Shelf Awareness for Readers for Tuesday, July 21, 2015


Pegasus Books: Ravenspur: Rise of the Tudors by Conn Iggulden

From My Shelf

Liveright Publishing Corporation: Women & Power: A Manifesto by Mary Beard

Tarcherperigee: Holiday Must-Haves!

A Warrior on the Eastern Front

A favorite recent read features an unlikely main character and an unlikely author, appropriately for an absorbing mystery. First, the author: one would expect Ben Pastor, not a pen name, to be a man, perhaps a pious fellow. But Ben is short for Verbena, an Italian woman born Maria Verbena Volpi who many years ago married an American officer and moved to the U.S. A professor of the classics, she now lives in Italy and has a fascination for "the warrior's life, past and present," as she puts it.

Writing in English, Pastor has published historical novels set in Roman times as well as the Martin Bora series, which, in another unlikely twist, features a Wehrmacht major working for the Abwehr, German counterintelligence, during World War II. Bora is from an aristocratic, conservative family that prizes military service.

The most recent book in the series published here is Tin Sky, from Bitter Lemon Press. Set in spring 1943 in Ukraine, a few months after the Battle of Stalingrad, Tin Sky is a fascinating, gritty tale, focused on the seemingly coincidental deaths in German jails of two Red Army generals--one a defector, the other a captive--as well as a forest near Kharkov that locals claim has been haunted for the past 20 years, and the challenge for Bora of living true to his moral values in the midst of Nazi evil. Bora is reminiscent of Count Claus von Stauffenberg, who nearly killed Hitler with a bomb in 1944. But Pastor says Bora is more like Oskar Schindler, considering Bora's "daring, daily acts of disobedience to criminal orders.... Bora is not so much a man against as he is an individual whose education clashes with the prevailing views of the culture around him." He's also a fascinating character in a pivotal time--and well worth the read. --John Mutter, editor-in-chief, Shelf Awareness


SFI Readerlink Dist: Star Wars: The Last Jedi: Bomber Command by Jason Fry, illustrated by Cyril Nouvel


Book Candy

If Video Games Infiltrated Literary Classics

Quirk Books explored the possibilities "if vintage video games infiltrated literary classics."

---

Mental Floss revealed "15 mysterious facts about The Hardy Boys."

---

"For everyone who misses the space on their bedside table," Buzzfeed shared "29 pictures only book lovers will understand."

---

IndieReader recommended "7 Tropically Themed Indie Titles for More Fun in the Sun."

---

Bustle found "7 inventions for techie book lovers, from apps to reading lamps."


G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Wanted by Robert Crais


The Writer's Life

Mitch Cullin: Disembarkation Point

Mitch Cullin was born in Santa Fe, N.Mex, and grew up in West Texas. His first novel, Whompyjawed, drew upon those experiences. Branches, his second novel, about an elderly West Texas sheriff, is told in short, uneven lines of print, with illustrations. His third novel, Tideland, also set in West Texas, garnered wide critical acclaim; it's been described as a cross between Psycho and Alice in Wonderland. His novel A Slight Trick of the Mind was published in 2006 by Anchor and has now been made into a movie, Mr. Holmes, just released. Cullin is also the author of the story collection From the Place in the Valley Deep in the Forest. He lives in Arcadia, Calif., and Tokyo, Japan, with his partner, artist and filmmaker Peter I. Chang.

A Slight Trick of the Mind has recently been made into a film about Sherlock Holmes in old age, Mr. Holmes, starring Ian McKellen and directed by Bill Condon of Gods and Monsters, Chicago and Dreamgirls fame. How did the novel come about?

David Bowie told me to do it in a dream. Seriously, though, I always wanted to create my own take on Sherlock Holmes since I was a boy, but it wasn't until my father began showing signs of memory loss that I felt the need to explore the character as someone following the same trajectory as my dad. That is why themes of memory, and how memory defines us, are integral to the story, as is the underlying motif of lost father figures.

How did the book become a movie?

Well, it was a 10-year journey. In fact, the book was optioned for film before it was ever published, way back in 2003 or 2004. Over the years, it has been lurking there as an almost-project that never quite took off, so I didn't think much about it, to be honest. It's easier that way. So when I did get the call back in 2012 that McKellen was aboard, I had to stay mum, cross my fingers and hold my breath until it was officially announced in late 2013.

