Thursday, March 31, 2011

"I Would Find a Girl Walking"

New from Berkley: I Would Find a Girl Walking by Kathy Kelly and Diana Montane.

About the book, from the publisher:

What made me kill and kill again?
I can't answer that except like this...

Culled from interviews with the lead investigator and the victims' families, and exclusive access to the killer, this is a revealing, shocking, and unflinching portrait of Gerald Eugene Stano, a man who fancied himself one of the greatest lady-killers of them all.
Check out the I Would Find a Girl Walking Facebook page.

Visit Diana Montane's blog.

"Come and Find Me"

New from William Morrow: Come and Find Me by Hallie Ephron.

About the book, from the publisher:

Computer security expert and reformed hacker Diana Highsmith has not ventured beyond her home for more than a year—not since that fateful climbing vacation in Switzerland took Daniel's life. Haunted by the sound of Daniel's cries echoing across the gorge as he fell, Diana cannot stop thinking about the life they'll never have—grief that has transformed her into a recluse.

Diana doesn't have to shut herself off com­pletely from the world, though; she and Daniel's best friend run a thriving Internet security company. From her home, in her pajamas, Diana assesses security breaches, both potential and real, and offers clients a way to protect themselves from hackers—the kind of disruptions Diana herself used to create. Once Diana has a game plan she is able to meet with clients in OtherWorld, an Internet-based platform, using Nadia, an avatar she created for herself. Diana knows she'll have to rejoin the "real world" eventually, but right now a few steps from her door each morning is all she can handle.

When Diana's sister goes missing, however, she is forced to do the impossible: brave both the outside world and her own personal demons to find her sister. As one step outside leads to another, Diana soon discovers that she is following a trail fraught with danger—and uncovering a web of deceit and betrayal, both online and real-life, that threatens not only her sister's life, but her own.
Learn more about the novel and author at Hallie Ephron's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Never Tell A Lie.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

"Separate Kingdoms"

New from Harper Perennial: Separate Kingdoms: Stories by Valerie Laken.

About the book, from the publisher:

From Valerie Laken, the Pushcart Prize–winning author of Dream House, comes a powerful collection of short stories charting the divisions and collisions between cultures and nations, families and outsiders, and partners and misfits searching for love. Set in Russia and the United States, these are boldly innovative stories—tales of fractured, misplaced characters moving beyond the borders of their isolation and reaching for the connections that will make them whole.

A family, shaken by an industrial accident, is divided, its members isolated in their home and only able to understand one another from their separate rooms. A young gay couple travels to Russia to meet the child they're desperately trying to adopt, but the experience reveals an emotional divide between the parents-to-be. A recent amputee removes herself from her body to keep her husband at bay. And the idyllic village life of a blind Russian boy is disrupted by an American dentist and the wonders of racy Western magazines. Separate Kingdoms is a rich and satisfying collection that traverses the distances between people and places in each marvelously rendered story.
Learn more about the book and author at Valerie Laken's website.

The Page 69 Test: Dream House.

"The Badger's Revenge"

New from Berkley: The Badger's Revenge by Larry D. Sweazy.

About the book, from the publisher:

Tracking an Indian raiding party, Texas Ranger Josiah Wolfe and his compatriots run afoul of a notorious gang leader known as the Badger. As they are led to where the Badger is waiting, Josiah knows that time is running out. But luckily, Texas Rangers are hard men to kill.
Watch the trailer for The Badger’s Revenge, and learn more about the book and author at Larry D. Sweazy's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: The Badger’s Revenge.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

"Red on Red"

New from Spiegel & Grau: Red on Red by Edward Conlon.

About the book, from the publisher:

From the author of the celebrated and bestselling memoir Blue Blood (“May be the best account ever written of life behind the badge.” —Time) comes this highly anticipated fiction debut. In Red on Red, Edward Conlon tells the story of two NYPD detectives, Meehan and Esposito: one damaged and introspective, the other ambitious and unscrupulous. Meehan is compelled by haunting and elusive stories that defy easy resolution, while Esposito is drawn to cases of rough and ordinary combat. A fierce and unlikely friendship develops between them and plays out against a tangle of mysteries: a lonely immigrant who hangs herself in Inwood Hill Park, a serial rapist preying on upper Manhattan, a troubled Catholic schoolgirl who appears in the wrong place with uncanny regularity, and a savage gang war that erupts over a case of mistaken identity.

Red on Red captures the vibrant dynamic of a successful police partnership—the tests of loyalty, the necessary betrayals, the wedding of life and work—and tells an unrelenting and exciting story that captures the grittiness, complexity, ironies, and compromises of life on the job.

"The Silenced"

New from Random House: The Silenced by Brett Battles.

About the book, from the publisher:

Professional “cleaner” Jonathan Quinn has a new client and an odd job: find and remove the remains of a body hidden twenty years ago inside the walls of a London building, before the building is demolished.

But Quinn and his team are being watched. Suddenly caught in the cross fire between two dangerous rivals, Quinn must unravel the identity of the body and why it still poses so great a threat even in death. Because a plot stretching from the former Soviet Union to Hong Kong, from Paris to London, from Los Angeles to Maine, is rapidly falling apart. And Quinn hasn’t been hired just to tie up loose ends—he is one.
Learn more about the book and author at Brett Battles' website and blog.

Read: Tim Hallinan interviews Brett Battles.

The Page 69 Test: The Cleaner.

The Page 69 Test: The Deceived.

The Page 69 Test: Shadow of Betrayal.

Monday, March 28, 2011

"The Trial"

New from Thomas Dunne Books: The Trial by Larry D. Thompson.

About the book, from the publisher:

A small town attorney is forced to battle a giant drug company in an attempt to save his daughter’s life. She had volunteered for a clinical trial of a drug that both the company and the FDA knew was dangerous. When his daughter’s liver starts to fail, and he realizes a liver transplant is out of the question, he decides to fight the drug company on the playing field he knows best…the courtroom. Discovering what was hidden from the public, he finds himself faced with a ruthless adversary willing to commit bribery, kidnapping and murder to keep the drug on the market.
Read an excerpt from The Trial.

Visit Larry D. Thompson's blog.

"Last to Fold"

New from Thomas Dunne Books: Last to Fold by David Duffy.

About the book, from the publisher:

One of the most exciting debut anti-heroes since Lee Child’s Jack Reacher

Turbo Vlost learned early that life is like a game of cards…. It’s not always about winning. Sometimes it’s just a matter of making your enemies fold first.

Turbo is a man with a past—his childhood was spent in the Soviet Gulag, while half of his adult life was spent in service to the KGB. His painful memories led to the demolition of his marriage, the separation from his only son, and his effective exile from Russia.

Turbo now lives in New York City, where he runs a one-man business finding things for people. However, his past comes crashing into the present when he finds out that his new client is married to his ex-wife; his surrogate father, the man who saved him from the Gulag and recruited him into the KGB, has been shot; and he finds himself once again on the wrong side of the surrogate father’s natural son, the head of the Russian mob in Brooklyn.

As Turbo tries to navigate his way through a labyrinthine maze of deceit, he discovers all of these people have secrets that they are willing to go to any lengths to protect.

Turbo didn’t survive the camps and the Cold War without becoming one wily operator. He’s ready to show them all why he’s always the one who’s…LAST TO FOLD.
Visit David Duffy's website.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

"Sticky Fingers"

New from Minotaur Books: Sticky Fingers by Nancy Martin.

