” and abandons his family. Their mother Grace falls victim to the seductive powers of Grief, an imagined figure who has seduced her off-and-on since childhood. Violet forms an unlikely friendship with Stanley Adamski, a motherless outcast who works in the mines as a breaker boy. During an unexpected blizzard, Grace goes into premature labor at home and is forced to rely on Violet, while Owen is “off being saved” at a Billy Sunday Revival. Inspired by a haunting family story, Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night blends real life incidents with fiction to show how grace can be found in the midst of tragedy.
Follow Barbara J. Taylor on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Dog Year"

New from Berkley: The Dog Year by Ann Wertz Garvin.

About the book, from the publisher:

Dr. Lucy Peterman was not built for a messy life. A well-respected surgeon whose patients rely on her warmth, compassion, and fierce support, Lucy has always worked hard and trusted in the system. She’s not the sort of person who ends up in a twelve-step program after being caught stealing supplies from her hospital.

But that was Lucy before the accident—before her husband and unborn baby were ripped away from her in an instant, before her future felt like a broken promise. Caught red-handed in a senseless act that kept her demons at bay, she’s faced with a choice: get some help or lose her medical license.

Now she’s reluctantly sharing her deepest fears with a bunch of strangers, avoiding her loneliness by befriending a troubled girl, pinning her hopes on her husband’s last gift, and getting involved with a rugged cop from her past. It’s only when she is adopted by a stray mutt and moves her group to the dog park that she begins to truly bond with the ragtag dog-loving addicts—and discovers that a chaotic, unplanned life might be the sweetest of all...
Visit Ann Garvin's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

"After I Do"

New from Washington Square Press: After I Do: A Novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid.

About the book, from the publisher:

From the author of Forever, Interrupted—hailed by Sarah Jio as “moving, gorgeous, and at times heart-wrenching”—comes a breathtaking new novel about modern marriage, the depth of family ties, and the year that one remarkable heroine spends exploring both.

When Lauren and Ryan’s marriage reaches the breaking point, they come up with an unconventional plan. They decide to take a year off in the hopes of finding a way to fall in love again. One year apart, and only one rule: they cannot contact each other. Aside from that, anything goes.

Lauren embarks on a journey of self-discovery, quickly finding that her friends and family have their own ideas about the meaning of marriage. These influences, as well as her own healing process and the challenges of living apart from Ryan, begin to change Lauren’s ideas about monogamy and marriage. She starts to question: When you can have romance without loyalty and commitment without marriage, when love and lust are no longer tied together, what do you value? What are you willing to fight for?

This is a love story about what happens when the love fades. It’s about staying in love, seizing love, forsaking love, and committing to love with everything you’ve got. And above all, After I Do is the story of a couple caught up in an old game—and searching for a new road to happily ever after.
Learn more about the book and author at Taylor Jenkins Reid's website.

The Page 69 Test: Forever, Interrupted.

Writers Read: Taylor Jenkins Reid.

--Marshal Zeringue

"A Wolf Called Romeo"

New from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: A Wolf Called Romeo by Nick Jans.

About the book, from the publisher:

No stranger to wildlife, Nick Jans had lived in Alaska for nearly thirty years. But when one evening at twilight a lone black wolf ambled into view not far from his doorstep, Nick would finally come to know this mystical species—up close as never before.

A Wolf Called Romeo is the remarkable story of a wolf who returned again and again to interact with the people and dogs of Juneau, living on the edges of their community, engaging in an improbable, awe-inspiring interspecies dance and bringing the wild into sharp focus. At first the people of Juneau were guarded, torn between shoot first, ask questions later instincts and curiosity. But as Romeo began to tag along with cross-country skiers on their daily jaunts, play fetch with local dogs, or simply lie near Nick and nap under the sun, they came to accept Romeo, and he them. For Nick it was about trying to understand Romeo, then it was about winning his trust, and ultimately it was about watching over him, for as long as he or anyone could.

Written with a deft hand and a searching heart, A Wolf Called Romeo is an unforgettable tale of a creature who defied nature and thus gave humans a chance to understand it a little more.
Visit Nick Jans's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


New from Philomel: Guardian by Alex London.

About the book, from the publisher:

The pulse-pounding sequel to Proxy! Inspired by The Whipping Boy and Feed, this adrenaline-fueled thriller will appeal to fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent.

In the new world led by the Rebooters, former Proxy Syd is the figurehead of the Revolution, beloved by some and hated by others. Liam, a seventeen-year-old Rebooter, is Syd’s bodyguard and must protect him with his life. But armed Machinists aren’t the only danger.

People are falling ill—their veins show through their skin, they find it hard to speak, and sores erupt all over their bodies. Guardians, the violent enforcers of the old system, are hit first, and the government does nothing to help. The old elites fall next, and in the face of an indifferent government, Syd decides it’s up to him to find a cure . . . and what he discovers leaves him stunned.

This heart-stopping thriller is packed with action, adventure, and heroics. Guardian will leave you breathless until the final page.

A fast-paced, thrill-ride of novel full of non-stop action, heart-hammering suspense and true friendship—just as moving as it is exhilarating. Fans of Anthony Horowitz’s Alex Rider series, James Dashner’s Maze Runner, Patrick Ness’s Chaos Walking series, and Marie Lu’s Legend trilogy will be swept away by this story.
Visit Alex London's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Phantom Instinct"

New from Dutton: Phantom Instinct by Meg Gardiner.

About the book, from the publisher:

In Edgar Award–winning author Meg Gardiner’s new stand-alone thriller, an injured cop and an ex-thief hunt down a killer nobody else believes exists.

When shots ring out in a crowded L.A. club, bartender Harper Flynn watches helplessly as her boyfriend, Drew, is gunned down in the cross fire. Then somebody throws a Molotov cocktail, and the club is quickly engulfed in flames. L.A. Sheriff Deputy Aiden Garrison sees a gunman in a hoodie and gas mask taking aim at Harper, but before he can help her a wall collapses, bringing the building down and badly injuring him.

A year later, Harper is trying to rebuild her life. She has quit her job and gone back to college. Meanwhile, the investigation into the shoot-out has been closed. The two gunmen were killed when the building collapsed.

