Archive for the ‘Fiction’ Category

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Wednesday, May 10th, 2017

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Patterson, Father and Son Authors

Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

Co-authors James Patterson and his son Jack, sat down with CBS This Morning to discuss their first book together, released last week, Penguins of America, (Hachette/ Little, Brown).

Described as a “childrens book that illustrates the humorous connection between Penguins and humans,” the authors say the inspiration came from Jack’s obsession as a kid with seeing the world as if it were populated by penguins. Asked who the audience is, Patterson replies it will appeal to anyone “from 2 to 102. Kids are going to like it. They won’t get some of them, but they will get a lot of them. That’s the way kids are, they’re used to not getting everything, but they will love the illustrations.”

9780316346993_33d8d-2  51aCWVVUNDL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_

Asked about the novel he is currently working on with his latest collaborator, Bill Clinton, James Patterson says they are about “halfway through it.” Asked whether they will work on more books together, Patterson replies with a somewhat hopeful “Maybe.”


Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

The announcement of the publication date of the new book by the author of The Martian, Andy Weir, set SF sites ablaze and the book rising on Amazon’s sales rankings.

Unsurprisingly, given the success of the adaptation of the author’s previous book, film rights have been acquired by the same team that produced that blockbuster adaptation.

Described as a “crime novel set on the moon,” the book is listed on wholesaler catalogs.

9780553448122_dacc7Artemis: A Novel
Andy Weir
PRH/Crown, November 14, 2017
Hardcover, 384 pages
$27.00 USD, $36.00 CAD
ISBN 9780553448122, 0553448129

Patterson’s Latest Partner in Crime

Monday, May 8th, 2017

51aCWVVUNDL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_James Patterson’s newest co-author is getting top billing. According to the Associated Press, Patterson and former president Bill Clinton are writing a thriller together, appropriately titled The President is Missing.

The Amazon listing shows that it will be released on June 11, 2018, ISBN 978-0316412698. In an unusual move, it will be published jointly by PRH/ Knopf, which has published Clinton’s most recent books, and Patterson’s publisher, Hachette/Little, Brown.

In a the press release announcing the book, the publishers say it will be “a unique amalgam of intrigue, suspense and behind-the-scenes global drama from the highest corridors of power. It will be informed by details that only a president can know.”

Clinton adds, “Working on a book about a sitting president — drawing on what I know about the job, life in the White House and the way Washington works — has been a lot of fun. And working with Jim has been terrific. I’ve been a fan of his for a very long time.”

The Hill adds that Clinton and Patterson will go on a national book tour to promote their novel.

Hearing the news, we had to check the date, but April Fools Day was over a month ago. Further backing it up, the story is being reported by several other sources, including the Washington Post. and the New York Times, which quotes unnamed sources saying the idea was cooked up by the agent the two men share.

GOT Spinoffs?

Monday, May 8th, 2017

UPDATE: In a blog post, Martin corrects several details in these stories.

HBO is searching for a way to keep viewers tuned in and paying subscription fees once Game of Thrones, their landmark and most popular show, ends sometime next year.

Entertainment Weekly reports that the network has “taken the highly unusual step of developing four different ideas from different writers …  a potentially massive expansion of the popular fantasy universe.”

George R.R. Martin is involved with two of the four projects, teaming up with Jane Goldman (Kingsman: The Secret Service, X-Men: First Class) on one and with Carly Wray (Mad Men) on the other. The other two are being worked on by Max Borenstein (Kong: Skull Island, Fox’s Minority Report) and Brian Helgeland (A Knight’s Tale, L.A. Confidential).

None of the projects are finalized or greenlit yet and HBO will only say that the potential follow-ups will “explore different time periods of George R. R. Martin’s vast and rich universe.” The NYT warns “The earliest a new season of ‘Thrones’ could come would likely be 2019.”

In March, Mashable reported that showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss have no plans to write any of the follow-ups but will serve as executive producers on any further GOT project. Martin will serve as EP as well.

That role, as well as his active involvement writing and developing two of the potential projects, raises the question of when Martin’s print series will be completed. He has previously admitted that other duties and events take time away from novel writing. After failing to meet several deadlines, he finally told his fans “it will be done when it’s done.” Vanity Fair goes so far as to say “even if he has, as some suspect, turned in his manuscript for The Winds of Winter, the final book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series—A Dream of Springmay be deferred indefinitely.”