About the book, from the publisher:

Roxy Abruzzo stays one step ahead of trouble----especially now that her cash flow is less than stellar, and she's "doing favors" for her slippery uncle Carmine, one of the last old-time Mob bosses in Pittsburgh.

With her sidekick, Nooch, and her thieving pitbull, Rooney, Roxy hustles the mean streets collecting debts for Uncle Carmine and keeping his customers in line. With her daughter's college tuition to pay, Roxy can almost convince herself that the shady jobs are legal. But when Carmine's consigliere offers Roxy a contract to kidnap someone, that's a line she won’t cross.

Trouble is the kidnapping happens anyway, and when the victim turns up murdered, Roxy’s number one on the police hit parade. To protect herself, she investigates and soon learns the victim had a big secret---or two. Add a rock singer with a penchant for dinosaur bones and throw in a pesky paleontologist, plus an ex-nun with a mustache problem---not to mention a sexy chef with a taste for whatever Roxy dishes up---and you've got a caper full of quirky characters and laugh-out-loud mayhem.

Peppered as usual with Nancy Martin’s sharp one-liners, Sticky Fingers---the second Roxy Abruzzo mystery---is even tastier than the first.
Visit Nancy Martin's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Our Lady of Immaculate Deception.

"The Bone House"

New from Minotaur Books: The Bone House by Brian Freeman.

About the book, from the publisher:

Hilary and Mark Bradley are trapped in a web of suspicion. Last year, accusations of a torrid affair with a student cost Mark his teaching job and made the young couple into outcasts in their remote island town off the Lake Michigan coast. Now another teenage girl is found dead on a deserted beach... and once again, Mark faces a hostile town convinced of his guilt.

Hilary Bradley is determined to prove that Mark is innocent, but she’s on a lonely, dangerous quest. Even when she discovers that the murdered girl was witness to a horrific crime years earlier, the police are certain she’s throwing up a smoke screen to protect her husband. Only a quirky detective named Cab Bolton seems willing to believe Hilary’s story.

Hilary and Cab soon find that people in this community are willing to kill to keep their secrets hidden—and to make sure Mark doesn’t get away with murder. And with each shocking revelation, even Hilary begins to wonder whether her husband is truly innocent. Freeman’s first stand-alone thriller since his Stride novels is a knockout.
Learn more about the book and author at Brian Freeman's website.

The Page 69 Test: Stripped.

My Book, The Movie: Stripped.

The Page 69 Test: Stalked.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

"The Four Ms. Bradwells"

New from Ballantine: The Four Ms. Bradwells by Meg Waite Clayton.

About the book, from the publisher:

Meg Waite Clayton’s national bestseller The Wednesday Sisters was a word-of-mouth sensation and book club favorite. Now the beloved author is back with a page-turning novel that explores the secrets we keep, even from those closest to us, and celebrates the enduring power of friendship.

Mia, Laney, Betts, and Ginger, best friends since law school, have reunited for a long weekend as Betts awaits Senate confirmation of her appointment to the Supreme Court. Nicknamed “the Ms. Bradwells” during their first class at the University of Michigan Law School in 1979—when only three women had ever served full Senate terms and none had been appointed to the Court—the four have supported one another through life’s challenges: marriages and divorces, births and deaths, career setbacks and triumphs large and small. Betts was, and still is, the Funny One. Ginger, the Rebel. Laney, the Good Girl. And Mia, the Savant.

But when the Senate hearings uncover a deeply buried skeleton in the friends’ collective closet, the Ms. Bradwells retreat to a summer house on the Chesapeake Bay, where they find themselves reliving a much darker period in their past—one that stirs up secrets they’ve kept for, and from, one another, and could change their lives forever.

Once again, Meg Waite Clayton writes inspiringly about the complex circumstances facing women and the heartfelt friendships that hold them together. Insightful and affecting, The Four Ms. Bradwells is also a captivating tale of how far people will go to protect the ones they love.
Visit Meg Waite Clayton's website and blog.

"The Civilized World"

New from Holt Paperbacks: The Civilized World: A Novel in Stories by Susi Wyss.

About the book, from the publisher:

A glorious literary debut set in Africa about five unforgettable women—two of them haunted by a shared tragedy—whose lives intersect in unexpected and sometimes explosive ways

When Adjoa leaves Ghana to find work in the Ivory Coast, she hopes that one day she'll return home to open a beauty parlor. Her dream comes true, though not before she suffers a devastating loss—one that will haunt her for years, and one that also deeply affects Janice, an American aid worker who no longer feels she has a place to call home. But the bustling Precious Brother Salon is not just the "cleanest, friendliest, and most welcoming in the city." It's also where locals catch up on their gossip; where Comfort, an imperious busybody, can complain about her American daughter-in-law, Linda; and where Adjoa can get a fresh start on life—or so she thinks, until Janice moves to Ghana and unexpectedly stumbles upon the salon.

At once deeply moving and utterly charming, The Civilized World follows five women as they face meddling mothers-in-law, unfaithful partners, and the lingering aftereffects of racism, only to learn that their cultural differences are outweighed by their common bond as women. With vibrant prose, Susi Wyss explores what it means to need forgiveness—and what it means to forgive.
Visit Susi Wyss's website.

Friday, March 25, 2011

"Fall from Grace"

New from Forge Books: Fall from Grace by Wayne Arthurson.

About the book, from the publisher:

Leo Desroches goes straight—off the streets, into the newsroom, and up to his neck in murder

Marking the debut of Leo Desroches, one of the most unusual amateur detectives ever to appear in Canada or points south, this fast-paced, enthralling mystery is the story of a man who had everything, lost it all, and is trying to get it back. Leo Desroches doesn’t look like a native, but his mother was Cree, and he understands the problems of indigenous Canadians of the First Nations. Which is probably why the Edmonton newspaper he writes for decides he should be their Aboriginal Issues reporter.

He has his own issues to deal with: his compulsive gambling that he couldn’t stop even after it cost him his wife and children; his alcoholism; the risk-taking that threatens to derail him every time he starts to get his life back together.

When he’s assigned to cover the murder of a young native prostitute, it’s just one more story...until the cop in charge lets him view the corpse, something the Edmonton police never do. When Leo writes his article, it starts a chain of events that leads him to discover a much, much bigger story, one that could bring down the entire police department...if it doesn’t get him killed.
Visit Wayne Arthurson's website.

"Mothers and Daughters"

New from Henry Holt & Co.: Mothers and Daughters by Rae Meadows.

About the book, from the publisher:

A rich and luminous novel about three generations of women in one family: the love they share, the dreams they refuse to surrender, and the secrets they hold

Samantha is lost in the joys of new motherhood—the softness of her eight-month-old daughter's skin, the lovely weight of her child in her arms—but in trading her artistic dreams to care for her child, Sam worries she's lost something of herself. And she is still mourning another loss: her mother, Iris, died just one year ago.

When a box of Iris's belongings arrives on Sam's doorstep, she discovers links to pieces of her family history but is puzzled by much of the information the box contains. She learns that her grandmother Violet left New York City as an eleven-year-old girl, traveling by herself to the Midwest in search of a better life. But what was Violet's real reason for leaving? And how could she have made that trip alone at such a tender age?

In confronting secrets from her family's past, Sam comes to terms with deep secrets from her own. Moving back and forth in time between the stories of Sam, Violet, and Iris, Mothers and Daughters is the spellbinding tale of three remarkable women connected across a century by the complex wonder of motherhood.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

"The School of Night"

New from Henry Holt and Co.: The School of Night by Louis Bayard.

