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Sweet Anticipation for April 2018

A review of New Titles by

May and June are the big months for summer publishing, with most top-selling authors getting their works out just as school vacation begins and leisure reading begin in earnest (at least in theory). But April serves as a kind of sweet spot for publishers—early enough to avoid overshadowing by the big name authors, but still close to the golden summer sales period to establish buzz and perhaps snag a spot on the bestseller lists. Here are the highlights:

--Perennial favorite Anne Perry has been writing mysteries for so long that her readership spans generations. It’s fitting then that her most popular sleuths, William and Charlotte Pitt, are handing off sleuthing duties to the next generation.  Perry’s latest, Twenty-One Days, features Daniel Pitt, son of the earlier Pitts, as he has a mere twenty-one days to find a murderer before an innocent man hangs.  Our Jane J. called it “a solid new entry in the historical mystery realm” in a recent MADreads review. It’s out April 10.

--If you’re a reader who values brevity, this month sees a flourishing of shorter works. In Property: Stories Between Two Novellas, Lionel Shriver examines property, both real estate and stuff, serves as a description of its owners and how the its ownership affects our relationships. Curtis Sittenfeld takes a similar tack in her first collection, You Think It, I’ll Say It, featuring stories focused on how our relationships are shaped by class and gender roles. Debut author Nafissa Thompson-Spires considers class as well, particularly middle-class African American life in her collection Heads of the Colored People.  Grappling with identity and race politics, Thompson-Spires’ collection is getting comparisons to the works of Junot Diaz, with Kirkus writing, ‘Thompson-Spires’ auspicious beginnings auger a bright future in which she could set new standards for the short story.’

--There’s a range of notable nonfiction in the offerings this month. Home improvement fans mourning the loss of HGTV’s popular Fixer Upper series can console themselves with the appearance of host Joanna Gaines’ newest cookbook, Magnolia Table; it appears on tastefully decorated shelves April 24. James Comey adds to the quickly growing collection of tomes penned about the Trump Administration with A Higher Loyalty:  Truth, Lies and Leadership. The former FBI director is expected to include his experiences under President Obama and insights into the controversial Clinton email and Trump/Russia investigations. A little under the radar but of interest closer to home is Arlo Michaelis and Pardeep Singh Kaleta’s The Gift of Our Wounds: A Sikh and a Former White Supremacist Find Forgiveness After Hate. Kaleta is the son of the head of the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin where a white supremacist gunned down six people, including his father.  Arlo Michaelis was a white supremacist who renounced his views after witnessing the tragedy. The Gift of Our Wounds is the story of how the two became unlikely friends and joined forces to fight hate crimes and encourage compassion with programs directed at students. 

There’s plenty more this month, including: Jo Nesbo’s chilly Nordic take on Macbeth, part of the Hogarth Shakespeare series; John Sandford adds to his immensely popular Prey series with Twisted Prey; Newbery Honor author Jason Reynolds’s uplifting Track series gets its third volume with Sunny and John Scalzi speculates that robots + sporting spectacle + no-holds-barred brutality = heads will roll with Head On. Click on through for the full list.

Happy reading!

Mar 19, 2018