Friday, June 29, 2012

August Treasures in My Closet

Ah, August. The month when the publishing community goes on vacation, and thinks we do as well. I already have a month's worth of August releases in my closet. I wish I had a month to read! Do you want to know about these forthcoming books?

Let's start with a juvenile book, 3 Below by Patrick Carman. I read Floors, the first novel in this series designed for middle school readers. It's a fun mystery about a janitor's son who lives in the magical Whippet Hotel. Now that he followed the clues to solve the puzzles of the hotel, he must save it.

Scotland Yard Detective Joe Sandilands returns in Barbara Cleverly's latest historical mystery, Not My Blood. Set in 1933, Sandilands receives a distressing phone call from a boy in a Sussex boarding school. When Joe investigates, he learns a frightening number of boys from wealthy families have gone missing over the school's history, and none of the families have followed up on their sons' whereabouts.

Thomas H. Cook's The Crime of Julian Wells is about a man obsessed with the death of a true-crime writer. Julian Wells committed suicide, and his best friend goes searching for the reasons. His search takes him into the author's last book idea, and a journey that becomes more dangerous and complex. It's a journey that threatens to consume him.

Interested in spy novels? In Charles Cumming's A Foreign Country, Amelia Levene, the first female head of MI6, goes missing just as her appointment to the post is announced. The British secret service is desperate to keep her disappearance a secret, so they turn to a former agent, asking him to find her before the rest of the world learns she is gone.

If the kids in your life liked The 39 Clues series, they might want to try Infinity Ring. Book One is A Mutiny in Time by James Dashner. A trio of young people must use the key to time travel, a handheld device known as the Infinity Ring, to travel back in time. The Hystorians, members of a secret society founded by Aristotle, inform them that history has gone off course, and it's up to them to fix the Great Breaks. This first book deals with Christopher Columbus.

If you're finding August a little too hot, you might want to try Paul Doiron's Bad Little Falls, a thriller about the hunt for a murderer at the height of a major snowstorm. Maine game warden Mike Bowditch has been sent into exile, transferred to a remote outpost on the Canadian border. When he responds to a call from a terrified couple during a blizzard, a couple who report than a raving man showed up, claiming his friend was lost in the storm. A rescue mission turns deadly, and Bowditch must depend on his wits to survive.

The rights to Laurie Frankel's Goodbye for Now have already been sold in twenty-five countries, and the film rights have been purchased. Sam Elling can't get a date, even though he works for an Internet dating company. So, he creates an algorithm to match people with their soul mates, and he finds his in Meredith. But, when Meredith's grandmother dies suddenly, Sam creates a computer simulation to allow her to say goodbye. The couple launches a business to help others through their grief. But, what if someone doesn't want to let go? And, what if Sam or Meredith has to live without the other one?

Peter Heller's debut novel, The Dog Stars, is a story about love, adventure and survival. After Hig's wife died, he and his dog took shelter in a small, abandoned airport. And, they live there for nine years before Hig realizes he doesn't know why he's trying to survive. So, Hig takes off in his 1956 Cessna,, hoping to find a reason to go on.

The Dead Do Not Improve is Jay Caspian Kang's debut novel. Philip Kim, is a recent graduate, maneuvering through the streets of San Francisco, as he and some hippie detectives try to discover why he's the focus of a violent scheme after the murder of his elderly neighbor.

Journalist turned mystery writer, Julia Keller brings us A Killing in the Hills. The town of Acker's Gap is shaken when three elderly men are gunned down at a local diner. But prosecutor Bell Elkins is becoming familiar with the pattern of violence. And Bell's daughter, Cady, a witness to the crime, decides to help her mother with the case.

It's a journalist who is the sleuth in Julie Kramer's Shunning Sarah. Riley Spartz is a TV investigative reporter in Minneapolis, always looking for her next piece. She anticipates a big story when a young boy is trapped at the bottom of a sink hole, but she doesn't know the story will involve a tragic murder and the local Amish community. It's a story that leads to a web of fraud and deception, and puts Riley's own life in danger.

Lilly Hawkins is a TV news photographer with a nose for trouble in Nora McFarland's latest Lilly Hawkins mystery, Going to the Bad. For her, a vicious shooting is just another day on the job, until the brutal attack on her uncle in her own home. Lilly dives headlong into the investigation, one that may prove to be her last. As she untangles a history of her uncle's misdeeds, a clever killer is preparing to strike again.

In Glenn Meade's latest thriller, The Romanov Conspiracy, American forensic archaeologist Dr. Laura Pavlov discovers a body at the site where the Romanov royal family was executed in July 1918. The perfectly preserved body offers new clues to the disappearance of the Romanovs, and in particular, Princess Anastasia, whose murder has always been in question. It's a discovery that could change the accepted course of world history.