Were you involved in the screenplay?

Not at all, and by choice. I did read several of Jeffrey Hatcher's drafts of the script over the years, and I always offered my notes and general thoughts. However, the book is the book, and the film is the film, so I felt that my job had already been done long ago.

Did you get to visit the set?

I did, yes, while they were shooting in England last summer. That was a lot of fun. It was absolutely surreal to be in the presence of McKellen as Holmes, and stranger still to hear him speaking words at the manor house where Queen Elizabeth the First was born and to realize then that I wrote those specific lines in a rundown apartment in Tucson, Arizona.

How do you feel about the final product? Were you sorry to see your original book title changed?

I'm beyond pleased with the film. It really is a wonderful movie, and I won't be surprised one bit if McKellen is nominated for an Oscar. The title change doesn't bother me at all, especially since I was consulted and involved in picking the new name. In fact, for years the title of the French edition of the book has been Les Abeilles de monsieur Holmes, or The Bees of Mr. Holmes, so name changes aren't anything new. Plus, I think Mr. Holmes makes a nice counterpoint to Benedict Cumberbatch's younger Sherlock of PBS fame.

A few years ago Terry Gilliam adapted your novel Tideland, starring Jeff Bridges, into a film. Was that experience different from the filming of Mr. Holmes?

The process is the same in that I took a hands-off approach where the film was concerned. The main difference, perhaps, was that I was consulted regularly by Terry Gilliam about various ideas and, of course, I did have a wee cameo in Tideland and I did co-write a couple of songs that appeared in the movie. That said, Mr. Holmes went through several directors and actors before settling on Condon and McKellen. Tideland, on the other hand, was always Gilliam's twisted feral child.

You started out publishing with small presses and then were picked up by a major New York house. Tell us about that.

Well, the most obvious difference between the two is that with the larger house there was more money involved. Yet with the smaller presses there was always a sense of flying under the radar with a pretty devoted crew. With the bigger houses, a writer is nothing more than an abstract commodity that can be written off if a given book fails to meet its expectations. With the smaller presses, you might be afforded a second chance or even a third chance if the reviews are good though the book doesn't sell that well. With the bigger houses things are very impersonal, and with the smaller presses, a writer sometimes has to deal with the oversized egos of control-freak little publishers, and vice versa, and it can get very personal.

What's next on your schedule, a Holmes sequel?

I think ol' Sherlock & I have split for good, amicably though. I have done what I wanted with him and, while I've been asked to revive my version of the character several times, to do more would be forced and less organic in nature. Plus, what else could I do with him other than have him decompose in a chair? I suppose I could say the same thing about my career as a novelist. It has run its course, and I'm ready to move on to other creative efforts, such as photography and photo essays. The highs, for me, as a fiction writer have been wonderful, but the lows have been awful, at best. I think Mr. Holmes is a nice disembarkation point for me to walk off the stage with a perfect sense of completion as a novelist. --Tom Lavoie, former publisher


Bonhomie Press: The Murderer's Maid: A Lizzie Borden Novel by Erika Mallman


Book Review

Fiction

Newport

by Jill Morrow


Newport opens in 1921, with attorney Adrian de la Noye en route to Newport from Boston to draft a new will for his long-time client and friend, Bennett Chapman. Chapman is engaged to a much younger woman; his adult children are opposing the new will and questioning his fiancée's motives for marrying their aging father. Jill Morrow (The Open Channel) reinvents the age-old trope of a gold-digging bride and disappointed heirs by adding in an unexpected twist: Chapman has determined that he must marry this woman because the ghost of his first wife has instructed him to do so.

Of course, Chapman's insistence on his late wife's presence is enough to make anyone question his sanity--but in a time when séances and mysticism were very popular in some circles, Adrian and his apprentice, Jim, decide to hear the man out. Without knowing how much is real and how much is show, the group holds séances to commune with Chapman's late wife, which reveal much about the bride to be--and, unexpectedly, even more about the man Adrian once was.

