New Title Radar: March 19 – 25

Next week’s notable titles include Noah Hawley‘s The Good Father, a novel of parental remorse and love that’s been an EarlyWord Galley Chat favorite, and Joyce Carol Oates‘ latest masterpiece. There are also two much-anticipated memoirs: Cheryl Strayed‘s Wild, about her journey of self-discovery while hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, and new grandmother Anne Lamott‘s Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son’s First Son.

Usual suspects include Harlan Coben, Richard North Patterson and Suzanne Brockman.

Watch List

The Good Father by Noah Hawley (RH/Doubleday; Thorndike Press; Random House Audio; OverDrive) is a favorite on our own Galley Chat, in which the father of a man who assassinates a presidential candidate tries to make sense of his son’s crime. Publishers Weekly says, “Hawley’s complicated protagonist is a fully fathomed and beautifully realized character whose emotional growth never slows a narrative that races toward a satisfying and touching conclusion.”

Literary Favorite

Mudwoman by Joyce Carol Oates (HarperCollins/Ecco; HarperLuxe; BOT Audio; OverDrive) explores the price of repression in the life of a respected university president struggling against a nervous breakdown as she confronts her brutal past in an area of epic poverty in the shadow of the Adirondacks. In a starred review, Booklist calls it “an extraordinarily intense, racking, and resonant novel, a giant among Oates’ big books, including The Gravedigger’s Daughter (2007).” Oates speaks at PLA today.

Usual Suspects

Stay Close by Harlan Coben (Penguin/Dutton Adult; Thorndike Press; Brilliance Audio) is a stand-alone thriller, where three people are haunted by the disappearance of Stewart Green 17 years earlier in Atlantic City, hiding secrets that even those closest to them would never suspect. Booklist gives it a starred review, “Coben excels in descriptions of his characters’ tortured, ruminative inner lives. He also can pull out of their psychological nosedives to deliver some of the most shocking action scenes in current crime fiction… Satisfying on every level.”

Fall from Grace by Richard North Patterson (S&S/Scribner; Simon & Schuster Audio) is a family mystery, in which covert CIA operative Ben Blaine seeks the truth surrounding his father’s violent death, even if it means exposing one of his own family members as the killer. PW says, “readers will enjoy unraveling the tangled mystery right up until the last revelation.”

Force of Nature (A Joe Pickett Novel) by C. J. Box (Penguin/Putnam; Center Point Large Print) is the Edgar-winning author’s 12th Joe Pickett novel, in which Pickett’s friend Nate Romanowski’s hidden past ain a secret Special Forces unit finally catches up with him. Booklist’s starred review calls it “a very different Pickett novel, more a pure thriller and much more violent. Fans who love the books for their thoughtfulness may find this one a bit bloody, but those who love Box’s stunning set pieces will be in heaven.”

Born to Darkness by Suzanne Brockmann (RH/Ballantine; Brilliance Audio) launches a new series featuring former Navy SEAL Shane Laughlin, and involving a highly addictive longevity drug, human trafficking, and torture. PW says, “While a departure from Brockmann’s romantic military suspense novels, this story does contain some of her trademark elements a military hero, a same-sex romance between secondary characters, and sizzling connections to explore in future titles but never feels formulaic or stale, and the drama pulls readers in from page one.”

Young Adult

The Kane Chronicles Survival Guide by Rick Riordan (Disney/Hyperion) is a primer on the people, places, gods, and creatures found in Rick Riordan’s series.

Movie Tie-In

The World of the Hunger Games by Kate Egan (Scholastic) is a full-color guide to all the districts of Panem and all the participants in the Hunger Games, with photographs from the movie, a glossary and new quotes from Suzanne Collins. Releasing on the day the movie opens (making you suspect that it contains spoilers), the cover has already been teased by Entertainment Weekly. It follows The Hunger Games Tribute Guide by Emily Seife  (Scholastic, $7.99.), which continues at #2 on the upcoming NYT Paperback Advice & Miscellaneous list after five weeks, and The Hunger Games, the official illustrated movie companion by Kate Egan (Scholastic, $18.99), at #4 on the same list.


Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed (RH/Knopf; Random House Audio; OverDrive) is a memoir of a 26 year-old young woman’s emotional devastation after the death of her mother and the weeks she spent hiking the 1,100-mile Pacific Crest Trail in 1995 as her family, marriage, and sanity unravel. Kirkus calls it “a candid, inspiring narrative of the author’s brutal physical and psychological journey through a wilderness of despair to a renewed sense of self.” Reese Witherspoon just purchased the film rights and will star as Strayed, who also wrote the novel Torched. It’s People magazine’s lead review this week, with 4 of a possible 4 stars; “with grace, wild humor and transcendent insights..Strayed’s language is so vivid, sharp and compelling that you feel the heat of the desert, the frigid ice of the High Sierra and the breathtaking power of one remarkable woman finding her way — and herself — one brave step at a time.”

Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son’s First Son by Anne Lamott (Penguin/Riverhead; Thorndike Press; Penguin Audiobooks) is a new memoir, in which the author of the parenting classic Operating Instructions learns that her son, Sam, is about to become a father at nineteen, and writes a journal about the first year of her grandson Jax’s life. Booklist says, “Funny, frantic, and frustrating, Lamott enthusiastically embraces this new chapter in her life, learning that she is a wiser grandparent than parent who, nevertheless, managed to produce one pretty remarkable son.” It receives 3.5 stars in the new issue of People magazine.


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