Fiction Previews, July 2012, Pt. 3: Burke, Goolrick, and Shine Shine Shine

Abbott, Megan. Dare Me. Reagan Arthur Bks: Little, Brown. Jul. 2011. 240p. ISBN 9780316097772. $24.99. THRILLER
When Coach French took over the cheerleading squad Addy Hanlon and Beth Cassidy have cattily dominated, the I’m-on-top order gets switched around, but all the girls remain loyal to her and the squad. Then a police investigation homes in on the coach, and the girls have to wonder. Edgar and Barry Award winner Abbott reminds us why high school made us nervous. A sure bet; with a seven-city tour to New York, Boston, Phoenix, Houston, San Diego, Los Angeles, and Seattle.

Anderson, Howard. Albert of Adelaide. Twelve: Hachette. Jul. 2012. 224p. ISBN 9781455509621. $24.95. POP FICTION
Actually, Albert is a platypus, escaped from Australia’s Adelaide Zoo and making a break for it through the Outback. Along the way he encounters two drunken bandicoots, a pyromaniac wombat, a combative Tasmanian devil, kangaroos, dingoes, and more while learning bravery and some other important life lessons. Watership Down in the Down Under, reputedly a charmer with rights sales to a half‚ dozen countries; Anderson is publishing his first novel at 66.

Bailey, Paul. Chapman’s Odyssey. Bloomsbury USA. Jul 2012. 224p. ISBN 9781608198214. pap. $16. LITERARY
As Harry Chapman languishes in a hospital bed, heavily medicated, he hears a series of voices. His mother, querulous as ever. His father‚Ķfighting World War I? Pip from Great Expectations, Babar and Céleste (who’s partnered by Fred Astaire), Jane Austen’s Emma, and a man selling T.S. Eliot’s teeth. Clearly, Harry’s imagination has run amok, and Somerset Maugham Award winner Bailey lets his imagination run amok, too, as he tells us about one person’s lives and loves in a very distinctive way. An in-house favorite that could be great fun for reading groups.

Burke, James Lee. Creole Belle: A Dave Robicheaux Novel. S. & S. Jul. 2012. 480p. ISBN 9781451648133. $27.99; eISBN 9781451648157. CD: S. & S. Audio. THRILLER
Dave Robicheaux is in a recovery unit in New Orleans, right where we left him in his last outing, The Glass Rainbow. He’s visited by the lovely Creole girl Tee Jolie Melton, who brings him an iPod including the song Creole Belle‚ and promptly disappears. Dave goes looking for her but instead finds her sister, encased in a block of ice floating (and likely melting fast) in the gulf. Then there’s an oil-rig blowout. Burke is a star; get multiples.

Faletti, Giorgio. A Pimp’s Notes. Farrar. Jul. 2012. 336p. ISBN 9780374231408. $27. THRILLER
In 1978 Italy, Aldo Moro has been kidnapped by the Red Brigade, but the rich keep right on dancing, and Bravo, who lives to serve them, launches an affair with the mysterious Carla. Soon he’s being chased by the police, the Mafia, and even the Red Brigade. Faletti, whose I Kill sold over five million copies in Europe and did nicely here, will appeal especially to readers of moody, psychological thrillers.

Giffin, Emily. Where We Belong. St. Martin’s. Jul. 2012. 384p. ISBN 9780312554194. $27.99; eISBN 9781429957861. CD: Macmillan Audio. POP FICTION
As the saying goes, mid-thirties Marian Caldwell has it all‚ a happy relationship and a terrific career as a television producer in New York. Then the past literally comes knocking as Marian finds 18-year-old Kirby Rose on her doorstep. The author of five blockbusters (e.g., Something Borrowed), Giffin should revitalize this standard pop plot‚ or so the 1000-plus Goodreads folks already hankering to read this book clearly expect. With a one-day laydown on July 31 and a big national tour.

Goolrick, Robert. Heading Out to Wonderful. Algonquin. Jun. 2012. 304p. ISBN 9781565129238. $24.95. POP FICTION
In Goolrick’s debut novel, A Reliable Wife, a mysterious woman named Catherine Land arrives on a snowy Wisconsin train platform in 1909 with no good intentions. In this follow-up, a mysterious man named Charlie Beale arrives in 1948, Brownsberg, VA, and begins working at the butcher’s. His intentions might not be bad, but his relationships with the butcher’s five-year-old son and the gorgeous, quirky teenaged bride of the town’s richest man upend the whole community. A Reliable Wife was a highly praised No. 1 New York Times best seller that, interestingly, polarized readers; his new work comes with a 100,000-copy first printing and a 12-city tour. Disarmingly low-keyed in style, if not content, it will be much anticipated where the first book was loved.

