Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Early Word: King, Koontz, Connelly, Harris, Hiaasen, Hillerman, Steel, Sparks... Snicket!

It’s always nice to bump into promising books, but the bruises you may incur as you literally collide into the high stacks of the following new and upcoming blockbuster titles in the bookstore may not be what you had in mind. Also included here are a few potential or semi-blockbusters that’ll be in shorter stacks -- just the inconspicuously right height for tripping over and landing flat on you’re face. Let's be careful out there this holiday season!

And be careful to not stay up too late at night with the chill-inducing masters of horror. Then again, in Dean Koontz’s latest you’ll always have Odd Thomas to keep you company, except Koontz’s much-loved character in Brother Odd has holed up in monastery in California’s High Sierra with a killer running loose (due Nov. 28). More in the much-reviled category is the title character in Thomas HarrisHannibal Rising. This is essentially “Hannibal: The Early Years,” wherein we see him become the youngest person ever admitted to medical school in France -- and see him evolve with the help of a little extra-curricular education of a more invidious and insidious sort (Dec. 5).

You never know in which literary direction the prolific and versatile Michael Crichton will go. With Next, he merges foreboding fact with frightful fiction as he extends to plausible possibilities the truth and consequences of our genetic world (Nov. 28). To allay any fears Crichton may cause, of course, we can always count on a soothingly escapist love story from Stephen King. Um, well... there is toned-down terror and a tender and transcendent side to Lisey’s Story of a coping widow. But do expect the expected supernatural element as Lisey feels strangely drawn to pursue otherworldly -- and healing -- clues to her husband’s disturbing past (Oct. 24).

For love and romance of the more traditional variety, Daniel Steel rolls out the red carpet for H.R.H., and considers: How ya gonna keep her royal highness down in the imperial palace after she’s seen Berkeley? A restless Princess Christianna, despite her father’s stern wishes, takes her American education and awakened social consciousness to the far ends of a suffering world, determined to make a difference. And in the process, of course and incidentally, find true love (Oct. 31).

But with a title like Dear John, you might expect the road to ultimate ardor to be a little rocky in Nicholas Sparks' new novel. And, with a storyline about the mutual attraction between an opposites-attracted couple, you’d be right (Oct. 30).

In the suspense realm, the requisite heroes are far-flung where roads are always rough-going. In David Baldacci ’s The Collectors, the four-man conspiracy-centric Camel Club battles a threat to national security (Oct. 17). Irreverent detective John Corey, in Nelson DeMille’s Wild Fire, has bigger fission to fry in dealing with a scheme to set off nuclear bombs in two American cities, with the aim to trigger a world war of unthinkable proportions (Nov. 6).

And in slightly smaller, but still somehow unthinkable scale, the pages within the audacious Treasure of Khan by Clive Cussler brings us Dirk Pitt battling a threat to the global oil market posed by a Mongolian mogul out to reinstate the grandeur of the dreaded Genghis Khan himself (Nov. 28).

If you love mystery and police procedurals, there’s a good assortment of whodunits and why-fors for your wish-list. A first-rate candidate for the top of anyone's list would be anything by the consistently dependable Michael Connelly, but Echo Park looks especially compelling. Harry Bosch is back with the LAPD as a member of the Open-Unsolved Unit, providing him with the opportunity to tackle the one that got away - an old case that’s been haunting him for years, and one that brings him face-to-face with a psychotic killer (Oct. 9).

In a much lighter vein -- let’s face it -- in another sure-to-be hilarious laugh-out-loud mystery, Carl Hiaasen’s Nature Girl has, as usual, colorful characters-on-parade and twists and turns that have twists and turns. Just to clue you in a bit, I can tell you, however, that it involves half-Seminole failed alligator wrestler Sammy Tigertail and members of the First Resurrectionist Maritime Assembly for God waiting for the Messiah to make landfall. Jocularity, jocularity! (Nov. 14.)

A time zone or two away from Florida’s swamplands lies the Navajo reservation in Arizona and New Mexico - the familiar Tony Hillerman terrain of The Shape Shifter; this particular caper updates the life of Lt. Joe Leaphorn as he takes on an old case he thought he had solved, and confronts a murderer he thought had died. In Boston, between the covers of Hundred Dollar Baby, Robert B. Parker's dogged detective Spenser also confronts the past when an old character, former teenage-runaway April Kyle -- now a madam protecting her call-girl operation -- seeks his help again (Oct 24).

With the gumshoe gambit at play in  Born In Death, by J. D. Robb (Nora Roberts), PI Eve Dallas, in solving a gruesome double homicide, reveals the sordid secrets of some of the city's richest and most secretive citizens (Nov. 7). If you like adventure with a little analysis, psychologist Alex Cross, in James Patterson’s Cross, helps track a serial rapist in Georgetown, discovering in the process a link to the murder of his wife years ago (Nov. 13).

For something different from John Grisham, his first non-fiction work, The Innocent Man, tells of a trial built on junk science and jailhouse snitches that put a possibly innocent man on death row, while raising questions about the issue of capital punishment and the criminal justice system (Oct. 10).

And for the kids, this Christmas brings us, alas, a Lemony Snicket finale, A Series of Unfortunate Events - Book 13: The End. As the conclusion to the series, the publisher would like us to know that “The end of THE END is the best place to begin THE END, because if you read THE END from the beginning of the beginning of THE END to the end of the end of THE END, you will arrive at the end of the end of your rope.”

Which brings me to end of mine, in an unfortunate turn of events, for now. Next up in The Early Word: More Children’s Books!


At 9:27 PM, Blogger Barbara's Journey Toward Justice said...

If you enjoyed reading The Innocent Man as I did, may I suggest reading the companion book to it. Here is something I wrote about it: Who And Where Is Dennis Fritz, You say after reading John Grisham's Wonderful Book "The Innocent man", Grisham's First non-fiction book. The Other Innocent Man hardly mentioned in "The Innocent Man" has his own compelling and fascinating story to tell in "Journey Toward Justice". John Grisham endorsed Dennis Fritz's Book on the Front Cover. Dennis Fritz wrote his Book Published by Seven Locks Press, to bring awareness about False Convictions, and The Death Penalty. "Journey Toward Justice" is a testimony to the Triumph of the Human Spirit and is a Stunning and Shocking Memoir. Dennis Fritz was wrongfully convicted of murder after a swift trail. The only thing that saved him from the Death Penalty was a lone vote from a juror. "The Innocent Man" by John Grisham is all about Ronnie Williamson, Dennis Fritz's was his co-defendant. Ronnie Williamson was sentenced to the Death Penalty. Both were exonerated after spending 12 years in prison. Both Freed by a simple DNA test, The real killer was one of the Prosecution's Key Witness. John Grisham's "The Innocent Man" tells half the story. Dennis Fritz's Story needs to be heard. Read about how he wrote hundreds of letters and appellate briefs in his own defense and immersed himself in an intense study of law. He was a school teacher and a ordinary man from Ada Oklahoma, whose wife was brutally murdered in 1975. On May 8, 1987 while raising his young daughter alone, he was put under arrest and on his way to jail on charges of rape and murder. Since then, it has been a long hard road filled with twist and turns. Dennis Fritz is now on his "Journey Toward Justice". He never blamed the Lord and soley relied on his faith in God to make it through. He waited for God's time and never gave up.


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