Morrow has crafted a complicated mystery in Newport, though not of the typical whodunit variety. "There were enough secrets around [the house] to keep even Harry Houdini scratching his head in an effort to sort them all out," she writes. Readers will delight in trying to sort out those very secrets alongside Adrian, Chapman and a Newport-sized household full of strange company. Morrow has done an impressive job of pulling together various stories and threads into a cohesive and fast-paced novel of love and regret. --Kerry McHugh, blogger at Entomology of a Bookworm

Discover: A story of secrets, mysticism and a contested will, set in 1920s Newport.

Morrow, $14.99, paperback, 9780062375858

Crown Publishing Group: American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West by Nate Blakeslee


The Girl Who Wrote in Silk

by Kelli Estes


The daughter of a successful Seattle businessman, Inara Erickson has planned to follow her father into international business. But when her aunt Dahlia dies, Inara inherits the family's rural estate on Orcas Island and makes a startling discovery. Hidden under a loose stair tread is a richly embroidered robe sleeve of blue silk, depicting scenes full of Chinese symbolism that seem to tell a story. Fascinated by the sleeve's beauty, Inara digs into its history and discovers a connection to Liu Mei Lien, a Chinese woman who lived on Orcas Island more than a century earlier.

In her debut novel, The Girl Who Wrote in Silk, Kelli Estes stitches a compelling dual narrative. Her depiction of 1880s Seattle draws on the well-documented eviction of hundreds of Chinese people from their homes and businesses throughout Washington State. Left entirely alone, Mei Lien manages to build a life for herself, but is haunted by her family's tragic fate. Meanwhile, Inara falls in love with the Chinese American history professor who helps her research Mei Lien's embroidery--but their relationship is jeopardized when Inara uncovers a shameful family secret. Inara is also working to transform Aunt Dahlia's old house into a boutique hotel, but she must convince her father (her primary investor) that she's capable of fulfilling her dream.

Though readers may predict the end of Inara's story, the historical narrative offers many more surprises. Like the multicolored silks on Mei Lien's sleeve, the novel's two stories eventually blend together to form a harmonious whole. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

Discover: A richly embroidered silk robe sleeve found in an old farmhouse forges a surprising link between 1880s and present-day Seattle.

Sourcebooks Landmark, $14.99, paperback, 9781492608332

Indiana University Press: UFOs, Chemtrails, and Aliens: What Science Says by Donald R. Prothero and Timothy D. Callahan


The Anger Meridian

by Kaylie Jones


Merryn is up late at night, awaiting and fearing her husband's drunken homecoming, when she opens the door to find two policemen announcing that he has been killed in a car accident. She quickly bundles up their nine-year-old daughter, the precocious Tenney, and leaves Dallas, Tex., for her mother's home in San Miguel de Allende, in central Mexico.

The rest of Kaylie Jones's striking novel, The Anger Meridian, is set in San Miguel, where Merryn's mother, Bibi, presides over an opulent home and her frightened daughter's life. As Merryn struggles to navigate her husband's legacy (the FBI has followed her to Mexico to investigate his business dealings) and her and Tenney's future, she has the opportunity to confront many dishonesties, including her own. Lying is one of The Anger Meridian's central themes.

The tone of Jones's writing quivers with tension from the opening page. Merryn is traumatized, anxious, grinds her teeth at night; she behaves like an abuse victim. But where does her damage come from? And whom should she--and the reader--trust? A handsome American expat doctor, a lawyer friend of the family, a local yoga teacher, the members of Bibi's entourage and clever Tenney each offer different angles on Merryn's life. In the end, there are several puzzles to untangle in this lovely, finely plotted novel, which highlights colorful San Miguel and the complexities of family, loyalty and honesty. The Anger Meridian is at once a suspenseful mystery and a superlatively gripping story of self-discovery. --Julia Jenkins, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Discover: A newly widowed woman is forced to face her own secrets, in vibrant San Miguel de Allende.

Akashic, $26.95, hardcover, 9781617753503

Mystery & Thriller

The Insect Farm

by Stuart Prebble


Stuart Prebble's U.S. debut, The Insect Farm, follows the lives of two devoted brothers, Jonathan and Roger. As boys, they were close, but as they enter adulthood they develop separate passions. Jonathan is obsessed with his stunning, brilliant wife, Harriet, and deeply, disturbingly jealous of the attentions she receives from other men. Roger is consumed with his intricate collection of insect tanks and habitats, housed in a garden shed, where he goes to lose himself for hours on end. Roger is mentally handicapped, and ability in caring for the insect farm is much greater than his abilities in other areas of his life.

