Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Newish November Novels! María Dueña, Shawn Lawrence Otto, Patricia Cornwell, David Baldacci, and Thomas Hauser

Atria launched María Dueñas in the United States with The Time In Between two years ago with a lot of enthusiasm and now here is the follow-up, The Heart Has Its Reason (Misión Olvido), which comes out today. I've learned that the first novel became a mini-series that was nicknamed the Spanish Downton Abbey . And for those who were intimidated by the first novel's size, this one comes in at just under 400 pages. It's about a college professor whose husband leaves her for a younger woman. Here is a nice profile in El Pais, the largest circulation newspaper in Madrid. It's in Spanish, but you're a reader with many talents, so I've linked to it anyway. Here is also the Kirkus review, which is in English.

From Milkweed, Shawn Lawrence Otto's new novel is Sins of Our Fathers. You may not know him, but he wrote the screenplay for House of Sand and Fog and that is probably a good comparison. JW is a banker who teaches other bankers near small-town reservations how to profit from Indian casino deposits. But his life goes awry and he finds himself trying to right himself (addictions, his wife's depression, and so forth) by sabotaging a Native American competitor. Publisher's Weekly's starred review compares the work to the best of William Kent Krueger.

Interestingly enough, the releases in November tend to skew nonfiction and the fiction that does come out tends to skew branded thrillers. For example, last week marked the release of Patricia Cornwell's Flesh and Blood, the newest Kay Scarpetta installment. It's also the first release from the William Morrow division of HarperCollins and finds KS investigating a series of sniper killings, perfect shots all but with the victims seemingly unrelated. Marilyn Stasio finds unexpected pleasures in her mystery column review in The New York Times.

Out today is the newest from David Baldacci, who started off with mostly stand-alones, but is now a series guy, with The Escape (Grand Central) being the newest featuring John Puller, a special agent who has his toughtest foe yet, his own brother! Payback for being a brat or just another sociopath with a mission--you be the judge. And needless to say, the partner assigned to John, might not be as trustworthy as one would like in these situations. Publishers Weekly writes "Baldacci handles the complex plot with consummate ease as the Pullers navigate nearly endless surprises." 

A sleeper historical with a thriller angle is The Final Recollections of Charles Dickens (Counterpoint), by Thomas Hauser. The setup is that Dickens hasn't yet found acclaim as a writer and is still working as a London journalist. He's set up to profile a wealthy investor, only to discover that his profile isn't going to be a glowing as he hoped--this fellow might even be a murderer, and it doesn't help that most of the police force is thoroughly corrupted. The starred Publishers Weekly review is glowing: "Hauser delivers a crisp, colorful narrative with vivid pictures of London's rich and poor, as well as a suspenseful, perilous drama in the style of Dickens." The Kirkus reviewer (both are anonymous) has seemingly read a completely different book. That's the only explanation I can come up with.

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