Historian Douglas Brinkley‘s biography of Walter Cronkite – the TV reporter known for decades as “the most trusted man in America” – is already drawing early reviews and praise for its unexpected revelations about this private man. Emmy-winning Daily Show writer Kevin Bleyer also sends up contemporary political designs on the U.S. Constitution in Me the People. In fiction, there’s a promising debut thriller by longtime TV cameraman John Steele, plus new titles from Jeff Shaara, Clive Cussler and Joseph Kanon.
The Watchers by Jon Steele (Penguin/Blue Rider Press) is a debut thriller about a series of murders tied to a religious work about fallen angels, written by an award-winning news cameraman who has covered wars around the globe. It’s a June Indie Next pick, and Library Journal says, “although it takes a while for the story to gather steam, and the characters sometimes seem flat, the suspense builds to a satisfying climax as the author deftly sets the stage for book two in this planned trilogy.” 100,000 copy first printing.
A Blaze of Glory by Jeff Shaara (Ballantine Books; Random House Large Print Publishing; Random House Audio) begins a new Civil War trilogy. It starts in 1862, as the Confederate Army falters after the loss of Fort Donelson, and face what will become the Battle of Shiloh.
The Storm: A Novel from the NUMA Files by Clive Cussler and Graham Brown (Putnam; Penguin Audio Books) continues this popular series with the tale of researchers who uncover a plan to permanently alter the weather on a global scale. 500,000 copy first printing.
Istanbul Passage by Joseph Kanon (S&S/Atria; Thorndike Large Print) is a thriller about an American businessman working for the Allies in Istanbul, and is a June Indie Next pick. Library Journal says, “some thrillers don’t just entertain but put us smack in the middle of tough moral questions, and it’s no surprise that the author of The Good German has done just that in his superbly crafted new work.” Kanon will speak at the AAP/EarlyWord lunch at Book Expo on Tuesday, June 5.
Cronkite by Douglas Brinkley (Harper; Harperluxe; HarperAudio; Thorndike Large Print) is a biography of the newsman who was an cultural icon for decades before his retirement in 1981, drawing on Cronkite’s just-opened private papers and interviews with more than 200 family and friends, including Morley Safer and Katie Couric. Reviewing it for Newsweek, media columnist Howard Kurtz calls it “sweeping and masterful,” and says it reveals that “the man who once dominated television journalism was more complicated—and occasionally more unethical—than the legend that surrounds him. Had Cronkite engaged in some of the same questionable conduct today—he secretly bugged a committee room at the 1952 GOP convention—he would have been bashed by the blogs, pilloried by the pundits, and quite possibly ousted by his employer.” LJ notes, “this one’s big; with a one-day laydown on 5/29, a 250,000-copy first printing, and a seven-city tour.” Brinkley will appear on CBS’s Face the Nation this Sunday.
Me the People: One Man’s Selfless Quest to Rewrite the Constitution of the United States of America by Kevin Bleyer (Random House) is an irreverent look at the Constitution by an Emmy-winning Daily Show writer. Kirkus says, “Among the radical suggestions in Bleyer’s revision is to make every citizen a member of Congress, since, as it stands, “Con-gress is the opposite of pro-gress.” Funny stuff with both a point and a perspective.” Jon Stewart has already promoted it on The Daily Show and will undoubtedly do more.