Fiction

Abbott, Jeff. Adrenaline. Grand Central. Jul. 2011. 416p. ISBN 9780446575171. $24.99. CD: Hachette Audio.
Things could not be worse for CIA agent Sam Capra: his pregnant wife has been kidnapped, and he’s been branded a traitor. Now he’s on the run while he gets things sorted out. The publisher is going all out for this thriller, the first in a new series from best seller Abbott. Consider multiples wherever Abbott has done well.

Ballard, J.G. Millennium People. Norton. Jul. 2011. 304p. ISBN 9780393081770. $25.95.
British author Ballard, perhaps best known for Empire of the Sun, died in 2009. But his reputation is just starting to pick up here after the 2009 publication of The Complete Stories of J.G. Ballard. In this novel, published in Great Britain in 2003 to considerable acclaim, an explosion at Heathrow takes the life of psychologist David Markham’s ex-wife. In response, he infiltrates the antigovernment group responsible for the bombing‚ and begins to fall under its sway. Typical bleak and edgy Ballard and a book I especially want to see.

Black, Benjamin. A Death in Summer. Holt. 2011. 336p. ISBN 9780805090925. $25.
Dublin newspaper tycoon Richard Jewell has been felled by a shotgun blast‚ was it suicide or murder?‚ and Detective Inspector Hackett calls in Quirke, the city’s well-connected pathologist. Things get complicated when the victim’s distraught sister begins confiding in Quirke’s assistant. The fifth entry in a successful crime series from Black (actually Booker Prize winner John Banville in a crime-fiction mood), this should appeal to readers who like their mysteries literate. With a national tour.

My Pick
Campbell, Bonnie Jo. Once Upon a River. Norton. Jul. 2011. 320p. ISBN 9780393079890. $25.95.
Last year, when Campbell’s American Salvage was both a National Book Award and aOnce Upon the River2 Fiction National Book Critics Circle finalist, readers woke up to a tremendous young talent. Campbell’s new novel features 16-year-old Margo Crane, a crack shot who flees by river after being implicated in her father’s death. She’s always loved the river, but, as one can imagine, actually living on the water is an entirely different thing. Set in rural Michigan, this book will surely vivify a side of American culture we don’t often see. It also shows us how a turn in one direction can sometimes mean never going back. Excellent for book clubs, so it’s good that there will be a guide and a concerted effort to pitch both clubs and libraries; the eight-city tour spreads out nationwide to Madison, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Detroit/Ann Arbor, New York, Chicago, and Iowa City.

Davies, Deborah Kay. True Things About Me. Farrar. Jul. 2011. 224p. ISBN 8670865478541. pap. $14.
In an unspecified town, a woman sits quietly working at her desk. A few minutes later she is having sex with a stranger in the parking lot. This study in sexual obsession has received strong reviews in the UK, where Davies’s debut, a story collection called Grace, Tamar, and Laszlo the Beautiful won the 2009 Wales Book of the Year Award. Could take off here.

Delinsky, Barbara. Escape. Doubleday. Jul. 2011. 368p. ISBN 9780385532723. $25.95. lrg prnt. trade pap. eISBN 9780385532730. CD/downloadable: Random Audio.
Sapped of her idealism and unable to connect to her husband, her friends, or her work, 30-year-old lawyer Emily Aulenbach gets up from her desk early one day and leaves high-pressure New York behind for the New Hampshire hills. She had a vibrant summer there when in college; maybe she can find that happiness again. With a reading group guide and likely to be popular.

Duffy, Bruce. Disaster Was My God. Doubleday. Jul. 2011. 384p. ISBN 9780385534369. $27.95.
Not the biggest fiction on this list and not for the strictly commercial crowd, but I was genuinely enthralled by Duffy’s The World as I Found It, a fictionalized life of Ludwig Wittgenstein, and am equally enthralled to learn that he’s done something similar for Arthur Rimbaud. With a burning patience, enter this splendid city. For your literary set.

Gabaldon, Diana. Outlander. Delacorte. 20th anniversary ed. Jul. 2011. 672p. ISBN 9780440423201. $35. eISBN 9780345527622.
After 20 years, the Outlander series is going strong, with more than 17 million copies sold worldwide and 14,000 copies in all formats moving each month. So why not go back to the first title in the series and reissue it in a glossy new anniversary edition, with a reading group guide and a new letter and essay from the author herself? Well worth considering even if you have copies of Outlander; they’re probably worn out.

