Every few days, it seems, we get just a taste of spring—and then the cold and the wet and the winds pick up again, so that it’s back to winter coats, hats, and gloves. Still, that little bit of warmth gives us hope for the summer, when the livin’ is easy and there’s a boatload of new books from the publishers for beach reading. All the usual names are there—Janet Evanovich, James Patterson, Stephen King, Nora Roberts, James Patterson, Dorthea Benton Frank, and James Patterson-- but here are some titles which caught my eye:
The Mockingbird Next Door by Marja Mills is due out in July. Did everybody automatically think of Harper Lee when you saw the title? Since her iconic book To Kill A Mockingbird, Lee virtually owns the word in a literary sense, and yes, this is about Harper Lee. Mills was a journalist for the Chicago Tribune who wanted to get the interview of a lifetime: to talk to the reclusive author. Many journalists have tried and failed; Marja claims to have befriended Lee and her sister and promises to reveal why Harper Lee never wrote another book. There was a bit of controversy when the book was first announced, with a statement being issued that the Lee sisters did NOT cooperate with any book. This was followed by a statement disavowing the denial. I have to admit, this makes me very curious about this book—and I would love to know what Harper Lee thinks of it, too.
Thriller fans have a new Brad Thor book to look forward to this summer, but I can’t tell you the title. Apparently, it’s really hush-hush. It’s still listed as Untitled Thriller #13. Unless, of course, that really IS the title…
Opinion was divided about The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith. Some thought it was a perfectly adequate mystery, others thought it good, and another faction found it rather dull. Then it was revealed that “Robert Galbraith” was really J.K. Rowling and opinions immediately polarized. It was dreadful, it was wonderful, it was the best, it was the worst. Some of the reviewers actually went to the trouble of reading the book, but I’m not sure how many. Anyway, for those who honestly liked it no matter who wrote it, there is a second Cormoran Strike book due out in June. The title is The Silkworm.
We’ve had people on reserve for Greg Iles’ book The Bone Tree for well over a year now. (Actually, I think it’s closer to two years, but let’s not quibble.) After the title was announced, Iles was badly injured in a traffic accident in 2011. The publication date kept being pushed back. Now comes word that Iles’ next book is Natchez Burning, the first book in a trilogy; The Bone Tree is listed as the second volume in the series, with Unwritten Laws as the final book. The trilogy features Penn Cage, the prosecutor from several previous books, including The Devil’s Punchbowl.
Speaking of waiting, it’s been five years since Larry McMurtry’s last book, so fans are more than ready for The Last Kind Words Saloon. An English lord comes to the West to start a cattle ranch. There are appearances by Wyatt Earp, the Clantons, and Doc Holliday, so it sounds as if it should be a lively convergence.
And I was not exaggerating about James Patterson: he has books scheduled for March (NYPD Red 2), May (Unlucky 13), June (Invisible), and August (Private Down Under.)