About the book, from the publisher:

An ancient mystery, a lost letter, and a timeless love unleash a long-buried web of intrigue that spans four centuries

In the late sixteenth century, five brilliant scholars gather under the cloak of darkness to discuss God, politics, astronomy, and the black arts. Known as the School of Night, they meet in secret to avoid the wrath of Queen Elizabeth. But one of the men, Thomas Harriot, has secrets of his own, secrets he shares with one person only: the servant woman he loves.

In modern-day Washington, D.C., disgraced Elizabethan scholar Henry Cavendish has been hired by the ruthless antiquities collector Bernard Styles to find a missing letter. The letter dates from the 1600s and was stolen by Henry's close friend, Alonzo Wax. Now Wax is dead and Styles wants the letter back.

But the letter is an object of interest to others, too. It may be the clue to a hidden treasure; it may contain the long-sought formula for alchemy; it most certainly will prove the existence of the group of men whom Shakespeare dubbed the School of Night but about whom little is known. Joining Henry in his search for the letter is Clarissa Dale, a mysterious woman who suffers from visions that only Henry can understand. In short order, Henry finds himself stumbling through a secretive world of ancient perils, caught up in a deadly plot, and ensnared in the tragic legacy of a forgotten genius.
Learn more about the book and author at Louis Bayard's website.

The Page 69 Test: Louis Bayard's The Black Tower.

The Page 69 Test: Louis Bayard's The Pale Blue Eye.

"An Evil Eye"

New from Sarah Crichton Books: An Evil Eye by Jason Goodwin.

About the book, from the publisher:

From the Edgar® Award–winning author of The Janissary Tree comes the fourth and most captivating Investigator Yashim mystery yet!

It takes a writer of prodigious talents to conjure the Istanbul of the Ottoman Empire in all its majesty. In three previous novels, Jason Goodwin has taken us on stylish, suspenseful, and vibrant excursions into its exotic territory. Now, in An Evil Eye, the mystery of Istanbul runs deeper than ever before.

It’s 1839, and the admiral of the Ottoman fleet has defected to the Egyptians. It’s up to the intrepid Investigator Yashim to uncover the man’s motives. Of course, Fevzi Ahmet is no stranger to Yashim—it was Fevzi who taught the investigator his craft years ago. He’s the only man whom Yashim has ever truly feared: ruthless, cruel, and unswervingly loyal to the sultan. So what could have led Yashim’s former mentor to betray the Ottoman Empire?

Yashim’s search draws him into the sultan’s seraglio, a well-appointed world with an undercurrent of fear, ambition, and deep-seated superstition. When the women of the sultan’s orchestra begin inexplicably to grow ill and die, Yashim discovers that the admiral’s defection may be rooted somewhere in the torturous strictures of the sultan’s harem.

No one knows more about the Ottoman Empire and Istanbul than Jason Goodwin, of whom Janet Maslin wrote in The New York Times: “Mr. Goodwin uses rich historical detail to elevate the books in this series ... far above the realm of everyday sleuthing.”
Learn more about Jason Goodwin and his work at his website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: The Snake Stone.

My Book, The Movie: The Snake Stone.

The Page 69 Test: The Bellini Card.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"Toward You"

New from Tin House: Toward You by Jim Krusoe.

About the book, from the publisher:

Toward You completes Jim Krusoe's bittersweet trilogy about the relationship between this world and the next. Bob has spent several years trying to build a machine that will communicate with the dead. He's gotten more or less nowhere. Then two surprising things happen: he receives an important message from a dog, and a former girlfriend, Yvonne, reenters his life. These events make Bob even more determined to perfect the Communicator, as he calls his invention, in the belief that it will change his friendless, humdrum life for the better. In the meantime, Yvonne's young daughter inhabits an afterlife she is trying to escape and would give anything to be reunited with her mom.

Toward You is a poignant story of longing, mistakes, regret, disaster, and, above all, hope.
The Page 69 Test: Erased by Jim Krusoe.

"The Free World"

New from Farrar, Straus and Giroux: The Free World by David Bezmozgis.

About the book, from the publisher:

Summer, 1978. Brezhnev sits like a stone in the Kremlin, Israel and Egypt are inching towards peace, and in the bustling, polyglot streets of Rome, strange new creatures have appeared: Soviet Jews who have escaped to freedom through a crack in the Iron Curtain. Among the thousands who have landed in Italy to secure visas for new lives in the West are the members of the Krasnansky family — three generations of Russian Jews.

There is Samuil, an old Communist and Red Army veteran, who reluctantly leaves the country to which he has dedicated himself body and soul; Karl, his elder son, a man eager to embrace the opportunities emigration affords; Alec, his younger son, a carefree playboy for whom life has always been a game; and Polina, Alec's new wife, who has risked the most by breaking with her old family to join this new one. Together, they will spend six months in Rome — their way station and purgatory. They will immerse themselves in the carnival of emigration, in an Italy rife with love affairs and ruthless hustles, with dislocation and nostalgia, with the promise and peril of a new life. Through the unforgettable Krasnansky family, David Bezmozgis has created an intimate portrait of a tumultuous era.

Written in precise, musical prose, The Free World is a stunning debut novel, a heartfelt multigenerational saga of great historical scope and even greater human debth. Enlarging on the themes of aspiration and exile that infused his critically acclaimed first collection, Natasha and Other Stories, The Free World establishes Bezmozgis as one of our most mature and accomplished storytellers.
Visit David Bezmozgis's website.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


New from Harvard University Press: Listed: Dispatches from America’s Endangered Species Act by Joe Roman.

About the book, from the publisher:

The first listed species to make headlines after the Endangered Species Act was passed in 1973 was the snail darter, a three-inch fish that stood in the way of a massive dam on the Little Tennessee River. When the Supreme Court sided with the darter, Congress changed the rules. The dam was built, the river stopped flowing, and the snail darter went extinct on the Little Tennessee, though it survived in other waterways. A young Al Gore voted for the dam; freshman congressman Newt Gingrich voted for the fish.

A lot has changed since the 1970s, and Joe Roman helps us understand why we should all be happy that this sweeping law is alive and well today. More than a general history of endangered species protection, Listed is a tale of threatened species in the wild—from the whooping crane and North Atlantic right whale to the purple bankclimber, a freshwater mussel tangled up in a water war with Atlanta—and the people working to save them.

Employing methods from the new field of ecological economics, Roman challenges the widely held belief that protecting biodiversity is too costly. And with engaging directness, he explains how preserving biodiversity can help economies and communities thrive. Above all, he shows why the extinction of species matters to us personally—to our health and safety, our prosperity, and our joy in nature.
Visit Joe Roman's website.


New from Thomas Dunne Books: Threshold by Jeremy Robinson.

About the book, from the publisher:

After a terrorist attack on a reservation in Oregon leaves thousands dead, Jack Sigler, call sign King and his Chess Team—Queen, Rook, Bishop and Knight—must protect the only survivor, thirteen year-old Fiona Lane. When a death in the family pulls King away, and the rest of the team is sent on a mission, Fort Bragg is attacked by a strange and overwhelming force. When the dust settles, Fiona is gone.

But the attack is part of a larger offensive. Around the world the last speakers of ancient languages are being systematically exterminated. As they fight to find the mastermind behind the killings, and Fiona, the team is hunted by strange creatures that defy explanation—living statues, genetically modified monsters and walking megaliths—sent by an enemy from their past. If not stopped, he will be able to remake himself, and the world.