Certain that a third gunman escaped and is targeting the survivors, Harper enlists the help of Aiden Garrison, the only person willing to listen. But the traumatic brain injury he suffered has cut his career short and left him with Fregoli syndrome, a rare type of face blindness that causes the delusion that random people are actually a single person changing disguises.

As Harper and Aiden delve into the case, Harper realizes that her presence during the attack was no coincidence—and that her only ally is unstable, mistrustful of her, and seeing the same enemy everywhere he looks.
Learn more about the book and author at Meg Gardiner's website, blog, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

The Page 69 Test: The Dirty Secrets Club.

The Page 69 Test: The Memory Collector.

My Book, The Movie: Meg Gardiner's Evan Delaney series.

The Page 69 Test: The Liar's Lullaby.

My Book, The Movie: Meg Gardiner's Jo Beckett series.

The Page 69 Test: The Nightmare Thief.

The Page 69 Test: Ransom River.

The Page 69 Test: The Shadow Tracer.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, June 23, 2014

"Memory of Water"

New from Harper Voyager: Memory of Water: A Novel by Emmi Itäranta.

About the book, from the publisher:

An amazing, award-winning speculative fiction debut novel by a major new talent, in the vein of Ursula K. Le Guin.

Global warming has changed the world’s geography and its politics. Wars are waged over water, and China rules Europe, including the Scandinavian Union, which is occupied by the power state of New Qian. In this far north place, seventeen-year-old Noria Kaitio is learning to become a tea master like her father, a position that holds great responsibility and great secrets. Tea masters alone know the location of hidden water sources, including the natural spring that Noria’s father tends, which once provided water for her whole village.

But secrets do not stay hidden forever, and after her father’s death the army starts watching their town—and Noria. And as water becomes even scarcer, Noria must choose between safety and striking out, between knowledge and kinship.

Imaginative and engaging, lyrical and poignant, Memory of Water is an indelible novel that portrays a future that is all too possible.
Visit Emmi Itäranta's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Unruly Places"

New from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: Unruly Places: Lost Spaces, Secret Cities, and Other Inscrutable Geographies by Alastair Bonnett.

About the book, from the publisher:

A tour of the world’s hidden geographies—from disappearing islands to forbidden deserts—and a stunning testament to how mysterious the world remains today

At a time when Google Maps Street View can take you on a virtual tour of Yosemite’s remotest trails and cell phones double as navigational systems, it’s hard to imagine there’s any uncharted ground left on the planet. In Unruly Places, Alastair Bonnett goes to some of the most unexpected, offbeat places in the world to reinspire our geographical imagination.

Bonnett’s remarkable tour includes moving villages, secret cities, no man’s lands, and floating islands. He explores places as disorienting as Sandy Island, an island included on maps until just two years ago despite the fact that it never existed. Or Sealand, an abandoned gun platform off the English coast that a British citizen claimed as his own sovereign nation, issuing passports and crowning his wife as a princess. Or Baarle, a patchwork of Dutch and Flemish enclaves where walking from the grocery store’s produce section to the meat counter can involve crossing national borders.

An intrepid guide down the road much-less traveled, Bonnett reveals that the most extraordinary places on earth might be hidden in plain sight, just around the corner from your apartment or underfoot on a wooded path. Perfect for urban explorers, wilderness ramblers, and armchair travelers struck by wanderlust, Unruly Places will change the way you see the places you inhabit.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, June 22, 2014

"The Great Glass Sea"

New from Grove/Atlantic: The Great Glass Sea by Josh Weil.

About the book, from the publisher:

From celebrated storyteller Josh Weil comes an epic tragedy of brotherly love, a sui generis novel swathed in all the magic of Russian folklore and set against the dystopian backdrop of an all too real alternate present.

Twin brothers Yarik and Dima have been inseparable since childhood. Living on their uncle’s farm after the death of their father, the boys once spent their days helping farmers in collective fields, their nights spellbound by their uncle’s mythic tales. Years later, the two men labor side by side at the Oranzheria, a sea of glass—the largest greenhouse in the world—that sprawls over acres of cropland. Lit by space mirrors orbiting above, it ensnares the denizens of Petroplavilsk in perpetual daylight and constant productivity, leaving the twins with only work in common—stalwart Yarik married with children, oppressed by the burden of responsibility; dreamer Dima living alone with his mother and rooster, wistfully planning the brothers’ return to their uncle’s land.

But an encounter with the Oranzerhia’s billionaire owner changes their lives forever. Dima drifts into a laborless life of bare subsistence while Yarik begins a head-spinning ascent from promotion to promotion until both men become poster boys for opposing ideologies, pawns at the center of conspiracies and deceptions that threaten to destroy not only the lives of those they love but the very love that has bonded the brothers since birth. This is a breathtakingly ambitious novel of love, loss, and light, set amid a bold vision of an alternative present-day Russia.
Visit Josh Weil's website.

--Marshal Zeringue


New from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Wildflower by Alecia Whitaker.

About the book, from the publisher:

The best songs come from broken hearts.

Bird Barrett has grown up on the road, singing backup in her family's bluegrass band and playing everywhere from Nashville, Tennessee, to Nowhere, Oklahoma. But one fateful night, when Bird fills in for her dad by singing lead, a scout in the audience offers her a spotlight all her own.

Soon Bird is caught up in a whirlwind of songwriting meetings, recording sessions, and music-video shoots. Her first single hits the top twenty, and suddenly fans and paparazzi are around every corner. She's even caught the eye of her longtime crush, fellow roving musician Adam Dean. With Bird's star on the rise, though, the rest of her life falls into chaos as tradition and ambition collide. Can Bird break out while staying true to her roots?

In a world of glamour and gold records, a young country music star finds her voice.
Learn more about the book and author at Alecia Whitaker's website.

Writers Read: Alecia Whitaker (February 2014).

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, June 21, 2014

"Vengeance is Mine"

New from Poisoned Pen Press: Vengeance is Mine: A Red River Mystery by Reavis Z. Wortham.

About the book, from the publisher:

In October of 1967, The Summer of Love is history, rock and roll is dark and revolutionary, and people in the small east Texas community of Center Springs simply want to live their lives as quietly as possible. But a handsome darkness in the form of Las Vegas gangster Anthony Agrioli has left the business to hide out in the tiny backwater settlement with his blond bombshell girlfriend.

