This is the first time since the NYT began publishing separate ebook best seller lists in February of 2011 that a self-pubbed title has topped the combined list (Wait For You by J. Lynn and Hopeless by Colleen Hoover both hit #1 on the ebook only list, but didn’t break through on the combined list, where they appeared at #2. Both authors subsequently signed with traditional publishers. Fifty Shades of Grey did not appear on the NYT lists until after it was picked up by Random House).
A total of three self-published titles are on the current combined list of fifteen, two of them in the top ten, an evolving shift from the first lists, which had none.
Idaho author Van Dyken has published several historical romances with Astraea Press. She tells Forbes in an interview that Astraea was uncomfortable with The Bet because it falls into the “New Adult/Contemp” category and it “only does sweet romance,” so she decided to self-publish through Amazon’s CreateSpace.
While many of the author’s previous e-books are available via OverDrive, this one is not. It is also available in mass market paperback (ISBN: 978-1483918778), but it is not currently listed on wholesaler databases.
Next week, new memoirs arrive from Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Richard Russo and romance author Daneille Steel, along with a posthumous essay collection from David Foster Wallace and historian Thomas E. Ricks’ critique of the American military since WWII. Booker finalist Emma Donoghue also returns with a historical story collection. Usual suspects include George R.R. Martin, Richard Paul Evans, Karen Marie Moning, Jennifer Chiaverini, Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen, plus there’s a new young adult novel from Fiona Paul.
A Gift of Hope: Helping the Homelessby Danielle Steel (RH/Delacorte; Thorndike Large Print) is the perennially bestselling author’s memoir of the 11 years she has spent working anonymously with a small team to help the homeless people of San Francisco after her oldest son committed suicide. Kirkus says, “With poverty programs shutting down, while at the same time, more people are homeless, Steel has felt the need to drop her anonymity and go public. A simple but moving call for action.”
Elsewhere by Richard Russo (RH/Knopf; RH Audio; BOT Audio) is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author’s heartfelt memoir about his fraught relationship with his fascinating but difficult mother from his childhood through her death. Librarians on GalleyChat say it’s so good that they were hard-pressed to decide what to read after finishing it
Full of Heart: My Story of Survival, Strength, and Spiritby J.R. Martinez with Alexandra Rockey Fleming (Hyperion) is an inspirational memoir by an American soldier who served in Iraq and survived burns over more than one third of his body and went on to become a beloved Dancing with the Stars contest winner.
Celebrate: A Year of Festivities for Families and Friends by Pippa Middleton (Penguin) is by Prince William’s sister-in-law. Her family’s business is party supplies, so she has some background. It’s already getting advance media attention.
The Generals: American Military Command from World War II to Todayby Thomas E. Ricks (Penguin Press; Thorndike Large Print) chronicles the decline of U.S. military leadership over the last 70 years. PW says, “His faith in the ability of great generalship to redeem any misadventure can sometimes seem naive. Still, Ricks presents an incisive, hard-hitting corrective to unthinking veneration of American military prowess.” His previous titles, FiascoandThe Gamble were both best sellers.
Both Flesh and Not: Essays by David Foster Wallace (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio; Thorndike Large Print) gathers 15 essays not published in book form, including ”Federer Both Flesh and Not,” which many consider to be the author’s nonfiction masterpiece.
Train Tracks: Holiday Stories by Michael Savage (Harper/ Morrow) is a collection of personal stories that celebrate family, home, and the holidays by the bestselling author and radio host.
Astrayby Emma Donoghue (Hachette/Little Brown; Little Brown Large Print; Hachette Audio) is a story collection by the Booker prize finalist and million-copy bestseller Room. Set in Puritan Plymouth, Civil War America, and Victorian England among other locales, the stories turn on telling historical details inspired by newspapers and other documents. LJ says, “Donoghue has created masterly pieces that show what short fiction can do. Not just for devotees of the form.”
The Lands of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin (RH/Bantam) is a 16-page book of maps, intended for the gift market, but we are including it in case you get requests for the “new George R. R. Martin book.”
A Winter Dream by Richard Paul Evans (Simon & Schuster; Simon & Schuster Audio; Thorndike Large Print) is based on the Biblical story of Joseph and the coat of many colors – only this time Joseph is a CEO ousted from the family business. LJ says, “More sparkly holiday hope from the author of the outrageously best-selling The Christmas Box, soon appearing in a 20th-anniversary edition.”
Iced by Karen Marie Moning (RH/Delacorte) begins a much-anticipated new urban paranormal trilogy, set in the world of the author’s bestselling Fever series.
The Giving Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini (Penguin/Dutton; Thorndike Large Print) finds the quilters at Elm Manor working on a Thanksgiving quilt to benefit a real charity that’s a favorite of the author. This one has been climbing in Amazon’s sales rankings, to #65 in contemporary women’s fiction.
Victory at Yorktownby Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen (Thomas Dunne Books; Macmillan Audio) is this duo’s third novel about George Washington during the Revolution. Kirkus says, “Augmented with character sketches of lesser-known patriots, the book brings Washington to life as a resolute and bold general.”
Venom by Fiona Paul (Penguin/Philomel) starts a romantic trilogy about a 15 year-old Contessa in Renaissance Venice who’s on the path to an arranged marriage when she falls in love with an artist who helps her investigate the murder of a friend. PW calls it “a steamy but fairly predictable romance.”
Les Miserablesby Victor Hugo, translated by Norman Denny (Penguin Trade Paperback) ties into the film of the musical which arrives in theaters on Christmas Day. It stars Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway and amanda Seyfried.
On the Road: Movie Tie-in, by Jack Kerouac (Penguin Trade Pbk) ties into the movie arriving December 21. Directed by Walter Salles, it stars Garrett Hedlund, Sam Riley and Kirsten Stewart.
Heir to the Fifty Shades trilogy, the Crossfire series by Sylvia Day has recently outpaced its predecessor, with the author currently ranked as the most popular on Amazon’s Author Rank (E.L. James comes in at #17).
Tom Wolfe and John Grisham go head to head with new novels next week – and so far, Wolfe is getting the lion’s share of media attention, but the Grisham title is showing the most holds. Meanwhile, watch out for Jami Attenberg‘s potential breakout, The Middlesteins. Usual suspects include Debbie Macomber and Karen Kingsbury, while YA authors P.C. Cast and Gena Showalter team up on a paperback original, and A.S. King and Becca Fitzpatrick deliver new hardcovers. In nonfiction, Jerry Sandusky’s accuser, “Victim One,” unmasks himself upon the publication of his book, while former Goldman Sachs honcho Greg Smith reveals why he left the company. The Onion and Thomas Bouchon provide humorous and culinary relief.