When their family circumstances change, Jonathan leaves university to care for Roger, putting Harriet at a distance since she stays in school. From this point, a series of misfortunes and accidents raises faint questions about the minds of each brother, as they age together in quiet companionship.

This unsettling story is told in Jonathan's retrospective voice, as he looks back on the tragedies that have befallen his family. While each brother is a complex and subtly disconcerting character, this dubious point of view obscures them somewhat, and the reader's suspicions accumulate.

Suspenseful and ominous, The Insect Farm sketches a world of unstable truths, while posing questions about memory, relationships, perception and intuition. Through Jonathan's shifting narration, Prebble skillfully evokes an increasingly unnerving atmosphere, as it gradually becomes clear how little each brother really understands about the other--and about himself. --Julia Jenkins, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Discover: A disquieting puzzle starring two odd but loving brothers with distinct fixations.

Mulholland Books, $26, hardcover, 9780316337366

Science Fiction & Fantasy

Aurora

by Kim Stanley Robinson


A multi-generational starship heads to Tau Ceti, a star system 11.9 light-years away. Shaped like two giant wheels with spokes, the ship is made up of biomes named for familiar places they most resemble: Nova Scotia, Siberia, Costa Rica.

Though traveling through space, the colonists age as they would on Earth. Freya is the young daughter of the ship's lead engineer, Devi, and her husband, Badim. Their family has known only life aboard their vessel. Devi problem solves and fixes everything that breaks down on the long 200-year voyage out to Tau Ceti; she is much needed. Freya--a third-generation colonist--is a little slow mentally, but kind. As she matures into a young woman, she wanders throughout the ship, meeting everyone, becoming as well known as her prickly, hyper-intelligent mother, who is also helping educate the ship's A.I. to become self-aware.

When the colonists arrive at their destination, the moon Aurora, they discover that they cannot survive there. Freya's wandering has endeared her to a large group of the colonists, and she leads one faction of the dwindling population back toward Earth, with new research from the home planet to help the ship get there safely; other groups choose to travel to nearby planets, set to hunker down and terraform across hundreds, if not thousands, of years.

Kim Stanley Robinson (Shaman) weaves Aurora into a thoughtful, intricate, highly scientific story of interplanetary colonization based on the physics of our own universe, yet never loses sight of the very real social dramas contained in this spacefaring microcosm of human life. --Rob LeFebvre, freelance writer and editor

Discover: A highly engaging science fiction novel of plausible interplanetary space exploration.

Orbit, $26, hardcover, 9780316098106

Food & Wine

Everyday Detox: 100 Easy Recipes to Remove Toxins, Promote Gut Health, and Lose Weight Naturally

by Megan Gilmore


Everyday Detox recognizes, "With all of the hype surrounding the latest celebrity diets and weight-loss products, we are bombarded daily with conflicting health news--leaving us generally baffled about what to eat." Megan Gilmore (aka the Detoxinista) believes "detox" means ridding the body of toxins (drugs, alcohol, processed foods, BPA, refined sugars and chemical additives) and she transforms the overwhelming into attainable by focusing on what everyone agrees works: "Consistently eating real, unprocessed foods is the key to naturally detoxifying and uncovering the body you've always desired."

Gilmore's recipes optimize digestion (which requires more energy than any other function in the body) and remove toxins gently without fasting, juicing or calorie counting. Food is categorized into fresh fruit, starches, animal protein and nuts, seeds and dried fruit. Optimal digestion occurs when we eat only one category per meal (in addition to unlimited non-starchy vegetables), and then wait 3-4 hours before switching categories. This plan encourages nutrient absorption, portion control and caloric intake, yet discourages deprivation. Recipes include No-Bake Coconut Granola Bars, Cinnamon Coffee Cake with Macaroon Crumbles and Banana Coconut Muffins for breakfast; Cheesy Garlic & Herb Cauliflower Mash, Crispy Zucchini Chips and Curried Sweet Potato Bisque for side dishes; and Quinoa Mushroom Burgers, Cheesy Jalapeño Casserole, Cauliflower Fried "Rice" and Creamy Pumpkin & Sage Pasta for entrees. Gilmore believes the "all or nothing" approach of diets and other fads is not sustainable--or effective. Instead of giving up foods, she recommends focusing on the quality of the foods and how we eat them. --Kristen Galles from Book Club Classics

Discover: The benefits of eating the foods you love--just not at the same time.