Two years earlier, Agrioli met newlyweds Cody and Norma Faye Parker in a Vegas casino and heard their enthusiastic descriptions of the perfect place to settle down and raise a family. At least it was perfect, before their peaceful world found itself directly in the crosshairs of a coming confrontation.

Back in Center Springs, thirteen-year-old Top Parker has what his grandmother, Miss Becky, calls a Poisoned Gift. His dreams, though random and disconnected, always seem to come true. This time Top dreams he’s a wagon hub with spokes converging from all directions. To him, the spokes symbolize that something is coming, but he doesn’t know their quiet community will soon be a combat zone when the gangsters arrive, but they’re after something else and not Agrioli…yet.

A sheriff crooked as a dog’s hind leg, an unsolved murder in the river bottoms, counterfeit money and a bank robbery all wrapped in a country Shakespearian comedy once again brings together Constable Ned Parker, Constable Cody Parker, Deputy John Washington, Judge O.C. Rains, and the rest of Wortham’s real and sometimes wacky cast of characters.
Learn more about the book and author at Reavis Z. Wortham's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

The Page 69 Test: The Rock Hole.

My Book, The Movie: The Rock Hole.

The Page 69 Test: Burrows.

Writers Read: Reavis Z. Wortham (July 2012).

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Reavis Z. Wortham and Willie.

The Page 69 Test: The Right Side of Wrong.

Writers Read: Reavis Z. Wortham (June 2013).

--Marshal Zeringue

"In the Shadow of Velázquez"

New from Yale University Press: In the Shadow of Velázquez: A Life in Art History by Jonathan Brown.

About the book, from the publisher:

In this lucid, witty book, the eminent art historian Jonathan Brown examines links between his personal life and his study of Hispanic art of the Golden Age. His adventures are offered as a model for understanding how art history is shaped by life experiences, and he describes the influence of his parents, Jean and Leonard Brown, noted collectors of documentation of 20th-century avant-garde movements.His turn to research on the Golden Age of Spanish art was motivated by a year in Madrid, 1958-59. Art history in Spain was modeled on the policies of the Franco regime, and Brown sought to find different ways to interpret Spanish painting. His approach is demonstrated by fresh insight into painters, including Velázquez. A new interpretation of Las Meninas is proposed and the perils of attribution are examined. Later in his career, Brown began to study the transformation of Spanish art in the Americas.

The book originated as a series of six lectures delivered at the Museo Nacional del Prado in 2012.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, June 20, 2014

"I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You"

New from Touchstone: I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You by Courtney Maum.

About the book, from the publisher:

In this reverse love story set in Paris and London, which Glamour hailed as one of the “10 Best Books to Add to Your Summer Reading List Right This Second,” a failed monogamist attempts to woo his wife back and to answer the question: Is it really possible to fall back in love with your spouse?

Despite the success of his first solo show in Paris and the support of his brilliant French wife and young daughter, thirty-four-year-old British artist Richard Haddon is too busy mourning the loss of his American mistress to a famous cutlery designer to appreciate his fortune.

But after Richard discovers that a painting he originally made for his wife, Anne—when they were first married and deeply in love—has sold, it shocks him back to reality and he resolves to reinvest wholeheartedly in his family life…just in time for his wife to learn the extent of his affair. Rudderless and remorseful, Richard embarks on a series of misguided attempts to win Anne back while focusing his creative energy on a provocative art piece to prove that he’s still the man she once loved.

Skillfully balancing biting wit with a deep emotional undercurrent, this “charming and engrossing portrait of one man’s midlife mess” (Elle) creates the perfect portrait of an imperfect family—and a heartfelt exploration of marriage, love, and fidelity.
Visit Courtney Maum's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Let the Tornado Come"

New from Simon & Schuster: Let the Tornado Come: A Memoir by Rita Zoey Chin.

About the book, from the publisher:

From an award-winning poet comes this riveting, gorgeous memoir about a young runaway, the trauma that haunted her as an adult, and the friendship with a horse that finally set her free.

When she was eleven years old, Rita began to run away. Her father’s violence and her mother’s hostility drove her out of the house and into the streets in search of a better life. This soon led her into a dangerous world of drugs, predatory older men, and the occasional kindness of strangers, but despite the dangers, Rita kept running. One day she came upon a field of horses galloping along a roadside fence, and the sight of them gave her hope. The memory of their hoofbeats stayed with her.

Rita survives her harrowing childhood to become a prize-winning writer and the wife of a promising surgeon. But when she is suddenly besieged by terrifying panic attacks, her past trauma threatens her hard-won happiness and the stable, comfortable life she’s built with her husband. Within weeks, she is incapacitated with fear—literally afraid of her own shadow. Realizing that she is facing a life of psychological imprisonment, Rita undertakes a journey to find help through a variety of treatments. It is ultimately through chasing her childhood passion for horses that she meets a spirited, endearing horse named Claret—with his own troubled history—and together they surmount daunting odds as they move toward fear and learn to trust, and ultimately save, each other.
Visit Rita Zoey Chin's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, June 19, 2014

"Say What You Will"

New from HarperTeen: Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern.

About the book, from the publisher:

I want someone who will talk to me honestly about things. You're the only person who ever has. Maybe you don't know this, but when you're disabled almost no one tells you the truth. They feel too awkward because the truth seems too sad, I guess. You were very brave to walk up to the crippled girl and say, essentially, wipe that sunny expression off your face and look at reality. That's what I want you to do next year. Tell me the truth. That's all.

Amy and Matthew didn't know each other, really. They weren't friends. Matthew remembered her, sure, but he remembered a lot of people from elementary school that he wasn't friends with now.

Matthew never planned to tell Amy what he thought of her cheerful facade, but after he does, Amy realizes she needs someone like him in her life.

As they begin to spend more time with each other, Amy learns that Matthew has his own secrets and she decides to try to help him in the same way he's helped her. And when what started out as a friendship turns into something neither of them expected, they realize that they tell each other everything—except the one thing that matters most.
Visit Cammie McGovern's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Eyes on You"

New from Harper: Eyes on You: A Novel of Suspense by Kate White.

About the book, from the publisher:

A rising media star must battle a diabolical enemy in this riveting tale of psychological suspense from Kate White, the New York Times bestselling author of The Sixes and Hush.

