New Fiction: The Keeper of Lost Things – Ruth Hogan

Here’s a story that is charming, whimsical, poignant and ultimately life affirming…. Aimee Bender territory. It is the story of a writer who carelessly loses a keepsake of his beloved fiancée’s on the day she dies. And it’s the story of a young editor who finds the keepsake on the street and keeps it. Over the course of the next forty years the writer seeks consolation by rescuing the things that other people lose and writing about them. Where life takes the writer, the editor, the lost things and the people they belonged to makes for a lovely journey.

Praise starts with Helen Simonson, whose plucky, good-hearted characters in Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand still warm my heart:

From the attention-grabbing opening paragraph, to the joyful conclusion, Ruth Hogan has stirred together a charming fairytale in which the people may be more lost than the things; and generosity and compassion may be the key to finding a way home. Also there are dogs. Delightful.”

“Hogan’s writing has the soothing warmth of the cups of cocoa and tea her characters regularly dispense…old-fashioned storytelling with a sprinkling of magic.”
— Kirkus

“Hogan’s first novel reveals how even discarded items have significance and seemingly random objects, people, and places are all interconnected.”
— Booklist

“You already know Laura. She’s the friend who wears her heart on her sleeve, who is true to her word, and who could really use a lucky break. But Laura’s lucky break comes with strings attached. She inherits a house, but also the things in it. Anthony is a kind-hearted man who collects ‘lost things’ everywhere he goes. A cup and saucer, a red gemstone, a lone puzzle piece. Anthony can’t help but imagine the lives of the people who’ve lost these things. After all, he lost the most important thing he could ever imagine: Therese and her medallion. Through the years, Anthony has become The Keeper of Lost Things, he made a habit of collecting things he found in gutters, on streets, or blown into driveways. The only thing he didn’t get to do before he died was to get around to finding the people the lost things belonged to. Can Laura live up to the task that Anthony himself could never complete? And how in the world will she do it? This is a novel full of grace, kindness, and forgiveness. It’s perfectly lovely gem from start to finish.”
— Jessilynn Norcross from McLean & Eakin Booksellers, Petoskey, MI

The Keeper of Lost Things (9780062473530) by Ruth Hogan. $26.99 hardcover. 2/12/17 on sale.

 

Fiction Short Take: Garden of Lamentations – Deborah Crombie

This follow-up to 2014’s To Dwell in Darkness is much awaited—at least if my bookseller fans are any indication. A few books ago Crombie finally started hitting the bestseller lists, propelled there by readers who admire elegant, character-driven, old school police procedurals. She is often compared to Elizabeth George and Martha Grimes. The Washington Post adds two more first-rate comparisons, saying, “Crombie has laid claim to the literary territory of moody psychological suspense owned by P. D. James and Barbara Vine.”

This is a January Library Reads Pick and arrives with a starred advance review.

“Det. Supt. Duncan Kincaid is still smarting from an unexplained reassignment and demotion, in bestseller Crombie’s absorbing 17th novel featuring Kincaid and his wife, Det. Insp. Gemma James (after 2014’s To Dwell in Darkness). He’s also troubled by loose ends after a grenade attack and devastating fire at London’s St. Pancras station and the cryptic utterances of his former boss, Chief Supt. Denis Childs. When Childs is attacked and sinks into a coma, Kincaid glimpses larger forces at work….Meanwhile, Gemma looks into the case of a nanny murdered in a Notting Hill garden, which affects the lives of one of Gemma’s friends .Through several points of view, this multifaceted novel provides a sobering cautionary tale about the exploitation of idealism and the abuse of power.
Publishers Weekly

The strength of this series is in its characterizations, particularly those of James and Kincaid, as they balance the demanding work that they love and their family life. Another winner in a series that goes from one high point to another.”
Booklist (starred review)

“Densely plotted and with a balanced interplay between the domestic sphere and the intrigue of police internal affairs. Contemporary and propulsive.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Deborah Crombie’s latest Gemma James and Duncan Kincaid novel is her finest yet, tying together many threads from previous books in a spellbinding tour de force. Gemma is investigating the death of a young nanny and trying to keep it together at home, despite Duncan’s distant and mystifying behavior. Duncan is unable to let go of the apparent suicide of a young officer at the conclusion of his previous case, and is torn between the need to uncover possible corruption at the highest levels of the police force, and his concern that doing so may put himself and everyone he cares about at risk. Crombie is at the top of her form as a character-driven suspense writer, with a nonstop nail-biter of a plot. Highly recommended!
— Carol Schneck Varner, Schuler Books and Music, Okemos, MI

Garden of Lamentations (9780062271631) by Deborah Crombie. $26.99 hardcover. 2/7/17 on sale.

Suspense Fiction Short Take: Her Every Fear – Peter Swanson

Swanson is a house favorite. He writes elegant, old fashioned commercial suspense that draws from the Hitchcock and Highsmith playbook. Marked by surprising twists and turns, this new one starts as an updated take on Rear Window but adds Swanson’s signature 21st century style that Booklist says has “[h]igh tension, lightning-fast pacing and psychological drama in spades.”

