Xpress Reviews: Fiction | First Look at New Books, March 30, 2012

Week ending March 30, 2012

Dickey, Eric Jerome. An Accidental Affair. Dutton. Apr. 2012. c.352p. ISBN 9780525952343. $26.95. F
True to form, Dickey (Pleasure; Tempted by Fate; Resurrection at Midnight) delivers once again with his latest romantic psychodrama. Hollywood screenwriter James Thicke is out for revenge after a scandalous video of his famous actress/wife Regina Baptiste and fellow actor Johnny Bergs is sent to his cell phone and later goes viral on the Internet. With a well-paced plot, well-developed characters, and Dickey’s love of travel on full display, this classic tale of lust, juicy scandal, and murder will leave readers hungry for the next Dickey installment.
Verdict
Those faithful followers of Dickey and new readers searching for a steamy interlude before summer will relish his latest treat. [See Prepub Alert, 9/30/11.]‚ Opalisa L. Jones, Birmingham P.L., AL

Foglio, Phil & Kaja Foglio. Agatha H. and the Clockwork Princess: A Girl Genius Novel. Night Shade. Apr. 2012. c.480p. ISBN 9781597802222. $24.99. FANTASY
With the help of Krosp Emperor of All Cats, Agatha has escaped the floating Castle Wulfenbach, but in so doing she has crash-landed directly into the Wastelands. Her goal is Mechanicsburg, the ancestral home of her family, and to reach it in one piece she will join up with Master Payne’s Circus of Adventure. But nothing is ever as easy as the stories make it seem. Her travel will be interrupted as she is sought by fierce Jagermonsters, enigmatic Geisterdamen, the Wulfenbach Empire, as well as the terrifying Other itself.
Verdict
Full of humor, skewed science, accidental adventure, and perfectly awkward romance, this follow-up to Agatha H. and the Airship City once again brings the brilliant Girl Genius comics to stunning life in prose form and is a must read for fans of the comic. As each page is turned, it is increasingly hard to resist laughing out loud. This is how steampunk is meant to be!‚ April Steenburgh, George F. Johnson Memorial Lib., Endwell, NY

Lewis, Simon. Border Run. Scribner. Apr. 2012. c.240p. ISBN 9781416596059. $22. F
On the Burmese border, young English tourists Will and Jake can hardly believe their luck when they are approached by a man promising them no-strings-attached trysts with the beautiful seminaked local women deep in the jungle. Will suspects ulterior motives for their guide’s altruism, but Jake cannot be swayed. The friends are pitted against each other after discovering that their host and surroundings are not what they seem. The jungle swallows the two in a dangerous game involving smuggling, murder, and survival of the fittest.
Verdict
Lewis’s (Bad Traffic; Go) third novel is a tale of moral ambiguity. The psychological portrait of two friends drifting apart morally is heightened by the strange exoticism of the Southeast Asia setting. Those who enjoy thrillers or danger-in-paradise novels (such as Alex Garland’s The Beach or William Golding’s Lord of the Flies) will thoroughly enjoy this fast-paced, quick read.‚ Jennifer Funk, McKendree Univ., Lebanon, IL

Nykänen, Harri. Nights of Awe. Bitter Lemon, dist. by Consortium. Apr. 2012. c.247p. tr. from Finnish by Kristian London. ISBN 9781904738534923. pap. $14.95. M
Ariel Kafka is one of two Jewish policemen in all of Finland, and nobody lets him forget it. In the days leading to the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, Kafka faces a growing body count from murders in Helsinki. Some of the dead are Arabs, some are Israelis, and a few are Finns who happened to be in the way. As Kafka meanders through the investigation, Israeli Secret Service Mossad and the Finnish Secret Services step in…but are the interested parties there to help or to hinder Kafka in the investigation?
Verdict
Nykänen attempts to include a bewildering number of leads, clues, bodies, and very long last names, all of which accumulate to a series debut that is overly confusing and, ultimately, unsatisfying. Nykänen, a longtime journalist and crime fiction writer, has written over 30 novels and is the author of four different mystery series. Followers of his other series will no doubt be interested; however, newer fans may be harder to attract.‚ Jennifer Rogers, J. Sargeant Reynolds Community Coll., Richmond

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Bette-Lee Fox About Bette-Lee Fox

Bette-Lee Fox (blfox@mediasourceinc.com) is Managing Editor, Library Journal.

Now in her 45th year with Library Journal, Bette-Lee also edits LJ's Video Reviews column, six times a year Romance column, and e-original Romance reviews, which post weekly as LJ Xpress Reviews. She received the Romance Writers of America (RWA) Vivian Stephens Industry Award in 2013 for having "contributed to the genre or to RWA in a significant and/or continuing manner"