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
Kizumonogatari: Wound Tale

Nisio Isin, trans. from the Japanese by Ko Ransom. Vertical, $14.95 trade paper (354p) ISBN 978-1-941220-97-9

This light novel, the prequel to Isin's popular Monogatari series, explains how series protagonist Koyomi Araragi met the vampire known as Kissshot Acerolaorion Heartunderblade. After Kissshot is dismembered and left for dead by vampire hunters, Araragi offers himself as a meal to save the vampire's life, becoming her thrall in the process. In order to become human again, Araragi is forced to battle each of the hunters to retrieve Kissshot's limbs, and he's unprepared for the cost of purging the vampire blood from his body. Fans of the Monogatari series will be intrigued to learn the strange backstory of several major players in the later stories, but the journey to that end is a rough one, due to Ransom's peculiar translation. There's little, if any, attempt made to localize Isin's prose, which contains phrases that make little sense in English and obscure cultural references without benefit of explanatory notes. The frankly pedestrian plot hits all the expected beats (and contains all the casual fan service objectification) of the average shonen book. For Monogatari fans only. (Jan.)

Reviewed on 02/05/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Last Weekend

Nick Mamatas. Skyhorse/Night Shade, $15.99 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-59780-842-2

Mamatas's wisecracking philosophical undead opus vivisects genre stereotypes and moral preconceptions with viciousness and style. Failed writer Vasilis, a driller for the infected city of San Francisco, battles a cultural and literal wasteland of reanimated dead folks and "social isolates, the outsiders [and] the third-shifters" in a literary slap to the American Dream. Encountering mentally ill zombies, grieving clients, and renegade scientists, Vasilis struggles to retain his life and sanity as he becomes involved with sex-craving Yvette and revolutionary hothead Alexa. The living soon prove far more dangerous than the dead, and hearts rot as easily as reanimated flesh as he investigates the secret political mechanisms of his city. This cocktail of cynicism, sex, and sadism reinforces splatter theatrics with glimpses into human cruelty, ignorance, and general pathos. The "us against them" and "us against us" motifs are familiar, but the focused intimacy and sustainable dark humor will delight both zombie fans and readers looking for some moral questioning and emotional substance. Agent: Alec Shane, Writers House. (Jan.)

Reviewed on 02/05/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
Duke of My Heart

Kelly Bowen. Grand Central/Forever, $5.99 mass market (352p) ISBN 978-1-4555-3679-5

Bowen's irresistible Regency is like the most popular debutante at the ball: pretty, witty, mysterious, and full of coquettish allure. From the first line to the happy dénouement, Bowen builds enough romantic heat to melt midwinter snow. A dead man has been found in the bed of the virginal Lady Beatrice Harcourt, and Bea has gone missing, apparently clad only in her chemise! Enter Ivory Moore, whose job is whisking away the sordid remains of what appears to be an evening's debauched revelry and concocting a fiction that will preserve Bea's reputation. Her task requires the cooperation of Bea's errant brother, Capt. Maximus Harcourt. Naturally, he's outraged when Ivory orders him around. Max and Ivory conduct a merry tug of war over who takes the reins of investigating Bea's disappearance while pleasantly losing their battle with mutual attraction. Good reading is assured as Bowen weaves wonderful romantic fiction. Agent: Stefanie Lieberman, Janklow and Nesbit Associates. (Feb.)

Reviewed on 02/05/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
Extreme Honor: The True Heroes Series

Piper J. Drake. Grand Central/Forever, $5.99 mass market (336p) ISBN 978-1-4555-3604-7

Drake (Hidden Impact) begins the True Heroes K-9 trainer series with a tepid romance that feels like a lecture on dog training with some military trivia and bland sex scenes tossed in. Training working dogs for military K-9 service takes a combination of skill, intuition, and understanding of canine psychology. Rehabilitating a military K-9 after his handler's death, especially when that death occurred under suspicious circumstances, calls for even greater skill. David Cruz is one of the best military K-9 trainers around, so he has no idea why Evelyn "Lyn" Jones, a consultant specializing in canine PTSD, is poking her nose into the recuperative program he has set for Atlas the Belgian Malinois. Sure, Lyn's easy on the eyes and has good ideas, but what David needs is an answer for why Atlas's handler sent him that puzzling text message just before he was killed. Unfortunately, Atlas is the most emotive and likable character in the book by several miles. Agent: Courtney Miller-Callihan, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Feb.)

Reviewed on 02/05/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
Morning Star: Red Rising, Book 3

Pierce Brown. Del Rey, $27 (528p) ISBN 978-0-345-53984-7

in the excellent closing book of Brown's Red Rising trilogy, revolutionary Darrow is given a second chance to overthrow the government of a class-based future society obsessed with Ancient Rome and segregated by color-coded functions. Red-born Darrow's attempt to incite revolution while hiding among the godlike Golds, rulers of the Solar System, has failed, but it inspired an open revolt. Darrow struggles to figure out whom to trust; uniting an interplanetary uprising requires unstable and unpalatable alliances. His decisions often make him barely better than the oppressors he seeks to overthrow, blowing apart the all-too-overused trope of a plucky good-hearted band overcoming a corrupt oligarchy. Brown's vivid, first-person prose puts the reader right at the forefront of impassioned speeches, broken families, and engaging battle scenes that don't shy away from the gore as this intrastellar civil war comes to a most satisfying conclusion. (Feb.)

