Fiction Previews, November 2012, Pt. 3: Hansen, McCullough, Macomber

Doetsch, Richard. The Thieves of Legend. Atria: S. & S. Nov. 2012. 352p. ISBN 9781416598985. $25; eISBN 9781439109670. THRILLER
Originally scheduled for August 2011, this book has been a long time coming but should be worth it, given Doetsch’s past juicy work. Retired thief Michael St. Pierre ends up in China with ex-girlfriend KC Ryan, each charged by a U.S. army colonel with stealing a near-mystical artifact that could help solve a 500-year-old mystery. As they battle Chinese triads and female assassins, they discover that the really important thing to find is an ancient diary with reputedly extraordinary powers.

Hansen, Ron. She Loves Me Not. Scribner. Nov. 2012. 320p. ISBN 9781451617580. $25. SHORT STORIES
Hansen is well respected for his novels (e.g., Mariette in Ecstasy), but he really shines in the short fiction form; in-house excitement about this book was palpable. Set in both present and past, involving everything from romance to murder (and perhaps murderous romance), these stories will appeal to smart readers.

Hopkins, Ellen. Collateral. Atria: S. & S. Nov. 2012. 496p. ISBN 9781451626377. $26; eISBN 9781451626391. Downloadable: Hachette Audio. POP FICTION
Having triumphed last year with an adult novel, Triangles, YA phenomenon Hopkins (e.g., Tilt) returns with the story of two women, two men, and the military that comes between them. MFA student/band backup singer Ashley never thought that she would fall for a soldier until she met Cole and then endures five years’ worth of deployments, uncertain whether to commit to marriage despite his pleas. Ashley’s best friend, Darian, does marry a marine but finds the life of a military wife unbearable and has decided on divorce when tragedy strikes. Expect a big audience; with a reading group guide.

McCullough, Colleen. The Prodigal Son: A Carmine Delmonico Novel. S. & S. Nov. 2012. 320p. ISBN 9781451668759. $26. MYSTERY
When a lethal toxin extracted from the blowfish disappears from a Connecticut university laboratory in 1969, anxious biochemist Dr. Millie Hunter gets the news to Capt. Carmine Delmonico‚ but not in time to keep folks from dropping dead at an important dinner party and then a gala event. Signs point to Millie’s husband, Dr. Jim Hunter, a scientist who’s making his name and a black man married to a white woman. Is he being framed? Fourth in a series that seems to be finding its bearings; note that McCullough worked as a neurology researcher at Yale in the late 1960s and early 1970s, so she’s on comfortable ground here.

Macomber, Debbie. Angels at the Table: A Shirley, Goodness and Mercy Christmas Story. Ballantine. Nov. 2012. 240p. ISBN 9780345528872. $18; eISBN 9780345535962. lrg. prnt. CD: Random Audio. POP FICTION
In Macomber’s latest Angelic Intervention series, angels Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy have a new assignment: to tend to apprentice angel Will. On New Year’s Eve, Will spots two lonely souls in New York’s Times Square and shoves them together. But though they are just right for each other (she’s a chef, he’s a food critic), they are separated in the crowd, and the four angels decide to work a miracle the following holiday season by reuniting them. From a hugely best-selling author; get multiples unless you serve a humbug crowd.

Otto, Whitney. Eight Girls Taking Pictures. Scribner. Nov. 2012. 352p. ISBN 9781451682694. $25. POP FICTION
It’s been nearly 20 years since Otto broke onto the scene with the best-selling How To Make an American Quilt; she’s been somewhat low-key since then. Her intriguing-sounding new work explores what it means to be a woman artist by considering the lives of eight photographers balancing art and home, creativity and security in far-flung settings like New York, London, Berlin, Rome, and Buenos Aires. Upmarket women’s fiction.

Perry, Anne. A Christmas Garland. Ballantine. Nov. 2012. 208p. ISBN 9780345530745. $18; eISBN 9780345535979. MYSTERY/HISTORICAL
Perry’s tenth Christmas novel is not what you’d expect; it’s set in 1857 India and features Victor Narraway, the boss of Perry stalwart Thomas Pitt. On his first assignment, Narraway arrives in India during the mutiny against the East India Company, charged with the defense of a British medical orderly accused of murdering a fellow guard. Evidently, he pulls it off‚ with the help of two children and a Christmas garland. A couple of books in Perry’s Christmas series have been New York Times best sellers; recent titles have sold in the 30,000-copy range. The change of venue could be a real refresher.


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.