Here are some of this week’s new releases. Click on the cover image to check the catalog for availability.
Joe Spork spends his days fixing antique clocks. The son of infamous London criminal Mathew “Tommy Gun” Spork, he has turned his back on his family’s mobster history and aims to live a quiet life. That orderly existence is suddenly upended when Joe activates a particularly unusual clockwork mechanism. His client, Edie Banister, is more than the kindly old lady she appears to be—she’s a retired international secret agent. And the device? It’s a 1950s doomsday machine. Having triggered it, Joe now faces the wrath of both the British government and a diabolical South Asian dictator who is also Edie’s old arch-nemesis. On the upside, Joe’s got a girl: a bold receptionist named Polly whose smarts, savvy and sex appeal may be just what he needs. With Joe’s once-quiet world suddenly overrun by mad monks, psychopathic serial killers, scientific geniuses and threats to the future of conscious life in the universe, he realizes that the only way to survive is to muster the courage to fight, help Edie complete a mission she abandoned years ago and pick up his father’s old gun
Russia has never accepted Ukraine’s independence and now the Patrioti—Putin, his elder statesmen, and seasoned generals dedicated to rebuilding their fallen empire—are using the KGB’s controversial elite and clandestine forces of Department S to destabilize the young democratic nation and bring it back under Russian control.
But Cougar, the powerful private intelligence company that overshadows even the CIA in its reach, learns of Russia’s plans and strikes at the heart of its plot with its own lethal weapon—the gorgeous ex–KGB colonel Anna Resnikov. More than a gifted spy and expert killer, Anna lost the love of her life and the father of her child at the hands of her former countrymen. Her defection to Cougar has made her the most wanted woman in Russia, but she’ll risk any danger to herself for the chance to destroy the evil that rules her homeland. And on the ground in Ukraine, she meets a formidable foe, a mysterious KGB spy whose aims are suspiciously unclear but whose power is unmistakably deadly.
The mysterious, violent death of a prominent New England patriarch exposes a nest of dark family secrets in bestselling author Richard North Patterson’s twentieth compelling novel.
Adam Blaine arrives on the island of Martha’s Vineyard to attend the funeral of his estranged father, Ben Blaine, a famous and charismatic writer who has served as patriarch of his clan for many years. A man fond of sailboats, good wine, and women other than his wife, Ben Blaine has left behind a string of secrets in addition to an emotionally distraught widow and his strangely aloof mistress, Carla Pacelli, a beautiful television actress who once had a drug problem.
As soon as Adam arrives, he discovers that Ben has disinherited his mother, uncle, and brother in favor of his lover, and begins to wonder if his father’s death—caused by an inexplicable fall from a cliff—might be murder. Using his training as a CIA operative, Adam skillfully seeks to obscure the evidence suggesting that a family member may have killed his father, while at the same time fighting to undo the will, which favors the enigmatic Carla. As he walks this tightrope, Adam risks his freedom and perhaps his life, even as he unearths increasingly disturbing family secrets never meant to be discovered, and which cause him to question his understanding of his own life and everyone around him—his beloved mother, uncle, and brother and, not least, Carla.
He never wanted to tell Joe Pickett about it, but Nate Romanowski always knew trouble was coming out of his past. Now it’s here, and it may not only be the battle of his life-but of Joe’s.
In 1995, Nate was in a secret Special Forces unit abroad when a colleague did something terrible. Now high up in the government, the man is determined to eliminate anyone who knows about it, and Nate knows exactly how he’ll do it-by striking at Nate’s friends to draw him out. The entire Pickett family will be a target, and the only way to fight back is outside the law. Nate knows he can do it, but he isn’t sure about his straight-arrow friend-and all their lives could depend on it.
A riveting novel that explores the high price of success in the life of one woman—the first female president of a lauded ivy league institution—and her hold upon her self-identity in the face of personal and professional demons, from Joyce Carol Oates, author of the New York Times bestseller A Widow’s Story
Mudgirl is a child abandoned by her mother in the silty flats of the Black Snake River. Cast aside, Mudgirl survives by an accident of fate—or destiny. After her rescue, the well-meaning couple who adopt Mudgirl quarantine her poisonous history behind the barrier of their middle-class values, seemingly sealing it off forever. But the bulwark of the present proves surprisingly vulnerable to the agents of the past.
Meredith “M.R.” Neukirchen is the first woman president of an Ivy League university. Her commitment to her career and moral fervor for her role are all-consuming. Involved with a secret lover whose feelings for her are teasingly undefined, and concerned with the intensifying crisis of the American political climate as the United States edges toward war with Iraq, M.R. is confronted with challenges to her leadership that test her in ways she could not have anticipated. The fierce idealism and intelligence that delivered her from a more conventional life in her upstate New York hometown now threaten to undo her.
A reckless trip upstate thrusts M.R. Neukirchen into an unexpected psychic collision with Mudgirl and the life M.R. believes she has left behind. A powerful exploration of the enduring claims of the past, Mudwoman is at once a psychic ghost story and an intimate portrait of a woman cracking the glass ceiling at enormous personal cost, which explores the tension between childhood and adulthood, the real and the imagined, and the “public” and “private” in the life of a highly complex contemporary woman.
The Thief is a seasoned pickpocket. Anonymous in his tailored suit, he weaves in and out of Tokyo crowds, stealing wallets from strangers so smoothly sometimes he doesn’t even remember the snatch. Most people are just a blur to him, nameless faces from whom he chooses his victims. He has no family, no friends, no connections…. But he does have a past, which finally catches up with him when Ishikawa, his first partner, reappears in his life, and offers him a job he can’t refuse. It’s an easy job: tie up an old rich man, steal the contents of the safe. No one gets hurt. Only the day after the job does he learn that the old man was a prominent politician, and that he was brutally killed after the robbery. And now the Thief is caught in a tangle even he might not be able to escape.
Around here, even dying can be hard. Horribly hard. Only death itself comes easy. By easy, I mean frequent. Death happens so often that people regard it pretty much the same as the never-ending rain.
When life itself is hard, you have to be hard to live. Even a bitch will cull one of her own pups if she doesn’t think he’s going to be tough enough–she knows she’s only got but so much milk, and there’s none to waste.
Survival isn’t some skill we learned–it’s in all our genes. Nobody needed to be told to step aside when they saw the Beast coming. But not everyone stepped fast enough.
There’s rock slides. Floods, too. Those are natural phenomena. You live here, you expect them. But just because a man’s found under tons of rock, or floating in the river, doesn’t mean his death was due to natural causes.
Folks drink a lot. Wives get beaten something fierce. Some of those wives can shoot pretty good. And some of their husbands never think it can happen to them, even when they’re sleeping off a drunk.
There’s supposed to be good and bad in everyone. Probably is. But here, it’s the bad in you that’s more often the most useful.
Like the difference between climate and weather. Most folks around here don’t view a killing as good or bad–just something that happens, like a flood or a fire.
That’s why a whole lot of bodies never get viewed at all.
For a man like me, this is a good part of the country to do my work. I take pride in the quality of my work, but I never deceive myself that every death at my hands is justified, never mind righteous or noble.
I never saw myself as … much of anything, really. Just a crippled, cornered rat, trying to protect my little brother with whatever I can.
Mike March 22nd, 2012