Reviewed on 02/05/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
Cornflower Blue: A Case for Milena Lukin

Christian Sch%C3%BCnemann and Jelena Volic, trans. from German by Baida Dar. Haus (Univ. of Chicago, dist.), $15 trade paper (297p) ISBN 978-1-908323-96-5

The discovery of the bodies of two elite guardsmen from the Topcider military camp, Nenad Jokic and Predrag Mrsa, propels Schünemann and Volic's Kafkaesque tale set in present-day Serbia. In Belgrade, Milena Lukin, an academic, works for the Institute for Criminology, which is concerned with war crimes. She has to walk a fine line between the two organizations that fund the institute, the German Academic Association and the Serbian Ministry of Education. When Milena translates a German report that reveals that Jokic and Mrsa were murdered, she attempts to get answers from Col. Danilo Djordan, the guardsmen's commander, but he maintains that they committed suicide. Meanwhile, Milena discovers a potential link between the two deaths and a slaughter during the Bosnian War as a strangely warped stalker gets her in his sights. Milena's struggle to find answers and justice amid the chaos of an embattled Serbia is both grim and heartening. (Feb.)

Reviewed on 02/05/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Girls in High-Heeled Shoes: An Alexander Brass Mystery

Michael Kurland. Titan, $12.95 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-783295-38-8

The New York theater world of the 1930s provides the backdrop for Kurland's entertaining sequel (first published in 1998) to Too Soon Dead, which introduced Alexander Brass, a popular columnist for the New York World newspaper who will remind Rex Stout fans of Nero Wolfe. Two-Headed Mary, a con artist who solicits contributions outside Broadway shows for a nonexistent charity, has vanished. Sandra Lelane, a Broadway actress who says she's Mary's daughter, implores Alex and his Archie Goodwin–like sidekick, aspiring novelist Morgan DeWitt, to search for Mary. Meanwhile, Billie Trask, a thief, is suspected of stealing a weekend's worth of box-office receipts from the lucrative production of the musical Lucky Lady. Fears for Mary's safety heighten after a visit to her Brooklyn apartment reveals that someone has impersonated Sandra and looted the place. The lively banter between Alex and Morgan serves to propel the plot as it evokes fond memories of Stout's characters. (Feb.)

Reviewed on 02/05/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
Breakdown: An Alex Delaware Novel

Jonathan Kellerman. Ballantine, $28.95 (368p) ISBN 978-0-345-54140-6

In the backstory of bestseller Kellerman's unconvincing 31st novel featuring L.A. psychologist and crime-solver Alex Delaware (after 2015's Motive), psychiatrist Lou Sherman asks Alex to meet five-year-old Ovid Chase, whose mother, Zelda Chase, a TV sitcom actress, is a patient. Lou wants an assessment to evaluate the effect of Zelda's psychosis on her son. After spending time with Ovid during each of the five days Zelda lives at the Beverly Hills Hotel, Alex judges the boy to be well-adjusted. Five years later, after Lou's death, Alex's brief connection with the Chase family leads the authorities to alert him that Zelda has been arrested for trespassing and taken to a clinic for treatment. When Alex visits her, the mentally unstable Zelda can tell him nothing about Ovid, whose whereabouts and wellbeing are unknown. Alex searches for the boy with the help of his LAPD friend, Milo Sturgis, and eventually winds up investigating multiple murders. A far-fetched storyline, one-dimensional characters, and the choice to delay the mention of any crime make this one of the weaker entries in this popular series. (Feb.)

Reviewed on 02/05/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
Cat Shout for Joy

Shirley Rousseau Murphy. Morrow, $19.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-06-240349-0

Rousseau's uneven 19th Joe Grey Mystery (after 2012's Cat Bearing Gifts) finds talking tomcat PI Joe Grey, and his pregnant partner, Dulcie, investigating a string of assaults in Molena Point, Calif. Most assume the attacks are cruel pranks, as the initial victims are all elderly and any serious injuries appear incidental. However, when a healthy young carpenter is killed, the villagers begin to fear something more sinister is afoot. Cat fans will love Murphy's complex and intelligent feline characters and the special relationships they share with their human housemates. Readers in search of a fair-play mystery may be left wanting, though, as the whodunit portion of the tale takes a backseat to the imminent death of terminally ill cat Misto and the impending birth of Joe and Dulcie's kittens. The duo's detecting skills are sharp, but suspects and clues are scarce, and the killer's motivation feels tacked on. A tonally jarring subplot involving the journey of fellow cats Kit and Pan to a land populated with unicorns, elves, and dragons feels digressive and further muddies the main story line. (Feb.)

Reviewed on 02/05/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
A Hunter's Moon: The Moondust Sonatas, Movement No. 1

Alan Osi. Smoke & Shadow, $19.99 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-1-943052-02-8

Osi's debut is a fanciful, scattered novel about a drug that might have emerged from Pandora's box. Moondust is a substance unlike any other: a transformative drug that changes lives, particularly the lives of a handful of New Yorkers who become aware of its strange properties, potent effects, and potential for profit or disaster. Harold Westgate, a man calling himself a messenger, randomly distributes small bags of the powder, which lets users experience God. A trio of young users, Percival, Mark, and Hailey, control the making and distribution of the drug; another trio, Clyde, William, and Rob, want to wrest it from them; and reporter Maxwell Smith wants to break the story that will make his reputation. Osi adds too many voices to this chorus—a priest, a cop, a chemist, and a variety of users—as he details moondust's effects and builds to a cliffhanger conclusion. (Dec.)

Reviewed on 02/05/2016 | 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.