Archive for the ‘Seasons’ Category

A Reading Life Revealed

Wednesday, May 24th, 2017

Pamela Paul who oversees all of the New York Times book coverageincluding the Book Review, was featured on NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday, ostensibly to talk about her new book My Life with Bob: Flawed Heroine Keeps Book of Books, Plot Ensues (Macmillan/Henry Holt and Co.; OverDrive Sample), but most of the interview focused on her day job.

Explaining the differences between reviews in the daily paper and the Sunday Book Review, she says that the daily reviews begin with the critic, who chooses which books to review. For the Book Review, the editors choose the books, but more importantly who will review them. Trying to imagine who New York Times readers would most want to read on a particular book is the  most creative and “delicious” part of the process, she says, resulting in pairings such as Bill Clinton on Bob Caro‘s fourth book on LBJ, or Michael Lewis on former Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner’s memoir.

As to her own book, it’s based on Paul’s reading diary which she dubbed “Bob,” or “Book of Books.” What titles shaped the most powerful book review editor in the country? A large diet of Nancy Drews and frequent trips to the library to make up for a home not filled with books. As we noted earlier, prepub reviews were strong, with LJ saying, “Titles about reading and books abound, but this memoir stands in a class by itself. Bibliophiles will treasure, but the addictive storytelling and high-quality writing will vastly increase its audience.”

Libraries ordered the title very lightly. All that we checked are showing active holds lists.

SEE WHAT I HAVE DONE Leads EW’s Summer Reading

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017

In time for making summer plans this Memorial Day weekend, Entertainment Weekly has released their ranked list of the 20 must-read books of the season. It’s in the new issue featuring Wonder Woman on the cover, but not yet online.

You can play along by reading the digital review copies of the chosen titles to see if you agree. Our spreadsheet of all the titles notes which are available for direct download or request.

Entertainment Weekly, Summer Reading, 2017

The top pick is a debut, See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt (Atlantic Monthly Press; RH Audio/BOT; Aug. 1; DRC available). It was inspired by a dream in which Lizzie Borden poked the author in the leg and said “I have something to tell you about my father. He has a lot to answer for.” EW says, “The resulting novel is compelling, scary – and gruesomely visceral.” The Guardian is on board too, calling it “a surprising, nastily effective” work with “irresistible momentum and fevered intensity … part fairytale, part psychodrama.”

Arundhati Roy’s return to the novel form, twenty years after The God of Small Things, is #2, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness (PRH/Knopf; RH Audio/BOT; June 6). The magazine calls it “gorgeously wrought.” Vogue says “From the novel’s beginning—’She lived in the graveyard like a tree’—one is swept up in the story.”

At #3 is New People by Danzy Senna (PRH/Riverhead; Penguin Audio; Aug. 1; DRC available). Offering a killer invitation to run out and pick it up, EW says: “You’ll gulp Senna’s novel in a single sitting but then mull it over for days.” Kirkus stars and offers a rare three exclamation points, writing “A great book about race and a great book all around.!!!

The new graphic novel by Jillian Tamaki is #4, Boundless (Macmillan/Drawn and Quarterly; May 30): EW says the book “dazzles” and that it is “lush, vibrant, and packed with emotion.” The Comics Journal opens their review with “It’s said that great works of art are meant to be viewed at a distance from eye-level. Jillian Tamaki’s Boundless, inspires this same viewing condition.”

Dean Koontz wraps up the top 5 with The Silent Corner: A Novel of Suspense (PRH/Bantam; Recorded Books; June 20; DRC available). It is the launch of a new series and features an FBI agent trying to understand what is causing happy people to kill themselves, including her husband. The Hollywood Reporter says it is already optioned for a TV series and writes that Koontz plans to write at least five more in the series.

Several other summer previews have also been released, see our links at the right, under Season Previews. We will add to it as new lists appear.

Hitting Screens, Week of May 22, 2017

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

At the box office over the weekend, the YA adaptation Everything Everything brought in $12 million, outpacing the fourth in the established childrens franchise, Wimpy Kid, a disappointment with just $7.2 million.

A single adaptation airs this week. Netflix’s War Machine starring Brad Pitt begins streaming on May 26.

