July and August always feels a bit like a lull in the publishing calendar, as if the big book pushes of late May and June have exhausted publishers to the extent that they all pull up stakes and head out of town with bags bulging with books. But the upside of all those big May and June releases means midsummer is a great time for the so-called ‘midlist’ author to shine—those books that might not get the fanfare of a bestseller but are gems for the readers willing to seek them out. This July sees some particularly notable authors releasing titles that have strong appeal, but potentially without the long hold lists. On to the highlights:
-Paul Doiron isn’t a household name, but his Mike Bowditch series, set in rural Maine, gets consistent praise from reviewers. In Almost Midnight, game warden Bowditch is tasked with investigating the causes behind a prison fight that left his incarcerated friend Billy terribly wounded while defending a guard. Now in its tenth installment, Doiron’s depictions of the Maine wilderness and its inhabitants could appeal to readers of William Kent Krueger and C. J. Box, although newcomers might want to start with the first title in the series, The Poacher’s Son. Heading south and into more domestic territory doesn’t ease the suspense in Joshilyn Jackson’s newest, Never Have I Ever. Pensacola housewife and mom Amy has managed to build a happy, if sometimes messy, life after a rough teenage patch. But when newcomer Angelica shows up at Amy’s book club and the booze starts flowing, Amy is dismayed to learn that Angelica knows far more about Amy’s past than anyone, and it could potentially destroy everything Amy has worked for. Kirkus called Never Have I Ever a ‘stay-up-all-night kind of book, compulsively readable.’ It hits shelves at the end of the month.
-It’s another good month for Madison-area authors. Local doctor Tom Miller continues his alternative early 20th century history Philosophers series with The Philosopher’s War, out mid-month. Picking up where last year’s The Philosopher’s Flight left off, The Philosopher’s War sees young Robert Weekes trying to become the first man in the elite sigilwomen’s corps that uses magic to fly. Kirkus calls it ‘A fantastic example of worldbuilding on a grand scale that combines cinematic action with historical accuracy to great effect.’ Stoughton based author Annelise Ryan (a pseudonym) spins off a new series from her successful Mattie Winston series, set in fictional Sorenson, Wisconsin. Needled to Death follows social worker Hildy Schneider, who’s asked to follow up on the death of a friend’s son. The death had been ruled an accidental overdose, but as the victim had never used drugs before and was at odds with his fraternity, Hildy suspects a more sinister cause. Needled to Death is the first in the Helping Hands series, available at the end of July.
Click on through for the full list of July’s anticipated titles. Happy reading!