New Title Radar, Week of Aug. 5

9780316211079   The Beast  Under A Texas Sky

James Patterson releases his 115th title next week, Mistress, (Hachette/Little, Brown), putting him on track to match last year’s record output of 13 titles (5 of them children’s). This is his second title with David Ellis, following Guilty Wives. Ellis released a title of his own just last week, The Last Alibi (Penguin/Putnam; Thorndike).

Other usual suspects arriving next week are Faye Kellerman with The Beast (HarperCollins/Morrow), W.E.B. Griffin and son William E. Butterworth’s next in the “Badge of Honor” series The Last Witness(Penguin/Putnam), Julie Garwood’s Hotshot (Penguin/Dutton; Thorndike) and Erica Spindler’s  Justice for Sara, (Macmillan/St. Martin’s Press).

In an unusual move, Dorothy Garlock’s Under a Texas Sky (Hachette/Grand Central; Thorndike) is being released simultaneously in hardcover and trade paperback.

All the titles highlighted here are listed on our downloadable spreadsheet, New Title Radar, Week of Aug. 5. Some are still available as digital ARC’s on Edelweiss and/or NetGalley, but hurry, they are generally removed once the books are published.

Watch List

Sandrine's Case

Sandrine’s Case (Perseus/Mysterious Press; HighBridge Audio)

With the number of titles he’s published and the awards he’s won, Thomas Cook can be considered a “usual suspect” but he is an author that still deserves to be introduced to a broader audience, according to many librarians. Booklist calls him a “master plotter” and this psychological courtroom drama “another fine effort from the always insightful Cook.”

Brewster, Mark Slouka, (Norton)

Lots of excitement surrounds this one. Librarians on GalleyChat have been talking about it for months and it was also A. Carstensen’s Shout ‘n’ Share Pick:

“One of the most beautiful books of the year. Set in Brewster, NY, in the late 1960s, this is the story of four young people, but especially Jon and his friend Ray. Jon’s parents were destroyed by his younger brother’s death. To escape, Jon takes up track where he makes a friend, Ray. Ray is always getting into fights, but when it is just them, he is insightful and honest. There is real darkness in their town, and it seems to collect around Ray’s father, a bigoted man. The writing is extraordinary, especially the way the author uses metaphors and the music of the era.”

A quick, evocative description comes from Norton’s Library Marketing Manager Golda Rademacher —  “It’s like entering a Bruce Springsteen song.”

Booksellers agree. It’s an IndieNext pick for August; “Raw and brutal at times, the well-drawn characters of this poignant story stay with you well after the book is closed.”

This Sunday’s New York Times Book Review calls it an “intense and elegiac novel … Slouka’s storytelling is sure and patient, deceptively steady and devastatingly agile.” Lots more reviews are coming — People, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Minneapolis Star Tribune, and the Boston Globe.


Babayaga, Toby Barlow, (Macmillan/FSG)

Another GalleyChat favorite that is also resonating with independent booksellers who made it an IndieNext Pick for August. The author’s debut,  Sharp Teeth, was described as “Romeo and Juliet, werewolf-style.” It was an Alex Award-winner as well as on the RUSA’s Best Adult Genre Fiction Reading List. It was written in verse, but the new book is straightforward prose.

The Realm of Last ChancesThe Realm of Last Chances, Steve Yarbrough, (RH/Knopf; RH Audio)

This is one of the titles Wendy Bartlett, Cuyahoga P.L. is betting on, buying extra copies for browsing. She calls it “a cheatin’ book for people who think they’re too smart to ruin their lives by cheating .. for the strong literary crowd who were not quite satisfied by Gone Girl. This has that same frisson of danger in a tamer setting that book clubs will secretly tell each other about … The author has literary credentials (a PEN/Faulkner finalist) and he writes like a  modern day Flaubert about a morally conflicted modern Emma Bovary. Unfortunately, the cover doesn’t do much for it, but  if that gets in the right reviewer’s hands (the two prepub reviewers are diametrically opposed; LJ was lukewarm and Kirkus red hot), it will be very strong.”

RathbonesThe Rathbones, Janice Clark, (RH/Doubleday)

A debut set in a whaling community in 1850’s Connecticut, with elements of the supernatural, which Booklist says is “a dark combination of fairy tale and fever dream, replete with reality-bending, dark secrets, and a fascinating, multigenerational family.” It is on The Millions‘ list of most-anticipated titles, with this description, “Think Moby-Dick directed by David Lynch from a screenplay by Gabriel Garcia Marquez …with Charles Addams doing the set design and The Decembrists supplying the chanteys.”