The film fictionalizes  Michael Hastings’s The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan (PRH/Plume; Tantor Audio; OverDrive Sample). Pitt’s character is based on General Stanley McChrystal who was fired after Hastings’s exposé ran in  Rolling Stone.

The movie details how the fictional general, Glen McMahon, is given command of the coalition forces in Afghanistan and, because of his ego and hubris is wildly unpredictable. Written and directed by David Michôd (Animal Kingdom), it is produced by the team that created the Oscar-nominated The Big Short. Tilda Swinton, Sir Ben Kingsley, Anthony Michael Hall, and Topher Grace star alongside Pitt.

The Hollywood Reporter writes that Neflix paid $60 million to finance the film after its original supporters backed out, fearful the movie’s arch black comedy slant might anger conservative audiences.

The single review to date is a rave. The Star-Telegram says “Brad Pitt, we salute you” and goes on to say “Pitt chews scenery in this dark comedy, a spiritual cousin to such films as Dr. Strangelove and Catch-22.”

To qualify for awards, in addition to streaming on Netflix, the film will also play in a few theaters in Los Angeles and New York.


Friday, May 19th, 2017

ABC News chief national correspondent and Nightline co-anchor Byron Pitts just published a book about teens who overcome horrible circumstances ranging from bullying to abuse, addiction, and getting caught up in wars, Be the One: Six True Stories of Teens Overcoming Hardship with Hope (S&S; S&S Books for Young Readers; OverDrive Sample).

It is soaring on Amazon thanks to segments on The View and other shows, moving from #52,295 to #54.

Pitts knows the ground he covers. He tells The View he was raised by a very young single mother, did not learn to read until he was 13, and struggled with stuttering well into college. He says the teens he met were all dealt a bad hand. They opened a new world to him, illustrating the African proverb, “When you pray, move your feet.”

Booklist says the book “reads like an engrossing news program…Uplifting in its message and captivating in its content.”

Titles to Know and Recommend, Week of May 22, 2017

Friday, May 19th, 2017






It’s a relatively slow publishing week in terms of big names. Other than James Patterson, who releases a YA novel this week, Crazy House (Hachette/jimmy patterson; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample), the most recognized name is Michael Crichton, whose novel Dragon Teeth (HC/Harper; HarperAudio) is being published posthumously. Prepub preview are strong and it’s an Indie Next pick (see “Peer Picks,” below). The NYT book editor, Pamela Paul, publishes a book about, guess what? Reading. My Life with Bob (Macmillan/Henry Holt and Co.; OverDrive Sample) uses the reading notebook she has kept since high school, called “Bob,” or Book of Books, as the basis of a memoir. Prepub reviews are strong, with LJ saying, “Titles about reading and books abound, but this memoir stands in a class by itself. Bibliophiles will treasure, but the addictive storytelling and high-quality writing will vastly increase its audience.”

The titles covered in this column, and several other notable books arriving next week, are listed with ordering information and alternate formats, on our downloadable spreadsheet, EarlyWord New Title Radar, Week of May 22, 2017.

Peer Picks

Four Indie Next titles from the June list hit shelves this week.

Standard Deviation, Katherine Heiny (PRH/Knopf; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample).

“I was a fan of Single, Carefree, Mellow so it was a treat to read Katherine Heiny’s latest release. Standard Deviation wryly delves into the complications and contradictions inherent in good, long-term love and parenting a slightly more challenging child. This is a laugh-out-loud, funny read with brains and heart, and a gentler world to spend time in for anyone who just needs a break.” —Sarah Bumstead, Vroman’s Bookstore, Pasadena, CA

Additional Buzz: The author will be interviewed on the upcoming NPR Weekend Edition Saturday. Reviews are scheduled in the New Yorker, the Washington Post, and People magazine. BookPage lists her as one of “10 Women To Watch In 2017,” saying “Heiny offers a wry, often hilarious take on monogamy and marriage with her debut novel.” LJ includes the book on their list of May “Top Debut Novels,” calling it “brightly funny.”

Shadow Man, Alan Drew (PRH/RH;RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample).