Ten Speed Press, $19.99, paperback, 9781607747222

History

Vendetta: Bobby Kennedy Versus Jimmy Hoffa

by James Neff


In Vendetta: Bobby Kennedy Versus Jimmy Hoffa, investigative journalist James Neff (The Wrong Man) looks at the tumultuous events of the '50s and '60s through the prism of a decades-long feud between two powerful, diametrically opposed men. Bobby Kennedy came into contact with the famously mob-connected labor leader Jimmy Hoffa during his time as chief council of the Senate Labor Rackets Committee, where he earned his enduring reputation for ruthlessness by publicly dressing down men like Hoffa. Later, as Attorney General, his fixation on Hoffa grew, eventually evolving from a grudge to a crusade. Hoffa, for his part, claimed persecution and struck back in devious--and frequently criminal--ways.

Neff skillfully manufactures a narrative out of the political posturing and legal maneuvering that made up the bulk of this feud by emphasizing the personal dislike the men developed for each other. To Hoffa, Kennedy was a holier-than-thou scold, a patrician who looked down on Hoffa's lower-class manners and upbringing. To Kennedy, Hoffa was a blustering bully. Neff succeeds in describing how their clashing personalities led to conflict on a national scale.

Vendetta is full of fascinating depictions of corruption and political pressure, but its real draw lies in the titanic personal struggle at its center. That struggle acquires a cinematic flair as each man's fortunes rise and fall dramatically, with each of their lives ending in such a way as to fuel retroactive mythmaking. Neff tells a compelling real-life story about men who have acquired the patina of legends. --Hank Stephenson, bookseller, Flyleaf Books

Discover: A historical feud of epic proportions between two powerful leaders.

Little, Brown, $28, hardcover, 9780316738347

The Art of Forgery: The Minds, Motives and Methods of the Master Forgers

by Noah Charney


Noah Charney (Stealing the Mystic Lamb) is an art historian with a special interest in art crime. The Art of Forgery collects stories of forgers throughout history, organized into chapters by their various motivations, with beautiful and informative illustrations on almost every page.

The forgers themselves include partnerships and large workshops as well as individual artists. Some of the forgeries are wonderfully convincing, some much less so, but Charney explains the difficulty of authentication in many cases, and also how powerful the desire to believe a forgery can be. Wishful thinking and fear for their own reputations can motivate collectors, dealers and art experts to defend a suspect work. Even when the truth comes out, a forger may be greeted with admiration. Michelangelo began his career with a forged sculpture, and when it was discovered, the buyer became his first patron. Eric Hebborn created and sold hundreds of "old master" drawings, then wrote two popular books about it and was never charged. Lothar Malskat was so outraged when no one would believe his confession, he sued himself for fraud to prove his case.

Charney emphasizes fine painting, drawing and sculpture, but also glances at the falsification of furniture, wines, fossils, historic documents and religious relics. Most cases affected only the art world and wealthy collectors, but a few had serious and even dangerous political and religious effects.

This is a thorough introduction to the subject by an expert--a fascinating book for lovers of art and (mostly) bloodless crime. --Sara Catterall

Discover: An entertaining, well-illustrated history of master forgers in the art world and beyond.

Phaidon Press, $35, hardcover, 9780714867458

Children's & Young Adult

Wait

by Antoinette Portis


With just three words spoken over the span of a walk to the train platform, Antoinette Portis (Not a Box) shows how a child teaches an adult to pause and appreciate the moment.

"Hurry!" says a woman, glancing at her watch and leading a boy by the hand down the sidewalk. The child spies a Dachshund. On the next page, he says, "Wait." He bends down to let the dog smell his hand. "Hurry!" repeats the woman, as they walk past a blue truck with a fish pattern, and approach a construction site. "Wait" reads the text on the next double-page spread, as the boy waves to a worker who's filling in a pothole. The book's genius design, in alternating spreads, plays up the energy of the adult intent on reaching her destination--the exclamation point, the italicized text, the crowded double-page spreads--and that of the observant child pausing to take in his surroundings. Portis rewards readers who, like the boy hero, linger. The truck with the fish motif shows up a few pages later in front of a fish store. (A striped fish matches the boy's T-shirt.) As the adult urges the child to "Hurry!" past an ice cream truck, he points out a rainbow Popsicle stick ("Wait."), a foreshadowing of the book's climax.

