Library Journal

2014 Edgar Award Nominees Announced

Sunday, January 19,  was Edgar Allen Poe’s 205th birthday; to celebrate the occasion, the Mystery Writers of America announced its nominees for the 2014 Edgar Awards, honoring the best in mystery fiction, nonfiction, and television published or produced in 2013.

Having garnered rave starred reviews and listings on many top ten lists, will Louise Penny’s ninth Inspector Gamache title How the Light Gets In finally garner the multi-award-winning author her first Edgar Award? Or will Matt Haig’s genre-blending The Humans steal the show? Stay tuned. The winners will be announced at the 68th Annual Edgar Awards banquet, May 1, 2014 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City.

Sandrine’s Case by Thomas H. Cook (Grove Atlantic – The Mysterious Press)
The Humans by Matt Haig (Simon & Schuster)
Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger (Simon & Schuster – Atria Books)
How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny (Minotaur Books)
Standing in Another Man’s Grave by Ian Rankin (Hachette Book Group – Reagan Arthur Books)
Until She Comes Home by Lori Roy (Penguin Group USA – Dutton Books)


The Resurrectionist by Matthew Guinn (W.W. Norton)
Ghostman by Roger Hobbs (Alfred A. Knopf)
Rage Against the Dying by Becky Masterman (Minotaur Books)
Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews (Simon & Schuster – Scribner)
Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight (HarperCollins Publishers)

The Guilty One by Lisa Ballantyne (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow Paperbacks)
Almost Criminal by E.R. Brown (Dundurn)
Joe Victim by Paul Cleave (Simon & Schuster – Atria Books)
Joyland by Stephen King (Hard Case Crime)
The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood (Penguin Group USA – Penguin Books)
Brilliance by Marcus Sakey (Amazon Publishing – Thomas and Mercer)

For a full list of the nominees, see the Mystery Writers of America website.


Galley Guide Discoveries: 12 Spring Books You Shouldn’t Miss

If Library Journal’s galley guides serve to bring good books to your attention, they also serve to bring good books to mine. Here are 12 books I discovered while compiling the ALA Midwinter guide. Some, like Emma Straub’s The Vacationers, Walter Kirn’s Blood Will Out, and Michael Winter’s Minister Without Portfolio, are real surprises I’m chagrinned not to have encountered; others, like Hassan Blasim’s The Corpse Exhibition, Kyung-sook Shin’s I’ll Be Right There, and Kenan Trebincevic’s The Bosnia List, are books I’m excited about but found too late to feature in Prepub Alert, so I’m grateful for this second chance. Take a look at them all.

Bauer, Shane & others. A Sliver of Light: Three Americans Imprisoned in Iran. Houghton Harcourt. Mar. 2014. 352p. ISBN 9780547985534. $27.
When Bauer, Josh Fattal, and Sarah Shourd were hiking through Iraqi Kurdistan in the summer of 2009, they strayed over the border into Iran and found themselves captured and imprisoned for two brutal years. Like Amanda Lindhout & Sara Corbett’s A House in the Sky, this is an inside look at confinement and the will to survive.

Blasim, Hassan. The Corpse Exhibition. Penguin. Feb. 2014. tr. by Jonathan Wright. 208p. ISBN 9780143123262. pap. $15.
From an author called “perhaps the best writer of Arabic fiction alive” (the Guardian), here’s a book that’s already a Discover Great New Writers pick. The first story alone blew me away. don’t miss.

Brookes, Adam. Night Heron. Orbit. May 2014. 352p. ISBN 9780316399838. $26.
Peanut used to spy for the British; now he’s escaped from a labor camp during a frigid winter in northwest China and is hunting for one of his MI6 contacts in Beijing. What intrigues me here is that Brookes, a BBC correspondent in Washington, DC, was formerly the BBC’s China correspondent.

Hoen, Sean Madigan. Songs Only You Know. Soho. Apr. 2014. 336p. ISBN 9781616953362. $25.
Raised in Dearborn, MI, Hoen grew up deeply involved in the Detroit hardcore punk scene. He also had to contend with a family splintered by drug abuse. From the winner of the 2011 Fiction Award from BOMB magazine.

Kerouac, Jack. The Haunted Life: And Other Writings. Da Capo. Mar. 208p. ISBN 9780306823046. $24.99
In late 1944, Kerouac lost the title novella, a coming-of-age story set in a fictionalized version of Kerouac’s hometown of Lowell, MA; its reappearance at Christie’s a decade ago and the Kerouac family’s decision to allow its publication are cause for curiosity.

Kirn, Walter. Blood Will Out: The True Story of a Murder, a Mystery, and a Masquerade. Liveright: Norton. Mar 2014. 272p. ISBN 9780871404510. $25.95.
Critic/author Kirn (Up in the Air) recalls how he met and forged a relationship with the imposter who called himself Clark Rockefeller, also the inspiration for Amity Gaige’s novel Schroder.

Lock, Norman. The Boy in His Winter. Bellevue Literary. May 2014. 192p. ISBN 9781934137765. pap. $14.95.
From Aga Kahn Prize winner Lock, here’s an ambitious retelling of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which sends Mark Twain’s heroes through the Civil War, then on to a Gulf Coast wrecked by Hurricane Katrina, and finally to 2077 America.

Nahm, David Connerley. Ancient Oceans of Central Kentucky. Two Dollar Radio. Aug. 2014. 222p. ISBN 9781937512200. pap. $15.50.
From Two Dollar Radio, whose publications are always eye-catching, here’s a novel that could really catch fire. Leah is understandably torn when she encounters a man who claims to be her brother Jacob, who vanished when they were young. Gritty lyricism; no out until August, but I wanted to be sure that it wouldn’t get lost in the Prepub rush.

Shin, Kyung-sook. I’ll Be Right There. Other. Jun. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9781590516737. pap. $15.95.
“I recognized his voice right away. As soon as he said, ‘Hello?’ I asked, ‘Where are you?’ He didn’t say anything. Eight years—it was not a short length of time.” Those first lines hooked me, just as I was immediately hooked by Please Look After Mom, this Man Asian Literary Prize winner’s first book to be translated into English. Her new book is a story of complex, painful relationships in 1980s South Korea.

Straub, Emma. The Vacationers. Riverhead. Jun. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9781594631573 . $26.95.
From the author of Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures, here’s the story of a couple celebrating their 35th wedding anniversary by vacationing in Mallorca with their daughter, who’s just graduated from high school. Naturally, things don’t go smoothly.

Trebincevic, Kenan. The Bosnia List: A Memoir of War, Exile, and Return. Penguin. 336p. ISBN 9780143124573. pap. $16.
Having been forced from his Bosnian hometown in spring 1992 when former friends and neighbors turned on him and his family because they were Muslim, Trebincevic made it to America. He returned recently with revenge in his heart, but something different happened.

Winter, Michael. Minister Without Portfolio. Pintail. Feb. 2014. 336p. ISBN 9780143187813. pap. $16.
Home from Afghanistan, where he served as an army-affiliated contractor, Henry cannot live with himself because he knows he’s responsible for the death of several friends in a roadside tragedy. From a Canadian author who’s been longlisted for honors like the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize.


Slanted Disclosure: The Politics of Political Books | Wyatt’s World

Anyone who watches even the smallest segments of cable news television knows that 2014 is a high-stakes election year. Also making the fact plain is the recent rash of books on current, past, and future presidential candidates. Below are five titles that together feed the need for dishy, pointed, and studied takes on all aspects of the U.S. political fray.

  • HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes (Crown).
    Political reporters Allen (White House Bureau Chief for POLITICO) and Parnes (The Hill) plumb the career of First Lady, Senator, presidential candidate, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Due out in mid-February, their account is reported to be full of insider details, interviews, and you-are-in-the-room accounts. Until Clinton announces—one way or the other—if she will run for president, there will be no escaping the gravity of her personality—but she will have her own say in an expected blockbuster memoir forthcoming this summer.
  • Days of Fire: Bush and Cheney in the White House by Peter Baker (Doubleday).
    Past is prolog as the lingering ramifications of 9/11 illustrate in everything from Edward Snowden to the slow withdrawal from Afghanistan. In one of the most evenhanded and recent accounts of the George W. Bush administration, Baker retraces much of what the country is currently still struggling to overcome—from the collapse of the economy to the hubris of presidential power.
  • Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War by Robert M. Gates (Knopf).
    If one listens to the many commentators buzzing over the prerelease tidbits, Gates’s mix of anger and insider commendation is most notable for coming out during a sitting president’s term. Regardless of the timing, his take on the wars, elected leaders, and insights based on a long career in military and clandestine service is likely to frame the debate for weeks to come.
  • Double Down: Game Change 2012 by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann (Penguin). The team behind one of the best books on the 2008 election returns with one of the best on President Obama’s reelection. It is detailed and lovely in all the best ways as it vividly illustrates the strategy and mistakes of both campaigns. With insider gossip and a highly narrative approach, Halperin and Heilemann offer a readable and accessible account of ego, power, and strategy.
  • This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral—Plus, Plenty of Valet Parking!—in America’s Gilded Capital by Mark Leibovich (Blue Rider).
    This gossipy indictment of the Washington political and news media complex takes on everyone from the president to talking heads to journalists—painting a riotously dissolute picture of those who lead the country and report on them.

New Year, New Stories | Memoir

Somehow, it’s another new year and here we are talking about memoirs again. For five of this month’s memoirists, this is a second or even third title. What motivates this sharing of the good, the bad, and the ugly of life? Gail Caldwell, the Pulitzer Prize–winning book critic for The Boston Globe—and one of this month’s life storytellers—suggests we often don’t get a choice about some of the facts of our experience but points out: “The story is what got you here, and embracing its truth is what makes the outcome bearable.” Seems reasonable enough. This month’s stories helped make bearable the war in Afghanistan, major life changes, illness, deaths, loneliness, and loss for those who wrote about it. It couldn’t hurt to take a look and see what got our writers here. New year, new stories, let’s go.

Bonenberger, Adrian. Afghan Post. The Head & the Hand. Jan. 2014. 340p. ISBN 9780989312523. $18. memoir
Unlike many of his fellow Yale graduates, Bonenberger eschewed law school or a career in finance in favor of two tours of duty in Afghanistan as an officer in the U.S. Army. The format of this epistolary memoir, ostensibly based on Bonenberger’s contemporaneous journal entries and correspondence, is ambitious. He gives us fascinating glossaries of military terminology, mundane details of meals in the field as well as soul-searching insight into the corrosive effects of war on those sent to fight. VERDICT Bonenberger, now a blogger and a journalism student, makes clear the war’s awful toll on his psyche while providing civilians with a crash course in the hell and exhilaration of combat and training.

Caldwell, Gail. New Life, No Instructions. Random. Apr. 2014. 176p. ISBN 9781400069545. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780679604426. memoir
Caldwell, author of the previous memoirs Let’s Take the Long Way Home and A Strong West Wind, presents a calm and affecting portrait of the challenges of loss and frailty in middle age in her carefully written series of observations on the roles of friends, family, and beloved pets in creating a sense of community in our lives. The benefits of a long-overdue medical procedure at the center of the book extend beyond the physical into the realm of the transformative, but Caldwell’s steady tone reminds us of the daily miracles of friendship, too. VERDICT This lovely recounting of a disheartening patch in Caldwell’s life will appeal to scores of readers of a certain age who are encountering their own mortality while still figuring this whole life thing out. [See Prepub Alert, 11/15/13.]

