Fiction Next Week

Below is our weekly roundup of titles to watch next week, by authors you may not have heard about yet, but are poised for success, as well as our list of “usual suspects.” The week brings a large number of new books from big-name authors, including Harlan Coben and Alexander McCall Smith.

Titles to Watch

Spiral by Paul McEuen (Dial) is a techno-thriller that New York Times critic Janet Maslin compared favorably to Michael Crichton in his prime in a review that jumped the book’s pub date, as we mentioned earlier this week.  Today’s Wall Street Journal anoints the author a “publishing star,” although an “unlikely” one (McEuen is a Cornell physics professor) and points out that the book was a best seller in Germany, where it was published in translation last fall. Film rights have also been sold.


The Mozart Conspiracy by Scott Mariani (Touchstone) is this British author’s U.S. debut, though it’s actually the second installment in his thriller series featuring ex-SAS warrior Ben Hope. PW calls it “a fast, exciting read in The Da Vinci Code tradition,” though Kirkus adds “apart from the rumor that he was poisoned, though, don’t expect to learn much about Mozart.” It has a 125,000-copy first printing. Orders are in line with modest holds at libraries we checked.


The Four Ms. Bradwells by Meg Waite Clayton (Ballantine) is the story of four friends who met in law school in the early 1980s and have maintained their ties through decade of marriage, children, divorce, and various career twists, until they must confront a buried secret. Library Journal is on the fence, comparing it unfavorably to the author’s 2008 bestseller The Wednesday Sisters: “Instead of true characterization, Clayton resorts to literary quotes, legalese, and Latin verbiage to give her characters unique voices. Still, fans of Elizabeth Noble, Ann Hood, Elin Hilderbrand, and other luminaries of female friendship fiction will find much to captivate them.” Libraries we checked have modest orders in line with modest reserves to date.

Usual Suspects

Live Wire by Harlan Coben (Dutton) gets not only a 500,000-copy first printing, but also a rave from PW: “Edgar-winner Coben’s 10th Myron Bolitar novel (after Long Lost) is a perfect 10: providing readers with new information about the past of the former athlete turned agent and owner of MB Reps; a satisfyingly complex mystery; and the always entertaining, sometimes shocking exploits of Bolitar’s partner and friend, Windsor Horne Lockwood III.”

Night Road by Kristin Hannah (St. Martin’s) is the story of a disadvantaged teen who finds friendship, acceptance and love with a prosperous Seattle-area family, until a tragic accident changes everything. It’s an Indie Next April Pick and also has a 400,000-copy first printing.

The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party: The New No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency Novel by Alexander McCall Smith (Pantheon) gets a rave from PW: “Smith again makes the sublime look easy in his winning 12th No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency novel set in present day Botswana . . . . Even newcomers will quickly be drawn into Mma Ramotswe’s unconventional approach to investigations and rapidly feel that they are with old friends.”

Breaking the Rules by Suzanne Brockmann (Ballantine) is the 16th installment in the Troubleshooter romance series, gets the thumbs up from PW, which says it “masterfully weaves the stories of the four Gillman siblings into a single narrative that reaffirms the importance of family. . . . [and] romance fans two delightful relationships for the price of one.”

Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson (Reagan Arthur) is the fourth investigation with PI Jackson Brodie, this time involving an adoptee in search of her birthparents. PW calls it “magnificently plotted,” while Kirkus observes, “The sleuthing is less important than Atkinson’s fascinating take on the philosophic and emotional dimensions of her characters’ lives.”

Cold Wind by C.J. Box (Putnam) is the 11th Joe Pickett Novel. This time Wyoming game warden Pickett must try to prove that his despised mother-in-law didn’t kill her fifth husband. PW says “Box parlays a heady mix of Wyoming politics and the advent of wind power into a deadly brew. This engaging series just keeps getting better with each new entry.”

The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen (Bantam) centers on a family feud in the small town of Walls of Water, North Carolina, and is a fiction pick by B&N buyer Sesalee Hensley. PW says, “Allen (The Girl Who Chased the Moon) juggles smalltown history and mystical thriller, character development and eerie magical realism in a fine Southern gothic drama. The underlying tension will please and unnerve readers, as well as leave them eager for Allen’s next.”

Young Adult

Invincible by Sherrilyn Kenyon (St. Martin’s/Griffin) is the second novel in the new teen spin-off from the blockbuster Dark-Hunter series, and has a 500,000-copy first printing.

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