Top Historicals, Horror from Koontz, Fashionable Steel, & More | Pop Fiction Previews, Jan. 2018

Bracht, Mary Lynn. White Chrysanthemum. Putnam. Jan. 2018. 320p. ISBN 9780735214439. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780735214453. lrg. prnt. CD/downloadable: Penguin Audio. HISTORICAL
Of Korean heritage, Bracht boldly faces one of the ugly facts of World War II: the Japanese military forced 200,000 women into sexual slavery when it annexed Korea. In 1943, Hana, one of the famed female divers of Jeju Island, intervenes to protect younger sister Emi when she is accosted by Japanese soldiers and is herself seized and taken to Manchuria to become a comfort woman. Decades later, in South Korea, Emi contemplates her sister’s sacrifice. Lots of buzz; the publisher won this book in a preemptive bid, and rights have been sold to 12 territories.

Brown, Pierce. Iron Gold. Del Rey: Ballantine. (Red Rising Saga, Bk. 4). Jan. 2018. 480p. ISBN 9780425285916. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780425285923. SF
Just when it looks as if Darrow and the Rising are about to defeat holdout Golds and end their world’s cruel color-coded caste system, a new foe comes along, so this fourth book set in the Red Rising world is also the first book of a new trilogy. The first three books were all New York Times best sellers, with last year’s Morning Star hitting the top spot. Originally scheduled for October 2017.

Goodkind, Terry. Shroud of Eternity: Sister of Darkness. Tor. (Nicci Chronicles, Bk. 2). Jan. 2018. 512p. ISBN 9780765388247. $29.99; ebk. ISBN 9780765388261. FANTASY
This second in the “Nicci Chronicles” jumps in where the New York Times best-selling Death’s Mistress left off, with a mission launched by powerful sorceress Nicci—a fan favorite, which is why she’s getting her own story. She’s joined by both Nathan, whose lost magic she hopes to restore, and by young Bannon, and her own goal is pretty basic: she wants to save the world. The witch-woman Red’s prophecy sends them to a city beyond time, where things get horrifying indeed. Expect good reading; here’s LJ on Death’s Mistress: “This action-packed book will delight epic fantasy enthusiasts.”

Higgins, Kristan. Now That You Mention It. HQN: HarperCollins. Dec. 2017. 416p. ISBN 9781335903358. pap. $15.99; ebk. ISBN 9781488029264. WOMEN’S
You can go home again, but sometimes it’s not what you expected. That’s what Nora discovers when she returns to Scuppers Island, ME, having made a life for herself in Boston where no one knows she’s the nerdy girl with the wild-child sister and deadbeat dad. When a fateful moment sends Nora back to reconnect with her snippy mother and equally snippy niece, she must decide whether it’s worth sticking around to hear some hard truths. From two-time RITA Award winner Higgins in women’s fiction mode, pubbing in late December.

Koontz, Dean. The Whispering Room: A Jane Hawk Novel. Bantam. Jan. 2018. 512p. ISBN 9780345546807. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780345546814. HORROR
In The Silent Corner, which soared onto the New York Times best sellers list after its late June release, FBI agent Jane Hawk seeks to discover why her accomplished husband and a surprisingly large number of other people like him have unaccountably committed suicide. Now she knows it’s because a few power mongers are out to rule the world, and she’s going to get them. The title references those who are off the grid yet able to sneak around on the Internet.

Medoff, Jillian. This Could Hurt. Harper. Jan. 2018. 384p. ISBN 9780062660763. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062660787. POP FICTION/HUMOROUS
Popular novelist Medoff (e.g., I Couldn’t Love You More) has long worked in management consulting and corporate communications, so she’s on firm ground with this novel about five human resources colleagues dealing with work, life, and the inevitable bottom-line pressures of their job. Among them: Rosa Guerrero, the enduring HR chief of Ellery Consumer Research Group; her devoted right-hand man, Leo Smalls; associate director Rob Hirsch, ever more dependent on “work wife” Lucy Bender, a single woman longing for an uptick in her life; and Kenny Verville, who’s feeling pressure from home to get on with the big promotions. With a 50,000-copy first printing.

Raybourn, Deanna. A Treacherous Curse. Berkley. Jan. 2018. 320p. ISBN 9780451476173. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780698198401. HISTORICAL
Following last January’s A Perilous Undertaking, this third in the New York Times best-selling, RITA Award–winning Raybourn’s new series has freewheeling Victorian adventuress Veronica Speedwell investigating events recalling Tutankhamen’s famed curse. Her friend Stoker is part of the ill-starred excavation of an Egyptian princess’s tomb, with the latest catastrophe being the disappearance of an expedition partner along with an incalculably valuable diadem from the tomb. With a big book club push and a five-city tour to Houston, Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Diego, and the Bay Area.

