Saturday, June 16, 2012

Book Radar: Benjamin Percy, Stephen King, Ian Rankin, Fifty Shades of Louisa May Alcott

Book Radar rounds up some of the latest publishing deals which have caught my eye, gathered from reports at Publishers Marketplace, Galley Cat, office water-coolers and other places where hands are shaken and promises are made.  As with anything in the fickle publishing industry, dates and titles are subject to change.

One of the biggest, brightest blips on my radar in recent days was the news that a new Benjamin Percy novel was in the works.  I'm already looking forward to his werewolf love story, Red Moon, which should be coming our way early next year.  And now comes word that his next novel, called The Dead Lands, will be published by Grand Central.  According to Publishers Lunch, it's "a post-apocalyptic reinvention of Lewis and Clark's epic journey across the West."  I can't wait to discover it!

Next year at this time, Stephen King will have a new novel called Joyland coming from Hard Case Crime, publishers of his previous short novel The Colorado Kid.  The press release has this description of the new novel: "Set in a small-town North Carolina amusement park in 1973, Joyland tells the story of the summer in which college student Devin Jones comes to work as a carny and confronts the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the ways both will change his life forever."  In that same press release, King stated: "I love crime, I love mysteries, and I love ghosts. That combo made Hard Case Crime the perfect venue for this book, which is one of my favorites. I also loved the paperbacks I grew up with as a kid, and for that reason, we’re going to hold off on e-publishing this one for the time being. Joyland will be coming out in paperback, and folks who want to read it will have to buy the actual book."  In a carefully-polished sound byte which, as Nigel Tufnel says in This Is Spinal Tap, puts it up to eleven, Hard Case editor Charles Ardai said: "Joyland is a breathtaking, beautiful, heartbreaking book....It’s a whodunit, it's a carny novel, it's a story about growing up and growing old, and about those who don't get to do either because death comes for them before their time. Even the most hardboiled readers will find themselves moved. When I finished it, I sent a note saying, 'Goddman it, Steve, you made me cry.'"

Good news for Inspector Rebus fans: author Ian Rankin is bringing his character out of retirement.  His next novel featuring the Edinburgh detective (his 18th) is called Standing in Another Man's Grave and looks like it will be published here in the U.S. in January.  Rankin made the announcement at the recent Hay Festival, saying there was "unfinished business between the two of us."  He'd previously sent Rebus into retirement in Exit Music four years ago.

And now I will inexcusably lower the bar of decency here at the blog ("What?!" you say. "There was a bar?").  Capitalizing on the Fifty Shades of Grey tidal wave, OR Books will bring us Fifty Shades of Louisa May in July.  In an interview with Galley Cat, the anonymous author boldly bares all: "Call it lewditure. Call it literotica. Call it an antidote to mommy porn."  She/he doesn't care what you call it, as long as you swipe your Visa card and put your dirty money in his/her pocket.  The publisher's synopsis says the book "imagines an unhinged Melville doing what comes naturally, a Centennial Ball unlike any heretofore described, Louisa May’s ardent encounters with her 'Wooden Friend,' and much, much more."  I'm sorry to report that it's also "explicitly illustrated with X-rated woodcuts."  Cue the Moby's Dick jokes.

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