Feldman, Deborah. Exodus. Blue Rider. Mar. 2014. 288p. ISBN 9780399162770. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9781101603109. memoir
Feldman’s first memoir, Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots, which detailed her departure from the Satmar Hasidic community, was met with alternate praise and skepticism. This follow-up traces her efforts to establish a life for herself and her son free of the judgments and ghosts of her past. The journey recounted here is one of many actual miles (in search of her European roots) as well as through many lifestyles (student, mother, girlfriend, outcast) but the shock value of Feldman’s first saga is a distant backdrop to this more conventional tale of self-discovery. VERDICT Feldman’s accounts this time around are less controversial, but the notoriety of her first book ensures that many readers will be eager to discover whether she finds happiness outside the community of her heritage. [See Prepub Alert, 10/1/13.]

Gore, Ariel. The End of Eve. Hawthorne. Mar. 2014. 240p. ISBN 9780986000799. $16.95. memoir
In this candid narrative, Hip Mama magazine publisher Gore chronicles the last year (or so) of her mother’s life and exposes the tenuous balance between filial piety and losing one’s mind. Gore’s high-maintenance mother, diagnosed with advanced lung cancer, did not want to die alone, so Gore brought the “crazy” to her house (and then moved that household from Oregon to New Mexico and renovated the house to boot). Gore’s efforts to preserve her own sanity while caring for her mother are recounted with equal measures of exasperation and tolerance. VERDICT Gore’s mantra of “Behave in a way you’re going to be proud of” guided her well during her mother’s seemingly unending final illness but also in the writing of this book.


Loh, Sandra Tsing. The Madwoman in the Volvo: My Year of Raging Hormones. Norton. May 2014. 256p. ISBN 9780393088687. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9780393244236. memoir
Loh, a writer and performance artist, has reported in previous memoirs upon, among other things, her adventures in parenting and life in LA, so it is no surprise that when she hit the wall of menopause, she wrote a book about it. Loh’s madcap (hysterical might be too literal a description) tone propels readers through chapters dealing with despair, an affair (her own), divorce, aging parents, and other miseries weathered during the hormonal upheavals of midlife. Chatty references to medical and psychological supports for menopausal women are interspersed with comic complaints about weight gain and the inability to maintain a house that resembles one in a lifestyle magazine. VERDICT Loh’s meandering account of her perilous trip through menopause will appeal to readers searching for moral support during their own menopausal miseries the same way talking to a friend might, but for real medical advice, stick with a sympathetic doctor, the way Loh did.

Sankovitch, Nina. Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Celebrating the Joys of Letter Writing. S. & S. Apr. 2014. 192p. ISBN 9781451687156. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9781451687170. memoir
The discovery of a cache of old letters in her home led Sankovitch (Tolstoy and the Purple Chair) to examine the history and practice of letter writing and question why letters are such a powerful form of communication. From Heloise and Abelard’s impassioned missives to love letters from her husband, the author deconstructs a wide variety of correspondence in her effort to determine the basis of our fascination with letters (especially the ones not addressed to us). At once a history as well as an homage to a dwindling practice, the memoirist’s review of the art of letter writing is a unique blend of personal and public history. VERDICT Sankovitch’s enthusiasm for all things epistolary is clear as she makes the case for their importance. It’s hard to imagine future generations becoming as excited over discovering emails and texts as she was over the revelation of century-old letters.


Xpress Reviews: Audiobooks | First Look at New Books, January 17, 2014

Week ending January 17, 2014

Barlow, Toby. Babayaga. 12 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 14½ hrs. Tantor Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781452615875. $39.99; 2 MP3-CDs/12 CDs. library ed.; digital download. F
This imaginative novel set in Paris during the 1950s features Will Van Wyck, a young American advertising agent working for the CIA, as he becomes increasingly caught up in a series of events involving the Cold War, LSD experimentation, and witchcraft. A parallel plot follows Zoya and Elga, witches from Russia, as they seduce, manipulate, and generally cause trouble. Barlow (Sharp Teeth) has succeeded in writing a fast-moving though somewhat tangled tale. Especially enjoyable are the detailed accounts of the witches’ centuries-long history. Dan Miller’s versatile voice captures the various accents believably, although the uneven audio requires frequent volume adjustments.
Verdict Recommended for listeners of contemporary fiction interested in an entertaining and complicated story.—Nancy R. Ives, SUNY at Geneseo

Brodrick, William. The Day of the Lie. (Father Anselm, Bk. 4). 13 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 15 hrs. Recorded Bks. 2013. ISBN 9781470362546. $123.75; digital download. F
Brodrick’s (A Whispered Name) latest takes listeners into the dangerous world of post–World War II communist Poland. Anselm, a lawyer-turned-monk, is investigating the life of Roza Mojeska, a case he has taken at the request of an old friend. Roza was a key participant in the distribution of an antiterrorist underground newspaper written by the legendary “Shoemaker.” Her involvement led to her imprisonment and torture as well as to the execution of her husband. Anselm’s biggest challenge is getting the alarmingly silent Roza to provide evidence against those involved. Anselm’s faith is tested by facing such evils head on. The story drags at times, but listeners will likely appreciate the monk’s deliberate approach and the story’s jaw-dropping twists. Gordon Griffin’s narration is passionate, but listeners may need to adjust to his accent.
Verdict Best for John le Carré and Frederick Forsyth fans.—Sean Kennedy, Cleveland State Univ. Law Lib.

Caputo, Philip. The Longest Road: Overland in Search of America, from Key West to the Arctic Ocean. 10 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 12 hrs. Highbridge Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781622311958. $36.95; 10 CDs. library ed.; digital download. TRAV
Caputo (Crossers), acting on an idea he had during an Alaska hunting trip years earlier, decides to travel from the tip of the Florida Keys to Deadhorse, AK. Along the way he asks the people he meets what unites America and keeps it together. In places the book seems to be merely a recitation of the route and Caputo’s daily life as he travels. In other sections, however, listeners will hear thoughtful discussion with people who articulate interesting concerns about our country. The most captivating sections occur in North Dakota when Caputo travels to the site of Custer’s Last Stand and speaks with a local Native American history buff. Pete Larkin is the perfect choice to represent Caputo, sounding both matter-of-fact and interested.
Verdict Recommended for library collections where travel memoirs are popular.—Karen Perry, Greensboro, NC

Doiron, Paul. Massacre Pond. (Mike Bowditch, Bk. 4). 8 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 10 hrs. Macmillan Audio. ISBN 9781427235183. $39.99; digital download. F
Game Warden Mike Bowditch of the Maine Dept. of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is called to the scene of a horrific animal crime on an unseasonably hot October day. The crime scene is on the massive estate of a despised entrepreneur who wants to turn more than 100,000 acres of remote Maine into a national park—stopping all logging on the land. The tightly constructed plot provides enough possible suspects to keep the action moving quickly. Doiron (Bad Little Falls) also easily evokes the atmosphere of rural deep woods and the people who live and survive there. Henry Leyva has a keen ear for the various accents of the Northeast, but the voice of the main character is too neutral in comparison.
Verdict Overall, this is a great addition to the series. Recommended for mystery collections.—J. Sara Paulk, Wythe-Grayson Regional Lib., Independence, VA

Osteen, Joel. Breakout! 5 Keys To Go Beyond Your Barriers and Live an Extraordinary Life. MP3 digital download. retail ed. unabridged. 9 hrs. Hachette Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781609418267. $30; Playaway digital; digital download (no CD edition). REL
Christian minister Osteen (I Declare) continues to write inspirational books that aim to help the listener improve his or her life through a combination of action and faith. Here he takes some of his sermons and combines them into stories that showcase examples of how God has our best interests at heart and wants all of us to achieve our dreams and desires. Examples from Osteen’s personal life plus stories from the Bible highlight the possibilities as long as you have faith. The author’s smooth voice increases the text’s impact. The book is designed to be listened to a chapter at a time, which works better than hearing several chapters at once.
Verdict When taken in small doses to avoid some repetition of material, this is a great audio experience for both Osteen’s fans and those who are new to his work.—Jeff Ayers, Seattle P.L.

Relin, David Oliver. Second Suns: Two Doctors and Their Amazing Quest To Restore Sight and Save Lives. 12 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 15½ hrs. Books on Tape. 2013. ISBN 9780385359917. $40; digital download. SOC SCI
Relin (coauthor, Three Cups of Tea) investigates the personal and professional histories of two maverick ophthalmologists on a quest to eradicate preventable blindness in developing countries. Sanduk Ruit, from Nepal, and American Geoffrey Tabin were deeply affected by people living with the consequences of preventable cataracts in the Himalayas where many impoverished people work outdoors in harsh light and have no access to medical care. They perfected a simple, effective surgery that could be performed for pennies on the dollar and that requires only a short recovery time. Eventually, the project grew to become self-sustaining, and Ruit and Tabin were able to build an intraocular lens factory. Rob Shapiro’s even, fluid narration effectively captures Relin’s intent: well-written journalism about cultural inequality and hope.
Verdict The individual journeys of the two earnest physicians and their unlikely success will appeal to listeners who are inspired by stories in which relatively small efforts make big differences.—Douglas C. Lord, Middletown, CT

Xpress Reviews: Nonfiction | First Look at New Books, January 17, 2014

Week ending January 17, 2014

Brier, Bob. Egyptomania: Our Three Thousand Year Obsession with the Land of the Pharaohs. Palgrave Macmillan. 2013. 256p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781137278609. $27. HIST
Brier (senior research fellow, Long Island Univ.–C.W. Post Campus; The Murder of Tutankhamen) presents an enthusiastic and succinct history of the lure of Ancient Egypt. After relating the birth of his own interest, he goes back to Herodotus’s visit in 450 BCE when Egypt was already considered “ancient,” then leaps to 1798 when Napoleon arrived in Egypt, the Rosetta Stone was discovered, and Europe generally rediscovered Ancient Egypt as Egyptian imagery populated the decorative arts (the book is well illustrated). In following the literal shifting of Egyptian obelisks to Rome, London, and New York, Brier tracks the spread of Egyptomania. He covers technical engineering details and, more accessibly, the many ways that Egypt has been commercialized, with Egyptian motifs used on everything from soap to sewing needles to movie theaters. Brier clearly describes the rise of the cult of Egypt in films themselves, such as the many movies involving mummies. He speculates only briefly on the reasons why Egypt is so popular as a cultural archetype; perhaps he could have explored the question more. Brier focuses less on high art and the Egyptian Revival among elite tastemakers and more on popular culture.
Verdict Likely to have a built-in readership among fans of its subject and to draw in new enthusiasts as well.—Linda White, Maplewood, MN

Haeg, Larry. Harriman vs. Hill: Wall Street’s Great Railroad War. Univ. of Minnesota. 2013. 384p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780816683642. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9781452939902. BUS
Haeg, a former journalist and Wells Fargo executive, in this business history chronicles the 1901 battle over several Western rail lines. He says that on one side was James J. Hill of the Great Northern Railway, supported by the financial power broker J.P. Morgan. On the other side was Edward H. Harriman of the Union Pacific and Southern Pacific, backed by Kuhn, Loeb investment banker Jacob H. Schiff. At the center of the conflict was access to Chicago via the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad (CB&Q). Haeg explains that when the Hill group used its minority ownership of the Northern Pacific (NP) to buy the CB&Q, it gave Harriman the opening to buy the NP out from under the conglomerate. The ensuing financial struggle to control the NP and ultimately to limit competition, Haeg says, panicked Wall Street and contributed to over a half century of stifling government regulation of the railroads.
Verdict Haeg focuses more on the financial and regulatory aspects of the railroads than on their operation, but his rapid-fire retelling of events together with colorful descriptions of the principals and the time period will hold the interest of railroad enthusiasts as well as students of business history.—Lawrence Maxted, Gannon Univ. Lib., Erie, PA