Riley, Lucinda. The Pearl Sister. (Seven Sisters, Bk. 4).  Atria. Jan. 2018. 512p. ISBN 9781501180033. $27. WOMEN’S
In Riley’s sparkling “Seven Sisters” series, the six (yes, six) adoptive D’Aplièse sisters have unexpectedly lost their beloved father and rush home to his Swiss chateau to learn that he has left each a clue to her particular origins. Here, a black-and-white photograph bequeathed to loner CeCe leads to the story of clergyman’s daughter Kitty McBride, who a century previously abandoned her strict Edinburgh upbringing to accompany a wealthy woman traveling to Adelaide. There, Kitty finds not just adventure but true love. Following last April’s The Shadow Sister, which the starred LJ review called “an engaging and mesmerizing story of self-discovery and love…[that] can be perfectly read as a standalone.”

Sagara, Michelle. Cast in Deception.  Mira: Harlequin. (Chronicles of Elantra). Jan. 2018. 384p. ISBN 9780778331100. pap. $15.99; ebk. ISBN 9781488027949. FANTASY
In the 13th in Sagara’z New York Times best-selling series, detective/mage Kaylin Neya returns to defend the ever-troubled city of Elantra. Annarion Barrani, whom readers first met in Cast in Sorrow, has returned to stir up trouble by extending a hand to his outcast brother, Lord Nightshade, and seeking to restore their family’s honor by undertaking the Barrani Test of Name. But dark forces undergird the Barrani family, and Kaylin must assure that those forces stay put. Following Cast in Flight; with a 60,000-copy first printing and big book club outreach.

Shields, Jody. The Winter Station. Little, Brown. Jan. 2018. 320p. ISBN 9780316385343. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780316385329. lib. ebk. ISBN 9780316269681. Downloadable: Hachette Audio. HISTORICAL
In 2000, Shields debuted nicely with The Fig Eater, which has since sold 150,000 copies across formats and is currently in film development; 2006’s The Crimson Portrait appealed less for plot than for atmosphere and elegant language. Shields now draws on barely known historical fact for a new work set in 1910 in the Russian-ruled Manchurian city of Kharbin, where a mysterious epidemic has led to so many deaths that bodies are sometimes carted off before they are identified. Balancing on the razor’s edge between Western medical science and Chinese tradition, the city’s aristocratic Russian medical commissioner tries to determine the cause even as his Chinese wife hides secrets of her own. Based on a Russian doctor’s journal discovered by Shields; with a 75,000-copy first printing.

Steel, Danielle. Fall from Grace. Delacorte. Jan. 2018. 320p. ISBN 9781101884003. $28.99; ebk. ISBN 9781101884010. lrg. prnt. WOMEN’S
Having whipped up seven original novels last year (and seen the publication of six mass market paperback reprints), Steel starts up again in 2018 with a novel featuring newly widowed Sydney Wells, whose adoring husband inexplicably left her out of his will. With his sudden death, his estate goes to his conniving daughter, and 49-year-old Sydney must start from scratch. She begins working in fashion, is entrapped in a shady scheme that leads to criminal prosecution, but (as you might guess) triumphantly rebuilds her life.

Ward, J.R. Blood Fury. Ballantine. (Black Dagger Legacy). Jan. 2018. 432p. ISBN 9780451475343. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780698193321. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. FANTASY/PARANORMAL ROMANCE
Aren’t vampires well established? This new work in the “Black Dagger Legacy” series, spun off from the author’s No. 1 New York Times best-selling “Black Dagger Brotherhood,” is described as a traditional vampire romance. Here, tough-as-a-punch Novo is mightily attracted to fellow Brotherhood recruit Peyton, but she rejects him for someone less wild. Still, they have to work together—after all, they’re facing war.

Willig, Lauren. The English Wife. St. Martin’s. Jan. 2018. 384p. ISBN 9781250056276. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466860216. CD: Macmillan Audio. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
Annabelle and Bayard Van Duyvil are the centerpiece of Hudson Valley high society, with Knickerbocker-rooted Bayard having built a mansion on the riverbank recalling the Tudor house in England where Annabelle was raised. Then, during their Twelfth Night Ball, Annabelle goes missing, Bayard is found stabbed to death, and his sister, Janie, joins forces with a reporter to discover what really happened. Soon, Annabelle and Bayard start looking less like a golden couple than badly tarnished brass. From the New York Times best-selling “Pink Carnation” lady.

Wirkus, Tim. The Infinite Future. Penguin Pr. Jan. 2018. 400p. ISBN 9780735224322. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780735224339. Downloadable: Penguin Audio. LITERARY SF
After debuting with City of Brick and Shadow, a Shamus finalist about Mormon missionaries who become detectives, Wirkus introduces us to three characters obsessed with a long-overlooked Brazilian sf author named Eduard Salgado-MacKenzie. Troubled writer Danny, excommunicated Mormon historian Harriet, and São Paulo journalist-turned-librarian Sergio set out to determine whether Salgado-MacKenzie’s rumored masterpiece about the nature of the universe actually exists. The book itself comprises the second half of this boundary bender by Wirkus, also winner of the Quarterly West novella contest, who here draws on his Mormon missionary experience in Brazil.

 

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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, treasurer, and awards chair of the National Book Critics Circle.

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