Meanwhile, Game of Thrones returns on July 16 for its seventh season.


Monday, May 8th, 2017

Into the WaterReviews are pouring in for Paula Hawkins’s second novel, Into the Water (PRH/Riverhead; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample). So far, seven are pans, as Literary Hub’s Book Marks characterizes them, with just one rave, one positive and one mixed.

In The Guardian, crime writer Val McDermid gives Hawkins some sympathy, “The second novel is a notorious challenge to a writer. Hawkins had a mountain to climb after the success of The Girl on the Train and no doubt the sales of her second thriller will be massive. I suspect her readers’ enjoyment may be less so.”

Entertainment Weekly offers a rare life raft, giving the novel a B-, writing, “The book’s piled-on storylines lack the feverish, almost subdermal intimacy of Train, and Hawkins’ pulp psychology has only the soggiest sort of logic. Still, buried in her humid narrative is an intriguing pop-feminist tale of small-town hypocrisy, sexual politics, and wrongs that won’t rinse clean.” (They gave The Girl on the Train an A-).

USA Today is also on board, writing,”The various plot currents eventually converge, and when they do Into the Water takes off with a rush … So do dive in. The payoff is a socko ending. And a noirish beach read that might make you think twice about dipping a toe in those dark, chilly waters.”

Reviews are predictors of popularity only to the extent that they anticipate word of mouth an this book has legs. Movie rights were sold to Dremaworks, it is rising on Amazon’s rankings, and is currently in the top ten. Although holds were light prepub, they have risen dramatically in several libraries, jumping from ratios of 2:1 to 5:1, and in one case from 4:1 to 12:1.

We expect it to to hit the NYT bestseller list in the top five next week and stay there the next month or so, sliding down and settling in for the rest of the summer. In other words, while not at the level of The Girl on the Train, it will do as well as most books by established best selling authors.

UPDATE: Hawkins was interviewed today on ABC’s Good Morning America.


Sunday, May 7th, 2017

The BBC has announced that it has put into production 11 new series. Several are adaptations of favorite books.

9780375756726_61463Variety reports that the creator of Call the Midwife, Heidi Thomas, will adapt Louisa May Alcott’s beloved classic Little Women. The group that created Wolf Hall is producing.

A joint project with PBS Masterpiece, The Huffington Post reports the three-hour miniseries will start production this July.

In a press release, Thomas, said the story’s “humanity, humor and tenderness never date, and as a study of love, grief and growing up it has no equal. There could be no better time to revisit the story of a family striving for happiness in an uncertain world … we hope to deliver a new screen version that will speak to contemporary audiences, meet the expectations of the book’s ardent fans and bring a whole new generation to this great classic.”

9780198702641_cf09fAlso in the works at BBC Drama, the producers who created Victoria will take on a new adaptation of H.G. Wells’s SF masterpiece, The War of the Worlds. The writer who created the TV version of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell is on board. Filming will begin in early 2018.

Vikram Seth’s critically acclaimed novel, A Suitable Boy is also being adapted. Set in India, the story revolves around efforts to create an arranged marriage.

9780141182131_e7fd8Announced earlier, the BBC is currently producing a four-part adaptation of E.M. Forster’s Howard’s End, set to air on the Starz channel in the US some time this year.

The other shows are not likely to appear until 2018 or later.



Dying to Get In

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017


A new adaptation of one of Agatha Christie’s most beloved cases, Murder on the Orient Express (HarperCollins/Morrow; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample), directed by Kenneth Branagh, is steaming towards us, scheduled to arrive on Nov. 22, 2017, ideal timing for awards considerations.

To fit the enormous cast onto the cover of their new issue, Entertainment Weekly took the unusual approach of rotating the image, asserting, “a goodly portion of planet Earth’s most famous residents have gathered” for the shoot (we did what everyone at the newsstands will be doing, flipped it sideways).