Calling on help from old friends and ancient heroes, the team fights their most desperate battle yet, not just to save the world as we know it, but to rescue a little girl who wants nothing more than to call King Dad.

An ancient tower holds the key to unlocking a horrifying secret hidden within mankind’s most antiquated languages. If unlocked, the world as we know it will cease to exist.

Jeremy Robinson’s third book in the Jack Sigler series is a rocket-powered thriller, combining high adrenaline action, smart science, ancient legends, and stunning locations.
Learn more about the book and author at Jeremy Robinson's website.

My Book, the Movie: Instinct.

The Page 69 Test: Instinct.

Writers Read: Jeremy Robinson.

Monday, March 21, 2011

"Anthem for Doomed Youth"

New from Minotaur Books: Anthem for Doomed Youth: A Daisy Dalrymple Mystery by Carola Dunn.

About the book, from the publisher:

In the Spring of 1926, the corpses of three men are found in shallow graves off the beaten path in Epping Forest outside of London—each shot through the heart and bearing no identification. DCI Alec Fletcher of Scotland Yard, the lead detective, is immediately given two urgent orders by his supervisor at the Yard: solve the murders quickly and keep his wife, the Honourable Daisy Dalrymple Fletcher, away from the case! Thankfully, Daisy’s off visiting their daughter at school. But when a teacher is found dead, Daisy is once again in the thick of it. As Daisy tries to solve one murder, Alec discovers that the three victims in his case were in the same Army company during World War I, that their murders are likely related to specific events that unfolded during that tragic conflict, and that, unless the killer is revealed and stopped, those three might only be the beginning.
Visit Carola Dunn's website and blog.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Carola Dunn & Trillian.

"Emily, Alone"

New from Viking: Emily, Alone by Stewart O'Nan.

About the book, from the publisher:

From the author of Last Night at the Lobster, a moving vision of love and family.

A sequel to the bestselling, much-beloved Wish You Were Here, Stewart O'Nan's intimate new novel follows Emily Maxwell, a widow whose grown children have long moved away. She dreams of visits by her grandchildren while mourning the turnover of her quiet Pittsburgh neighborhood, but when her sole companion and sister-in-law Arlene faints at their favorite breakfast buffet, Emily's days change. As she grapples with her new independence, she discovers a hidden strength and realizes that life always offers new possibilities. Like most older women, Emily is a familiar yet invisible figure, one rarely portrayed so honestly. Her mingled feelings-of pride and regret, joy and sorrow- are gracefully rendered in wholly unexpected ways. Once again making the ordinary and overlooked not merely visible but vital to understanding our own lives, Emily, Alone confirms O'Nan as an American master.
Learn more about the author and his work at Stewart O'Nan's website.

The Page 69 Test: Songs for the Missing.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

"WWW: Wonder"

New from Ace/Penguin: WWW: Wonder by Robert Sawyer.

About the book, from the publisher:

"A writer of boundless confidence and bold scientific extrapolation" (New York Times) concludes his mindbending trilogy.

Webmind-the vast consciousness that spontaneously emerged from the infrastructure of the World Wide Web-has proven its worth to humanity by aiding in everything from curing cancer to easing international tensions. But the brass at the Pentagon see Webmind as a threat that needs to be eliminated.

Caitlin Decter-the once-blind sixteen-year-old math genius who discovered, and bonded with, Webmind-wants desperately to protect her friend. And if she doesn't act, everything-Webmind included-may come crashing down.
Learn more about the book and author at Robert J. Sawyer's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: WWW: Wake.

The Page 69 Test: WWW: Watch.

"Becoming George Sand"

New from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: Becoming George Sand by Rosalind Brackenbury.

About the book, from the publisher:

Maria Jameson is having an affair—a passionate, lifechanging affair. She asks: Is it possible to love two men at once? Must this new romance mean an end to love with her husband?

For answers, she reaches across the centuries to George Sand, the maverick French novelist who took many lovers. Immersing herself in the life of this revolutionary woman, Maria struggles with the choices women make and wonders if women in the nineteenth century might have been more free, in some ways, than their twenty-first-century counterparts.

Here, Rosalind Brackenbury creates a beautiful portrait of the ways in which women are connected across history. Two narratives delicately intertwine—following George through her affair with Frederic Chopin, following Maria through her affair with an Irish professor—and bring us a novel that explores the personal and the historical, the demands of self and the mysteries of the heart. Sharply insightful, Becoming George Sand asks how we make our lives feel vibrant while still acknowledging the gifts of our pasts, and challenges our understanding of love in all its forms—sparkling and new, mature, rekindled, and renewed.
Visit Rosalind Brackenbury's website.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

"Almost a Family"

New from Knopf: Almost a Family: A Memoir by John Darnton.

About the book, from the publisher:

From the Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and best-selling author: a beautifully crafted memoir of his lifelong chase after his father’s shadow.

John was eleven months old when his father, Barney Darnton—a war correspondent for The New York Times—was killed in World War II, but his absence left a more profound imprint on the family than any living father could have. John’s mother, a well-known Times reporter and editor, tried to keep alive the dream of raising her two sons in ideal surroundings. When that proved impossible, she collapsed emotionally and physically. But along the way she created such a powerful myth of the father-hero who gave his life for his family, country, and the fourth estate that John followed his footsteps into the same newsroom.

Decades after his father’s death, John and his brother, the historian Robert Darnton, began digging into the past to uncover the truth about their parents. To discover who the real-life Barney Darnton was—and in part who he himself is—John delves into turn-of-the-century farm life in Michigan, the anything-goes Jazz Age in Greenwich Village, the lives of hard-drinking war correspondents in the Pacific theater, and the fearful loneliness of the McCarthy years in Washington, D.C. He ends his quest on a beach in Papua New Guinea, where he learns about his father’s last moments from an aged villager who never forgot what he saw sixty-five years earlier.
Learn more about the author and his work at John Darnton's website.

The Page 99 Test: John Darnton's Black and White and Dead All Over.

"Stones for My Father"

New from Tundra Books: Stones for My Father by Trilby Kent.

About the book, from the publisher:

The Boer War was disastrous for the British: 22,000 of them died. Close to 7,000 Boers died. Nobody knows how many Africans lost their lives, but the number is estimated to be around 20,000. This tragic, and little remembered, chapter in history is the backdrop for Trilby Kent’s powerful novel.

Corlie Roux’s father has always told her that God gave Africa to the Boers. Her life growing up on a farm in South Africa is not easy: it is beautiful, but it is also a harsh place where the heat can be so intense that the very raindrops sizzle. When her beloved father dies, she is left in the care of a cold, stern mother who clearly favors her two younger brothers. But she finds solace with her African maitie, Sipho, and in Africa itself.

Corlie’s world is about to vanish: the British are invading and driving Boers from their farms. The families who do not surrender escape to hidden laagers in the bush to help fight off the British. When Corlie’s laager is discovered, she and the others are sent to an internment camp.

Corlie is strong and can draw on her knowledge of the land she loves, but is that enough to help her survive the starvation, disease, and loss that befalls her in the camp?

Friday, March 18, 2011

"The Peach Keeper"

New from Bantam: The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen.

