Now in Paperback: News of the World – Paulette Jiles

This New York Times bestseller, National Book Award Finalist and MPIBA “Reading the West” award winner was also on many “Best of the Year” round-ups at the end of 2016. So, it should be a crowd-pleaser on the paperback tables all summer long.

The new edition also includes a P.S. section with an essay from Jiles and reading group guide. And I just heard it’s in development as a movie starring Tom Hanks. (Perfect casting!)

News of the World (9780062409218) by Paulette Jiles. $15.99 trade paper. 6/20/17 on sale.


Short Fiction Take: The Widow’s House – Carol Goodman

Goodman is the author of fourteen novels including the bestselling The Lake of Dead Languages. Here she dishes up psychological suspense that offers an updated tip of the hat to classic gothic ghost stories. Give this one to fans of Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House.

“Clare Martin…and her husband, Jess, sell their twice-mortgaged Brooklyn loft and move to Concord, N.Y., where Clare grew up and the couple attended college. They can’t afford to buy a home, so they accept jobs as caretakers of River House, their former writing professor’s dilapidated mansion. At first, the change in scenery proves beneficial to them both…. But when Clare starts seeing ghostly figures and hearing cries in the night, readers will be forced to wonder whether River House is actually haunted or Clare is suffering a mental breakdown….[T]fresh plot and modern characters give this twisty contemporary gothic a timeless feel.”
Publishers Weekly

 “Hoping to rejuvenate their flagging writing careers, Clare and Jess Martin inadvertently move into a haunted house. Not everyone will survive….A spellbinding and delicious ghost story.”
Kirkus Reviews

The Widow’s House (9780062562623) by Carol Goodman. $15.99 trade paper original. 3/7/17 on sale.


Video: Live By Night – Dennis Lehane

You know you want to see this this movie–even if you read the book. Maybe especially if you read the book. And though I am not often a fan of movie-tie in covers, this one does an elegant job that’s going to look good on trade paperback tables

Live By Night (9780062662422) by Dennis Lehane. $16.99 trade paper. On sale now.


Paperback Fiction Short Take: The Perfect Girl – Gilly Macmillan

British suspense novelist Macmillan made a big splash in the U.S. with her first book here, What She Knew, which was both a NYT and USA Today bestseller, as well as an Indie Next, LibraryReads and Target Book Club pick. It also won the Edgar for best paperback original novel.

That book won Macmillan a lot of fans who won’t be disappointed by this sophomore effort. Told over the span a few days and from among three narrators, this is sharp, tight, page-turning psychological fiction.

Piano prodigy Zoe Maisey, the 17-year-old heroine of this cunningly plotted psychological thriller…and her devoted mother, Maria, have against all odds started a promising second act in Bristol, England, after a night in Devon three years earlier that shattered Zoe’s life—and snuffed out those of a trio of other teens. Maria has married wealthy entrepreneur Chris Kennedy, and Zoe now has a baby half sister, Grace. All is well until a piano recital brings the past roaring back with devastating consequences…. As the suspenseful, serpentine tale unreels from the alternating perspectives of several key players, readers will be rooting for the resilient, resourceful Zoe all the way to the perfectly executed final twists.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

The Perfect Girl is a beautifully written story with a heartbreaking plot. It is told from several narratives, unfolding methodically to give us a gripping and complex story… a psychological thriller… a story of second chances or maybe even third chances… a book I could not put down.”
— Nancy McFarlane, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC

The Perfect Girl (9780062476760) by Gilly Macmillan. $15.99 trade paper original. 9/6/16 on sale.

Short Take: The Evening Spider – Emily Arsenault

Arsenault writes psychological suspense and this novel has its origins in a real-life murder in late 19th century Western Massachusetts. It’s a multi-perspective narrative involving two young mothers separated by 125 years and an obsession that may well lead to madness for each of them. The PS section of the book will include details on the real-life case of Mary Stannard and the Northampton Lunatic Hospital. A nice bonus for book clubs!

Arsenault deftly shifts among three perspectives in this exquisitely creepy blend of historical true crime and modern ghost story: the conversational confession of Frances Barnett, a young mother, to her brother from a lunatic asylum in Northampton, Mass., in 1885; Frances’s diary, full of obsession with the bloody details of a popular murder case and increasing mental instability as she tries to care for a baby alone and without support; and the increasingly fearful viewpoint of Abby Olson Bernacki, who’s living in the Barnett house in Haverton, Conn., in 2014….Arsenault’s gift for letting readers feel the characters’ anguish from the inside while showing their irrational strangeness from the outside makes for terror that sticks.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“[A] good old-fashioned gothic novel with a modern twist; a tale of dusty old journals, creaky houses, and ghostly whispers that also addresses real issues such as survivor guilt and postpartum depression. Still, Arsenault never strays from the task at hand, which is to keep you up all night with a light burning until you reach the surprising end.”
—Melanie Benjamin, author of The Aviator’s Wife

The Evening Spider (9780062379313) by Emily Arsenault. $15.99 trade paper original. 1/26/16 on sale.


New Fiction: The Mystics of Mile End – Sigal Samuel

Fans of Bee Season and richly told stories of insular communities might well enjoy this one. Mile End is a Hasidic community home to the Meyer family. David Meyer is both a professor of Jewish mysticism and an unbeliever. Not so his daughter, who is secretly studying for her Bat Mitzvah. The neighborhood is well drawn and populated with vivid characters, including a neighbor who is building a Tree of Knowledge out of scraps of trash on his front yard. As both David and his daughter get drawn into Kabbalah, the story complicates and then satisfyingly resolves into an exploration of faith, family and community.

“With a refreshing new voice that has a dash of Anne Tyler and a sprinkling of Sholem Aleichem, Samuel explores the search for enlightenment in her standout debut. She follows one family’s obsession with Jewish modern-day mysticism, depicting a slice of life in a devout community and showing how people absorb tragedy and then rebel from or cleave to religion to help them cope with the day-to-day….[T]he author shows with heart and insight that what we seek is often right in front of us.”
Publishers Weekly

Every character in this outstanding first novel is searching for a reason to exist…The need for human relationships and mysticism’s relationship to life impel them forward…This heart-stopping narrative will keep readers glued until the very end.”
Library Journal (starred review)

“A family is pulled to Jewish mysticism…in this expansive saga about faith, love, and loss…The minor characters, ever present in the background, shine as their stories conclude powerfully…A tale about the stories we let ourselves believe.”
Kirkus Reviews

The Mystics of Mile End (9780062412171) By Sigal Samuel. $15.99 trade paper original. 10/13/15 on sale.

Short Take: Orphan #8 – Kim van Alkemade

It’s hard not to think of Morrow’s other commercial historical novel, Orphan Train, when you see the titles and cover of this story. Fans of that ongoing bestseller may also be onboard for this novel based in another incident in American history involving immigrant American children—in this case of the story of Jewish children “treated” with radiation as part of medical research programs. The book turns on one woman’s poignant story and her battle to come to come to terms with her past and the doctor who harmed her.

BOOKSTORES ONLY: This is an August Indie Next Pick. Through October, Morrow is offering bookstores interested in hosting a book group meeting, a Skype, phone call or in-person visit with the author (local PA appearances only). Get in touch with me if you’re interested.

“The story of how Rachel gains agency–psychologically, bodily, and romantically–never feels forced. Her burgeoning feelings for another girl at the home are treated with depth and help the story stand out from others. The premise and lesbian representation make this a solid recommendation for fans of Jodi Picoult and Sarah Waters.”
   — Library Journal

Orphan #8 (9780062338303) by Kim van Alkemade. $14.99 trade paper original. 8/4/15 on sale.