This week, novels to watch include a new thriller by Danish bestseller Jussi Adler-Olsen and a bittersweet story of committed love from comedy writer Patricia Marx. Usual suspects in fiction include Laura Lippman, Kathy Reichs and Terry Brooks. Nonfiction highlights include a memoir by Erica Heller, the daughter of Joseph Heller, and a parable by Buddhist bestseller Thich Nhat Hanh.
Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen (Dutton; Penguin Audio; Thorndike Large Print; audio & eBook, OverDrive) is a thriller by the bestselling Danish author, about former homicide detective Carl Morck in charge of handling Copenhagen’s cold cases, including one about a missing politician. As we noted in an earlier roundup of Nordic Noir coming this summer, PW gave this this one a starred review, saying “Stieg Larsson fans will be delighted.”
Starting from Happy by Patricia Marx (Scribner) is a comical exploration of romance through the unlikely match up of a lingerie designer and a scientist, written in 618 “chaplettes.” The author has written comedy for Saturday Night Live and the New Yorker, as well as the 2007 novel Him Her Him Again The End of Him. Booklist says, “Readers who enjoy the sly observations of Nora Ephron and the smart silliness of Woody Allen and Steve Martin should try it.”
We Others: New and Selected Stories by Steven Millhauser (Knopf) ranges across three decadesof the Pulitzer Prize winner’s stories. The Wall St. Journal says the best stories are “two concerning magicians, ‘Eisenheim the Illusionist’ (the basis of the very good 2006 film The Illusionist) and ‘The Knife Thrower,’ about a performer who may or may not be killing audience volunteers as part of his show. In these shimmering tales, the author deals directly with wonder and uncertainty rather than attempting to conjure those qualities through heavy-handed metaphors.”
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh (Ballantine; Audio, Random House Audio and Books on Tape and OverDrive; Large Print, Thorndike) is a debut about 18-year-old Victoria, who has placed out of the foster care system with perilously few resources, and finds an unlikely path to stabilty in her understanding of flowers, by an author who has fostered many children and also adopted one. The San Francisco Chronicle calls it “Jane Eyre for 2011″ and “a cautionary tale about what happens to kids who’ve grown without families, one that strives to be honest but still hopeful.”
The Most Dangerous Thing by Laura Lippman (Morrow; Harper Audio; Large Print, HarperLuxe ) follows a circle of Baltimore friends who harbor a deadly secret. The Los Angeles Times say it “occupies the unlikely middle ground between thriller and coming-of-age saga… [but] doesn’t always measure up. On the one hand, [Lippman] effectively evokes the wildness of kids alone in a landscape of their own making… yet there is also something a bit headlong, a bit unformed about [her] writing.”
Flash and Bones by Kathy Reichs (Scribner; S&S Audio; Large Print, Wheeler/Thorndike) is the 14th thriller with forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan. Library Journal says, “Although devoted Reichs fans will miss the clever repartee and nonstop action of her previous novels, they will still plod through this one. Series newcomers will find earlier titles, such as 206 Bones and Bare Bones, far more interesting.”
Young Adult and Children’s
Bloodlines (Razorbill/Penguin) by Richelle Mead is a new teen fiction series, set in the same world as the Vampire Academy series. Fans rose to the author’s challenge to pre-order 10,000 copies. The second book in the series, The Golden Lily is scheduled for spring 2012.
Torn by Margaret Peterson Haddix (Simon & Schuster; Large Print, Thorndike) is book four of the children’s time traveling Missing series.
Yossarian Slept Here: When Joseph Heller Was Dad, the Apthorp Was Home, and Life Was a Catch-22 by Erica Heller (Simon & Schuster; Tantor Audio) recalls the tumultuous and eccentric childhood of Joseph Heller’s daughter. PW says, “The total effect is akin to leafing through a bulging family scrapbook where one finds a few blurry images among many snapshots in sharp focus. Erica Heller has inherited her father’s finely tuned flair with words.” And in a review that compares Heller’s memoir with a new biography by Tracy Daugherty called Just One Catch, The Los Angeles Times adds that Yossarian Slept Here is “much deeper and feels like all a reader needs to get the feel for the man who wrote, and lived with having written, “Catch-22.”
The Novice: A Story of True Love by Thich Nhat Hanh (HarperOne) is a parable about a Vietnamese woman who dresses like a man in order to become a Buddhist monk, by the second bestselling Buddhist author in the U.S.
The Eighty-Dollar Champion: Snowman, the Horse That Inspired a Nation by Elizabeth Letts (Ballantine) chronicles the surprise success of Harry de Leyer and his horse Snowman in the late 1950s. Kirkus calls it “aheartwarming story begging for the Disney treatment.” USA Today gave it early attention on Friday.