Portis quickens the pace when rain arrives. "Hurry!" comes three times in a row. But the child tugs back ("Wait") to show his adult companion (who introduces the third word) a miracle of nature: "Yes. Wait." --Jennifer M. Brown, children's editor, Shelf Awareness

Discover: A nearly wordless picture book stars an adult in a hurry and the child who teaches her to wait.

Neal Porter/Roaring Brook, $16.99, hardcover, 32p., ages 3-6, 9781596439214

Woundabout

by Lev Rosen, illus. by Ellis Rosen


In Lev Rose's engaging illustrated middle-grade novel, Woundabout, orphaned siblings process their grief by solving the hidden mystery of their new hometown.

Connor and Cordelia King, ages 11 and nine, are orphaned when an accident kills their parents. Along with Kit, their pet capybara ("like very large guinea pigs with only slightly better table manners"), they're placed under the guardianship of their nearest relative, the distant and mysterious Aunt Marigold. They quickly befriend her butler, Gray, and begin to explore the staid town of Woundabout, where no one varies their routine and questions are discouraged. "We all decided a long time ago that change is something to be avoided. It usually brings pain." While adjusting to their new home, they discover Aunt Marigold is not distant, as they had believed, but instead emotionally paralyzed by her own loss. As they bond, they begin to heal and process their grief together. But Connor and Cordelia are curious children, and soon discover that there's a mystery beneath Woundabout, concealed by the town's mayor--he's lost a secret artifact that helps him control the town and avoid change. Solving the mystery at the heart of Woundabout may prove to be the cathartic push toward a new normal that the whole family needs.

Siblings Lev and Ellis Rosen collaborate on an imaginative tale with abundant illustrations throughout, including several full-page pieces. The story features the perspectives of both Conner and Cordelia, making it accessible to girls and boys alike. A thoughtful novel about the process of moving on after tragedy. --Jessica Bushore, former public librarian and freelance writer

Discover: A brother and sister work through grief and make friends while solving the mystery surrounding their new hometown.

Little, Brown, $17, hardcover, 288p., ages 8-12, 9780316370783

Pets

Dogs on Cape Cod

by Kim Roderiques


Relatively few lucky pups get to romp on the beach, so photographer Kim Roderiques has shared the unleashed joy of canines captured in mid-frolic in Dogs on Cape Cod.

A celebration both of dogs and the natural beauty of the Cape--its beaches, gardens, dunes, grasses and glowing ambience--Roderiques's settings are perfect frames for the more than 200 dogs pictured, some captured in joyful play, others posing for portraits.

Elegant purebreds (a trio of British cream golden retrievers, a pair of pulis, a quintet of West Highland white terriers and more) dominate the images, but numerous mixed-breeds share the pages, underscoring a mission of the full-color oversized volume: a portion of the proceeds from sales goes to the Animal Rescue League of Boston's Brewster shelter.

Occasional literary quotes celebrate man's best friend. "Dogs are a link to paradise," reminds Milan Kundera. A line from poet Mary Oliver captions a photo of Irish setters in golden grasses: "of all the sights I love in this world--and there are plenty--very near the top of the list is this one: dogs without leashes."

A useful reference to dog breeds, a vicarious vacation to coastal Massachusetts and a stunning collection of portraiture and nature photography, Dogs on Cape Cod is a warm, enjoyable coffee-table book, and would be especially at home in a cottage by a bay. --Cheryl Krocker McKeon, manager, Book Passage, San Francisco

Discover: More than 200 dogs play or pose amidst the natural beauty of Cape Cod.

Hummingbird Books, $29.95, hardcover, 9780692300893

Poetry

Turning into Dwelling

by Christopher Gilbert


Christopher Gilbert's poetry collection Turning into Dwelling is part of the Graywolf Poetry Re/View series edited by Mark Doty, which brings essential books of contemporary American poetry back into print. This edition includes Gilbert's only published collection, the Walt Whitman Award-winning Across the Mutual Landscape (1984), plus an unpublished manuscript he finished shortly before his death in 2007.

