Alex Berenson, Laurie King, Andrew Pyper, & More | Top Commercial Fiction, Feb. 2015, Pt. 2

Berenson, Alex. Twelve Days. Putnam. Feb. 2015. 384p. ISBN 9780399159749. $27.95. CD: Penguin Audio. SUSPENSE
Former New York Times reporter Berenson follows up eight previous John Wells novels, including the Edgar Award–winning The Faithful Spy, with another fraught narrative hinging on a berensonplot to compel the President to attack Iran. The President has demanded that Iran set a deadline for dismantling its nuclear program, Iran has responded with a fierce terrorist attack, and Wells, plus his former CIA bosses Ellis Shafer and Vinnie Duto, have 12 days to prove that the whole thing is a set-up. Timely, and as Berenson’s reporting has put him on the ground with troops in Afghanistan and visiting Somali refugee camps, authentic.

Connolly, John & Jennifer Ridyard. Empire: Bk. 2: The Chronicles of the Invaders. Emily Bestler: Atria. Feb. 2015. 336p. ISBN 9781476757155. $26. SF
Thriller writer Connolly gives Charlie Parker a rest, offering an sf trilogy with debut novelist Ridyard that works especially well as YA crossover. In last spring’s Conquest, the first in the series, Earth has been occupied by stunning but chilly-hearted aliens called Illyri, who exile Earth’s first-born Illyri on her 16th birthday for rashly rescuing the life of a human. Now our Illyri heroine, Syl, and the rescued Paul, a resistance fighter, have joined forces to reclaim Earth from the invaders. Sci Fi, Locus, and Comic-Con 2015 pitches.

Duchovny, David. Holy Cow: A Modern-Day Dairy Tale. Farrar. Feb. 2015. 160p. ISBN 9780374172077; ebk. ISBN 9780374712891. ebk. ISBN 9780374712891. CD: Macmillan. HUMOR
Yes, that’s actor/director/screenwriter Duchovny with an upbeat parable of animal—and maybe world—liberation. When a cow named Elsie Bovary inadvertently learns about something awful called an industrial meat farm when she sneaks out of her pasture one night, she instantly organizes an escape with a Torah-spouting pig named Shalom, newly converted to Judaism, and flightless turkey Tom, who wields a mean beak when communicating via iPhone. With stolen passports (I’m trying to imagine this), they make it to Jerusalem, where Shalom is not exactly embraced by his fellow believers but does manage to unite Israelis and Palestinians. Go, animals!

Freveletti, Jamie. Robert Ludlum’s™ The Geneva Strategy. Grand Central. Feb. 2015. 368p. ISBN 9781455577583. pap. $16; ebk. ISBN 9781455577576. lib. ISBN 9781455577606. CD/downloadable: Hachette Audio. THRILLER
ITW and Barry Award–winning Freveletti did nicely with her first in-Ludlum’s-footsteps Covert-One novel, The Janus Reprisal, which sold almost 60,000 copies in hardcover and over 160,000 copies in mass market paperback. With her second Covert-One novel, the publisher returns to the trade paperback format that helped facilitate the successful launch of the original series in 2007. Here, it’s bad news when U.S. government officials are kidnapped en masse, but what’s worse: among them is computer software coding expert Nick Rendel, who manages drone programming. If he reveals the passwords, the drones could be made to target us. With a crashandburn150,000-copy first printing.

Gardner, Lisa. Crash & Burn. Dutton. Feb. 2015. 416p. ISBN 9780525954569. $27.95. SUSPENSE
New York Times best-selling author Gardner offers a chilly standalone, though fans will get a peek at series stalwart Boston Detective D.D. Warren, last seen in Fear Nothing. Nicky Frank has survived a horrific car crash, crawling up a steep ravine and flagging down help while sobbing that she must find a little girl named Vero. The police are stymied until Nicky’s husband advises them not to believe what she says because she had sustained a brain injury before the accident. But can he be believed? And why has Nicky had more than one near-lethal accident lately? With a five-city author tour.

Kaaberbol, Lene. Untitled #1. Atria. Feb. 2015. 320p. ISBN 9781476731384. $25. HISTORICAL THRILLER
Kaaberbol, author with Agnete Friis of the New York Times best-selling The Boy in the Suitcase, a  big-news breakout, does solo work with an historical thriller set in a late-19th-century French provincial town. There, Madeleine Karno acts as assistant to her father, a forensic doctor, who’s frustrated when the family of a dead girl won’t allow an autopsy. He does note a mite in her nostril, however, information that could provide helpful when more dead bodies turn up around snow-covered town. A new plague? Or a nasty serial killer? It’s going to be a long winter.