Shadow Man is supposed to be the story of a serial killer who was horribly abused as a child and the efforts of the police to track him down and keep him from killing others. However, this book is really about Ben Wade, one of the detectives on the case. While the victims of the serial killer greatly affect Wade, who gives his all to catch him, it is the apparent suicide of a young teenager that really shakes up his world. Much more than just a search for a killer, Shadow Man is about living in the shadows of what happened in the past. Shadow Man could be called a thriller, but it is really much more than that, with characters that are so real you can feel their pain.” —Nancy McFarlane, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC

Additional Buzz: Literary Hub lists it as one of the “5 Crime Must-Reads Coming in May,” writing it features “indelible characters.” Booklist and Kirkus star, with Kirkus writing “An unusually deft blending of styles, Drew’s engrossing novel works equally well as psychological study and cop thriller, literary novel and genre piece.” Booklist also includes it in their list of “The Year’s Best Crime Novels, 2017,” saying it “beats to multiple hearts of darkness.”

Dragon Teeth, Michael Crichton (HC/Harper; HarperLuxe, HarperAudio).

“I worshipped Michael Crichton. I cried for two days when he died, in part because there would be no more novels. However, after all these years, Dragon Teeth is a true surprise, and a joyful one indeed! Although he’s more associated with futuristic science, Mr. Crichton was a dab hand at the historic thriller, and this novel is deeply grounded in fact. At its heart are two feuding paleontologists, Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Marsh, participants in the late-1800s Bone Wars, a period of frenzied fossil discovery. Add to the mix a fictional Yale student, friendly and unfriendly Native Americans, a heap of varmints and scoundrels, and a lady or two, and you’ve got a rollicking good story!” —Susan Tunis, Bookshop West Portal, San Francisco, CA

Additional Buzz: The Associated Press reported last year on the discovery of this lost novel, one which Crichton’s widow found among his papers. It is on a number of spring and monthly book lists, including The Washington Post and io9. Such is the buzz around it that USA Today posted an excerpt in November 2016, a full six months before it hit shelves and film rights were bought early by the National Geographic Channel for a limited series. If you have forgotten Crichton’s reach in the near decade since his death, Vanity Fair offers a reminder.

Chemistry, Weike Wang (PRH/Knopf; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample).

“The unnamed narrator of Wang’s winning and insightful novel is working on her PhD in synthetic organic chemistry, but the chemistry she really needs to learn is the one that makes relationships click. The prodigy daughter of high-achieving Chinese American parents, she’s always strived to meet their demanding expectations. Then, suddenly, she just can’t. Her lab work falters. She’s unable to accept or decline her boyfriend’s marriage proposal. But when she has a breakdown and loses in both academia and in love, she finally realizes how angry she is. Coming to terms with her past becomes her next project, and soon she can see her parents in a new light — and they aren’t the fierce tiger couple they’d always seemed to be.” —Laurie Greer, Politics & Prose Bookstore, Washington, DC

Additional Buzz: It makes Entertainment Weekly’s list of “19 book you have to read in May,BuzzFeed‘s Summer Reading list, and New York magazine’s Spring Book List. EW calls it “sharp” and “witty” and says it is written in “precise, impeccable prose.” It also got a great deal of early attention. The Millions put it on their Most Anticipated: The Great 2017 Book Preview, Barnes and Nobel counted it as one of the “6 Superb Debut Novels to Read in 2017,Cosmopolitan, Bustle and Entertainment Weekly also listed it on their 2017 previews. It is on Electric Lit‘s list of “34 Books by Women of Color to Read This Year” and LJ highlighted it on their list of “Great First Acts.”


Five tie-ins come out this week for the same movie, Despicable Me 3. The film stars Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, and Trey Parker. It will premiere on June 30.

Included in the tie-in line up is Despicable Me 3: The Junior Novel, Sadie Chesterfield (Hachette/Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; also in a Deluxe edition). Other tie-ins include the hardback picture book Despicable Me 3: Agnes Loves Unicorns!, Universal (Hachette/Little, Brown Books for Young Readers) and Despicable Me 3: Seek and Find, Universal (Hachette/LB Kids). There are also two level readers, Despicable Me 3: The Good, the Bad, and the Yellow by Trey King (Hachette/LB Kids) and Despicable Me 3: Best Boss Ever by Trey King (Hachette/LB Kids)

For our full list of upcoming adaptations, download our Books to Movies and TV and link to our listing of tie-ins.