Two starred reviews, Indie Next and Library Reads picks, and raves already landing in the national press.

“Chapter by chapter, the text peels back layers to reveal a pathological relationship between Kate’s cousin and a long-ago acquaintance that’s reminiscent of a folie à deux out of Patricia Highsmith… By then, readers, privy to much Kate doesn’t know, may be experiencing their own anxiety.”
Wall Street Journal

 “Most readers won’t anticipate the Hitchcockian twists and turns in this standout suspense tale.”
  — Washington Post

Swanson established a reputation for complex psychological thrillers with his previous novels…, but here he introduces a delicious monster-under-the-bed creepiness to the expected top-notch characterization and steadily mounting anxiety.”
Booklist (starred review)

“Psychological thriller devotees should block time to read Swanson’s novel in one sitting, preferably in the daylight. Readers can expect the hairs on their necks to stand straight up as they are consumed with a full-blown case of heebie-jeebies.”
Library Journal (starred review)

Her Every Fear (9780062427021) by Peter Swanson. $26.99 hardcover. 1/10/17 on sale.

 

Publicity: The Little Book of Hygge – Meik Wiking

Last week a store buyer and I were talking about the unexpected popularity of last year’s The Nordic Theory of Everything and concluded that it might have foreshadowed the popularity of the current wave of books on hygge. If fact we wondered if hygge might be the next “tidy.”

Not familiar? Dip into this NYT Style piece: “Move Over, Marie Kondo: Make Room for the Hygge Hordes.”  You want to get this book out on display…

Hygge (pronounced HOO-gah, like a football cheer in a Scandinavian accent) is the Danish word for cozy. It is also a national manifesto, nay, an obsession expressed in the constant pursuit of homespun pleasures involving candlelight, fires, fuzzy knitted socks, porridge, coffee, cake and other people….Hygge is already such a thing in Britain that the Collins Dictionary proclaimed it one of the top 10 words of 2016, along with Brexit and Trumpism.”

Illustration 5

The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living (9780062658807) by Meik Wiking. $19.99 hardcover. 1/17/17 on sale.

 

Publicity: Three Days in January – Brett Baier

I read this over the holidays and it’s a great read about a fascinating period in American history. Eisenhower’s still timely warning about the “the military industrial complex” seems more relevant than ever. And the stories of Eisenhower trying to prepare a brash, bullish, over-confident and under-tried new president also has the ring of currency. Kirkus called this book “[a] focused and timely study of Eisenhower’s significant speech and the sticky transition to JFK’s inherited new world.”

Because Baier is with Fox, there’s tons of support from that network, including a documentary on the Eisenhower/Kennedy transition on January 14th and 15th on Fox. There will be an excerpt from the book in Parade magazine and Baier will be interviewed on CBS This Morning.

Three Days in January (9780062569035) by Brett Baier with Catherine Whitney. $28.99 hardcover. 1/10/17 one day laydown.

Video: The Women in the Castle – Jessica Shattuck

 

Just in: This very good author video for one of my favorite books of early 2017. It’s such an important and moving read. I’ll share more about the book before publication. Booksellers, if you have an ARC and haven’t picked it up yet…get on it! You’ll be glad you read this one early.

“Fans of The Nightingale and other classic World War II stories will fall in love with this compelling new perspective on women at war.”
— Helen Simonson, New York Times bestselling author of Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand

The Women in the Castle (9780062563668) by Jessica Shattuck. $26.99 hardcover. 3/28/17 one day laydown.

Fiction Short Take: The Seventh Plague – James Rollins

There are some novelists who hit the bestseller list so consistently it’s easy to start to take them for granted. So as a corrective, let me note that Rollins’ latest novel will not no doubt land on the bestseller list–it gets a boxed, starred review in PW and a starred Booklist review. These are brainy, action-filled adventures by a master.

Bestseller Rollins’s epic 12th Sigma Force adventure features exotic locales, heroic quests, quixotic villains, action galore, and enough science and scientific curiosities to titillate even casual readers…Rollins’s characters are as large as his landscape in this vast and vastly entertaining thriller saga.”
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“The vanished leader of a British archaeological expedition appears and then dies before he can reveal where he has been and what has happened. The evidence from the professor’s autopsy shows that he was mummified while still alive….The professor, we learn, had been researching the biblical 10 plagues of Egypt….The intensity never lets up for a second as the narrative unfurls. When it comes to the blending of action, adventure, history, and science, there is no other author who does it better than Rollins. Fans of Clive Cussler, Steve Berry, and Michael Crichton should already have Rollins on their mandatory reading list.”
Booklist (starred review)

The Seventh Plague: A Sigma Force Novel (9780062381682) by James Rollins. $27.99 hardcover. 12/13/16 one day laydown.