Log In

Subscriber-Only Content; You must be a PW subscriber to access the Table-of-Contents Database.

Get a digital subscription to Publishers Weekly for only $19.95/month.

Your subscription gives you instant access exclusive feature articles on notable figures in the publishing industry, he latest industry news, interviews of up and coming authors and bestselling authors, and access over 200,000 book reviews.

PW "All Access" site license members have access to PW's subscriber-only website content. To find out more about PW's site license subscription options please email: pw@pubservice.com or call 1-800-278-2991 (U.S.) or 1-818-487-2069 (all other countries), Monday-Friday between 5am and 5pm Pacific time.

Rabid Heart

Jeremy Wagner. Riverdale Avenue, $16.99 trade paper (258p) ISBN 978-1-62601-464-0

Bad decisions, brisk pacing, and a love that transcends death permeate Wagner’s gore-filled zombie romp. The U.S. military created the Necro-Rabies virus, which killed millions and reanimated their corpses into undead Cujos. Col. Kenneth Driscoll runs Fort Rocky Military Base in North Carolina, a sanctuary for a few hundred survivors. As his daughter, Rhonda, a hairdresser turned tough-as-nails fighter, patrols her nearby hometown, a fellow soldier threatens her with rape—and her beloved fiancé, Brad Savini, who was left for dead and Cujo-fied, saves her. Seeing good in Brad, she brings him back to the base but fears her unyielding father will kill him. Eventually they flee, hoping to find peace in Florida. It’s a scary world out there for a young woman and the zombie love of her life, as she confronts cannibal dwarves, a life-threatening injury, a super Cujo, and two young children who need her to protect them. Wagner (The Armageddon Chord) leans hard on clichés, and the ending is predictable, but readers will cheer on Rhonda and her love-conquers-all attitude. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 12/07/2018 | Details & Permalink

show more
Rowankind

Jacey Bedford. DAW, $7.99 mass market (560p) ISBN 978-0-7564-1498-6

In the gripping final Rowankind installment (following 2017’s Silverwolf), set in an alternate 1802 England beset by magic, witch Rossalinde and her new husband, wolf shape-shifter Corwen, are tasked by the Fae to convince King George III to end the persecution of magical beings and abolish the tyrannical Mysterium. While Ross and Corwen attempt to meet with the king, they must also deal with other supernatural issues, including imprisoned witches, murderous pirates, rogue trolls, and Corwen’s own brother, who risks going feral in his wolf form. Moreover, their old enemy Walsingham is at large and out for vengeance. With the Fae deadline for action swiftly approaching, Ross and Corwen must do everything in their power to sway Parliament’s minds regarding magic, or else ruin will fall upon the land. Bedford takes a leisurely, semiepisodic approach to tying off her outstanding plot threads; despite the sensation of a ticking clock in the background, her heroes still find time for romance, side quests, and proper manners. Series fans will be glad to see old friends and antagonists, and will find this a strong and satisfying wrap-up of the series. Agent: Donald Maass, Donald Maass Literary. (Dec.)

Reviewed on 12/07/2018 | Details & Permalink

show more
Sketchtasy

Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore. Arsenal Pulp, $17.95 trade paper (270p) ISBN 978-1-55152-729-1

Caught between revelry and despair, the gay community of ’90s Boston struggles to confront the AIDS crisis in this heart-rending novel from Sycamore (The End of San Francisco). A drag queen who goes by Alexa leaves ACT UP in San Francisco for college in Boston, but drops out when the flashbacks of her father’s molestation and her deepening drug habit begin to converge. She turns tricks to get by and seeks out a therapist. She tells him that in California, “you went to a club one week and the next week the DJ was dead,” and though “just as many people are dying in Boston,” she feels like everybody’s avoiding acknowledging the emergency. Alexa’s friends, sick and strung out, start disappearing, and a scary, ketamine-laced hookup leads her to try AA. What she finds is the first “room full of gay men who are trying to take care of one another” she’s been in since leaving ACT UP. Though Alexa’s nights of cocaine, ecstasy, and dancing can come across as repetitive, Sycamore artfully captures Alexa’s trauma that makes such revelry a necessary release. Even Alexa’s inevitable relapse is made memorable by Sycamore: “There’s the next day,” she writes, “you have to deal with the next day.” This is an excellent novel bolstered by its complex protagonist. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 12/07/2018 | Details & Permalink

show more
Welfare

Steve Anwyll. Tyrant, $15.95 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-0-9992186-6-2