Friday, May 19th, 2017

The first trailer was just released for the film adaptation of the bestselling memoir by Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle (S&S/Scribner, 2005):

Starring Academy Award winner Brie Larson as Walls with Woody Harrelson and Naomi Watts as her dysfunctional, sometimes homeless parents, Rex and Rose Mary, the film opens in wide release on August 11.

The author approves, telling People magazine, “They did a spectacular job bringing to life a complicated story, there’s so many nuances … I wanted Brie Larson to play this role even before I knew who she was. She understands how to be strong and vulnerable at the same time, how you can fight and be scared at the same time … The first time that I saw Woody in makeup and in character, I started trembling and crying … the degree to which he captured my father was breathtaking.”

The memoir spent over 250 weeks on NYT best seller lists, in both hardcover and the trade paperback, where it had its most enduring success. Also a constant in book groups, the memoir is assigned reading in schools, and even has its own Cliff Notes.

A tie-in is forthcoming:
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls (S&S/Scribner)


Thursday, May 18th, 2017

Showtime’s revival of Twin Peaks, David Lynch’s iconic TV show (1990 to 1991), premieres on Sunday, May 21. In the run up to the launch there has been wall-to-wall coverage.

New York magazine re-ran a story first published last fall on the novel by the series co-creator Mark Frost, The Secret History of Twin Peaks (Macmillan/ Flatiron, 2016; OverDrive Sample). In a spoiler-filled piece they say the novel fills in characters’ backstories and clears up questions about the series finale. This October, Frost will publish a sequel, Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier (Macmillan/ Flatiron; Macmillan Audio).

Entertainment Weekly has started a podcast and published a “speed-binge” guide to understanding the series.

The NYT has multiple stories on the cult hit and its revival, including coverage in the  “Watching” column and episode recaps. USA Today and The Washington Post cover the show as well.

The Nerdist gives their opinion on what the new show needs to do to succeed, including the small matter of “Change TV Storytelling Again.”  Time looks at how the original did just that in  “Creators of Lost, Fargo, The Sopranos and Other Shows on How Twin Peaks Influenced Them.” On the same theme, The Atlantic offers a deep dive into “the immeasurably influential series.”

Finally, The Hollywood Reporter ranks all 30 episodes of the original show and io9 offers a list of “10 Things to Watch, Read, and Eat to Get Mentally Prepared for the New Twin Peaks.”

INTO THE WATER Surges to #1

Thursday, May 18th, 2017

Reviews be damned, Paula Hawkins’s Into the Water (PRH/Riverhead; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample) can now be declared a #1 best seller. In its second week on sale, it moved to that spot on the new USA Today Best Selling Books list, jumping from #4 and knocking James Patterson off his perch in just one week. This practically guarantees it will be #1 on the NYT list later this week.

Holds are growing, reflecting the considerable interest in the author and some recent PR, via media interviews and her U.S. book tour. Patron demand is catching up. After a rather sluggish start, especially when compared to the pre-pub holds for her debut, lists have grown and libraries have placed multiple re-oreders.

Holds Alert: GROCERY

Wednesday, May 17th, 2017

NPR’s All Things Considered featured Michael Ruhlman’s Grocery: The Buying and Selling of Food in America (Abrams; RH Audio/BOT), moving the book up Amazon’s rankings and driving holds. Libraries are seeing reserve ratios well over 3:1, in one case 10:1.

The interview takes place in an actual grocery store. Surveying the plenty spread out in the aisles, Ruhlman says a grocery store is “the best of America and the worst of America.”

Grocery stores are run with such narrow margins that they cannot stand to lose a customer, which is why they ask as at checkout if you found everything you were looking for. Not finding something is why shoppers change stores.

Because of the ease of online buying for commodity items like orange juice and cereal, Ruhlman thinks thinks grocery stores will shrink, selling only specialized items that customers want to pick by hand. The future will look more like the past, when stores were smaller and more specialized.

As a literary side note, a recent NYT Weddings column details Ruhlman’s long-held crush on Ann Hood (The Book That Matters) which last 20 years and led to a wedding last month (with Laura Lippman officiating).

I Won’t Grow Up

Monday, May 15th, 2017

If the conversation around “adulting” hits a nerve, meet Republican Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska.