After a painful divorce and losing her on-air job two years ago, Robin Trainer has fought hard to regain her career. Now, as the popular cohost of a nightly entertainment show and the author of a hot new bestseller, she's being dubbed a media double threat. In a business full of rivals eager to see you fail, making a comeback was tough, and Robin isn't about to do anything that could jeopardize her newfound success.

But suddenly things begin going wrong. A few small but nasty incidents shake her confidence: a vicious note tucked into her purse at her book signing; the photo on her book jacket slashed in her office; a doll that looks just like her—but with its eyes gouged out—left on her desk chair. Soon the meanness turns threatening.

Someone has eyes on Robin, an adversary with a dark agenda who wants to hurt her and see her fall, and the clues point to someone she works with every day. As she frantically tries to put the pieces together and unmask an enemy hiding in the shadows all too close to her, it becomes terrifyingly clear that the person responsible isn't going to stop until Robin loses everything that matters to her . . . including her life.

In this nail-biting thriller full of stunning twists, Kate White takes you behind the scenes of the glamorous, high-intensity world of television and ratchets up the suspense, page by page, to the shocking end.
Visit Kate White's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

"Blood Always Tells"

New from Forge Books: Blood Always Tells by Hilary Davidson.

About the book, from the publisher:

Dominique Monaghan just wanted to get even with her two-timing, married boyfriend, a washed-up boxer stuck in a toxic marriage to a dangerously spoiled socialite. However, an elaborate blackmail scheme soon lands her in the middle of an unexpected kidnapping . . . and attempted murder. But who is actually out to kill whom?

Desmond Edgars, Dominique’s big brother, has looked out for his wayward sister ever since their mother was convicted of murdering many years ago, so when he receives a frantic phone call from Dominique in the middle of the night, he drops everything to rush to the rescue. But to find out what has really happened to his sister, the stoic ex-military man must navigate a tangled web of murder and deception, involving a family fortune, a couple of shifty lawyers, and a missing child, while wrestling with his own bloody secrets....

Hilary Davidson's Blood Always Tells is a twisted tale of love, crime, and family gone wrong, by the multiple award–winning author of The Damage Done and Evil in All Its Disguises.
Learn more about the book and author at Hilary Davidson's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: The Damage Done.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Thorn Jack"

New from Harper Voyager: Thorn Jack: A Night and Nothing Novel by Katherine Harbour.

About the book, from the publisher:

A spectacular, modern retelling of the ancient Scottish ballad of Tam Lin—a beguiling fusion of love, fantasy, and myth vividly imagined and steeped in gothic atmosphere

Their creed is "Mischief, Malevolence, and Mayhem."

Serafina Sullivan, named for angels and a brave Irish prince, is haunted by dreams of her older sister, Lily Rose, a sprite, ethereal beauty who unexpectedly took her own life. A year has passed since Lily's death, and now eighteen-year-old Finn and her college-professor father have moved back to Fair Hollow, her father's pretty little hometown alongside the Hudson River. Populated with socialites, hippies, and famous dramatic artists, every corner of this quaint, bohemian community holds bright possibilities—and dark enigmas, including the alluring Jack Fata, scion of the town's most powerful family.

Jack's smoldering looks and air of secrecy draw Finn into a dangerous romance . . . and plunge her into an eerie world of shadow and light ruled by the beautiful and fearsome Reiko Fata. Exciting and monstrous, the Fata family and its circle of strange, aristocratic denizens wield irresistible charm and glamorous power— a tempting and terrifying blend of good and evil, magic and mystery, that holds perilous consequences for a curious girl like Finn.

As she becomes more deeply entwined with Jack, Finn discovers that their lives and those of the ones she loves, including her best friends Christie Hart and Sylvie Whitethorn, are in peril. But an unexpected ally may help her protect them: her beloved sister, Lily Rose. Within the pages of the journal that Lily left behind are clues Finn must decipher to unlock the secret of the Fatas.

Yet the wrathful and deadly Reiko has diabolical plans of her own for Finn, as well as powerful allies. To save herself and to free her beloved Jack from the Fatas, Finn must stand up against the head of the family and her clever minions, including the vicious, frightening Caliban—a battle that will reveal shocking secrets about Lily Rose's death and about Finn herself...

Evocative and spellbinding, rich with legend, myth, and folklore, filled with heroes and villains, ghosts and selkies, changelings and fairies, witches and demons, Thorn Jack is a modern fairy tale and a story of true love, set in a familiar world, where nothing is as it seems.
Visit Katherine Harbour's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


New from St. Martin's Griffin: Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn.

About the book, from the publisher:

Two years ago, fifteen-year-old Jamie Henry breathed a sigh of relief when a judge sentenced his older sister to juvenile detention for burning down their neighbor’s fancy horse barn. The whole town did. Because Crazy Cate Henry used to be a nice girl. Until she did a lot of bad things. Like drinking. And stealing. And lying. Like playing weird mind games in the woods with other children. Like making sure she always got her way. Or else.

But today Cate got out. And now she’s coming back for Jamie.

Because more than anything, Cate Henry needs her little brother to know the truth about their past. A truth she’s kept hidden for years. A truth she’s not supposed to tell.

Trust nothing and no one as you race toward the explosive conclusion of the gripping psychological thriller Complicit from Stephanie Kuehn, the William C. Morris Award--winning author of Charm & Strange.
Visit Stephanie Kuehn's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Child of a Hidden Sea"

New from Tor Books: Child of a Hidden Sea by A.M. Dellamonica.

About the book, from the publisher:

One minute, twenty-four-year-old Sophie Hansa is in a San Francisco alley trying to save the life of the aunt she has never known. The next, she finds herself flung into the warm and salty waters of an unfamiliar world. Glowing moths fall to the waves around her, and the sleek bodies of unseen fish glide against her submerged ankles.

The world is Stormwrack, a series of island nations with a variety of cultures and economies—and a language different from any Sophie has heard.

Sophie doesn't know it yet, but she has just stepped into the middle of a political firestorm, and a conspiracy that could destroy a world she has just discovered...her world, where everyone seems to know who she is, and where she is forbidden to stay.