When Stan turns 16, he decides that he can no longer take the fighting with his indifferent dad’s new wife, and he hits the road in Anwyll’s solid debut. His sketchy plan involves moving in with free-spirited friend Greg, 20, whose life in his small Canadian fishing village on Lake Erie is not so idyllic up close. Greg’s all-night benders and Stan’s inability to pay his share of the rent spell an end to this arrangement. He ends up with another friend, sharing a beach house, applies for welfare, and gets a caseworker. From there, it’s slowly downhill: his welfare application fails; he finds another apartment with an explosive landlord; school becomes a struggle because Stan’s poverty means he rarely gets enough to eat. He develops a crush on his caseworker, who sends him to a tough counselor, who enrolls him in a resume writing workshop, and so on. A series of demeaning jobs, financial panics, and insecure living situations follow. Anwyll’s coming-of-age novel sometimes reads more like sociopolitical allegory, but the authenticity of its first-person voice, and of its plot, which moves in deliberate, subtle steps, immerses the reader in Stan’s struggles. Stan’s story resonates with relevance and heart. (Dec.)

Reviewed on 12/07/2018 | Details & Permalink

show more
Tell Her No Lies

Kelly Irvin. Thomas Nelson, $15.99 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-0-7852-2311-5

Late one night, former journalist Nina Fischer, the heroine of this gripping novel of romantic suspense from Irvin (the Amish of Bee County novels), is at the San Antonio, Tex., home of her adoptive father, Judge Geoffrey Fischer, when she discovers him lying dead on his office floor. A gun is at his side. Since she was the only person in house at the time of the murder and there’s no sign of forced entry, the police regard her as the prime suspect. With the help of her news videographer friend, Aaron McClure, Nina tries to learn who would have wanted to kill her father, a family-loving Christian. The judge adopted Nina and her sister years before when they were abandoned by his sister, their biological mother. As Nina uncovers secrets of her father’s past, the body count rises. Meanwhile, the love triangle among Nina; her attorney boyfriend, Rick Zavala; and Aaron, who has loved her from a distance, adds emotional depth. As Nina becomes the target of a killer, the action builds to a stunning conclusion. No one is above suspicion in a tale sure to appeal to readers beyond its main Christian audience. Agent: Julie Gwinn, Seymour Agency. (Nov.)

Reviewed on 12/07/2018 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Enemy of My Enemy: A Clandestine Operations Novel

W.E.B. Griffin and William E. Butterworth IV. Putnam, $29 (400p) ISBN 978-0-7352-1306-7

It’s the spring of 1946 in bestseller Griffin and son Butterworth’s tight fifth Clandestine Operations novel (after 2017’s Death at Nuremberg), and two top SS leaders, Franz von Dietelburg and Wilhelm Burgdorf, have been imprisoned for a wide variety of crimes, among them the massacre of slave laborers at Peenemünde, the site of the German rocket laboratories during WWII. Dietelburg and Burgdorf are also suspected of being involved in Odessa, a secret organization of former SS personnel whose mission is smuggling Nazis out of Germany. After the duo escapes, the job of hunting them down falls to Capt. Jim Cronley, an agent in the Directorate of Central Intelligence, the successor to the Office of Strategic Services. Cronley flies from Argentina to Nuremberg with a large contingent of helpers to pursue the escaped Nazis. They also get on the trail of a fortune stashed away by Heinrich Himmler in the hope of financing a Fourth Reich. Newcomers will find this a good entry point, and regular readers will be pleased that the authors have avoided the long-winded prose that’s marred recent entries in the series. Agent: Robert Youdelman, Rember & Curtis. (Dec.)

Reviewed on 12/07/2018 | Details & Permalink

show more
A People’s Future of the United States: Speculative Fiction from 25 Extraordinary Writers

Edited by Victor LaValle and John Joseph Adams. One World, $17 trade paper (432p) ISBN 978-0-525-50880-9

LaValle (The Changeling) and Adams (The Living Dead) present an outstanding collection written by 25 heavy hitters of speculative fiction, offering dazzling and often chilling glimpses of an uncertain future in which America teeters on the brink. In “Calendar Girls” by Justina Ireland, a young black girl arrested for selling illegal contraceptives must provide abortion transport to the daughter of the senator who criminalized contraception. In “Our Aim Is Not to Die” by A. Merc Rustad, an autistic, nonbinary person struggles to survive an oppressive, technofascist society where each quality that marks them as atypical puts them at risk for being “remade” into the “white, male, straight” ideal. In “Riverbed” by Omar El Akkad, a survivor of American Muslim internment returns to the site of her imprisonment to retrieve her slain brother’s possessions and confront America’s Islamophobic ghosts. Each story builds a plausible extrapolation of the current world, and each character is well drawn. This bold collection is full of hope, strength, and courage, and will be welcomed by readers looking for emotional sustenance and validation of their experiences in a challenging time. Agent: Seth Fishman, Gernert Co. (Feb.)