The Middlesteinsby Jami Attenberg (Hachette/Grand Central) may be the surprise hit of the season, according to our Crystal Ball. Comparisons to The Corrections are underscored by a blurb from Jonathan Franzen himself (who rarely gives blurbs), “The Middlesteins had me from its very first pages, but it wasn’t until is final pages that I fully appreciated the range of Attenberg’s sympathy and the artistry of her storytelling.” The tale of a Jewish husband and wife in suburban Chicago whose marriage unravels after 40 years, as the attorney wife nears 350 pounds, it’s on People‘s list of ten Hot Fall Titles and described as “The sleeper hit of the fall” on CBS This Morning‘s fall book roundup (9/17). Entertainment Weeklythrows some rain on this parade, giving it just a “B” and saying, “Attenberg’s slender fourth novel is an intriguing dysfunctional-family story told from multiple, fast-shifting points of view, but it never sits still long enough to truly explore the complicated minds of its characters. It’s a deeply sympathetic novel that could use a little more insight.”
The Art Forger by Barbara A. Shapiro (Workman/Algonquin; HighBridge Audio; Thorndike Large Print, Jan.) was a librarians Shout ‘n’ Share pick at BEA and is the #1 Indie Next Pick for November. It’s about an art world pariah who gets drawn into a forgery scheme, and has to dig into an unsolved art heist to clear her name. It gets a “B+” in the current Entertainment Weekly: “Shapiro’s plot seems rushed at times. Still, she’s done meticulous research and has such interesting things to say about authenticity — in both art and love — that her novel becomes not just emotionally involving but addictive.”
Back to Bloodby Tom Wolfe (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio, read by Lou Diamond Phillips; Hachette Large Print) has been dubbed by one critic as “Bonfire of the Miamians” and comes with a full PBS documentary, Tom Wolfe Gets Back to Blood, airing on Friday. As we’ve noted, major reviewers have weighed in extensively this week, ahead of the novel’s release next Tuesday, October 23, with most saying it’s got Wolfe’s usual manic prose, obsession with class and status, and wide range of characters – which is fine if you liked his other books.
The Racketeer by John Grisham (Random House; RH Audio and Large Print; BOT Audio) is the other major title going on sale on Tuesday, and somewhat overshadowed in the media by Tom Wolfe. Still, as we wrote earlier, the New York Times‘s Janet Maslin says it shows Grisham’s “rekindled vigor,” perhaps because he has “gone back to what he does best, storytelling rather than crusading.”
The Bridgeby Karen Kingsbury (S&S/Howard Books; S&S Audio; Thorndike Large Print) is a Christmas story about a Tennessee bookstore named The Bridge that struggles to survive declining book sales and the rise of e-books. It’s been rising on Amazon sales rankings – at #99 as of October 18.
After Moonriseby P.C. Cast and Gena Showalter (Harlequin) is a paperback original in which two bestselling YA authors team up to deliver two paranormal love stories.
Ask the Passengersby A. S. King (Hachette/LBYR; BOT Audio) is about a character who sends messages to people in planes flying overhead, who feel “bursts of unexplainable love that prompts them to do certain things.” The author is a Printz Honor Prize Winner. It has found fans on both our August and September YA GalleyChats. One called it “phenomenal” and “by far, one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read. And inspiring.” Another reader commented, “Can’t wait for my teens to read it.”
Finale (Hush, Hush Saga) by Becca Fitzpatrick (S&S BYR, S&S Audio) began rising on Amazon on October 17. Previous titles in this series have hit the NYT list; Hush, Hush , Crescendo and Silence.
Silent No More: Victim 1′s Fight for Justice Against Jerry Sandusky by Victim One (RH/Ballantine) is written by the young man who testified dramatically at the child molestation trial of Former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky. Victim One’s identity was kept a secret until late yesterday when it was revealed in promos for an interview by ABC’s Chris Cuomo, to air on ABC’s 20/20 tonight and for a People magazine interview, to appear, with excerpts from the book, in the issue on stands next Friday.
Why I Left Goldman Sachs: Or How the World’s Most Powerful Bank Made a Killing but Lost its Soul by Greg Smith (Hachette/Grand Central; Hachette Audio and Large Print) grew out of the author’s eponymous op-ed in the New York Times, which went viral. The book details what the author sees as the decline of the storied investment bank, after he started at Goldman Sachs at age 21 in 2001 and left in 2011 as the head of the United States equity derivatives business in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife, Eben Alexander, M.D. (Simon & Schuster; S&S Audio) joins the growing shelf of books about near-death experiences. It has been in the top 100 on Amazon sales rankings for the last 11 days (currently at #10). Several libraries are showing heavy holds. The author is scheduled for several TV appearances this week, including ABC’s Nightline and Good Morning America as well as FOX-TV’s Fox & Friends.
The Onion Book of Known Knowledge: A Definitive Encyclopedia of Existing Informationby The Onion (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio) is the 8th book by the award-winning humor website. With typical bravado, the authors proclaim that this comprehensive reference source is “the last book ever published.”
Bouchon Bakery by Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel (Workman/Artisan) collects recipes for the French classics this famous chef loved while apprenticing in Paris.
As media attention on the election heats up, publishers are playing it safe with no-brainers, like the Rolling Stones 50, a tribute to the decades-old British rock band, and a home design book by talk show host Nate Berkus, or review-driven titles like historian Henry Wiencek’s new look at Thomas Jefferson and his slaves. In fiction, Justin Cronin‘s followup to his blockbuster post-apocalyptic vampire novel is eagerly awaited, but is already disappointing a few reviewers. A title to watch is a cozy English novel about the Queen playing hooky. Usual suspects include Nelson DeMille, Iris Johansen, Patricia Cornwell and YA author P.C. Cast. Plus movie tie-ins to Twilight, Silver Linings and Spielberg’s Lincoln.
Mrs. Queen Takes the Trainby William Kuhn (HarperCollins; Dreamscape Audio) finds the bored Queen of England leaving the palace on a walkabout, in search of fun. It has been popular among librarians on our GalleyChat on Twitter, one of whom said, ”It’s jam packed full with great Palace insider gossip and details. In the year of the Diamond Jubilee, royal watchers will eat this up! It’s fun and light.”
The Twelveby Justin Cronin (RH/Ballantine; BOT Audio; Wheeler Large Print) is the second installment in the trilogy that began with the hit The Passage, a post-apocalyptic vampire novel by an author previously known for his quiet literary novels. This one is getting early press attention, including a profile in last week’s NYT Magazine. The L.A. Times warns, however, “even the most devoted fans may notice a bit of a sophomore slump.” The Washington Post‘s Ron Charles, says the previous title was “the scariest, most entertaining novel I’d read in a long time…Now, finally, comes the long-awaited second volume, and as much as it pains me to say it, The Twelve bites.” Entertainment Weekly is more generous, giving it a B+, even though it “doesn’t always match The Passage‘s dexterous storytelling and almost-plausible world creation…it’s still an unnerving and mostly satisfying tale of existential-threat disaster and its harrowing aftermath.”