Gerritsen, Tess. The Silent Girl. Ballantine. Jul. 2011. 368p. ISBN 9780345515506. $26. eISBN 9780345526601.
Up on a Chinatown rooftop, Boston homicide detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles encounter a grisly scene‚ no doubt described in the blood-curdling graphic style that has successfully carried these two characters through numerous New York Times best sellers to their ninth outing here. Rizzoli also notices a strange hair‚ which turns out to come from a monkey. And that leads us into the story of the Monkey King, a powerful and sometimes belligerent character in Chinese literature. Tie-in promotion to the recently launched TNT series Rizzoli & Isles and a tour to Maine, Boston, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland, Phoenix, and Scottsdale. Get multiples wherever Gerritsen is popular.

Graham, Lorna. The Ghost of Greenwich Village. Ballantine. Jul. 2011. 345p. ISBN 9780345526212. pap. $15. eISBN 9780345526212.
All Eve ever wanted when she moved to New York’s Greenwich Village was a little excitement‚ and a job. Instead, she got an overpriced apartment haunted by the very cranky ghost of a borderline Beat writer who wants help completing his life’s work. There’s in-house enthusiasm for this debut, whose author has written for leading network anchors. We’ll see.

Harper, Paul. Pacific Heights. Holt. Jul. 2011. 400p. ISBN 9780805093933. $25.
Lore Cha and Elise Currin are the bored wives of successful businessmen, and they’re spooked. Each is having a secret, steamy affair with a man named Phillip Krey who seems increasingly able to read their thoughts and desires. Are they part of some scary psychological experiment? And will it lead to murder? Ask low-key detective Marten Fane. Harper, the pseudonym for a New York Times best-selling thriller author, decides to try something new. Intriguing premise; this will likely do well.

Jenoff, Pam. The Things We Cherished. Doubleday. Jul. 2011. 304p. ISBN 9780385534208 $24.95. eISBN 9780385534215.
Jenoff, who launched her career with ALA Sophie Brody Award finalist The Kommandant’s Girl and is now on to her fifth novel, here tells the story of two attorneys who fall for each other even as they work to clear financier Roger Dykmans of war-crime charges. Dykmans doesn’t help matters, saying only that his innocence can be proved by a certain timepiece last seen in Nazi Germany. Reading group guide; buy where Jenoff is popular.

Kava, Alex. Hotwire. Doubleday. Jul. 2011. 400p. ISBN 9780385532013. $24.95. ISBN 9780385532020.
Several teenagers filming a party in Nebraska are apparently electrocuted, and even as the survivors start meeting mysterious ends, children at a school in Virginia are infected by a deadly pathogen. Of course these two cases meet for Special Agent Maggie O’Dell. More from best seller Kava, promoted with a six-city tour to Washington, DC, Houston, Phoenix, Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Most thriller fans will want.

Kepler, Lars. The Hypnotist. Farrar. Jul. 2011. 528p. ISBN 8670374173951. $27.
A family has been murdered, and the only way Detective Inspector Joona Linna can find any clues is to ask the one survivor‚ the family’s young son, now in a state of shock after suffering more than 100 knife wounds. Linna’s proposed solution? Hypnosis. Written pseudonymously by a literary couple and yet another example of the Swedish crime-fiction juggernaut, this first in a series is set to appear in 33 countries. That’s promising. With a reading group guide.

Lustbader, Eric Van. Robert Ludlum’s The Bourne Dominion. Grand Central. Jul. 2011. 450p. ISBN 9780446564441. $27.99. lrg. prnt. CD: Hachette Audio.
Bourne returns‚ but does he want to? A defector from a shadowy organization called Severus Domna asks to join forces with him, at the same time confiding that Domna is planning to have Bourne assassinated and for that job has chosen Boris Karpov‚ someone Bourne actually trusts. Buy where Bourne still reigns.

Mason, Bobbie Ann. The Girl in the Blue Beret. Random. Jul. 2011. 368p. ISBN 9781400067183. $26. eISBN 9780679604945.
Shot down over France during World War II, U.S. airman Marshall Stone is helped to safety by members of the French Resistance, particularly a girl in a blue beret. Years later, returning to France to face down haunting memories of the war, he finds‚ and falls in love with‚ his bereted savior. Given what she did with In Country, Mason should handle this splendidly. And the story should have rich personal overtones, as it’s inspired by events in the life of Mason’s father-in-law. With book club pitches and an NPR interview; I’m looking out for this one.

Meidav, Edie. Lola, California. Farrar. Jul. 2011. 448p. ISBN 9780374109264. $27.
Meidav is not the biggest name on this list. But her two novels, Far Field and Crawl Space, have won her many honors (Bard Fiction Prize, Kafka Prize), and the premise caught my attention. Even as Seventies cult figure Vic Mahler awaits execution for murder, his daughter, Lana, remains in hiding. Now her friend Rose, also a lawyer, is trying to bring parent and child together‚ one last time.

