Next week will bring several books by celebrities, including Glee star Chris Colfer‘s middle-grade fantasy debut, a memoir from Giant’s receiver Victor Cruz, and Elton John‘s look back on his fight against the AIDS epidemic. Usual suspects include Iris Johansen, Orson Scott Card, Daniel Silva, James Lee Burke, and Chris Bohjalian.
Tigers in Red Weather by Liza Klaussmann (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio; Thorndike Large Print, Nov) is a debut novel set on Martha’s Vineyard after WWII, about two women finding marriage and motherhood more complicated than they expected, when a murder throws their lives into further turmoil. The author is Herman Melville’s great-great-great-great-grandaughter. It’s getting glowing advance praise, including from PW: “this carefully crafted soap opera skillfully commingles mystery with melodrama, keeping readers guessing about what really happened until the end . . . Her characters’ duplicitous behavior will elicit strong reactions.”
Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer (Macmillan/St. Martin’s; Macmillan Audio) is a whimsical debut novel about a woman who’s been hiding her baldness to fit into her suburban Virginia community and her astronaut husband, whose lives are redefined by freak accidents. The advance buzz brought an early review from Janet Maslin in the NYT a week before publication, saying, “it is so full of oddities that no simple summary [presumably, like the one we just did] will do it justice. ” It also had several fans on GalleyChat in June.
Close Your Eyes by Iris Johansen (Macmillan/St. Martin’s Press; Brilliance Audio) is the fourth collaboration by this mother-son team, and stars Dr. Kendra Michaels, an FBI consultant and music therapist who was born blind and developed her other senses to an extraordinary degree before her sight was restored at age 20. PW says, “The authors combine idiosyncratic yet fully realized characters with dry wit and well-controlled suspense that builds to a satisfying conclusion.”
Earth Unaware by Orson Scott Card (Tor Books; MacMillan Audio) is a science fiction adventure that gives fans of the Ender series a new backstory to the classic Ender’s Game. LJ says, “Card’s gift for strong, memorable characters combined with screenwriter Johnston’s flair for vivid scene-building results in a standout tale… [that] should also please readers of military SF.” Production of the movie of Enders’s Game, starring Harrison Ford and Abigail Breslin has recently wrapped and is scheduled to be released on Nov. 1, 2013.
The Fallen Angel (Gabriel Allon Series #12) by Daniel Silva (HarperCollins; Harperluxe; HarperAudio) stars art restorer and spy Gabriel Allon in Rome, who gets a call from the pope’s personal secretary about the body of a woman in St. Peter’s Basilica.
Creole Belle: A Dave Robicheaux Novel by James Lee Burke (Simon & Schuster; Wheeler Large Print; Simon & Schuster Audio) finds southern Louisiana deputy Sheriff Dave Robicheaux recovering from the wounds he received in the last book (The Glass Rainbow), and facing another round of New Orleans-style homicide. Kirkus says, “Burke, in his latest attempt to outdo himself, ties the Gulf oil spill to art fraud, sexual slavery and Nazis. A darkly magnificent treat for Dave’s legion of admirers, though not the best place for newcomers to begin.” One-day laydown.
The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian (RH/Doubleday Books; Random House Large Print; Books on Tape) is the story of modern American woman who joins her father on a philanthropic trip to Syria to aid Armenian refugees, and pieces together the lives of her great-grandparents, who met on the eve of the Armenian genocide of 1915-16. It has been featured in many summer reading roundups, and is a GalleyChat favorite. Entertainment Weekly gives is a B+. The reviewer notes that Bohjalian, draws “ for the first time on his own heritage [as] the grandson of Armenian survivors [and] pours passion, pride, and sadness into his tale of ethnic destruction and endurance,” but notes the book’s structure is ”precariously ornate.”
The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer (Hachette/LBYR; Hachette Audio) is a middle-grade debut by the Glee star, and finds 12-year-old twins Alex (a girl) and Conner roaming fairy tale land after falling into their grandmother’s book of stories, trying to collect the elements for a wishing spell that will get them home. Booklist says, ”Golden Globe winner Colfer writes for an audience that will likely include plenty of teen readers (i.e., fans of Glee), and generally they will not be disappointed by the giddy earnestness of the writing, cut with a hint of melancholy.” Unsurprisingly, the author is getting plenty of media attention. The audio is read by the author.
Spark: A Sky Chasers Novel by Amy Kathleen Ryan (St. Martin’s Griffin, MacMillan Audio) is the sequel to Glow, in which girls and boys struggle with issues of leadership and violence on a spaceship after their parents have been kidnapped.
Out of the Blue by Victor Cruz (Penguin/Celebra) is a memoir by the 25-year-old salsa victory-dancing Superbowl champion. USA Today says it “will include the highs and lows of his life — his spotty college career and rocky road to professional football (he was undrafted), his father’s suicide and his recent triumphs.” It will also be published in Spanish as Momento de Gloria in September.
Love Is the Cure: On Life, Loss, and the End of AIDS by Elton John (Hachette/Little, Brown) is the pop singer’s personal account of his life during the AIDS epidemic, including stories of his close friendships with Ryan White, Freddie Mercury, Princess Diana, Elizabeth Taylor, and others, and the story of the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
The Violinist’s Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code by Sam Kean (Hachette/Little, Brown) is the next book by the author who made the periodic table fascinating in The Disappearing Spoon. In this new book, he explores the secrets of DNA. Leading up to the book’s release, Kean has been “Blogging the Human Genome” for Slate.