The Panther by Nelson DeMille (Hachette/Grand Central; Hachette Audio; Hachette Large Print) finds Former NYPD detective John Corey and his FBI agent wife, Kate Mayfield, hunting a mastermind of the Al Qaeda attack on the USS Cole in 2000. Kirkus calls it, “quintessential DeMille: action-adventure flavored with double-dealing and covert conspiracy.”
Sleep No More by Iris Johansen (Macmillan/St. Martin’s; Thorndike Large Print) is the 14th Eve Duncan novel. This time the forensic sculptor, who has spent many novels investigating the disappearance of her daughter, discovers that she has a half-sister. PW says, “Series fans will be pleased to discover that Beth, like Eve, is a strong woman who has endured many trials in her past.”
The Bone Bed by Patricia Cornwell (Penguin/Putnam; Penguin Audio; Thorndike Large Print) finds forensic expert Kay Scarpetta digging into a case involving a missing paleontologist. LJ says, “Cornwell has been struggling lately; see what happens, and buy for her fans.”
Angel’s Ink: The Asylum Tales (Harper Voyager trade pbk original) marks the launch of The Asylum Tales, a new series by the New York Times bestselling author of the Dark Days novels. This one features a magical tattoo artist. An ebook-only short story (available on OverDrive), The Asylum Interviews: Trixie came out in September to whet appetites.
The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton (S&S/Atria) has been big on GalleyChat. Some think it’s her best; “Family secrets, suspense. Another winner.” This week’s People magazine concurs, giving it 4 of 4 stars and saying,”Morton weaves an intriguing mystery, shifting between past and present and among fully realized characters harboring deep secrets.”
The Rolling Stones 50 by The Rolling Stones with Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood (Hyperion) commemorates the band’s long history and survival in photos. Kirkus says it’s a “soulless corporate birthday party that sheds no new light on its well-traveled subjects.”
Master of the Mountain: Thomas Jefferson and His Slaves by Henry Wiencek (Macmillan/FSG ; HighBridge Audio) is the latest from the 1999 National Book Critics Circle Award winner for The Hairstons: An American Family in Black and White. Here, Wiencek “deftly explores the economic calculus behind Jefferson’s gradual cooling toward emancipation and eventual acceptance of human capital as a great ‘investment opportunity,” according to LJ.
The Things That Matter by Nate Berkus (Speigel & Grau) is an illustrated guide to creating a home full of meaningful things, by the designer who got a push from Oprah and now has his own talk show.
The Twilight Saga: The Complete Film Archive: Memories, Mementos, and Other Treasures from the Creative Team Behind the Beloved Motion Pictures ties into the November 16 release of (can you believe it?) the the last installment in the Twilight series, Breaking Dawn, Part 2.
Team of Rivals; Lincoln Film Tie-in Editionby Doris Kearns Goodwin(S&S trade paperback; S&S audio tie-in) ties in to Stephen Spielberg’s Lincoln, starring Daniel Day Lewis. It opens in a limited run on November 9, releasing nationwide on November 16, and is based on the later sections of Team of Rivals.
Believe it or not, J.K. Rowling‘s first novel for adults, The Casual Vacancy, is not the only book going on sale next week, though it will surely get a lion’s share of media attention. The other lion of the week is rocker Neil Young, who delivers his first memoir. Other noteworthy nonfiction includes a compilation of President John F. Kennedy’s audio tapes and transcripts, put together by the John F. Kennedy Library and historian Ted Widmer. In adult fiction, there’s a debut novel from popular memoirist J.R. Moehringer, and a BEA Buzz panel pick by Antoine Wilson. Usual suspects include Tim LaHaye and Craig Parshall and Deepak Chopra - and in YA fiction, there’s a mystery from adult author Francine Prose.
EMBARGOED:The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling (Little Brown; Hachette Audio) comes with a big question: does J.K. Rowling’s first book for adults have a fair chance at success, given the wildly outsized expectations that come with being the author of the Harry Potter series? Her first and only U.S. interview about the book will be on September 26, on ABC’s Good Morning America (7:00-9:00 AM), World News with Diane Sawyer (6:30 PM), and Nightline (11:35 PM-12:00 AM), and will re-air on Good Morning America on September 27.
Suttonby J.R. Moehringer (Hyperion; Hyperion Audio; Thorndike Large Print) is a debut novel about the bank robber and folk hero Willie “The Actor” Sutton, by the author of the popular memoir The Tender Bar. It begins in 1969, after Sutton’s release from Attica prison at age 68, as he looks back on stealing more than $2 million over 40 years (often in costume) and his three impressive prison breaks. Entertainment Weekly‘s review begins, “There’s a quality to J.R. Moehringer’s writing that makes you feel you aren’t stepping into a book so much as a dimly lit but welcoming bar…He brings a raconteur’s grace and rhythm to his first novel.” The reviewer admits that the ending is unsatisfying, “But isn’t closing time always a bit of a letdown when you don’t want an entertaining night to end?”
Panorama CitybyAntoine Wilson (HMH; Blackstone Audio) was a BEA Editors Buzz Panel pick about a self-described “slow-learner” recovering from a traumatic accident, who composes a letter about what it takes to be “a man of the world” to his unborn son and pregnant wife. Booklist says, “Readers who enjoy Mark Haddon and Greg Olear will appreciate Wilson’s authorial voice, which blends Oppen’s good-natured naiveté and humorous asides with incisive cynicism.”
The Secret Book of Frida Kahloby F. G. Haghenbeck (S&S/Atria) is a fictional biography of the beloved Mexican painter’s life, chronic illness and many loves, based on Kahlo’s unpublished notebooks, including actual recipes tied to her most important moments and relationships. Kirkus says, “despite the repetitiousness and pretentious hyperbola that drags on this novel, Kahlo remains a rich character and inevitably irresistible.”
Love Anthony by Lisa Genova (S&S/Gallery; S&S Audio; Thorndike Large Print) follows two grieving mothers who meet by chance in Nantucket, and help each other heal and move on. Kirkus says, “There’s a point in the narrative where one of the characters becomes so engrossed in reading a book that she loses track of time. Readers of Genova’s latest excellent offering might very well find the same happening to them.”
Brink of Chaosby Tim LaHaye and Craig Parshall (Zondervan; Zondervan Audio; Thorndike Large Print) is the third installment in The End series of political apocalyptic thrillers.
God: A Story of Revelation by Deepak Chopra (HarperOne) is a “teaching novel” by the popular author of Jesus and Buddha, that aims for a better understanding of God by profiling 10 historical figures: Job, Socrates, St. Paul, Shankara, Rumi, Julian of Norwich, Giordano Bruno, Anne Hutchinson, Baal Shem Tov and Rabindranath Tagore. Kirkus says, “Of particular interest are the humorous, humble Baal Shem, the brilliant, witty Shankara and the visionary Julian, a man Chopra calls ‘the most touching figure in this book’.”
