Commercial Fiction from Christopher Fowler to Rebecca James | Fiction Previews, Dec. 2014, Pt. 2

Archer, Ursula. Five. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Dec. 2014. 336p. ISBN 978125037411. $25.99; ebk. ISBN ISBN 9781250037428. MYSTERY
When numbers and letters tattooed to the feet of a dead woman turn out to be map coordinates, DI Beatrice Kaspary finds herself chasing around the Austrian countryside, uncovering gruesome remains and more clues that lead her on an increasingly horrific scavenger hunt. Hard to imagine, then, that this is the first adult novel from a noted Austrian YA and children’s book author. The red carpet is being rolled out.fowler

Fowler, Christopher. Bryant & May and the Bleeding Heart: A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery. Bantam. Dec. 2014. 400p. ISBN 9780345547651. $26; ebk. ISBN 97803455476768. MYSTERY
Next in the beloved Peculiar Crimes Unit series starring clever detectives Arthur Bryant and John May, this work features corpses rising mysteriously from their graves and seven ravens that have gone missing from the Tower of London—and you’ve heard the legend that when the ravens leave the Tower, England is done for, right? Our heroes suddenly find themselves submerged in black magic and Victorian body-snatching lore so that they can find the killer—and get those ravens home.

Glines, Abbi Glines. You Were Mine: A Rosemary Beach Novel. Atria. Dec. 2014. 256p. 9781476776071. pap. $15. ROMANCE
New York Times and USA Today best seller Glines returns with another Rosemary Beach novel, featuring posh Tripp Newark and his secret past with not-so-posh Bethy Lowry, who works at the Kerrington Country Club. The set-up: he’s traveling the world instead of buying into his parents’ country-club dreams, and she’s remorseful after her boyfriend drowns while trying to save when she’d dunked herself after yet another bender. Big tour, big advertising, big book club push.

Hall, James W. The Big Finish: A Thorn Novel. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Dec. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9781250005014. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9781466857896. THRILLER
In last year’s Going Dark, series hero Thorn’s son Flynn disappeared into a radical eco-movement group. Now, rushing to find him after a call for help via postcard, Thorn is told that Flynn had been acting as an informant for the FBI and was executed when his undercover activities were discovered. But the truth may prove to be pretty thorny. From a Shamus and Edgar Award–winning author.

James, Rebecca. Sweet Damage. Bantam. Dec. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9780553808063. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780345539069. SUSPENSE
Having won international fame with her novel Beautiful Malice, Australian author James returns with more over-the-top psychological suspense. Tim Ellison is thrilled to have found the ideal room to rent, though landlady Anna London is cold, distant, and fragile despite her 20 years. It’s scary when things start going bump in the night, even scarier when Tim falls for Anna and her past comes into play.

Murphy, Monica. Owning Violet. Bantam. Dec. 2014. 240p. ISBN 9780553393262. pap. $14; ebk. ISBN 978-0553393279. ROMANCE
Having made the New York Times and USA Today best sellers lists for her “One Week Girlfriend” series, Murphy turns around and launches a new series starring three sisters who are all cosmetics heiresses in New York. The story up now: when Violet’s longtime boyfriend announces that he’s pondering a business transfer to London, Ryder McKay—who’s been eying Violet eagerly—moves in for the kill. And then falls in love.

Pyne, Daniel. Fifty Mice. Blue Rider. Dec. 2014. 384p. ISBN 9780399171642. $26.95. THRILLER
A director (Where’s Marlowe?) and screenwriter for film (e.g., the remake of The Manchurian Candidate) and television (e.g., Miami Vice), Pyne launched his writing career with the well-received Twentynine Palms. This new thriller features hapless Jay, who finds himself kidnapped and placed in a Witness Protection Program on Catalina Island because he supposedly knows highly classified information he can’t quite dig up from his memory.

Rotella, Sebastian. The Convert’s Song. Mulholland: Little, Brown. Dec. 2014. 336p. ISBN 9780316324694. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780316324700; lib. ebk. ISBN 9780316294812.  rotellaTHRILLER
Remaking his life in Buenos Aires as a private investigator after doing time in U.S. law enforcement, Valentine Pescatore encounters old buddy Raymond Mercer, who’s converted to Islam. When Raymond stands accused following a particularly bloody terrorist attack, Valentine joins with seductive French agent Fatima Belhaj to discover whether Raymond is friend or foe, innocent, terrorist, or spy. Multi-award-winning journalist Rotella successfully launched his writing career with 2011’s Triple Crossing, which the New York Times called its favorite debut thriller of the year.

Rowland, Laura Joh. The Iris Fan: A Novel of Feudal Japan. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Dec. 2014. 352p. ISBN 9781250047069; ebk. ISBN 9781466847439. MYSTERY
In this 18th in an award-winning series starring Sano Ichirō, Sano has been unceremoniously
demoted from chamberlain and compelled to work modestly as a patrol guard. But he’s restored to the role of chief investigator when the frail and fading emperor is stabbed with the iron webbing of a beautiful fan.

Sarton, May & David Canright. The Fur Person. Norton. Dec. 2014.
First published in 1957, the late poet Sarton’s beloved story of a cat named Tom Jones that tom-catted about the neighborhood until finally adopting her is being reissued in a new gift edition with illustrations by Canright, who also illustrated Sarton’s The takanoPoet and the Donkey, as well as other works like Walter Cronkite’s Around America.

Takano, Kazuaki. Genocide of One: A Thriller. Mulholland: Little, Brown. Dec. 2014.512p.  tr. from Japanese by Philip Gabriel. ISBN 9780316226226; ebk. ISBN 9780316226202. lib. ebk. ISBN 9780316329224. THRILLER
Already a hit heard ’round the world and an award winner in Japan, this thriller introduces Takano to the English-speaking world. Akili is so evolutionarily advanced that he can outsmart any supercomputer and see patterns predicting the future. But since he’s only three years old, who can trust him with that kind of ability? Not the U.S. President, who orders an international team to go deep into the Congolese jungle to wipe out this threat to humanity. Team leader Jonathan Yeager has other ideas, though.

Van Dyken, Rachel. Elect. Forever: Hachette. Dec. 2014.256p.  ISBN 9781455554218. pap. $12. ROMANCE
Billed as New Adult angst meets The Godfather, New York Times and USA Today best-selling author Van DykenVan Dyken’s “Eagle Elite” series gets its latest hit with this story  about Nixon (called Nix) Abandonato, who steels himself to shove away love-of-his-life Trace when he realizes that she’s in the crosshairs of his family’s most obdurate enemies. With a 60,000-copy first printing.

van Praag Menna. The Dress Shop of Dreams. Ballantine. Dec. 2014. 256p. ISBN 9780804178983. pap. $15. WOMEN’S FICTION
Taking her cue from her recent The House at the End of Hope Street, nicely reviewed here, but writing in a more popular vein, English author van Praag dreams up a dress shop whose lush, rainbow-hued clothes can be imbued with magic following a few stitches by the owner, Etta Sparks. The dresses give those who wear them stunning confidence, but the spell doesn’t seem to work for Etta or ambitious scientist granddaughter Cora.


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.