But Sophie is stubborn, and smart, and refuses to be cast adrift by people who don’t know her and yet wish her gone. With the help of a sister she has never known, and a ship captain who would rather she had never arrived, she must navigate the shoals of the highly charged politics of Stormwrack, and win the right to decide for herself whether she stays in this wondrous world...or is doomed to exile, in Child of a Hidden Sea by A.M. Dellamonica.
Visit A.M. Dellamonica's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, June 16, 2014

"The Last Taxi Ride"

New from Minotaur Books: The Last Taxi Ride: A Ranjit Singh Novel by A.X. Ahmad.

About the book, from the publisher:

New York City taxi driver Ranjit Singh, hero of A.X. Ahmad’s heralded debut The Caretaker, has 10 days to prove his innocence...

Bollywood film icon Shabana Shah has been murdered, her body found in the apartment where Ranjit ate dinner mere hours before. Ranjit’s fingerprints are all over the murder weapon, a statue of the elephant god Ganesh used to grotesquely smash the actress’ beautiful face. Caught on film leaving the apartment alone, Ranjit is accused by the NYPD as an accessory to murder.

Ranjit’s only credible alibi is Shabana’s Indian doorman, but he has vanished. With a Grand Jury arraignment looming in 10 days, and Ranjit’s teenage daughter about to arrive from India, he must find the doorman. His search through the underbelly of New York leads to the world of high-end nightclub owners, back-alley Mumbai gangsters and to Jay Patel, a shady businessman who imports human hair. As his investigation for the true killer reveals layers of Shabana Shah’s hidden past, Ranjit does not know whom to trust. He can rely only on his army training, his taxi-driver knowledge of New York, and his cabbie friends.

With time quickly running out, can Ranjit clear his name before his fare is up? The Last Taxi Ride is the second novel in the Ranjit Singh trilogy.
Learn more about the book and author at A.X. Ahmad's website and Facebook page.

The Page 69 Test: The Caretaker.

Writers Read: A.X. Ahmad (May 2013).

My Book, The Movie: The Caretaker.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Cradle to Grave"

New from Minotaur Books: Cradle to Grave by Eleanor Kuhns.

About the book, from the publisher:

Will Rees is adjusting to life on his Maine farm in 1797, but he’s already hungering for the freedom of the road, and his chance to travel comes sooner than he expects. Lydia has just received a letter from her old friend Mouse, a soft-spoken and gentle woman who now lives in the Shaker community in Mount Unity, New York. To Lydia and Rees’s astonishment, she’s in trouble with the law. She’s kidnapped five children, claiming that their mother, Maggie Whitney, is unfit to care for them.

Despite the wintry weather and icy roads, Rees and Lydia set out for New York, where they sadly conclude that Mouse is probably right and the children would be better off with her. There’s nothing they can do for Mouse legally, though, and they reluctantly set out for home. But before they’ve travelled very far, they receive more startling news: Maggie Whitney has been found murdered, and Mouse is the prime suspect.

In Cradle to Grave, Eleanor Kuhns returns with the clever plotting, atmospheric historical detail, and complexly drawn characters that have delighted fans and critics in her previous books.
Learn more about the book and author at Eleanor Kuhns's blog and Facebook page.

My Book, The Movie: Death of a Dyer.

The Page 69 Test: Death of a Dyer.

Writers Read: Eleanor Kuhns (July 2013).

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, June 15, 2014

"The Patron Saint of Ugly"

New from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: The Patron Saint of Ugly by Marie Manilla.

About the book, from the publisher:

Born in Sweetwater, West Virginia, with a mop of flaming red hair and a map of the world rendered in port-wine stains on every surface of her body, Garnet Ferrari is used to being an outcast. With her sharp tongue, she has always known how to defend herself against bullies and aggressors, but she finds she is less adept at fending off the pilgrims who have set up a veritable tent city outside her hilltop home, convinced that she is Saint Garnet, healer of skin ailments and maker of miracles.

Her grandmother, the indelible Nonna Diamante, believes that Garnet’s mystical gift can be traced back to the family’s origins in the Nebrodi Mountains of Sicily, and now the Vatican has sent an emissary to Sweetwater to investigate. Garnet, wanting nothing more than to debunk this “gift” and send these desperate souls packing, reaches back into her family’s tangled past and unspools for the Church a tale of love triangles on the shores of the Messina Strait; a sad, beautiful maiden’s gilded-cage childhood in blueblood Virginia; and the angelic, doomed boy Garnet could not protect.

Saint or not, Garnet learns that the line between reality and myth is always blurred, and that the aspects of ourselves we are most ashamed of can prove to be the source of our greatest strength, and even our salvation.
Visit Marie Manilla's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Zhivago Affair"

New from Pantheon: The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA, and the Battle Over a Forbidden Book by Peter Finn and Petra Couvée.

About the book, from the publisher:

Drawing on newly declassified government files, this is the dramatic story of how a forbidden book in the Soviet Union became a secret CIA weapon in the ideological battle between East and West.

In May 1956, an Italian publishing scout took a train to a village just outside Moscow to visit Russia’s greatest living poet, Boris Pasternak. He left carrying the original manuscript of Pasternak’s first and only novel, entrusted to him with these words: “This is Doctor Zhivago. May it make its way around the world.” Pasternak believed his novel was unlikely ever to be published in the Soviet Union, where the authorities regarded it as an irredeemable assault on the 1917 Revolution. But he thought it stood a chance in the West and, indeed, beginning in Italy, Doctor Zhivago was widely published in translation throughout the world.

From there the life of this extraordinary book entered the realm of the spy novel. The CIA, which recognized that the Cold War was above all an ideological battle, published a Russian-language edition of Doctor Zhivago and smuggled it into the Soviet Union. Copies were devoured in Moscow and Leningrad, sold on the black market, and passed surreptitiously from friend to friend. Pasternak’s funeral in 1960 was attended by thousands of admirers who defied their government to bid him farewell. The example he set launched the great tradition of the writer-dissident in the Soviet Union.

In The Zhivago Affair, Peter Finn and Petra Couvée bring us intimately close to this charming, passionate, and complex artist. First to obtain CIA files providing concrete proof of the agency’s involvement, the authors give us a literary thriller that takes us back to a fascinating period of the Cold War—to a time when literature had the power to stir the world.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, June 14, 2014

"That Night"

New from St. Martin's Press: That Night by Chevy Stevens.

