Library Journal shared their “Famously Firsts”—recently published or forthcoming debut novels that they are most excited about. Check out their Macmillan picks!
KEY FALL CHILLS
NIGHT OF THE JAGUAR by Joe Gannon
A freelance journalist in Nicaragua during the Sandinista Revolution, the setting of this book, Gannon introduces police captain Ajax Montoya, a revolutionary hero who served in state security but has been forced into homicide investigations. At least he recognizes the execution style of an old enemy at the latest crime scene. “Readers will eagerly await Gannon’s next book” (PW).
NINE DAYS by Minerva Koenig
Living in the witness protection program in Azula, TX, Julia Kalas is surprised to discover that the buildings near the bar where she works are mostly owned by a shell company; she ends up investigating the sheriff’s murder. “Atmospheric and entertaining”; an LJ Mystery Debut of the Month by an architect who once worked as a librarian. (LJ 9/1/14)
WOLF IN WHITE VAN by John Darnielle
A man horribly disfigured in an accident conceives of a mail-in strategy game and discovers that maybe accidents don’t happen after all. Darnielle, who belongs to the indie band the Mountain Goats, offers “beautifully written psychological fiction for sophisticated readers, with not much else like it out there.” (LJ 10/1/14) It’s a National Book Award nominee, too!
THE HEART DOES NOT GROW BACK by Fred Venturini
A high school milquetoast discovers that he can regenerate his organs and limbs and later uses this superpower to save a young woman from her abusive husband. Published by Blank Slate Press in 2011, the novel has gone through substantive revision. Buzzfeed called it one of “15 Highly Anticipated Books from Mostly Small Presses,” and Chuck Palahniuk is a fan.
THEY’VE GOT PRIZES
BAD COUNTRY by CB McKenzie
A retired bronco buster raised on Arizona’s Pascua Yaqui Reservation, PI Rodeo Grace Garnet investigates a surprising string of murders. Winner of the Tony Hillerman Prize and “a master class on how to create a vivid sense of place”; adding to the charm, the Texas-based author is a rhetoric professor who once worked as a male model for Armani. (LJ 10/1/14)
MURDER AT THE BRIGHTWELL by Ashley Weaver
In 1930s England, wealthy Amory Ames has thrown herself into a marriage that’s proving less than satisfactory, as her roguish husband comes and goes as he pleases. So she heads to a seaside resort to help her former fiancé and gets embroiled in a murder investigation. Librarian Weaver has whipped up a delightful British charmer; an October LibraryReads pick.
WINK OF AN EYE by Lynn Chandler Willis
Following a case, Las Vegas PI Michael “Gypsy” Moran ends up in Wink, TX, investigating the suspicious suicide of a former police deputy while engaging in a risky affair with an old flame. Winner of the Minotaur Books/PWA Best First Private Eye Novel Competition, this book delivers “an engrossing story, told with a great eye for the details.” (LJ 10/1/14)
THE PLOUGHMEN by Kim Zupan
Grizzled John Gload is a bullet-hard killer finally captured and awaiting trial in a Montana county jail; he’s guarded by skittish newbie deputy Valentine Millimaki. Surprisingly, the two men establish an uneasy but revealing rapport. A Discover Great New Writers fall pick; “Zupan’s literary future looks exceptionally promising.” (LJ 7/14)