Fiction Previews, Jun. 2012, Pt. 2: Glen Duncan and the Robopocalypse Guy Return

Andrews, Mary Kay. Spring Fever. St. Martin’s. Jun. 2012. 400p. ISBN 9780312642716. $25.99. POP FICTION
Happily engaged four years after her divorce from Mason Bayless, Annajane Hudgens is so comfortable with her new life that she feels she can safely attend Mason’s wedding to smart, gorgeous Celia. But when the wedding is called off just as the guests are settled in their seats, Annajane begins wondering whether it’s a sign that she and Mason are meant for each other after all. With a one-day laydown on June 5, which says it all.

Billingham, Mark. The Demands. Mulholland: LIttle, Brown. Jun. 2012. 320p. ISBN 9780316126632. $24.99. THRILLER
Devastated by the death of his son in prison, Javed Akhtar takes hostage the customers in his convenience store, then demands that one of them‚ Det. Helen Weeks‚ bring him another detective named Tom Thorne. Akhtar wants Thorne to look into his son’s death, which he is convinced was no accident. Billingham, author most recently of Bloodline, has a solid following‚ and a six-part series based on his books on the UK’s Sky 1 entertinament channel. Thriller lovers, try this.

Brunt, Carol Rifka. Tell the Wolves I’m Home. Dial. Jun. 2012. 368p. ISBN 9780679644194. $26; eISBN 9780812992922. LITERARY
Devastated by the death of her uncle, famed painter Finn Weiss, 14-year-old June Elbus is surprised to receive a package containing a beautiful teapot after his death. It was sent by Toby, a stranger June had noticed at the funeral, and they strike up a friendship based on how much they both miss Finn. A debut pitched for book clubs and YA crossover, not the hugest book on this list but a sweetly promising one that bears watching.

Child, Lincoln. The Third Gate. Doubleday. Jun. 2012. 320p. ISBN 9780385531382. $25.95; eISBN 9780385531399. lrg. prnt. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. THRILLER
In Child’s latest, originally scheduled for December and previewed here 7/15/11, enterprising explorer Porter Stone believes that he has found the tomb of King Narmer, who united upper and lower Egypt in 3200 B.C.E. Then bad things start to happen, and Stone must call on Professor Jeremy Logan for help. Featuring a new protagonist, so fans will be especially curious.

Coes, Ben. The Last Refuge: A Dewey Andreas Novel. St. Martin’s. Jun. 2012. 416p. ISBN 9781250007155. $25.99. THRILLER
Hero of Coes’s Power Down and Coup d’Etat, Dewey Andreas is shocked when Israeli agent Kohl Meir shows him a photo of nuclear device neatly inscribed with the words Goodbye Tel Aviv in Farsi. Given what he owes to Kohl (his life), Andreas is ready to act. But the only person who can help him defuse this threat from Iran is locked up in an Iranian prison. Okay, the very thought of this is just too scary for me, but thriller fans will want Coes’s always appreciated work.

Duncan, Glen. Talulla Rising. Knopf. Jun. 2012. 320p. ISBN 9780307596096. $25.95; eISBN 9780307958433. Downloadable: Random Audio. LITERARY THRILLER
Last summer, accomplished British novelist Duncan gave himself a boost with The Last Werewolf, a new take on the hoary legend that’s both demandingly literate and out-there edgy. (I loved it.) In this follow-up, Jake‚ not, as it turned out, the last werewolf, is alas gone and much mourned by Talulla, who at least has a son to take comfort in after brutal childbirth. All’s well until the new leader of WOCOP (World Organization for the Control of Occult Phenomena) goes psycho. For readers beyond the paranormal set; with a 100,000-copy first printing.

Evanovich, Janet. Wicked Business. A Lizzy and Diesel Novel. Bantam. Jun. 2012. 320p. ISBN 9780345527776. $28; eISBN 9780345527721. lrg. prnt. CD: Random Audio. THRILLER
First featured in Evanovich’s Plum series and now on the second in her own series, Elizabeth Tucker bakes extraordinary cupcakes for Dazzle’s Bakery in Salem, MA, and has hooked up with Diesel, a man with a mission and the means to protect Lizzy from the evil Grimoire Gerwulf. Gerwulf is out to find the Seven Stones of Power, each connected with one of the seven deadly sins, and the second sin is lust. If this sounds a bit YAish, it’s intentional; the book is being touted as appropriate for younger crowds with its touch of magic and tamer language. The first in the series reached the top spot on the New York Times mass market best sellers list, the current title is taking over the traditional June publication date of the Plum series, and the promotion will be massive. Unless your thriller readers really resist the idea of magic, consider multiples.

