Friday, July 25, 2008

ARC de triomphe

Just finished some Advanced Readers' Copies of upcoming books and there is plenty for readers to look forward to this fall. These three will give you your money's worth.

Fans of William Tapply's Brady Coyne will find that Hell Bent is a welcome addition to this always engaging series. With a look at the effects of the Iraq War on both the troops and their families, Boston lawyer Coyne investigates the murder of the brother of an old flame (she is also a welcome return). There's a side story about a moving company ripoff that gives Hell Bent a bit of a lighter side, but all the ingredients are there in this 24th Coyne of the realm. Due Sept. 30 from Minatour.

Speaking of all the ingredients, John Le Carre, a man of many twists and turns, navigates the war on terror in A Most Wanted Man. The scene is Europe and suspicions are high when an Islamic prisoner escapes Chechnya for the West and some ill-gotten riches. As a gaggle of secret agencies jockey for advantage, a couple of common citizens come to the rescue. Of course, nothing is as it seems and these are, after all, Smiley's people at work. Due Oct. 7 from Scribner's.

And talking of twists and turns, Darryl Wimberley's Kaleidoscope follows down-on-his-luck gambler Jack Romaine as he searches for some bonds stolen from a high-profile Cincinnati gangster. The trail leads to Kaleidoscope, a Florida winter layover for sideshow freaks and geeks, and Wimberley skillfully evokes the era of 1929 and the humanity of the characters society has made outcasts. Due Sept. 1 from Toby Press.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The times, they are a-changin'

Bantam Dell Publishing Group retails Rex Stout's The League of Frightened Men for $19 in trade paperback. It also sells The League of Frightened Men with Fer-de-Lance for $15, also in trade paperback. What is the point? Perhaps to force you into buying two books for less than the price of one?

Who knows?

Stout recently graduated from mass market to trade paperback, doubling the price of each title and foiling any completists who had hoped to gather the entire series in a uniform collection. By upping the size of the book by 25 percent, publishers also upped the price by 100% and then wondered aloud why the backlist has fallen on hard times.

This is a trend among publishers which will no doubt continue until mass market paperbacks are mere memory. Christopher Fowler's Bryant and May mysteries, currently retailing in mass market at $6.99 will be bumped up in both size and price ($13) once White Corridor is issued in trade paper in September. Our particular stores sells Fowler's mass market titles very well; the trade paperback will be a push. Still, we can hope that the raised price will encourage publishers to keep backlist in print longer then they currently do.

Meanwhile, this should prove a boon to libraries and used bookstores as patronage will no doubt increase, further cutting into publishers' profits and forcing more price increases not so far down the timeline.

That leaves the small bookseller in the proverbial lurch. They are already fighting online booksellers and big box stores for customers who wonder why small bookstore prices aren't as good (meaning "as low") as Amazon or Borders. It has become difficult for the small bookstore to compete when the big guys are selling books at a discounted price that many smaller stores are paying at the wholesaler (and then they pay for shipping).

So visit your small book retailer soon. In a few years you'll be able to tell your grandchildren that there used to be stores that sold books and some of the people who worked in those stores actually had some knowledge of what they were selling.

Your grandchildren will laugh at you and ask if you used to get there by trolley car ... and, by the way grandpa, what is a book exactly?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The game's afoot

According to a Reuters report out today, Guy Ritchie, who hasn't done anything really interesting since 1999's Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (other than becoming "Mr. Madonna"), is in negotitations with Robert Downey Jr. for a new Sherlock Holmes project, based on a new comic book interpretation. Could be good news. Maybe. Ritchie can direct ... really... and there's no doubt about Downey Jr.'s abilities. But there are clouds on the horizon.

Meanwhile, Sacha Baron Cohen will soon star in Sherlock Holmes and be assisted by a Dr. Watson played by ... wait for it...Will Farrell.

I will repeat that.

Dr. Watson will be played by Will Farrell, again according to Reuters.

I will say it again for those of you whose brains may have imploded and already forgotten it in a desperate attempt at self-preservation of your sanity.

Dr. Watson will be played by Will Farrell, the same man who gave us Old School and A Night at the Roxbury.

Here's a frightening thought: Chris Kattan as Prof. Moriarty.

Another frightening thought: Dr. Watson running along Baker Street without his trousers.

I don't know if the canon can survive that kind of abuse.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Death of an Amsterdam Cop

This post is to mark the passing of Janwillem van de Wetering on July 4. For those of us who like our police procedurals Continental, it is a great loss. He created the Grijpstra and de Gier novels, which began in 1975 with Outsider in Amsterdam.
Having been a member of the a member of the Amsterdam Special Constabulary, his writing had a high degree of verisimilitude. He also gave us Inspector Saito and the short story "Judge Dee Plays His Lute" (along with a biography of Judge Dee creator Robert van Gulik).
He was a world traveler and his writing demonstrates insights in to a variety of cultures. His life ended while he was living in the state of Maine.

For more information, go to:

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

July titles roll in

Here we are, a week into July, and the good titles keep coming. So far this month we've had three solid hits from Soho Press -- The Salisbury Manuscript by Philip Gooden, Dolores Gordon-Smith's Mad About the Boy? and Siren of the Waters by Micheal Genelin.
Also last week we saw the arrival of Chasing Darkness: An Elvis Cole Novel by Robert Crais, Hit and Run by Lawrence Block, Morrow, Losing Ground: A Mystery by Catherine Aird, rodigal Son by Thomas B. Cavanagh, The Sour Cherry Surprise: A Berger and Mitry Mystery by David Handler and Where Memories Lie by Deborah Crombie. Below, what's in store for the remainder of the month.

