Subscriber-Only Content; You must be a PW subscriber to access the backissue database. PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital edition via our app or online. For more information on PW's new integrated subscription plan, click here. If you are currently a PW subscriber, click "Login" for full access to the site (if you have not done so already, you will need to set up your account for the new system by going here), or click the "Subscribe" button to become a PW subscriber. Email service@publishersweekly.com with questions.

Login or Subscribe
Zen City

Eliot Fintushel. Zero, $11.95 trade paper (136p) ISBN 978-1-78535-350-5

Author and performance artist Fintushel (Breakfast with the Ones You Love) blends Asian philosophy with science fiction in a mind-melting exploration of love, loss, and cultural appropriation. Like every other “hick” on the outside of the City, Big Man dreams of gaining access to it: a place of pure Buddha-nature, where every inhabitant has abandoned desire and reached a state of absolute oneness. Unable to enter by official channels, Big Man enlists the help of his would-be lover, Angela, to sneak in through a back way. In the process, he attracts the attention of the supposed bodhisattva No Mind and the less-than-holy Buddhist teacher Bobo Shin, who pursue him into the City for their own ends. Each character is fascinatingly developed in a somewhat Dadaist fashion, all while moving the plot along. Fintushel’s goal is never to mock or deride Buddhism itself, but rather to expose the ways in which the Eightfold Path is corrupted by human nature; in that regard, this book succeeds brilliantly, deftly weaving a tragic romance that’s about all of us, and none at all. (June)

Reviewed on 04/29/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
Wolf Lake

John Verdon. Counterpoint, $25 (375p) ISBN 978-1-61902-733-6

Fans of classic fair play who appreciate well-developed characterizations in their whodunits will relish Verdon’s richly atmospheric fifth mystery featuring retired NYPD homicide detective Dave Gurney (after 2014’s Peter Pan Must Die). A former police colleague brings Dave back into his previous life by involving him in a bizarre and baffling case. Ethan Gall, the owner of Wolf Lake Lodge in the Adirondacks, hired renowned psychologist Richard Hammond to provide on-site hypnotic therapy at the lodge. After four of Hammond’s patients, including Gall, committed suicide, the doctor was dubbed the “death whisperer” by the press and suspected, by the public and the New York state police, of talking patients into killing themselves. Despite the seriousness of his situation, Hammond refuses to hire an attorney or seek any other help. His sister, Jane, however, asks Dave to work for her to clear her brother’s name. To the detective’s surprise, his wife, Madeleine, who has been ambivalent about his continuing to sleuth, agrees that he should take on the case. Verdon couples the continued nuanced exploration of Dave and Madeleine’s relationship with one of his most sophisticated solutions yet. Agent: Molly Friedrich, Friedrich Agency. (July)

Reviewed on 04/29/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
You Will Know Me

Megan Abbott. Little, Brown, $26 (352p) ISBN 978-0-316-23108-4

Thriller Award–winner Abbott (The Fever) takes a piercing look at what one family will sacrifice in the name of making their daughter a champion. For Katie and Eric Knox, nothing is more important than ensuring that their 16-year-old daughter, Devon, has everything she needs to pursue a possible Olympic berth in gymnastics, from round-the-clock training with coach Teddy Belfour at BelStars Gym to a plethora of high-performance leotards and hand grips. Despite a childhood foot injury, Devon is the obvious star of the gym, something the other parents both appreciate (because it raises BelStars’s profile) and quietly resent (because it makes their own daughters look second-rate). When an unexpected death rocks the gym community, Katie is determined not only to shield her daughter from the fallout but also to make sure that Devon’s elite trajectory doesn’t falter. But she can’t help being inexorably drawn to the tragedy and the young man who died, and in the process Katie learns that what she thought she knew about Devon only scratches the surface. Abbott keenly examines the pressures put on girls’ bodies and the fierce, often misguided love parents have for their children. Agent: Dan Conaway, Writers House. (July)