Grebe, Camilla & Åsa Träff. Some Kind of Peace. Free Pr: S. & S. Jun. 2012. 356p. ISBN 9781451654592. $24.
THRILLER Living alone outside of Stockholm, where she runs a private psychotherapy practice with her best friend, the recently widowed Dr. Siri Bergman is convinced that someone has been peering through her window at nighttime. Then the body of one her patients is found floating in the waters near her cottage, and she knows that she’s in trouble. Billed as a rule-breaking thriller, this book by a pair of Swedish sisters was a hit in Europe. Sounds like daytime reading to me!

Harbison, Beth. When in Doubt Add Butter. St. Martin’s. Jul. 2012. 384p. ISBN 9780312599096. $25.99; eISBN 9781250015020. CD: Macmillan Audio. POP FICTION
Private chef Gemma Craig does wonders for other people, from picky department store owner Lex and morbidly obese Willa to allergy-prone Anglea and Mr. Tuesday, who she never sees. But only when the unexpected happen does she start taking care of herself. Lots of publicity, from chick lit blogs to an Indiebound campaign.

Harris, Tip T.I. & David Ritz. Untitled: Bk. 2: Power & Beauty. Morrow. Jul. 2012. 288p. ISBN 9780062067685 $23.99; eISBN 9780062067708. CD: HarperAudio. STREET LIT
In Grammy Award‚ winning rapper T.I.’s first novel, Power & Beauty, the eponymous teenagers are taken under the wing of notorious Atlanta gangster Charles Slim Simmons, but Beauty breaks away. Now she’s ready to fight for Power. Some mixed response to the first, but the 100,000-copy first printing says that expectations are high.

Johansen, Iris & Roy Johansen. Close Your Eyes. St. Martin’s. Jul. 2012. 416p. ISBN 9780312611613. $27.99; eISBN 9781429942515. THRILLER
Possessed of keenly developed senses because she was blind for the first 20 years of her life, music therapist Kendra Michael is a genius of observation and hence much in demand by the FBI. She doesn’t care for police work and isn’t interested in helping manipulative former agent Adam Kyle with his latest case‚ until she discovers that it involves a former flame possibly in the clutches of a serial killer. Johanesen mère et fils produce endless best sellers; this one has a one-day laydown on July 17.

Kepler, Lars. The Nightmare. Farrar. Jul. 2012. 512p. ISBN 9780374115333. $27; CD: Macmillan Audio. THRILLER
A young woman is found dead on a boat floating about the Stockholm archipelago, her lungs full of salt water (suggesting that she drowned) but her clothes and body bone dry. A man hangs from a lamp-hook in his state apartment and would be ruled a suicide but for the absence of furniture to clamber on in the high-ceilinged room. Just two more mysteries to solve for Det. Joona Linna, first seen in last year’s The Hypnotist, well regarded by those who like swift and twisty reads.

Kramer, Julie. Shunning Sarah. Atria: S. & S. Jul. 2012. 336p. ISBN 9781451664638. $23.99; eISBN 9781451664652. THRILLER
A young woman, her face damaged beyond recognition, is found dead in a small Minnesota town, and she is finally identified as Sarah Yoder, a member of the nearby Amish community. The Amish seems more forgiving than concerned with catching the killer, but Riley Spartz finally spots a clue that leads her to some very un-Amish like doings in Sarah’s community. Fifth in a series that has won some awards and been nominated for more (biggies like the Anthony and the Barry).

Netzer, Lydia. Shine Shine Shine. St. Martin’s. Jul. 2012. 320p. ISBN 9781250007070. $24.95. POP FICTION
Sunny is the perfect wife leading the perfect life in small-town Virginia, with a husband she’s managed to make look pretty standard-issue, too, though he’s a brainy-to-distraction astronaut slated to help colonize the moon. (He’s in charge of the robots.) Then a minor car crash sends Sunny’s blonde wig flying, revealing that she’s bald, and the normalcy these two have built up since meeting as oddball children starts to tumble. Lots of in-house enthusiasm for what seems to be a juicily wacky and charming first novel.

Patterson, James & Michael Ledwidge. I, Michael Bennett. Little, Brown. Jul. 2011. 416p. ISBN 9780316097468. $27.99; lrg. prnt. CD/Downloadable: Hachette Audio. THRILLER
Cops shot on the street and judges in their courtrooms: there’s lots of violence in New York as a South American crime lord takes over. Det. Michael Bennett takes his ten kids upstate for a breather, but the violence follows; that nasty crime lord is targeting him and his family. Fifth in a series that has more than 12 million copies in print worldwide; obviously, buy multiples, though I wish he wouldn’t make New York look quite so jungly.

