The January 2015 Indie Next List Preview

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Here are the titles on the January 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 January 1 on and

The January 2015 Indie Next List Great Reads

#1 Pick: The Secret Wisdom of the Earth: A Novel, by Chris Scotton
(Grand Central Publishing, 9781455551927, $26)
“Struggling to recover from the trauma of his baby brother’s tragic death, Kevin and his broken mother relocate to Medger, Kentucky, for the summer. Their return to the Appalachian coal town in which their family is deeply rooted is intended to heal them both. While Kevin’s grandfather is just the person and the wild hollows surrounding their little town just the place to help him mend, Kevin finds that Medger and its citizens are in need of healing as well. Poverty, a mountaintop removal operation, and desperation are tearing their town and the land around it apart. Scotton’s finely wrought characters, perfectly paced plot, and keen sense of place make The Secret Wisdom of the Earth resonate with the reader long after the book has been finished.” —Catherine Weller, Weller Book Works, Salt Lake City, UT

Descent: A Novel, by Tim Johnston
(Algonquin Books, 9781616203047, $25.95)
Descent is a gripping, utterly engrossing account of a girl’s disappearance in the Rocky Mountains. The aftermath of this tragedy is told in alternating voices: the injured brother at the scene of the accident when she left with a stranger to get help; the mother who has been hospitalized and stunned into breathtaking grief; the father who has been unable to leave the small town where the family was vacationing when his daughter disappeared — and most stunning of all, through the words of the victim herself. A real page-turner with a brilliantly conceived climax!” —Kelly Estep, Carmichael’s Bookstore, Louisville, KY

The Girl on the Train: A Novel, by Paula Hawkins
(Riverhead, 9781594633669, $26.95)
“This is one of the most compelling thrillers I have read in years! With alternating perspectives ranging from the fantasies of a young woman who watches a couple from the window of her train commute every day, to the true story of the couple themselves, and a missing person case, the reader is plunged into a twisting, turning mystery of deception and misdirection. Rarely have there been so many shocking revelations in a single novel! Just when you believe you have a grasp on the entire mystery, Hawkins pulls the rug out from under you with yet another breathtaking plot revelation. An exceptional read!” —William Carl, Books on the Square, Providence, RI

The Magician’s Lie: A Novel, by Greer Macallister
(Sourcebooks Landmark, 9781402298684, $23.99)
“Macallister’s debut novel is historical fiction that blends magic, mystery, and romance. In turn-of-the-century America at the height of stage magic’s popularity, the renowned female illusionist Amazing Arden must convince a young police officer, Virgil Holt, of her innocence in a murder that looks suspiciously like one of her most famous illusions gone wrong. As Arden’s story unfolds over the course of the night she spends in police custody, the reader, as well as Officer Holt, must decide if she is telling the truth or if this, too, is part of her act.” —Meagan Albin, Breakwater Books, Guilford, CT

Vanessa and Her Sister: A Novel, by Priya Parmar
(Ballantine Books, 9780804176378, $26)
“This novel tells the story of sisters Vanessa and Virginia Stephens, later to become Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf. Vanessa, an emerging painter, tells their stories in her journal accompanied by the letters and telegrams of their families, husbands, and the many brilliant artists and painters in their circle. It is a story of art, literature, betrayal, emotional upheaval, and, above all, the many complicated forms love takes. Set against the backdrop of Edwardian England, a time of sweeping social transformations, Vanessa and Her Sister is a moving portrait of a brilliant family.” —Staci Rice, Bluebird Books, Hutchinson, KS

The Rosie Effect: A Novel, by Graeme Simsion
(Simon & Schuster, 9781476767314, $25.99)
“If you loved The Rosie Project, you’ll love knowing what happens next to Don and his new wife, Rosie, as they settle into their lives in New York City and find out that Rosie is pregnant! Rosie may love Don, but neither of them is sure if he’s ready to be a father. This book is as warm as the original and as full of Don’s humorous — and cringe-worthy — misunderstandings of social behavior.” —Kate Madison, Penguin Bookshop, Sewickley, PA

