Fiction

Browne, Robert. The Paradise Prophecy. Dutton. Jul. 2011. 400p. ISBN 9780525952237. $25.95.
A thriller inspired by John Milton’s Paradise Lost? I love it! Ever since Satan got Adam and Eve thrown out of the Garden of Eden, he’s been spoiling for the apocalypse. And it could be coming. Bernadette Callahan, an agent in a mysterious government organization, is trailing a serial killer with seemingly supernatural abilities (ahem) and must call on religious historian Sebastian Batty LaLaurie for help. Clues in their hunt come from the Bible and Milton’s classic. The publisher is quick to point out that film and some foreign rights were sold on the basis of the idea alone, plus a writing sample, suggesting a surge of in-house hopefulness for this debut by screenwriter Browne.

Burdett, John. Vulture Peak. Knopf. Jul. 2011. 320p. ISBN 9780307272676. $25.95. eISBN 9780307596581.
Police Colonel Vikorn has given Royal Thai Police Detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep a little task: stop the trafficking invulture Fiction human organs. It seems that Vikorn is running for governor of Bangkok and needs to crack this case to look good. Soon, the morally upright Sonchai is traveling from Shanghai to Dubai to Monte Carlo as he chases down the Vultures, Chinese twins who dominate the illicit body-parts business. Burdett’s work caught on at the beginning and remains strong; all thriller readers should enjoy.

Burke, Alafair. Long Gone. Harper: HarperCollins. Jul 2011. 368p. ISBN 9780061999185. $24.99. lrg. prnt.
Alice Humphrey has finally landed a job‚ she’s been hired by corporate type Drew Campbell to manage an art gallery in Manhattan’s style-setting meatpacking district for an anonymous owner. One day she arrives at work to find the gallery stripped to the walls and Drew lying dead on the floor. Only his name isn’t Drew, and Alice suddenly has lots to explain to the police. After six novels in the Ellie Hatcher and Samantha Kincaid series, Burke offers an intriguing stand-alone; she’s popular if not hot-hot and especially well liked by LJ reviewers. With a 40,000-copy first printing; for most thriller readers.

Butler, Robert Olen. A Small Hotel. Grove. Jul. 2011. 256p. ISBN 9780802119872. $24.
On the day her divorce is to be finalized, Kelly skips her court appearance and instead drives from Florida to New Orleans, then checks into the hotel where she and husband Michael first fell in love. What she intends to do next apparently makes for some fast page turning. Pulitzer Prize winner Butler is always good for the literary set.

Cabot, Meg. Overbite. Morrow. Jul. 2011. 320p. ISBN 9780061735103. $22.99.
In Insatiable (out in paperback, Jun. 2011. ISBN 9780061735080. $14.99), soap opera star Meena Harper met Lucien Antonescu, son of Dracula. That relationship is so over, as is Lucien himself. Now Meena works for the Palatine Guard, a demon-hunting division of the Vatican, which prizes her ability to predict how people will die. To counter the latest threat‚ a particularly nasty clan of vampires called the Lamir‚ Meena is working with top Lamir killer Father Henrique. And for some reason she doesn’t trust him. Cabot sure has come a long way from The Princess Diaries. Should be in demand; with a 100,000-copy first printing and a six-city tour to Dallas/Ft. Worth, Nashville, New Orleans, New York, St. Louis, and Tulsa.

Coulter, Catherine. Split Second: An FBI Thriller. Putnam. Jul. 2011. 400p. ISBN 9780399157431. $26.95. CD/PM3: Penguin Audio.
Even as Coulter stalwarts Dillon Savich and Lacey Sherlock hunt for a female serial killer with connections to thesplit Fiction nefarious Ted Bundy, Special Agent Lucy Carlisle discovers that years ago her grandmother may have murdered her grandfather. Having moved into grandmamma’s decaying mansion to figure out what really happened, Lucy discovers a skeleton and a ring associated with a shadowy group called the Protectors. More thrills from a No. 1 best-selling author; buy multiples.

