Summer Reads

Posted Tuesday, May. 14, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
Inferno By Dan Brown Doubleday, $29.95

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This is the Summer of Dan — and the Summer of Dante.

Inferno, the latest from Dan Brown, one of publishing’s heaviest hitters, arrives in bookstores on Tuesday.

If his novel, the contents of which have been kept top secret more than a year, sells even a fraction of The Da Vinci Code’s 80 million copies, Brown will have another global sensation on his hands.

There are many promising titles being released during the months of May, June, July and August, but this is the one that should drive summer book sales like no other.

Little is known yet about Inferno. No advance copies were made available for review. But the book will be the talk of the publishing world once copies start flying off the shelves.

Brown’s most recent previous novel, The Lost Symbol, which involved Freemasons and was set in Washington, D.C., brought the biggest one-day sales in Random House history for a single title.

Expect nothing less this time.

Here’s what we know: Robert Langdon, a Harvard “symbologist,” returns for his fourth adventure, one involving Italian history, art, secret codes, cliffhanger thrills and crackpot conspiracy theories.

This time, Langdon looks into the mysteries behind an enduring literary classic: Dante’s Inferno.

The publisher, Doubleday, a division of Random House, has been super secretive: To make possible the book’s one-day global release, translators were assembled in Italy for two months in 2012. They performed their work in an underground bunker under high security with no contact allowed with the outside world.

All this to ensure that there will be no spoilers for those who are first in line to read.

Brown had this to say about the book in a statement: “Although I studied Dante’s Inferno in high school, it wasn’t until recently, while researching in Florence, that I came to appreciate the enduring influence of Dante’s work on the modern world. With the new novel, I am excited to take readers on a journey deep into this mysterious realm, a landscape of codes, symbols and more than a few secret passageways.”

Meanwhile, Suzanne Herz, senior vice president at Doubleday, dropped this cryptic clue involving the May 14 publication date: “It is written 5-14-13, which read backwards, 3.1415, is the value of pi.”

Might that mean that math is going to come into play somehow? We’ll know soon enough.

Here’s a look at other titles in what we expect to be a summer of great reading.


Mysteries and thrillers

The Redeemer, by Jo Nesbo (Knopf, $25.95, out May 21): This Norwegian crime writer used to be one of the genre’s best-kept secrets. Now, with more than 18 million copies sold worldwide, he’s simply one of its best. In this release, Oslo detective Harry Hole must connect the dots between a decade-old rape and the murder of a Salvation Army worker, for which he has no suspect, no motive and no weapon.

The Broken Places, by Ace Atkins (Putnam, $26.95, May 30): Nobody writes about the Dirty South with greater understanding for the terrain and its people. Atkins’ third novel featuring Iraq veteran-turned-Mississippi sheriff Quinn Colson involves a convicted killer who comes home claiming to have found Jesus and planning to start a new church. Hot on his trail, meanwhile, are two armed, violent escaped prisoners.

The Doll, by Taylor Stevens (Crown, $24, June 4): This is the Dallas-based author’s third novel featuring enigmatic Vanessa “Michael” Monroe, an information specialist with an androgynous physique and a kick-butt attitude. This outing opens with Monroe in immediate jeopardy: tranquilized, kidnapped and thrust into an underground world where women and girls are bought and sold as merchandise.

The Eye of God, by James Rollins (William Morrow, $27.99, June 25): The latest “Sigma Force” novel combines high-concept string theory with a mystery dating back to the long-dead Mongol king Genghis Khan. It is up to Commander Gray Pierce, aided by two Vatican historians, to discover a truth tied to the fall of the Roman Empire and to a weapon hidden for centuries that holds the true fate of humanity.

Downfall, by Jeff Abbott (Grand Central, $27, July 16): This is the third installment in the Austin writer’s series featuring ex-CIA agent Sam Capra. All Capra wants is a quiet life for himself and his infant son. Then a woman walks into Sam’s San Francisco bar pleading for help. She’s being hunted by a shadowy network of ruthless people — and Sam has to help because her visit has placed his name on their enemies list.

Mistress, by James Patterson and David Ellis (Little, Brown, $28, Aug. 5): In Patterson’s next guaranteed bestseller (240 million books sold worldwide), we’ll meet Ben, a man of many obsessions: movies, motorcycles, presidential trivia and the unattainable Diana Hotchkiss. When his fantasy woman is found murdered, Ben’s infatuation drives him to investigate her scandalous double life.

The Heist, by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg (Bantam, $28, June 18): Evanovich, the No. 1 bestselling author of the Stephanie Plum mysteries, has teamed with TV writer-producer Goldberg ( Monk, Diagnosis Murder) on a new series. In it, FBI agent Kate O’Hare is partnered with an international con man, Nick Fox, as they set off in pursuit of criminals even more dangerous than him.

