Fiction Next Week

Big Debuts

Altar of Bones by Philip Carter (Gallery Press) is a thriller by an “internationally renowned author” writing under a pseudonym (OK, so it doesn’t really count as a debut) with a 200,000-copy printing, about a mysteriously powerful altar in Siberia, the San Francisco lawyer who inherits it, and the ex-special ops agent who protects her from those who wish to control it. Library Journal says the “chase and fight scenes are adrenaline-charged, breath-holding sensations,” but Kirkus calls it a “a competent and action-filled story, if one without much attention to detail,” and PW slammed it, saying, “by the time the unsurprising ending rolls around, all suspense has been drained from the action.”

The Informationist by Taylor Stevens (Crown), is, says the publisher, a “blazingly brilliant debut [that] introduces a great new action heroine, Vanessa Michael Munroe, who doesn’t have to kick over a hornet’s nest to get attention, though her feral, take-no-prisoners attitude reflects the fire of Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander.” Kirkus adds, “the writing is stellar, the heroine grittier than Lara Croft and the African setting so vivid that readers can smell the jungle and feel the heat—a gifted debut with much promise.”

The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht (Random House) is the season’s  (and, perhaps, the year’s) major literary debut. It comes with high expectations; Obreht is the youngest of the New Yorker’s 20 Under 40 fiction writers. LJ, Booklist and PW all call it varying degrees of brilliant. Boolist‘s starred review goes the furthest; “Every word, every scene, every thought is blazingly alive in this many-faceted, spellbinding, and rending novel of death, succor, and remembrance.” Only Kirkus introduces a caution; “…at times at times a bit too dense and confusing.” Laura Miller in Salon this week, finds the book too heavy on descripiton, “…no sooner does Obreht’s narrative work up a little momentum or present a masterful scene than it hits a patch of long, dozy paragraphs filled with way too much detail about the scenery.”

To Watch

Holds are mounting on light ordering for next week’s release of Carol Edgarian’s second novel, Three Stages of Amazement. This exploration of how privleged people cope (or don’t) when fate turns against them, pivots on a seemingly perfect, 40ish Bay Area couple who run into trouble when the surgeon husband needs financing for a new medical invention and gets it from his wife’s dashing and successful ex-boyfriend.

In the New York Times, Janet Maslin calls it “a fiery, deeply involving book with an eccentric streak that keeps it constantly surprising,” and compares it favorably to Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom, saying it handles its “high-strung, hot-blooded, restless people conflating their own private crises with the political and economic turmoil of their times” in half the space Franzen does, “with less loftiness but more soap-operatic plot tricks.” O Magazine finds it “generous and graceful and true.”

Usual Suspects

The Jungle by Clive Cussler and Jack Du Bruhl (Putnam), the eighth Oregon Files thriller, finds Juan Cabrillo and his crew of mercenaries engage in one daring rescue operation after another with progressively higher stakes. PW says, “The frenetic action moves from Afghanistan to Singapore and the Burmese jungle with lots of derring-do at sea before climaxing in a surprising locale in a fashion sure to delight series fans.”

Silent Mercy by Linda Fairstein (Dutton) finds Alexandra Cooper, the ADA who heads Manhattan’s Special Victims unit, investigating a fire at a Baptist church in Harlem. Kirkus says, “Above average for this bestselling series, though not up to the mark of Hell Gate (2010).”

Love You More by Lisa Gardner (Bantam) finds Detective D. D. Warren of the Boston police and Massachusetts state trooper Bobby Dodge together again, as partners in the investigation of a state trooper who shot and killed D.D.’s husband. Booklist gives it a starred review: “Winner of the 2010 International Thriller Award for The Neighbor, Gardner hits an even higher mark this time and will have a national marketing campaignauthor tour, TV advertising, online saturation bombing, support her.”

One Response to “Fiction Next Week”

  1. Charles Says:

    Really looking forward to The Jungle by Clive Cussler being released. The Oregon Series is one of his best!