Ferraris, Zoë. Kingdom of Strangers. Little, Brown. Jun. 2012. 304p. ISBN 9780316074247. $25.99. LITERARY SUSPENSE
Ferraris had a hit with her debut, the Los Angeles Times Book Award winner Finding Nouf, and kept up the good work with City of Veils. In her third work, lead inspector Ibrahim Zahrani has a new case‚ the discovery of a desert grave containing the bodies of 19 women, suggesting that a serial killer is at work‚ and an unfortunate complication; his mistress has gone missing, something he can’t report because in Saudi Arabia adultery is punishable by death. Admirable writer; I’d get.

Frayn, Michael. Skios. Metropolitan Bks: Holt. Jun. 2012. 272p. ISBN 9780805095494. $25. LITERARY
When Dr. Norman Wilfred delivers his keynote address at a famed foundation’s conference on the private Greek island of Skios, everyone is astonished to find him so charming and charismatic‚Ķand young. Rumor had it that this authority on the scientific organization of science was an arrogant, pompous old windbag. Meanwhile, somewhere on the island, an arrogant, pompous old windbag is inexplicably stuck at an isolated villa. As always, the Whitbread and Tony Award winner’s latest sounds like blistering fun, and it’s no surprise to see him sending up academics, social climbers, and misguided philanthropists. I do keep wondering, Has no one ever seen Norman before? I guess arrogant, pompous old windbags don’t maintain web sites.

Furst, Alan. Mission to Paris. Random. Jun. 2012. 272p. ISBN 9781400069484. $27; eISBN 9780679604228. THRILLER
It’s a thriller set on the eve of World War II, so the author must be Furst. Hollywood star Frederic Stahl, in Paris to make a film, finds himself contending with French fascists and the Nazi threat on the horizon even as the spy underground courts him assiduously. Furst’s last, Spies in the Balkans, was a New York Times best seller, and he’s always absorbing reading. With a 75,000-copy first printing and an eight-city tour to New York, Boston, Washington, DC, Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, San Francisco, and Los Angeles; guess his star keeps rising.

Gideon, Melanie. Wife 22. Ballantine. Jun. 2012. 400p. ISBN 9780345527950. $26; eISBN 9780345527974. CD: Random Audio. POP FICTION
Bored with husband, job, and teenaged children and the same age her mother was when she died, Alice Buckle has an opportunity to reassess her life when she’s asked to complete a survey for the Netherfield Center for the Study of Marital Happiness. The survey is anonymous, and she’s Wife 22. This is Gideon’s first adult novel (she’s written two YA works), but she’s already proved herself for older readers with the best-selling memoir, The Slippery Year. Interest is sky high‚ rights have been sold to 19 countries, and the book has been optioned for film‚ and this seems like the kind of smart women’s fiction most libraries would want.

Hilderbrand, Elin. Summerland. Little, Brown. Jun. 2012. 416p. ISBN 9780316099837. $26.99; lrg. prnt. CD: Hachette Audio. POP FICTION
A car crash after a graduation party leaves driver Penny Alistair dead, her twin brother in a coma, and Penny’s friend Demeter and boyfriend, Jake, emotionally scarred for life. Trust best-selling Silver Girl Hilderbrand to go right to the heart of these families’ throbbing sorrow. With a five-city tour to Miami, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, and Houston, plus lots of social media; Hilderbrand’s a pro.

Katzenbach, John. What Comes Next. Mysterious Pr: Grove Atlantic. Jun. 2012. 320p. ISBN 9780802126115. $27; eISBN 9780802194473. CD: Highbridge Audio. THRILLER
A girl named Jennifer Riggins has been kidnapped by a depraved couple who broadcast her torture on a website called What Comes Next. Even more depraved, thousands tune in to the site. Since the police seem clueless, Jennifer’s only hope is a retired university professor, just diagnosed with a fatal disease, who witnessed the kidnapping. Katzenbach has a good track record‚ three of his books have been made into films‚ so while this sounds way too scary for me it will have fans.

Moning, Karen Marie. Into the Dreaming. Delacorte. Jun. 2012. 128p. ISBN 9780345535221. $20; eISBN 9780345535238. PARANORMAL ROMANCE
In 2002, Moning published this novella as part of a mass market collection that included works by Sherrilyn Kenyon and others. Since then, even as that book went out of print, Moning’s Fever and Highlander series have hit a rolling boil. Republished here in a snazzy hardcover with a Dear Reader note explaining how it links the two series, the novella features hopeful romance novelist Jane Sillee, who’s spirited to the past to meet the handsome Highlander invading her dreams. Alas, he’s under the sway of the dark fae. Expect big demand.

