Among the books you’ll need to know about next week is The President’s Club, which is already moving up Amazon’s sales rankings. A title to watch is Wiley Cash‘s novel about a North Carolina holy roller (join us for a chat with the author on April 24th), and the second and third installments in E.L. James’ bestselling erotica series. UK favorites William Boyd and Graham Swift also return, along with usual suspects David Baldacci, Iris Johansen, Nora Roberts, and Stuart Woods. In nonfiction, Jenny Lawton, a.k.a. “The Bloggess,” delivers a tongue-in-cheek memoir of her Texas upbringing.
A Land More Kind than Home by Wiley Cash (HarperCollins/Morrow; Blackstone Audiobooks) is a debut novel set in a small North Carolina town, where an ex-con and born-again pastor who uses snakes and poison in his ministry sends the town into a religious frenzy. PW calls it “compelling, with an elegant structure and a keen eye for detail, matched with compassionate attention to character.” Cash was on the debut novelists’ panel at PLA. NOTE: EarlyWord AuthorChat with Wiley Cash is scheduled for April 24th.
ALREADY A WORD-OF-MOUTH HIT
Fifty Shades Darker: Fifty Shades Trilogy #2 and Fifty Shades Freed: Fifty Shades Trilogy #2 by E L James (RH/Vintage) are the middle and final volumes in the bestselling erotica trilogy, republished by Vintage after it the series became a huge word-of-mouth success. The e-books are available from OverDrive.
Waiting for Sunrise by William Boyd (Harper; Thorndike Large Print; Audio, Recorded Books) is the Costa/Whitbread Award winner’s latest novel, about a young English actor seeking psychoanalysis in 1913 Vienna, who enters an affair with a woman who cures his sexual problem, but accuses him of rape. British diplomatic authorities come to his rescue, leading to further mysteries and complications. PW says, “as in all of his novels, Boyd speculates about luck and chance and the unpredictable events that can determine a persons life. With its adroit plot twists and themes of deception and betrayal, this is an absorbing spy novel that raises provocative questions.” Following in the footsteps of Sebastian Faulks and Jeffrey Deaver, it was just announced that Boyd has been chosen by the Ian Fleming estate to write the next in the Bond series, to be published some time next year.
Wish You Were Here by Graham Swift (RH/Knopf; Blackstone Audio) is set on the Isle of Wight in 2006, when caravan park proprietor Jack Luxton discovers that his brother Tom, not seen for years, has been killed in combat in Iraq, and makes the journey to receive his brother’s remains. LJ says, “Swift has written a slow-moving but powerful novel about the struggle to advance beyond grief and despair and to come to grips with the inevitability of change. Recommended for fans of Ian McEwan, Michael Ondaatje, and Kazuo Ishiguro, authors with a similar method of slowly developing an intense interior narrative.”
The Innocent by David Baldacci (Hachette/ Grand Central; Hachette Audio) features hitman Will Robi, who is usually called in when the FBI and the military can’t stop an enemy – but this time, he may have made the first mistake of his career.
What Doesn’t Kill Youby Iris Johansen (Macmillan/ St. Martin’s Press; Brilliance Audio; Thorndike Large Print) features Catherine Ling, the CIA agent introduced in the Eve Duncan novel Chasing the Night (2010), as she tracks a Chinese master herbalist who has disappeared with the formula to his potent and untraceable poison. PW says, “the intrigue spans the globe and involves superhuman characters from earlier Johansen novels with long histories together. The authors trademark dry wit bolsters the bombastic story line.”
The Witness by Nora Roberts (Penguin/Putnam; Putnam Large Print; Brilliance Audio) is the tale of a woman living under an assumed identity to avoid the Russian mob after witnessing a double murder – but attracts the interest of the local police chief. LJ says, “a brilliant, slightly socially awkward heroine meets a puzzle-loving, protective hero in a taut, riveting drama that’s guaranteed to keep the adrenaline flowing.”
Unnatural Acts by Stuart Woods (Penguin/Putnam; Penguin Audio; Thorndike Large Print) finds the usual cast – lawyer Stone Barrington, senior associate Herbie Fisher, and NYPD Lt. Dino Bacchetti – overcoming obstacles with aplomb. However, Baldacci can’t bring himself to arrest a former FBI director who turns out to be a serial killer and a great lover. PW says, “Woods’s well-tested formula ensures that the action purrs along fueled by good food, good liquor, good sex, and plenty of wealth.”
Snow White and the Huntsman by Lily Blake, Evan Daugherty, John Lee Hancock, Hossein Amini (Hachette/LBYR/Poppy) is a novelization tying into the film release slated for June 1, 2012, starring Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron. The book cover, which features Stewart as a knife-wielding warrior princess, ran on Entertainment Weekly in an exclusive “cover peek,” in which they felt they had to explain the concept of novelization: “a kind of reverse-adaptation.” Guess they haven’t seen one in a while.
The Presidents Club: Inside the World’s Most Exclusive Fraternity, by Nancy Gibb and Michael Duffy, (S&S) will be getting strong media attention, including this week’s Time magazine cover; no surprise, since the writers are at the top of that publication’s masthead. Networks are competing for “exclusives” about it; CBS This Morning looked at the four-story D.C. brownstone that serves as the ex-presidents’ “clubhouse” (Barbara Bush characterized it as “a dump”). NBC begins its coverage with the Andrea Mitchell Reports today. The book has already moved to #41 on Amazon sales rankings.
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson (Penguin/Einhorn; Penguin Audio), by the popular internet personality “The Bloggess,” makes hay out of her mostly uneventful upbringing in rural Texas, which involved taxidermy, panic attacks, and a 15-year marriage. Kirkus says, “While Lawson fails to strike the perfect balance between pathos and punch line, she creates a comic character that readers will engage with in shocked dismay as they gratefully turn the pages.”