According to the magazine, “The book’s large number of supporting characters allowed Branagh to cast stars keen to take roles that were chunkier than cameos but did not demand too much of their time.” In addition to Branagh, who both directs and plays Hercule Poirot, among the others featured on the cover are Daisy Ridley (Star Wars), Michelle Pfeiffer, Willem Dafoe, Leslie Odom Jr. (Hamilton), Judi Dench, Derek Jacobi, Josh Gad (Beauty and the Beast), Olivia Colman (Broadchurch), Penélope Cruz, and Johnny Depp.

The mystery places the meticulous Hercule Poirot on the famed Orient Express. The train is delayed by a snowstorm, a perfect setting for murder.  Branagh tells The Hollywood Reporter that “This is not only a who dunnit and how dunnit, it’s crucially a why dunnit.”

Underlining Christie’s timeless appeal, the NYT highlighted her recently in one of their “Enthusiast” features (“an occasional column dedicated to the books we love to read and reread”), describing why reading Christie is so pleasurable:

“[Christie] captures something elemental about mysteries: that motive and opportunity may suffice for a crime, but the satisfying part is the detective’s revelation of whodunit, how and why. I never tried to piece together the clues. I vastly preferred to hear it from Hercule Poirot or Jane Marple. Why spend time with such endearing, clever characters if you’re not going to let them do their job? And while their job was ostensibly solving crimes, really it was storytelling.”

The trailer is not yet been released. HarperCollins is publishing mass market and trade paperback tie-ins on Oct. 31st.

The First Trailer

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017

Fan sites are doing hand springs over the first trailer for the film adaptation of Stephen King’s novel The Dark Tower released this morning.

“After what feels like ages, our first look at The Dark Tower is finally here—and it takes us into another world of death, destruction, and some very fancy gunwork from Idris Elba’s Roland the Gunslinger” writes the SF site io9.

The movie opens on August 4th.

New mass market paperback editions of the first four books in series were published in 2016, when the movie had an earlier release date. New tie-ins have been announced for Book One, The Gunslinger in several formats.

The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger
Stephen King, S&S
Trade Paperback , June 13, 2017
Mass Market, June 27, 2017
Hardcover, July 11, 2017

Mary Doria Russell’s Movie Deal

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017

9780812980004_9dbf29780062198761_2c369Doc Holliday is heading to the movies again in a new feature starring Jeremy Renner, reports Deadline Hollywood.

Film rights to Mary Doria Russell’s Doc (PRH/Ballantine) and Epitaph: A Novel Of The O.K. Corral (HC/Ecco), were sold to independent studio Palmister Media, which most recently released Collateral Beauty starring Will Smith.

“We are excited to re-introduce this classic American character to a whole new audience by chronicling Doc Holliday’s incredible transformation from Average Joe dentist to a man who Wyatt Earp called the ‘nerviest, speediest, deadliest man with a six-gun [he] ever knew’,” said Renner and a co-producer in a joint statement. Another producer for the project said, “Jeremy Renner as Doc Holliday…f*cking awesome.”

Renner will join the ranks of Victor Mature, Kirk Douglas, Stacey Keach, Dennis Quaid, and Val Kilmer, all of whom have played the dentist turned gunfighter in previous films.

Doc won the ALA Reading List award in 2012 and Epitaph was named one of LJ‘s best historical fiction novels of 2015. Washington Post book reviewer Ron Charles called Docfantastic” and wrote “If I had a six-shooter (and didn’t work in the District), I’d be firing it off in celebration of Doc … I’m in awe of how confidently Russell rides through this familiar territory, takes control and remakes all its rich heroism and tragedy.” The paper later called Epitapha remarkable accomplishment.”

Librarian Nancy Pearl discussed those novels with Russell in an interview in 2015.


Pennie Picks LILAC GIRLS

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017

9781101883082_110caCostco’s influential book buyer Pennie Clark Ianniciello, selects as her May “Buyers Pick” a debut novel, Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly (PRH/Ballantine; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample).  The novel is based on the true stories of three women from vastly different backgrounds who were involved with the Ravensbruck concentration camp during WWII.

The book was a hit with librarians. It was voted a LibaryReads Favorite of Favorites for 2016. Andrea Larson of Cook Memorial Public Library, Libertyville, IL wrote the annotation,

“This is story of the Ravensbruck Rabbits: seventy-four women prisoners in the Ravensbruck concentration camp. Using alternating first-person narratives, the characters relate their experiences from 1939 through 1959. Drawing upon a decade of research, Hall reconstructs what life was like in Ravensbruck. More than a war story, this is a tale of how the strength of women’s bonds can carry them through even the most difficult situations. Lilac Girls is a solid, compelling historical read.”