Dietrich, William. Blood of the Reich. Harper: HarperCollins. Jul. 2011. 432p. ISBN 9780061989186. $25.99. lrg. prnt.
Explorer Kurt Raeder has orders from Heinrich Himmler to find an elixir hidden deep in the Tibetan mountains that grants eternal life, and American zoologist Benjamin Hood has orders to stop him. Meanwhile, in contemporary Seattle, a young woman is saved from death by a journalist who claims that her family holds a secret that will save the world. If you want to know how these stories connect, read the latest from Dietrich, author of the well-received adventures starring Ethan Gage (e.g., Napoleon’s Pyramids). The publisher is looking for a breakout; with a 75,000-copy first printing.

Dolan, Harry. Very Bad Men. Amy Einhorn Bks: Putnam. Jul. 2011. 336p. ISBN 9780399157493. $25.95. CD: Penguin Audio.
David Loogan is back, still working as editor of the mystery magazine Gray Streets. All’s well until he trips over a manuscript outside his door that opens with the sentence I killed Henry Kormoran. And it’s not fiction. Dolan’s 2009 debut, Bad Things Happen, met with success, so many thriller fans will be looking for this one.

MY PICK
Duncan, Glen. The Last Werewolf. Knopf. Jul. 2011. 304p. ISBN 9780307595089. $24.95. eISBN 9780307596635. CD: Random Audio.
I first discovered Duncan in 2004, when I read his Death of an Ordinary Man, as sharp, chilling, and polished as a skater’s blade. He’s a literate writer who takes on edgy subjects‚ in Death, for instance, a man speaks from beyond the grave, while I, Lucifer places the devil in a human body. So it’s no surprise to see him do werewolves‚ decidedly au courant but not quite as overdone as vampires. Here, Jake is in good health, never mind that he is now 201 years old; all that sex and violence have afforded him lots of protein and exercise. So why does he want to kill himself? Having lost a friend, he is now the last werewolf on Earth, and it gets lonely. I’m betting that Duncan will make us feel Jake’s pain‚ without letting us forget the pain Jake causes. For fantasy readers looking for a cut above and literary readers looking for articulate escape; in other words, there could be a good-sized audience.

Gaiman, Neil. American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition. Morrow. Jul. 2011. 480p. ISBN 9780062059888. $26.99.
More than a million copies of this novel have been sold in three formats in this country alone, and upon publication it won the Hugo, Locus, Bram Stoker, and SFX awards. So why a new edition? There’s a new introduction, the author’s preferred text‚ that is, the text before it got edited, with Gaiman’s original language sprinkled throughout‚ and a bonus scene. This would seem like a natural for many collections, especially where the original is worn out, so I find the 50,000-copy first printing a little low. Author appearances in Boston, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco.

Gardiner, Meg. The Nightmare Thief. Dutton. Jul. 2011. 368p. ISBN 9780525952213. $25.95. CD: Brilliance Audio.
For her 21st birthday, rich, spoiled Autumn Reiniger gets a real treat from her father: she and a group of friends will participate in an urban reality game featuring a staged drug deal, manhunt, and jailbreak, all played with fake guns. The police are instructed not to intervene‚ which makes it easy for actual kidnappers lured by Daddy Reiniger’s hedge fund profits to enter into the proceedings. Fortunately, forensic psychiatrist Jo Beckett is on the scene and realizes that something’s amiss. An intriguing premise that Edgar Award winner Gardiner should be able to pull off; with a four-city tour to Phoenix, Houston, San Francisco, and Portland (OR).

Gray, Shelley Shepard. Families of Honor, Bk. 2: The Protector. Avon Inspire. Jul. 2011. 256p. ISBN 9780062020628. pap. $12.99.
Having triumphed with her Sisters of the Heart and Seasons of Sugarcreek books, Gray launches another series featuring the Amish (who are certainly beloved of genre authors). After her father dies, Lucy Troyer must sell the family farm. She has understandably mixed feelings about new owner Loyal Weaver, who’s not above asking for her opinions about home improvement. What’s his angle? With a 75,000-copy first printing; buy wherever inspirational fiction and particularly Gray’s series are popular.