About the book, from the publisher:

As a teenager, Toni Murphy had a life full of typical adolescent complications: a boyfriend she adored, a younger sister she couldn’t relate to, a strained relationship with her parents, and classmates who seemed hell-bent on making her life miserable. Things weren’t easy, but Toni could never have predicted how horrific they would become until her younger sister was brutally murdered one summer night.

Toni and her boyfriend, Ryan, were convicted of the murder and sent to prison.

Now thirty-four, Toni, is out on parole and back in her hometown, struggling to adjust to a new life on the outside. Prison changed her, hardened her, and she’s doing everything in her power to avoid violating her parole and going back. This means having absolutely no contact with Ryan, avoiding fellow parolees looking to pick fights, and steering clear of trouble in all its forms. But nothing is making that easy—not Ryan, who is convinced he can figure out the truth; not her mother, who doubts Toni's innocence; and certainly not the group of women who made Toni's life hell in high school and may have darker secrets than anyone realizes. No matter how hard she tries, ignoring her old life to start a new one is impossible. Before Toni can truly move on, she must risk everything to find out what really happened that night.

But in That Night by Chevy Stevens, the truth might be the most terrifying thing of all.
Learn more about the book and author at the official Chevy Stevens website.

Writers Read: Chevy Stevens (July 2011).

My Book, The Movie: Still Missing.

--Marshal Zeringue


New from Sarah Crichton Books: Abroad by Katie Crouch.

About the book, from the publisher:

Not since Donna Tartt’s The Secret History has a novel this intoxicating captured the headiness and dark temptations of university life.

The old Etruscan city of Grifonia swarms with year-abroad students—thousands of them from all over. Ostensibly, they’ve come to study. But really they are here to reinvent themselves, to shuck their identities and buck constraints far from the watchful eyes of parents and others who know them too well. There’s a reason Henry James’s young ladies went to Europe with chaperones. Today’s young ladies don’t.

In Abroad, the bestselling novelist Katie Crouch—whose Girls in Trucks brilliantly portrayed the cruelties of postcollege New York life on a Southern girl trying to make her way—tears a story from international headlines and transforms it into a page-turning parable of modern girlhood, full of longing and reckless behavior. As the heroine (and the reader) of Abroad will soon discover, Grifonia is a city filled with dangerous secrets of many kinds: ancient, eternal, infernal.

"Prepare to have your heart broken while laughing out loud at this breathtaking, scathingly sardonic novel," wrote People magazine’s reviewer about Crouch’s Men and Dogs. "From her opening line. . . Crouch grabs you and never lets go." In Abroad, Crouch’s mesmerizing talents are again on full display.
The Page 69 Test: Girls in Trucks.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, June 13, 2014

"I Love You More"

New from Doubleday: I Love You More: A Novel by Jennifer Murphy.

About the book, from the publisher:

One man, three wives, the perfect murder. A scintillating novel of betrayal and conspiracy.

Picasso Lane is twelve years old when her father, Oliver, is murdered at their summer beach house. Her mother, Diana, is the primary suspect—until the police discover his second wife, and then his third. The women say they have never met—but Picasso knows otherwise. Picasso remembers the morning beautiful Jewels showed up at their house, carrying the same purse as her mother, and a family portrait featuring her father with two strange boys. Picasso remembers lifting the phone, listening to late night calls with Bert, a woman heavily pregnant with Oliver's fourth child. As the police circle and a detective named Kyle Kennedy becomes a regular fixture in their home, Picasso tries to make sense of her father's death, the depth of his deceit, and the secrets that bind these three women. Cunningly paced and plotted, I Love You More is a riveting novel of misplaced loyalty, jealousy, and revenge.
Visit Jennifer Murphy's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Surgeon General's Warning"

New from the University of California Press: Surgeon General's Warning: How Politics Crippled the Nation’s Doctor by Mike Stobbe.

About the book, from the publisher:

What does it mean to be the nation's doctor? In this engaging narrative, journalist Mike Stobbe examines the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General, emphasizing that it has always been unique within the federal government in its ability to influence public health. But now, in their efforts to provide leadership in public health policy, surgeons general compete with other high-profile figures such as the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services and the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Furthermore, in an era of declining budgets, when public health departments have eliminated tens of thousands of jobs, some argue that a lower-profile and ineffective surgeon general is a waste of money. By tracing stories of how surgeons general like Luther Terry, C. Everett Koop, and Joycelyn Elders created policies and confronted controversy in response to issues like smoking, AIDS, and masturbation, Stobbe highlights how this office is key to shaping the nation’s health and explailns why its decline is harming our national well-being.
Read Chapter 1 of Surgeon General's Warning.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, June 12, 2014

"Influencing Hemingway"

New from Rowman & Littlefield: Influencing Hemingway: The People and Places That Shaped His Life and Work by Nancy W. Sindelar.

About the book, from the publisher:

Ernest Hemingway embraced adventure and courted glamorous friends while writing articles, novels, and short stories that captivated the world. Hemingway’s personal relationships and experiences influenced the content of his fiction, while the progression of places where the author chose to live and work shaped his style and rituals of writing. Whether revisiting the Italian front in A Farewell to Arms, recounting a Pamplona bull run in The Sun Also Rises, or depicting a Cuban fishing village in The Old Man and the Sea, setting played an important part in Hemingway’s fiction. The author also drew on real people—parents, friends, and fellow writers, among others—to create memorable characters in his short stories and novels.

In Influencing Hemingway: The People and Places That Shaped His Life and Work Nancy W. Sindelar introduces the reader to the individuals who played significant roles in Hemingway’s development as both a man and as an artist—as well as the environments that had a profound impact on the author’s life. In words and photos, readers will see images of Hemingway the child, the teenager, and the aspiring author—as well as the troubled legend dealing with paranoia and fear. The book begins with Hemingway’s birth and early influences in Oak Park, Illinois, followed by his first job as a reporter in Kansas City. Sindelar then recounts Hemingway’s experiences and adventures in Italy, France, Spain, Key West, Florida, and Cuba, all of which found their way into his writing. The book concludes with an analysis of the events that preceded the author’s suicide in Idaho and reflects on the influences critics had on his life and work.

Though much has been written about the life and work of the Nobel prize-winning author, Influencing Hemingway is the first publication to carefully document—in photographs and letters—the individuals and locales that inspired him. Featuring more than 60 photos, many of which will be new to the general and academic reader, and unguarded statements from personal letters to and from his parents, lovers, wives, children, and friends, this unique biography allows readers to see Hemingway from a new perspective.
Visit Nancy W. Sindelar's website.