About the book, from the publisher:

The New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Chased the Moon welcomes you to her newest locale: Walls of Water, North Carolina, where the secrets are thicker than the fog from the town’s famous waterfalls, and the stuff of superstition is just as real as you want it to be.

It’s the dubious distinction of thirty-year-old Willa Jackson to hail from a fine old Southern family of means that met with financial ruin generations ago. The Blue Ridge Madam—built by Willa’s great-great-grandfather during Walls of Water’s heyday, and once the town’s grandest home—has stood for years as a lonely monument to misfortune and scandal. And Willa herself has long strived to build a life beyond the brooding Jackson family shadow. No easy task in a town shaped by years of tradition and the well-marked boundaries of the haves and have-nots.

But Willa has lately learned that an old classmate—socialite do-gooder Paxton Osgood—of the very prominent Osgood family, has restored the Blue Ridge Madam to her former glory, with plans to open a top-flight inn. Maybe, at last, the troubled past can be laid to rest while something new and wonderful rises from its ashes. But what rises instead is a skeleton, found buried beneath the property’s lone peach tree, and certain to drag up dire consequences along with it.

For the bones—those of charismatic traveling salesman Tucker Devlin, who worked his dark charms on Walls of Water seventy-five years ago—are not all that lay hidden out of sight and mind. Long-kept secrets surrounding the troubling remains have also come to light, seemingly heralded by a spate of sudden strange occurrences throughout the town.

Now, thrust together in an unlikely friendship, united by a full-blooded mystery, Willa and Paxton must confront the dangerous passions and tragic betrayals that once bound their families—and uncover truths of the long-dead that have transcended time and defied the grave to touch the hearts and souls of the living.

Resonant with insight into the deep and lasting power of friendship, love, and tradition, The Peach Keeper is a portrait of the unshakable bonds that—in good times and bad, from one generation to the next—endure forever.

"The Albuquerque Turkey"

New from Crown: The Albuquerque Turkey by John Vorhaus.

About the book, from the publisher:

Master con artist Radar Hoverlander is getting out of the life…unless his old man drags him back in.

After their last big con netted them a nice chunk of change, Radar Hoverlander and his grifter girlfriend, Allie Quinn, have vowed to go straight. But Radar’s fragile commitment to clean living is put to the test when an oddly hefty lady in red shows up and stalks him through the streets of Santa Fe. Except that’s no lady—it’s Radar’s dad, Woody Hoverlander, a world class con artist in his own right.

Radar correctly figures if his dad is in drag, he must be in trouble. Woody is on the lam, with a Vegas hard guy after him and a large debt to clear. To help him, Radar must break his vow to leave cons behind—and risk losing Allie, who is determined to protect their nest egg and steer clear of bad influences.

Radar’s best pal, the usually hapless Vic Mirplo, had started creating art as a con, but now he’s coming into money as his sculptures start to sell. When Radar needs someone to flash some cash in Vegas and play the reckless gambler so that he can get his father off the hook, he reinvents Mirplo as the ultimate high roller--the Albuquerque Turkey--and dangles him as bait.

Art fraud, casino cons, love, loyalty, and plenty of double- and triple-crosses…they all prove that the odds of what happens in Vegas staying in Vegas are about as long as Radar Hoverlander staying straight.
Visit John Vorhaus's website.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

"The Dressmaker of Khair Khana"

New from Harper: The Dressmaker of Khair Khana: Five Sisters, One Remarkable Family, and the Woman Who Risked Everything to Keep Them Safe by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon.

About the book, from the publisher:

The life Kamila Sidiqi had known changed overnight when the Taliban seized control of the city of Kabul. After receiving a teaching degree during the civil war—a rare achievement for any Afghan woman—Kamila was subsequently banned from school and confined to her home. When her father and brother were forced to flee the city, Kamila became the sole breadwinner for her five siblings. Armed only with grit and determination, she picked up a needle and thread and created a thriving business of her own.

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana tells the incredible true story of this unlikely entrepreneur who mobilized her community under the Taliban. Former ABC News reporter Gayle Tzemach Lemmon spent years on the ground reporting Kamila's story, and the result is an unusually intimate and unsanitized look at the daily lives of women in Afghanistan. These women are not victims; they are the glue that holds families together; they are the backbone and the heart of their nation.

Afghanistan's future remains uncertain as debates over withdrawal timelines dominate the news. The Dressmaker of Khair Khana moves beyond the headlines to transport you to an Afghanistan you have never seen before. This is a story of war, but it is also a story of sisterhood and resilience in the face of despair. Kamila Sidiqi's journey will inspire you, but it will also change the way you think about one of the most important political and humanitarian issues of our time.
Visit Gayle Tzemach Lemmon's website.

"The Road to Rome"

New from St. Martin's Press: The Road to Rome: A Novel of the Forgotten Legion by Ben Kane.

About the book, from the publisher:

In 48 B.C., having survived a disastrous campaign in Pythia as part of the Forgotten Legion and spent years fighting their way back to Rome, Romulus and Tarquinius have finally made it as far as Alexandria. On arrival, though, they find themselves in the midst of the Roman Civil War, are press-ganged into Caesar’s thinning legions and greatly outnumbered and fighting for their lives against the Egyptian army. Meanwhile in Rome, Romulus’ twin sister Fabiola, having caught only a glimpse of her long-missing twin before being forced to flee Egypt for Rome, lives in fear for her life, loved by Brutus, but wooed by Marcus Antonius, his deadly enemy.

From the battlefields of Asia Minor and North Africa, to the lawless streets of Rome and the gladiator arena, they all face death and danger daily, until 44 B.C. when their individual roads all lead them to Rome where the future of the republic lies unexpectedly in their hands.
Visit Ben Kane's website and blog.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

"Lyrics Alley"

New from Grove/Atlantic: Lyrics Alley by Leila Aboulela

About the book, from the publisher:

Leila Aboulela, winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing and one of contemporary literature’s leading Muslim voices now delivers the book that will bring her to the wider audiences of Monica Ali and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Aboulela’s new novel is the story of an affluent, influential Sudanese family shaken by the shifting powers in their country and the near tragedy that threatens the legacy they’ve built for decades.

In 1950’s Sudan, the powerful and sprawling Abuzeid dynasty has amassed a fortune through their trading firm. With Mahmoud Bey at its helm, they can do no wrong. But when Mahmoud’s son, Nur, the brilliant, handsome heir to the business empire, suffers a debilitating accident, the family is suddenly divided in the face of an uncertain future.

As Sudan’s diverging ethnic and religious populations collide and British rule nears its end, the country is torn between modernizing influences and the call of traditions past—a conflict reflected in the growing tensions between Mahmoud’s two wives: the younger, Nabilah, who longs to return to Egypt and escape the dust of “backward-looking” Sudan; and Waheeba, who lives traditionally behind veils and closed doors. It is not until Nur begins to assert himself outside the strict cultural limits of his parents that both his own spirit and the frayed bonds of his family can begin to mend.

In Lyrics Alley, Leila Aboulela takes readers to the heart of what it means to have faith in an unforgiving world. Moving from the alleys of Sudan to cosmopolitan Cairo and a decimated postcolonial Britain, this sweeping tale of desire and loss, faith, despair, and reconciliation is one of the most accomplished and evocative portraits ever written about Sudanese society at the time of independence.
Visit Leila Aboulela's website.

"The Rise of the Iron Moon"

New from Tor Books: The Rise of the Iron Moon by Stephen Hunt.