In his penetrating introduction, Terrance Hayes describes Gilbert as an formalist, a jazzman, a bluesman. He was born in Alabama but moved early on to Lansing, Mich., "tribal families driven north/ to neighborhoods stacked like boxes," the radio "air waves politely segregated." He wanted to work in an "honest groove." As a psychotherapist who taught psychology, Gilbert found time to write poetry "between breaths" (quoted in Contemporary Authors Online).

His poetry often wrestles with the burden of fraught racial markers: "the anguish of my Black block rises up in me/ like a grief. My only chance to go beyond... is to speak up for the public which has birthed me." In "The 'The,' " he writes, "Walking home I am a/ you you you you you, a/ bad dream" who encounters "a ghost hand from a man/ who says he's Lazarus,/ who quotes Langston Hughes, whose black/ body is so black it's pre-/ African, it's purple, it's bruise/ set on a set of bones." Overlooked by society and many other poets (even Hayes didn't know his work at first), this collection resuscitates a previously quiet black poetic voice whose time has surely come. --Tom Lavoie, former publisher

Discover: A powerful, essential black poet who has been overlooked for far too long.

Graywolf, $16, paperback, 9781555977139

The Wanted
by Robert Crais
ISBN-13: 9780399161506
G.P. Putnam's Sons
12/26/2017


an exclusive interview with bestselling author Robert Crais
 

In your long-running Elvis Cole/Joe Pike series, your characters are pulled into a dark underworld of high-stakes robbery, double-crosses, and murder.  What was the moment of inspiration for THE WANTED?

“It’s always about a character moment. In this book, I think it was the notion of Elvis realizing that he’s at a point in his life where personally all he has to show for himself is his cat. Now that in and of itself doesn’t lead to any kind of a story, but I think about these characters a lot. I mean, Elvis and Joe, the first book, was published in 1987. They’re sort of like roommates; they’re shadow figures behind the plant in my office. I guess I was seeing Elvis being in a very thoughtful, introspective mood. And his cat, who’s a main character in the book, walks in and one line came to me in that moment. And it’s Elvis saying, ‘I don’t have kids, I have a cat.’ Here’s this man, Elvis Cole, alone in his A-frame one night, and that just moved me so deeply and in that moment my heart almost broke. It’s emotional hooks like that that really go in deep for me and drive me to chase stories.”

 Read the rest of the interview here.

 

ALSO FEATURED ON THE the big THRILL…

A-LIST by D. P. LYLE: In this witty suspense novel, PI Jake Longly and Nicole Jamison head to New Orleans at the behest of Nicole's uncle, movie producer Charles Balfour, when his megastar, A-list actor Kirk Ford, awakens in his hotel bed with the body of Kristi Guidry, a local college coed, and remembers nothing of the night before. Read more at The Big Thrill.

STRONG TO THE BONE by JON LAND: In the latest in the critically acclaimed Caitlin Strong series, the Texas Ranger finds herself pursuing the killer her father never caught in the most personal case of her career—a conspiracy stretching from a Nazi POW camp in 1944 Texas to a modern-day neo-Nazi gang. Find out more here.

SEEDS OF REVENGE by WENDY TYSON: In a holiday whodunit, Megan Sawyer, determined to farm year-round, braves a December snowstorm to pitch her fresh greenhouse greens to Philadelphia chefs, but reuniting with an old friend leads Megan on a cryptic trail of clues, and sends her into danger from a killer who’s getting too close. Learn more at The Big Thrill.

BLOOD RUN by JAMIE FREVELETTI: In the new novel from international bestseller Freveletti, biochemist Emma Caldridge joins Jackson Rand, pharmaceutical CEO, on a humanitarian mission to deliver vaccines to remote villages in Africa. But after narrowly escaping a crew of trained assassins, Emma realizes that there is more to this mission than she anticipated. Visit The Big Thrill for more. 

THE ETERNA SOLUTION by Leanna RENEE HIEBER: In the conclusion of her gaslamp fantasy series, Hieber brings Victorian London and New York to life and fills both cities with ghosts and monsters. Two groups of paranormally talented investigators discover that the Eterna compound—thought to be the key to immortality—is, instead, a powerful protective charm. Read more here.

Powered by: Xtenit