New Title Radar: March 12 – 18

Next week, Lyndsay Faye‘s historical novel about a serial killer in 1845 New York, The Gods of Gotham, builds on her breakout debut, while Mark Allen Smith‘s debut thriller The Inquisitor features a professional torturer who unexpectedly breaks character. There are also two notable magical realist novels: Tiffany Baker‘s The Gilly Salt Sisters and Heidi Julavit‘s The Vanishers. And in nonfiction, Marilynne Robinson returns with an essay collection about her Christian faith and “Pioneer Woman” Ree Drummond delivers a new recipe collection.

Watch List

The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye (Penguin/Putnam/Amy Einhorn Books; audio from Dreamscape is also downloadable from OverDrive) is set in 1845 New York, where an officer in the newly organized police force, encounters a blood-soaked girl who leads him to evidence of an anti-Irish serial killer at work. Library Journal raves, ”vivid period details, fully formed characters, and a blockbuster of a twisty plot put Faye in a class with Caleb Carr. Readers will look forward to the sequel.” PW adds, “this one “improves on her impressive debut, Dust and Shadow.”

The Gilly Salt Sisters by Tiffany Baker (Hachette/Grand Central Publishing; Thorndike Press) follows two sisters whose family has always harvested salt and who that may or may not have magical powers over their Cape Cod community, and the wealthy bachelor who forces his way into their lives. LJ says, ”fans of Baker’s acclaimed The Little Giant of Aberdeen County won’t be disappointed with this quirky, complex, and original tale. It is also sure to enchant readers who enjoy Alice Hoffman and other authors of magical realism.”

The Inquisitor by Mark Allen Smith (Macmillan/ Holt; Macmillan Audio) is a thriller about a professional torturer in the “information retrieval” business, who instills fear rather than pain and has a gift for recognizing when he hears the truth. But this time, he must interrogate a 12-year-old boy, whom he decides to protect. LJ says “this is not for the faint of heart or the weak of stomach. But Geiger, who’s seeing a psychiatrist and suffers disabling migraines, is a fascinating protagonist with a revealing backstory. A compelling debut thriller that blurs the lines between the good and bad guys.”

Literary Favorite

The Vanishers by Heidi Julavits (RH/Doubleday; Audio, Dreamscape Media) is set at an elite school for psychics, where a young student surpasses her troubled mentor, unleashing much wrath, in this novel (after The Uses of Enchantment) by the editor of the literary magazine The Believer. LJ calls it “reminiscent of Arthur Phillips’s The Egyptologist: clever, humorous, with supernatural elements. While one can easily get confused about what is real and what is imagined, readers who surrender to the narrative may be rewarded with rich insights about losing a parent.”

Usual Suspects

Another Piece of My Heart by Jane Green (Macmillan/St. Martin’s Press; Wheeler Publishing; MacMillan Audio) focuses on a just-married woman whose angry new stepdaughter is determined to undermine her, and what motherhood truly means. LJ says, “Green is at her finest with this compelling novel. Deeper, more complicated, and more ambitious than her previous books, it will keep readers on edge as they wait to see how these tense family dynamics play out.”

Deep Fathom by James Rollins (HarperCollins Morrow; Harperluxe) finds ex-Navy SEAL Jack Kirkland surfacing from an aborted salvage mission to find the United States on the brink of a nuclear apocalypse.

Young Adult

Infamous(Chronicles of Nick Series #3) by Sherrilyn Kenyon (Macmillan/St. Martin’s Griffin; Macmillan Audio) follows the further adventures of teenager Nick Gautier, whose first mandate is to stay alive while everyone, even his own father, tries to kill him. He’s learned to annihilate zombies and raise the dead, as well as divination and clairvoyance, so why is learning to drive and keep a girlfriend so hard, let alone survival? Kenyon’s books and fans keep mounting: there are 23 million copies of her books in print in over 30 countries,

Out of Sight, Out of Time (Gallagher Girls Series #5) by Ally Carter (Hyperion Books; Brilliance Corporation) is the latest installment in the popular spy-girl series, in which Cammie wakes up in an alpine convent and discovers months have passed since she left the Gallagher Academy to protect her friends and family, and her memory is a black hole.

Starters, Lissa Price, (RH/Delacorte Young Readers; Listening Library) is a new entry in the crowded field of YA dystopian novels. This one imagines a world in which teens rent their bodies to seniors who want to be young again. Kirkus wasn’t impressed with the writing, but predicted, “twists and turns come so fast that readers will stay hooked.” In its spring preview, the L.A. Times called it “the next, best entry” in the genre. It comes with a book trailer that makes you wonder how quickly it will be snapped up by Hollywood.

Nonfiction

When I Was a Child I Read Books:  Essays by Marilynne Robinson (Macmillan/FSG) is a new collection that returns to her major themes: the role of faith in modern life, the inadequacy of fact, and the contradictions inherent in human nature. Kirkus says, “Robinson is a splendid writer, no question–erudite, often wise and slyly humorous (there is a clever allusion to the birther nonsense in a passage about Noah Webster). Articulate and learned descriptions and defenses of the author’s Christian faith.”

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food From My Frontier by Ree Drummond (HarperCollins/Morrow) intersperses recipes with photographs of the author’s life on her ranch. Kirkus says, “some readers may delight in Drummond’s down-home way of speaking directly to the reader, while others may find the interaction a bit snarky and annoying. A collection of basic recipes to guarantee a full belly and an empty plate.”

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