Archive for the ‘Fiction’ Category

THE SPY Is Hot

Monday, January 16th, 2017

19494John le Carré’s beloved 1963 thriller, The Spy Who Came in From the Cold (PRH/Penguin, reprint 2013; OverDrive Sample), is headed to TV as a limited-series adaptation created by AMC and the BBC.

It follows on the success of The Night Manager adaptation, which just won three Golden Globes (stars Hugh Laurie, Tom Hiddleston and Olivia Colman each took home awards) and racked up a great deal of critical praise during its run.

New York Magazine reports that “Oscar winner Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire) will write the entire series.” The Hollywood Reporter quotes le Carré as saying “I’m very excited by the project, and have great confidence in the team.” As well he might, many of the figures behind Night‘s success are back at the helm.

Nearly fifty years after the novel’s original publication, author William Boyd summarized its enduring power, for The Guardian, calling the story,

“a complicated act of deadly triple-bluff perpetrated by the British Secret Service against its enemies in the German Democratic Republic … At its centre is Alec Leamas, sent, he believes, on a clever under-cover mission of revenge but in fact the unwitting tool of even cleverer British brains with other motives”

Boyd goes on to praise its tone and skillful construction, writing “one of the sheer pleasures of the grade one espionage novel is in unravelling its multifarious complexities and le Carré handles the unspooling web of narrative and motive with exemplary poise … there is a clear sense in The Spy of a writer hitting his stride with resolute confidence.”

mv5bmjyxodq0nzy1nv5bml5banbnxkftztcwnze4ntg5mq-_v1_The book was adapted into a movie, the 1965 Oscar nominated film starring Richard Burton and directed by Martin Ritt (Hombre, Norma Rae).

The TV project is just getting underway so there is no word yet on its stars or air date.

THE ALIENIST Adds A Star

Monday, January 16th, 2017

9780812976144TNT’s upcoming adaptation of Caleb Carr’s 1994 long-running best seller,  The Alienist (PRH/Random House) is moving along. Entertainment Weekly announces that Dakota Fanning (the Twilight films, War of the Worlds) has been cast as the female lead, “Sara Howard, a headstrong secretary on [Police commissioner Theodore] Roosevelt’s staff who is determined to become the first female police detective in New York City.”

She joins Daniel Brühl (Rush, Inglorious Bastards, The Zookeeper’s Wife) who plays criminal psychologist Dr. Laszlo Kreizler and Luke Evans (The Girl on The Train, The Hobbit trilogy) who stars as newspaper reporter John Moore.

The 8-part series, set during NYC’s Gilded Age, is expected to premiere in late 2017. No tie-in has been announced.

LUCKY Reviews

Monday, January 16th, 2017

9781101982242_8f898Shanthi Sekaran’s second novel, Lucky Boy (PRH/Putnam; Penguin Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample) is a hit with reviewers.

About a young Mexican mother placed in detention in the US and the Silicon Valley couple who foster her baby, it is People magazine’s “Book of the Week,” calling it “a page-turner that’s touching and all too real.”

USA Today offers strong praise for both Sekaran’s writing style and characterizations, saying her “prose is swift and engaging, her storytelling confident enough to justify the scenic route” and one character’s “relationship with her mother … could sustain a novel on its own.”

The Dallas News writes it is “engrossing” and “cuts to the human heart of the immigration crisis and the bonds of motherhood.”

Additional Buzz: It is an Indie Next pick for January and tops Flavorwire‘s list of “15 Must-Read Books in January.” InStyle numbers it among the “7 Books You Need to Read in January 2017” while Bustle includes it in their 17 picks of the month, writing it is “a clear-eyed exploration of complex motherly love.”

NPR’s All Things Considered interviews Skkaran. In a profile, PW delves into the book’s origins. Booklist, Kirkus, and Library Journal give it starred reviews.

Holds are strong across most libraries we checked with some systems showing waiting lists ratios as high as 10:1.

SLEEPWALKER Wakes Reviewers

Friday, January 13th, 2017

9780385538916_d5713The many librarian fans of Chris Bohjalian will be happy to learn that critics are raving over his latest and recommend it as a good starting point for readers who are new to his books.

The Seattle Times writes The Sleepwalker (PRH/ Doubleday; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample) is “both literary and compelling, a combination so rare I’m tempted to apply for federal intervention … This is Bohjalian at his very best.”