Confessions of a Murder Suspect by Maxine Paetro and James Patterson (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio) begins a new teen mystery series from the team behind the Women’s Murder Club series for adults. PW is not impressed: “The intriguing setup loses cohesion… For writers with their crime-writing experience, Patterson and Paetro show little interest in common sense, motivation, or believable storytelling.”
The Turning by Francine Prose (Harper Teen) is the story of a teen who takes on a spooky summer job caring for two orphans on a remote island, inspired by Henry James’s Turn of the Screw. PW says, “Remaining true to the ambiguous nature of the original, Prose (Touch) masterfully builds suspense. Like Adele Griffin’s Tighter (2011), this spin on the classic tale is an enticing blend of gothic elements and psychological complexities.”
The Other Normals by Ned Vizzini (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray) is the story of a 15 year-old whose parents take away his role-playing game guides and send him to camp to get socialized – a sophomore effort by the author of It’s a Funny Story. Kirkus says, “ Though the world building is thin at times, there are some moments of genuine pathos and terror, with the final climactic fight scene leaving plenty of room for sequels. Great geeky fun.”
Listening In: The Secret White House Recordings of John F. Kennedy, selected and with introduction by Ted Widmer, foreword by Caroline Kennedy (Hyperion) makes available for the first time selections from the 256 hours of JFK’s presidential conversations that were taped on hidden recording systems in the Oval Office and in the Cabinet Room. It includes two 75-minute CDs and covers decisions related to the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Space Race, Vietnam, and the arms race, compiled by John F. Kennedy Library and historian Widmer.
Waging Heavy Peace by Neil Young (Penguin/Blue Rider;Penguin Audiobooks) is a memoir by the iconic rocker, whose career spans 50 years, from playing with Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, & Nash to Crazy Horse and becoming the “godfather of grunge.”
The Chew: Food. Life. Fun.byThe Chew with contributions from Mario Batali, Gordon Elliott, Carla Hall, Clinton Kelly, Daphne Oz and Michael Symon (Hyperion)is a companion cookbook to The Chew, a daytime show on ABC-TV.
Safari: A Photicular Bookby Dan Kainen, text by Carol Kaufmann (Workman) recreates a Kenyan safari featuring eight animals portrayed with a new technology that resembles a 3-D movie on the page, in the next leap after the publisher’s best selling Gallop.
Killing Them Softly (Cogan’s Trade Movie Tie-In Edition)by George V. Higgins (RH/Vintage Crime/Black Lizard) ties in to the movie starring Brad Pitt from the Weinstein Company, which was recently rescheduled to the end of November, to move it into consideration for an Oscar. (Deadline, 9/11/12)
No Easy Day, the book about the killing of Osama bin Laden that has been in headlines for days, is already facing media competition from Bob Woodward’s new book, an analysis of Obama’s efforts to restore the economy, which arrives on Tuesday. Two of the fall’s most anticipated novels also arrive – from Pulitzer Prize-winners Michael Chabon and Junot Diaz. There are also a handful of debuts to watch, including two that were featured on this year’s BEA Editor’s buzz panel. Usual suspects includeBeverly Lewis, Richard Castle, J.D. Robb,Jamie Freveletti, Lee Child, and Michael Brandman.
The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers (Hachette/Little, Brown; Thorndike Press; Hachette Audio) was pretty close to THE pick of BEA this year, based on publisher Michael Pietsch’s passionate promo during the Editors Buzz panel (he has a good track record with debuts; he promoted The Art of Fielding at last year’s BEA). One of many war novels this season, this one is by an actual veteran of the Iraq war. The title comes from a chillingly violent military marching song. It gets early reviews from NPR’s Alan Cheuse and from the NYT‘s Michiko Kakutani, who says it “stands with Tim O’Brien’s enduring Vietnam book, The Things They Carried, as a classic of contemporary war fiction.”
Those We Love Most by Lee Woodruff (Hyperion/Voice; Thorndike Press) is a debut novel that follows a family after the loss of its oldest child. LJ says, “surely some of this heartfelt, honest novel stems from the author’s own real-life journey with her husband [ABC News' Bob Woodruff], who was severely injured while reporting on the war in Iraq [and with whom she co-wrote the memoir In an Instant]. Overall, this is solid contemporary fiction, sure to please readers who enjoy Sue Monk Kidd and Anna Quindlen.” It’s featured in today’s USA Today.
The People of Forever Are Not Afraidby Shani Boianjiu (RH/Crown/Hogarth) was another stand-out on the BEA Editor’s Buzz Panel. It’s a debut novel about three small-town, 18 year-olds in the Israeli Defense Forces, each young woman trying to balance teenage concerns with the continual threat of war. Kirkus is a little skeptical, “Not for the squeamish. Readers will either embrace the complexity of the writing or become maddeningly lost as the author meanders through a hot, dry country devoid of tenderness.”
The Malice of Fortune by Michael Ennis (RH/Doubleday; RH Audio; BOT; Thorndike) takes readers behind Machiavelli’s The Prince, as Niccolo Machiavelli and Leonardo da Vinci join forces to stop a serial killer in early 16th-century Italy. The new issue of Entertainment Weeklygives it a B+, saying, “Nothing says ‘back to school’ quite like … a hefty novel about the politics of 16th-century Italy. Luckily, this one reads like a pulpy mystery. Inspired by the real-life assassination of Juan Borgia, an illegitimate son of Pope Alexander VI, and a series of serial-killer murders…”
Found: The Secrets of Crittenden County, Book Three by Shelley Shepard Gray (HarperCollins/Avon Inspire; Thorndike Large Print) is the conclusion to this Amish mystery trilogy and was a BEA Shout ‘n’ Share pick by Cuyahoga’s Wendy Bartlett: “If you only typically buy big Amish writers like Beverly Lewis[who also has a new book out this week, see below] and Suzanne Woods Fisher, you should add Shelley Shepard Gray to your top echelon of must-haves… This a mystery series, but each title is very much a gentle read.”
Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon (Harper; HarperLuxe) is a tale of a black family and a white family in Oakland, California that mines pop culture influences from Kung Fu and ’70s Blaxploitation films to vinyl LPs, jazz and soul music.On all the “big books of the fall” lists, it’s already getting heavy review attention; from Entertainment Weekly, the L.A. Times, Slate, and the Wall Street Journal. Expect many more.
This is How You Lose Herby Junot Diaz (Penguin/Riverhead; Penguin Audio; Thorndike Large Print) is a story collection by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, that explores passion, loss and human weakness. Also on every fall preview, it’s reviewed in this week’s Entertainment Weekly, the L.A. Timesand The Economist (which begins, “Sraightforward writing about male lust is rare. Writing that reveals the price exacted by such lust is rarer still”).