Reviewed on 04/29/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
Downtown Devil

Cara McKenna. Signet Eclipse, $15 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-0-451-47713-2

Mixed-race millennials approach first-date sex, surprise threesomes, dirty talk, and male bisexuality with an unjaded, wide-eyed excitement and focused intensity that’s so hot it sets fire to the pages of this sequel to Crosstown Crush (the first in McKenna’s Sins in the City series). Aspiring Pittsburgh photographer Clare Geddes kicks off her 30s by hooking up with barista and model Mica. Their sizzling chemistry leads to a second round that includes his backpacking buddy and best friend, Vaughn. Whenever Mica flakes, stalwart Vaughn is there for Clare, and they backtrack into romance while bonding over psychoanalyzing Mica’s troubled teenhood and marveling at his aggressive erotic magnetism. There’s plenty here for the reader who just wants to enjoy hot encounters, but there’s also an encouraging message for readers on the dating scene: indulging in moments of wild exploration won’t ruin your chances for a solid, monogamous relationship down the line. Agent: Laura Bradford, Bradford Literary. (June)

Reviewed on 04/29/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Nix

Nathan Hill. Knopf, $27.95 (640p) ISBN 978-1-101-94661-9

Hill’s first novel offers an ironic view of 21st-century elections, education, pop culture, and marketing, with flashbacks to 1988, 1968, and 1944. The action begins in 2011, when Samuel Anderson, an English professor who prefers playing World of Elfquest online to teaching Hamlet to college students, learns that Faye, the mother who abandoned him when he was 11, has been arrested for throwing stones at flamboyant ultraconservative presidential candidate Sheldon Packer. News media repeatedly show Faye’s photo from her young hippie days along with a video of the attack. In an attempt to help his mother and himself, Samuel digs into Faye’s past, focusing on the Iowa town where she grew up and 1968 Chicago, where she unwittingly became caught between protesters and police. Samuel’s search—with assistance from Pwnage, an Elfquest savant—uncovers a judge with a 50-year-old grudge, a grandfather with a 70-year-old secret, and a world where the official story and the truth often diverge. The Nix of Hill’s title is a Norwegian mythological being that carries loved ones away, a physical and metaphorical representation of fear and loss, much like the Under Toad in John Irving’s The World According to Garp. Like Irving, Hill skillfully blends humor and darkness, imagery and observation. He also excels at describing technology, addiction, cultural milestones, and childhood ordeals. Cameos by Allen Ginsberg, Walter Cronkite, and Hubert Humphrey add heart and perspective to this rich, lively take on American social conflict, real and invented, over the last half-century. 100,000-copy announced first printing. Agent: Emily Forland, Brandt & Hochman Literary. (Aug.)

Reviewed on 04/29/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
Indeh: A Story of the Apache Wars

Ethan Hawke and Greg Ruth. Grand Central, $19.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-4013-1099-8

Beautiful brushstrokes by Ruth (The Lost Boy) bring the conflict between the Apache and the United States in 1872 to life in a collaboration with actor Hawke that strives to escape Hollywood’s western mythos. Most U.S. troops are shown to be horrible people, as when they hang Apache leader Cochise’s family, but Gen. Oliver O. Howard rides in at the end, saving everyone (for the time being) using his Christian faith. Young Geronimo’s merciless killings combined with the white savior theme feel like a flawed attempt at balance. Ruth’s art, however, is a complete success, using a wash technique to indicate distance and loose line to give flow and movement. Characters of every race are distinctive and the natural backgrounds are breathtaking. Imperfections aside, this respectful approach to America’s shameful history is a good start to further a conversation often neglected. (Jun.)

