Wednesday, January 2, 2013

5 Fiction Releases to Watch for in January

Even though new fiction titles were clearly being published right up until the end of last year, the arrival of a new year gets me extra excited about the prospect of all the new books that are forthcoming. Here's a few fiction titles being released this month that got me extra-extra excited.

Death of Bees (M)
by Lisa O'Donnell (January 2).

A friend who spent some time living in Scotland once remarked to me that she would just once love to read a novel set in Glasgow that wasn't bleak. I don't think that Death of Bees will leave my pal with anything checked off her bucket list, but it doesn't mean it doesn't sound like a great book.

"Marnie and her little sister, Nelly, are on their own now. Only they know what happened to their parents, Izzy and Gene, and they aren't telling. While life in Glasgow's Maryhill housing estate isn't grand, the girls do have each other. Besides, it's only a year until Marnie will be considered an adult and can legally take care of them both. As the New Year comes and goes, Lennie, the old man next door, realizes that his young neighbors are alone and need his help. Or does he need theirs? Lennie takes them in—feeds them, clothes them, protects them—and something like a family forms. But soon enough, the sisters' friends, their teachers, and the authorities start asking tougher questions. As one lie leads to another, dark secrets about the girls' family surface, creating complications that threaten to tear them apart."

Ashenden (M)
by Elizabeth Wilhide (January 8).

I suppose in 2013, you can't hear about a book that is set in a big-ole-house in England and not think Downton Abbey, and with that in mind here is a debut novel from an author who also happens to be an expert on design and building interiors.

"When brother and sister Charlie and Ros discover that they have inherited their aunt’s grand English country house, they must decide if they should sell it. As they survey the effects of time on the estate’s architectural treasures, a narrative spanning two and a half centuries unfolds. We meet those who built the house, lived in it and loved it, worked in it, and those who would subvert it to their own ends. Each chapter is skillfully woven into the others so that the storylines of the upstairs and downstairs characters and their relatives and descendants intertwine to make a rich tapestry. A beautifully written novel full of humor, heart, and poignancy, Ashenden is an evocative portrait of a house that becomes a character as compelling as the people who inhabit it."

Originally published in the UK by Fig Tree, a small indie press, this has now been picked up by Simon & Schuster for a North American release: I guess I'm not the only one making the Downton Abbey connection.

The Miniature Wife (M)
by Manuel Gonzales (January 15).

I think the mischievous looking skull and cross bones cover on this one caught my initial attention, but I'm reading good things about this short story collection too, including a glowing support quote from Everything Ravaged Everything Burned author Wells Tower who says "These stories are wrought with forceful clarity, Borgesian inventiveness and enchanting, devious wit - an unforgettable debut from a uniquely gifted writer." Keep your eye out for this debut from an author whose stories have appeared in a number of notable publications ranging from Esquire to McSweeney’s.

Snow White Must Die (M)
by Nele Neuhaus (Janaury 15).

If recent publishing trends have taught us anything, it's that there is an appetite among readers for translated European thrillers and detective stories. The powers that be are hoping you'll be adding Neuhaus - whom amazon calls "one of the most widely read German mystery writers" - to the list of Larsson, Mankell, Akunin, Nesbo, et. al.

"On a rainy November day police detectives Pia Kirchhoff and Oliver von Bodenstein are summoned to a mysterious traffic accident: A woman has fallen from a pedestrian bridge onto a car driving underneath. According to a witness, the woman may have been pushed. The investigation leads Pia and Oliver to a small village, and the home of the victim, Rita Cramer. On a September evening eleven years earlier, two seventeen-year-old girls vanished from the village without a trace. In a trial based only on circumstantial evidence, twenty-year-old Tobias Sartorius, Rita Cramer’s son, was sentenced to ten years in prison. Bodenstein and Kirchhoff discover that Tobias, after serving his sentence, has now returned to his home town. Did the attack on his mother have something to do with his return?"

Speaking From Among The Bones (M)
by Alan Bradley (January 29).

It would seem wrong to finish this month's post without mentioning the latest instalment in the ever more popular Flavia de Luce series from Canadian author Bradley. If you haven't already hopped on board with this series, now's the time to go back to the beginning and pick up The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. Established fans will want to get their holds in early: "When the tomb of St. Tancred is opened at the village church in Bishop''s Lacey, its shocking contents lead to another case for Flavia de Luce. Greed, pride, and murder result in old secrets coming to light--along with a forgotten flower that hasn''t been seen for half a thousand years."

1 comment:

  1. I just read a galley of Speaking From Among the Bones, and it's excellent. We get to know Flavia's sisters a little better, and we learn more about the tragic and mysterious Harriet, the mother who died when Flavia was a baby. But I'd also recommend starting with the first book!