Black Dahlia & White Rose by Joyce Carol Oates (Harper/Ecco; Dreamscape Audio) is a collection of short fiction from the National Book Award winner, and ranges from a tale of a friendship between two doomed women – Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Short – to an account of an otherworldly infidelity.
The Bridesmaidby Beverly Lewis (Bethany House; Bethany Large Print, Pbk; Thorndike Large Print, Hdbk) is the latest novel set in Amish country about a young woman in a secret courtship, by this internationally published author of Christian fiction. This one comes with a trailer. One-day laydown.
Frozen Heatby Richard Castle (Hyperion; Hyperion Audio) is the fourth novel in the series featuring NYPD Homicide Detective Nikki Heat, in which her mother’s cold case finally thaws.
Delusion in Death by J.D. Robb (Putnam Adult; Wheeler Large Print; Brilliance Audio) is the 36th novel featuring Eve Dallas, of the New York Police and Security Department. This outing involves a home grown terrorist.
A Wanted Man by Lee Child (Delacorte Press; RH Large Print Publishing; RHAudio) is the 17th Jack Reacher novel. Kirkus says, “In this latest attempt to show Reacher enjoying every possible variety of conflict with his nation’s government short of outright secession, Child (The Affair, 2011, etc.) has produced two-thirds of a masterpiece.”
Robert B. Parker’s Fool Me Twice: A Jesse Stone Novelby Michael Brandman (Penguin/Putnam; Thorndike Press; Random House Audio) is the second Jesse Stone novel in which Bradman channels Robert B. Parker. PW says, “More is less as the unrelated story lines compete with each other for depth, even if the larger-than-life lead is able to take them all in stride.”
The Secret of the Stone Frog by David Nytra (Candlewick/Toon) is a graphic fantasy that starts as Leah and Alan awaken in an enchanted forest and follows their journey home. Kirkus says, “Not much here for plot, but fans of the art of Tenniel and his modern descendants (Maurice Sendak, Charles Vess) will find much to admire in this U.S. debut.”
The Price of Politics by Bob Woodward (Simon & Schuster; S&S Audio) is described by ABC News, which has the first interview with Woodard for the book, as “sweeping you-are-there account of how President Obama and the highest profile Republican and Democratic leaders in the United States Congress attempted to restore the American economy and improve the federal government’s fiscal condition.” ABC is scheduled to air Diane Sawyer’s “exclusive first interview” on Monday, followed on Tuesday by Woodward’s sit-down with George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America and dozens of other appearances, culminating with Meet the Press a week from Sunday. The book is embargoed, but details are being reported widely, some by ABC News itself. Nancy Pelosi has already responded to Woodward’s claim that she sometimes hit mute during Obama’s phone calls. The New York Times, the Daily Beast and Politico have all managed to find copies and report extensively it. Because Woodward is an editor at the Washington Post, theyan early look and will publish excerpts on Sunday.
Next week’s debuts to watch include Outside magazine contributing editor Peter Heller‘s post-apocalyptic literary debut, and Cambodian refugee Vaddey Ratner‘s autobiographical novel. Usual suspects include Sherrilyn Kenyon, Julie Garwood, Chelsea Cain, Lisa Jackson and W.E.B. Griffin, andMichael Koryta - plus new childrens and YA novels from James Patterson, Amanda Hocking and Rebecca Stead. In nonfiction, there’s a new bio of Julia Child by Bob Spitz.
The Dog Stars by Peter Heller (Knopf; Random House Audio) is a literary debut about a pilot who survives a flu pandemic that wipes out 99% of the population, and then sets out to find the distant voice he hears on his radio. Booklist‘s starred review calls it a “surprising and irresistible blend of suspense, romance, social insight, and humor… [a novel] of spiky pleasure and signal resonance.” It is an Indie Next pick for August.
In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner (Simon & Schuster; Thorndike Large Print) is a debut told through the eyes of a seven-year-old survivor of Cambodia’s genocide under the Khmer Rouge, written by a woman who escaped the country as a refugee in 1981. It was a Book Expo Editor’s Buzz Panel pick, and also a People pick in last week’s issue: “Ratner’s lyrical first novel finds love and surprising humanity in a horrifying setting …Raami, the book’s 7-year-old heroine, is lame from polio (as is the author) yet she remains a tenacious dreamer.” An Indie Next pick for August, it is scheduled for media attention next week on NPR in USA Today, the NYT Book Review and several monthly magazines.
Time Untimeby Sherrilyn Kenyon (St. Martin’s Press; Macmillan Audio) is the latest installment in the popular Dark Hunter series, in which warrior Ren Waya, must kill Kateri Avani, the one person he has always cherished, to ward off an ancient evil.
Sweet Talk by Julie Garwood (Penguin/Dutton; Brilliance Audio; Thorndike Large Print) is a romantic thriller about an IRS attorney determined to bring down her father’s shady scheme, and the FBI agent who rescues her from an assault. Kirkus says, “The evil characters lack any semblance of humanity, and the good characters, including the Fed-crossed lovers, are perfect and unbecomingly smug about it. A standard melodrama with occasional flashes of originality.”
Kill You Twiceby Chelsea Cain (Macmillan/Minotaur Books; Macmillan Audio; Thorndike Large Print) marks the return of Gretchen Lowell, otherwise known as “The Beauty Killer,” who appeared in Cain’s first three novels – along with police detective Archie Sheridan. Kirkus says, “Cain’s abiding determination to outdo the suspense, plot twists and gore of each previous outing is both perverse and awe-inspiring.”
You Don’t Want to Know by Lisa Jackson (Kensington; Brilliance Audio) is a standalone thriller about a woman who loses her grip on reality after her child disappears, and becomes the prime suspect in a string of murders. PW says, “Multiple red herrings and a host of sinister characters help keep the pages turning.”
The Spymasters: A Men at War Novelby W.E.B. Griffin and William E. Butterworth, IV (Putnam Adult; Brilliance Audio; Thorndike Large Print) is the seventh in this thriller series and the third the author has written with his son. The plot centers on threats to the Manhattan Project during WWII, Kirkus says the authors “are completely at ease mixing fact and fiction, skillfully piecing together pieces of their narrative puzzle. Their writing is straightforward to a fault, sometimes reminding you of a scholastic You Are There novel, but the book never sags, and the characters never lose our interest.”
The Prophet by Michael Koryta (Hachette/Little Brown; Little Brown Large Print) is the author’s ninth novel, about two brothers in a small Midwestern town who were divided as teenagers by the death of their sister, and clash again years later when another local teen dies. PW says, “Koryta has a gift for melding a suspenseful, twisty plot with a probing, unflinching look at his protagonistsa weaknesses.” His So Cold the River and Cypress House are being developed for movies. Adaptation rights were also sold for this new title at the end of May (Deadline).
