‘Loser’s Town: A David Spandau Novel’
By Daniel Depp (Simon & Schuster, $25)
P.I. David Spandau, an ex-stuntman who is familiar with all of the ins and outs of Tinsel Town, is hired by Bobby Dye, an actor who is about to become a superstar. His latest movie has triggered Oscar buzz and the future looks bright except for one thing: Someone is threatening to kill him. Glittering temptations and the grimey back alleys of Hollywood set the tone for this well-crafted, gruesomely addictive debut thriller.
‘The Temptation of the Night Jasmine’
By Lauren Willig (Dutton, $25.95)
In the latest installment of Willig’s acclaimed series, Eloise Kelly, a Harvard graduate student, continues her pursuit of the elusive spy, The Pink Carnation. Sifting through a collection of old letters and official documents, Eloise and Colin Selwick, her boyfriend and partner-in-crime, uncover information that involves deceit, secrets, a passionate romance and possibly the identity of the spy. This is a crisply written novel that is an intriguing mix of history, suspense and surprises.
By Jonathan Kellerman (Ballantine, $27)
Moses Reed and Aaron Fox, originally introduced in the Kellerman best-seller, “Bones,” return in a suspenseful story involving the disappearance of Caitlin Frostig, a straight-arrow, straight-A student from Malibu. As Reed and Fox search for the young woman, they find themselves up to their necks in the sinister, seamy side of Los Angeles after dark. Dramatic, action-packed and filled with gripping psychological detail, this is literary tour-de-force that will excite readers from its opening pages to the shocking finale.
‘At the Breakers’
By Mary Ann Taylor-Hall (University Press of Kentucky, $24.95)
After escaping from an abusive relationship, Jo Sinclair, a single mother of four, finds herself in Sea Cove, N.J., in front of The Breakers, a salty old hotel undergoing renovation. In this imaginative story filled with diverse and colorful characters, Jo gets a second chance to create a full life for both herself and her children. This is a tale of reconciliation, forgiveness, hope and love written by one of Kentucky’s most intriguing writers.
By Earl Emerson (Ballantine Books, $25)
Seattle detective Thomas Black is involved in a U.S. Senate campaign. While he works for James Maddox, his wife, Kathy, supports his opponent, Jane Sheffield, a liberal incumbent. When Sheffield’s plane explodes with Kathy aboard, Black is shocked. Later, when a bomb detonates in a high school gymnasium after a speech by Maddox, Black barely escapes with his life. After recovering from his injuries, he is released from the hospital and faced with the reality that his wife is gone for good. Or is she? This perfectly executed story is satisfying on many levels.
‘A Mad Desire to Dance’
By Elie Wiesel (Knopf, $25)
This profound novel by a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize is the provocative story of a man’s life haunted by some of the grisliest horrors of the 20th century and his attempt to reclaim happiness. Doriel, a European expatriate living in New York, has a limited knowledge of the Holocaust because he was born during World War II. Nevertheless, he is surrounded by the ghosts of the past. He eventually turns to Dr. Therese Goldschmidt, a psychoanalyst, and as his search takes him deeper and deeper into unchartered waters, he must confront the secrets of his family before achieving true happiness.
‘Jack London in Paradise’
By Paul Malmont (Simon & Schuster, $25)
Hobert Bosworth, an aging matinee idol and filmmaker, is convinced that one more Jack London picture might save his sagging career. In 1916, he sets out to track down the legendary writer and get one final story out of him. Based loosely on an actual friendship between London and Bosworth, this inventive tale is a tip of the literary hat to the best of pulp fiction and is filled with high energy, a well-crafted plot and characters that both delight and amaze.
‘The Secrets of the Bulletproof Spirit: How to Bounce Back from Life’s Hardest Hits’
By Azim Khamisa and Jillian Quinn (Ballantine, $25)
With the economy in free fall, the stock market on life support and unemployment soaring above 8 percent, this little survival guide couldn’t be more timely. The authors show how to take life’s heartbreaking hits and come out on top. They also map out a practical plan so that readers can prepare for future bumps in the road and be more emotionally resilient.
‘The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner’s Semester at America’s Holiest University’
By Kevin Roose (Grand Central, $24.99)
This is the true story of Brown University sophomore Kevin Roose’s semester as an undercover student at Liberty University, the late Rev. Jerry Falwell’s “Bible Boot Camp” for young evangelical Christians where the rules include no drinking, no smoking, no cursing, no dancing, and no R-rated movies. At the Lynchburg, Va., institution, the curriculum includes such classes as Creationist Biology and Evangelism 101, with guest speakers Sean Hannity, Karl Rove and more of their ilk. Roose’s experiences at the school are hilarious and heartwarming, respectful and thought-provoking.
‘The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century’
By George Friedman (Doubleday, $25.95)
Friedman, founder and CEO of STRATFOR, the world’s leading intelligence and forecasting company, rubs his crystal ball and predicts how this new century will play out. Some of Friedman’s more provocative predictions are that China will undergo a major extended internal crisis, Mexico will emerge as an important world power, technology will focus on space, and the United States will experience a golden age in the second half of the century. This is an excellent book that documents where we are now and reveals the remarkable changes that could be in store for us.