Lombardi, John V. How Universities Work. Johns Hopkins. 2013. 240p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781421411224. pap. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9781421411231. ED
Few educators have the depth of experience, insight, and candor of Lombardi, whose past roles as chancellor (Univ. of Massachusetts Amherst), president of a state university system (Louisiana State Univ.), president of a flagship university (Univ. of Florida), and provost (Johns Hopkins) serve him well as he explains the inner workings of the research institution. This well-organized and expertly written work delves into important aspects of the academic enterprise such as teaching, research, faculty, finance, budget, measurement, quality, regulation and governance, and other areas. For example, his description of faculty promotion processes as a means of recognizing the quality and quantity of academic accomplishment and tenure as investing in future productivity is simply and elegantly stated. These insightful sections are based on a graduate course series that Lombardi developed and taught in Florida, Massachusetts, and Louisiana, using research by colleagues associated with the Center for Measuring University Performance. The resulting work is a highly readable and informative treatise on many aspects of academe, including the use of disruptive ideas to drive change. In this context, change agents include technology, demographics, international competition, financial structure, and separation of context from content because of online learning and vocationalization trends.
Verdict Highly recommended for academics and laypersons alike.—Elizabeth Connor, Daniel Lib., The Citadel, Military Coll. of South Carolina, Charleston

Ridley, Jane. The Heir Apparent: A Life of Edward VII, the Playboy Prince. Random. 2013. 752p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9781400062553. $35; ebk. ISBN 9780812994759. BIOG
“In his sixtieth year, he had a full-time job for the first time in his life.” England’s King Edward VII (1841–1910) has often been dismissed as a not-too-bright womanizer and wastrel, an opinion his parents, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, shared. In this well-researched and very entertaining biography, Ridley (history, Buckingham Univ.; Young Disraeli: 1804–1846) offers a nuanced portrait of a man who was more than a glutton, gambler, and unfaithful husband. Ridley makes a convincing case that the prince did accomplish much when he finally became king in 1901. Granted full access to the Royal Archives, she describes coming across a collection of over a thousand letters among the papers of George V that reveal the great efforts certain politicians (Arthur Balfour, H.H. Asquith, and Lord Lansdowne) made to “write Edward VII out of history and to suppress his achievements by giving deliberately misleading accounts of his reign.” It is greatly to Ridley’s credit that she never glosses over the great hurt and even harm that Edward caused many of the women in his life (one of his mistresses wound up incarcerated in an asylum) even as she convinces readers that “Bertie,” the playboy Prince of Wales, finally did grow up to become a hardworking and conscientious monarch.
Verdict Readers who enjoy British history and biographies, royal and otherwise, will enjoy this brilliant biography, as informative as it is absorbing. [See Prepub Alert, 6/10/13.]—Elizabeth Mellett, Brookline P.L., MA

Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | First Look at New Books, January 17, 2014

Week ending January 17, 2014

Brimble, Rachel. The Temptation of Laura. eKensington. Feb. 2014. c.244p. ebk. ISBN 9781601830883. $4.99. VICTORIAN ROMANCE
Once a whore, always a whore—or so Laura’s mother made perfectly clear when she entered her into this status of ill-repute at the tender age of 15. Years later, despite no money and a failing friend to care for, Laura dreams of a better life—a life in the theater. Adam Lacey started life with every advantage, but he has walked away from his family’s fortune to pursue his dream of being a playwright. Little did he know by doing so, he would be tempted into the world of pleasing wealthy women to keep his dream of acting alive. Circumstances throw these two from varying backgrounds together. Can they overcome their own misgivings and histories to pursue their love and dreams together?
Verdict Brimble (The Seduction of Emily) rounds out the cast of characters well. Bette and Emily are especially enchanting and complex female characters. The two protagonists and their romance are less engaging. An entertaining read for a cold summer night but not one to generate a lot of heat.—Heather Lisa Maneiro, Minnesota State Univ. Lib.‚ Moorhead

Evans, Bronwen. A Kiss of Lies. Loveswept: Random House. (Disgraced Lords, Bk. 1). Jan. 2014. 284 p. ISBN 9780345547286. $2.99. HISTORICAL ROMANCE.
One year ago, Christian Trent, Lord Markham, was forced out of London for a crime he does not remember committing. Determined to return home to prove his innocence, Markham advertises for a governess for his young ward. The widowed Mrs. Sarah Cooper seems to be just the right woman for the position. She might also be right for him, as Sarah seems to know the man who exists underneath the scars. Little does Markham know that Sarah does understand exactly who he was, for reasons that she strives to keep hidden. But as the two journey from Canada to Jamaica to England and their mutual passion illuminates what they could have, their pasts threaten to burn away any hope for their future.
Verdict Evans (The Man Trap; Invitation to Scandal) brings an interesting twist to the “past-crossed lovers” with her latest title. While the exposition-laden ending is a bit heavy, readers who enjoy serial romances will find this a good opening book. Recommended for all romance collections.—Kristi Chadwick, Emily Williston Memorial Lib., Easthampton, MA

Sjoberg, Lori. Grave Destinations. eKensington. (Grave, Bk. 2). Jan. 2014. 261p. eISBN 9781601830050. $5.99. PARANORMAL ROMANCE
Plagued by an animalistic and deadly curse, Jack Deverell boards a ship heading for a Caribbean cruise in hopes of finding a cure in the tropical islands. Instead, he encounters a fiery redhead with a dark secret. Ruby isn’t looking for a relationship, just a little fun while she completes her mission aboard the Sunrise of the Caribbean. Sparks fly, but when a killer starts stalking passengers and something more sinister than a curse haunts Jack, they’ll have to work together to track down a killer, face their inner demons, and fight not just for love but for their lives. Setting the story on a cruise ship makes for an interesting and unique take on the traditional romance story. A few steamy scenes, interesting dialog, and multiple conflicts keep things entertaining, despite the occasionally slow-moving plot.
Verdict Likable characters, fairly tame but sensual scenes, and an inventive story line make this book a fun and satisfying read for fans of paranormal and supernatural romance.—Jennifer Harris, Southern New Hampshire Univ., Manchester

There Will Be Blood | African American Fiction (and More)




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The three selections this month deal with blood—whether there’s actual blood flowing from vicious wounds, or the strong bond of family blood in a household determined to make it through controversy.Either way, these folks—like Lady Macbeth—are confronted with removing traces of blood.


Goss, Shelia M. The Joneses. Strebor. (Zane Presents). Feb. 2014. 336p.
ISBN  9781593095222. pap. $15;
ebk. ISBN 9781476744513. F
Oh, what a tangled web we weave when we practice to deceive!  Pity the Joneses, an on-the-surface lovely family, but we learn each that member of the household holds alarming secrets. Royce, owner of a traditional African American funeral home in Shreveport, LA,  can’t figure out why his cash flow is tapped out. Wife Lexi—who drives a Jag with license plate BossLady—loves her shopping sprees. Daughters Charity and Hope are each sexing up the same guy, the devious Tyler Williams, who has his own issues with the Joneses. Son Lovie knows his way around an accounting spreadsheet, enough to laundry money for drug gangs. The quick-paced story piles on drama after drama and lies upon lies that we almost feel sorry for these folks. Nah! It’s more fun to tug on one little thread, reveal the juicy truth, and then watch the whole Jones clan fall apart. VERDICT  Essence best-selling author Goss (Delilah; Ruthless) has a great plot going on and loves twisting the knife between the ribs of  her flawed characters. Short chapters, gossip-sheet rich drama, and snappy dialog will have readers turning the pages at turbo speed.

Dickey, Eric Jerome. A Wanted Woman. Dutton. Apr. 2014. 464p. ISBN 9780525954279.  $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780698148659. F
Opening with a bloody shootout following the murder of a Trinidad politician, Dickey’s (Decadence) latest novel  opens with a wicked pace and doesn’t let up. A female killer known as MX-401, having dispatched the political target set by anonymous handlers known as The Barbarians, now wants to be paid. Not so fast. The Barbarians send her on a wild goose chase—or maybe a setup—to kill again. Soon, the sexy assassin finds herself on the run from members of a ruthless drug-running gang who vow revenge. MX-40 just happens to be a master of disguises and dialects, allowing her to hide in plain sight, but she also needs the help of a fellow girl killer called Nemesis. There’s a cinematic vibe here with James Bond fantastic escapes mixed with Game of Thrones Red Wedding–type gore as blood flows during gruesome torture scenes. VERDICT  Dickey’s name will surely sell this work, but readers may grow weary of overly repeated words such as “gunthas” and clunky phrasing like “terminate with extreme prejudice.”  Still, there’s something to be said for sexy female killers skilled with guns, knives, and various torture devices. Anticipate demand. [See Prepub Alert, 11/1/13.]

Naison, Mark, PhD & Melissa Castillo-Garsow. Pure Bronx. Augustus.  2013. 260p. ISBN  9781935883418. pap. $14.95;
ebk. ISBN 9781935883449.
Naison (African American studies, Fordham Univ.; White Boy: A Memoir) and Castillo-Garsow paint a grim picture of life—or more accurately, existence—in the South Bronx. Khalil runs drugs for his neighborhood to support his addicted mother, his younger brothers, and a sister who has two kids of her own. Khalil has a four-inch scar on his cheekbone and is determined to kill anyone who is a threat to his mini-empire.  His only joy comes from Rasheeda, a girl with a dynamite body who works the pole in a club, and performs in the VIP room, earning cash to pay her college tuition. The young lovers dream of escaping the poverty, violence, and helplessness of the Bronx and make a better life for their family. Tired of pushing product, Khalil concocts a plan to use Mr. Money Bags, a Wall Street executive who is smitten with Rasheeda’s talents. The why part of the question about getting out of the Bronx is simple, but the how proves to be much more complicated. VERDICT There’s a prevailing sense of doom in this novel that hits hard in a similar way to Sapphire’s Push. Some readers may grumble about unflatteringly stereotyped characters, but others may be enthused by the authentic setting, situations, and slang. Yet Khalil and Rasheeda rise from despair as hope emerges.