Wake by Amanda Hocking (Macmillan/St. Martin’s Griffin, Macmillan Audio) is the first installment in the new Watersong series about three contemporary sirens. It follows Hocking’s successful self-published Trylle Trilogy (later republished by St. Martin’s). Entertainment Weekly‘s “Shelf Life” blog features an “exclusive” trailer this week and an interview with Hocking. PW says, “While Hocking’s writing isn’t always polished (the foreshadowing can be painfully heavy), the well-structured story and strong characters carry readers over the rough spots. A cliffhanger ending sets up the next book, Lullaby, due [in] six months.”
Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead (RH/Wendy Lamb Books; Listening Library) is the story of two boys who become friends when one moves into the other’s Brooklyn neighborhood. PW says “chock-full of fascinating characters and intelligent questions, this is as close to perfect as middle-grade novels come.” Stead’s When You Reach Mewon the 2010 Newbery Medal.
Gangster Squad by Paul Lieberman (Macmillan/St. Martin’s; also trade pbk and mass market; Macmillan Audio) is the tie-in to the movie starring Sean Penn, famously rescheduled to next year because of a scene uncomfortably close to reality (a shooting in a movie theater). That scene was created for the movie and is not in the book, which is shipping as originally planned. This will be the book’s first publication (which is the reason it arrives in hardcover, audio, as well as two tie-in editions). Both the book and the movie are based on the LA Times writer Lieberman’s research into the LAPD’s eight-man “Gangster Squad” and their efforts to trap gang leader Mickey Cohen.
Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Childby Bob Spitz (RH/Knopf; Random House Audio) raises the question, do we need another book about Julia Child? The answer is a resounding “Yes!” from librarians at BEA’s Shout ‘n’ Share panel. PW says, “Released to coincide with Child’s centenary [August 13], Spitz’s delightful biography succeeds in being as big as its subject.” Why did Spitz, the author of major works about the Beatles and Bob Dylan turn his attention to a celebrity cook? He answers that question in an interview on the RH Library Marketing blog.
Unlike Fifty Shades author, E. L. James, however, Day has published several books in other genres — historical, fantasy, and paranormal — with traditional publishers Kensington and Macmillan/Tor, before trying the self-published route. Many libraries own several of Day’s earlier titles.
During their interview with the author, Sarah Wendell of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books and Jane Litte of DearAuthor.com, talked about the similarities and differences between Day’s series and Fifty Shades. While Litte says readers who liked Fifty Shades are likely to enjoy Bared to You, the latter is darker and doesn’t have the “Cinderella quality” of Fifty Shades. In a review on DearAuthor, she suggests “it is what 50 Shades could have been.” (see Smart Bitches list of other Fifty Shades read-a-likes).
Nobody knows how well Fifty Shades of Grey will do as a movie. It’s still a long way from arriving in theaters; it doesn’t even have a director, let alone a cast yet. Nevertheless, Hollywood is hot on the trail of the NEXT Fifty Shades.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, a bidding war is on for Jamie McGuire’s Beautiful Disaster. The book began as a self-published title, from Amazon’s CreateSpace. After appearing on the NYT E-Book Fiction best seller list, where it reached high of #9, it was picked up for publication by the Atria division of Simon and Schuster and is coming out in August. Atria also signed Walking Disaster, which, according to the publisher, “will continue this story from a different and surprising point of view.”
The Hollywood Reporter says, “The book is seen as being similar in tone to Fifty Shades but in a YA vein and without all the kinky sex. That makes it very attractive to Hollywood studios, which are concerned that audiences might shy away from a Fifty Shades movie due to the graphic scenes.”
Marking another step in the growing acceptance of ebooks, two titles published by digital imprints were among the dozen titles winning RITA awards from the Romance Writers of America at a ceremony in Anaheim over the weekend.
The winner for best Contemporary Single Title is Boomerang Bride by Fiona Lowe. Originally published as an ebook by Harlequin’s Carina imprint, it was released in paperback as well. Currently it is an ebook-only title, available via OverDrive and B&T’s Axis360 platform.
The winner for best Romance Novella, I Love the Earlby Caroline Linden, is published by HarperCollins/Avon’s digital imprint, Impulse. It is also available via OverDrive and Axis360.
The last summer reading picks are trickling in. Next week brings two buzz titles from Book Expo and ALA: British author Rachel Joyce‘s quirky tale of friendship and loyalty, and John Verdon‘s third NYPD detective mystery, plus the latest Dublin mystery from Tana French. Usual suspects include Danielle Steel, J.A. Jance, Brad Thor and Emily Griffin.
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (Random House; RH Audio; BOT) is a debut novel by an acclaimed BBC scriptwriter, about a man who decides to walk 600 miles to visit a terminally ill old friend who has written him out of the blue. Booklist says, “a gentle and genteel charmer, brimming with British quirkiness yet quietly haunting in its poignant and wise examination of love and devotion. Sure to become a book-club favorite.” This one was featured on the Editor’s Buzz Panel at Book Expo, a Wall St. Journal Hot Title for July and is on O Magazine‘s Summer Reading List.
Let the Devil Sleep byJohn Verdon (RH/Crown; Dreamscape Audio; Overdrive ebook and audio) is the third mystery featuring retired NYPD Detective Dave Gurney, who is seeking some R&R in upstate New York when there’s a break in a 10-year old serial killer case. PW says, “the tension is palpable on virtually every page of a story that perfectly balances the protagonistas complex inner life with an elaborately constructed puzzle.” This was a librarians Shout ‘n’ Share title at ALA. 70,000-copy printing.
Broken Harbor by Tana French (Penguin/Viking; Thorndike Large Print) is the author’s fourth Dublin mystery featuring Detective Mick ‘Scorcher’ Kennedy, this time about an attack on a family that only the mother survives. It’s on most of the summer reading lists, including FlavoreWire’s “Must Reads” for July, which offers this recommendation: “If you’re going to read this book, you probably already know it — if not, we recommend starting with In the Woods and thanking us later. [Broken Harbor] is as fierce and eloquently pulse-intensifying as the others.” 200,000-copy printing.
Judgment Callby J.A. Jance (HarperCollins/ Morrow; Harperluxe; HarperAudio) is the 15th novel featuring Cochise County, Ariz., sheriff Joanna Brady, whose daughter discovers the body of her school principal. PW says, “Jance smoothly intertwines the threads of multiple subplots, complete with a red herring or two. The solution to a 25-year-old mystery surrounding the death of Joanna’s father is a bonus.”
Black List by Brad Thor (S&S/Emily Bestler; S&SAudio; Thorndike Large Print) features Scot Harvath, a former Navy SEAL Team 6 member turned covert counterterrorism operative, who must evade a stream of assassins until he can figure out why he’s on the president’s black list.
