My Pick
Bradley, Alan. I Am Half-Sick of Shadows: A Flavia de Luce Novel. Delacorte. Nov. 2011. 384p. ISBN 9780385344012. $23; CD: Random Audio.
Nearly broke, Colonel de Luce is forced to rent out his beloved but crumbly estate, Buckshaw, to a film company planning to let the cameras roll over the Christmas holidays. Alas, someone strangles the testy star with a length of filmstrip, and, as a blizzard locks everyone in, young Flavia looks for the murderer. The fourth in a high-flying series whose opener, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, won big awards and big attention; the title here comes from Tennyson’s The Lady of Shalott. Buy.

My Pick
Kelby, N.M. White Truffles in Winter. Norton. Nov. 2011. 352p. ISBN 9780393079999. $24.95.
French chef Auguste Escoffier loved food and two famous women: his wife, stubbornly independent poet Delphine Daffis, and Sarah Bernhardt. This delectably named novel opens as Escoffier, now working on his memoirs, returns to Delphine in Monte Carlo. She wants him to create a signature dish for her, as he has done for Bernhardt and other notable women, like Queen Victoria. The challenge for Escoffier: find the flavors that capture Delphine and his love for her. The challenge for Kelby: find the language to capture the delicacy of Escoffier’s efforts. Sounds like a sensuous experience all ’round; I’d definitely take a chance on this novel. From the author of In the Company of Angels.

Coulter, Catherine. The Prince of Ravenscar. Putnam. Nov. 2011. 368p. ISBN 9780399158070. $19.95.
It’s bad enough that Nicholas Monroe, the Prince of Ravenscar, has lost his wife under suspicious circumstances. Now his brother-in-law is accusing him of complicity in her death. Coulter’s in historical mode with her latest, another Sherbrooke novel; James Sherbrooke evidently appears along with Corrie at the beginning. For all those fans.

Cussler, Clive & Graham Brown. Devil’s Gate: A Novel from the NUMA Files. Putnam. Nov. 2011. NAp. ISBN 9780399157820. $27.95. CD: Penguin Audio.
An African dictator with a seriously nasty weapon and a desire to blackmail the world; no wonder Kurt Austin, Joe Zavala, and other members of the Special Assignments Team are anxious. From a New York Times best-selling author who’ll likely stay on the list; check out his Built for Adventure: The Classic Automobiles of Clive Cussler and Dirk Pitt, previewed in nonfiction.

Grafton, Sue. V Is for Vengeance. Putnam. Nov. 2011. 400p. ISBN 9780399157868. $27.95.
This is scary: when Prepub Alert first launched, Grafton was only on F (Is for Fugitive). Here, a shoplifting ring, a particularly nasty gangster, a woman whose suicide may be nothing of the sort, a lonely widower‚ all these and more are connected to a seemingly elegant businessman with an evil agenda. Oh, and Kinsey Millhone gets punched in both eyes on her birthday. Buy multiples.

Matheson, Richard. Steel. Tor. Oct. 2011. 320p. ISBN 9780765329424. $14.99; mass market media tie-in. 304p. ISBN 9780765367617. $7.99. CD: Blackstone.
This fall’s Real Steel, a film directed by Shawn Levy and starring Hugh Jackman and Evangeline Lilly, is based on Matheson’s classic story, Steel. That’s just one of several cool stories in this collection, none published in book form before. Given the movie, consider even if you don’t have big sf readers.

Steel, Danielle. Hotel Vendome. Delacorte. Nov. 2011. 336p. ISBN 9780385343176. $28.
Hugues Martin, owner of the plush Hotel Vendome in New York, raises daughter Heloise alone after his wife leaves him‚ until ambitious Natalie Peterson enters the picture. Eloise at the Plaza homage or rip-off? Whatever, Steel is still a New York Times best-selling author.

Taylor, Patrick. A Dublin Student Doctor. Forge: Tor. Oct. 2011. 464p. ISBN 9780765326737. $24.99.
In the sixth in Taylor’s New York Times best-selling series, fans find out how Dr. Fingal Flahertie O’Reilly, general practitioner of the little Irish town of Ballybucklebo, got his start; he went to Dublin to study medicine in the 1930s despite his father’s protests. Keep up wherever the series is popular.

Vinge, Vernor. The Children of the Sky. Tor. Oct. 2011. 448p. ISBN 9780312875626. $25.99.
Not every sf author has won five Hugos (three in a row) and has been called the Arthur C. Clarke of the new millennium. This fall he publishes the sequel to A Fire Upon the Deep, something fans have been waiting 20 years to read. Buy a lot where sf is hot.

Barbara Hoffert About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @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.