A Serpent’s Tooth, by Craig Johnson (Viking, $28.95, June 4): Wyoming sheriff Walt Longmire, whose literary exploits inspired the hit A&E TV series Longmire, finds himself in the crosshairs of a brewing religious war involving a Mormon “lost boy,” an interstate polygamy group and a delusionally dangerous old man who claims he was blessed in the flesh by none other than Joseph Smith.

Lie Still, by Julia Heaberlin (Bantam, Paperback, $15, July 9): The second book from this Grapevine author (and former Star-Telegram editor) is a stand-alone thriller set in an upscale Texas community, a land of Botox and big hair “where gossip is currency and secrets kill.” The protagonist, a pregnant Manhattanite who’s new to town, has a doozy of a secret herself — and now she’s getting anonymous threats.

Also worth noting:

Silken Prey, by John Sandford (Putnam, $27.95, already out)

The Innocence Game, by Michael Harvey (Knopf, $24,95, already out)

Take, Burn or Destroy, by S. Thomas Russell (Putnam, $27.95, May 16)

The Black Country, by Alex Grecian (Putnam, $26.95, May 21)

Zero Hour, by Clive Cussler and Graham Brown (Putnam, $28.95, May 28)

The Kill Room, by Jeffery Deaver (Grand Central, $28, June 4)

Out of Range, by Hank Steinberg (William Morrow, $25.99, June 4)

The Shining Girls, by Lauren Beukes (Mulholland, $26, June 4)

Bad Monkey, by Carl Hiaasen (Knopf. $26.95, June 11)

The King’s Deception, by Steve Berry (Ballantine, $27, June 11)

Killer Ambition, by Marcia Clark (Mulholland, $25.99, June 18)

Always Watching, by Chevy Stevens (St. Martin’s, $25.99, June 18)

Loyalty, by Ingrid Thoft (Putnam, $25/95, June 18)

House Odds, by Mike Lawson (Atlantic Monthly Press, $24, July 2)

The Homecoming, by Carsten Stroud (Knoft, $25, July 16)

The Last Alibi, by David Ellis (Putnam, $26.95, Aug. 1)

Bones of the Lost, by Kathy Reichs (Simon & Schuster, $26.99, Aug. 27)

Beach reads

Beautiful Day, by Elin Hilderbrand (Little, Brown, $28, June 25): The Carmichaels and Grahams have gathered on Nantucket for a wedding. While the newlyweds-to-be are quite happy, their loved ones find their lives crumbling. In the days leading up to the wedding, love will be questioned, scandals will arise and hearts will be broken and healed.

A Hundred Summers, by Beatriz Williams (Putnam, $26.95, May 30): Meet New York socialite Lily Dane and her former best friend, Budgie Byrne. As the summer season of ’38 opens, Lily and Budgie turn up again in the social scene in idyllic Seaview, R.I, where a firestorm of gossip consumes their lives and a once-in-a-hundred-years hurricane will soon barrel down on them.

Also worth noting:

Unwritten, by Charles Martin (Center Street, $21.99, already out)

A Certain Summer, by Patricia Beard (Gallery, Trade Paperback, $16, May 21)

Ladies’ Night, by Mary Kay Andrews (St. Martin’s, $25.99, June 4)

The Guest House, by Erika Marks (NAL, Trade Paperback, $15, June 4)

The Engagements, by J. Courtney Sullivan (Knopf, $26.95, June 11)

Shorecliff, by Ursula DeYoung (Little Brown, $26, July 23)


The Son, by Phillip Meyer (Ecco/HarperCollins, $27.99, May 28). This University of Texas grad’s second book is a multigenerational epic set in Texas, spanning most of the 19th and 20th centuries. The story of the McCulloghs begins with Eli, the first male child born in the Republic of Texas in 1836. It’s not just about the settlement of the West, but about the moral cost of America’s rise to power.

The Other Typist, by Suzanne Rindell (Amy Einhorn/Putnam, $25.95, already out): In the New York City of 1923, two young women work as typists for the police department, recording confessions of thieves and murderers. The women are very different, one raised in an orphanage by nuns, the other exuding all the glamour of the jazz age, yet they become friends and roommates — and ultimately adversaries.

And the Mountains Echoed, by Khaled Hosseini (Riverhead, $28.95, May 21): The bestselling author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns returns with a multigenerational family story, this one beginning with an Afghan brother and sister separated during childhood in the 1950s. The ensuing journey spans more than 50 years and multiple countries to tell a story of sadness, loss, hope and redemption.

The Night of the Comet, by George Bishop (Ballantine, $25, July 30): For his 14th birthday, Alan Broussard receives a telescope from his father. Dad is obsessed with what he believes will be the astronomical event of the century: the 1973 arrival of Comet Kohoutek. Alan would rather direct his telescope toward the bedroom window of a pretty new neighbor.