Sasse is concerned with what he regards as the slow-to-nonexistent development of independent and thriving adults in the US and has written a book on the subject, The Vanishing American Adult: Our Coming-of-Age Crisis–and How to Rebuild a Culture of Self-Reliance (Macmillan/St. Martin’s Press; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample). It is zooming up the Amazon rankings, thanks to his appearance on CBS’s Face the Nation yesterday and CBS This Morning today, moving from #43 to #7.

He tells Face the Nation‘s John Dickerson, “this book is 100 percent not about politics, and it’s 99 percent not about policy. It’s about this new category of perpetual adolescence.”  However, as one of the Republicans who expressed reservations about the firing of James Comey as Director of the FBI, that subject dominates the  interview. Sasse finally gets to promote the book towards the end, saying it’s about the recent phenomenon of  “perpetual adolescence …Peter Pan’s Neverland is a hell … we don’t want [to] have our kids caught at a place where they’re not learning how to be adults.”

He followed up with an appearance on CBS This Morning, which also focused on the firing of Comey.

Sasse is making the media rounds. He is scheduled to appear tonight on Late Night with Seth Meyers. He has been on NPR’s On Point, the NYT has an interview, Sasse himself writes an essay for the Wall Street Journal (subscription maybe required), MarketWatch offers a summary, and Time covers it in an article titled “Ben Sasse Explains Why His New Book Is Really, Truly Not About Running for President.”

Hitting Screens, Week of May 15, 2017

Monday, May 15th, 2017

The heavily promoted adaptation of Nicola Yoon’s debut YA novel  Everything, Everything opens on May 19. The book debuted at #1 on the NYT  Young Adult best seller list and stayed on it for over a year. The release of the trailer in February brought the book back to the list, again at #1

About a teen girl confined to her house because of severe allergies, the novel earned a glowing NYT review (“gorgeous and lyrical”) and an A- review from Entertainment Weekly (a “complex,” “fresh, moving debut”).

The film stars Amandla Stenberg (who played Rue in The Hunger Games) and Nick Robinson (Zach in Jurassic World). Stella Meghie (Jean of the Joneses) directs.

Tie-in:  Everything, Everything Movie Tie-in Edition, (in hardcover: PRH/Delacorte Press; April 18, 2017; ISBN 9781524769802; 18.99; Listening Library; also in paperback: PRH/Ember; April 4, 2017; ISBN 9781524769604; $10.99).

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul premieres on May 19. It is based on the 9th title in the popular kids series written by Jeff Kinney.

The three previous films in the series have been commercial, although not critical successes. The new film, featuring a fresh cast including Alicia Silverstone, Tom Everett Scott, Charlie Wright, and Jason Drucker, follows a family road trip.

Tie-in: Diary of a Wimpy Kid # 9: Long Haul: The Long Haul by Jeff Kinney (Abrams; OverDrive Sample).

Also opening May 19th is Wakefield, an adaptation of E.L. Doctorow’s short story of the same name. Starring Bryan Cranston and Jennifer Garner, it tells the story of a man who “vanishes” but really only hides in his garage spying on the lives of his family and neighbors.

Both Variety and The Hollywood Reporter posted reviews in 2016 when the film was making the festival circuit. While praising Cranston’s performance, Variety says the ending is “a cop-out.The Hollywood Reporter agrees that Cranston “is the whole show” and calls the film “decreasingly convincing.”

It opens in limited release . There is no tie-in. The short story was published in The New Yorker in 2008.

Airing on May 21st is A Bundle of Trouble, a Hallmark adaptation of Charlaine Harris’s Aurora Teagarden series featuring a crime-solving librarian.

There are nine books in the series. This newest adaptation is based on the sixth, titled A Fool And His Honey (PRH/Berkley; OverDrive Sample). This is also the 6th Hallmark adaptation, following A Bone To Pick, Real Murders, Three Bedrooms One Corpse, The Julius House, and Dead Over Heels.

The show stars Candace Cameron Bure (Full House) as the librarian sleuth. There is no tie-in, although the book is still available. See the Hallmark site for a preview (unfortunately we cannot embed the clip).

As we posted in the May 15th Titles to Know, HBO is adapting The Wizard of Lies: Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust by Diana B. Henriques (Macmillan/St. Martin’s Griffin; Tantor Media; OverDrive Sample).

It premieres May 20 and stars Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer. Barry Levinson directs.

See our earlier post for more details.