USA Today says “Great mystery writers, like great magicians, have the ability to hide the truth that’s right before your eyes. Best-selling novelist Chris Bohjalian is at the full power of his literary legerdemain in his newest book.”

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch says “Scary, limiting and downright dangerous, sleepwalking inspires a hard-to-put-down story that also mixes sex and a mystery in a polished package … Bohjalian is on top of his already stellar game.

As we noted in Titles to Know, it is an Indie Next pick and The Washington Post, in an early rave, calls it a “spooky thriller … a dark, Hitchcockian novel.

Below is the creepy trailer:

Live Chat
with Elan Mastai, Author of
ALL OUR WRONG TODAYS

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

This chat has now ended. Read the transcript, below.

Join us for the next live chat on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 4 to 5 p.m., ET with Eleanor Wasserberg, to discuss her upcoming book, Foxlowe.

To join the program, sign up here

Live Blog Live Chat with Elan Mastai, ALL OUR WRONG TODAYS
 

WINDS Blowing?

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

George R.R. Martin just  offered fans a bit of hope on the progress of Winds of Winter, the tenth and final book [as a reader points out in the comments section, Winds of Winter is actually the sixth volume and not the last. One more is planned after that] in his Game of Thrones series, in an exchange on the blogs comment section of his blog.

“Not done yet, but I’ve made progress. But not as much as I hoped a year ago, when I thought to be done by now.

I think it will be out this year. (But hey, I thought the same thing last year).”

This is his first official statement, according to Entertainment Weekly, since the author’s post over a year ago when he announced he would not finish in 2016 [correction: that post was about not finishing in 2015 before the 2016 premiere].

EW says “It’s still possible Winds could be out by the time [the HBO series] Thrones returns for season 7, which isn’t expected until this summer.”

That’s probably wishful thinking. In December Martin said he has “missed several deadlines” and “Sometimes I look back and say, ‘Did it really have to be Seven Kingdoms?’ The Five Kingdoms of Westeros, that would have been good, right?’

Holds Alert: THE DRY

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

9781250105608_46ab1Jane Harper’s debut thriller, The Dry (Macmillan/Flatiron Books; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample), has already captured the attention of librarians, making the January LibraryReads list and leading our summary of titles that interested GalleyChatters back in October.

That enthusiasm it spreading. Hold ratios well exceed 3:1, as high as 7:1, in libraries.

In a strong review for the NYT, Janet Maslin writes Harper “has jampacked her swift debut thriller with sneaky moves that the reader has to track with care … it’s hard to believe this is her first novel … [it is] a book with a secret on every page [and] threats blooming everywhere, too.”

The thriller is rising on Amazon, moving to #166 from #734.

Prior to publication, Reese Witherspoon optioned the film rights and the book earned stars from Booklist, Kirkus, and Publishers Weekly. It is also an Indie Next selection.

A Less Private IDAHO

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017

9780812994049_c7c00The debut novel by O.Henry Prize-winner Emily Ruskovich’s Idaho (PRH/Random House, Jan. 3; RH Audio; OverDrive Sample) is getting glowing reviews from a wide range of sources, from major outlets to local newspapers, from print and online, and from one coast to another.

The Dallas News, reprinting the Kirkus starred review, offers the novel “opens to the strains of a literary thriller but transforms into a lyrical meditation on memory, loss, and grief in the American West.”

The San Francisco Chronicle says it is “shatteringly original” and will upturn “everything you think you know about [the] story.”

The NYT writes “With an act of unspeakable violence at its heart … [it] is about not only loss, grief and redemption, but also, most interestingly, the brutal disruptions of memory.”

The Huffington Post ‘s headline is  “What Does A Literary Novel For The True Crime Era Look Like?” while The A.V. Club calls it “Poetic and razor sharp.”

It also tops the list of “15 Must-Read Books in January” as selected by Flavorwire and is the #1 pick by Real Simple of “The Best New Books To Read This Month.”

Holds are respectable on low orders thus far, making it available to readers advisors.

Time for TIME AFTER TIME

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017

The TV series adaptation of Time After Time, based on the 1979 time travel novel by Karl Alexander, as well its earlier film version, will premiere in a 2-hour episode on March 3.

The book features author H.G. Wells who creates an actual version of the apparatus featured in his novel The Time Machine, which is used by Jack the Ripper to escape to 1970’s era San Fransicso, with Wells on his heels (the Kirkus review gives an amusing summary of the convoluted plot).

