Tuesday, May 11, 2010

New Signed Books at the Poisoned Pen Bookstore

Barry, Brunonia. The Map of True Places (Morrow $28 Signed).

We're back in Salem, Mass, Barry's home turf, where where Zee Finch, a respected psychotherapist, has returned after one of her patients commits suicide. There she finds that her father, Finch, long ago diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, has been hiding how really sick he is. Barry's first novel The Lace Reader ($15) became a much applauded bestseller and also took place in Salem, drawing in past and present with this town's history.

Clements, Rory. Revenger (Murray $35 Signed).

Elizabethan noir. Yes, the period, the peak of the Tudor Age, really fits noir: dark deeds, twisted characters, secret agendas, betrayals, shifting loyalties/self interest/ambition, downward spirals. What a match! And here we have Book Two after Martyr ($15), a History Pick last year, tapping into all this good stuff. Our protagonist is John Shakespeare, elder brother of Will but a real character and worthy of the role in his own right. No fan of historical mystery including those who read CJ Sansom especially should miss the fine work by Clements.

For a second blockbuster Elizabethan noir, June brings us Book Five in the Sir Robert Carey novels by PF Chisholm: A Murder of Crows (Poisoned Pen $25 Signed June 26). The primary focus here is on the revenge-bent Lowland Scot Land Sergeant Dodd who finds himself reluctantly in London with Carey, a pock-marked, struggling lawyer at the Queen's Bench, and a gaggle of spies and agents and courtiers surrounding the Queen who here is off in Oxford where the next Carey will take place. Christopher Marlowe is fabulous, so self seeking as he lets his genius have full rein. I love the scene where Dodd tortures him in a non-physical but hugely painful way. Plus there are other less well known poets and a not very likable Bald Will.

Eastland, Sam. Eye of the Red Tsar (Ballantine $27 Signed).

This is not a FMC Pick because the author is a British author here writing under a pseudonym. He introduces Pekkala, once the Romanovs' most trusted investigator. Ten years after the execution of that royal family, Pekkala is in prison but the state needs him for one final mission: find the bodies of the murdered Romanovs, locate the killers, find the royal child rumored to still be alive, and give Stalin the international coup he craves.

Note: our FMC Pick The Holy Thief set in Stalinist Russia is sold out, so visit the era with Eastland.

Doiron, Paul. The Poacher's Son (St Martins $27 Signed) - just 9 copies left of this hot First Mystery debut.

Set in the forests of Maine, here is an intense thriller about bad parenting and all manner of serious challenges, plus survival and betrayal. While the obvious analog is the late William G. Tapply, hugely missed by me and many, this is in fact not a regional story but one on a grand scale. Loved it!

Harris, Charlaine. Dead in the Family (Roc $28 Signed).

We are so appreciative of this blockbuster author taking time to sign our books when she can't visit the store. In fact, we have championed Charlaine's work since her second novel way back in I think 1990 and while I warm most to her dark Lily Shakespeare noirs and some like the cozy Atlanta librarian mysteries best, the imaginative and irrepressible Charlaine has reached her widest audience via Sookie Stackhouse (and the TV series she spawned). This is Sookie's latest adventure.

If you enjoy Sookie, don't miss a really entertaining debut by Christopher Farnsworth: Blood Oath (Putnam $25 Signed May 26). I don't read this genre much as I do read all our Event Books, I dug into this and enjoyed it all, a fast and funny ride and actually based on a footnote to Andrew Johnson's acts as President.

Palahniuk, Chuck. Tell-All (Doubleday $26 Signed).
I'm in France and our books are in Scottsdale at the store, so I have borrowed this write-up from a sister bookstore.

"These copies are signed, scented with perfume, and stamped with "kisses" at random spots throughout the book! Soaked, nay, marinated in the world of vintage Hollywood, Tell-All is a Sunset Boulevard-inflected homage to Old Hollywood when Bette Davis and Joan Crawford ruled the roost; a veritable Tourette's syndrome of rat-tat-tat name-dropping, from the A-list to the Z-list; and a merciless send-up of Lillian Hellman's habit of butchering the truth that will have Mary McCarthy cheering from the beyond. Our Thelma Ritter-ish narrator is Hazie Coogan, who for decades has tended to the outsized needs of Katherine "Miss Kathie" Kenton-veteran of multiple marriages, career comebacks, and cosmetic surgeries. But danger arrives with gentleman caller Webster Carlton Westward III, who worms his way into Miss Kathie's heart (and boudoir). Hazie discovers that this bounder has already written a celebrity tell-all memoir foretelling Miss Kathie's death in a forthcoming Lillian Hellman-penned musical extravaganza; as the body count mounts, Hazie must execute a plan to save Katherine Kenton for her fans-and for posterity. Tell-All is funny, subversive, and fascinatingly clever. It's wild, it's wicked, it's bold-faced-it's vintage Chuck."

Steinhauer, Olen. The Nearest Exit (St. Martin's $27 Signed).

Milo Weaver, returning from bestseller The Tourist ($15), has nowhere to turn but back to the CIA. These are Steinhauer's first contemporary novels after his knockout Eastern European espionage series.Now faced with the end of his quiet, settled life, reluctant spy Milo Weaver has no choice but to turn back to his old job as a "tourist." Before he can get back to the CIA's dirty work, he has to prove his loyalty to his new bosses. Milo is suddenly in a dangerous position, between right and wrong, between powerful self-interested men, between patriots and traitors-especially as a man who has nothing left to lose. I think of Steinhauer's work as elegant companions to those of Alan Furst and John LeCarre. He is a two-time Edgar award finalist and has been shortlisted for the Anthony, the Macavity, the Ellis Peters Historical Dagger, the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger, and the Barry awards. Raised in Virginia, he lives in Leipzig, Germany, which is why we haven't been able to highlight his work with Signed books since his 2003 History/Mystery Pick Bridge of Sighs ($14). If you missed it, wait no longer!

Zafon, Carlos Ruiz.
Prince of Mists (LB $18 Signed; UK Signed Lt. Ed. $60). I may be off on the US price... A ghost story for teen and adult readers with the magic that characterizes his bestselling bibliomysteries.

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