Xpress Reviews: Fiction | First Look at New Books, January 17, 2014

Week ending January 17, 2014

Day, Sylvia. Spellbound. Morrow. 2013.192p. ISBN 9780062305497. pap. $12.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062305503. PARANORMAL ROMANCE
Assigned by the High Council to tame (or vanquish) feral Familiar Victoria St. John, Max Westin had never expected to meet a woman so wild, so stubborn, and so obviously his perfect match. The passion is mutual, as Victoria realizes that sometimes submission is the highest form of aphrodisiac. When they solidify their powerful magical bond in defiance of the High Council, a whole host of darkness and enemies from their past are brought forth. Can the pair survive in the face of dark magic, or will they find out that it’s something neither of them wants to resist?
Verdict Hot, rough, and deeply sensual, this novel is a winning contribution to the supernatural erotic genre. Max and Victoria’s bond as Warlock and Familiar is predicated on the dominant/submissive element of their relationship and also helps validate the savage intensity of their otherworldly passion. Some parts of the book are a bit clunky and repetitive, particularly descriptions of sex acts and characters’ appearances, which might have something to do with two portions of the novel being previously published tales. Overall, this is a hot read with a great backstory to match. Fans of Day’s work (Bared to You; Entwined with You) will not be disappointed.—Ashleigh Williams, Library Journal

Gardner, Lisa. Fear Nothing. Dutton. Jan. 2014. 400p. ISBN 9780525953081. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9780698148529. F
In Gardner’s latest D.D. Warren thriller (after Catch Me), the Boston detective is recovering from an attack she can’t remember, except for somone singing a lullaby. Now she’s got a seriously messed-up arm and isn’t sure if she’ll ever be able to return to the work she loves. In the meantime, her team is investigating a murder that is too eerily reminiscent of those committed by a now dead serial killer. When the copycat killer breaks into D.D.’s home and leaves her flowers, she is pulled back into the investigation, which eventuallly leads to the the two daughters of the orginal serial killer and the question of nature versus nurture. One daughter is an imprisoned murderer, and the other a psychiatrist who counsels patients in pain management techniques and who is incapable of experiencing pain herself. Can you inherit murderous genes? Does living in the home of a monstrous man make you into a killer? These are questions Detective Warren must answer.
Gardner excels at complicated plotting that melds great thrills, twisty characterizations, and larger thematic what-if questions. Fans of Dennis Lehane’s stand-alone thrillers would love this one. [See Prepub Alert, 7/15/13.]—Jane Jorgenson, Madison P.L., WI

Lancaster, Jen. Twisted Sisters. NAL. Feb. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9780451239655. $25.95. F
Reality television and deep-seated sibling rivalry issues come to life in Lancaster’s (Bitter Is the New Black) latest novel. Reagan Bishop is a psychologist who spends her days on the aptly named I Need a Push reality television show pushing her clients toward overcoming their difficulties. What she doesn’t realize is that she is simultaneously pushing herself toward a neurotic level of perfectionism and, as a result, is pushing her poor family toward misery. When a new director steps in to change the show’s aims, Reagan must go to extremes to heal her patients or risk losing her job and the semi-stardom she has come to enjoy. Through a solid dose of the occult, Reagan begins secretly swapping bodies with her patients, à la Freaky Friday. Throughout the novel Reagan’s painfully strained relationship with her family, especially her favored younger sister, dominates the plot—can she use her newfound magic to right a lifetime of wrongs?
Verdict With incredibly frustrating characters and a plot that just doesn’t flow, Lancaster scores points for modern satire and a few laughs but leaves much to be desired otherwise.—Chelsie Harris, San Diego Cty. Lib.

Mina, Denise. The Red Road. Little, Brown. Feb. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9780316188517. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780316236522. F
Tartan noir star Mina’s latest opens in 1997 when 14-year-old prostitute Rose Wilson lashes out against her life of despair by recklessly stabbing two men to death. She confesses to only one of the murders, getting off lightly with the help of a crooked lawyer. Fast-forward to the present and fractious Glasgow detective Alex Morrow—mother to young twins, sister of a known gangster, and witness in the trial of low-life gunrunner Michael Brown. What appears to be an open-and-shut case collapses when Michael’s fingerprints are found at the scene of a crime committed while he was in custody. Baffled by the evidence, Alex chases a trail of corruption and vice that ultimately leads her to a money-laundering ring, the enigmatic Rose, and a killing that hits very close to home.
Verdict Mina’s fourth novel featuring Alex Morrow (after Gods and Beasts) may be her best yet. She surrounds her fiercely independent detective with indelible supporting characters and explores the long-term damage of violence and abuse, demonstrating sensitivity toward society’s outcasts without minimizing their sins—not to mention evocative prose and a whisper of pitch-black humor, too. Mina’s growing body of fans won’t be able to put this one down. [See Prepub Alert, 8/19/13.]—Annabelle Mortensen, Skokie P.L., IL

Best Sellers: Asian History, January 16, 2014

July 2013 to date as identified by YBP Library Services

  1. Wealth and Power: China’s Long March to the Twenty-First Century
    Schell, Orville
    Random House
    2013. ISBN 9780679643470. $30
  2. The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a Forgotten Genocide
    Bass, Gary J.
    Alfred A. Knopf
    2013. ISBN 9780307700209. $30
  3. Forgotten Ally: Chinas World War II 1937–1945
    Mitter, Rana
    Houghton Harcourt
    2013. ISBN 9780618894253. $30
  4. Brothers at War: The Unending Conflict in Korea
    Jager, Sheila Miyoshi
    W.W. Norton
    2013. ISBN 9780393068498. $35
  5. Lost Enlightenment: Central Asia’s Golden Age from the Arab Conquest to Tamerlane
    Starr, S. Frederick
    Princeton University Press
    2013. ISBN 9780691157733. $39.50
  6. An Uncertain Glory: India and Its Contradictions
    Drèze, Jean
    Princeton University Press
    2013. ISBN 9780691160795. $29.95
  7. Empress Dowager Cixi: The Concubine Who Launched Modern China
    Chang, Jung
    Alfred A. Knopf
    2013. ISBN 9780307271600. $30
  8. Hanging Man: The Arrest of Ai Weiwei
    Martin, Barnaby
    Faber & Faber
    2013. ISBN 9780374167752. $27
  9. Tyranny of the Weak: North Korea and the World 1950–1992
    Armstrong, Charles K.
    Cornell University
    2013. ISBN 9780801450822. $35
  10. Gandhi: A Spiritual Biography
    Sharma, Arvind
    Yale University Press
    2013. ISBN 9780300185966. $28
  11. Tokyo Vernacular: Common Spaces, Local Histories, Found Objects
    Sand, Jordan
    University of California Press
    2013. ISBN 9780520275669. $75
  12. The Tragedy of Liberation: A History of the Chinese Revolution 1945–57
    Dikötter, Frank
    2013. ISBN 9781620403471. $30
  13. Transpacific Antiracism: Afro-Asian Solidarity in Twentieth-Century Black America, Japan, and Okinawa
    Onishi, Yuichiro
    New York University
    2013. ISBN 9780814762646. $45
  14. Isamu Noguchi’s Modernism: Negotiating Race, Labor, and Nation, 1930–1950
    Lyford, Amy
    University of California Press
    2013. ISBN 9780520253148. $60
  15. The Road to Chinese Exclusion: The Denver Riot, 1880 Election, and Rise of the West
    Zhu, Liping
    University Press of Kansas
    2013. ISBN 9780700619191. $37.50
  16. M.K. Gandhi, Attorney at Law: The Man Before the Mahatma
    DiSalvo, Charles R.
    University of California Press
    2013. ISBN 9780520280151. $34.95
  17. Eurasian: Mixed Identities in the United States, China, and Hong Kong, 1842–1943
    Teng, Emma Jinhua
    University of California Press
    2013. ISBN 9780520276260. $65
  18. A History of the Vietnamese
    Taylor, K.W.
    Cambridge University Press
    2013. ISBN 9780521875868. $110
  19. Everyday Life in the North Korean Revolution, 1945–1950
    Kim, Suzy
    Cornell University
    2013. ISBN 9780801452130. $45
  20. Crossing the Bay of Bengal: The Furies of Nature and the Fortunes of Migrants
    Amrith, Sunil S.
    Harvard University Press
    2013. ISBN 9780674724839. $29.95

Kiese Laymon on Long Division | Tantorious

Tantorious is a monthly podcast series featuring interviews with well-known authors, hosted by Allan Hoving and presented by Tantor Audio.

Kiese Laymon has written for numerous publications and is an associate professor of English and Africana studies at Vassar College. His debut novel, LONG DIVISION, is a Mark Twain-esque exploration of celebrity, authorship, violence, religion, and coming of age in post-Katrina Mississippi.



Excerpts from the audio interview:

Q: How did you come to be a writer?

A: My mother had me when she was a 19-year-old sophomore at Jackson State University. She used to take me to classes with her. She eventually took me to graduate school. So for the longest time, books were my baby-sitter. And as I got older, she made me write responses to everything I read before I could do what I wanted. So writing just became the way I understood myself and the world.

Q: What themes are you exploring in this book?

A: I’m really interested in literary and literal mobility for young black Americans in the Deep South now, and in the mid-’80s and in 1964 – the way we consider history, and the idea of writing being a portal to time travel. Ultimately, the book reveals some pretty strange things about literacy, race relations, and post-Katrina coastal Mississippi.

Listen to a sample of the Tantor audiobook edition of Long Division, narrated by Sean Crisden.

Subscribe directly to the Tantorious podcast via iTunes or RSS feed:

Surveying the Spectrum: Six New Titles on Autism

Attwood, Tony & Michelle Garnett. From Like to Love for Young People with Asperger’s Syndrome (Autism Spectrum Disorder): Learning How To Express and Enjoy Affection with Family and Friends. Jessica Kingsley. 2013. 176p. illus. bibliog. ISBN 9781849054362. pap. $19.95; ebk. ISBN 9780857007773. PSYCH

Some of the most basic factors determining an individual’s placement on the autism spectrum are difficulty in identifying and correctly responding to cues in social situations, along with struggles with reading and expressing emotion. These are also among the most challenging aspects of life to teach a person. Coauthors Attwood (The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome; Asperger’s Syndrome: A Guide for Parents and Professionals) and Garnett (founder & director, Minds & Hearts) are both clinical psychologists based in Australia with decades of experience with people on the spectrum. Here, they showcase a series of activities and worksheets that parents can use to assist their children in understanding and expressing affection. VERDICT Through storytelling, the authors describe social situations to depict different phases of affection. This easy-to-read book is good for use with a wide range of individuals and is recommended for parents and professionals alike.

Delmolino, Lara & Sandra L. Harris. Essential First Steps for Parents of Children with Autism: Helping the Littlest Learners. Woodbine House. Feb. 2014. 200p. ISBN 9781606131893. pap. $21.95. PSYCH

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an autism diagnosis occurs in one out of every 88 children, and the discovery is devastating to parents, who are often bewildered by the onslaught of information available and advice coming from all sides. Coauthors Delmolino (clinical faculty, Rutgers Univ.; director, Douglass Developmental Disabilities Ctr.) and Harris (emerita, Rutgers Univ.; executive director, Douglass Developmental Disabilities Ctr.) offer a detailed, authoritative guide that discusses everything from early indicators of autism to likely behaviors (including those rooted in sensory issues), how-to’s for increasing communication and social skills, and family support. Case studies and reviews of promising research and interventions make this the go-to guide for parents of autistic children. VERDICT This is the manual that parents have been asking for. Highly recommended for those with newly diagnosed children, this helpful work is essential for all public library collections.

Lipsky, Deborah. How People with Autism Grieve: An Insider Handbook. Jessica Kingsley. 2013. 128p. ISBN 9781849059541. pap. $18.95; ebk. ISBN 9780857007896. PSYCH

Lipsky, an autistic woman who has worked as a firefighter, emergency medical technician, and reserve police officer, is the author of two other similar titles: Managing Meltdowns and From Anxiety to Meltdowns. She expertly brings the disability motto “Nothing about us without us” to life in this behind-the-spectrum perspective of death and grieving. Lipsky discusses how autistic people view the end of life, which entails literal thinking and problem solving that are not in step with our (neurotypical) emotional responses. Her matter-of-fact approach and examples shine a light on just how different the process is for those on the spectrum. Strategies surrounding cultural expectations for wakes, funerals, and other social events are included. VERDICT An eye-opening work that is truly illuminating and thought-provoking. Essential for anyone who loves, lives with, or works with people on the spectrum, and highly recommended reading for those in the mortuary, counseling, and education fields.