Kellerman, Jonathan. Motive: An Alex Delaware Novel.  Ballantine. Feb. 2015. 352p. ISBN 9780345541376. $28. THRILLER
No plot details yet about Kellerman’s latest; I’m guessing he’s still wrapped up with The Golem of Hollywood, out September 16 and coauthored with his son, Jesse Kellerman. Suffice to say that this February publication will be Alex Delaware’s 30th outing.

King, Laurie R. Dreaming Spies. Bantam. Feb. 2015. ISBN 9780345531797. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780345531803. MYSTERY
As fans of King’s suspense series know, between cases in India (The Game) and San Francisco (Locked Rooms) Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes spent three weeks in Japan. Now we’re going to learn more, as the couple arrives home one day in 1925 to find a stone they last saw in the Tokyo garden of Japan’s future emperor. Apparently, there’s more work to be done, with a small, dark-haired woman figuring amid all the danger.

Molles, D.J. The Remaining: Allegiance. Orbit. Feb. 2015. 800p. ISBN 9780316404266. pap. $10; ebk. ISBN 9780316404273. lib. ebk. ISBN 9780316404280. SF
Here’s the fifth and final title in self-publishing phenom Molles’s series, which follows the efforts of Special Forces Captain Lee Harden and his band of doughty survivors to rebuild America after a virus has reduced most of the population to ravenous brutes. It’s also the first book in the print series that hasn’t been previously published; the first four books in the series sold over a damnedquarter of a million copies in self-pubbed ebook format.

Pyper, Andrew. The Damned. S. & S. Feb. 2015. 304p. ISBN 9781476755113. $25. SUPERNATURAL THRILLER
The author of relentlessly award-winning best sellers, including last year’s The Demonologist, winner of the 2014 Thriller Award for hardcover, Pyper returns with more supernatural thrills. Danny Orchard nearly died in the fire that killed his twin sister, and she won’t let him forget it. A little terror in life, she’s become a real psychopath in death, haunting him for 20 years and now targeting his new wife and stepson. To protect them, Danny must make one huge sacrifice. Is he ready?

Robb, J.D. Obsession in Death. Putnam. Feb. 2015. 416p. ISBN 9780399170874. $27.95. MYSTERY
In the 40th—yes, 40th—book in the series starring NYPSD lieutenant Eve Dallas, Eve must contend with an admirer who thinks that they have a special relationship. He sees her as extraordinary, and he’s going to prove it to her by killing repeatedly. Sort of like those bloody trophies the cat brings home. Get ready for a 40-stop blog tour, a top 40 social media campaign, and more.

Sigurdardottir, Yrsa. Someone To Watch Over Me. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Feb. 2015. 336p. ISBN 9781250051479. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466852334. THRILLER
An assisted living facility at a secure psychiatric unit has gone up in flames, causing five deaths, and Jakob, a young man with Down Syndrome who lived at the facility, has been accused of the crime. Thora is hired to prove that he didn’t do it—and to find out who did. This fifth in the Thora Gudmundsdottir series was named Crime Novel of the Year by the London Sunday Times.

Unger, Lisa. Crazy Love You. Touchstone. Feb. 2015. 352p. ISBN 9781451691207. $25.99. THRILLER
Even when Priss was the one real friend Ian had in childhood, protecting him from bullies and his dark family secrets, he felt a certain creepiness in her presence. Now, they’ve both escaped their small upstate town for the big city, and Ian is a successful graphic artist, tired of Priss’s obsessiveness and their late-night sex, booze, and drugs. He’d like to get it on with lovely Megan, but will Priss let him? After last spring’s In the Blood, which got lots of USA Today and People stars.

Weir, Allison. The Marriage Game: A Novel of Queen Elizabeth I. Ballantine. Feb. 2015. 416p. ISBN 9780345511911. $26. HISTORICAL
In Tudor England, Queen Elizabeth is playing “the Marriage Game,” happy to encourage suitors and just as happy not to commit. At the same time, her flirtation with Lord Robert Dudley, her married Master of Horse, has courtiers suspecting that she is not the Virgin Queen after all. New zanderYork Times best-selling author Weir, author of both historical fiction (A Dangerous Inheritance) and nonfiction (Elizabeth of York), can bring their passion to the page.

Zander, Joakim. The Swimmer. Harper. Feb. 2015. 432p. ISBN 9780062337245. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062337283. ESPIONAGE
Abandoned by her father, a CIA agent determined to maintain his cover at all costs, Klara Walldéen has been raised on a distant archipelago in the Baltic Sea. Now, as an EU Parliament aide in Brussels, she has seen something dangerously confidential on a laptop, and she’s on the run for her life—with her father back in action, trying finally to do right by protecting her. A best seller in the author’s Sweden, as well as in Italy and Denmark, with rights sold to 28 territories to date; that explains the in-house excitement and 150,000-copy first printing.

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.