Kenyon, Wilson, & a War of the Worlds Sequel | Pop Fiction Previews, Aug. 2017

Baxter, Stephen. The Massacre of Mankind. Crown. Aug. 2017. 480p. ISBN 9781524760120. $27. SF
Winner of the British Science Fiction Award and the Locus Award, Baxter does something daring: he offers a sequel to H.G. Wells’s iconic The War of the Worlds, featuring Wells’s narrator, Walter Jenkins. Fourteen years after the last invasion, humans complacently believe that they can defeat any threat from Mars. But Jenkins sees danger coming. With a 60,000-copy first printing.

Culliton, Emily. The Misfortune of Marion Palm. Knopf. Aug. 2017. 304p. ISBN 9781524731908. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9781524731915. Downloadable: Random Audio. FAMILY
Debut novelist Culliton combines the money scramble and the private school scramble, two cuillitonpopular themes, into one juicy novel about a Brooklyn Heights, NY, mother who embezzles $180,000 from her children’s school. (After all, who doesn’t want a Sub-Zero refrigerator?) With the school facing an audit, she makes a dash for freedom, leaving behind her wide-eyed poet husband, two daughters, and a very angry school board. In-house buzz.

Gelman, Laurie. Class Mom. Holt. Aug. 2017. 304p. ISBN 9781250124692. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781250124708. CD: Macmillan Audio. WOMEN’S
It’s not every kindergarten class mom who records parents’ response times to her emails or recommends brownies with, ahem, something extra for curriculum night, but then Jen Dixon is not your standard kindergarten mom. She has two college-age daughters with different musician fathers, but now she’s settled down, and her closet friend, the PTA president, thinks she will bring extra insight to this new assignment. You can just hear the protests. More parenting shenanigans from a debut novelist.

Hartsuyker, Linnea. The Half-Drowned King. Harper. Aug. 2017. 448p. ISBN 9780062563699.$27.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062563712. SAGA
In this first in a trilogy based on Norse history, Ragnvald Eysteinsson fully expects to become chief of his family’s lands but is betrayed by men in his stepfather’s pay and left for dead. So he throws in his lot with Harald of Vestfold, a powerful young warrior and perhaps the king who has been foretold. In fact, first novelist Hartsuyker is descended from Harald, called the Fair-Haired and Norway’s first king, and she’s done her research. With a 50,000-copy first printing.

Keller, Sophie Chen. The Luster of Lost Things. Putnam. Aug. 2017. 320p. ISBN 9780735210783. pap. $15; ebk. ISBN 9780735210806. CD/downloadable: Penguin Audio. COMING OF AGE
With that touch of magic realism seen in works by Sarah Addison Allen, Keller sets her debut novel in a West Village dessert shop where the marzipan dragons breathe real fire and the feather-light angel food cake helps customers lose weight. Twelve-year-old Walter’s mother runs the shop, which is threatened when a special book behind all the magic goes missing, and Walter determines to find it, never mind that he is speechless owing to a communication disorder. Keller’s writing career took off when she won her first Glimmer Train story contest at age 15; check out this work.

Kenyon, Sherrilyn. Dragonsworn. St. Martin’s. Aug. 2017. 352p. ISBN 9781250102652. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250102676. FANTASY
In this second book in the “Dragons Rising” trilogy, set in the Dark-Hunters universe that has KENYONpushed Kenyon to the top of the New York Times best sellers list many, many times, the dragon Falcyn hates Greeks for having destroyed all that he loved. Now the god Apollo is sending an army of demons to destroy the people of his granddaughter, Medea, who is not content to sit back idly. Testy Falcyn has a weapon that could save them all. With a one-day laydown on August 1.

Macomber, Debbie. Any Dream Will Do. Ballantine. Aug. 2017. 352p. ISBN 9780399181191. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780399181207. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. ROMANCE
Raised in an abusive household and imprisoned after helping her no-good brother, indebted to a drug lord, with funds from the bank where she works, Shay stumbles into a church upon her release and meets the recently widowed Pastor Andrew Douglas. We know where this is going. From the No. 1 international best seller.

Percy, Benjamin. The Dark Net. Houghton Harcourt. Aug. 2017. 727p. ISBN 9780544750333. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780544750579. HORROR
The Dark Net is that dusky corner of the Internet where people scatter Bitcoins, pirate movies and music, or deal with drugs and stolen goods. Demons are planning to use it to enter the real world, but they’re up against a techno-challenged journalist, a former child evangelist with his own demons, a hacker with a cause, and a 12-year-old girl with a visual aid who’s alarmed when she sees shadows around some people. With a 40,000-copy first printing.

Skariton, Jonathan. Séance Infernale. Knopf. Aug. 2017. 304p. ISBN 9781101946732. $26.95. HISTORICAL SUSPENSE
In 1890, before the triumph of the Lumière brothers, Augustin Sekuler boarded a train bound for Paris with a moving-picture machine and vanished like so many dreams. In the present day, Alex Whitman, an ace movie memorabilia dealer, is tasked with finding Sekuler’s first-ever film, Séance Infernale. What unfolds is dark and sophisticated wilsonhistorical suspense from debut novelist Skariton, who draws on the life (and disappearance) of real-life French inventor Louis Aimé Augustin Le Prince. In-house buzz.

Wilson, Daniel H. The Clockwork Dynasty. Doubleday. Aug. 2017. 352p. ISBN 9780385541787. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385541794. lrg. prnt. Downloadable: Random Audio. SF
The author of Robopocalypse draws on his knowledge of robotics in a tale of historically based sf that opens with young scientist June discovering a 300-year-old mechanical doll. It shows that she’s not crazy to believe her grandfather’s stories about a living race of automatons stalking the earth. This doll carries a message tracking back to Peter and Elena, mechanical beings brought to life by Peter the Great and meant to serve the court of the tsar. Optioned for film.

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Barbara Hoffert About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (bhoffert@mediasourceinc.com, @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.