New Title Radar: Feb 6 – 12

This week, contemporary short story masters Nathan Englander and Dan Chaon return, while Josh Bazell delivers the sequel to his breakout debut. Usual suspects include Lisa Gardner, Vince Flynn, J.A. Jance and YA author Sara Shepard. Our major title to watch details the life of a slum in Mumbai by Katherine Boo. In nonfiction, historian James Simon probes the faceoff between FDR and Chief Justice Hughes, and Tucker Max delivers his third raucous memoir.

Watch List

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo (Random House; BOT Audio; Thorndike Large Print; ebook and audio, OverDrive) focuses on Annawadi, a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels in Mumbai, as India starts to prosper. As we’ve said before, we think this one is headed for best sellerdom. Lots of media attention this week should help it along.

Wild Thing by Josh Bazell (Hachette/Little,Brown/Reagan Arthur; Hachette Audio) is the sequel to Bazell’s popular debut, Beat the Reaper, once again featuring Dr. “Peter Brown,” this time as he accompanies a sexy but self-destructive paleontologist on the world’s worst field assignment. LJ says, “it’s as good as [Bazell’s debut] and more. In addition to the mayhem and madness of the original, there’s an element of ecoconsciousness and political satire (the long-delayed appearance of the government official is worth the purchase price) that will leave readers wanting still more.”

What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank: Stories by Nathan Englander (RH/Knopf; RH Audio; OverDrive ebook and audio) includes eight new stories from celebrated novelist and short fiction author (For the Relief of Unbearable Urges and The Ministry of Special Cases). Kirkus says his “voice evokes a long legacy of Jewish storytelling and the sharp edge of contemporary fiction” and pronounces his tales of Israel, American Jewry and suburbia the work of “a short-story master.” The newspaper reviews, however, have not been so complimentary (WSJ and L.A. Times). The NYT profiled the author’s “Sunday Routine.”

Stay Awake: Stories by Dan Chaon (RH/Ballantine; ebook, OverDrive) is a collection of 12 stores about fragile characters who wander between ordinary life and a psychological shadowland by National Book Award finalist Chaon, following hss critically acclaimed novel Await Your Reply. LJ says, “The powerful writing in this intense and suspenseful collection draws us into the emotional maelstroms experienced by the characters. A highly recommended work, not to be missed.” The NYT Book Review calls the best of the stories “superbly disquieting.”

Usual Suspects

Catch Me by Lisa Gardner (Penguin/Dutton; Brilliance Audio; Thorndike Large Print) finds Detective D. D. Warren faced with a client who believes she will be murdered in four days, and she wants D. D. to handle the death investigation. In a starred review, Booklist says, “Last year, Gardner had three titles on different New York Times bestseller lists; her latest D. D. Warren novel will launch a new streak for 2012.”

Kill Shot by Vince Flynn (S&S/Atria; S&S Audio) is a suspenseful political thriller that follows a deadly mission to hunt down the men responsible for the Pan Am Lockerbie terrorist attack. LJ says, “If you loved the author’s The Secret Supper, you’ll probably love this, too.”  USA Today profiles Flynn, who has defied odds after being diagnosed with cancer in 2010

Left for Dead by J. A. Jance (S&S/Touchstone; Thorndike Large Print; S&S Audio) Ali Reynolds investigates two shocking cases of victims brutally left for dead — Santa Cruz County deputy sheriff Jose Reyes, Ali’s classmate from the Arizona Police Academy, and an unidentified young woman presumed to be an illegal border crosser.

Young Adult

Two Truths and a Lie (The Lying Game Series #3) by Sara Shepard (Harper Teen; HarperAudio) is the third installment in the new series by the bestselling author of Pretty Little Liars, about one twin trying to solve the murder of another, by unraveling her cryptic journal, tangled love life, and the dangerous pranks she played.


FDR and Chief Justice Hughes: The President, the Supreme Court, and the Epic Battle Over the New Deal by James F. Simon (Simon & Schuster) recounts how the two men fiercely collided at a pivotal moment in history — during the initial stages of FDR’s New Deal. PW says, “With the present-day Court poised to rule on health care reform amid controversies over the governments power to address economic turmoil, Simons account of a very similar era is both trenchant and timely.”

Hilarity Ensues by Tucker Max (S&S/Blue Heeler Books) is the third volume by the author of the bestsellers I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell and Assholes Finish First, about his sexual and drunken exploits.

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