The February 2013 Indie Next List Preview

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Here’s a preview of the titles on the February Indie Next List flier, on its way to ABA member stores in the IndieBound movement.

A downloadable PDF version of the list will also be available beginning February 1 on and

The February 2013 Indie Next List Great Reads

#1 Pick: The House Girl: A Novel, by Tara Conklin
(William Morrow, $25.99, 9780062207395)
“Lina, a young, ambitious New York attorney in 2004, never knew her mother. Josephine, a young house slave in 1852, never knew her child. More than a century apart, their lives connect in unexpected ways. Corporate law offices, art museums, antebellum homes, and the Underground Railroad provide the setting for a story filled with secrets, betrayals, and love. Does the ‘House Girl’ title apply to both women? The paths of these strong women will have the reader marveling at the layers Conklin has created to tell their intertwined stories.” —Beverly Bauer, Redbery Books, Cable, WI

The Dinner: A Novel, by Herman Koch
(Hogarth, $24, 9780770437855)
“In this brilliant novel, two brothers and their wives meet for dinner in an upscale restaurant. Structured around the courses of the meal and narrated by Paul, what starts out in the first section — Aperitif — as a hilarious riff on the pretentious meal that he is reluctantly sharing with his brother, Serge, takes on an increasingly ominous tone as the reason for the meeting gradually unfolds. Psychologically taut and beautifully constructed, this tale hooks the reader from the first page to the hair-raising conclusion. A literary page-turner that explores the lengths to which families will go to protect their own.” —Sheila Daley, Barrett Bookstore, Darien, CT

Ghostman: A Novel, by Roger Hobbs
(Knopf, $24.95, 9780307959966)
“Jack, both brilliant and cunning, has made it to the top of the gangster ranks. Extremely wealthy, equipped with the most modern technological tools and constantly changing addresses and even his physical appearance, Jack is like a living ghost. Only a happy few know how to contact him. An old partner in crime to whom he is indebted calls on Jack to clean up the mess from a seemingly well-organized heist gone bad. Not trusting his former partner, hunted by an extremely dangerous mobster, and chased by the FBI, Jack needs all of his tricks to keep his ghost-like existence intact. Smart and captivating from beginning to end, a stellar debut!” —Jean-Paul Adriaansen, Water Street Books, Exeter, NH

Schroder: A Novel, by Amity Gaige
(Twelve, $21.99, 9781455512133)
“This deeply layered novel about an embattled father reclaiming his only joy drew me in with the intense beauty of its language and the doomed journey of its unreliable narrator. In Erik Schroder, Gaige gives us a character who should repel but whom I loved for his humanity and the way he expressed his love for his daughter and she, her love for him. Schroder takes the reader into the arrested heart of a foreigner whose need to appear American is ultimately his undoing. That we care about him is a testament to Gaige’s skill and compassion.” —Vicki DeArmon, Copperfield’s Books, Sebastopol, CA

The Aviator’s Wife: A Novel, by Melanie Benjamin
(Delacorte Press, $26, 9780345528674)
“We know Charles Lindbergh as the hero who was the first to fly solo across the Atlantic, and his wife, Anne, as a poet and writer. In The Aviator’s Wife, Benjamin offers a vivid portrait of the private side of the man and his family. The story is told from Anne’s point of view and portrays a life where the family’s every move is monitored by the press and fed to the public. From Anne’s growing self-confidence as Charles’ co-pilot in exploration to the tragic kidnapping of their firstborn son to Lindbergh’s extra-marital affairs, we share the joys and sadness of the aviator’s wife in this poignant novel.” —Vicki Erwin, Main Street Books, St. Charles, MO

