Here’s a sampling of new and upcoming books that might well wind up on the to-be-read stack.
The Bungalow: A Novel by Sarah Jio (Plume; December 27, 2011)
We loved The Violets of March by Sarah Jio and thought it was one of the best debut novels of 2011. Now Jio returns with a quite different type of story set in Bora Bora during World War II. Wrote reader Laura Bolin on Amazon: “The Bungalow was an old black and white movie straight out of my grandparent’s generation. I was swept away by Jio’s vivid descriptions and I loved every minute of it.”
Tuesday Night Miracles: A Novel by Kris Radish (Bantam Dell; January 3, 2012)
An entertaining story about an almost-retired counselor who tries to help a group of four women – all of whom have serious pending matters with the legal system – manage their anger issues in court-ordered group counseling sessions. The women will have to graduate from the group in order to return to their normal lives. Oh, and they don’t like each other at all – which means that the counselor is going to have to take some drastic (and perhaps even professionally unethical) actions in order to get them to a kinder and gentler place.
Gun Games: A Novel by Faye Kellerman (William Morrow; January 3, 2012)
Faye Kellerman once again showcases Peter Decker of the Los Angeles Police Department and Rina Lazarus, likely the most popular husband and wife team in modern crime fiction. A series of shocking adolescent suicides at an elite L. A. private school is at the heart of this thriller. As if this isn’t enough, there’s also the fact that Decker and Lazarus have brought a very troubled teenager into their home: Gabriel Whitman, the son of a psychopath.
The Confession: A Novel by Charles Todd (Wm. Morrow; January 12, 2012)
An historical crime novel, continuing Charles Todd’s World War I veteran, and yet still highly effective Scotland Yard Inspector, Ian Rutledge. Rutledge struggles with a startling and dangerous case that reaches far back into the past when a false confession by a man who was not who he claimed to be resulted in a brutal murder.
Immortal Bird: A Family Memoir by Doron Weber (Simon & Schuster; February 7, 2012)
Not to be confused with Anne Lamott’s novel Imperfect Birds, this is a moving memoir about a boy born with a defective heart – located on the right side of his chest – who weathers major heart surgeries before being hit with a highly unique, perhaps untreatable disease. Those who years ago read Death Be Not Proud may be drawn to this account.
Spin: A Novel by Catherine McKenzie (Wm. Morrow; February 7, 2012)
Kate’s an ambitious – if self-damaging – reporter who goes undercover. She enters a drug and alcohol rehab clinic to find out what’s happening with the popular and troubled young actress Amber Shepard. “Imagine if Bridget Jones fell into a million little pieces, flew over the cuckoo’s nest, and befriended Lindsay Lohan along the way…”
The Lola Quartet: A Novel by Emily St. John Mandel (Unbridled Books; May 15, 2012)
We gave a highly recommended rating to Mandel’s 2010 novel The Singer’s Gun, which was as gutsy as it was unique and engaging. Her third novel examines “questions of identity, the deep pull of family, the difficulties of being the person one wants to be, the un-reliability of memory, and the unforeseen ways a small and innocent action can have disastrous consequences.” It’s bound to be worth the price of admission.