Franzen’s isn’t the only novel to be aware of next week:
Fiction Watch List
The Gendarme by Mark Mustain (Putnam) is a first novel about a 92-year-old Turkish American who suddenly comes face-to-face with his part in the Armenian genocide. It comes from the Amy Einhorn imprint at Putnam/Penguin – and as one bookseller put it, “Our staff has come to expect at least one blockbuster every season from Amy Einhorn Books.” Her first list, Winter 2009 included The Help, followed by The Postmistress this year.
This one may be the breakout for Putnam’s Fall list. Einhorn presented it at BEA during LJ‘s Day of Dialog and said it’s a Penguin sale rep’s pick. Prepub reviews, however, are mixed.
Skippy Dies by Paul Murray (Farrar Straus & Giroux), a novel set in a Catholic boy’s boarding school in Dublin that made the Booker long list and is being made into a movie directed by Neil Jordan, gets a flat-out “A” from Entertainment Weekly: Murray’s humor and inventiveness never flag. And despite a serious theme — what happens to boys and men when they realize the world isn’t the sparkly planetarium they had hoped for — Skippy Dies leaves you feeling hopeful and hungry for life.”
Holy Thief by William Ryan (Minotaur) is a debut mystery set in Stalinist 1936 Moscow. This one got starred reviews in Library Journal and PW, and several mentions in a recent EarlyWord Galley Chat. Talia Sherer, of Macmillan LibraryMarketing, calls it a “book to read in one sitting without taking a single breath.” LJ said, “In his solitude and resolve, Ryan’s Korolev evokes Martin Cruz Smith’s fierce Arkady Renko, while the period detail and gore call to mind Tom Rob Smith. Ryan’s first novel will be released with a tsunami of marketing, so readers in public libraries will be lengthening the reserve lists for this remarkable thriller.” However, Kirkus says “the pacing is at times a bit slow, and the mystery holds few surprises.” Orders and reserves are light at this point in the libraries we checked.
Body Work by Sara Paretsky (Putnam) is the 14th mystery starring private investigator V.I. Warshawski, and is set in Chicago’s avant garde scene. PW calls it “superb” and declares: “This strong outing shows why the tough, fiercely independent, dog-loving private detective continues to survive.”
Lost Empire by Clive Cussler and Grant Blackwood (Putnam) is the second adventure with married treasure hunters Sam and Remi Fargo. PW isn’t impressed, calling it ”a standard chase thriller” with “uninspired dialogue.”
Maybe This Time by Jennifer Crusie (St. Martin’s) is a romantic comedy about a woman trying to fix the problems of a family in a haunted house. PW says, “Crusie’s created a sharp cast of lonely souls, wacky weirdos, ghosts both good and bad, and unlikely heroes who are brave enough to give life and love one more try. You don’t have to believe in the afterlife to relish this fun, bright romp.”
Dark Peril by Christine Feehan (Berkley) is a new entry in the Carpathian fantasy series.
The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson (Tor) is the first volume of a planned 10-part fantasy series by the author best known for his efforts to complete the late Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. PW is optimistic: “Sanderson’s fondness for misleading the reader and his talent for feeding out revelations and action scenes at just the right pace will keep epic fantasy fans intrigued and hoping for redemptive future installments.”