Technically a Best Seller

Monday, May 15th, 2017

9780735211322_f4e1cPresidential aide Ivanka Trump’s Women Who Work: Rewriting the Rules for Success, (PRH/Portfolio; Penguin Audio/BOT) is technically a #1 best seller, having hit that number on the Wall Street Journal‘s Business Book list. Other numbers are not so sunny. It debuts on the USA Today general list at #53.

The Huffington Post reveals just how bad the sales are, reporting “In the book’s first five days on the market, Trump sold 10,445 print copies,” comparing that to Sheryl Sandberg’s book on female empowerment, Lean In(PRH/Knopf) which sold 74,176 print copies in its first week, going on to sell many more and become a recognized catch phrase as well as a movement.

Reviews have been universally scathing. In this case, negative press may not be better than no press at all.

Death to “Zombie Words”

Monday, May 15th, 2017

Journalist and former Random House publisher Harold Evans entertained NPR’s Scott Simon on Weekend Edition Saturday, with his pet peeves about the misuse of the English language.

As a result of their lively exchange, Evans’s new book, Do I Make Myself Clear?: Why Writing Well Matters (Hachette/Little, Brown; OverDrive Sample) made a major leap up Amazon’s rankings, rising from #25,848 to #32.

The book addresses the “garbage” littering our prose. He particularly hates “zombie words,” nouns that are turned into verbs, because they drain “the sentences of vigor and immediacy,” he says, “It’s like a virus.”

The book is “a punchy follow-up to an earlier journalistic primer (Essential English for Journalists, Editors and Writers) that’s still a standard at many British universities,” notes The Hollywood Reporter in a lengthy interview with Evans, that focuses on the documentary Attacking the Devil, about Evans’s early journalistic fight against the drug thalidomide.

Evans stars in the doc, which the The Weinstein Co. will distribute in the US. A feature film is also in the works and Hugh Grant is “said to be among the contenders vying for the lead.” Although Evans jokes, “I think I may hold out for Brad Pitt to play me. He’s a better likeness, don’t you think?”

Titles to Know and Recommend, Week of May 15, 2017

Friday, May 12th, 2017


Beach scenes on covers signal that Memorial Day is on its way. Dorothea Benton Frank takes us back to South Carolina’s low country in a novel that follows two couples through multiple shared vacations in Same Beach, Next Year (HarperCollins/Morrow; HarperLuxe; HaperAudio). Holds ratios indicate that ordering is not in line with the author’s growing popularity.

On a more northerly shore, Nancy Thayer returns to Nantucket for Secrets in Summer (PRH/Ballantine; OverDrive Sample).


For those who prefer horror mixed into their sand, Stephen King returns to a fictional location, Castle Rock, in his new novella, Gwendy’s Button Box, coauthored with Richard Chimer, head of  Cemetery Dance Publications, which is also the publisher of the book (S&S Audio). Entertainment Weekly notes the setting is “the site of some of King’s most well-known early tales” and the book is a “coming-of-age novella that has a sinister twist.”

Jack Reacher also makes a comeback, this time in a collection of short stories, No Middle Name by Lee Child (PRH/Delacorte; RH Large Print). Prepub reviews are strong, with Kirkus writing, “the short form is refreshing after the misfire of Child’s last novel, in which the violence became unpleasant and the tone curdled. No such problem here. And it’s encouraging that the novella Too Much Time, which leads into the next Reacher novel, feels like a return to form. These are tasty appetizers that will hopefully lead to a satisfying entree.”

Long before the name had another connotation, Scott Turow set his mysteries in the fictional Kindle County. His newest, Testimony (Hachette/Grand Central; Grand Central Large Print; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample) moves to the International Criminal Court in the Hague. The Washington Post writes, “30 years after Presumed InnocentScott Turow still thrills.” Check your inventory of the author’s backlist, the publisher is re-issuing several in trade paperback and mass market (see our downloadable spreadsheet, Turow Reissues).

The titles covered in this column, and several other notable titles arriving next week, are listed with ordering information and alternate formats, on our downloadable spreadsheet, EarlyWord New Title Radar, Week of May 15, 2017.

Peer Picks

9781555977726_c1566Three Indie Next picks come out this week, including the #1 pick for May, Broken River by J. Robert Lennon (Macmillan/Graywolf; HighBridge Audio; OverDrive Sample).