‘The Dynamite Club: How a Bombing in Fin-de-Siecle Paris Ignited the Age of Modern Terror’
By John Merriman (Houghton Mifflin, $26)
On the evening of Feb. 12, 1894, Emile Henry, armed with a bomb in his coat pocket, entered the Café Terminus in Paris, ordered a drink and then tossed his explosive toward the orchestra as he exited. Award-winning historian Merriman documents the personal history of Henry through personal journals, legal documents and period newspapers to reveal an event that changed the face of modern history forever, ordinary people becoming targets of terror. Brilliantly researched and rich with historic details, this dramatic story illuminates a period of both social and political change.
‘The Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty’
By Peter Singer (Random House, $22)
Since the 1975 publication of his seminal book, “Animal Liberation,” Singer, professor of bioethics at Princeton University’s Center for Human Values, has stood at the forefront of ethical debates on such issues as abortion, euthanasia and global ethics. In his new book, Singer uses ethical arguments, provocative thought experiments, examples and case studies of charity-giving to show that eradicating world poverty and the suffering it brings are within our reach.
‘A Jury of Her Peers: American Women Writers from Anne Bradstreet to Annie Proulx’
By Elaine Showalter (Knopf, $30)
This is one of the most comprehensive histories of American women writers, from 1650-2000, and certainly the most accessible and readable. Brimming with wit and insight, this incredible work showcases 250 female writers. What makes this blend of biography, history and criticism so interesting is it doesn’t just include the usual suspects such as Willa Cather and Toni Morrison. It also features forgotten and obscure writers including the likes of both Catherine Sedgwick, an early novelist, and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Susan Glaspell. This monumental book will greatly enrich our understanding of American literary history and our culture.
‘Master of War: The Life of General George H. Thomas’
By Benson Bobrick (Simon & Schuster, $28)
George H. Thomas was born in Virginia, trained at West Point, served in the Mexican War and became a major general during the War Between the States. Given the command of the Cumberland, he led his army in a stunning Union victory at the battle of Chattanooga, supported Sherman in his march through Georgia, and later oversaw the battle of Nashville. During the Civil War, Thomas was the only Union general who never lost a battle. This stunning new biography has been crafted with impeccable research and the peerless storytelling skills of a celebrated historian who is at the top of his game.
‘Down at the Docks’
By Rory Nugent (Pantheon, $24.95)
Nugent, a travel writer, accomplished mariner and foreign correspondent, serves up an unvarnished view of New Bedford, Mass., a city that was once the world center for shipping, whaling and textile mills. As its relic fishing industry struggles to survive, the community discovers that the old ways of doing things have collided with such modern problems as drug-smuggling, illegal immigration, disorganized crime, and crippling government regulations. This is a timely look at an industrial city in an increasingly digital world.
“Variety’s ‘The Movie That Changed by Life’ ”
Edited by Robert Hofler (Da Capo, $15.95)
In this fascinating book, 120 celebrities pick the films that made a difference and changed their lives. Contributors include Donald Trump on “Citizen Kane,” George Clooney on “All the President’s Men,” Tim Gunn on “Blowup,” and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Hofler is a senior editor of Variety.
‘The House Always Wins: Create the Home You Love – Without Busting Your Budget’
By Marni Jameson (Da Capo, $15.95)
Expanded and updated, this book is filled with advice for those who need to spruce up their homes but do not have an unlimited budget. There are simple strategies to get started, practical pointers to make every step easier, expert advice on everything from new tax laws to custom flooring, and tips to help survive almost any home remodel project.
‘The Animal Dialogues: Uncommon Encounters in the Wild’
By Craig Childs (Back Bay Books, $14.99)
Childs, a naturalist, adventurer and frequent contributor to NPR’s “Morning Edition,” interweaves species characteristics, ancient mythology and evolutionary biology with accounts of his own adventures. Along the way, readers will thrill to Childs’ life-and-death standoff with a mountain lion, his interactions with common wildlife and an unexpected run-in with the most mysterious of all beasts: man.
BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS
‘The Adventures of Salt & Soap at Grand Canyon’
By Lori April Rome with illustrations by Tanja Bauerle (Grand Canyon Association, $9.95)
This is the true story of two puppies on the adventure of a lifetime. It involves a dizzying helicopter ride, rapids, friendly park rangers, desert animals and their search for a home. For children of all ages, this delightful book is a rare treat.
By Leslie Patricelli (Candlewick Books, $15.99)
As a little girl swings, she has a simple request: higher! Higher! With dad pushing she goes up, up, up, up, even higher than a giraffe, an airplane and a space creature.
‘Pizza, Cat and Mouse, Picnic, and It’s Super Mouse’
Four stories by Phyllis Root with illustrations by James Croft (Candlewick Press, $24.99)
These four mouse stories are geared to help children learn to read. The large, oversized pages, colorful illustrations and witty text are certain to please young children, especially those 4-7. Root is a Minneapolis-based author and Croft lives in London.