Fiction Reviews, May 1, 2012

starred review starBerry, Steve. The Columbus Affair. Ballantine. May 2012. c.426p. ISBN 9780345526519. $27. F

In his first stand-alone thriller since 2005, Berry (The Jefferson Key) takes advantage of the enigma that was Christopher Columbus to create a fascinating blend of legends, fables, contested historical facts, and imaginative fiction. Tom Sagan, a disgraced journalist of Jewish descent, is about to commit suicide when he is coerced into a plot to decipher secrets hidden in the coffin of his father. Sagan’s estranged daughter, Alle, has fallen into the hands of ruthless Zachariah Simon, a wealthy Orthodox Jew in search of a treasure supposedly hidden by Columbus somewhere in Jamaica. Simon has temporarily allied himself with Béne Rowe, a Jamaican Maroon, descendant of runaway slaves, who has his own reasons for finding the treasure. But does it exist and, if so, what exactly is it? Many will risk their lives to learn the truth. VERDICT Thriller readers‚ from fans of Dan Brown’s ciphers to Clive Cussler’s fantastic adventures‚ will savor this intoxicating amalgam of Taíno (indigenous) myth, Maroon legend, the history of Jews in Jamaica, the peregrinations of Temple treasures following Titus’s sacking of Jerusalem in 70 C.E., and Columbus’s mysterious deeds in the West Indies. Sure to be another best seller. [See Prepub Alert, 11/7/11; library marketing.]‚ Ron Terpening, Univ. of Arizona, Tucson

starred review starCleave, Chris. Gold. S. & S. Jul. 2012. c.336p. ISBN 9781451672725. $27. F

Timed to publish with the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Cleave’s latest novel demonstrates the determination of three extraordinary athletes in a story about true sacrifice. Kate and Jack Argall are Olympic-level cyclists from Manchester, England, gearing up for the 2012 Olympic Games. Kate and her close friend Zoe Castle share a coach, Tom Voss, who had a shot at the gold in cycling in the 1968 Olympics but lost by one-tenth of a second. Now in his sixties, with bad knees and false teeth, he knows London is their last Olympics. However, Kate and Jack have the added responsibility of caring for their eight-year-old daughter, Sophie, who was diagnosed with leukemia four years before when they were all competing in the Beijing games. Sophie, now bald and frail, but with championship grit, blocks out her illness by imagining herself a part of Star Wars scenarios. The life of these three committed athletes is so intertwined, so complex, that the outcome is sure to be a surprise. VERDICT Close on the heels of his international best seller Little Bee, British author Cleave has written another story so riveting that it is impossible to put down. [See Prepub Alert, 1/21/12.]‚ Donna Bettencourt, Mesa Cty. P.L., Grand Junction, CO

starred review starRay, Jeanne. Calling Invisible Women. Crown. May 2012. c.256p.ISBN 9780307395054. $24. F

Clover Hobart sometimes feels invisible. A woman in her mid-fifties, mother of two older children, and wife of a busy pediatrician, Clover is expected to deliver clean laundry and have dinner on the table. So imagine her distress when she wakes up one morning literally, actually, truly invisible. She is horrified; what will her husband and family think? How will they cope with this bizarre tragedy? As the family gathers around the dinner table‚ they simply do not notice that Clover is invisible. No one does, except her best friend, Gilda. Then Clover reads an ad in the newspaper, calling invisible women to meet at the Sheraton Hotel. There, she finds a cohort‚ who knew there were invisible women all around us all the time? And then Clover learns to use her invisibility‚ to spy on her teenage son, learn more about her husband, and, yes, even fight crime. But when will her family take notice? VERDICT Written by novelist Ann Patchett’s mother (Romeo and Julie Get Lucky), this is a perfectly fabulous read that speaks volumes about society’s lack of awareness of middle-aged women. Read it as fast as you can, before it disappears before your eyes.‚ Beth Gibbs, Davidson, NC

The following titles are reviewed in the May 1 print issue. Visit our Reviews Center (Beta) for the full reviews.

Abbott, Megan. Dare Me. Reagan Arthur: Little, Brown. Jul. 2012. c.240p. ISBN 9780316097772. $24.99. F

Apostol, Gina. Gun Dealers’ Daughter. Norton. Jul. 2012. c.224p. ISBN 9780393062946. $24.95. F

Bailey, Paul. Chapman’s Odyssey. Bloomsbury, dist. by Macmillan. Jul. 2012. c.224p. ISBN 9781608198214. pap. $16. F

Barnes, Kim. In the Kingdom of Men. Knopf. Jun. 2012. c.320p. ISBN 9780307273390. $24.95. F

Bauer, Ann. The Forever Marriage. Overlook, dist. by Penguin. Jun. 2012. c.320p. ISBN 9781590207215. $25.95. F

Child, Lincoln. The Third Gate. Doubleday. Jun. 2012. c.320p. ISBN 9780385531382. $25.95. F

Davis, Lindsey. Master and God. St. Martin’s. Jun. 2012. c.464p. ISBN 9780312606640. $25.99. F

Davys, Tim. Yok. Harper: HarperCollins. Aug. 2012. c.352p. ISBN 9780061797477. $19.99. F

Deaver, Jeffery. XO: A Kathryn Dance Novel. S. & S. Jun. 2012. c.400p. ISBN 9781439156377. $26.99. F

Desai, Kishwar. Witness the Night. Penguin Group (USA). Jun. 2012. c.256p. ISBN 9780143120971. pap. $15. F

French, Tana. Broken Harbor. Viking. Jul. 2012. c.451p. ISBN 9780670023653. $27.95. F

starred review starGray, Francine du Plessix. The Queen’s Lover. Penguin Pr: Penguin Group (USA). Jun. 2012. c.292p. ISBN 9781594203374. $25.95. F

Gregson, Julia. Jasmine Nights. Touchstone: S. & S. Jun. 2012. c.432p. ISBN 9781439155585. pap. $16. F

Huston, Nancy. Infrared. Black Cat: Grove. Jul. 2012. c.272p. ISBN 9780802120274. pap. $14. F

Kellerman, Jesse. Potboiler. Putnam. Jun. 2012. c.336p. ISBN 9780399159039. $25.95. F

McMillan, Claire. Gilded Age. S. & S. Jun. 2012. c.256p. ISBN 9781451640472. $25. F

Mawer, Simon. Trapeze. Other. May 2012. c.384p. ISBN 9781590515273. pap. $15.95. F

Miller, Emily Jeanne. Brand New Human Being. Houghton Harcourt. Jun. 2012. c.272p. ISBN 9780547734361. $25. F

starred review starNicolson, Juliet. Abdication. Atria: S. & S. May 2012. c.352p. ISBN 9781451658835. $25. F

Trollope, Joanna. The Soldier’s Wife. S. & S. Jun. 2012. c.288p. ISBN 9781451672510. pap. $15. F

starred review starWalker, Karen Thompson. The Age of Miracles. Random. Jul. 2012. c.288p. ISBN 9780812992977. $27. F

Wallentin, Jan. Strindberg’s Star. Viking. May 2012. c.464p. tr. from Swedish by Rachel Willson-Broyles. ISBN 9780670023578. $28.95. F

Wood, Benjamin. The Bellwether Revivals. Viking. Jun. 2012. c.432p.ISBN 9780670023592. $26.95. F