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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.