Next week in fiction, two buzzy titles arrive: NBA finalist Dana Spiotta returns with her third novel and British author Glen Duncan delivers a literary werewolf thriller for adults. In nonfiction, Jaycee Dugard tells the story of her kidnapping and 18 years as a captive of her abductor and will appear on major evening and morning news shows, while journalist Ben Mezrich returns with a real-life NASA-related adventure.
Stone Arabia by Dana Spiotta (Scribner) is the third novel by this National Book Award finalist, about a conflicted artist in Southern California and his sister, who is convinced he’s a genius. PW says its “clever structure, jaundiced affection for Los Angeles, and diamond-honed prose” make this “one of the most moving and original portraits of a sibling relationship in recent fiction.” It also gets an early review in New York magazine, which calls it “good, sly fun, but … also tender, rueful, and shrewd.”
The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan (Knopf) is a literate page-turner about a 201-year-old werewolf who is the last of his kind. It’s getting a big push from the publisher, buzz from early readers, and has been mentioned at BEA’s Shout and Share as well as on our very own GalleyChat. This one’s a fun (and dirty!) read.
Iron House by John Hart (Thomas Dunne Books) is the story of two orphaned boys separated by violence. It’s the fourth literary thriller by this award-winning writer, whose last book (The Last Child) was a bestseller. This one has an announced 200,000-copy first printing and is the #1 Indie Next pick for August.
A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin (Bantam) is the long awaited fifth installment of the epic fantasy A Song of Ice and Fire series. It already had a strong fan base that was expanded by HBO’s Game of Thrones, based on the first book. Its been in the Amazon Top Ten for a month. Recent news stories about spoilers surfacing on fan sites on the Web are just adding to the excitement.
Quinn by Iris Johansen (St. Martin’s) is a follow-up to Eve that delves deep into the life and psyche of Eve Duncan’s lover and soul mate, Joe Quinn. As a ruthless killer closes in, long-held secrets are gradually revealed. LJ, PW and Booklist all say it’s a pulse-pounder.
Then Came You by Jennifer Weiner (Atria) is the story of four women whose lives intertwine in creating a child through reproductive technology. LJ says, “fans of Marian Keyes, Anna Maxted, and other authors of serious chick lit will thoroughly enjoy this title for its humor mixed with a sympathetic portrayal of real women’s lives and challenges.”
Blood Work: An Original Hollows Graphic Novel by Kim Harrison (Del Rey) brings the authors popular urban crime fantasy series to visual form.
Young Adult Fiction
Dragon’s Oath by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast (St. Martin’s Griffin) is the first in a new mini-series of novellas, and tells the story behind the fencing instructor in the bestselling House of Night series.
Forever by Maggie Stiefvater (Scholastic) concludes the Wolves of Mercy Falls werewolf trilogy.
A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard (Simon & Schuster) is a memoir by a woman who was kidnapped in 1991 at age 11 and endured 18 years of living with her abductor and his wife, bearing and raising his child before she was discovered in 2009. This one has an impressive news lineup. It’s on the cover of the July 18 issue of People, with an excerpt and a brief Q&A with Diane Sawyer about her two-hour interview with Dugard, to air on ABC’s PrimeTime July 10th. Sawyer says that her spirit “will astonish you” and that “everything she says makes you stop and examine yourself and your life.” She is also scheduled for Good Morning America on July 12th.
Sex on the Moon: The Amazing Story Behind the Most Audacious Heist in History by Ben Mezrich is the story of a fellow in a NASA program who schemed to steal rare moon rocks as a way to impress his new girlfriend. The author wrote Accidental Billionaires (the basis for the movie The Social Network). Our own view is that the details about the space program will be catnip for space junkies (and even those who are not – the James Bond stuff they have at the Johnson Space Center is amazing), but the central character doesn’t have the celebrity value of Mark Zuckerberg, so it may not draw a wider audience. It is currently being developed for a movie, by the same production team that created Social Network, but with Will Gluck (Easy A) directing, rather than David Fincher.
I’m Feeling Lucky: The Confessions of Google Employee Number 59 by Douglas Edwards (Houghton Mifflin) is the story of Google’s rise from the perspective of the company’s first director of marketing. PW says, ” The book’s real strength is its evenhandedness” and that it’s “more entertaining than it really has any right to be,” though Kirkus finds it less focused than it could be, given all the other books written about Google.
Of Thee I Zing: America’s Cultural Decline from Muffin Tops to Body Shots by Laura Ingraham and Raymond Arroyo (Threshold) criticizes the contemporary American culture of consumerism.