Unfortunately, two of my favorite authors will not be publishing again this year: Charles Dickens and William Faulkner. (Linda K., tell me you love me.) Likewise, Khaled Hosseini, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Mahbod Seraji (just for kicks, say these names three times, really fast, with a half-chewed sour pickle in your mouth.)
Okay, now that you've cleaned the sour pickle off the wall, here are six of my favorites that have been announced.
Little, Brown & Company
Release date: May 5, 2011
Synopsis from Barnes & Noble:
In a stately West Village townhouse, a wealthy socialite and her secretary are murdered. In the 24 hours that follow, a flurry of activity circles around their shocking deaths: The head of one of the city's last tabloids stops the presses. A cop investigates the killing. A reporter chases the story. A disgraced hedge fund manager flees the country. An Iraq War vet seeks revenge. And an angry young extremist plots a major catastrophe.
The City is many things: a proving ground, a decadent playground, or a palimpsest of memories—a historic metropolis eclipsed by modern times.
To me, Pete is New York. But like his book Forever, this one may require some suspension of belief. For 288 pages, I'll take a chance. And isn't "palimpsest" a great word?
A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin
Random House Publishing Group
Release date: July 12, 2011
Here it is. Finally. Book 5 of the fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire. Idiots like me have been waiting for this since Book 4, A Feast for Crows, was published in November, 2005. Martin has been messing with We the Idiots for nearly five-and-a-half years, announcing release dates and then reneging on them for another year or two.
Wandering Coyote and I have had some serious discussions about Martin's assholeness regarding his disregard for his loyal fans. But all will be forgiven when, on July 12 at 12:01 a.m., Dragons will be downloaded to my Nook and I will reacquaint myself with the cast of a thousand characters, storylines galore, and the best fantasy series since Tolkien. Unless, that is, Martin reneges again.
Needless to say (but I'm saying it anyways), before you can enjoy this book you must read the 4,000 or more words that came before it. To check out A Dance with Dragons, go to Barnes & Noble poop sheet.
The End of the Wasp Season by Denise Mina
Little, Brown & Company
Release date: September 26, 2011
Synopsis from Barnes & Noble:
When a notorious millionaire banker hangs himself, his death attracts no sympathy. But the legacy of a lifetime of selfishness is widespread, and the carnage most acute among those he ought to be protecting: his family.
Meanwhile, in a wealthy suburb of Glasgow, a young woman is found savagely murdered. The community is stunned by what appears to be a vicious, random attack. When Detective Inspector Alex Morrow, heavily pregnant with twins, is called in to investigate, she soon discovers that a tangled web of lies lurks behind the murder. It's a web that will spiral through Alex's own home, the local community, and ultimately right back to a swinging rope, hundreds of miles away.
Denise Mina is, by far, my favorite Scottish mystery writer. A native Glaswegian who still lives there, Mina writes no-holds-barred stories that are gritty, profane, and (so far) feature female protagonists. This is her second DI Alex Morrow novel, which I believe can be read as a stand-alone; only her wonderful Garnethill trilogy needs to be read in order.
Feast Day of Fools by James Lee Burke
Simon & Schuster
Release date: September 27, 2011
Synopsis from Library Journal on Barnes & Noble:
Burke visits southwest Texas with Sheriff Hackberry Holland, last seen in 2009's Rain Gods. When alcoholic ex-boxer Danny Boy begs to be locked up in the drunk tank, though he's clearly sober, Hack and his young deputy wring a confession from him: Danny Boy has witnessed a gruesome torture killing in the desert. Hack tracks the bad guys to the home of a (predictably) mysterious Chinese woman named Anton Ling, who's either in danger—or dangerous. Burke always delivers; consider multiples.
I must like JLB a lot because I have 27 books of his in my library—28 when Feast Day is released. Rain Gods was an excellent book featuring Hackberry Holland, progenitor of Billy Bob Holland's 4 novels, but where oh where is Dave Robicheaux and Clete Purcell? Were we right, Linda K.?
Whatever date Burke chooses as the Feast Day of Fools, I'm going to adopt it; I've needed my own Feast Day for a looong time. But never mind my foolishness; I think the title of the book is beautiful.
Release date: September 6, 2011 (Oops, got my dates out of order.)
Synopsis from Amazon.co.uk:
Randall Haight has a secret: when he was a teenager, he and his friend killed a 14-year-old girl.
Randall did his time and built a new life in the small Maine town of Pastor's Bay, but somebody has discovered the truth about Randall. He is being tormented by anonymous messages, haunting reminders of his past crime, and he wants private detective Charlie Parker to make it stop.
But another 14-year-old girl has gone missing, this time from Pastor's Bay, and the missing girl's family has its own secrets to protect. Now Parker must unravel a web of deceit involving the police, the FBI, a doomed mobster named Tommy Morris, and Randall Haight himself.
Because Randall Haight is telling lies . . .
John is a very funny Irishman (I've met him twice) who lives in Dublin and writes very dark mysteries: This is number 10 in the Charlie Parker series. To look at John, he appears quite normal; his Parker series, however, is connected by a supernatural club of very sick and perverted dead perverts— similar to "The Gentlemen" of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame. John delivers the thrills and chills, but I found his last book, The Whisperers, lacking a bit in both.
I don't worry about John, though. He's Irish, so he's bound to hit paydirt in the darkness department.
11/22/63 by Stephen King
Release date: November 8, 2011
Partial synopsis from Amazon.com:
On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed. What if you could change it back? Stephen King’s heart-stoppingly dramatic new novel is about a man who travels back in time to prevent the JFK assassination—a thousand page tour de force.
This is the iff-iest book of the bunch. Anyone worth his or her salt knows that you cannot go back in time and change history. I mean, it's just not allowed. Will this be a tour de force or a tour of force? I believe I'll wait for 10,000 maniac reviews before I invest my time in what my friend Tui calls a "thumper": the sound a 1,000 page book makes when you slam it closed.
A message to Wandering Coyote: I know you hate King so I just saved you a comment telling me you hate King. Depending on how this book turns out, it might be time for Steve to take a rest in a nice rest home.