“Imagine a sentence that has the slow-burn intensity you feel when reading your favorite mystery novels and the nuance and music of your icons of prose style. Now imagine a whole book of them. Set that book in a small town in Upstate New York, move a family of city folk into a Shirley Jacksonian home, and tell part of the story from the point of view of an ‘Observer’ who could represent the reader, the author, a house spirit, God, or something else entirely. Now cede your imagination to J. Robert Lennon, whose new novel will transport and move you. A perfect union of breezy and deep, Broken River has something for everyone.” —John Francisconi, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT

Additional Buzz: The Chicago Review of Books has it as one of their “The 10 Best New Books to Read This May,” writing that it is “a cinematic, darkly comic, and sui generis psychological thriller.”

9780778319993_1a663Rise and Shine, Benedict Stone, Phaedra Patrick (HC/Park Row Books; OverDrive Sample) is on the June Indie Next List.

“The novels of Phaedra Patrick are good for what ails you! Rise and Shine, Benedict Stone is a charming novel about a dull British jeweler who finds new light in his life when his American niece springs a surprise visit on him. Gemma may only be 16 years old, but she is a catalyst for some much-needed change in Benedict’s life and for the entire village. Readers would need a heart of stone to miss the joys of this delightful, feel-good novel. Book clubs are going to be taking a ‘shine’ to Benedict Stone.” —Pamela Klinger-Horn, Excelsior Bay Books, Excelsior, MN

9781250080547_b4d09Also on the June list is The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir, Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich (Macmillan/Flatiron Books; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample).

“Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich didn’t set out to investigate the rape and murder of six-year-old Jeremy Guillory in Louisiana; it was the case she was assigned as a young law school intern in 1992. In a fascinating twist, this becomes not only the true story of a heinous crime for which the perpetrator is in prison, but also of the investigation that unlocks the author’s memories of her own youth, a childhood in which she and her sisters were repeatedly sexually abused by their maternal grandfather. As Marzano-Lesnevich moves backward and forward in time between the young man who killed Jeremy and her own life, the reader is swept along on a current of dismay and awe: dismay that human beings can do these things to each other, and awe that the author could face such demons and move on. I’ve never read another book like this.” —Anne Holman, The King’s English, Salt Lake City, UT

Additional Buzz: It’s on multiple previews, including  Entertainment Weekly‘s “19 book you have to read in May.” They write, “Marzano-Lesnevich interweaves the story of a disturbing 1992 murder case she stumbles upon as a law intern with her own past trauma in this haunting, excellent memoir.”

Literary Hub includes it on their list of “5 Crime Must-Reads Coming in May” and Bustle names it one of “10 True Crime Books That Will Keep You Up All Night Long.”

Marzano-Lesnevich gets stars from PW, LJ, and Booklist. PW writes, “Her writing is remarkably evocative and taut with suspense, with a level of nuance that sets this effort apart from other true crime accounts.”


Tie-ins to three adaptations hit shelves this week.

9781250116581_da5caThe Wizard of Lies: Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust, Diana B. Henriques (Macmillan/St. Martin’s Griffin; Tantor Media; OverDrive Sample).

HBO version of the the Bernie Madoff story debut next Saturday,  May 20, The Wizard of LiesBarry Levinson directs and Robert De Niro stars as the crooked Ponzi scheme mastermind. Michelle Pfeiffer stars as his wife Ruth Madoff, who was pilloried in the press. The film is based on the nonfiction book with the same title by Diana B. Henriques, who also makes a cameo in the film, playing herself as she interviews Madoff for the New York Times.

The Hollywood Reporter writes, “Robert De Niro gives a quietly intense performance in HBO’s Bernie Madoff telefilm, which could be retitled ‘Sympathy for the Devil’s Family.'” Comparing it to an earlier series, “Unlike ABC’s so-so Madoff telefilm from last spring [with Richard Dreyfuss as Madoff and Blythe Danner as Ruth], it generates neither heist-style antics nor tension from the game of cat-and-mouth … Wizard of Lies is a much odder thing, a character study without a conclusive answer.”

The Washington Post dives mores deeply into Levinson’s approach to that character.