For the TV series, the US location was changed to present-day New York.

A trailer for the pilot came out in May. Since then the female lead has been recast with Nicole Ari Parker as the character played by Regina Taylor.

Time After TimeNo tie-in has been scheduled, but the book is still available, in a 2010 paperback reprint (Forge Books, 978-0765326225; OverDrive Sample).

 

 

 

Finding the DIRTY PARTS

Monday, January 9th, 2017

all-the-dirty-partsDaniel Handler, currently in the news for the upcoming Netflix adaptation of  A Series of Unfortunate Events, is also getting attention for his new book, to be released this summer, All the Dirty Parts (Bloomsbury USA; ISBN 9781632868046; Aug. 29, 2017).

Featured in a “first look” by Entertainment Weekly, the main character, Cole, is described as “a sex-obsessed high school student,” who knows a bit about his favorite topic. As Handler tells EW, Cole is not the “familiar stock character — the inadequate, fumbling, inexperienced young man, often a subject of derision or humor. Meanwhile, of course, many young men are having a fantastic and fascinating time in non-virginity, and that’s where I saw an opportunity for a story that’s universally recognizable but rarely talked about, or at least not honestly.”

Handler says he wrote the book after being “asked to give a talk on encouraging reading and teenage boys, who often fall off the literary bandwagon,” Looking back towards the books he loved at that age, he realized they had one thing in common, “they had a lot of sex.” Asked whether he worries about his Lemony Snicket fans finding this book, he replies, “It’s funny, isn’t it, that we worry about young people reading about sex, instead of, say, people shooting each other with laser beams. This anxiety is precisely what led to the novel.”

There will be one impediment to their finding All the Dirty Parts, however. The publisher classifies it as adult fiction. As a result, it not included on  EW ‘s  list of the “35 most anticipated YA novels of 2017,” but on the adult list, “The 23 Most Anticipated Books of 2017.”

WHITE PRINCESS, STARZ

Sunday, January 8th, 2017

The trailer has just been released for the TV series adaptation of Philippa Gregory’s White Queen, set to air on the STARZ channel some time in 2017.

The sequel to BBC’s 2013 series The White Queen, adapted from the first novels of Philippa Gregory’s the “Cousins’ War” series, which also ran on STARZ. it features the same writer/director team and stars Jacob Collins-Levy as Henry VII, Jodie Comer as Princess Elizabeth, Essie Davis as Elizabeth Woodville, Joanne Whalley as the Duchesss of Burgundy, Michelle Fairley as Margaret Beaufort and Suki Waterhouse as Cecily of York. 

The sound track features a haunting version of Johnny Cash’s
I Walk the Line, by Halsey (incongruously, it is also used for the new Power Rangers trailer).

Below, Gregory, who serves as executive producer on the series, describes the history behind the novel.

The final book in the series, The King’s Curse was published in 2014.

OVE Rises Again

Thursday, January 5th, 2017

9781476738017_59bd6Fredrik Backman’s A Man Called Ove (S&S/Atria, July 2014) is taking off again, rising on Amazon and building yet another holds queue. Already generally exceeding a 3:1 ratio in print (in some libraries we checked it is as high as 15:1) the second wave of attention is due to the film’s release On Demand and on disc. Holds for the film version are topping 44:1.

The movie recently made the Oscar shortlist in the Foreign Film category, meaning it has made the second round-cut (one more winnowing will be made by Jan. 15th to decide the five final nominees – IndieWire explains  the complicated and insider-y process).

Entertainment Weekly gave the film a strong B+ review, writing it “is a darkly funny, tragic, and ultimately heartwarming tearjerker.”

The Washington Post says it is like St. Vincent and Gran Torino but “a bit riskier and more intriguing.

NPR takes a contrarian view, writing it “won’t win Best Foreign Film this year, nor should it, but it’s worth your time, and it’s easy to see why this proudly populist movie was a smash hit in Sweden … [the] modest dramedy … is as sweetly sincere as it is market-driven, with gusts of saving black comedy rolling in to rescue it from excess goo.”

Like Backman’s books, a large part of the film’s buzz is based on word of mouth. IndieWire reports it opened with modest results and then grew steadily at every theater that ran it. When “other high-profile movies like Birth of a Nation, American Pastoral, and American Honey declined at the box office, arthouse exhibitors turned to Ove. And it just kept chugging along.”