See Sindelar's six best Hemingway novels, ranked.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Poking a Dead Frog"

New from Penguin: Poking a Dead Frog: Conversations with Today's Top Comedy Writers by Mike Sacks.

About the book, from the publisher:

Amy Poehler, Mel Brooks, Adam McKay, George Saunders, Bill Hader, Patton Oswalt, and many more take us deep inside the mysterious world of comedy in this fascinating, laugh-out-loud-funny book. Packed with behind-the-scenes stories—from a day in the writers’ room at The Onion to why a sketch does or doesn’t make it onto Saturday Night Live to how the BBC nearly erased the entire first season of Monty Python’s Flying CircusPoking a Dead Frog is a must-read for comedy buffs, writers and pop culture junkies alike.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

"The Splintered Paddle"

New from Five Star: The Splintered Paddle by Mark Troy.

About the book, from the publisher:

Waikiki‚ Hawaii. Golden sunshine. Waving palm trees. Sparkling blue water.

Private eye Ava Rome’s calling is to protect the defenseless. She takes on the cases of Jenny Mordan‚ a working girl who is being harassed by a police detective‚ and Cassie Sands‚ a teenager who is mixed up with a marijuana grower.

Norman Traxler did ten years in San Quentin nurturing his hatred of Ava Rome‚ the young MP who took him down for assaulting a prostitute.

When Traxler‚ the detective and the grower join forces against her‚ Ava’s calling — protecting the defenseless — becomes a fight for her life.

This dark thriller takes you on a tour of paradise tourists never see.

Waikiki‚ Hawaii. Dark clouds of revenge. Twisted motives. A bloody finale.
Visit Mark Troy's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Madonna and the Starship"

New from Tachyon: The Madonna and the Starship by James Morrow.

About the book, from the publisher:

Only Uncle Wonder can save us from the death beam of…

New York City, 1953. The golden age of television, when most programs were broadcast live. Young Kurt Jastrow, a full-time TV writer and occasional actor, is about to have a close encounter of the apocalyptic kind.

Kurt’s most beloved character (and alter ego) is Uncle Wonder, an eccentric tinkerer whose pyrotechnically spectacular science experiments delight children across the nation. Uncle Wonder also has a more distant following: the inhabitants of Planet Qualimosa. When a pair of his extraterrestrial fans arrives to present him with an award, Kurt is naturally pleased—until it develops that, come next Sunday morning, these same aliens intend to perpetrate a massacre.

Will Kurt and his colleagues manage to convince the Qualimosans that Earth is essentially a secular and rationalist world? Or will the two million devotees of NBC’s most popular religious program suffer unthinkable consequences for their TV-viewing tastes? Stay tuned for The Madonna and the Starship!
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

"Laughter in Ancient Rome"

New from the University of California Press: Laughter in Ancient Rome: On Joking, Tickling, and Cracking Up by Mary Beard.

About the book, from the publisher:

What made the Romans laugh? Was ancient Rome a carnival, filled with practical jokes and hearty chuckles? Or was it a carefully regulated culture in which the uncontrollable excess of laughter was a force to fear—a world of wit, irony, and knowing smiles? How did Romans make sense of laughter? What role did it play in the world of the law courts, the imperial palace, or the spectacles of the arena?

Laughter in Ancient Rome explores one of the most intriguing, but also trickiest, of historical subjects. Drawing on a wide range of Roman writing—from essays on rhetoric to a surviving Roman joke book—Mary Beard tracks down the giggles, smirks, and guffaws of the ancient Romans themselves. From ancient “monkey business” to the role of a chuckle in a culture of tyranny, she explores Roman humor from the hilarious, to the momentous, to the surprising. But she also reflects on even bigger historical questions. What kind of history of laughter can we possibly tell? Can we ever really “get” the Romans’ jokes?
The Page 99 Test: The Roman Triumph.

The Page 99 Test: The Fires of Vesuvius.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Leopard"

New from Pyr: The Leopard by K. V. Johansen.

About the book, from the publisher:

Part one of a two-book epic fantasy, set in a world as richly drawn as J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth, but with Mideastern and Eastern flavors.

Ahjvar, the assassin known as the Leopard, wants only to die, to end the curse that binds him to a life of horror. Although he has no reason to trust the goddess Catairanach or her messenger Deyandara, fugitive heir to a murdered tribal queen, desperation leads him to accept her bargain: if he kills the mad prophet known as the Voice of Marakand, Catairanach will free him of his curse. Accompanying him on his mission is the one person he has let close to him in a lifetime of death, a runaway slave named Ghu. Ahj knows Ghu is far from the half-wit others think him, but in Marakand, the great city where the caravan roads of east and west meet, both will need to face the deepest secrets of their souls, if either is to survive the undying enemies who hunt them and find a way through the darkness that damns the Leopard.

To Marakand, too, come a Northron wanderer and her demon verrbjarn lover, carrying the obsidian sword Lakkariss, a weapon forged by the Old Great Gods to bring their justice to the seven devils who escaped the cold hells so long before.
Visit K. V. Johansen's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, June 9, 2014

"On the Road to Find Out"

New from Farrar, Straus and Giroux: On the Road to Find Out by Rachel Toor.

About the book, from the publisher:

On New Year’s Day, Alice Davis goes for a run. Her first ever. It’s painful and embarrassing, but so was getting denied by the only college she cares about. Alice knows she has to stop sitting around and complaining to her best friend, Jenni, and her pet rat, Walter, about what a loser she is. But what doesn’t know is that by taking those first steps out the door, she is setting off down a road filled with new challenges—including vicious side stitches, chafing in unmentionable places, and race-paced first love—and strengthening herself to endure when the going suddenly gets tougher than she ever imagined, in On the Road to Find Out by Rachel Toor.
Visit Rachel Toor's website.

Writers Read: Rachel Toor (October 2008).

--Marshal Zeringue

"Bliss House"

New from Pegasus Books: Bliss House: A Novel by Laura Benedict.

About the book, from the publisher:

Death never did come quietly for Bliss House . . . and now a mother and daughter have become entwined in the secrets hidden within its walls.

