Titles to Know and Recommend, Week of May 15, 2017


Beach scenes on covers signal that Memorial Day is on its way. Dorothea Benton Frank takes us back to South Carolina’s low country in a novel that follows two couples through multiple shared vacations in Same Beach, Next Year (HarperCollins/Morrow; HarperLuxe; HaperAudio). Holds ratios indicate that ordering is not in line with the author’s growing popularity.

On a more northerly shore, Nancy Thayer returns to Nantucket for Secrets in Summer (PRH/Ballantine; OverDrive Sample).


For those who prefer horror mixed into their sand, Stephen King returns to a fictional location, Castle Rock, in his new novella, Gwendy’s Button Box, coauthored with Richard Chimer, head of  Cemetery Dance Publications, which is also the publisher of the book (S&S Audio). Entertainment Weekly notes the setting is “the site of some of King’s most well-known early tales” and the book is a “coming-of-age novella that has a sinister twist.”

Jack Reacher also makes a comeback, this time in a collection of short stories, No Middle Name by Lee Child (PRH/Delacorte; RH Large Print). Prepub reviews are strong, with Kirkus writing, “the short form is refreshing after the misfire of Child’s last novel, in which the violence became unpleasant and the tone curdled. No such problem here. And it’s encouraging that the novella Too Much Time, which leads into the next Reacher novel, feels like a return to form. These are tasty appetizers that will hopefully lead to a satisfying entree.”

Long before the name had another connotation, Scott Turow set his mysteries in the fictional Kindle County. His newest, Testimony (Hachette/Grand Central; Grand Central Large Print; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample) moves to the International Criminal Court in the Hague. The Washington Post writes, “30 years after Presumed InnocentScott Turow still thrills.” Check your inventory of the author’s backlist, the publisher is re-issuing several in trade paperback and mass market (see our downloadable spreadsheet, Turow Reissues).

The titles covered in this column, and several other notable titles arriving next week, are listed with ordering information and alternate formats, on our downloadable spreadsheet, EarlyWord New Title Radar, Week of May 15, 2017.

Peer Picks

9781555977726_c1566Three Indie Next picks come out this week, including the #1 pick for May, Broken River by J. Robert Lennon (Macmillan/Graywolf; HighBridge Audio; OverDrive Sample).

“Imagine a sentence that has the slow-burn intensity you feel when reading your favorite mystery novels and the nuance and music of your icons of prose style. Now imagine a whole book of them. Set that book in a small town in Upstate New York, move a family of city folk into a Shirley Jacksonian home, and tell part of the story from the point of view of an ‘Observer’ who could represent the reader, the author, a house spirit, God, or something else entirely. Now cede your imagination to J. Robert Lennon, whose new novel will transport and move you. A perfect union of breezy and deep, Broken River has something for everyone.” —John Francisconi, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT

Additional Buzz: The Chicago Review of Books has it as one of their “The 10 Best New Books to Read This May,” writing that it is “a cinematic, darkly comic, and sui generis psychological thriller.”

9780778319993_1a663Rise and Shine, Benedict Stone, Phaedra Patrick (HC/Park Row Books; OverDrive Sample) is on the June Indie Next List.

“The novels of Phaedra Patrick are good for what ails you! Rise and Shine, Benedict Stone is a charming novel about a dull British jeweler who finds new light in his life when his American niece springs a surprise visit on him. Gemma may only be 16 years old, but she is a catalyst for some much-needed change in Benedict’s life and for the entire village. Readers would need a heart of stone to miss the joys of this delightful, feel-good novel. Book clubs are going to be taking a ‘shine’ to Benedict Stone.” —Pamela Klinger-Horn, Excelsior Bay Books, Excelsior, MN

9781250080547_b4d09Also on the June list is The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir, Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich (Macmillan/Flatiron Books; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample).

“Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich didn’t set out to investigate the rape and murder of six-year-old Jeremy Guillory in Louisiana; it was the case she was assigned as a young law school intern in 1992. In a fascinating twist, this becomes not only the true story of a heinous crime for which the perpetrator is in prison, but also of the investigation that unlocks the author’s memories of her own youth, a childhood in which she and her sisters were repeatedly sexually abused by their maternal grandfather. As Marzano-Lesnevich moves backward and forward in time between the young man who killed Jeremy and her own life, the reader is swept along on a current of dismay and awe: dismay that human beings can do these things to each other, and awe that the author could face such demons and move on. I’ve never read another book like this.” —Anne Holman, The King’s English, Salt Lake City, UT

Additional Buzz: It’s on multiple previews, including  Entertainment Weekly‘s “19 book you have to read in May.” They write, “Marzano-Lesnevich interweaves the story of a disturbing 1992 murder case she stumbles upon as a law intern with her own past trauma in this haunting, excellent memoir.”

Literary Hub includes it on their list of “5 Crime Must-Reads Coming in May” and Bustle names it one of “10 True Crime Books That Will Keep You Up All Night Long.”

Marzano-Lesnevich gets stars from PW, LJ, and Booklist. PW writes, “Her writing is remarkably evocative and taut with suspense, with a level of nuance that sets this effort apart from other true crime accounts.”


Tie-ins to three adaptations hit shelves this week.

9781250116581_da5caThe Wizard of Lies: Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust, Diana B. Henriques (Macmillan/St. Martin’s Griffin; Tantor Media; OverDrive Sample).

HBO version of the the Bernie Madoff story debut next Saturday,  May 20, The Wizard of LiesBarry Levinson directs and Robert De Niro stars as the crooked Ponzi scheme mastermind. Michelle Pfeiffer stars as his wife Ruth Madoff, who was pilloried in the press. The film is based on the nonfiction book with the same title by Diana B. Henriques, who also makes a cameo in the film, playing herself as she interviews Madoff for the New York Times.

The Hollywood Reporter writes, “Robert De Niro gives a quietly intense performance in HBO’s Bernie Madoff telefilm, which could be retitled ‘Sympathy for the Devil’s Family.'” Comparing it to an earlier series, “Unlike ABC’s so-so Madoff telefilm from last spring [with Richard Dreyfuss as Madoff and Blythe Danner as Ruth], it generates neither heist-style antics nor tension from the game of cat-and-mouth … Wizard of Lies is a much odder thing, a character study without a conclusive answer.”

The Washington Post dives mores deeply into Levinson’s approach to that character.

9780062673411_25fb1  9780062673381_855c3

Last week’s release of the second season of Netflix’s series The Last Kingdom is based on books three and four in Bernard Wizard of Lies is a much odder thing, a character study without a conclusive answer Saxon Stories series, detailing the 9th century battles between the Saxons and the Vikings.

Lords of the North Tie-in by Bernard Cornwell (HC/Harper Paperbacks; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample)

Sword Song Tie-in by Bernard Cornwell (HC/Harper Paperbacks; Harper Audio; OverDrive Sample)

Raves for season one carry over to the new season. Decider.com says it is the perfect show to “tide you over until Game of Thrones and/or Vikings comes back on the air.” Den of Geek! is running episode by episode reviews while The Guardian publishes episode recaps, complete with quotes, notes, and a violence count. Bustle predicts that viewers will be chomping at the bit for season 3.

For our full list of upcoming adaptations, download our Books to Movies and TV and link to our listing of tie-ins.

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