Reviewed on 04/29/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
30 Nights

Christine D’Abo. Kensington, $9.95 ISBN 978-1-61773-956-9

In this steamy, but somewhat awkward sequel to 30 Days (2015), the cards outlining “Alyssa’s 30 Days of Sex” fall into the hands of Glenna O’Donald, a 28-year-old research assistant at a college in Toronto. In recent years, her focus has largely been on her job, but when her beloved great-grandmother dies, she decides it’s time to have some adventures. She begins journeying through the cards’ instructions with a coworker, sociology professor Eric Morris, whom she’s been lusting after for a year. Their sensual studies are intense and fulfilling, and Glenna quickly finds herself growing attached to Eric. The sex scenes are delightfully stimulating and kinky, but Eric remains more reticent than is comfortable for either Glenna or the reader, and the lack of communication leads to conflict. Furthermore, the lighthearted erotic exploration clashes with the weighty concerns that the couple blunders into, from issues with Glenna’s best friend, Jasmine, to tensions inherent in a workplace romance. The erotic aspects of the story are well worth reading, but the rest leaves much to be desired. (June)

Reviewed on 04/29/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
Ready to Fall

Olivia Dade. Kensington/Lyrical Shine, $1.99 e-book (85p) ISBN 978-1-6165-0-9408

Love’s never out of reach for the librarians of the Nice County Library System in Dade’s fourth Lovestruck Librarians contemporary (following Mayday). It’s summer time in Niceville, Md., and Sarah Mayhew, part-time librarian and elementary school art teacher, is determined to win the attention of the gym teacher by riding in a daylong biking event. However, her genuine fear of actually riding a bike creates a serious roadblock until she’s introduced to Chris Dean, the proprietor of a recently opened bike repair shop. Using her flair for the dramatic to her advantage, Sarah talks Chris into teaching her to ride. To her surprise, he doesn’t seem intimidated by her big personality, and she begins to wonder whether the gym teacher is the right guy to be pursuing. Dade’s novella offers no surprises and isn’t lengthy enough to delve too deeply into why Chris is so scarred from a past relationship, but Sarah’s charm and humor are perfectly suited to a beach read. Agent: Jessica Alvarez, BookEnds. (June)

Reviewed on 04/29/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
No Remedy

Christine d’Abo. Riptide, $17.99 trade paper (245p) ISBN 978-1-62649-402-2

In this revised second edition of the second Bounty futuristic romance (following No Quarter), d’Abo delivers on spicy passion. Mace Simms is a space pirate working undercover as a lab tech while in search of a cure for her captain’s illness. Alec Roiten is a scientific genius living under an assumed name and hiding from his mysterious past. They risk having their lies uncovered when Byron, a bounty hunter with a heart of gold, arrives suddenly at Mace’s apartment. They collaborate to save her captain from certain death and try to redeem themselves, repenting of their past crimes. D’Abo weaves a trail of revelations around a series of crisis, the solutions to which are frequently sex. The conclusion is abrupt and barely proceeds from the narrative. The story is ridiculous and improbable but quick and fun, striking all the expected beats and never too slow to be satisfying. Agent: Courtney Miller-Callihan, Handspun Literary. (June)

Reviewed on 04/29/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
Primal Instinct

Tara Wyatt. Forever, $5.99 mass market (384p) ISBN 978-1-4555-9028-5

Wyatt continues her winning streak with her second Bodyguard contemporary (after Necessary). Singer-songwriter Taylor Ross sits in a Los Angeles bar, desperately trying to write songs for an overdue album. A creepy fan accosts her, and former Army Ranger and freelance bodyguard Colt Priestley rescues her. Instant desire lands them in a sizzling one-night stand. Taylor’s recent misbehaving antics lead her record label to hire two bodyguards to keep her out of trouble, and Colt and a friend take the jobs. Characterization is Wyatt’s strong suit as she draws intricate word-pictures of Colt’s PTSD nightmares and Taylor’s trust issues, giving both of them reasons to keep their relationship professional despite mutual attraction. Wyatt balances humor with drama in this tense romantic thriller, and the ongoing plot of a villain pulling strings behind the scenes will have readers eager for the next series installment. Agent: Jessica Watterson, Sandra Dijkstra Literary. (June)

Reviewed on 04/29/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
X
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.