We love debuts. You love debuts. Authors definitely love their debuts. And when reviewers love a debut we get downright giddy.
When DON'T EVER GET OLD, Daniel Friedman's debut Mystery, earned itself two starred reviews right out of the gate we had to pull out the emergency party horns (our buddies in the Academic Marketing Department were not impressed).
Here's the story in a nutshell:
When Buck Schatz, senior citizen and retired Memphis cop, learns that an old adversary may have escaped Germany with a fortune in stolen gold, Buck decides to hunt down the fugitive and claim the loot. But a lot of people want a piece of the stolen treasure, and Buck’s investigation quickly attracts unfriendly attention from a very motley (and murderous) crew.
And here are the reviews:
"In prose as straightforward and tough as old Buck, the plot reveals its secrets with perfect timing. It’s a shock when the killer’s identity is revealed. But, then, we think eventually, who else could it be?" -Booklist (starred review)
"Friedman’s excellent debut introduces a highly unusual hero, 87-year-old, politically incorrect Buck Schatz, a former member of the Memphis PD, who’s become a living legend. Schatz’s memory is less and less reliable, and his physical decline is making his world 'a gradually shrinking circle.' [...] Friedman makes his limited lead plausible, and bolsters the story line with wickedly funny dialogue." -Publishers Weekly (starred review)
UPDATE: DON'T EVER GET OLD now has four(!) starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Booklist, AND Kirkus Reviews!Read more
If you're Philadelphia-bound next month for the Public Library Association Conference, we have some excellent events for you. So whip out those agendas; here's the lineup:
WEDNESDAY March 14th, 10:30AM - 12PM, TBA
Librarian of the Year Nancy Pearl, our lovely Talia, and several other publishing reps will be kicking off the conference with a discussion about some of the best upcoming books for adults. Get the inside scoop from an all-star team of panelists as they discuss which titles you'll want to keep your eye on.
WEDNESDAY March 14th, 4PM - 6:30PM, booth #1540
THURSDAY March 15th, 10:45AM - 12PM, Philadelphia Convention Center room 120 ABC
Meet Kira Peikoff (LIVING PROOF) and other exceptional debut authors during the AAP/Library Journal "The Best in 2012 Debuts!" author panel.
*Don't forget to pick up your complimentary signed copy of LIVING PROOF!
THURSDAY March 15th, 2:30PM, booth #1540
Jane Cleland will be signing copies of her latest mystery, DOLLED UP FOR MURDER, and Hank Phillippi Ryan will be signing chapter excerpts from her latest crime novel, THE OTHER WOMAN. Come say hi!
THURSDAY March 15th, 3:30PM - 5PM, Booklist's booth
Macmillan Mystery authors Lars Kepler (THE NIGHTMARE), Hank Phillippi Ryan (THE OTHER WOMAN), Kira Peikoff (LIVING PROOF), Kathleen George (SIMPLE), Lou Manfredo (RIZZO'S DAUGHTER), Solomon Jones (THE GRAVEDIGGER'S BALL), and Jane Cleland (DOLLED UP FOR MURDER) will be chillin' out in the Booklist booth to chat with other authors and attendees. Join them!
FRIDAY March 16th, 10:45AM - 12PM, Philadelphia Convention Center room 121 ABC
Meet Lars Kepler, pseudonymous co-authors of THE NIGHTMARE, and other bestselling Mystery writers during the AAP/Library Journal "Mystery Authors Revealed!" panel hosted by our very own Talia!
*Don't forget to pick up your complimentary signed copy of Lars Kepler's debut, THE HYPNOTIST!
And finally, please swing by booth #1540 any time you're on the show floor. We'll be giving away some excellent galleys and we're always up for a chat.Read more
Earlier this week, I was lucky enough to steal a few minutes with debut author Amber Dermont whose novel, THE STARBOARD SEA, comes out this month! She opened our conversation with a word about what librarians mean to her.
