Winter Book Preview: January 2014 Part II

Yesterday, I shared with you the first half of the books I’m really looking forward to in January.  January is such a big month in books I had to split the list in two!  Like with yesterday’s post, these are listed by date of publication and include the publisher’s summary.  Enjoy!

Before We Met by Lucie Whitehouse (January 21): Hannah, independent, headstrong, and determined not to follow in the footsteps of her bitterly divorced mother, has always avoided commitment. But one hot New York summer she meets Mark Reilly, a fellow Brit, and is swept up in a love affair that changes all her ideas about what marriage might mean. Now, living in their elegant, expensive London townhouse and adored by her fantastically successful husband, she knows she was right to let down her guard. But when Mark does not return from a business trip to the U.S. and when the hours of waiting for him stretch into days, the foundations of Hannah’s certainty begin to crack. Why do Mark’s colleagues believe he has gone to Paris not America? Why is there no record of him at his hotel? And who is the mysterious woman who has been telephoning him over the last few weeks? Hannah begins to dig into her husband’s life, uncovering revelations that throw into doubt everything she has ever believed about him. As her investigation leads her away from their fairytale romance into a place of violence and fear she must decide whether the secrets Mark has been keeping are designed to protect him or protect her . . .
Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen (January 21): Suley, Georgia, is home to Lost Lake Cottages and not much else.  Which is why it’s the perfect place for newly-widowed Kate and her eccentric eight-year-old daughter Devin to heal.  Kate spent one memorable childhood summer at Lost Lake, had her first almost-kiss at Lost Lake, and met a boy named Wes at Lost Lake.  It was a place for dreaming.  But Kate doesn’t believe in dreams anymore, and her Aunt Eby, Lost Lake’s owner, wants to sell the place and move on.  Lost Lake’s magic is gone.  As Kate discovers that time has a way of standing still at Lost Lake can she bring the cottages—and her heart—back to life?  Because sometimes the things you love have a funny way of turning up again.  And sometimes you never even know they were lost . . . until they are found. 

Snowblind by Christopher Golden (January 21): “It will bring a blizzard to your bones (and your heart) even in the middle of July.  Throw away all those old ‘it was a dark and stormy night’ novels; this one is the real deal.” —Stephen King. SNOWBLIND is a thrilling contemporary ghost story with both horror and heart.  The small New England town of Coventry is haunted by its memories of a deadly winter… in which loved ones were lost, families torn apart, and a town buried in a terrible blizzard.  Now, twelve years later, the people plagued by their memories of that storm are haunted once again as a new storm approaches, promising to wreak new havoc. Old ghosts trickle back, and this storm will prove even more terrifying and deadly than the last.  With richly textured characters, scarred and haunted by the ghosts of those they loved most, Snowblind reinvents the ghost story for today’s world.  Spellbinding in scope and rooted deeply in classic storytelling, Christopher Golden has written a chilling masterpiece that is the best work of his career and a standout supernatural thriller. 

 
 

The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness (January 23): George Duncan is an American living and working in London. At forty-eight, he owns a small print shop, is divorced, and is lonelier than he realizes. All of the women with whom he has relationships eventually leave him for being too nice. But one night he is waked by an astonishing sound—a terrific keening, which is coming from somewhere in his garden. When he investigates he finds a great white crane, a bird taller than himself. It has been shot through the wing with an arrow. Moved more than he can say, George struggles to take out the arrow from the bird’s wing, saving its life before it flies away into the night sky. The next morning, a shaken George tries to go about his daily life, retreating to the back of his store and making cuttings from discarded books—a harmless personal hobby—when a woman walks through the front door of the shop. Her name is Kumiko, and she asks George to help her with her own artwork. George is dumbstruck by her beauty and her enigmatic nature and begins to fall desperately in love with her. She seems to hold the potential to change his entire life, if he could only get her to reveal the secret of who she is and why she has brought her artwork to him. Witty, magical, and romantic, The Crane Wife is a story of passion and sacrifice that resonates on the level of dream and myth. It is a novel that celebrates the creative imagination and the disruptive power of love

 


North of Boston by Elizabeth Elo (January 23): Elisabeth Elo’s debut novel introduces Pirio Kasparov, a Boston-bred tough-talking girl with an acerbic wit and a moral compass that points due north. When the fishing boat Pirio is on is rammed by a freighter, she finds herself abandoned in the North Atlantic. Somehow, she survives nearly four hours in the water before being rescued by the Coast Guard. But the boat’s owner and her professional fisherman friend, Ned, is not so lucky. Compelled to look after Noah, the son of the late Ned and her alcoholic prep school friend, Thomasina, Pirio can’t shake the lurking suspicion that the boat’s sinking—and Ned’s death—was no accident. It’s a suspicion seconded by her deeply cynical, autocratic Russian father, who tells her that nothing is ever what it seems. Then the navy reaches out to her to participate in research on human survival in dangerously cold temperatures. With the help of a curious journalist named Russell Parnell, Pirio begins unraveling a lethal plot involving the glacial whaling grounds off Baffin Island. In a narrow inlet in the arctic tundra, Pirio confronts her ultimate challenge: to trust herself.  A gripping literary thriller, North of Boston combines the atmospheric chills of Jussi Adler-Olsen with the gritty mystery of Laura Lippman. And Pirio Kasparov is a gutsy, compellingly damaged heroine with many adventures ahead.