Steward, Robyn. The Independent Woman’s Handbook for Super Safe Living on the Autistic Spectrum. Jessica Kingsley. 2013. 320p. ISBN 9781849053990. pap. $19.95; ebk. ISBN 9780857007650. PSYCH

Steward, a 26-year-old autistic woman, is an autism trainer, mentor, consultant, and artist. She begins her first nonfiction work with an explanation of her “nothing is too basic” approach, explaining that everyone learns differently. She discusses how certain characteristics of autism (literal thinking and difficulty reading social cues) can create vulnerability in potentially dangerous situations. Using an online survey, which questioned people both on the spectrum and not, she obtained information about matters pertaining to safety, such as friendship, relationships and sex, alcohol and drugs, money and employment, and staying safe outside the home and online. VERDICT To the nonspectrum reader, much of this work may seem painfully naive. But that, in essence, is Steward’s point, and she succeeds admirably at educating her audience in matters of personal safety. An invaluable resource for autistic individuals as well as those who live and work closely with them.

Teaching Social Skills to People with Autism: Best Practices in Individualizing Interventions. Woodbine House. 2013. 192p. ed. by Andy Bondy & Mary Jane Weiss. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781606130117. pap. $29.95. PSYCH

The Diagnostics and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) lists a deficit in social skills as one of the major markers for autism. But what exactly are social skills? More than the exchange of conversation, these interactions encompass the ability to correctly maintain interpersonal space; interpret facial expression, mood, and tone of voice; and manifest appropriate body and verbal language. Behavioral analyst Bondy (codeveloper, Pyramid Educational Consultants, Inc.) and Weiss (coauthor, Reaching Out, Joining In: Teaching Social Skills to Young Children with Autism) have compiled a well-developed collection of writing on recent advancements in social skills teaching methodology that attempts to provide a firm grounding in strategies with evidence-based research on the discussed methods. VERDICT Providing material difficult to come by, this book is designed for use by frontline teaching staff and is a worthy resource for parents and field practitioners.

Worlds of Autism: Across the Spectrum of Neurological Difference. Univ. of Minnesota. 2013. 348p. ed. by Joyce Davidson & Michael Orsini. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780816688890. pap. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9781452940243. PSYCH

As the number of autism diagnoses rise, the field of related research is exploding. With the topics of study as varied as the spectrum itself, it is impossible to keep abreast of every theory; an efficient way of staying informed is becoming a necessity. This volume collects, on a wide variety of topics—with a vast array of viewpoints—current papers by social science and humanities scholars alongside published work by similarly qualified autistic individuals. Covering issues such as biopolitics, genetics, pharmaceutical and other interventions and treatments, neurodiversity, and more, this broad text encourages further investigation and asks the reader to assess their own opinions of the subject. VERDICT Too much of what we know about autism is colored by politics and often diametrically opposed opinions. While this title is geared largely to academics and professionals in the field, it is worthy of attention from parents and educators who are willing to take the time to formulate their own viewpoints.

Virginia Johnson is Technical Services Librarian at the Weymouth P.L., MA

Mystery Reviews | January 2014

CElebrate the new year by welcoming a fresh generation of fictional detectives who are ready to capture your imagination and loyalty. This month you’ll meet up with a number of sleuths on their second, third, or fourth entries—just the right time to present your patrons with a bundle of good reads. Familiar formulas are slightly recast, e.g., we have two female detectives working together—under a female boss (Cath Staincliffe’s Dead to Me), a biracial female detective making her way (Chris Simms’s A Price To Pay), a Cuban inspector who sees ghosts (Peggy Blair’s The Poisoned Pawn), and a Midwestern detecting trio (Kate Watterson’s Buried).

Readers like their holiday mysteries, so don’t miss the two Valentine’s Day titles waiting in Series Lineup. If budget stretching is on your mind, note the sprinkling of mass-market paperbacks in the column. Also, several authors have gotten quite clever with what I’d call “value added” features. Recipes, glossaries, links, and bibliographies abound.

Blair, Peggy. The Poisoned Pawn: An Inspector Ramirez Novel. Pintail. Mar. 2014. 328p. ISBN 9780143189763. pap. $16. M

When Canadian tourist Hillary Ellis falls into a fatal coma on the flight home from her vacation trip to Cuba, a full-scale investigation opens. Hillary had left Cuba abruptly when her marriage to Ottawa police detective Mike Ellis disintegrated. Coincidentally, Havana’s Insp. Ricardo Ramirez is headed to Ottawa for a separate case involving a pedophile Catholic priest being extradited to Cuba. Imagine Ramirez’s surprise when he learns of Hillary’s death, especially since her husband Mike had been falsely implicated in a recent case while in Cuba. Once again, Mike is under suspicion of committing a heinous crime. Ramirez’s familiar companion, a ghost from an unsolved case, guides him through a tangled and sinister web connecting the two countries. Meanwhile, back in Havana, Hector Apiro, a surgeon/pathologist, works feverishly on a case that will eventually intersect with the others. VERDICT Don’t miss Blair’s sequel to her Ellis Award finalist The Beggar’s Opera. Just when you think Blair’s dropped a thread, she dazzles anew with her expert plotting. Think Donna Leon or Louise Penny. [See Prepub Alert, 8/19/13.]

Watterson, Kate. Buried. Tor. Jan. 2014. 336p. ISBN 9780765369628. pap. $7.99. M

Temporarily partnered with Lt. Carl Grasso while Jason Santiago heals from their last case, Det. Ellie MacIntosh tackles yet another high-profile case. A spate of cop killings has terrorized the Milwaukee police department, and Chief Joe Metzger wants answers now. Theories abound as to motive: drug trafficking and mob connections come up first. On further investigation, though, the killings look to be more personally motivated, and loose-cannon Jason can’t help but get involved. If that’s not personal enough, Ellie’s grandfather, Robert MacIntosh, finds an old skeleton on his land, and she suspects he’s not telling her all he knows. Whether in Milwaukee or rural northern Wisconsin, Ellie, Carl, and Jason are in danger. Let the action begin. VERDICT Just try to put this one down! Watterson’s third entry in her thriller series (after Charred) successfully blends action with puzzle, keeping three detectives going full speed. Her alternate narrative, set in the late 1950s, makes for a strong secondary plot. A great pick for Allison Brennan fans.

Bradley, Alan. The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches: A Flavia de Luce Novel. Delacorte. Jan. 2014. 336p. ISBN 9780385344050. $24; ebk. ISBN 9780345539694. M

Bradley’s award-winning Flavia de Luce series (I Am Half-Sick of Shadows; Speaking from Among the Bones) has enchanted readers with the outrageous sleuthing career of its precocious leading lady. In this sixth installment, Bradley focuses solely on the inner workings of the de Luce family and, more specifically, on the mysterious demise of Flavia’s mother, Harriet. The novel opens in 1951 with Harriet’s body being brought home for burial. This is no ordinary funeral, however, for all the important players in His Majesty’s government have mysteriously come out to Buckshaw to pay their respects. It isn’t long before murder and espionage take center stage, as does the chemical prowess of the 12-year-old protagonist. VERDICT This latest adventure contains all the winning elements of the previous books while skillfully establishing a new and intriguing story line to explore in future novels. The introduction of the outrageously obnoxious cousin Undine will be a treat for readers, who will also relish long-awaited answers to mysteries surrounding Flavia’s family. Fans will be more than pleased, and it makes an excellent suggestion for fans of M.C. Beaton and Elizabeth Peters. [See Prepub Alert, 7/15/13. Picked as the January 2014 ­Library Reads favorite title, p. 151.—Ed.]—Amy Nolan, St. Joseph, MI


Williams, Charlotte. The House on the Cliff: A Novel. Bourbon Street: HarperCollins. Jan. 2014. 340p. ISBN 9780062284570. pap. $14.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062284587. M

Therapist professionalism goes out the window when Welsh psychologist Jessica Mayhew, still smarting from her husband’s confession of a brief affair, finds herself distracted by a desperately unhappy new patient, the son of a famous movie director. Jessica’s therapy appears to be helping Gwydion Morgan, but what he talks about now makes Jessica fear that an unsolved crime happened on the Morgans’ estate years ago. Concurrently, her physical attraction to the handsome young client cannot be ignored. Decidedly off her game, Jessica sifts through real memories, false memories, and simple deceit, but she’d better find the truth soon because a killer has grown impatient. VERDICT This solid domestic suspense debut, nicely seasoned with gothic elements, should please Gone Girl fans and those who crave a real page-turner. Williams’s 40-something psychotherapist makes a particularly vulnerable protagonist. While Jessica might be the worst therapist ever at keeping her personal agenda out of the session, readers will admire how Williams has created such believable characters and how she weaves effectively psychological theories throughout.


sign of the three balls

Ferris, Gordon. Pilgrim Soul: A Douglas Brodie Investigation. Corvus: Atlantic. Jan. 2014. 384p. ISBN 9780857897626. pap. $12.95. M

Thurlo, David & Aimée Thurlo. The Pawnbroker. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Jan. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9781250027986. $25.99. M


“No one had seen him slide down the ethical cliff except a ghost who might not be real. But Ramirez had crossed a moral line, and he knew it. The inspector and his apparition walked sadly into the light.”—Peggy Blair, The Poisoned Pawn

Check These Out

Beaufort, Simon. The Murder House.

Severn House. Jan. 2014. 252p. ISBN 9780727883278. $28.95. M

Nickson, Chris. Fair and Tender Ladies: A Richard Nottingham Novel. Crème de la Crime: Severn House. Jan. 2014. 216p. ISBN 9781780290553. $28.95. M

Rowland, M.L. Zero-Degree Murder: A Search and Rescue Mystery. Prime Crime: Berkley. Jan. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9780425263662. pap. $7.99. M

Rowson, Pauline. Death Surge: An Andy Horton Mystery. Severn House. Jan. 2014. 216p. ISBN 9780727883216. $28.95. M

Simms, Chris. A Price To Pay: An Iona Khan Thriller. Crème de la Crime: Severn House. Jan. 2014. 200p. ISBN 9781780290508. $27.95. M

Staincliffe, Cath. Dead to Me: A Scott and Bailey Novel. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Jan. 2014. 400p. ISBN 9781250038548. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250038531. M

cozy corner

Lourey, Jess. January Thaw: A Murder-by-Month Mystery. Midnight Ink. Jan. 2014. 288p. ISBN 9780738738758. pap. $14.99. M

Miller, Emma. Plain Murder. Kensington. Jan. 2014. 272p. ISBN 9780758291721. pap. $15. M

Robinson, Bryan E. Limestone Gumption: A Brad Pope and Sisterfriends Mystery. Five Star: Gale Cengage. Jan. 2014. 316p. ISBN 9781432827786. $25.95. M

Additional Mysteries

Link, Charlotte. The Watcher. Pegasus Crime. May 2014. 480p. tr. from German by Stefan Tobler. ISBN 9781409123415. $25.95. F

Neuhaus, Nele. Bad Wolf.

Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Jan. 2014. 416p. tr. from German by Steven T. Murray. ISBN 9781250043993. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466842434. M

Smith, Helen. Beyond Belief: An Emily Castles Mystery. Thomas & Mercer: Amazon. Jan. 2014. 254p. ISBN 9781477849729. pap. $14.95; ebk. ISBN 9781477899724. M


Knowing how hard it can be to tackle a classic work or even to read outside one’s comfort zone, I randomly queried a few mystery/suspense authors about their reading habits. Specifically, I posed these two resolution-style questions to them: 1) Name a book you’re determined to read in 2014 and 2) name a book (or author) you want readers to try in 2014.

Within minutes of hitting “send,” a wave of guilty (see #1) and enthusiastic (regarding #2) responses washed over my email account. So, librarians, consider this a gift of new titles, potential book group reads, and a couple of chuckles. The lineup is below, and I resolve to try at least one suggestion from each contributor.