"I grew up in a library," she said. "My parents are rare book dealers and our house was floor to ceiling bookshelves and first editions. To this day, I still feel most at home lost among the stacks. During high school and college, I worked as a library proctor and apprenticed myself to a series of world-class librarians. These super heroes taught me how to research my stories, check my facts and compile the necessary details that lead me to write my own novel. I am forever in their debt."
And now, on to the interview!
Ali: I would guess that every debut author takes inspiration from other artists, be they authors, musicians, painters, or, say, typographers. Does anyone stick out as a particularly important part of your process?
Amber: Great question! Writers are like magpies thieving for shiny objects, eager for any charm that will help build a better nest. As I began writing THE STARBOARD SEA, I sought inspiration from the painter John Currin and the photographers Tina Barney and Anthony Goicolea. All three of these artists helped me envision the physical and emotional landscapes of the novel: the listless suntanned faces, the splendor of Manhattan penthouses, the caprice of adolescence and the brutal beauty of youth. John Currin often paints society women in sexy, outlandish poses. His portrait of his wife, "Rachel in Fur," served as the muse for my character Brizzey and the redheaded starlet in his masterpiece, "Heartless," helped me bring Diana and Aidan to life. Currin's intimate depiction of two nude sailors, "Fishermen," became a touchstone for Jason's tender and fraught relationship with Cal.Read more
For four months running, Library Journal has been having a bit of a love affair with our mystery debuts. Every Mystery Debut of the Month from July through October has been a superb Minotaur title:
"This highly atmospheric and addictive thriller brings in elements that will entice both crime fiction and fantasy readers." -Library Journal (starred review)
"Yes, this is a true homage to Agatha Christie, but Malliet, like Louise Penny, brings a contemporary freshness to the traditional mystery." -Library Journal (starred review)
"With its rapid pace and wonderfully flawed detective, this vibrant novel has tremendous appeal." -Library Journal (starred review)
"Buckle your seatbelts for an off-road trip full of adrenaline." -Library Journal (starred review)
Excellent picks, Library Journal.Read more
Jason Webster's accomplished debut mystery is set in the high-stakes and decidedly murky world of bullfighting in Valencia, Spain and it's getting great reviews! First, a quick look at what you're getting into:
"Either you kill the bull, or the bull kills you."
Chief Inspector Max Cámara thinks in proverbs, and he hates one thing above all: bullfighting. One hot afternoon in Valencia, however, he has to stand in for his boss, judging a festival corrida starring Spain’s most famous young matador. That night, he is back in the bullring, and what he finds on the blood-stained sand rattles the city of Valencia to its core.
Cámara is roped into investigating a grisly murder while dealing with violent shadows from his own past, as well as confronting the suspiciousness of the bullfighting community and the stonewalling of local politicians in full electoral campaign.
Library Journal gave OR THE BULL KILLS YOU a starred review and named it Debut of the Month saying, "With its rapid pace and wonderfully flawed detective, this vibrant novel has tremendous appeal. Conor Fitzgerald would be a good read-alike; it also would appeal to new fans of Zen (Michael Dibdin’s Italian cop) thanks to the recent PBS Masterpiece Mystery! miniseries starring Rufus Sewell."
Publishers Weekly also gave it a starred review saying, "Webster makes the bullfighting integral to the plot rather than a mere backdrop, effortlessly conveying the role of the sport in Spanish society. The well-rounded lead–cynical, willing to bend the rules, emotionally wounded–should be more than capable of sustaining a long series."Read more
UPDATE: We have sent out all of our IAGO galleys. Enjoy!
We just opened up a box of haunting IAGO galleys and we want you to have one!
David Snodin, British screenwriter/producer and now author, has created an unforgettable adventure beginning where Shakespeare's OTHELLO leaves off.
Wounded in love, tormented by his past, Shakespeare's most complex villain is brought magnificently to life in this tale of two adversaries—one an accused killer; the other, one of the most powerful men in Venice.