Indiscretion: A Novel, by Charles Dubow
(William Morrow, $25.99, 9780062201058)
“Beautiful Maddy and her successful author husband, Harry, have an idyllic marriage. Living in the Hamptons, perfectly suited to one another, and always surrounded by a close circle of friends, they draw admirers like moths to a flame. Enter Claire, a young New Yorker, who quickly becomes enamored of the couple and inserts herself within their circle. While young and innocent, Claire’s presence will ultimately destroy everything Maddy and Harry hold dear. Narrated by Maddy’s childhood best friend, Walter, who is also secretly in love with her, this tale is mesmerizing in its telling.” —Meaghan Beasley, Island Bookstore, Duck, NC

The Lost Art of Mixing: A Novel, by Erica Bauermeister
(Putnam Adult, $25.95, 9780399162114)
The Lost Art of Mixing is the poignant and often hilarious sequel to The School of Essential Ingredients. Cooking classes brought the characters together in the first book and entwined their stories with one another as effectively as the ingredients they were learning to blend. In this book, new characters are introduced and the resultant ‘mixing’ of their lives with the original characters gives the reader further insights into their personalities and circumstances. Happily, while neatly answering questions regarding the fate of the characters, the threads of this story also lend themselves to future volumes.” —Melanie Mayberry, Cornerstone Cottage Kids, Hampton, IA

The Promise of Stardust: A Novel, by Priscille Sibley
(William Morrow, $15.99, 9780062194176)
“The lifelong love story of astronaut Elle and neurosurgeon Matt comes to a tragic close when Elle suffers a fall that leaves her brain-dead. Matt is shocked to discover Elle, a woman who always wished for children but never wanted to remain on life support, is pregnant. Matt will need to fight his own mother in court, the press, and opposing moral views in his quest to keep Elle alive long enough to have their child. Sibley expertly weaves flashbacks of the life Elle and Matt shared together with the present harrowing events, creating a gripping emotional and ethically controversial journey in the process.” —Cat Wells, The River’s End Bookstore, Oswego, NY

Calling Me Home: A Novel, by Julie Kibler
(St. Martin’s Press, $24.99, 9781250014528)
“Two women, one old and white, one young and black, make a cross-country journey that will create a bond between them stronger than age or race or family. Told from each woman’s perspective, this is a look at race relations in this country in 1930s Kentucky. Isabelle, at the age of 17, falls in love with Robert, a year older, and a black man, whose mother and sister work for Isabelle’s family. Their forbidden love will devastate their families, their own lives, and the lives of future generations. Dorrie, present-day Isabelle’s hairdresser and friend, will learn about Isabelle’s past while gaining help and insight into her own family problems. You will laugh and cry as you read this incredible story.” —Karen Briggs, Great Northern Books and Hobbies, Oscoda, MI

All This Talk of Love: A Novel, by Christopher Castellani
(Algonquin, $13.95, 9781616201708)
“The final installment in Castellani’s Maddalena trilogy is his best yet. This is an instantly engaging and authentic story about a multigenerational Italian-American family planning a trip to their ancestral village. Love, resentment, deception, and tenderness — all the complexities of a family in love and in conflict are handled with beauty and precision. There is not a single false note in this moving novel by a very gifted and assured writer.” —Stan Hynds, Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, VT

The Fate of Mercy Alban: A Novel, by Wendy Webb
(Hyperion, $15.99, 9781401341930)
“Ghost story? Murder mystery? Gothic novel? The Fate of Mercy Alban is a little of each genre making for an excellent read. At the death of her mother, Grace Alban returns to the childhood home she has avoided for two decades. Upon her return, she learns that her mother’s death occurred under some unnerving circumstances. The Alban family is notorious for using their immense wealth to cover up history, and Grace is determined to learn the truth, be it paranormal, criminal, or sinister. This is a compelling read that will have you guessing until the very last sentence!” — Kerri Childs, Kerri’s Korner Bookstore, Fairmont, WV