About the book, from the publisher:

Born into captivity as a product of the Royal Breeding House, friendless orphan Purity Drake suddenly finds herself on the run with a foreign vagrant after accidentally killing one of her guards.

Her strange rescuer claims he is on the run himself from terrible forces who mean to enslave the Kingdom of Jackals much as they conquered his own nation. Purity doubts his story until reports of the terrible Army of Shadows, marching across the continent and sweeping all before them.

Purity has felt little love for her country but realizes that the bad acts of a government gone wrong aren't enough to condemn an entire people.

There's more to Purity than meets the eye. As Jackals girds itself for war against an army of near-unkillable beasts serving an ancient evil, it becomes clear that the country's only hope is a strange little royalist girl and the last, desperate plan of an escaped slave.
Visit Stephen Hunt's website and blog.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

"A Pinchbeck Bride"

New from Poisoned Pen Press: A Pinchbeck Bride by Stephen Anable.

About the book, from the publisher:

A young woman in Victorian finery is found strangled in Mingo House, a morbid brownstone and museum, a nineteenth-century time capsule in Boston’s Back Bay. Dubbed the “Victorian Girl” by the media everywhere, she becomes the eye of a hurricane of publicity and speculation—and a darkness reaching back to the Mingoes’ roots in England and to the builders of the mansion, a Civil War arms dealer and his séance-holding wife. Boston comic Mark Winslow and the other trustees of Mingo House are divided as to whether the place is sustainable as a museum. Trustee chairman Rudy Schmitz, the brash entrepreneur, seems convinced that the porous roof and escalating rain damage will doom the place. Nadia Gulbenkian, the last of the old guard trustees, is accusing Rudy of engineering the museum’s demise. Software executive Jon Kim and a dubious collector of saints’ bones and art are pursuing their own clandestine agendas. Mingo House itself seems cursed, for its origins in bullets and cannonballs and the family’s reputation as regicides in the execution of King Charles I. A number of people believe its walls conceal treasure, a stolen royal monstrance, and are willing to do anything to retrieve it. In this sequel to "The Fisher Boy," pierced college students clash with flawed Brahmin bluebloods, and the Gothic with the high-tech. As the deaths and threats multiply, one question resounds: which will survive this summer of rain, of deluge—Mingo House or its terrified staff?
Visit Stephen Anable's website.

"The Enterprise of Death"

New from Little, Brown: The Enterprise of Death by Jesse Bullington.

About the book, from the publisher:

As the witch-pyres of the Spanish Inquisition blanket Renaissance Europe in a moral haze, a young African slave finds herself the unwilling apprentice of an ancient necromancer. Unfortunately, quitting his company proves even more hazardous than remaining his pupil when she is afflicted with a terrible curse. Yet salvation may lie in a mysterious tome her tutor has hidden somewhere on the war-torn continent.

She sets out on a seemingly impossible journey to find the book, never suspecting her fate is tied to three strangers: the artist Niklaus Manuel Deutsch, the alchemist Dr. Paracelsus, and a gun-slinging Dutch mercenary. As Manuel paints her macabre story on canvas, plank, and church wall, the young apprentice becomes increasingly aware that death might be the least of her concerns.
Learn more about the book and author at Jesse Bullington's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart.

Monday, March 14, 2011

"You Know Who You Are"

New from Vintage: You Know Who You Are by Ben Dolnick.

About the book, from the publisher:

A gorgeous novel of family life, You Know Who You Are is the story of the Vine family, Arthur, Alice, and their three children. The eldest, Will, is well-mannered and academically driven. The youngest, Cara, is a sweet little charmer. Jacob, the middle child, is less sure of who he is. He’s funny, he’s impulsive, and he is often held hostage by his urges to make chaos. But when their mother, Alice, falls ill, Jacob begins to experiment--guiltily, nervously--with the special freedoms conferred on the motherless.

Following the Vines as Jacob moves through high school, college, and beyond, You Know Who You Are is a wise, funny, elegiac novel of moving on, pulling together, and answering that most complicated of questions: who will you decide to become?
Visit Ben Dolnick's website.

The Page 69 Test: Ben Dolnick's Zoology.

"Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After"

New from Quirk Publishing: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After by Steve Hockensmith.

About the book, from the publisher:

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and its prequel, Dawn of the Dreadfuls, were both New York Times best sellers, with a combined 1.3 million copies in print. Now the PPZ trilogy comes to a thrilling conclusion with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After.

The story opens with our newly married protagonists, Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy, defending their village from an army of flesh-eating “unmentionables.” But the honeymoon has barely begun when poor Mr. Darcy is nipped by a rampaging dreadful. Elizabeth knows the proper course of action is to promptly behead her husband (and then burn the corpse, just to be safe). But when she learns of a miracle antidote under development in London, she realizes there may be one last chance to save her true love—and for everyone to live happily ever after.
Visit Steve Hockensmith's website.

Writers Read: Steve Hockensmith.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

"The Sorcerer's Apprentices"

New from Free Press: The Sorcerer's Apprentices: A Season in the Kitchen at Ferran Adrià's elBulli by Lisa Abend.

About the book, from the publisher:


Elected best restaurant in the world by Restaurant magazine an unprecedented five times, elBulli is where chef Ferran AdriÀ's remarkable cuisine comes to life—with dragon cocktails that make the drinker breathe smoke and caviar made from tiny spheres of olive oil. elBulli is also the object of culinary pilgrimage—millions clamor every year for a reservation at one of its tables.

Yet few people know that, behind each of the thirtyor more courses that make up a meal at elBulli, a small army of stagiaires—apprentice chefs—labor at the precise, exhausting work of executing AdriÀ's astonishing vision. In The Sorcerer's Apprentices: A Season in the Kitchenat Ferran AdriÀ's elBulli, Lisa Abend explores the remarkable system that AdriÀ uses to run his restaurant and, in the process, train the next generation of culinary stars.

Granted more access to AdriÀ and the elBulli kitchen than any other writer in the restaurant's history, Abend follows thirty-five young men and women as they struggle to master the cutting-edge techniques, grueling hours, furious creativity, and interpersonal tensions that come with working at this celebrated institution. Her lively narrative captures a great cast, including a young Korean cook who camps on the doorstep of elBulli until he is allowed to work in the kitchen; an ambitious chef from one of Switzerland's top restaurants struggling to create his own artistic vision of cuisine; and an American couple whose relationship may not withstand the unique pressures of the restaurant. What emerges is an irresistible tale of aspiring young talents caught, for good or ill, in the opportunity of a lifetime.

Taken together, their stories form a portrait of the international team that helps make a meal at elBulli so memorable. They also reveal a Ferran AdriÀ few ever see, one who is not only a genius chef and artist but also a boss, teacher, taskmaster, businessman, and sometimes- flawed human being. Today, food has become the focus of unprecedented attention, and The Sorcerer's Apprentices also explores the strange evolution—in less than two decades—of a once-maligned profession into a source of celebrity.
Visit Lisa Abend's website.

"Zero Day"

New from Thomas Dunne Books: Zero Day by Mark Russinovich, foreword by Howard A. Schmidt.

About the book, from the publisher:

An airliner’s controls abruptly fail mid-flight over the Atlantic. An oil tanker runs aground in Japan when its navigational system suddenly stops dead. Hospitals everywhere have to abandon their computer databases when patients die after being administered incorrect dosages of their medicine. In the Midwest, a nuclear power plant nearly becomes the next Chernobyl when its cooling systems malfunction.