Moriarty, Liane. The Hypnotist’s Love Story. Amy Einhorn Bks: Putnam. Jun. 2012. 426p. ISBN 9780399159107. $25.95. POP FICTION
Ellen O’Farrell’s new boyfriend is being stalked by his old girlfriend, but no problem! Ellen is a hypnotherapist who works to help people with their addictions and phobias, so she’d really like to meet Saskia. What she doesn’t know is that Saskia is already masquerading as one of her patients, and her motives aren’t good. Moriarty did well with last year’s What Alice Forgot, and this is being positioned as a great beach read, so watch.

Shaara, Jeff. A Blaze of Glory: A Novel of the Battle of Shiloh. Ballantine. Jun. 2012. 448p. ISBN 9780345527356. $28; eISBN 9780345527370. lrg. prnt. CD: Random Audio. HISTORICAL
Having spent time visiting World War II, military fiction star Shaara returns to the Civil War territory that made him famous (he completed the trilogy begun with his father’s Pulitzer Prize‚ winning The Killer Angels). Here, in time for the sesquicentennial, is a reimagining of the bloody Battle of Shiloh. It’s the start of a new trilogy, with each book publishing on Father’s Day. So you’re armed; get for Shaara fans.

Somerville, Patrick. This Bright River. Little, Brown. Jun. 2012. 352p. ISBN 9780316129312. $24.99. LITERARY
Lauren’s career in medicine was short-circuited by violent events abroad, while Ben meandered his way to prison. They’re both home in Wisconsin now, trying to put things right, and they might be able to help each other. An inspirational boy-meets-girl tale? Maybe, but given Somerville’s credentials it’s sure to be something more. His debut novel, The Cradle, was a Barnes & Noble Discover pick and a nominee for the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize; film rights have been sold, and the Chicago Public Library gave Somerville the 21st Century Award. Which is why I want to see this second book.

Stroud, Carsten. Niceville. Knopf. Jun. 2012. 400p. ISBN 9780307700957. $26.95; eISBN 9780307959587. Downloadable: Random Audio. THRILLER
In the paradoxically ominous-sounding Niceville, somewhere in the Deep South, little Rainey Teague disappears in a flash‚ right in front of the security cameras. Det. Nick Kavanaugh and wife Kate, a family-practice lawyer, soon discover that there’s an ancient, evil power at work. Stroud has done well with fiction like Sniper’s Moon, and his true-crime Close Pursuit was a best seller 252 years ago, but this new work seems to be really booming. Rights have been sold to eight countries, and there’s a 100,000-copy first printing. Dark secrets in small towns seem the rage (see also Donna VanLiere’s The Good Dream, previewed below), bespeaking anxiety about our most precious, bedrock verities. A good bet.

VanLiere, Donna. The Good Dream. St. Martin’s. Jun. 2012. 320p. ISBN 9780312367770. $24.99. POP FICTION
The author of numerous best-selling inspirational titles, including seven Christmas novels, VanLiere takes us to 1950 Tennessee, where thirtysomething Ivorie Walker soldiers on after the death of her parents, trying to laugh off being considered an old maid. Then she notices a wild, dirty boy stealing from her garden and begins to worry about his well-being. And that leads to her uncovering secrets that the town wants buried. Maybe less promotion that I would have expected but definitely worth buying wherever VanLiere is popular.

Willett, Marcia. The Summer House. St. Martin’s. Jun. 2012. 304p. ISBN 9781250003690. $25.99. POP FICTION
The mementos Matt’s mother has stashed away in an inlaid wooden box include photos of Matt wearing clothes and playing with toys he doesn’t remember. And there aren’t any pictures of his sister, Imogen. When Imogen buys the Summer House, a cottage on the grounds of an ancient estate owned by family friends, Matt starts uncovering uncomfortable secrets about his childhood. The author of A Week in Winter always does nice work; watch.

Wilson, Daniel H. Amped. Doubleday. Jun. 2012. 352p. ISBN 9780385535151. $25.95; eISBN 9780385535168. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. THRILLER
They’re amps‚ or amplified human beings‚ implanted with technology that makes them capable of superhuman feats. But they scare ordinary folks, and soon a law is in place that radically restricts their opportunities and their rights. So newly created amp Owen Gray is on the run, determined to find a bunch of amps reputedly gathered in Oklahoma. Only they might be planning to overthrow the world. Robopocalypse author Wilson is set to triumph again; multiples probably a good idea.


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.


  1. Stan Ulrich says:

    Mark Billingham’s book appears to be the US edition of Good as Dead (2011), which is the 10th Thorne book. In addition, “author most recently of Bloodline” is incorrect; ignoring the APA issue, the book after Bloodline (2009) is From the Dead (2010).