The Imposter Bride: A Novel, by Nancy Richler
(St. Martin’s Press, $24.99, 9781250010063)
“Shortly after WWII, Lily arrives in Montreal to marry Sol Kramer. Sol rejects her, so his brother, Nathan, out of pity, marries Lily instead. Pity turns to love, but it isn’t enough for Lily, who disappears leaving an infant daughter, Ruth, behind with Nathan. Family members thought Lily was an impostor, posing as a cousin, but who was she? Through the years, Ruth struggles to learn more about her mother through a diary, an uncut diamond, and shiny rocks arriving in the mail. Beautifully written, wistful, and suspenseful, the stories of Lily and Ruth are each a glimpse of the heartache that is the aftermath of war.” —Joanne Doggart, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Chatham, MA

The Love Song of Jonny Valentine: A Novel, by Teddy Wayne
(Free Press, $24.99, 9781476705859)
“A bittersweet, frank, and funny take on modern celebrity, The Love Song of Jonny Valentine introduces a young pop phenomenon whose career and every move is managed by his mother who has her own set of problems with drugs and men. Jonny who is haunted by the memory of his missing father, is both wise and appallingly naïve as he deals with his newfound fame, the business of pop music, and the users and hangers-on of the celebrity world. A touching, funny, and moving view of stardom and how talented young people deal with sudden fame and success.” —Ellen Burns, Books on the Common, Ridgefield, CT

Three Graves Full: A Novel, by Jamie Mason
(Gallery, $24.99, 9781451685039)
Three Graves Full gives us a fresh, entertaining twist on the murder mystery genre. A coward can snap if pushed too far, which is why Jason Getty has a body buried in his backyard. This is stressing him out so much that he has to hire a landscaping crew to deal with his lawn — and they are the ones who find a different body in his flowerbed, not the one he buried. The police investigation turns up a third body, and from there on this tightly plotted, suspense-filled tale twists and turns like the country roads of its setting. A great read!” —Carol Schneck Varner, Schuler Books & Music, Okemos, MI

Fight Song: A Novel, by Joshua Mohr
(Soft Skull Press, $15.95, 9781593765088)
“This is a wild ride of a book, ever so loosely based on The Wizard of Oz but set in contemporary suburbia. There’s a fast-food phone-sex operator, a janitor/KISS cover band Rock’n’Roller, a former football warrior known as Reasons With Fists, and a magician/marriage counselor all both helping and deterring the hero’s desire to get back home. A story totally engaging and surprisingly wise in the end.” —Alena Deerwater, Gallery Bookshop & Bookwinkle’s Children’s Books, Mendocino, CA

The Hour of Peril: The Secret Plot to Murder Lincoln Before the Civil War, by Daniel Stashower
(Minotaur, $26.99, 9780312600228)
“This engaging book by Edgar Award-winning author Stashower is filled with anecdotes, quotes from contemporary sources, and excellent backstories that interweave four strands of little-known American history: the rise of Allan Pinkerton, America’s original ‘private eye’; the critical period between Lincoln’s election and his inauguration, when the country teetered on the precipice; how Lincoln dealt with the crisis before he had the power of office; and the plot to assassinate him before he took office on March 4, 1861. Highly recommended for anyone fascinated by American history.” — Jim McFarlane, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC

The Stonecutter: A Novel, by Camilla Läckberg, Steven T. Murray (Tans.)
(Free Press, $15.99, 9781451621860)
“Lackberg writes intricately crafted plots with prose that quickly draws you in. As this story opens, Detective Patrick Hedstrom is not having a good day as his new daughter is firmly against her parents enjoying a restful night. His day is about to get a lot worse. Tired and grumpy, he answers a call about a fisherman finding a body. The fisherman pulled up a child with his lobster pots, and the child turns out to be the daughter of Patrick’s good friends. When it is determined that the child did not drown accidentally but was murdered, the tension mounts as it seems the village has disturbing secrets that go back generations. The latest work from a major talent.” —Deon Stonehouse, Sunriver Books, Sunriver, OR