George Minot's om love is a love story set in the downtown New York yoga world. Billy, a once trendy artist who has lost his way, finds his life reinvigorated by his yogi teacher. She becomes his muse, but then real life forces its way in, forcing Billy to reevaluate himself and his beliefs.

Sweden is the setting for The Viper by Hakan Ostlundh. Just days after Arvid Traneus, a ruthless business consultant, returns home, his maid discovers two bodies in his farmhouse, that of a man and woman. Police detective Fredrik Broman can't be sure the man's body is Arvid's, and as he discovers, plenty of people despise Traneaus, and there is a history, decades old, of animosity between the Traneus family and several villagers.

As eager as I am to read some of these books, anyone who knows me knows that if I could only read one book in August, it would be Louise Penny's The Beautiful Mystery. She takes us into the monastery of Saint-Gilbert-Entre-les-Loups, where no outsiders have ever been admitted. It's a community where the monks took a vow of silence, but they're world-famous for their glorious voices. When the choir director is murdered, the doors are drawn back to admit Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and Jean-Guy Beauvoir. It's a case in which Gamache will be forced to confront his own demons. (I am waiting to read this book, even though Penny is my favorite author.)

Vaddey Ratner was five years old when the Khmer Rouge came to power in Cambodia. She tells her story in the form of a novel, In the Shadow of the Banyan. Seven-year-old Raami is the innocent narrator who tells of living through the Cambodian genocide.

Larissa Reinhart's Portrait of a Dead Guy looks like a fun debut mystery. "In Halo, Georgia, folks know Cherry Tucker as big in mouth, small in stature, and able to sketch a portrait faster than buckshot rips from a ten gauge." When a wealthy family wants a portrait of their murdered son in his coffin, Cherry scrambles to win the commission. But, Cherry faces all kinds of trouble, between ex-boyfriends, her flaky family, and outwitting a killer. This just looks fun.

In Michael Ridpath's Far North, Magnus Jonson is a Boston detective working with the Icelandic police department. In 1934, two boys playing in the lava fields see something they shouldn't. Seventy-five years later, when the credit crunch hits, people feel someone ought to pay. In a small country, it doesn't take much to determine who is responsible, make a list, and then cross them off, one by one. As bankers and politicians end up dead, Magnus uncovers a conspiracy, and finds that earlier crimes are catching up.

I've already read terrific comments about Courtney Miller Santo's debut novel, The Roots of the Olive Tree. Set in northern California, it brings to life five generations of women, the secrets that divide them, and the love that ultimately brings them together. A fellow blogger loved it. But, I'm hopeful because of a quote on the back from Valerie Koehler of Blue Willow Bookshop in Houston. "Take some time to enjoy a story of the multigenerational olive-growing Keller family headed by 112-year-old matriarch Anna. Family secrets and lost loves all set amongst the fragrant orchard. For fans of Anne Rivers Siddons and Sarah Addison Allen."

And, the last book is a debut novel as well, M.L. Stedman's The Light Between Oceans. After four years on the Western front, Tom Sherbourne returns home to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock. He takes a young wife, Isabel to that isolated island. Years later, after two miscarriages and a stillbirth, Isabel hears a baby's cry. A boat washed up, carrying a dead man and a living baby. Despite Tom's misgivings, Isabel keeps the baby, only to discover two years later that their choice destroyed someone else.

August appears to be a month of discovery with so many debut novelists. I hope sometime in August you discover a book treasure or two.


caite said...

so many good ones...I love the cover to the last, The Light Between Oceans, but I am not sure about that story. sounds so sad...
But of course there is the Penny...and I must say The Crime of Julian Wells looks very interesting!

Lesa said...

Good selection, isn't it, Caite. That last one does look sad. I know just the person who will love it, though.

Tomorrow's list will have more crime fiction on it.

Nancy said...

Lovely selection! I wouldn't wait to read the Louise Penny book if it were me. She is my favorite author, too.

Lesa said...

If I ever have time before then, Nancy, I might. But July is crammed full, and I only have time for one book a day.

Judith Starkston said...

Thank you so much for reminding me about Shunning Sarah. I wanted to read this book ever since I met the author and she was so impressive. Also I'm looking forward to another Barbara Cleverly. My favorite suspense recently out has been Istanbul Passage with exotic setting and great history along with suspense. Thanks as always for great info about books.

Rosemary said...

Lesa, I like the sound of The Roots of the Olive Tree - and like you, I am waiting impatiently for the Louise Penny - we get it later here than in the US.

I don't know how you manage a book a day!

Thanks again for all your hard work for our benefit. I am off to see if I can get Edinburgh Book Festival tickets for my daughter - I should have done it yesterday, there were apparently queues from 3am at the box office!