Watch for three notable debuts next week: two of them are comic family sagas – Kevin Wilson’s The Family Fang and Matthew Norman’s Domestic Violets - and the other is a modern update of Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca set in Provence. Usual suspects include Lev Grossman, Julie Garwood and W.E.B. Griffin. In nonfiction, look for Geoffrey Gray’s account of notorious skyjacker D.B. Cooper.
The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson (Ecco) is a debut novel about surviving the ultimate dysfunctional family: a clan of performance artists who create events in shopping malls that result in chaos, as a protest against superficiality. As we reported earlier, it’s received a strong NYT review today and a B+ from Entertainment Weekly. Featured in one of our GalleyChats in February, this one has been gathering buzz since then, and was a GalleyChat Pick of ALA.
Domestic Violets by Matthew Norman (HarperPerennial; Trade Pbk Original) is a debut comedic novel about a divorced novelist father who moves in with his son, and takes on everything from the corporate machine and the literary machine, to adultery, family, and dogs with anxiety disorders. PW says, “despite a heavy reliance on pop-culture references and some stock characters — the pompous writer, his tough agent, the trophy wife — this is a thoroughly entertaining, light but thoughtful read.” It was also a buzz title in our own GalleyChat in July.
The Lantern by Deborah Lawrenson (HarperCollins; Dreamscape Media; HarperLuxe) is a modern gothic about a younger woman married to an older man who refuses to discuss his former wife – think Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, but set in contemporary Provence. It was a Galley Chat Pick of ALA, and the GalleyChatters agree with the publisher that it will be BIG. PW says, “Lawrenson expertly manages suspense and intrigue throughout and breathes great, detailed life into her lush French countryside setting, making one wonder why this, her sixth novel, is the first to be published in the U.S.” Kirkus, however, warns that “it never captures the delicious psychological creepiness of the original.”
Spycatcher by Matthew Dunn (Morrow; HarperLuxe), is about the CIA and the MI6 as they are today by someone who knows the territory; he was a field agent. The publisher is backing it with a 150,000 first printing.
Thirteen Million Dollar Pop: A Frank Behr Novel by David Levien (Doubleday) is the third thriller to feature private investigator Frank Behr and the American heartland setting which began with the author’s first hit, City of the Sun.
The Magician King by Lev Grossman (Viking; Penguin Audio) is a sequel to The Magicians, a previous novel by the book critic for Time magazine. Here, Quentin and his friends are now kings and queens of the magical land of Fillory, but a life of royal luxury goes wrong when a magical ship brings Quentin back to his parents’ house in New England. LJ says “Grossman’s flawed characters struggle for what they want and often lose their way, a refreshing twist. Fillory’s pointed resemblance to Narnia gets a bit tiresome, however. This is best for readers who like some grit and realism in their fantasy and who have read the first book.”
The Ideal Man by Julie Garwood (Dutton) is a romantic suspense novel featuring FBI agent Max Daniels, who promises to protect shooting witness Ellie Sullivan through a dangerous trial – but it isn’t long before the sparks start flying. Booklist says, it “has all the literary ingredients her readers expect: snappy writing, sharp humor, a fast-paced plot spiced with plenty of danger and suspense, and an abundance of sexy chemistry between two perfectly matched protagonists.”
Victory and Honor: An Honor Bound Novel by W.E.B. Griffin and William E. Butterworth IV (Putnam; Penguin Audio) takes place weeks after Hitler’s suicide, as Cletus Fraude and his fellow OSS agents are fighting for the agency’s survival with other U.S. government departments and facing the growing threat of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. PW calls it “slow-moving,” but adds that the detailed descriptions of weapons and aircraft won’t disappoint techno-thriller fans.
Acceptable Loss: A William Monk Novel by Anne Perry (Ballantine) begins when a dead man surfaces in the river Thames, returning William Monk to a heinous case that he thought he’d left behind.
Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi: Ascension (#8) by Christie Golden (LucasBooks/RandomHouse; Books on Tape; Random House Audio) is the eighth installment in a nine-volume saga that takes palce 40 years after the Star Wars trilogy, and features Luke Skywalker, his Jedi son, Ben, and an apprentice as they travel the galley. LJ says, “Golden’s excellent storytelling captures the essence of the beloved space opera and should leave series followers eagerly anticipating the story’s conclusion.”
Thirst: The Shadow of Death #4 by Christopher Pike (Simon Pulse, Trade Pbk) is the conclusion to bestselling Thirst series, and follows five-thousand-year-old vampire Alisa Perne as she battles a new race of immortals: the Telar.
Skyjack: The Hunt for D.B. Cooper by Geoffrey Gray (Crown; Books On Tape; Random House Audio) is based on a New York magazine story about the search for the identity of the famed skyjacker, which immersed the author in the subculture that sprung up after his death four decades after Dan Cooper (a.k.a D. B. Cooper) parachuted out of a plane somewhere over Oregon or Washington, carrying a sack full of money.
I Don’t Know How She Does It, by Allison Pearson, (Anchor Books, Movie Tie-In Edition); The movie, coming in September (see trailer here), stars Sarah Jessica Parker, and sounds like Sex and The City with Kids. Will the book that was “the national anthem for working mothers” (Oprah) still resonate in its movie incarnation during a recession?