In an interview in the Costco Connection, Kelly says that after her 10 years writing and researching the book,  “I thought I might self-publish and no one would care.” Far from going unnoticed, Kelly gained a contract for it, as well as two more books, prequels to Lilac Girls.

People magazine pick and an Indie Next selection, it did not fare so well with the NYT, which was merciless in their review, saying that the characters are all “stereotype[s] with no narrative force” of their own, adding the killer line, “it takes some doing to make a concentration camp survivor appear an ingrate.”

Nevertheless, it managed to hit the lower rungs of NYT bestseller list, cresting at #13. It has gone on to do better in paperback and is currently #6 on that list after 8 weeks.

Holds remain active at almost every library we checked with a number still running a triple digit reserve list.

Mystery Writers Name the Year’s Best

Monday, May 1st, 2017

Edgar MWAEdgar Allan Poe would marvel that there is an award for outstanding mystery fiction given in his honor, and even more that the Edgar Awards,  awarded by the Mystery Writers of America, is now in its 71st year.

There was unexpected drama at the Awards banquet on Thursday, reports Publishers Weekly, when Jeffery Deaver halted in the midst of presenting an award. He was taken to the hospital, and happily, tests showed he was OK.

Among this years winners are:

9781455561780_72e84Before the Fall by Noah Hawley (Hachette/Grand Central; OverDrive Sample; pbk. coming June 2017) wins the top prize, for Best Novel.

Librarians got to know this author when he spoke at last year’s AAP Librarians lunch held at BEA. His fight novel arrived with enviable buzz. In a NYT Sunday Book Review, author Kristin Hannah called it “a complex, compulsively readable thrill ride of a novel.” It debuted at #2 on the NYT Hardcover Fiction list, remaining on the list for 13 weeks and appeared on several year-end best books lists. A film deal was announced well in advance of publication, and appears to still be in development, but Hawley has been occupied with his other gig, as the creator of the popular FX seres Fargo.

9780143108573_b2529The winner for Best First Novel was a LibraryReads pick last June, Under the Harrow by Flynn Berry (PRH/Penguin, pbk original; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample). Below is the LibraryReads annotation from Kimberly McGee, Lake Travis Community Library, Austin, TX,

“Nora leaves London to visit her sister, Rachel, in the countryside often. But this trip is different – a silent house, a dead dog hanging from the railing and so much blood. Nora stays, trying to help the police solve the case. She thinks it might have something to do with the unsolved attack on Rachel when she was just a teen but it could be someone new. This story is thrilling and quietly gripping. We become as obsessed as Nora in finding her sister’s killer and what if he strikes again?”

9781594205781_2dcf5Kate Summerscale, shortlisted before for The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, wins the Best Fact Crime category this year for The Wicked Boy: The Mystery of a Victorian Child Murderer (PRH/Penguin; OverDrive Sample; pbk. comes out July 2017). It re-tells the story of Robert and Nattie Coombs who killed their mother in 1895. The Atlantic wrote that Summerscale “expertly probes the deep anxieties of a modernizing era. Even better, she brings rare biographical tenacity and sympathy to bear.” PW said it “reads like a Dickens novel, including the remarkable payoff at the end.”

A full listing of all winners and nominees is online, a great resource for both RA and creating displays.

Even More Stephen King

Monday, May 1st, 2017

9781501143793_cfb83It’s a good time to review your inventory of Stephen King’s backlist. Yet another adaptation of one of his novels is on the way.

Deadline Hollywood reports that Oscar winner Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind) is adapting Firestarter (S&S/Pocket). This will be the second adaptation, following the 1984 version starring Drew Barrymore as a young girl who “develops pyrokinetic abilities and is abducted by a secret government agency that wants to harness her powerful gift as a weapon.”