It comes with a cover blurb from Erin Morgenstern (The Night Circus) “A remarkable tale, both  epic and intimate. Beautifully crafted and elegantly told A siren song of a story.” The author spoke to librarians at the Random House BEA Breakfast.
The Ghost Bride

The Ghost Bride: A Novel, Yangsze Choo, (HarperCollins/Morrow)

Word must be getting out about this big debut from Morrow (listen to the description from HarperCollins Buzz session at ALA); it is already showing holds in many libraries. Another IndieNext Pick for August, “Set on the Malay Peninsula in the late 19th century, this debut novel tells the story of Li Lan, whose father promises her in marriage to the recently deceased son of a wealthy local family as a means of discharging his considerable debt. When the dead son begins visiting Li Lan in her dreams, she becomes increasingly desperate to escape him. After an accidental overdose of a sleeping draught separates her soul from her body, Li Lan must navigate the world of the dead with the aid of two allies — Fan and Er Lang — neither of whom are what they appear to be. Full of danger, romance, and eerie beauty, this is the tale of a young girl’s quest to find her own destiny and choose love over duty.” —Billie Bloebaum, Powell’s Books at PDX, Portland, OR


Hothouse: The Art of Survival and the Survival of Art at America’s Most Celebrated Publishing House, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, (S&S)

Independent booksellers have made this insider’s look at publishing their #1 pick for August of titles they plan to handsell. As fascinating as the book sounds (“scintillating history… [of] a cosmopolitan, intellectual, if shabby kingdom where sex was the currency of the realm” Booklist), it’s hard to imagine it reaching a wide audience and, indeed, library ordering is very light. The Entertainment Weekly review in the new issue, is generally positive, but gives it a B+, marking it down because, “Kachka labors too long over the minutiae of contracts and deals.”  The author is a contributing editor at New York magazine, which will guarantee a certain amount of attention.

Queen's GambitQueen’s Gambit, Elizabeth Fremantle, (S&S; Thorndike)
This debut historical novel arrives with an unusual number of positive pre-pub reviews (only Kirkus manages to rain on this parade). About Katherine Parr, the sixth wife of Henry VIII, it’s drawing comparisons to Hilary Mantel’s critical and popular successes, Wolf Hall, and Bring Up the Bodies.


Hungry: What Eighty Ravenous Guys Taught Me about Life, Love, and the Power of Good Food, Darlene Barnes, (Hyperion)

Who can resist a memoir by a woman who had the cajones to try to introduce a bunch of frat boys to a decent diet? Read the Kirkus review; it will convince you even if the cover and subtitle don’t.

Media Magnets

Manson Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson, Jeff Guinn, (S&S)

It’s been over 25 years since Vincent Bugilosi’s major best seller, Helter Skelter (Norton; amazingly still in print) examined the lurid 1969 Hollywood murders committed by Manson and his band of followers. Attention is building for this new look at the case; USA Today interviewed the author this week. Entertainment Weekly gives it B, saying, “If the result is low on flair, Guinn gets high marks for diligence.” More media is coming, including NPR’s Weekend All Things Considered, and TV’s Inside Edition.

Those Few Precious DaysThese Few Precious Days: The Final Year of Jack with Jackie, Christopher Andersen, (S&S/Gallery)

The author, a former senior editor for People magazine, has written over a dozen best-selling bios of well-known figures. He is scheduled to appear on NBC’s Today Show next week. The upcoming 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination will bring increased interest in the Kennedys, which will be fed by more books and  the movie Parkland, opening Sept. 20, about the chaotic hours after the dying JFK was brought to the Dallas hospital of the title.

Best Seller Followup

Clark Howard's Living Large for the Long Haul

Clark Howard’s Living Large for the Long Haul: Consumer-Tested Ways to Overhaul Your Finances, Increase Your Savings, and Get Your Life Back on Track, Clark Howard, Mark Meltzer, Theo Thimou, (Penguin/Avery; Tantor Audio)

Howard has a show on CNN’s Headline News. His previous title, was on the NYT Pbk. Advice best seller list for 21 weeks, hitting #1 in it’s third week. You can expect that he will be promoting this new book on his show.

There are no prepub reviews, so several libraries have not ordered it.

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