Backman keeps chugging along too. See our stories about his rise and next books.

Under the Radar: CONCLAVE

Thursday, January 5th, 2017

9780451493446_b9ef1Robert Harris’s newest novel, Conclave (PRH/Knopf; RH Audio; OverDrive Sample), about the political and personal machinations of electing a pope, is getting rave reviews, so glowing, it just appeared on BookMark‘s list of “Most Talked About Books.”


Many readers’ advisors who consider Harris a favorite will not be surprised. Harris writes bestselling historical fiction such as Pompeii and Fatherland as well as contemporary works, such as The Ghost (which was adapted into the feature film The Ghost Writer starring Ewan McGregor and Pierce Brosnan). Conclave is a contemporary thriller set in the Vatican.

The Guardian opens its review with this gripping lure:

“I am about to use a word I have never knowingly used in any review of any book ever. During my 25-odd years of writing about books I have done my best to avoid cliches, slipshod summaries, oracular pronouncements and indeed anything else that might appear emblazoned on a book jacket. Nonetheless, there is only one possible word to describe Robert Harris’s new novel, and it is this: unputdownable.”

The NYT says that its culminating denouement is “so provocatively scandalous” it “could become a Catholic version of The Satanic Verses.”

The SF Chronicle writes “you eavesdrop on clandestine intrigues and late-night missions that play out in the shadows of the Vatican labyrinth … the author’s strong writing freshens the familiar with color, and his keen sense of character humanizes the baroque proceedings.”

WSJ says “Robert Harris is a master storyteller and accomplished craftsman who, like Graham Greene and Somerset Maugham, marries a searching moral imagination to his rare ability to tell a compelling tale. He understands that people read novels for pleasure, not under compulsion.” (subscription may be required)

Despite the strong reviews and Harris’s auto-buy reputation, holds are light at libraries we checked. That might be due to the timing of the book (it came out just a few weeks after the election) and its subject matter (a contentious, heated battle for power). It has not appeared on best seller lists.

As a result, readers’ advisory librarians may be able to put this book into patron’s hands. Based on the reviews, it’s a good bet to hand-sell.

Running Start: HISTORY OF WOLVES

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017

9780802125873_cb9d6Emily Fridlund’s debut novel, History of Wolves (Atlantic Monthly Press; Recorded Books; OverDrive Sample), just got a rave review on NPR’s web site.

Calling it “electrifying,” reviewer Michael Schaub says it “isn’t a typical thriller any more than it’s a typical coming-of-age novel; Fridlund does a remarkable job transcending genres without sacrificing the suspense that builds steadily in the book … History of Wolves is as beautiful and as icy as the Minnesota woods where it’s set, and with her first book, Fridlund has already proven herself to be a singular talent.”

Among other buzz, it is an Amazon best of the month title as well as their featured debut for January. As we pointed out in Titles to Know for the week, People magazines picks it in the new issue, calling it, “a compelling portrait of a troubled adolescent trying to find her way in a new and frightening world.” It is also the #1 Indie Pick this month.

Holds are growing, ranging from 3:1 to 12:1 where ordering is light. One library we checked has a 25:1 ratio, triggering a large second order. 

THE HANDMAID’S TALE Gets Premiere Date, Tie-in

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017

9780385490818Hulu’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale (Houghton Mifflin, 1986) will premiere on April 26, 2017.

To mark the release date, Hulu issued a set of first photos revealing some of the costumes and settings. The photos nudged the book higher on Amazon’s sales charts.

A tie-in has also been announced, The Handmaid’s Tale (Movie Tie-in), (PRH/Anchor, trade pbk; March 28, 2017)

The ten-episode dystopian drama stars Elisabeth Moss, who made her name on Mad Men, as Offred, the central character and a handmaid, a rare fertile woman who has become the property of the state, forced to conceive against her will. Joseph Fiennes stars as The Commander, to whom Offred is assigned. Yvonne Strahovski plays Serena Joy, The Commander’s wife. Jordana Blake, Samira Wiley, Max Minghella, Madeline Brewer, Ann Dowd, and O-T Fagbenle round out the cast. Atwood serves as a consulting producer.

UpdateGilmore GirlsAlexis Bledel has joined the cast, and a new trailer has been released.