Phillips, Susan Elizabeth. The Great Escape. Morrow. Jul. 2012. 384p. ISBN 9780062106063. $25.99; eISBN 9780062106100. lrg. prnt. CD: Harper Audio. ROMANCE
In last year’s Call Me Irresistible (a New York Times best seller, of course), Lucy Jorik‚ daughter of the former President of the United States and heretofore as dutiful as one can get‚ left picture-perfect Ted Beaudine at the altar, where he was snatched up by Lucy’s chaotic best friend. Meg. Here Lucy is looking for adventure‚ by climbing on when a bad-boy stranger offers her a ride on his motorcycle. Interesting fact: Phillips has won the Romance Writers of America Favorite Book of the Year Award more than any other author. With a one-day laydown on July 7, a 250,000-copy first printing, and an eight-city author tour to Albuquerque, Ann Arbor, Coeur d’ Alene, Fort Collins, Lansing, Phoenix, Sacramento, Spokane; essential where romances are read.

Verdon, John. Let the Devil Sleep. Crown. Jul. 2012. 384p. ISBN 9780307717924. $25; eISBN 9780307717948. THRILLER
Medal-heavy NYPD homicide detective Dave Gurney leaves the force for some peace and calm upstate, but no such luck. His basement is booby-trapped, and a super-sharp arrow lands in his yard. Soon he’s rethinking the case of the Good Shepherd, a mad-as-hell-at-society type who wreaked havoc a decade ago and disappeared. No one but Gurney believes that he’s back. Verdon’s Think of a Number was a best seller worldwide, so don’t back off from this one.

Toutonghi, Pauls. Evel Knievel Days. Crown. Jul. 2012. 304p. ISBN 9780307382153. $24; eISBN 9780307955722. LITERARY
Half-Egyptian and raised by a single mother, who’s a descendant of copper baron William Andrews Clark, Khosi Saqr doesn’t exactly feel at home in Butte, MT. When Natasha, his best friend (and secret heartthrob), decides to get married, Khosi heads to Cairo to reconnect with his father and his heritage. Zoetrope/Pushcart winner Toutonghi, who writes for esteemed book sites like The Millions and The Rumpus, turns out a second novel (after Red Weather) with a high charming-quirky factor and a touch of relevance. Watch.

Weiner, Jennifer. The Next Best Thing. Atria: S. & S. Jul. 2012. 416p. ISBN 9781451617757. $26.99; eISBN 9781451617771. CD/Downloadable: S. & S. Audio. POP FICTION
It’s westward ho for Ruth Saunders, who settles in Los Angeles with her grandma and finally has a sitcom accepted for production. (It’s called, not surprisingly, The Next Best Thing.) Alas, the actors are prima donnas, the executives all bottom-liners, and the boss oblivious to Ruth’s big crush on him. Then there’s grandma’s upcoming wedding. Weiner is, of course, huge; there’s a ten-city tour, a book-club push, and lots of promotion plans‚ no one sneers at full-page ads in People.

Woodman, Betsy. Jana Bibi’s Excellent Fortunes. Holt. Jul. 2012. 336p. ISBN 9780805093490. pap. $15. POP FICTION Scotswoman Jana Bibi has inherited her grandfather’s house in India, and in she moves with her chatty parrot, meeting wacky locals like Feroze Ali Khan of Royal Tailors and the Gurkha who plays bagpipes to keep the monkeys quiet. All’s well until waters from a proposed government dam threaten to inundate the town, and our card-shuffling heroine sets out to attract tourists by founding Jana Bibi’s Excellent Fortunes. Woodman lived in India for ten years as a child. This series starter could be a hoot, if you like funny natives.

Yu, Charles. Sorry Please Thank You: Stories. Pantheon. Jul. 2012. 240p. ISBN 9780307907172. $24.95. STORIES
Expect the author of the weirdly imaginative How To Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe to come up with stories that are‚Ķweirdly imaginative. Here, a company outsources grief for profit (Don’t feel like having a bad day? Let someone else have it for you), and an employee working the night shift at a big-box store has an easier time with a zombie than the girl he wants to date. Since Science Fictional Universe was a New York Times Notable Book, a Discover and Indie Next pick, no. 22 on Amazon’s Top 100 of 2010l, and more, this should get attention.

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.