Also worth noting:

The Boleyn King, by Laura Andersen (Ballantine Trade Paper, $15, Tuesday)

The Bookman’s Tale: A Novel of Obsession, by Charlie Lovett (Viking, $27.95, May 28)

I’ll Seize the Day Tomorrow, by Jonathan Goldstein (Pintail, Trade Paperback, $16, May 28)

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, by Karen Joy Fowler (Marian Wood, $26.95, May 30)

Crossing Purgatory, by Gary Schanbacher (Pegasus, $25,95, June 1)

The Wednesday Daughters, by Meg Waite Clayton (Ballantine, $24, June 16)

The Twins, by Saskia Sarginson (Redhook, $15.99, Trade Paperback, July 30)

Last Car Over the Sagamore Bridge, by Peter Orner (Little, Brown, $25.99, Aug. 6)

The Fields, Kevin Maher (Little, Brown, $27.99, Aug. 13)

All the Land to Hold Us, by Rick Bass (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $25, Aug. 13)


The Kill List, by Frederick Forsyth (Putnam, $27.95, out Aug. 10): One of the legends of the genre, author of The Day of the Jackal and The Odessa File, returns with a contemporary story about a U.S. agency assassin, known only as The Tracker, who has spent six years locating and eliminating top al Qaeda leaders. The new target killed The Tracker’s Marine general father, making the mission deeply personal.

The English Girl, by Daniel Silva (Harper, $27.99, July 16): No rest for an old spy. Gabriel Allon, the reluctant Israeli agent, finally comes home to Jerusalem to live in retirement with wife Chiara. Then a rising star in Britain’s governing party mysteriously vanishes on holiday in Corsica — and Gabriel is enlisted by a friend in British intelligence to find her before her scandalous secrets jeopardize the British government.

Also worth noting:

A Delicate Truth, by John le Carre (Viking, $28.95, already out)

Red Sparrow, by Jason Matthews (Scribner, $26.99, June 4)


Stoker’s Manuscript, by Royce Prouty (Putnam, $26.95, out June 13): A rare-manuscript expert is hired to authenticate the original draft and notes for Bram Stoker’s Dracula, a manuscript that was significantly changed before publication, with all the original versions destroyed in a fire. Hidden in the pages of this manuscript are clues to the whereabouts of certain Dracul family members, very real and very dangerous.

Also worth noting:

NOS4A2, by Joe Hill (William Morrow, $28.99, already out)

Red Moon, by Benjamin Percy (Grand Central, $25.99, already out)

Dead Ever After, by Charlaine Harris (Ace, $17.95, already out)



Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson, by Jeff Guinn (Simon & Schuster, $27.50, out Aug. 6): Guinn, the Star-Telegram’s former books editor, explores how Charles Manson transformed from an ordinary (and baby-faded) juvenile delinquent into a mass murderer. Among his many interviews, Guinn found two close relatives who have never spoken to any reporter.

Ava Gardner: The Secret Conversations, by Peter Evans and Ava Gardner (Simon & Schuster, $26, July 2): Gardner was one of Hollywood’s great stars during the 1940s and ’50s. But by the late 1980s, she was in dire financial straits, so she wrote a tell-all memoir. And did she tell all! Then she had second thoughts and the book was never published, until now. One of the most revealing Hollywood memoirs in years.

Also worth noting:

Waiting to Be Heard: A Memoir, by Amanda Knox (Harper, $28.99, already out)

Anyone Who Had a Heart: My Life and Music, by Burt Bacharach with Robert Greenfield (Harper, $27.99, already out)

The Outsider: A Memoir, by Jimmy Connors (Harper, $28.99, Tuesday)

Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success, by Phil Jackson with High Delehanty (Penguin Press, $27.95, May 21)

Double Double: A Dual Memoir of Alcoholism, by Martha Grimes and Ken Grimes (Scribner, $25, June 4)

History and politics

American Gun: A History of the U.S. in Ten Firearms, by Chris Kyle and William Doyle (William Morrow, $29.99, out June 4): Kyle, the No. 1 bestselling author of American Sniper, was finishing a second book at the time of his tragic death in February. The celebrated Navy SEAL and sniper was examining U.S. history through the lens of a hand-selected list of uniquely American firearms.

Also worth noting:

The Vast Unknown: America’s First Ascent of Everest, by Brought Coburn (Crown, $26, already out)

The Secret Rescue: An Untold Story of American Nurses and Medics Behind Nazi Lines, by Cate Lineberry (Little, Brown, $27.99, already out)

The Guns at Last Light: The War in Western Europe, 1944-45, by Rick Atkinson (Henry Holt, $40, Tuesday)

Gettysburg: The Last Invasion, by Allen C. Guelzo (Knopf, $35, Tuesday)

The Feud: The Hatfields & McCoys: The True Story, by Dean King (Little, Brown, $28, out May 21)

A Chain of Thunder, by Jeff Shaara (Ballantine, $28, May 21)

Rose Kennedy: The Life and Times of a Political Matriarch, by Barbara A Perry (Norton, $27.95, July 15)

The March on Washington: Jobs, Freedom, and the Forgotten History of Civil Rights, by William P. Jones (Norton, $26.95, July 29)

Lincoln’s Citadel: The Civil War in Washington, D.C., by Kenneth J. Winkle (Norton, $27.95, Aug. 19)

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