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Last week’s release of the second season of Netflix’s series The Last Kingdom is based on books three and four in Bernard Wizard of Lies is a much odder thing, a character study without a conclusive answer Saxon Stories series, detailing the 9th century battles between the Saxons and the Vikings.

Lords of the North Tie-in by Bernard Cornwell (HC/Harper Paperbacks; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample)

Sword Song Tie-in by Bernard Cornwell (HC/Harper Paperbacks; Harper Audio; OverDrive Sample)

Raves for season one carry over to the new season. says it is the perfect show to “tide you over until Game of Thrones and/or Vikings comes back on the air.” Den of Geek! is running episode by episode reviews while The Guardian publishes episode recaps, complete with quotes, notes, and a violence count. Bustle predicts that viewers will be chomping at the bit for season 3.

For our full list of upcoming adaptations, download our Books to Movies and TV and link to our listing of tie-ins.

MAGPIE MURDERS Tops LibraryRead List

Thursday, May 11th, 2017

9780062645227_84e73LibraryReads-FavoriteA double whodunnit tops the June LibraryReads list, Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz (Harper; HarperLuxe; HarperAudio).

“Susan Ryeland is a London book editor who has just received the latest manuscript from one of her most irascible authors, Alan Conway. But the manuscript’s ending appears to be missing and she learns that Conway has committed suicide. As Ryeland learns more about his death, she starts to question whether a murder has occurred and begins to investigate. Magpie Murders is a delightful, clever mystery-within-a-mystery. Horowitz shows real mastery of his craft. This is a terrific, modern take on the traditional mystery with ingenious puzzles to solve.” — Andrea Larson, Cook Memorial Library, Libertyville, IL

Additional Buzz: It is also the #1 Indie Next pick and a GalleyChat favorite from February, with Joseph Jones from Cuyahoga County (OH) Public Library saying, “Mystery readers are in for a treat.” Kirkus, Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly star, with Kirkus offering “Fans who still mourn the passing of Agatha Christie … will welcome this wildly inventive homage/update/commentary as the most fiendishly clever puzzle—make that two puzzles—of the year.”

Most of the press attention has been in the UK and Ireland. The Guardian includes it on their “The best recent thrillers – review roundup.” The dismiss the novel’s beginning as “thinner than Poirot’s moustache,” but are over the moon about the second part, “which is worth the price of admission alone.” The Irish Times calls it “at once a brilliant pastiche of the English village mystery and a hugely enjoyable tale of avarice and skulduggery in the world of publishing … [it is] a compendium of dark delights.” Horowitz introduces the story in an interview with Audible UK.

9780765392039_fcc6eAlso making the list is Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire (Macmillan/Tor).

“In Every Heart a Doorway we met Jack and Jill, two sisters bound together yet alienated. In this installment, we learn how these two girls escape their parents when they exit the world we know for a realm of fairy-tale horror via a magic stairway, appearing in a trunk in a locked room. This is a story about two young women and the trauma that shapes them; a story about love, hate, and the thin line between. A captivating and emotional novella that irresistibly sweeps the reader along.” — Tegan Mannino, Monson Free Library, Monson, MA

Additional Buzz: Entertainment Weekly published an excerpt. Library Journal and Publishers Weekly star it, with LJ writing, “Beautifully crafted and smartly written, this fairy-tale novella is everything that speculative fiction readers look for: fantastical worlds, diverse characters, and prose that hits home with its emotional truths.”

9781101990483_f22a2Fiona Barton returns with The Child (PRH/Berkley; RH Large Type; Penguin Audio/BOT), after her bestselling debut, The Widow.

“When a baby skeleton is unearthed at a construction site, reporter Kate Waters thinks it is a story worth investigating. As she digs into the mystery of the child, she uncovers more than she bargained for. Told from the viewpoints of various characters, Barton tells an intriguing tale about the newborn baby and all the characters involved, leaving it up to the readers to put together the connections until the very end.” — Annice Sevett, New Hanover County Public Library, Wilmington, NC

Additional Buzz: Entertainment Weekly interviews the author. It tops Canadian Loan Stars list for May. Publishers Weekly stars it, writing “Readers patient with the relatively slow initial pace until the intertwining stories gain momentum will be rewarded with startling twists—and a stunning, emotionally satisfying conclusion.” In the video below Barton talks about what libraries mean to her:

The full list of ten picks is online.