Consider making a monthly game of this. Here in the column, I’ll update each month (from this list) and share some of the remarks that accompanied each author’s submissions (see Deborah Sharp’s entry for a full example). I realize there are only 12 months, but we’ll shoehorn all 14 in somehow! Thanks, authors!

Wayne Arthurson

1. Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley

2. Janice MacDonald’s “Randy Craig” mystery series

Mike Befeler

1. Michael Connelly’s The Concrete Blonde

2. Donnell Ann Bell (romantic suspense)

James R. Benn

1. Murasaki Shikibu’s Tale of Genji

2. Christopher Booker’s The Seven Basic Plots or Francine Prose’s Reading Like a Writer

C.J. Box

1. James Lee Burke’s Black Cherry Blues

2. Denise Mina’s Gods and Beasts

Laura DiSilverio

1. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes tales

2. Cornelia Read’s novels

Meg Gardiner

1. Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers on a Train

2. Zoë Sharp’s “Charlie Fox” novels

Robert Greer

1. Boris Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago

2. Rudolph Fisher’s The Conjure-Man Dies

Tammy Kaehler

1. Charles Dickens’s Bleak House

2. Small presses: Poisoned Pen, Midnight Ink, Henery

Sophie Littlefield

1. Barbara Vine’s A Dark-Adapted Eye

2. Benjamin Whitmer’s Cry Father (coming 9/14)

Gregg Olsen

1. Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl

2. Kevin O’Brien’s thrillers

Alan Orloff

1. Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon

2. Steve Ulfelder’s “Conway Sax” mysteries or Allison Leotta’s “Anna Curtis” series

Brad Parks

1. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles

2. Jamie Mason’s Three Graves Full

Hank Phillippi Ryan

1. Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White

2. M.P. Cooley’s Ice Shear (coming in 2014) or Rachel Howzell Hall’s Land of Shadows

Deborah Sharp

1. Louise Penny’s Still Life

Deborah says, “As embarrassing as it is to admit, I haven’t read a single book by Louise Penny—who is not only a fabulous, much-feted mystery writer but also a lovely and generous woman. In 2014, I resolve to start with Still Life, the first of Penny’s highly regarded Chief Inspector Armand Gamache Mysteries.”

2. Ali Brandon’s “Black Cat Bookshop” mysteries

She adds, “Deserving of more attention is a cute cozy series by Ali Brandon, the Black Cat Bookshop Mysteries. I started with the first of the now three-book series, Double Booked for Death. It introduces Darla Pettistone, a Texas transplant to Brooklyn who finds herself both the unexpected heir to her great aunt’s bookstore and to the store’s clever, cranky cat, Hamlet.”

2014 ALA Midwinter Galley & Signing Guide

So many books, such little time to prowl the aisles at the American Library Association Midwinter conference, coming to Philadelphia January 24–28. Fortunately, Library Journal is again offering a galley and signing guide that should help you find what you want.

Interested in Chris Pavone’s The Accident, the thrilling follow-up to his breakout debut, The Expats? Eager for a juicy literary historical read like Jennifer Vanderbes’s The Secret of Raven Point? Want the kind of laughs delivered by Christopher Moore’s The Serpent of Venice? Ready for the thoughtful read Barbara Ehrenreich’s Living with a Wild God provides?

That’s just a sampling of the hundreds of galleys and authors you will find in the 2014 Galley & Signing Guide. So hurry up and register to receive your guide, available shortly.


Rooftops, Rockers, Rah-Rah-Rah! | What We’re Reading

This week the School Library Journal and Library Journal staffers prance on Paris rooftops, sidle up to sisterhood, croon with a cult rocker, follow a fierce foodie, fish for fun facts, and navigate NetGalley.

Sarah Bayliss, Associate Editor, News & Features, SLJ
I’m about a third into Rooftoppers (S. & S.) by Katherine Rundell (text) & Terry Fan (illus.), a lovely book about a plucky little girl found in a floating cello case in the English Channel after a shipwreck. She travels to Paris in search of her mother and has a fondness for the city’s rooftops. It’s a nice read-aloud or read-alone.


Mahnaz Dar, Associate Editor, Reviews, SLJ
Having never been part of a big group of female friends, I’m often intrigued by books about the topic: frenemies, sisterhood, all that jazz. That’s part of what got me to pick up Megan Abbott’s Dare Me (Reagan Arthur: Little, Brown), an intense and, yes, literary book about high school cheerleaders. It’s early days, but so far it’s striking me as Joyce Carol Oates’s Foxfire meets Bring It On.



Liz French, Associate Editor, Reviews, LJ
Finally, a bio of one of my rock gods—though he’d laugh, or possibly sneer, at that designation. Alex Chilton, lead singer (at 16!) of the Sixties group the Box Tops (“The Letter,” “Cry Like a Baby”), cofounder of Big Star (a hugely influential but commercially unsuccessful Seventies rock group), then indie solo artist and producer (the Replacements, the Cramps), gets his due from rock journalist Holly George-Warren in A Man Called Destruction (Viking). I’ve only begun the book, but already I’m enthralled and informed. Thanks to George-Warren’s impressive research and many interviews, I know about the Chilton family tree, how he was raised, when he got his first guitar, whom he befriended, and when he first exhibited his famous dark side (hint: pretty early on). At the moment I’m reading about Alex touring with the Box Tops and enjoying all the perks of fame and fortune (do I have to connect the dots for you? He was 16!). So far, the best thing about this book is what it’s not: though you can tell she’s a fan of the man, George-Warren is no sycophant. Her reporting is clear-eyed and unafraid to dish the bad as well as the good. That is a relief—we Chiltonheads can be a bit insufferable and fawning at times!

Guy Gonzalez, Director, Content Strategy & Audience Development, LJ/SLJ
I just read my first Kindle Single, Anthony Bourdain: The Kindle Singles Interview by David Blum, recommended and lent to me by my wife as she thought there were some notable…personality traits of his I might relate to. Substitute drugs for drinking and, of course, my lack of fame or fortune, and it might have been the best “readers’ advisory” recommendation I’ve ever had!

“Not giving a shit has been a very, very good business model for me. It’s worked out. It’s been a privilege that I haven’t had to care about those things. I don’t feel that I need to be loved. If anything I feel — if I feel any pressure, I put pressure on myself to subvert any expectations whenever possible.”

I don’t consider myself a “foodie”—in fact, I kind of despise the word and the cultural ignorance that usually accompanies it—but I love Bourdain’s approach on TV where the cultural underpinnings of food and the people who cook it are as important as the food itself, and that comes across many times in the interview. I’ve never read any of his books, though, and only coincidentally read his utterly silly but kind of smart graphic novel Get Jiro! back in 2012, but the interview does such a good job of capturing what makes him a fascinating person (and one I can totally relate to), that I immediately bought Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook (Ecco) and will be reading it next. Happy New Year!

Stephanie Klose, Media Editor, LJ
In preparation for my belated honeymoon to Hawaii next month, I’ve been reading Unfamiliar Fishes (Riverhead), Sarah Vowell’s history of how the island group became the 50th state. It’s a bit of a blur of missionaries and whaling ships so far, but I think I’m getting the general idea. Now I’m on the hunt for a good natural history of the region.


Etta Thornton-Verma, Editor, Reviews, LJ
My Kindle has been largely occupied by my binge watching of Call the Midwives (thanks to LJ’s Media Editor Stephanie Klose for the recommendation), but I’ve also been using it to read a couple of titles from NetGalley this week: first was Alan Bradley’s latest Flavia de Luce title, The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches (Delacorte), which got a starred review in LJ. The era and physical setting, and the opening, in which the young protagonist and a crowd of locals are waiting for a train, remind me of a cross between the happenings on the Island of Sodor and Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle. The novel didn’t really grip me, but I might return to it. I also started Alice LaPlante’s A Circle of Wives, which is coming out in March 2014 from Atlantic. I loved her Turn of Mind; I’m only a few pages into the new title so time will tell if I like it as much.


A Peek into Another’s Life | Wyatt’s World

A bevy of notable memoirs come out this month, giving readers intimate access to lives and circumstances that will seem, as accomplished by all good memoirs, to be both deeply familiar and utterly unknown.

  • Unremarried Widow by Artis Henderson (S. & S.).
    Through graceful prose and a reflective stance, Henderson recounts her romance and marriage to Miles, a solider she could not help but love despite their different worldviews. When he is killed while serving in Iraq, she is left with a final letter, the army’s rituals of mourning, and a life to somehow build anew and on her own.
  • Flyover Lives by Diane Johnson (Viking).
    Johnson (best known for her novel Le Divorce) might be deeply at home in France, but she was born in the Midwest. Indeed, generations of Johnson’s family have been born there, and she sets out to find their history in this observant and charming account of a legacy rediscovered.
  • My Life in Middlemarch by Rebecca Mead (Crown).
    All readers know that books shape their lives. Mead explores that concept in-depth in her innovative and unique take on the memoir in which she ruminates upon the effect George Eliot’s masterwork Middlemarch has had upon her life. In so doing, she explores the English novelist’s life as well.
  • If Only You People Could Follow Directions by Jessica Hendry Nelson (Counterpoint). With a beady-eyed stare, Nelson mines the harrowing terrain of addiction as she maps the lives of her family, each member a participant in their own and one another’s dissolution. Stark, powerful, and innovatively achieved, Nelson’s work offers another singular take on the genre.
  • Little Failure by Gary Shteyngart (Random).
    The author of Super Sad True Love Story and The Russian Debutante’s Handbook is far from a failure at writing, as he demonstrates in this sad, sharply observed, raging yet tender account of coming of age, of being an immigrant, and of finding a way—as hapless and as hard as that way may be.

Talking with Vivien Shotwell About Vienna Nocturne

When Vivien Shotwell was an undergraduate studying at Williams College, her voice teacher assigned her the haunting aria “Non temer, amato bene,” written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart for English soprano Anna ­Storace on her departure from Vienna. It immediately struck Shotwell as something special—and not simply because Mozart wrote a distinctive obbligato part for piano, which makes the piece seem as much a concerto as an aria and which he himself played at Storace’s farewell recital.

“The voice and piano line entwine in a way that is loving and sensual and seems to encompass a lot of admiration and respect,” says Shotwell feelingly of the aria, whose text means “Fear nothing, my beloved, my heart will always be yours.” “It makes you think that they might have had something deeper, because Mozart was so smart he wouldn’t have written that part if he hadn’t felt something for the singer.” Thus was Shotwell inspired to write her mellifluous debut novel, Vienna Nocturne (LJ 11/15/13), coming this February from Ballantine after a ten-year journey.

A musical affair
In Vienna Nocturne, Shotwell follows Storace from lessons as a child prodigy in London to triumph and tragedy on the Continent to a warmly, delicately imagined affair with Mozart unknown to any historian but abundantly suggested by the music. Having completed both an MA in voice performance at the University of Iowa and an Artist Diploma in opera performance at Yale, where she won the 2012 David L. Kasdon Memorial Prize, Shotwell ably conveys Storace’s artistry; her master’s degree from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop proves that she has the tools to tell the larger story. Like the voice and piano parts in “Non temer, amato bene,” music and writing are for Shotwell utterly entwined.

Encouraged by her parents, who own a used bookstore, Shotwell grew up a voracious reader, and through high school she was as intensely involved in acting as she was in her voice and viola studies. She fell in love with classical music and particularly opera at age seven or eight, when her father took her to (prophetically) Mozart’s The Magic Flute. But she didn’t consider a career in opera until she began studying with Williams voice professor Keith Kibler, a “huge reader who knew I was a writer,” says Shotwell.

