New Title Radar, Jan. 21 to 26

Attention is building for Truth in Advertising, a satiric debut novel by a contemporary real life Mad Man, John Kenney. Three memoirs from women journalists vie for attention this week and are likely to get it, since other journalists tend to pay attention to their own. Among the usual suspects is the first title of 2013 by James Patterson (will he beat his 2010 record of 14 titles in a single year?).

Watch List

Truth in AdvertisingTruth in Advertising, John Kenney, (S&S/Touchstone)

Check your holds; they are already starting for this debut by New Yorker contributor Kenney, a tongue-in-cheek story about a contemporary Mad Man. It’s starred in 3 of 4 prepub reviews (the only holdout is PW, but the review reads like a star). Booksellers have also anointed it, making it an IndieNext pick for January.

Consumer reviews are arriving early, signaling the expectation of a hit. Entertainment Weekly, gives it an A-;

Kenney, who was a copywriter for 17 years, is on his game when lampooning corporate absurdity and less so when parsing Fin’s rather generic after-hours crises. But while many of Fin’s ad ideas — including a diaper spot featuring Al Gore’s head on babies’ bodies — fail spectacularly, we’re sold on Kenney’s trenchant, quick-witted debut.

The book trailer, a mock focus group, is so accurate, it’s painful (stick with it, it’s worth it). As Kenney writes in the New Yorker‘s “Page-Turner” blog, he knows the territory well.

Out of WarrantyOut of Warranty, Haywood Smith, St. Martin’s Press

A wry title for a social satire that Robin Nesbitt of Columbus Metropolitan Lib. describes in LJ as about people “dealing with health insurance claims and struggling to find insurance until [they’re] old enough to qualify for Medicare.” By the author of The Red Hat Club and Wife-in-Law.


Saturday Night WidowsSaturday Night Widows, Becky Aikman, (RH/Crown; RH Audio; BOT)

This debut memoir is by a former Newsday writer. She enlisted five women who, like her, were widowed early, to form a support group. PW says, “All the women had complicated stories of their husbands’ death, feelings of guilt and insecurity, and more or less healthy libidos. Indeed, dating and finding new partners prove the leitmotif, especially for the author, who had remarried a year before she even organized the group. As a result, the work feels stifled and lacking emotional drive, resulting in a kind of detached, academic tome.”

Drinking With MenDrinking with Men, Rosie Schaap, Penguin/Riverhead; Brilliance Audio

A memoir from New York Times Magazine ‘s monthly “Drink” columnist and former librarian, Rosie Schaap, that actually advocates for the pleasures of the barroom (and for women being accepted as regulars in that generally male domain). Entertainment Weekly gives it a B+, saying, “It’s a cozy, intimate pleasure to go belly-to-bar with [Schaap].

The Rabbi and the Godless BlondeJujitsu Rabbi and the Godless Blonde
, Rebecca Dana, (Penguin/Putnam – Amy Einhorn Books)

It’s such an arresting title that it barely needs underscoring, but what looks like a simple ribbon on the cover is actually a piece of bacon (click on it for a larger version). This debut by a writer for  Newsweek and the Daily Beast gets an A- from Entertainment Weekly, saying Dana’s “… take on being young and smart and emotionally adrift in the city is odd and charming enough to be that elusive thing: a true original.”

Usual Suspects

Private Berlin 9780399161483 Ever After

Private Berlin, James Patterson and Mark Sullivan, (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio; Hachette Large Print)

This, the fifth thriller about the international PI firm known as “Private,” is the first book of 2013 with Patterson’s name on it. There was actually a time when that happened just once or twice a year. Patterson reached a high of 14 titles in 2010, but “only” released 12 last year.

Suspect, Robert Crais, (Penguin/Putnam; Brilliance Audio; Wheeler Large Print Brilliance Audio)

Look closely at the cover; this stand-alone thriller by the author of the popular Elvis Cole series, features a German Shepherd, suffering PTSD after an IED killed her human partner in Afghanistan.

Ever After, Kim Harrison, (Harper Voyager; Blackstone Audio)

The 11th volume in Harrison’s popular ongoing urban-fantasy series (A Perfect Blood, 2012, etc.) continues the adventures of a detective who also happens to be a witch, Rachel Morgan.

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