New Title Radar: July 30 – August 5

Indicating anticipation for two of the titles arriving next week, Megan Abbott‘s sixth crime novel, Dare Me and M.L. Stedman‘s debut The Light Between Oceans, have already received strong mainstream reviews. New novels by Margaret Dilloway, Fiona Neill and Jennie Fields also have solid trade reviews behind them. Usual suspects include Dean Koontz, Kay Hooper, Susan Wiggs and YA author Sara Shepard. In nonfiction, Gretchen Rubin is back with a followup to the Happiness Project, historian Ben McIntyre takes a fresh look at D-Day, crime writer Stuart Woods republishes his 1977 sailing memoir, and the Pro Football Hall of Fame weighs in with a celebration of the game for its 50th Anniversary.

Watch List

Dare Me by Megan Abbott (Hachette/Little,Brown/Reagan Arthur; Hachette Audio) is the story of a varsity cheer leading squad whose pecking order is overturned by a new coach, who then becomes a suspect in a murder investigation. It’s a summer reading pick by Entertainment Weekly (“It feels groundbreaking when Abbott takes noir conventions — loss of innocence, paranoia, the manipulative sexuality of newly independent women — and suggests that they’re rooted in high school, deep in the hearts of all-American girls.” Grade: A-). The new issue of People says, “If cheerleaders scared you in high school, you’ll finish the haunting Dare Me convinced you were right.” Holds, while not yet heavy, are building in many librariesHer sixth novel, this one may be Abbott’s breakout.

The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns by Margaret Dilloway (Putnam Adult) is the author’s second novel, in which a solitary, prickly woman who grows roses competitively must unexpectedly make room in her life for her wayward niece. It was a BEA Librarians’s Shout ‘n’ Share title. LJ says, “engaging, enlightening, thoughtful, this is a winner.”

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman (S&S/Scribner; S&S Audio) is set in 1926 Australia, where a childless couple in a lighthouse claim a baby they find in a boat, with ensuing complications. This one gets an early review in the New York Times, which warns that it “does occasionally dip into the melodrama pot; Isabel at one point screams, ‘Don’t take my baby away!’ It’s a moving tale, regardless. Prepare to weep.” This week’s People magazine declares, “Stedman’s debut signals a career certain to deliver future treasures.” We’ve already issued a holds alert for this one.

What the Nanny Saw by Fiona Neill (Penguin/Riverhead; Tantor Media) is the tale of a London investment banker’s unraveling during the 2008 financial crisis, told by the nanny, who holds his family together but has secrets of her own. It’s the second novel by British newspaper columnist Neill. LJ says, “this biting drama is filled with tension and remarkably flawed characters. Neill’s engrossing tale makes for an addictive read, and one can only keep turning the pages to get to the inescapable conclusion.”

The Age of Desire by Jennie Fields (Penguin/Viking/Pamela Dorman) imagines a middle-aged Edith Wharton in her first physically passionate affair, with a younger American journalist. LJ says the author’s fourth novel should “appeal to those who enjoyed Paula McLain’s The Paris Wife or other stories focusing on the stormy romantic lives of creative people from past eras.”

Usual Suspects

Odd Apocalypse by Dean Koontz (RH/Bantam; RH Large Print; Brilliance Audio) is the fifth Odd Thomas novel about a short-order cook who can see dead people, and helps them when he can. LJ says, “Odd’s fanbase with fantasy-horror devotees is certain to grow, while previous admirers of his quirky charms will not be disappointed. Odd’s screen debut, starring Anton Yelchin and Willem Dafoe, later this fall is certain to attract new readers.”

Haven by Kay Hooper (Penguin/Berkley; Brilliance Audio) is the 13th thriller featuring the Special Crimes Unit, this time sending a paranormal investigator to a small North Carolina mountain town. PW says, “the juxtaposition of the idyllic town and the sadistic sociopath makes the horrors of the crimes stand out, but the basic investigative errors made by just about all of the characters seem to come straight from a schlock horror film with the audience yelling, ‘Don’t go in there!'”

Return to Willow Lake by Susan Wiggs (Harlequin/Mira; Brilliance Audio) the next in the Lakeshore Chronicles is the story of a woman whose near-perfect life is derailed when her mother unexpectedly gets pregnant.

Young Adult

Hide and Seek (Lying Game Serious #4) by Sara Shepard (Harper Teen) is told from beyond the grave by an adopted daughter whose long-lost twin sister has taken her place, but faces the same potentially fatal perils.


Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon a Project, Read Samuel Johnson, and My Other Experiments in the Practice of Everyday Life by Gretchen Rubin (RH/Crown/Archetype; RH Audio) is the sequel to the author’s hit debut The Happiness Project. PW says, “although it lacks the freshness and originality of her earlier book, this perceptive sequel offers elegant musings about the nature of happiness combined with concrete ways to make the place where we sleep, eat, and watch TV truly a home.”

Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies by Ben Macintyre (RH/Crown; RH Large Print Publishing; RH Audio) explains how the D-Day landings became the most well-kept secrets of WWII. PW says that it “effortlessly weaves the agents’ deliciously eccentric personalities with larger wartime events to shape a tale that reads like a top-notch spy thriller.”

Blue Water, Green Skipper by Stuart Woods (Penguin/Putnam) is a republication of the crime author’s memoir of how he single-handedly sailed across the Atlantic in 1973 after quitting his job in advertising, before he finished the first of his 50 novels. PW says, “casual readers will enjoy the adventurous portions of the tale, but sailing aficionados will get the most out of Woods’s journey.”

The Pro Football Hall of Fame 50th Anniversary Book: Where Greatness Lives editedby John Thorn and Joe Horrigan, (Hachette/Grand Central) features commentaries by every living Hall of Famer, and quotes or bios from those who are gone.

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