Even as Kibler was highlighting the intriguing textual aspects of “Non temer, amato bene” for Shotwell, her creative writing teacher, distinguished novelist Jim Shepard, was helping her to understand musicality of line and the careful work of putting sentences together like the notes of a melody. (“He went through every line and cut out the florid, extraneous stuff,” explains an inspired Shotwell.) Little wonder, then, that Shotwell is puzzled when people regard singing and writing as two disparate parts of her life: “To me, they seem like one thing; each inspires the other.”

That’s not entirely surprising, as literature and music have common roots; our great, defining epics were often sung. But unlike some opera stars, Shotwell plunges into the meaning behind the music: “I have been told that I am a thoughtful kind of singer, and I do get into the text.” Shotwell can’t readily compare her writing and singing styles, but both are propulsive without rush and richly, liquidly done without excess, which nicely matches the roles she prefers. “Flashiness and fireworks don’t appeal to me as much as something quieter,” says the mezzo-soprano, who doesn’t go after ingénue roles. She reveled in a recent performance of Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi (she was Romeo), and she’d sing anything by Handel.

The primacy of art
Mozart didn’t go in for flash either, emphasizing the primacy of the art over the singers’ traditional demands for showcase arias; in Vienna Nocturne, when Mozart is rehearsing Storace in the role of Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro, he gives her a big, splashy rondo in an inappropriate key, then offers a daring alternative to which she readily accedes. “There’s been so much opera written since Mozart that we forget how forward thinking he was,” observes Shotwell, whose novel neatly gives us a lesson in how opera was evolving in the late 1700s.

For singers (and the rest of us), Vienna Nocturne offers life lessons, too. Storace moves from living to sing, to proclaiming after terrible loss that “it did not matter if she sang; the important thing was to live,” to learning how to live and sing—all by age 21. As a painfully shy child, Shotwell found that singing gave her “the permission to be bold and take on other characters”; now there’s “hardly a better feeling than giving people pleasure, an emotional experience.” Still, she concedes, a career in voice demands hard work and toughness, and in the last two years she’s learned to relax—to live and sing. Obviously, the writing helps.

Much writing about music either betrays linguistic excess or tumbles to mere technicality, but Shotwell “wanted to be careful about making it real,” an approach that makes her work easily appreciated by those knowledgeable yet accessible to all. By letting us experience singing as Storace experienced it, by bringing us a heartbeat closer to Mozart’s music through her voice, the author succeeds. As a singer, Shotwell knows that moment of terror as the audience assembles, then the “best feeling [when] you’re singing with a good orchestra offering a great cushion of warm sound and your voice soars over it.” Now her voice is soaring in fiction as well.

Barbaras Picks, Jul. 2014, Pt. 1: Chris Bojhalian, Deborah Harkness, Sam Kean, Liane Moriarty, & More

Bohjalian, Chris. Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands. Doubleday.
Jul. 2014. 288p. ISBN 9780385534833. $25.95. CD: Penguin Random Audio. POP FICTION
Emily Shepard is hiding out in a shelter made of ice and trash bags after a nightmarish meltdown at a nuclear plant in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom that left her parents dead. Since the meltdown might have been her father’s fault, she’s not reaching out for help, but she does take a homeless boy named Cameron under her wing. More heartfelt, engaged work from relentlessly best-selling, best-book author Bohjalian, and how can you not love a heroine who identifies with Emily Dickinson?

Harkness, Deborah. The Book of Life. Viking. Jul. 2014. 592p. ISBN 9780670025596. $28.95. CD: Penguin Random Audio. SUSPENSE
Having met up dramatically in the entertaining A Discovery of Witches and traveled to the past to take care of some serious business in Shadow of Night, historian and witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont return to the present and continue hunting for Ashmole 782, a long-missing magical manuscript that lots of dark creatures covet. Last in a trilogy that has sold more than a million copies in the United States and has keep readers turning pages in 38 foreign editions.

Jans, Nick. A Wolf Called Romeo. Houghton Harcourt. Jul. 2014. 256p.ISBN 9780547858197. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780547858210. PETS
No, not some lovesick lad; this Romeo is a black wolf that sauntered into Jans’s yard in Alaska and returned to bond with him and his neighbors—and even their pets. Jans, who has lived in Alaska for 30 years, had never seen anything like it. Given the current controversy over wolves in this country, this book is essential reading. Lots of photos from award-winning writer and photographer Jans.

Johansen, Erika. The Queen of the Tearling. Harper. Jul. 2014. 448p. ISBN 9780062290366. $26.99;ebk. ISBN 9780062290373. lrg. prnt. FANTASY/LITERARY FICTION
Just 19 and raised in exile, Princess Kelsea Raleigh Glynn is returning to the land of her birth to reclaim her throne. Though the Queen’s Guard is accompanying her, she doesn’t know whom to trust, but she does have the powerfully magical Tearling sapphire around her neck. Rights have been sold to 20 countries, Warner Bros. has bought the rights to The Queen of the Tearling in conjunction with Harry Potter producer David Heyman, and Emma Watson looks to star, so how can you go wrong?

Kean, Sam. The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons: And Other True Stories of Trauma, Madness, Affliction, and Recovery That Reveal the Surprising History of the Human Brain. Grand Central. Jul. 2014. 400p. ISBN 9780316182348. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780316242257; lib. ebk. ISBN 9780316242264.CD: Hachette Audio. NEUROSCIENCE
Strokes, seizures, accidents: if they don’t kill, they can traumatize the brain so badly that an individual’s personality can be significantly changed. But, explains the New York Times best-selling author of the terrific The Violinist’s Thumb, early neuroscientists saw such trauma as an opportunity to study the brain’s wondrous workings.

Moriarty, Liane. Untitled. Amy Einhorn: Putnam. Jul. 2014. 416p. ISBN 9780399167065. $26.95. CD: Penguin Random Audio. POP FICTION
What’s worse than a terrible riot at Pirriwee Public’s annual school Trivia Night that leaves one parent dead? The sneaking suspicion that the death was actually murder. All of which gives top-spot New York Times best-selling author Moriarty (The Husband’s Secret) a chance to visit issues of parenting, divorce, and shattered families in shuttered suburbia.

Netzer, Lydia. How To Tell Toledo from the Night Sky. St. Martin’s. Jul. 2014. 352p. ISBN 9781250047021. $25.99. POP FICTION
At the Toledo Institute of Astronomy, George Dermont is hoping to prove the scientific existence of a Gateway to God. Clear-eyed mathematician Irene Sparks has come to the institute to direct work on its massive superconductor. Imagine their surprise when they fall for each other, then discover that their mothers raised them together and subsequently separated them in an attempt to engineer true love. Just the kind of touchingly offbeat stuff you could expect from the author of Shine Shine Shine, a big debut that was a New York Times Notable Book, a Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist, and more.

Seiffert, Rachel. The Walk Home. Pantheon.Jul. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9780307908810. $25.95. LITERARY FICTION
Young Stevie’s parents have lived in Glasgow for decades, having fled Ireland during the Troubles. His father has tried to keep the family safe and happy, but when he discovers that some of the folks he marches with in the annual Protestant Orange Walk through Glasgow have ties to loyalist paramilitaries from Belfast, his whole life is threatened. From a  Booker Prize finalist, one of Granta’s 20 “Best of Young British Novelists” in 2003, and recipient of the E.M. Forster Award.

Vollmann, William T. Last Stories and Other Stories. Viking. Jul. 2014. 704p. ISBN 9780670015979. $36. SHORT STORIES
National Book Award winner for the magisterial Europe Central, Vollmann offers a story collection that still thinks big with a blend of love, sex, and death. For instance, a Bohemian farmer’s dead wife rises from the dead, but their continued love has some unfortunate consequences, while a journalist can’t quite hold onto his memory of the killing of a Bosnian couple.

Nonfiction Previews, Jul. 2014, Pt. 1: Nixon’s Defense, the Victorian City, & More

Abbott, Karen. Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War. Harper. Jul. 2014. 368p. ISBN 9780062092892. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062092915. HISTORY
Belle Boyd, courier and spy for the Confederate army. Emma Edmonds, who cut her hair and enlisted as a man in the Union Army. Beautiful widow Rose O’Neale Greenhow, whose affairs with Northern politicians helped her gather intelligence for the Confederacy. Wealthy Richmond abolitionist Elizabeth Van Lew, who ran a spy ring that outfoxed rebel detectives. All were women spies whose little-known stories are being disclosed by Abbott, New York Times best-selling author of Sin in the Second City. With a 50,000-copy first printing and big book club outreach.

Dean, John W. The Nixon Defense: What He Knew and When He Knew It. Viking. Jul. 2014. 416p. ISBN 9780670025367. $29.95. CD: Penguin Random Audio. HISTORY
Legal counsel to President Richard Nixon, Dean draws on his own transcripts of nearly 1,000 conversations, information secretly recorded by the president, and extensive documents in the National Archives and the Nixon Library to explore the extent of Nixon’s involvement in the Watergate scandal. The subtitle poses the crucial question. Just in time for the 40th anniversary of Nixon’s resignation; with an eight-city tour.

Duffy, Peter. Double Agent: The First Hero of World War II and How the FBI Outwitted and Destroyed a Nazi Spy Ring. Scribner. Jul. 2014. 384p. ISBN 9781451667950. $28. HISTORY
Veteran journalist/author Duffy’s study should be both thrilling and sobering, as it tells the story of the first double agent in the FBI’s history. When World War II broke out, naturalized German American William G. Sebold was recruited by the Nazis but approached the FBI, feeding it information that eventually led to the arrest of 33 enemy agents in America. Pushed back from May 2014.

Flanders, Judith. The Victorian City: Everyday Life in Dickens’ London. St. Martin’s. Jul. 2014. 544p. ISBN 9781451667950. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466835450. HISTORY
Better than a fun fair. Celebrated for The Invention of Murder, a story of Victorian fascination with ghastly crimes, Victorian-era expert Flanders gives us a detailed look at London as Dickens knew it, when it grew from a charming little town to a booming city of 6.5 million. Gin palaces and chop-houses, sewers and slums, markets and entertainment emporia—it’s all here for the asking.

Macintyre, Ben. A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal. Crown. Jul. 2014. 384p. ISBN 9780804136631. $27. CD: Penguin Random Audio. HISTORY
Writer-at-large for the London Times and a best-selling author (e.g., Agent Zigzag), Macintyre tells the story of Kim Philby’s high-level betrayal of his country. It’s actually the story of Philby’s relationship with two other men, English operative Nicholas Elliott and CIA powerhouse James Jesus Angleton, whose confidences he passed to the Soviet Union. The result: every Anglo-American spy operation at the time failed, and both men were forever devastated by Philby’s actions. With January 2013 marking the 50th anniversary of Philby’s defection to Moscow,  MI5 released its files on Philby up to that time, so Macintyre had the advantage of lots of fresh, new material.

O’Connell, Robert L. Fierce Patriot: The Tangled Lives of William Tecumseh Sherman. Random. Jul. 2014. 448p. ISBN 9781400069729. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780679604693. BIOGRAPHY
In time for the 150th anniversary of G. William Tecumseh Sherman’s iconic and inexorable march through the South, nationally best-selling author O’Connell (The Ghosts of Cannae) offers a biography that presents Sherman as implacable military strategist, revered leader of the Army of the West (he made the transcontinental railroad possible postwar), and family man facing a contentious wife. Billed as revisionist biography; pushed back from May 2014.