Pollock, Donald Ray. The Devil All the Time. Doubleday. Jul. 2011. 304p. ISBN 9780385535045. $26.95. eISBN 9780385535052.
Pollock first triumphed with his story collection, Knockemstiff, about the Midwestern town of that name where he grew up and its sad but tough residents. Here he moves on to full-length fiction with a terse examination of America’s violent underbelly. Lots of in-house excitement; watch.

Ritter, Josh. Bright’s Passage. Dial. Jul. 2011. 208p. ISBN 9781400069507. $22. eISBN 9780679604259.
Ritter has been declared one of Entertainment Weekly‘s Ten Most Exciting Artists Now and one of Paste‘s 100 Greatest Living Songwriters, so the nerve of him to write a debut novel, too. His protagonist is Henry Bright, newly returned from World War I, who’s left with the care of his infant son after his wife’s death. With his son, their goat, and the angel Henry believes has followed him home from France, he undertakes a journey toward a better life. Too bad he is pursued by his vengeful father-in-law. The publisher is promoting Ritter’s media connections and grasp of story as a songwriter. We’ll have to see, but this does sound promising. With a tour to Boston, New York, Minneapolis, Austin, Portland (OR), Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

Siddons, Anne Rivers. Burnt Mountain. Grand Central. Jul. 2011. 350p. ISBN 9780446527897. $25.95. lrg. prnt. CD: Hachette Audio.
As a child, Thayer Wentworth adored Camp Greyledge on Georgia’s Burnt Mountain, even if she did find first love and then first heartbreak there. So at first she’s happy when she moves nearby with her new husband, Irish-born professor Aengus, and he’s invited to the camp as storyteller. But then, as it often does, the past rears its ugly head. With a reading group guide and fun for many readers.

Steel, Danielle. Happy Birthday. Delacorte. Jul. 2011. 352p. ISBN 9780385340304. $28. eISBN 9780440423317.
Valerie Wyatt is the reigning queen of elegant entertaining (think Martha Stewart). Her daughter, April, is the work-addicted chef/owner of a downtown New York restaurant (think any number of hot young chefs, today’s new superstars, and check out Laura Shockey’s Four Kitchens for the real inside story). High achievers, but men in their lives? Nuh-uh. Still, both have significant birthdays coming, and things might change. Classic Steel. Grab it, I guess.

Sussman, Ellen. French Lessons. Ballantine. Jul. 2011. 256p. ISBN 9780345522771. $24. eISBN 9780345522795. CD: Random Audio.
Sussman did nicely with her 2004 debut, On a Night Like This, and has since edited two anthologies and published numerous stories. Here, she tells the stories of three different Americans‚ a pregnant young woman, a lonely ex-pat housewife, and the husband of a glamorous movie star‚ who each tour Paris with his or her own language tutor. Sounds entertaining; watch.

Tripp, Dawn. Game of Secrets. Random. Jul. 2011. 288p. ISBN 9781400061884. $25. eISBN 9780679604952.
The Scrabble game between Jane Weld and Ada Varick is no simple thing. Fifty years ago, Jane’s father disappeared, and his skull was subsequently discovered with a bullet hole in it. Rumor had it that he was murdered by the husband of his mistress‚ yes, Ada Varick. Now Jane wants the truth. With book club pitches, an NPR interview, and a New England tour; Tripp is not huge but is building nicely, so this is worth watching.

Ward, Amanda Eyre. Close Your Eyes. Random. Jul. 2011. 272p. ISBN 9780345494481 $25. eISBN 9780679605089. CD/downloadable: Random Audio.
When Lauren was a child, her father murdered her mother. Finally, as an adult, she’s trying to come to terms with the past. Ward has been published in 15 countries, and as evidenced by titles like How To Be Lost, she excels at depicting fraught family relationships; readers who enjoy such novels should be sure to investigate. With a seven-stop tour to Boston, Nantucket, Cape Cod, New York, Houston, Austin, and San Francisco.

Wingfield, Jennie. The Homecoming of Samuel. Random. Jul. 2011. 336p. ISBN 9780385344081. $25. CD: Random Audio. eISBN 9780679603603.
In 1950s Arkansas, 12-year-old Swan Lake does what she thinks is right‚ she hides an eight-year-old friend whose father has been beating him mercilessly. Alas, Swan’s preacher father also thinks he knows what is right‚ and it does not include separating a child from his family. This debut from screenwriter Wingfield (e.g., The Man in the Moon, starring Reese Witherspoon) is getting a big push, with a nine-city tour to Dallas, Houston, Austin, Little Rock, Nashville, Memphis, Oxford, Jackson, and Kansas City, plus book-club promotion. A good bet, especially for regional libraries.

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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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