Amidst the lush farmland and orchards in Old Gate, Virginia, stands the magnificent Bliss House. Built in 1878 as a country retreat, Bliss House is impressive, historic, and inexplicably mysterious. Decades of strange occurrences, disappearances and deaths have plagued the house, yet it remains vibrant. And very much alive.

Rainey Bliss Adams desperately needed a new start when she and her daughter Ariel relocated from St. Louis to Old Gate and settled into the house where the Bliss family had lived for over a century. Rainey’s husband had been killed in a freak explosion that left her 14 year-old daughter Ariel scarred and disfigured.

At the grand housewarming party, Bliss House begins to reveal itself again. Ariel sees haunting visions: the ghost of her father, and the ghost of a woman being pushed to her death off of an upper floor balcony, beneath an exquisite dome of painted stars. And then there is a death the night of the party. Who is the murderer in the midst of this small town? And who killed the woman in Ariel's visions? But Bliss House is loath to reveal its secrets, as are the good folks of Old Gate.
Visit Laura Benedict's website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, June 8, 2014

"Third Rail"

New from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: Third Rail: An Eddy Harkness Novel by Rory Flynn.

About the book, from the publisher:

At crime scenes, Eddy Harkness is a human Ouija board, a brilliant young detective with a knack for finding the hidden something—cash, drugs, guns, bodies. But Eddy’s swift rise in an elite narcotics unit is derailed by the death of a Red Sox fan in the chaos of a World Series win, a death some camera-phone-wielding witnesses believe he could have prevented. Scapegoated, Eddy is exiled to his hometown just outside Boston, where he empties parking meters and struggles to redeem his disgraced family name.

Then one night Harkness’s police-issue Glock disappears. Unable to report the theft, Harkness starts a secret search—just as a string of fatal accidents lead him to uncover a new, dangerous smart drug, Third Rail. With only a plastic disc gun to protect him, Harkness begins a high-stakes investigation that leads him into the darkest corners of the city, where politicians and criminals intertwine to deadly effect.

With a textured sense of place, a nuanced protagonist, and a story that takes off from page one and culminates in a startling finale, Third Rail has all the elements of a breakout mystery success.
Visit  Rory Flynn's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street"

New from Grand Central Publishing: The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street: A Novel by Susan Jane Gilman.

About the book, from the publisher:

In 1913, little Malka Treynovsky flees Russia with her family. Bedazzled by tales of gold and movie stardom, she tricks them into buying tickets for America. Yet no sooner do they land on the squalid Lower East Side of Manhattan, than Malka is crippled and abandoned in the street.

Taken in by a tough-loving Italian ices peddler, she manages to survive through cunning and inventiveness. As she learns the secrets of his trade, she begins to shape her own destiny. She falls in love with a gorgeous, illiterate radical named Albert, and they set off across America in an ice cream truck. Slowly, she transforms herself into Lillian Dunkle, "The Ice Cream Queen" -- doyenne of an empire of ice cream franchises and a celebrated television personality.

Lillian's rise to fame and fortune spans seventy years and is inextricably linked to the course of American history itself, from Prohibition to the disco days of Studio 54. Yet Lillian Dunkle is nothing like the whimsical motherly persona she crafts for herself in the media. Conniving, profane, and irreverent, she is a supremely complex woman who prefers a good stiff drink to an ice cream cone. And when her past begins to catch up with her, everything she has spent her life building is at stake.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, June 7, 2014

"Elizabeth Is Missing"

New from Harper: Elizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healey.

About the book, from the publisher:

In this darkly riveting debut novel, a sophisticated psychological mystery, one woman will stop at nothing to fiFInd her best friend, who seems to have gone missing....

Despite Maud's growing anxiety about Elizabeth's welfare, no one takes her concerns seriously—not her frustrated daughter, not her caretakers, not the police, and especially not Elizabeth's mercurial son—because Maud suffers from dementia. But even as her memory disintegrates and she becomes increasingly dependent on the trail of handwritten notes she leaves for herself in her pockets and around her house, Maud cannot forget her best friend. Armed with only an overwhelming feeling that Elizabeth needs her help, Maud resolves to discover the truth—no matter what it takes.

As this singular obsession forms a cornerstone of Maud's rapidly dissolving present, the clues she uncovers lead her deeper into her past, to another unsolved disappearance: that of her sister, Sukey, who vanished shortly after World War II. As vivid memories of a tragedy that occurred more than fifty years ago come flooding back, Maud's search for Elizabeth develops a frantic momentum. Whom can she trust? Can she trust herself?

A page-turning novel of suspense, Elizabeth Is Missing also hauntingly reminds us that we are all at the mercy of our memory. Always compelling, often poignant, and at times even blackly witty, this is an absolutely unforgettable novel.
--Marshal Zeringue

"The Baklava Club"

New from Sarah Crichton Books: The Baklava Club (Investigator Yashim Series #5) by Jason Goodwin.

About the book, from the publisher:

Join Investigator Yashim for a final exotic escapade in this rich Edgar Award–winning series

In four previous novels, Jason Goodwin’s Inspector Yashim, the eunuch detective, has led us through stylish, suspenseful, and colorful mysteries in the Istanbul of the Ottoman Empire. Now, in The Baklava Club, Yashim returns for his final adventure—and his most thrilling yet.

Three naïve Italian liberals, exiled in Istanbul, have bungled their instructions to kill a Polish prince—instead, they’ve kidnapped him and absconded to an unused farmhouse. Little do they realize that their revolutionary cell has been penetrated by their enemies, who are passing along false orders under the code name La Piuma, the Feather.

It falls to Yashim to unravel all this—he’s convinced that the prince is alive and that the Italians have hidden him somewhere. But there are just a few problems: He has no idea who La Piuma is, and he’s in no mood to put up a fight—he’s fallen in love! As he draws closer to the farmhouse and to the true identity of La Piuma, what Yashim discovers leaves him shocked and in the most dangerous situation of his career.

Goodwin has an eye for detail like no other, and in The Baklava Club he conjures Istanbul in all its glorious exoticism. This is a breathtaking, extraordinary conclusion to one of the most beloved series in mystery fiction, and its ending will leave you truly astonished.
Learn more about Jason Goodwin and his work at his website.

The Page 69 Test: The Snake Stone.

The Page 69 Test: The Bellini Card.

My Book, The Movie: An Evil Eye.

--Marshal Zeringue