Shiffman, John. Operation Shakespeare: The True Story of an Elite International Sting. S. & S. Jul. 2014. 288p. ISBN 9781451655131. $28. HISTORY
Pulitzer Prize finalist Shiffman investigates a three-year sting called Operation Shakespeare conducted by an elite undercover Homeland Security unit aiming to keep Iran, Russian, China, Pakistan, and North Korea from acquiring sophisticated American-made electronics capable of guiding missiles, jamming radar, and triggering weapons like wireless IEDs. The targets weren’t just enemy brokers but American manufacturers and global bankers. Shiffman racked up a New York Times best seller and multiple foreign sales with Priceless.

Tomlinson, Chris. Tomlinson Hill: The Remarkable Story of Two Families Who Share the Tomlinson Name—One White, One Black. St. Martin’s. Jul. 2014. 432p. ISBN 9781250005472. $26.99. HISTORY
Supervisory correspondent for the Associated Press in Austin, TX, Tomlinson spent 14 years as a foreign correspondent, then returned home to report on a far more personal story: the two families, one black and one white, who trace their ancestry to the Central Texas slave plantation owned by his family. Especially interesting is the discussion of Tomlinson’s relationship with LaDainian Tomlinson, one of the top running backs in NFL history. The author’s recent documentary on this subject won the Silver Heart Award at the Dallas International Film Festival in 2013, and several PBS stations will be airing the film.

Unger, Miles J. Michelangelo: A Life in Six Masterpieces. S. & S. Jul. 2014. 416p. ISBN 9781451678741. $29.95. BIOGRAPHY
Art historian Unger, formerly the managing editor of Art New England, chronicles the life of master painter, sculptor, and architect Michelangelo through six works: the Pietà, The Last Judgment, the glorious David, the Medici tombs, the Sistine Chapel ceiling, and the vaults and dome of St. Peter’s. Especially important is the discussion of how Michelangelo changed the practice of art itself by insisting that the artist’s and not the patron’s wishes were paramount.

Fiction Previews, Jul. 2014, Pt. 1: Top-Selling Thrillers & SF from Jeff Abbott to Stuart Woods

Abbott, Jeff. Inside Man. Grand Central. Jul. 2014. 480p. ISBN 9781455528455. $26. Downloadable: Hachette Audio. THRILLER
Why would Sam Capra infiltrate one of the most dangerous families in Miami? To find out who killed his best friend. Lots of web marketing for this three-time nominee for the Edgar award.

Atkins, Ace. The Forsaken. Putnam. Jul. 2014. 352p. ISBN 9780399161797. $26.95. CRIME
County sheriff Quinn Colson deals with the decades-old lynching of a homeless black man who came to town and was promptly accused of rape and murder. Edgar nominee Atkins gets a national tour.

Burke, James Lee. Wayfaring Stranger. S. & S. Jul. 2014. 544p. ISBN 9781476710792. $27.99. SUSPENSE
As a 16-year-old, Weldon Avery Holland managed to get a shot off at Bonnie and Clyde. Now he’s thinking back on the encounter as he considers how to protect his wife, a young woman he discovered when he entered a deserted extermination camp as a World War II soldier; it seems that a local anti-Semite is targeting the couple. From the two-time Edgar Award winner.

Cabot, Sam. Skin of the Wolf. Blue Rider. Jul. 2014. 432p. ISBN 9780399162961. $26.95. THRILLER
Academic Carlos Dews and Edgar Award winner S.J. Rozan, who paired as Cabot to write the well-received Da Vinci Code–like Blood of the Lamb, return with this tale of a murder at classy Sotheby’s involving an Iroquois ritual mask—and end-of-the-world stakes.

Clark, Marcia. The Competition. Mulholland: Little, Brown. Jul. 2014. 352p. ISBN 9780316220972. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780316220989. lib. ebk. ISBN 9780316366090. CD: Hachette Audio. THRILLER
In a massacre at a high school in the San Fernando Valley, the two students identified as the killers might be victims themselves. Los Angeles District Attorney Rachel Knight takes the case. Note that Clark’s Guilt by Association, featuring Rachel Knight, has been optioned by TNT for a one-hour drama series.

Coulter, Catherine. Power Play. Putnam. Jul. 2014. 400p. ISBN 9780399157349. $26.95. SUSPENSE
Natalie Black, the U.S. ambassador to the Court of St. James, is being blamed for the death of her fiancé, George McCallum, Viscount Lockenby. And it looks as if someone is trying to kill her, too.

Johansen, Iris & Roy Johansen. Sight Unseen. Thomas Dunne: St. Martin’s. Jul. 2014. 368p. ISBN 9781250020529. $27.99. THRILLER
Kendra Michaels, whose skills for observation are often exploited by the CIA and the FBI, arrives to check out a lethal pileup on San Diego’s Cabrillo bridge and immediately suspects more than an accident. With a one-day laydown on July 15.

Kellerman, Faye. Murder 101: A Decker/Lazarus Novel. Morrow. Jul. 2014. 384p. ISBN 9780062270184. $26.99. CD: HarperAudio. lrg. prnt. MYSTERY
Having abandoned work at the LAPD for the slow lane at upstate New York’s Greenbury Police department, Peter Decker is finding things a little too quiet—until the Tiffany panels at the local cemetery’s mausoleum are replaced by forgeries. Then a coed at a high-end local college ends up dead. With a 150,000-copy first printing.

Kenyon, Sherrilyn. Born of Fury. St. Martin’s. Jul. 2014. 496p. ISBN 9781250042965. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466840942. CD: Macmillan Audio. SF/ROMANCE
Sumi Antaxas, a top-notch assassin for the League, gets a new target: indomitable Andarion warrior Hauk, one of the five founding members of the Sentella, an organization dedicated to obliterating the League. With a one-day laydown on July 1.

Koontz, Dean. The City. Bantam. Jul. 2014. 352p. ISBN 9780345545930. $28. SUSPENSE
Unfolding in a fictional city, the story of talented musician Jonah Kirk starts in 1967 when he is ten and moves through several decades, taking in events both intriguing and scary. Nicely set up by Koontz’s December 2013 stand-alone, Innocence, and nicely setting up December 2014’s Saint Odd, the final installment in Koontz’s acclaimed “Odd Thomas” series.

Lawson, Mike. House Reckoning: A Joe DeMarco Thriller. Atlantic Monthly. Jul. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9780802122537. $25. THRILLER
In this ninth installment in Lawson’s Washington, DC, political thriller series, Joe DeMarco looks into the two-decades-old murder of his father, a hit man with the local Mafia. From the Barry Award finalist.

Moning, Karen Marie. Burned: A Fever Novel. Delacorte. Jul. 2014.
512p. ISBN 9780385344418. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780440339816. ROMANCE/PARANORMAL
This seventh book in Moning’s “Fever” series is also the second in a new urban paranormal trilogy that opened with Iced and stars intrepid teen sidhe seer Dani O’Malley, strong enough to challenge the Dark Fae gleefully overrunning the world. No word yet on plot, but expect to see favorite characters from the “Fever” novels .

Muller, Marcia. The Night Searchers. Grand Central. Jul. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9781455527939. $26. MYSTERY
Sharon McCone raises an eyebrow when Jay and Camilla Givens come to her about human sacrifices performed by devil worshippers in San Francisco. But what’s this? Jay belongs to a treasure-hunting group called the Night Searchers, and that really catches Sharon’s attentions. Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Muller gets a 30,000-copy first printing.

Reeves-Stevens, Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens. Wraith. Thomas Dunne: St. Martin’s. Jul. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9780312659073. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250022578. THRILLER
Well, this is creepy. Someone out there has figured out how to use disembodied minds for lethal purposes, and now a squad of these “berzerkers”—ghosts, really, who are invincible—has been directed to the United States by a Russian general. From a New York Times best-selling team.

Rucka, Greg. Bravo. Mulholland: Little, Brown. Jul. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9780316182300. $26. Downloadable: Hachette Audio. THRILLER
A multiple Eisner award winner for his graphic novels, Rucka does thrillers, too, and here he’s back with his Jad Bell series. Jad’s got a big job: get the Uzbek, who organized the terrorist attack that nearly killed his ex-wife and daughter.

Silva, Daniel. Untitled Gabriel Allon No. 14. Harper. Jul. 2014. 464p. ISBN 9780062320056. $27.99. THRILLER
Art restorer, assassin, spy: that’s Gabriel Allon, showing up in another adventure that’s not yet disclosed. The 500,000-copy first printing makes sense, since Silva’s sales keep climbing.

Stevens, Taylor. The Catch. Crown. Jul. 2014. 352p. ISBN 9780385348935. $24. SUSPENSE
Last seen in The Doll, African-based informationist/adventurer Vanessa Michael Munroe finds herself sent to sea by her boss—and learns that she’s part of a gun-running crew. Then the Somali pirates attack. The Informationist has been optioned for film; with a five-city tour to Seattle, San Diego, Dallas, Austin, and Houston.

Taylor, Brad. Days of Rage :A Pike Logan Thriller. Dutton. Jul. 2014. 384p. ISBN 9780525953982. $26.95. THRILLER
Big task: Pike Logan goes up against an extreme Islamic sect in Nigeria called Boco Haram, which has been given weapons of mass destruction by a bunch of Russians stuck in the Cold War. From the New York Times best-selling author.

Verdon, John. Peter Pan Must Die. Crown. Jul. 2014. 400p. ISBN 9780385348409. $25. THRILLER
At the urging of his former NYPD partner, Dave Gurney again slips out of retirement to investigate the murder of a real estate developer with political ambitions. His adulterous wife has been convicted of the crime, but was she framed?

Waters, P.D. Prototype. Dutton. Jul. 2014. 368p. ISBN 9780525954248. $26.95. SF
In Waters’s smash debut, Archetype, a woman named Emma wakes up in the hospital with no memories, nightmares about a man named Noah, and growing doubts about what she has been told by her supposedly loving husband, Declan Burke. Here, she’s on the run, desperate to escape Declan, and equally desperate to find Noah, even if it means getting herself killed—or reborn.

Weaver, Tim. Never Coming Back. Viking. Jul. 2014. 384p. ISBN 9780525426868. $27.95. CRIME
When Emily Kane arrives at sister Carrie’s doorstep, the meal’s on the table, but Carrie Kane and her family are nowhere to be seen. Emily’s former boyfriend, a missing-persons investigator, finds evidence of a longtime lethal cover-up. Weaver’s American debut was a big hit in the UK.

White, Kate. Eyes on You: A Novel of Suspense. Harper. Jul. 2014. 352p. ISBN 9780061576638. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062199201. lrg. prnt. THRILLER
Back on top after losing her job, television host Robin Trainer suddenly finds herself the target of increasingly nasty incidents—including makeup that’s obviously been doctored to burn her skin. Whoever wants to hurt her must be a colleague. With a 40,000-copy first printing.

Williams, Amanda Kyle. Don’t Talk to Strangers. Bantam. Jul. 2014. 352p. ISBN 9780553808094. $26. Downloadable: Random Audio. SUSPENSE
This next in the Keye Street series follows Stranger in the Room, a Shamus Award nominee. Here, former FBI profiler Keye Street, a recovering addict who now works freelance, is asked to investigate the murders of several young women in the woods 90 miles from Atlanta. Lots of foreign rights sales.

Woods, Stuart. Cut and Thrust. Putnam. Jul. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9780399169113. $26.95. CD: Random Penguin Audio. ACTION & ADVENTURE
At a big political convention in Los Angeles, a close friend of Stone Barrington is emerging as a promising alternate choice. And something a little more dangerous is emerging as well. With a national tour.