Carla Buckley, Sophie Hannah, Mai Jia, B.J. Novak, & More | Fiction Previews, Feb. 2014, Pt. 4

Adrian, Lara. Crave the Night: A Midnight Breed Novel. Delacorte. Feb. 2014. 288p. ISBN 9780345532633. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780345532640. Downloadable: Random Audio. PARANORMAL ROMANCE
Edge of Dawn, latest in a hugely popular series that broke into hardcover last year, pushed up Adrian’s Midnight Breed story by 20 years. Continuing in that time frame, this volume depicts the doubtless doomed passion between Nathan, an elite warrior trained only to kill, and Jordana, privileged member of a prominent Breed family and promised to another man.

Buckley, Carla. The Deepest Secret. Bantam. Feb. 2014. 448p. ISBN 9780345535245. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780345539663. THRILLER
Much loved in-house, this new work from Buckley exemplifies the trend toward family thriller. Eve Lattimore must struggle to guard her teenage son, who suffers from a medical condition that makes sunlight lethal. Then tragedy strikes in the family’s little cul-de-sac, showing that Eve just can’t control everything. Look for galley giveaways at ALA Midwinter and PLA in March.

Cargill, Robert. Queen of the Dark Things. Morrow. Feb. 2014. 416p. ISBN 9780062190451. $24.99. FANTASY
Filmmaker/critic Cargill, who won uniformly excellent prepub reviews for his debut, Dreams and Shadows, returns with a sequel. Here, at the same time that the wizard Colby has lost his best friend to the Limestone Kingdom faeries, he’s outted himself by throwing the faeries from Austin. Now old enemies are coming to the fore. With a 50,000-copy first printing.

Greene, Amy. Long Man. Knopf. Feb. 2014. 288p. ISBN 9780307593436. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9780307958464. CD: Random Audio. LITERARY/HISTORICAL
Greene follows up her debut, Bloodroot, an Appalachian saga that has sold nearly 70,000 copies across all formats, with another Appalachia-set tale. In 1936, the Tennessee Valley Authority plans to dam the Long Man River, delivering jobs and electricity but flooding little Yuneetah. Annie Clyde Dodson resists forsaking her doomed hometown, though her husband has found a job elsewhere. And then their little girl goes missing. Based on a true story; with a 40,000-copy first printing.

Hannah, Sophie. The Orphan Choir. Picador. Feb. 2014. 288p. ISBN 9781250041029. $25; ebk. ISBN 9781250041036. PSYCHOLOGICAL SUSPENSE
With her son away at boarding school, where he performs in an elite choir, Louise Beeston is so bothered by a neighbor’s constantly blasting choral music (which only she seems to hear) that she tells her husband they must buy a country home. But the music follows her there, and she takes it as a warning. Published in the U.K. in June 2013, this book is already outselling Hannah’s beloved Zailer and Waterhouse series.

Hope, Anna. Wake. Random. Feb. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9780812995138. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780812995145. CD: Random Audio. HISTORICAL
In 1920, as the body of Britain’s unknown soldier is returned home from France to London, Hettie falls for a charming but restless man she meets as a dance instructor, Ada longs for word of her still-missing son, and Evelyn, who works at the Pensions Exchange, has seen has seen thousands of veterans claim aid for physical or mental distress. British debut novelist Hope taps into the growing number of novels about World War I, e.g. Thomas Keneally’s The Daughters of Mars.

Mai Jia. Decoded. Farrar. Feb. 2014. tr. from Chinese by Olivia Milburn & Christopher Payne. 320p. ISBN 9780374135805. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780374710842. LITERARY/THRILLER
While this first translated work from multi-award-winning Chinese author Mai is categorized as a thriller, because its hero is an autistic math genius forcibly taken from his studies to work for a hush-hush intelligence agency, the writing and psychological portraiture suggest real literary endeavor. Unit 701 is dedicated to counterespionage and code breaking, and Rong Jinzhen is surprised to find that the author of the formidable Purple Code he must break is a former friend and teacher now working for the enemy.

McKinlay, Deborah. That Part Was True. Grand Central. Feb. 2014. 240p. ISBN 9781455573653. $24; library ebk. ISBN 9781455551705; ebk. ISBN 9781455573677. CD: Hachette Audio. POP FICTION
British author McKinlay has written a half-dozen nonfiction books, but this is her fiction debut—and it’s being given a big shove, with a 250,000-copy first printing and a big galley giveaway at BookExpo America. When shy British woman Eve Petworth writes American author Jackson Cooper, they strike up a friendship that starts with culinary interests that soon leads to shared concern over Eve’s engaged daughter and Jackson’s disappointments in love. Harking to another of its big commercial titles, the publisher is emphasizing the Bridges of Madison County feel.

Novak, B.J. Untitled Stories. Knopf. Feb. 2014. 256p. ISBN 9780385351836. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385351843. SHORT STORIES
He’s been seen on The Office, won a Screen Actors Award for his work in Inglourious Basterds, and will appear shortly in Saving Mr. Banks with Tom Hanks. But Novak also aspires to write, and his publisher insists that he’s talented, comparing him to George Saunders and signing him for a two-book deal. He’s already attracted big audiences at venues nationwide and in Paris, doubtless helped along by his chops as a stand-up comic, which would seem to inform his writing style: terse, Woody Allen–esque takes on the absurdities of modern life. With a 150,000-copy first printing.

Richmond, Michelle. Golden State. Bantam. Feb. 2014. 288p. ISBN 9780385343282. pap. $15; ebk. ISBN 9780345532404. POP FICTION
Richmond’s The Year of the Fog was highly recommended by LJ’s reviewer to fans of Jodi Picoult and Jacquelyn Mitchard, which sounds right. This new novel features Dr. Julie Waters, newly divorced and rushing to the side of estranged sister Heather, who has gone into labor. As she makes her way, violence in the streets of San Francisco causes her to pause and reconsider her life.

Swarthout, Glendon. The Homesman. S. &. S. Feb. 2014. 256p. ISBN 9781476754260. pap. $15; ebk. ISBN 9781476754277. WESTERN
Out West in the 1850s, pioneers endure hardship and heartbreak, like the young mother here whose three children all die of diphtheria in three short days. A “homesman” is needed to take such women, whose minds have frayed, to asylums back east. Tough spinster Mary Bee Cuddy gets the job, but she needs a man to help her, and the only one available is shifty George Briggs. Winner of a Spur and a Wrangler Award in 1988, this book is being reissued in time for a movie directed and starring Tommy Lee Jones and costarring Meryl Streep, Hilary Swank, and John Lithgow. Hold you horses!

Waters, M.D. Archetype. Dutton. Feb. 2014. 384p. ISBN 9780525954231. $26.95. SF
In this much-touted debut novel, the first in a two-parter, Emma wakes up in a hospital to find that she has no memories. Her charismatic husband starts reconstructing them for her, and she begins to fall in love with him, but the memories don’t fit with her terrible dreams of war, a camp where girls are trained as wives, and a blond-haired man named Noah who suddenly appears in her life. Is he the enemy?

Weir, Andy. The Martian. Crown. Feb. 2014. 368p. ISBN 9780804139021. $24; ebk. ISBN 9780804139038. SF
Looks like science fiction, reads like a thriller. Mark Watney has just become the first man to walk on Mars, and now he’s preparing to die there, his crew having left him behind because they assume he’s dead after a vicious dust storm. But he won’t give up without a fight. Film rights for this first novel have been sold to Simon Kinberg (Sherlock Holmes), and foreign rights sales are booming.

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.