At first, these random computer failures seem like unrelated events. But Jeff Aiken, a former government analyst who quit in disgust after witnessing the gross errors that led up to 9/11, thinks otherwise. Jeff fears a more serious attack targeting the United States computer infrastructure is already under way. And as other menacing computer malfunctions pop up around the world, some with deadly results, he realizes that there isn’t much time if he hopes to prevent an international catastrophe.

Written by a global authority on cyber security, Zero Day presents a chilling “what if” scenario that, in a world completely reliant on technology, is more than possible today---it’s a cataclysmic disaster just waiting to happen.
Visit the Zero Day website.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

"The Lost Sister"

New from Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books: The Lost Sister by Russel D. McLean.

About the book, from the publisher:

A teenage girl is missing. Her godfather is a known criminal and her mother is hiding a dark secret. For Private Investigator J. McNee, what starts as a favor for a friend soon becomes a nightmare as he races to find the girl before it’s too late.
Visit Russel McLean's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: The Good Son.

"You Are What You Speak"

New from Delacorte Press: You Are What You Speak: Grammar Grouches, Language Laws, and the Politics of Identity by Robert Lane Greene.

About the book, from the publisher:

What is it about other people’s language that moves some of us to anxiety or even rage? For centuries, sticklers the world over have donned the cloak of authority to control the way people use words. Now this sensational new book strikes back to defend the fascinating, real-life diversity of this most basic human faculty.

With the erudite yet accessible style that marks his work as a journalist, Robert Lane Greene takes readers on a rollicking tour around the world, illustrating with vivid anecdotes the role language beliefs play in shaping our identities, for good and ill. Beginning with literal myths, from the Tower of Babel to the bloody origins of the word “shibboleth,” Greene shows how language “experts” went from myth-making to rule-making and from building cohesive communities to building modern nations. From the notion of one language’s superiority to the common perception that phrases like “It’s me” are “bad English,” linguistic beliefs too often define “us” and distance “them,” supporting class, ethnic, or national prejudices. In short: What we hear about language is often really about the politics of identity.

Governments foolishly try to police language development (the French Academy), nationalism leads to the violent suppression of minority languages (Kurdish and Basque), and even Americans fear that the most successful language in world history (English) may be threatened by increased immigration. These false language beliefs are often tied to harmful political ends and can lead to the violation of basic human rights. Conversely, political involvement in language can sometimes prove beneficial, as with the Zionist revival of Hebrew or our present-day efforts to provide education in foreign languages essential to business, diplomacy, and intelligence. And yes, standardized languages play a crucial role in uniting modern societies.

As this fascinating book shows, everything we’ve been taught to think about language may not be wrong—but it is often about something more than language alone. You Are What You Speak will certainly get people talking.
Visit Robert Lane Greene's website.

Friday, March 11, 2011

"Gentlemen and Amazons"

New from the University of California Press: Gentlemen and Amazons: The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory, 1861–1900 by Cynthia Eller.

About the book, from the publisher:

Gentlemen and Amazons traces the nineteenth-century genesis and development of an important contemporary myth about human origins: that of an original prehistoric matriarchy. Cynthia Eller explores the intellectual history of the myth, which arose from male scholars who mostly wanted to vindicate the patriarchal family model as a higher stage of human development. Eller tells the stories these men told, analyzes the gendered assumptions they made, and provides the necessary context for understanding how feminists of the 1970s and 1980s embraced as historical “fact” a discredited nineteenth-century idea.
Visit Cynthia Eller's website.

"Butterfly's Child"

New from The Dial Press: Butterfly's Child by Angela Davis-Gardner.

About the book, from the publisher:

When three-year-old Benji is plucked from the security of his home in Nagasaki to live with his American father, Lt. Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton, and stepmother, Kate, on their farm in Illinois, the family conceals Benji’s true identity as a child born from a liaison between an officer and a geisha, and instead tells everyone that he is an orphan.

Frank struggles to keep the farm going while coping with his guilt and longing for the deceased Butterfly. Deeply devout Kate is torn between her Christian principles and her resentment of raising another woman’s child. And Benji’s life as an outcast—neither fully American nor fully Japanese—forces him to forge an identity far from the life he has known.

When the truth about Benji surfaces, it will splinter this family’s fragile dynamic, sending repercussions spiraling through their close-knit rural community and sending Benji on the journey of a lifetime from Illinois to the Japanese settlements in Denver and San Francisco, then across the ocean to Nagasaki, where he will uncover the truth about his mother’s tragic death.

A sweeping portrait of a changing American landscape at the end of the nineteenth century, and of a Japanese culture irrevocably altered by foreign influence, Butterfly’s Child explores people in transition—from old worlds to new customs, heart’s desires to vivid realities—in an epic tale that plays out as both a conclusion to and an inspiration for one of the most famous love stories ever told.
Visit Angela Davis-Gardner's website.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

"Everyone's a Winner"

New from the University of California Press: Everyone's a Winner: Life in Our Congratulatory Culture by Joel Best.

About the book, from the publisher:

Every kindergarten soccer player gets a trophy. Many high schools name dozens of seniors as valedictorians—of the same class. Cars sport bumper stickers that read “USA—Number 1.” Prizes proliferate in every corner of American society, and excellence is trumpeted with ratings that range from “Academy Award winner!” to “Best Neighborhood Pizza!” In Everyone’s a Winner, Joel Best— acclaimed author of Damned Lies and Statistics and many other books—shines a bright light on the increasing abundance of status in our society and considers what it all means. With humor and insight, Best argues that status affluence fosters social worlds and, in the process, helps give meaning to life in a large society.

"The Mozart Conspiracy"

New from Touchstone: The Mozart Conspiracy by Scott Mariani.

About the book, from the publisher:

A centuries-old mystery. An "accidental" death. A conspiracy that may end in murder. Former British Special Air Service officer Ben Hope is running for his life. Enlisted by Leigh Llewellyn—the beautiful, world-famous opera star and Ben's first love—to investigate her brother, Oliver's, mysterious death, Ben finds himself caught up in a puzzle dating back to the 1700s.

At the time of his death, Oliver was working on a new book about Mozart. Though the official report states that Oliver died in a tragic accident, the facts don't add up. But as Ben and Leigh dig deeper, they find that Oliver's research reveals that Mozart, a notable Freemason, may have been killed by a shadowy and powerful splinter group of the organization. The only proof lies in a missing letter, believed to have been written by Mozart himself. When Leigh and Ben receive a video documenting a ritual sacrifice performed by hooded men, they realize that the sect is still in existence today and will stop at nothing to keep its secrets.

From the dreaming spires of Oxford and Venice's labyrinthine canals to the majes­tic architecture of Vienna, Ben and Leigh must race across Europe to uncover the truth behind the Mozart conspiracy before they become its next victims. In the tradition of Robert Ludlum and Dan Brown, Scott Mariani's The Mozart Conspiracy is an electrify­ing thriller and the start of an exciting new series.
Visit the official The Mozart Conspiracy website.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

"The King of Diamonds"

New from Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books: The King of Diamonds by Simon Tolkien.

About the book, from the publisher:

A sophisticated mystery layered with dark secrets from the past, and slow-burning suspense

It’s 1960, and David Swain is two years into his life sentence for murdering the lover of his ex-girlfriend, Katya Osman. In the dead of night, David escapes from prison, and that same night Katya is found murdered in her uncle’s home, Blackwater Hall.