Gross. Andrew. Eyes Wide Open. Morrow. Jul. 2011. 352p. ISBN 9780061655968. $25.99. lrg. prnt.
Jay’s older brother, Charlie, wandered west during the Sixties and fell under the influence of a dangerous, cultlike figure whose teachings led to violence. For Charlie, the past finally seems safely past‚ but then it returns to taunt him, and Jay must intervene. Gross, who routinely racks up New York Times best sellers, is here getting a one-day laydown on July 12 and a 200,000-copy first printing. I bet this will be good.

My Pick
LaPlante, Alice. Turn of Mind. Atlantic Monthly. Jul. 2011. 320p. ISBN 9780802119773. $24.
Retired orthopedic surgeon Jennifer White is suffering from dementia. So she doesn’t know whether she’s responsibleturn Fiction for the murder and mutilation of best friend Amanda (the corpse had several fingers removed). That sounds gory, but this first novel isn’t meant as a thriller, instead tracking the doctor’s escalating frustration with the caretakers she no longer recognizes and with her condition itself. (And that’s scary enough.) At first glance, this is a fascinating read told in fragments mirroring the protagonist’s confused state of mind yet remaining cohesive and compelling. It’s the publisher’s biggest book for July, with rights already sold to 11 countries. I’d go for it.

Moriarty, Liane. What Alice Forgot. Amy Einhorn Bks: Putnam. Jun. 2011. 432p. ISBN 9780399157189. $24.95.
What Alice forgot is ten years of her life. The last she remembered, she was 29, happily married, and pregnant with her first child. Bonked on the head in the gym, she awakens to discover that she is a 39-year-old mother of three in the throes of a nasty divorce. Author of the Nicola Berry children’s series and a couple of adult novels, Moriarty is being positioned for bigger things with this new work. Watch it.

Napolitano, Ann. A Good Hard Look. Penguin Pr: Penguin Group (USA). Jul. 2011. 352p. ISBN 9781594202926. $25.95. CD: Penguin Audio.
Napolitano, who did nicely when she debuted with Within Arm’s Reach, now tries for something rich and ambitious with a second novel starring Flannery O’Connor. When New Yorker Melvin Whiteson comes to Milledgeville, GA, with his fiancée, the town’s reigning Southern belle, he’s much taken by O’Connor‚ she represents the choices he didn’t make and the life he could have had. A first look suggests that this is sharp and thoughtfully written; great for book clubs, so be glad that there’s a guide.

Rollins, James. The Devil Colony: A Sigma Force Novel. Morrow. Jul. 2011. 448p. ISBN 9780061784781 $27.99.
In the Rocky Mountains, anthropologists have discovered hundreds of mummified bodies. Could this be a lost colony of the Americas (see the title)? Whatever their origins, Native Americans claim the mummies, a riot ensues, an anthropologist inexplicably burns to a crisp, and an outspoken teenage leader of a radical group implicated in the violence turns for protection to her uncle‚ Sigma Force director Painter Crowe. Rollins’s Sigma Force novels are big, as evidenced by the one-day laydown on June 21, the 350,000-copy first printing, and the ten-city tour to Ann Arbor, Jacksonville, Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Portland (OR), Sacramento, San Francisco, and Seattle. Buy multiples.

Silva, Daniel. Portrait of a Spy. Harper: HarperCollins. Jul. 2011. 432p. ISBN 9780062072184 $26.99. lrg. prnt. CD: HarperAudio.
While enjoying a day in London with his wife, antiterrorist expert Gabriel Allon spots a man he believes to be a suicide bomber‚ attacks have just been carried out in Paris and Hamburg‚ and follows him into Covent Garden. Alas, undercover police knock him down before he can intervene, and carnage ensues. After the incident, Gabriel is contacted by the CIA and asked to track down an American-born cleric now in Yemen and setting himself up as a rival do Osama bin Laden. Just what you’d expect of this New York Times top seller; with a one-day laydown on July 19, plus a 500,000-copy first printing. Buy multiples.

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Barbara Hoffert About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (bhoffert@mediasourceinc.com, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president of the National Book Critics Circle, to which she has just been reelected.

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