Having escaped from Cyprus, accused of the murders of the governor, known as the Moor, and his lovely young wife, Iago is now locked in battle with Annibale Malipiero, known as Il Terribile, the chief inquisitor of Italy's greatest city.
Listen to a clip of Snodin discussing writing IAGO on the book page (duration: 6 minutes).
If you would like a galley of IAGO please send your name, your library, and your full mailing address to Library @ MacmillanUSA.com (subject: IAGO). Galleys will be given away on a first-come, first-served basis until we run out, so if you're interested contact us now!Read more
Today we're featuring a unique and beautiful debut that revolves around questions of privilege, revenge, and forgiveness: THE DUBIOUS SALVATION OF JACK V..
Eleven-year-old Jack V. is the son of an English woman and a Afrikaans man and he grows up in a quiet domestic environment during the in the upheaval of apartheid. When their maid's fifteen-year-old son Percy comes to stay, Jack's life is turned upside-down. Percy is bored, idle, and full of rage. When Percy catches Jack in an indelibly shameful moment, Jack learns that the smallest act of revenge has consequences beyond his imagining.
"Yes, first novelist Strauss delivers a beautifully rendered coming-of-age story that simultaneously unfolds an understanding of life in apartheid South Africa, but what’s most remarkable here is the assured and fluid language. The ending is not melodrama but a quiet, brilliantly controlled bang." -Library Journal
"Teens will be caught by this story of a naive kid in South Africa whose personal experience of apartheid politics moves from oblivious to vicious." -Booklist, recommended to YA readersRead more
In an audio clip (found here), Tillyard offers some insight into her process of deciding to write pure fiction,
"Although I've made a living as a writer of history and historical biography for the last 20 years, I was not trained as a historian, but in literature and art history. I studied English at Oxford and then wrote a PhD about art criticism. After that, I went for a year to Harvard and ended up staying in the U.S., teaching first at Harvard and then at UCLA. In LA I began the book that became ARISTOCRATS about four 18th century sisters. So first and foremost, I've always been a teller of human stories. The history came along with the people I wrote about. After three historical biographies I thought, why not tell a pure story? And also, you've always longed to write fiction and if not now, when?"
"Tillyard is at her best with historical figures and when depicting the era; readers share Harriet’s discovery of the waltz, Jane Austen, and ice cream, and witness cutting-edge battlefield surgeries under real-life Surgeon Gen. James McGrigor." -Publishers Weekly, on TIDES OF WAR
"Told in a somewhat elevated style that simultaneously honors and updates the rhetorical heights of classic Greek histories, Hanson’s novel is both old-fashioned and lively. Given his notable body of work, it’s no wonder that his first fiction effort is rich in authentic detail and narrated with a confident authorial voice. His vigorous narrative not only offers insight into arms and armor, but also into the hearts of the men who bore them." -Publishers Weekly, on THE END OF SPARTARead more
Ten years after 9/11 former New York Times reporter Amy Waldman reimagines its aftermath in THE SUBMISSION.
Kirkus Reviews gave it a starred review and says, "This is a remarkably assured portrait of how a populace grows maddened and confused when ideology trumps empathy. A stellar debut. Waldman’s book reflects a much-needed understanding of American paranoia in the post-9/11 world.”
Booklist calls THE SUBMISSION “THE BONFIRE OF THE VANITIES for our time” in their starred review, and says, "Waldman brilliantly delineates the legacy of 9/11; the confluence of art, religion, and politics; the plexus between the individual and the group; and the glory of transcendent empathy."Read more
Thank you Library Journal for rounding up all of the fantastic pieces of first fiction for the Fall! Why yes, I do love the letter 'F'!
Thelma Adams. Playdate. Thomas Dunne Bks: St. Martin's. Jan.
Paula Brackston. The Witch's Daughter. Thomas Dunne Bks: St. Martin's. Jan.
Keith Hollihan. The Four Stages of Cruelty. Thomas Dunne Bks: St. Martin's. Dec.