September Publications

Young Confederate soldier Jamie Russell makes a return appearance in Galveston, P.G. Nagle's sequel to The Guns of Valverde. Jamie returns home from Valverde to accompany his sister, Emma, who's bitterly grieving a husband lost in battle, to their aunt's home in Galveston, Tex., where a touch of civilization and city life is supposed to revive the young widow's spirits. Instead, the city is attacked by the Union Army. Jamie takes part in a Confederate scheme to retake the city, while Emma does her part as an army nurse. Nagle's textured depiction of battlefields and society balls—and his keen understanding of the psychology of both of these proving grounds—should once again please his fans and other Civil War buffs. (Forge, $24.95 384p ISBN 0-312-87614-9)

Stacy and Rikki Moore are troubled siblings in a well-to-do African-American family obsessed with appearances in A Quiet Storm, the debut novel from Rachel Howzell Hall. From a young age, Stacy desperately tries to cover for unstable Nikki—a girl otherwise blessed with talent, intelligence, beauty and popularity—but ends up overweight and living in her younger sister's shadow. Despite her achievements, Nikki goes from being a girl who "wept at the sight of a stray cat" to a volatile adolescent who tries to commit suicide and an adult who is suspected of murdering her pediatrician husband, Matt, after their marriage falls apart. The author portrays mental illness (including the denial of it) with realism and sensitivity, but what really sets this novel apart is Stacey's lively narration, which crackles with dark humor, wisdom and self-deprecation. Though Hall tends to paint with broad strokes, she is capable of skillfully imbuing even the most over-the-top scenes with subtlety and fresh insight. Agent, Wendy Sherman.(Scribner, $13 paper 256p ISBN 0-7432-2616-X)

"Of course, we're all trying to find ourselves. It's when you have other people looking for you that you know you're really lost," muses Juliet, the former stripper, prostitute, speed addict and resident of an ecoterrorist commune at the center of Laura Denham's first novel, Have You Seen Me? After an unconventional but relatively wholesome upbringing by hippie parents in Northern California in the 1980s, the likable, sharply observant Juliet gets swept up in San Francisco's sex industry and is soon awash in drugs and money as her "career" spins out of control, and she finally disappears into the commune. Denham has a surprisingly assured, captivating voice. She avoids the pitfalls of this potentially lurid subject matter, offering a thoughtful exploration of the effect of the 1960s counterculture on another generation of lost youth. (Carroll & Graf, $12 paper 256p ISBN 0-7867-1062-4)