The Orphan Choir by Sophie Hannah (January 28): Louise Beeston is haunted. Louise has no reason left to stay in the city. She can’t see her son, Joseph, who is away at boarding school where he performs in a prestigious boys’ choir. Her troublesome neighbor has begun blasting choral music at all hours of the night—and to make matters worse, she’s the only one who can hear it. Hoping to find some peace, Louise convinces her husband, Stuart, to buy them a country house in an idyllic, sun-dappled community called Swallowfield. But it seems that the haunting melodies of the choir have followed her there. Against the pleas and growing disquiet of her husband, Louise starts to suspect that this sinister choir is not only real, but a warning. But of what? And how can it be, when no one else can hear it? In The Orphan Choir, Sophie Hannah brings us along on a darkly suspenseful investigation of obsession, loss, and the malevolent forces that threaten to break apart a loving family.

Ripper by Isabel Allende (January 28): The Jackson women, Indiana and Amanda, have always had each other. Yet, while their bond is strong, mother and daughter are as different as night and day. Indiana, a beautiful holistic healer, is a free-spirited bohemian. Long divorced from Amanda’s father, she’s reluctant to settle down with either of the men who want her-Alan, the wealthy scion of one of San Francisco’s elite families, and Ryan, an enigmatic, scarred former Navy SEAL. While her mom looks for the good in people, Amanda is fascinated by the dark side of human nature, like her father, the SFPD’s Deputy Chief of Homicide. Brilliant and introverted, the MIT-bound high school senior is a natural-born sleuth addicted to crime novels and Ripper, the online mystery game she plays with her beloved grandfather and friends around the world. When a string of strange murders occurs across the city, Amanda plunges into her own investigation, discovering, before the police do, that the deaths may be connected. But the case becomes all too personal when Indiana suddenly vanishes. Could her mother’s disappearance be linked to the serial killer? Now, with her mother’s life on the line, the young detective must solve the most complex mystery she’s ever faced before it’s too late.

 

This Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley Cash (January 28): When their mother dies unexpectedly, twelve-year-old Easter and her six-year-old sister Ruby are shuffled into the foster care system in Gastonia, North Carolina, a town not far from the Appalachian mountains. But just as they settle into their new life, their errant father, Wade, an ex-minor league baseball player whom they haven’t seen in years, suddenly appears and wants to spend more time with them. Unfortunately, Wade has signed away legal rights to his daughters, and the only way he can get Easter and Ruby back is to steal them away in the middle of the night. Brady Weller, the girls’ court-appointed guardian, begins looking for Wade, and he quickly turns up unsettling information linking Wade to a recent armored car heist, one with a whopping $14.5 million missing. But Brady Weller isn’t the only one hunting the desperate father. Robert Pruitt, a shady and mercurial man nursing a years-old vendetta, is also determined to find Wade and claim his due. Narrated by Easter, Weller, and Pruitt in alternating voices that are at once captivating and heartbreaking, This Dark Road to Mercy is a story about the emotional pull of family and the primal desire to outrun a past that refuses to let go.

The Wife, The Maid and The Mistress by Ariel Lawhon(January 28): They say behind every great man, there’s a woman. In this case, there are three. Stella Crater, the judge’s wife, is the picture of propriety draped in long pearls and the latest Chanel. Ritzi, a leggy showgirl with Broadway aspirations, thinks moonlighting in the judge’s bed is the quickest way off the chorus line. Maria Simon, the dutiful maid, has the judge to thank for her husband’s recent promotion to detective in the NYPD. Meanwhile, Crater is equally indebted to Tammany Hall leaders and the city’s most notorious gangster, Owney “The Killer” Madden. On a sultry summer night, as rumors circulate about the judge’s involvement in wide-scale political corruption, the Honorable Joseph Crater steps into a cab and disappears without a trace. Or does he? After 39 years of necessary duplicity, Stella Crater is finally ready to reveal what she knows. Sliding into a plush leather banquette at Club Abbey, the site of many absinthe-soaked affairs and the judge’s favorite watering hole back in the day, Stella orders two whiskeys on the rocks-one for her and one in honor of her missing husband. Stirring the ice cubes in the lowball glass, Stella begins to tell a tale-of greed, lust, and deceit. As the novel unfolds and the women slyly break out of their prescribed roles, it becomes clear that each knows more than she has initially let on. With a layered intensity and prose as effervescent as the bubbly that flows every night, The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress is a wickedly entertaining historical mystery that will transport readers to a bygone era with tipsy spins through subterranean jazz clubs and backstage dressing rooms. But beneath the Art Deco skyline and amid the intoxicating smell of smoke and whiskey, the question of why Judge Crater disappeared lingers seductively until a twist in the very last pages.

Whew!! See what I meant when I said January was a great month for books!?

So tell me! What did I miss! What books are releasing in January are you looking forward to most?

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