In “Rereading Stephen King,” The Guardian acknowledged that the novel is often listed among King’s Top Ten works, “It’s early King, when (collective wisdom has it) he was still writing exciting, original novels, playing in the ballparks of horror-SF that his diehard early readers love.” However, objects their reader, it is “a very thin narrative, stretched over a pretty big book” and call it “easily … the least effective of King’s early works.” did a re-read as well, opening with the comment that it is “the most science fictional of King’s suspense novels, spawned a flop movie and its reputation has become tarnished with time,” concluding “Far from being one of his ‘meh’ books, approaching Firestarter with an open mind reveals it to be one of King’s most fascinating.”

This is now the 7th King adaptation in the works.

It is coming in September. When the trailer was released Deadline wrote that it “set a 24-hour global record with close to 200 million views.”

The long delayed Dark Tower is due out this summer. io9 wrote about the first footage shown at CinemaCon back in March, saying “It looked like a huge amalgamation of all of Stephen King’s books with plenty of original story worked in. This is not a straight adaptation. No, it’s a new take on this story. Almost an alternate dimension.” Look for a trailer arriving this weekTrailer Track predicts it will be shown ahead of this week’s screenings of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

Adding to the list, The Mist is coming on June 22nd. The TV series based on Mr. Mercedes is currently filming. In post-production, but with no release dates yet, are 1922, based on a short story, and Gerald’s Game, based on King’s 1992 novel.


Thursday, April 27th, 2017

9780765324016A ground-breaking fantasy series begun in 1984 has taken the first steps in the journey to the small screen.

Eliza Dushku, who starred as Faith on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, has optioned the rights to Glen Cook’s action-based epic, The Black Company series, reports Deadline Hollywood. She will star “in the pivotal role of the dark sorceress, The Lady.”

The series consists for four opening novels followed by various collections, the most recent of which is The Many Deaths of the Black Company (Macmillan/Tor/Forge; 2010; OverDrive Sample). Deadline writes that Tor will publish a new volume in 2018, Port of Shadows.

In 2005, Jeff VanderMeer interviewed Cook for The SF Site, writing Cook has “carved out a place for himself among the preeminent fantasy writers of the last twenty-five years with classics such as the Dread Empire trilogy and The Black Company novels. His work is unrelentingly real, complex, and honest. The sense of place that permeates his narrative and his characters gives his ‘fantasies’ more gravitas and grit than most novels that feature contemporary settings.” He goes on to quote Steven Erickson, “The thing about Glen Cook is that he single-handedly changed the field of fantasy — something a lot of people didn’t notice and maybe still don’t. He brought the story down to a human level, dispensing with the clichés and archetypes of princes, kings, and evil sorcerers.”

Deadline summarizes of the novels:

“[They follow] the exploits of the Black Company, an elite mercenary unit that carries out the often nefarious deeds of the highest bidder across a Tolkeinesque landscape. When these hard-bitten men discover the prophecy that the embodiment of good has been reborn, they must re-examine their loyalties. The Lady (Dushku), who rules over the Northern Empire, uses the Black Company to further her domination of a power structure rife with usurpers.”


Thursday, April 27th, 2017

9780525435006_a03ffHulu’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale (Houghton Mifflin, 1986; tie-in ed., PRH/Anchor, 2017; OverDrive Sample) premiered Wednesday, to glowing reviews.

The NYT calls it “spectacular” and says that the show “argues — with an assist from current events — that progress is neither automatic nor irreversible.”

The Washington Post headlines, “The Handmaid’s Tale isn’t just timely, it’s essential viewing for our fractured culture.”

The Guardian writes “It’s a horror, and it’s a thriller, but it is, at its core, a warning, about how oppression can creep up on you, and what happens when women’s lives are no longer their own.”

NPR says it is “chilling … a horror show unveiled in slow motion … In a country where sexual harassment scandals regularly land on the front page, the patriarchy of The Handmaid’s Tale doesn’t feel so far-fetched, which is the most horrific thing about it.”

Elle magazine takes an interesting approach to the book, asking a range of women authors how it shaped their “ideas of feminism, fairness, and dystopia.”

Louise O’Neill, author of Only Every Yours recalls reading when she was 15 and wondering “How is it possible that this book was written in 1985… and yet so little has changed in the last 15 years.” Reading it again this year, she’s asking the same question.

Sady Doyle, author of Trainwreck says the lessons of the book “set the table for how I would look at gender and power as an adult. I’m more glad than ever for the book as it’s become more necessary.”