Where We Belong by Emily Giffin (Macmillan/ St. Martin; Thorndike Large Print; Macmillan Audio) is the author’s fifth novel, about a 36-year-old New York City TV producer whose stable life is unsettled by the daughter she gave up 18 years before. Entertainment Weekly picked it as a “Hot Read” of summer 2012. It follows Heart of the Matter, which hit the NYT list at #2. The author’s first book, Something Borrowed, was made into a movie in 2011.
Major Media Attention
Bailout: An Inside Account of How Washington Abandoned Main Street While Rescuing Wall Streetby Neil Barofsky (S&S/Free Press) is, according to the publisher, is “An irrefutable indictment, from an insider of both the Bush and Obama administrations, of the mishandling of the $700 billion TARP bailouts and the extreme degree to which our government officials from both parties served the interests of Wall Street at the expense of the public.” It will be featured in dozens of media outlets, including CBS Face the Nation this Sunday, NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, and NPR’s Marketplace.
Next week brings a comic sci-fi debut from Internet entrepreneur RobReid, along with new novels from breakout authorsJohn Boyne andDeborah Harkness. In nonfiction, there’s a harrowing Iraq war memoir by Air Force veteranBrian Castner, andJames Carville and Stan Greenberg talk Democratic strategy for November. Returning literary favorites include Carlos Ruoz Zafón, Stephen Carter andKurt Anderson. And usual suspects include Gigi Levangie Grazer, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Catherine Coulter, Linda Fairstein, James Patterson, Andrew Gross and Meg Cabot, plus YA author Eoin Colfer.
Year Zero by Rob Reid (RH/Del Rey; RH digital-only audio on OverDrive) is a satire about the movie industry, by someone who knows the business intimately (he’s the founder of the online music company, Listen.com).
It’s recommended by Entertainment Weekly for those who love The Hitchhiker”s Guide to the Galaxy. They also offer an exclusive interview with the author by John Hodgman, who reads the audio, a digital-only release (on OverDrive).
That interview isn’t revealing, but the trailer gives a good sense of the book’s tone.
The Absolutist by John Boyne (Other Press) is an novel about a WWI veteran’s reflections over 60 years on his brief, forbidden love affair in the trenches with a fellow soldier who died, by the Irish author of the YA hit The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. PW calls it “a relentlessly tragic yet beautifully crafted novel.” It got several shouts from librarians at the BEA Shout ‘n’ Share program, with Barbara Genco noting that the WWI setting makes it a good bet for fans of Downton Abbey. The publisher has a different take, comparing it to Atonement and Brokeback Mountain.
Shadow of Nightby Deborah Harkness (Penguin/Viking; Thorndike Large Print; Penguin Audiobooks) is the highly anticipated sequel to the hit debut A Discovery of Witches. This time, the action is set in Elizabethan England, where vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont and witch historian Diana Bishop search for an enchanted manuscript. Entertainment Weekly gives it a B+, a mixed grade because the story takes a while to gain momentum, but when it does, “it enchants.” People magazine concurs, giving it 3 of a possible 4 stars, saying there are “too many story lines, too many shifting time periods and a confusing slew of new characters.” Even so, it “delivers enough romance and excitement to keep the pages turning. Readers will devout it, chaos and all.”
The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (Harper; HarperAudio; HarperLuxe) brings together characters from The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel’s Game, who must face a mysterious stranger who visits the Sempere bookshop, and threatens to reveal a secret.
The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln by Stephen Carter (RH/Knopf; Random House Audio) is a work of alternate history by the Yale Law professor and bestselling author of The Emperor of Ocean Park that explores what would have happened if President Abraham Lincoln had not been assassinated. (Hint: Lincoln is accused of violating the Constitution in his conduct of the Civil War and faces impeachment.) PW says, “this is Lincoln by way of Dan Brown, complete with ciphers and conspiracies and breathless escapes, only not so breathless, since Carter lacks Brown’s talent for narrative momentum.”
True Believersby Kurt Anderson (Random House; Random House Audio) is a cultural study of a judge who opts out of consideration for a Supreme Court seat because of events in her youth, giving the novelist and host of the award-winning Studio 360 public radio show ample ground for exploring the cultural contradictions of the last 50 years. LJ says, “a good read both for those who remember the [60s] era and for those who wish to better understand that time and its social and political connections to today.”
The After Wife by Gigi Levangie Grazer (RH/Ballantine; Center Point Large Print; Random House Audio) is the story of a recently widowed woman who discovers she can talk to the dead. It got a hearty endorsement on the Librarians’ Shout ‘n’ Share panel at BEA this year from Wendy Bartlett, head of collection development at Cuyahoga County PL. As we noted earlier, Wendy found The After Wife so hilarious that she ordered extra copies.
The Great Escapeby Susan Elizabeth Phillips (HarperCollins/Morrow; Thorndike Large Print; HarperAudio) recounts the further adventures of Lucy Jorik, daughter of the former U.S. President, who left her perfect fiance at the altar to explore her alter ego, a biker chick named Viper. LJ says, “with brilliant dialog, sassy humor, and laserlike insight into what makes people tick, Phillips gifts readers with an engrossing, beautifully written romance that satisfies on all levels.”
Backfire (FBI Series #16) by Catherine Coulter (Penguin/Putnam; Thorndike Large Print; Brilliance Audio) finds husband-and-wife FBI agents Dillon Savich and Lacey Sherlock pursuing a killer who shoots a San Francisco judge. PW says, “Coulter mixes romance, strong family ties, narrow misses, and narrower escapes as well as some twists that strain credulity to the breaking point. Series fans will applaud the strong female leads and the nifty teamwork of Savich and Sherlock.”
Night Watch by Linda Fairstein (Penguin/Dutton; Thorndike Large Print; Penguin Audio) has Manhattan Sex Crimes prosecutor Alexandra Cooper probing the underside of New York’s fanciest restaurants, based on evidence in a rape case involving director of the World Economic Bureau and a hotel maid. Kirkus says, “not surprisingly, the case ripped from the headlines is much more absorbing than the tale of restaurant malfeasance and [Cooper's] imperiled love. Alex’s 14th is distinctly below average for this bestselling series.”
I, Michael Bennett by James Patterson (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Large Print; Hachette Audio) is the fifth installment in the series featuring Detective Michael Bennett, this time featuring South American crime lord who brings new violence to Manhattan.
15 Secondsby Andrew Gross (HarperCollins/Morrow; Harperluxe) is a stand-alone thriller that explores an accidental shooting that leaves an innocent participant as the target of a huge police manhunt. Booklist says “Gross, who has collaborated with James Patterson on five best-sellers, turns out a page-turning, roller-coaster of a novel with a likable if sometimes foolish protagonist.”