Inspector Trave of the Oxford Police, last seen in The Inheritance, heads the manhunt for David, whom he first brought to justice two years earlier. But Trave’s suspicions lead him to Katya’s uncle Titus Osman, a rich diamond dealer, and his sinister brother-in-law, Franz Claes, who has gone to great lengths to hide his former ties with the Nazis. However, Trave’s motives are suspect - Osman is having an affair with Trave’s estranged wife, Vanessa, and a newcomer to the Oxford Police, Inspector Macrae, is eager to exploit Trave's weaknesses to further his own ambition. Caught up in his superiors’ rivalry, Trave's young assistant, Adam Clayton, finds himself uncertain who is right and which side to choose. Once David is captured and put on trial for his life, Trave is willing to risk everything that is dear to him—professionally and personally—to pursue his obsessive belief in Osman’s guilt.

In this expertly crafted follow-up to his acclaimed novel The Inheritance, Simon Tolkien has once again written a gripping and nuanced thriller laced with historical detail, treachery, and his signature writing style—a uniquely suspenseful blend that the Los Angeles Times called “half Christie and half Grisham.”
Visit Simon Tolkien's website.

"So Much Pretty"

New from Simon & Schuster: So Much Pretty by Cara Hoffman.

About the book, from the publisher:

When she disappeared from her rural hometown, Wendy White was a sweet, family-oriented girl, a late bloomer who'd recently moved out on her own, with her first real boyfriend and a job waiting tables at the local tavern. It happens all the time—a woman goes missing, a family mourns, and the case remains unsolved. Stacy Flynn is a reporter looking for her big break. She moved east from Cleveland, a city known for its violent crime, but that's the last thing she expected to cover in Haeden. This small, upstate New York town counts a dairy farm as its main employer and is home to families who've set down roots and never left—people who don't take kindly to outsiders. Flynn is researching the environmental impact of the dairy, and the way money flows outward like the chemical runoff, eventually poisoning those who live at the edges of its reach.

Five months after she disappeared, Wendy's body is found in a ditch just off one of Haeden's main roads. Suddenly, Flynn has a big story, but no one wants to talk to her. No one seems to think that Wendy's killer could still be among them. A drifter, they say. Someone "not from here."

Fifteen-year-old Alice Piper is an imaginative student with a genius IQ and strong ideals. The precocious, confident girl has stood out in Haeden since the day her eccentric hippie parents moved there from New York City, seeking a better life for their only child. When Alice reads Flynn's passionate article in the Haeden Free Press about violence against women—about the staggering number of women who are killed each day by people they know—she begins to connect the dots of Wendy's disappearance and death, leading her to make a choice: join the rest in turning a blind eye, or risk getting involved. As Flynn and Alice separately observe the locals' failure to acknowledge a murderer in their midst, Alice's fate is forever entwined with Wendy's when a second crime rocks the town to its core.

Stylishly written, closely observed, and bracingly unexpected, So Much Pretty leads the reader into the treacherous psychology of denial, where the details of an event are already known, deeply and intuitively felt, but not yet admitted to, reconciled or revealed.
Visit Cara Hoffman's website.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

"Oprah: The Gospel of an Icon"

New from the University of California Press: Oprah: The Gospel of an Icon by Kathryn Lofton.

About the book, from the publisher:

“Today on Oprah,” intones the TV announcer, and all over America viewers tune in to learn, empathize, and celebrate. In this book, Kathryn Lofton investigates the Oprah phenomenon and finds in Winfrey’s empire—Harpo Productions, O Magazine, and her new television network—an uncanny reflection of religion in modern society. Lofton shows that when Oprah likes, needs, or believes something, she offers her audience nothing less than spiritual revolution, reinforced by practices that fuse consumer behavior, celebrity ambition, and religious idiom. In short, Oprah Winfrey is a media messiah for a secular age. Lofton’s unique approach also situates the Oprah enterprise culturally, illuminating how Winfrey reflects and continues historical patterns of American religions.

"The Trinity Six"

New from St. Martin's Press: The Trinity Six by Charles Cumming.

About the book, from the publisher:

The most closely-guarded secret of the Cold War is about to be exposed – the identity of a SIXTH member of the infamous Cambridge spy ring. And people are killing for it…

London, 1992. Late one night, Edward Crane, 76, is declared dead at a London hospital. An obituary describes him only as a 'resourceful career diplomat'. But Crane was much more than that – and the circumstances surrounding his death are far from what they seem.

Fifteen years later, academic Sam Gaddis needs money. When a journalist friend asks for his help researching a possible sixth member of the notorious Trinity spy ring, Gaddis knows that she's onto a story that could turn his fortunes around. But within hours the journalist is dead, apparently from a heart attack.

Taking over her investigation, Gaddis trails a man who claims to know the truth about Edward Crane. Europe still echoes with decades of deadly disinformation on both sides of the Iron Curtain. And as Gaddis follows a series of leads across the continent, he approaches a shocking revelation – one which will rock the foundations of politics from London to Moscow…
Visit Charles Cumming's website.

The Page 69 Test: A Spy By Nature.

My Book, The Movie: The Spanish Game.

The Page 69 Test: Typhoon.

Read about Charles Cumming's five favorite works of espionage.

Monday, March 7, 2011

"The Other Eighties"

New from Hill and Wang: The Other Eighties: A Secret History of America in the Age of Reagan by Bradford Martin.

About the book, from the publisher:

In this engaging new book, Bradford Martin illuminates a different 1980s than many remember—one whose history has been buried under the celebratory narrative of conservative ascendancy. Ronald Reagan looms large in most accounts of the period, encouraging Americans to renounce the activist and liberal politics of the 1960s and ‘70s and embrace the resurgent conservative wave. But a closer look reveals that a sizable swath of Americans strongly disapproved of Reagan’s policies throughout his presidency. With a weakened Democratic Party scurrying for the political center, many expressed their dissatisfaction outside electoral politics.

Unlike the civil rights and Vietnam era protesters, activists of the 1980s often found themselves on the defensive, struggling to preserve the hard-won victories of the previous era. Their successes, then, were not in ushering in a new era of progressive reforms but in effecting change in areas from professional life to popular culture, while beating back an even more forceful political shift to the right. Martin paints an indelible portrait of these and other influential, but often overlooked, movements: from on-the-ground efforts to constrain the administration’s aggressive Latin American policy and stave off a possible Nicaraguan war, to mock shanties constructed on college campuses to shed light on corporate America’s role in supporting the apartheid regime in South Africa. The result is a clearer, richer perspective on a turbulent decade in American life.

"When Tito Loved Clara"

New from Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill: When Tito Loved Clara by Jon Michaud.

About the book, from the publisher:

Clara Lugo grew up in a home that would have rattled the most grounded of children. Through brains and determination, she has long since slipped the bonds of her confining Dominican neighborhood in the northern reaches of Manhattan. Now she tries to live a settled professional life with her American husband and son in the suburbs of New Jersey—often thwarted by her constellation of relatives who don’t understand her gringa ways.

Her mostly happy life is disrupted, however, when Tito, a former boyfriend from fifteen years earlier, reappears. Something has impeded his passage into adulthood. His mother calls him an Unfinished Man. He still carries a torch for Clara; and she harbors a secret from their past. Their reacquaintance sets in motion an unraveling of both of their lives and reveals what the cost of assimilation—or the absence of it—has meant for each of them.

This immensely entertaining novel—filled with wit and compassion—marks the debut of a fine writer.
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