Insane City: A Novel, by Dave Barry
(Putnam Adult, $26.95, 9780399158681)
“Oh, Dave Barry, how I love you! Your scathingly funny, over-the-top novels make me laugh out loud in public, and your depictions of South Florida would strike me as exaggerated, but my brother lives there and I know you speak the truth. This tale of a destination wedding in Miami gone horribly wrong could only have sprung from your pen. If readers can’t make it to Florida this winter, they should read Insane City. It will make them happy they stayed home!” — Susan Taylor, Market Block Books, Troy, NY

Vampires in the Lemon Grove: Stories, by Karen Russell
(Knopf, $24.95, 9780307957238)
“Karen Russell has the audacity to venture into realms few writers will explore and the talent to make the landscape her own. She returns to the short story form and creates worlds surreal, magical, and horrific, all the while displaying the ability to comment on our own life through her fictional devices. Few modern writers can match her skill, courage, and genius. This collection is testament to her right to be considered in the elite of current authors.” —Bill Cusumano, Nicola’s Books, Ann Arbor, MI

The Affair, by Colette Freedman
(Kensington, $15, 9780758281005)
“Playwright-turned-novelist Freedman presents this well-crafted novel about three people caught in an affair: the wife, the husband, and the mistress. Told from each person’s perspective in turn, we see the same scenes played out, but each time the story is retold we discover something more about each character. We see the lies they tell each other, and, just as important, the lies they tell themselves. The story plays out like a three-act drama and includes an unexpected denouement in the final scene.” —Dominica Plummer, Norwich Bookstore, Norwich, VT

The February 2013 Now in Paperback

Agent 6: A Novel, by Tom Rob Smith (Grand Central Publishing, 9780446583084, $14.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Susan Taylor, The Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, NY

Canada: A Novel, by Richard Ford (Ecco, 9780061692031, $15.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Tova Beiser, Brown University Bookstore, Providence, RI

The Expats: A Novel, by Chris Pavone (Broadway, 9780770435721, $15)
Recommended in hardcover by Bill Cusumano, Nicola’s Books, Ann Arbor, MI

A Good American: A Novel, by Alex George (Berkley Trade, 9780425253175, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Leslie Reiner, Inkwood Books, Tampa, FL

The House of Velvet and Glass: A Novel, by Katherine Howe (Hyperion, 9781401342005, $15.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Mary Toni, R.J. Julia Booksellers, Madison, CT

In One Person: A Novel, by John Irving (Simon & Schuster, 9781451664133, $15.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Libby Cowles, Maria’s Bookshop, Durango, CO

A Land More Kind Than Home: A Novel, by Wiley Cash (Morrow Paperbacks, 9780062088239, $14.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Cathy Langer, Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, CO

The Lost Saints of Tennessee: A Novel, by Amy Franklin-Willis (Grove Press, 9780802120816, $15)
Recommended in hardcover by Karen Briggs, Great Northern Books & Hobbies, Oscoda, MI

Murder at the Lanterne Rouge: An Aimee Leduc Investigation, by Cara Black (Soho Crime, 9781616952143, $14.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Patricia Moody, Hickory Stick Bookshop, Washington Depot, CT

No One Is Here Except All of Us: A Novel, by Ramona Ausubel (Riverhead Trade, 9781594486494, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Becky Milner, Vintage Books, Vancouver, WA

1Q84: A Novel, by Haruki Murakami (Vintage, 9780307476463, $16.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Rebekah Rine, Watermark Books and Café, Wichita, KS

The Starboard Sea: A Novel, by Amber Dermont (St. Martin’s Griffin, 9781250023438, $14.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Christopher Green, The Bookworm of Edwards, Edwards, CO

A Change to the January 2013 Indie Next List

Please note that the ISBN for Finding Camlann: A Novel, by Sean Pidgeon, an Indie Next Great Read for January 2013, is incorrect on the printed flier.

The books publisher, W.W. Norton, has changed the ISBN to 9780393240153.