Size 12 and Ready to Rock: A Heather Wells Mystery by Meg Cabot (HarperCollins/Morrow; Audio, Dreamscape Media) is latest installment in this ongoing paperback original series. Here, New York College Resident Dorm Director Heather Wells investigates a case with her fiance that involves her ex’s new wife. PW says, “Readers of Cabot’s blog will recognize Heather, with her hilarious pop culture references and dry humor. A good read, though fans might find the plot disappointing in the context of the big picture.”
Artemis Fowl: The Last Guardian by Eoin Colfer (Disney/Hyperion; Audio, RH/Listening Library) is the eighth and final installment in the popular series, in which the evil pixie Opal Koboi infuses Artemis’s brothers with the spirits of dead warriors, making them more annoying than ever.
The Long Walk: A Story of War and the Life That Follows by Brian Castner (RH/Doubleday; Center Point Large Print; Random House Audio) recounts the author’s years as an air force officer in Saudi Arabia in 2001, and Iraq in 2005 and 2006, where he earned a Bronze Star and performed the “long walk” to dismantle bombs by hand and in short order, when robots failed. Kirkus calls it, “scarifying stuff, without any mawkishness or dumb machismo–not quite on the level of Jarhead, but absolutely worth reading.”
It’s The Middle Class, Stupid!by James Carville and Stan Greenberg (Penguin/Blue Rider Press; Penguin Audio) brings together liberal talking head Carville and pollster Greenberg to discuss why Democrats must focus on the middle class to win in November. Kirkus says, “they are refreshingly specific in some of their policy recommendations in areas such as energy investment and campaign finance reform. For Democratic political junkies who enjoy straight-talk policy discussion.” 125,000 copy first printing.
Next week brings two buzzed-about debuts: a thriller by Jean Zimmerman set in 1663 New Amsterdam and Carol Rifka Brunt‘s tale of two sisters in the age of AIDS. Plus two authors with growing followings are back: Leila Meacham with a sprawling Texas soap opera, and Linda Castillo with the fourth installment in her Amish series. Usual suspects include Janet Evanovich, Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter, and Ridley Pearson. In nonfiction, Rachel Swarns delves into First Lady Michelle Obama’s ancestry and David Maraniss explores President Obama’s background and character development.
The Orphanmaster by Jean Zimmerman (Penguin/Viking Books; Penguin Audiobooks; Thorndike Large Print) is a debut historical thriller set in New Amsterdam in 1663, in which a young Dutch woman and an English spy investigate the disappearances of a handful of orphans. Booklist calls it a “compulsively readable, heartbreaking, and grisly mystery set in a wild, colonial America will appeal to fans of Robert McCammon’s fast-paced and tautly suspenseful Mister Slaughter and Eliot Pattison’s Bone Rattler.” USA Today listed it as the top summer reading pick for the mystery/suspense category. Zimmerman was the first author in our Penguin Debut Authors program (read the chat & hear a podcast Q&A with the author here). She will also be featured on the ALTAFF Historical Fiction panel at ALA (Sat., 10:30 to noon)
Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt (RH/Dial Press) is a debut novel about two sisters who lose their uncle in the mid-’80s as AIDS is on the rise, and must come to terms with ”love that’s too big to stay in a tiny bucket. Splashing out in the most embarrassing way possible.” On our GalleyChat, one librarian called it the “best book I’ve ever read.” Like the previous titles, it is one of BookPage‘s Most-Buzzed About Debuts. The Minneapolis Star Tribunelists it among their eight books for summer: “Carol Rifka Brunt establishes herself as an emerging author to watch. Tell the Wolves I’m Home will undoubtedly be this summer’s literary sleeper hit.”
Tumbleweeds by Leila Meacham (Hachette/Grand Central; Hachette Audio; Thorndike Large Print) is the sprawling story of a love triangle between two high school football heroes and the orphan girl they befriend, who are separated by a teenage prank gone awry and an accidental pregnancy, with far-reaching consequences. LJ says, “Readers who love epic sagas that span a couple of generations will enjoy this soap opera tale of young love, betrayal, and living a life that might not have a happy ending.” 125,000-copy first-printing. One-day laydown.
Gone Missing: A Thriller by Linda Castillo (Macmillan/Minotaur) is the fourth Amish mystery featuring Chief of Police Kate Burkholder, and is set during Rumspringa — when Amish teens are allowed to experience life outside the community, a practice that always fascinates outsiders. PW says, “Castillo ratchets up the tension nicely before the disconcerting ending.” Castillo’s previous titles have hit the NYT hardcover list, but only the extended (highest, #21). Holds are heavy in some libraries. The publisher is putting extra marketing push behind this one.
Wicked Business: A Lizzy and Diesel Novel by Janet Evanovich (RH/Bantam; RH Audio; Thorndike Large Print) finds Salem, Massachusetts pastry chef Lizzy Tucker once again drawn into solving a mystery with her sexy but off-limits partner Diesel – this time involving an ancient Stone believed by some to be infused with the power of lust.
The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter (Harper) is the Discworld creator’s first novel in 30 years to be set in a new universe – this time comprised of an infinite number of parallel Earths, all devoid of humans, which will be explored by the gifted Joshua Valiente, employee of the Black Corporation. PW says, “the slow-burning plot plays second fiddle to the fascinating premise, and the authors seem to have more fun developing backstory and concepts than any real tension. An abrupt conclusion comes as an unwelcome end to this tale of exploration.”
The Risk Agentby Ridley Pearson (Putnam Adult; Brilliance Audio) is a thriller about a Chinese National who runs into intrigue while working for an American-owned in Shanghai (where the author lived with his family in 2008-2009). LJ says, “Famous for his plotting and attention to details, Pearson is off to a great start with his compelling and multilayered new protagonists. His many fans as well as readers who love international thrillers won’t be disappointed.”
American Tapestry: The Story of the Black, White, and Multiracial Ancestors of Michelle Obamaby Rachel L. Swarns (HarperCollins/Amistad) is the story of the First Lady’s lineage, starting with slave girl Melvinia in the mid 1800s in Jonesboro, Georgia, the mother of Dolphus Shields, Michelle Obama’s maternal great-great-grandfather. Kirkus says, “Swarns provides numerous tales of heartbreak and achievement, many of which essentially make up the American story. Elegantly woven strands in a not-so-easy-to-follow whole, but tremendously moving.” 100,000-copy first printing.
Barack Obama: The Story by David Maraniss (Simon & Schuster; S&S Audio) is a multi-generational biography of Barack Obama and his family, based on hundreds of interviews, including with President Obama – written by the author and associate editor of the Washington Post. PW says, “Obama’s story here is interior and un-charismatic, but it makes for a revealing study in character-formation as destiny. The book ends as Obama prepares to enter Harvard Law.” One-day laydown.