One of Those Malibu Nights
by Elizabeth Adler. St. Martin's Press. $24.95. Intervening on behalf of a distraught woman who is holding a gun in the doorway of a luxurious Malibu beach house, private investigator Mac Reilly finds himself in possession of the gun and searching for the woman when she subsequently goes missing. By the author of Meet Me in Venice.
Palace Council by Stephen Carter. Knopf (Random House). $26.95. Young writer Eddie Wesley and his lover, Aurelia Treene, investigate the murder of a wealthy, highly respected man whose body turns up on the grounds of a Harlem mansion. By the author of New England White.
Silent Thunder by Iris Johansen and Roy Johansen. St. Martin's Pr. $24.95. Assigned the task of creating a schematic of a recently purchased Russian nuclear submarine that is slated for museum exhibition, architect Hannah Bryson enlists the help of her brother, Connor, who discovers a mysterious message behind a panel before he is brutally murdered.
Swan Peak: A Dave Robicheaux Novel by James Lee Burke. Simon & Schuster. $25.95. Dave Robicheaux's new case takes him from the bayous of Louisiana's New Iberia Parish to the wild mountains of Montana. By the author of The Tin Roof Blowdown.
Volk's Shadow by Brent Ghelfi. Henry Holt. $25.00. A sequel to Volk's Game finds Russian undercover military agent Alexei Volkovoy doubting himself in the wake of political intrigue.

July 10
Queen of the Flowers: A Phryne Fisher Mystery by Kerry Greenwood. Poisoned Pen Press. $24.95. Chosen Queen of the Flowers for St. Kilda's first Flower Parade festival, Phryne Fisher finds the glamour of her crown wearing off when one of her attendants vanishes.
July 15
Last Kiss by Luanne Rice. Bantam Bks (Random House). $25.00. Devastated by the senseless murder of her only son, eighteen-year-old Charlie, singer-songwriter Sheridan Rosslare has been unable to cope with her grief, until Charlie's heartbroken girlfriend, Nell Kilvert, enlists the assistance of Sheridan's long-ago soul mate, Gavin Dawson, to uncover the truth.
Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere by John McFetridge. Harcourt. $25.00. Sharon MacDonald finds her life complicated by house arrest, an Iranian who falls to his death from her apartment building, police surveillance that keeps her from visiting her marijuana crop, and a suave stranger named Ray.
Findings: A Faye Longchamp Mystery by Mary Anna Evans. Poisoned Pen Press. $24.95. The discovery of a mysterious, fabulous emerald leads to murder when intruders break into the home of a dear friend of archaeologist Faye Longchamp.
Killer View by Ridley Pearson. Putnam (Penguin Group). $24.95. Tackling treacherous elements to rescue a missing skier on Sun Valley's Galena Summit, Sheriff Walt Fleming and his crack team are shocked by a sniper attack that leaves one of their number dead.
Real World by Natsuo Kirino. Translated by Philip Gabriel. Knopf (Random House). $22.95. In a crowded suburb on the outskirts of Tokyo, four teenage girls become suspicious of a neighbor's teenage son when his father is found brutally murdered and the young man disappears.
Say Goodbye by Lisa Gardner. Bantam Books (Random House). $25.00. Pages 384. Pregnant 18-year-old Delilah Rose enlists the assistance of FBI Special Agent Kimberly Quincy to investigate the mysterious disappearances of a number of young women whom no one else will notice are gone, including runaways, high-risk teens, and prostitutes.
Still Waters: A Mystery by Nigel McCrery. Pantheon Books (Random House). $23.95. Detective Chief Inspector Mark Lapslie and Sergeant Emma Bradbury are confronted by a complex case involving a potential serial killer.

July 17
Alive in Necropolis by Doug Dorst. Riverhead Bks (Penguin Group). $24.95. Navigating adult responsibilities in a California city where the dead outnumber the living, by-the-book rookie cop Michael Mercer struggles through new relationships and becomes increasingly obsessed with the mysterious fate of his predecessor, an officer who believed he policed the dead.
The Likeness by Tana French. Viking (Penguin Group). $24.95. A follow-up to In the Woods finds a traumatized detective Cassie Maddox struggling in her career and relationship with Sam O'Neill while investigating the unsettling murder of a young woman whose name matches an alias Cassie once had used as an undercover officer.

July 22
Moscow Rules by Daniel Silva. Putnam (Penguin Group). $26.95. Gabriel Allon investigates the suspicious death of a journalist in Moscow.

July 29
The Garden of Evil by David Hewson. Delacorte Pr (Random House). $24.00. The discovery of two corpses next to an unknown Caravaggio masterpiece in an art studio in Rome sends Detective Nic Costa on a quest to uncover the truth.
The Map Thief by Heather Terrell. Ballantine. $25.00. Manhattan attorney Mara Coyne journeys into the dark and dangerous world of stolen artifacts as she becomes caught up in the search for a legendary, fifteenth-century map that supposedly documents a Chinese expedition to the far reaches of the globe and that has been a closely guarded secret for centuries. By the author of The Chrysalis.