Fiction Previews, Oct. 2013, Pt. 4: Thrillers from William Boyd, Robert Olen Butler, Raymond Khoury, & Val McDermid

Boyd, William. James Bond: The New Mission. Harper: HarperCollins. Oct. 2013. 336p. ISBN 9780062223128. $26.99. lrg. prnt. THRILLER
Boyd has twice won the Costa/Whitbread Award and typically produces best sellers, and here’s another neat feather in his cap: he’s the third author invited by Ian Fleming Publications Ltd. to write an official James Bond novel, following Jeffery Deaver (Carte Blanche, 2011) and Sebastian Faulks (Devil May Care, 2008). Given the depth of his recent Waiting for Sunrise, this is going to be one smart Bond. With a 150,000-copy first printing and big promotion at BEA, ALA, Thrillerfest, and beyond.

Butler, Robert Olen. The Star of Istanbul. Mysterious Pr: Grove Atlantic. Oct. 2013. 368p. ISBN 9780802121554. $25. THRILLER
In 2012, the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of evocative, intellectually acute titles like A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain and Hell changed pace by launching a thriller series featuring Christopher Marlowe Cobb, war correspondent and American spy. In the second in the series, Cobb is charged with following German intellectual and putative spy Brauer onto the decks of the Lusitania. On board is gorgeous actress Selene Bourgani, who might be working with German intelligence. But as Cobb tracks Brauer and Bourgani from London to Istanbul (after the scurrilous U-Boat attack on the ship), he realizes that Bourgani’s intentions are more complicated than imagined. Expect great things, as the series blasted out of the gate with The Hot Country, named a Best Book of the Year by the Washington Post.

Khoury, Raymond. Rasputin’s Shadow. Dutton. Oct. 2013. 384p. ISBN 9780525953135. $27.95. CD/downloadable: Penguin Audio. THRILLER
Khoury, whose New York Times best sellers have waltzed between the present and places like 1200s Jerusalem and Constantinople or 1700s Italy and Mexico, here moves up to early 1900s in the Ural Mountains, where miners inexplicably start attacking one another before the whole scene is blown up to cover the evidence. In the present, FBI Agent Sean Reilly finds himself teamed with Russian Federal Security Service agent Larisa Tchoumitcheva to discover  why a Russian embassy attaché has apparently committed suicide and a retired Russian physics professor living in Queens has vanished, all of which leads to a small device that could change the world in a deadly way.

McDermid, Val. Cross & Burn. Atlantic Monthly. Oct. 2013. 416p. ISBN 9780802122049. $25. THRILLER
What’s happening with Cartier Diamond Dagger Award winner McDermid’s ever-reliable investigative team, police detective Carol Jordan and clinical psychologist Tony Hill? Terrible events in their last outing, The Retribution, have left them barely speaking. But now a lot of women are ending up dead, and they all look like Carol Jordan. Seems as if this unpleasant development might bring our former buddies together again. Lots of library promotion, and the publisher is committed to reinvigorating McDermid’s career.


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.