Reviewed on 12/07/2018 | Details & Permalink

show more
Evil Things

Katja Ivar. Bitter Lemon, $14.95 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-1-912242-09-2

Set in Finnish Lapland in 1952 amid the overarching threat of East vs. West conflict, Ivar’s stellar first novel and series launch revolves around two crucial struggles for emancipation—that of the nation of Finland after centuries of foreign rule, and that of Finnish women. Hella Mauzer, the first female Helsinki murder squad detective, is dispatched to a remote Lapland village near the Soviet border by her chauvinistic boss to investigate an old man’s disappearance. Embittered by the death of her entire immediate family during WWII and her recent breakup with her married lover, the 30ish, stiletto-tongued Hella tries to behave professionally like a man, but she defies male authority by using her instinct for detecting half-truths and her compassion for the weak to try to solve what initially appears to be a minor missing person case. With the discovery of the body of a Soviet doctor, it mushrooms into something much more complex involving institutional corruption and international intrigue. The unusual setting and psychologically complex heroine will leave readers eagerly awaiting the next installment. Agent: Marilia Savvides, Peters, Fraser & Dunlop (U.K.). (Feb.)

Reviewed on 12/07/2018 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Night Tiger

Yangsze Choo. Flatiron, $26.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-250-17545-8

Choo (The Ghost Bride) centers her riveting latest on five individuals connected to a series of deaths in Malaysia’s Kinta Valley. In 1930s Malaya, 11-year-old house servant Ren accepts the dying request of his master, Dr. MacFarlane, to find his dismembered finger (it was amputated after an accident) and bury it in his grave. The task must be completed within 49 days or else, according to lore, the doctor’s spirit is doomed to wander Earth forever. Thus Ren begins to work for William Acton, the British surgeon who amputated MacFarlane’s finger years before. As Ren desperately searches Acton’s home and the nearby hospital for the finger, the body of a young woman is discovered, her scattered remains presumably the work of a man-eating tiger. Meanwhile, Ji Lin, a dressmaker’s apprentice who secretly works at a dance hall, happens upon a preserved finger in the possession of an unsavory customer. Ji enlists the help of her step-brother, Shin, to discover the origin of the finger, but uncanny tragedies and mishaps follow in their wake. Mythical creatures, conversations with the dead, lucky numbers, Confucian virtues, and forbidden love provide the backdrop for Choo’s superb murder mystery. Mining the rich setting of colonial Malaysia, Choo wonderfully combines a Holmes-esque plot with Chinese lore. (Feb.)

Reviewed on 12/07/2018 | Details & Permalink

show more
One Thing I Know

Kara Isaac. Howard, $16 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-1-9821-0335-4

Isaac (Then There Was You) offers romance with a slice of deception in this entertaining story of a relationship expert. Rachel Somers is the ghostwriter (and brains) for her aunt, Dr. Donna Somerville, a bestselling author lauded as the top relationship adviser in America. Rachel has even learned to mimic Donna’s voice so she can impersonate her for radio call-ins. Lucas Grant is a rising radio star. He wants to talk football, but his producer insists he take calls from women who want relationship advice. When Donna wants Rachel to do a “Football and Feelings” tour featuring her (or Rachel’s impersonation of her) and Lucas, he reluctantly participates. As Rachel and Lucas work on the project together and romantic sparks fly, Rachel remains reluctant to get close to anyone due to her secret enterprise. But both have alcoholic fathers and feel connected by their stress over money. Both also feel overwhelmed and begin to reconsider their rejection of God. Despite her best efforts to resist, Rachel falls hard for Lucas and shares her secrets, only to discover he disapproves of her lies. However, with the truth finally in the open, Rachel and Lucas can finally get to know each other without impersonation or deception. Isaac’s tale of redemptive duplicity pleases with realistic characters and a surprising finale. (Feb.)

Reviewed on 12/07/2018 | Details & Permalink

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

Password

Log In Lost Password

Parts of this site are only available to paying PW subscribers. Subscribers: to set up your digital access click here.

To subscribe, click here.

PW “All Access” site license members have access to PW’s subscriber-only website content. Simply close and relaunch your preferred browser to log-in. To find out more about PW’s site license subscription options please email: pw@pubservice.com.

If you have questions or need assistance setting up your account please email pw@pubservice.com or call 1-800-278-2991 (U.S.) or 1-818-487-2069 (all other countries), Monday-Friday between 5am and 5pm Pacific time for assistance.

Not Registered? Click here.