The Bishop’s Wife: A Novel, by Mette Ivie Harrison
(Soho Crime, 9781616954765, $26.95)
“Linda Wallheim is the local bishop’s wife and the mother of five sons, all but one out of the house and on their own. As a Mormon, Linda has been increasingly frustrated with some of the Church’s doctrine. While her life is busy fulfilling her duties with many community services and being the hostess for the ward at all hours, she chafes under the patriarchal beliefs and practices. When she is called to care for a five-year-old girl whose mother has mysteriously disappeared, Linda begins to question the circumstances of the young wife’s absence. This is a beautifully written story about a woman who supports her husband as the bishop while recognizing that her inner convictions might go against his will. A compelling read!” —Patricia Worth, River Reader, Lexington, MO

Almost Famous Women: Stories, by Megan Mayhew Bergman
(Scribner, 9781476786568, $25)
“Bergman’s latest collection of short stories is simply spectacular. In the tradition of her award-winning first collection, Birds of a Lesser Paradise, Bergman has given readers tales filled with achingly real, exquisitely crafted characters who seem to leap off the page. Beautifully told, the stories provide intimate snapshots of unique, lesser-known women in history, each facing life’s challenges head on — poverty and prejudice, hardship and sacrifice — bravely charging forward without looking back.” —Anderson McKean, Page & Palette, Fairhope, AL

The Shock of the Fall: A Novel, by Nathan Filer
(St. Martin’s Griffin, 9781250028136, trade paper, $15.99)
“This wholly original novel was previously published in hardcover under the title Where the Moon Isn’t and languished undiscovered, but now it has a Costa Book Award and the attention of many booksellers, and rightly so. Matthew is a young man with mental health issues and this story documents his struggle to come to terms with the death of his brother. The honesty in the telling is what is so compelling about this book, and I came away with a better understanding of how these issues impact a family’s path, sometimes in heartbreaking ways.” —Jenny Lyons, The Vermont Bookshop, Middlebury, VT

The First Bad Man: A Novel, by Miranda July
(Scribner, 9781439172568, $25)
“Miranda July does not coddle readers; rather, she unapologetically throws them into the world of gritty irony that she has masterfully created. July spins a complex web that reflects the absurdity, horror, and glory of life. Her protagonist, Cheryl Glickman, allows us to understand the flawed characters of her world — herself included — and to see past the grotesque. Cheryl’s quirkiness and July’s mastery of inner dialogue keep readers entranced and perhaps make them a bit more human as a result of the experience.” —Letizia Acosta, University Book Store, Seattle, WA

Everlasting Lane: A Novel, by Andrew Lovett
(Melville House, 9781612193809, $25.95)
“Peter Lambert is a nine-year-old boy whose life changes when his father dies and his mother moves them to a village called Amberley. As soon as they arrive Peter feels like he’s been there before, and his mother confirms that they used to live in that same house. As the new kid at a small village school, Peter eventually makes friends with two other outcasts, Anna-Marie and Tommie, and together they explore the countryside. They also discover what appears to be a hidden room in Peter’s house, with a window visible from the outside but no entrance from the inside, and Peter realizes that there is a secret that his mother is keeping from him. Is she an outcast too? And who is really telling the truth?” —Lysbeth Abrams, Eight Cousins, Falmouth, MA

After the War Is Over: A Novel, by Jennifer Robson
(William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780062334633, $14.99)
“In 1919, Britain is licking its wounds after years of a horrid and merciless war. Charlotte Brown and other women have determined to do what they can to change things by providing financial assistance and offering help where possible to those in need. A newspaper editor gives Charlotte the opportunity to express her views by hiring her to write a weekly commentary, which enables her to speak for the disenfranchised. Soon after, she encounters her former employer, the Earl of Cumberland, who still causes her heart to flutter. In the meantime, Charlotte’s articles are getting a lot of attention, and awareness from the upper classes, those who have the power to help, is increasing. Which direction will Charlotte’s life take?” —Nancy Nelson, Sunriver Books & Music, Sunriver, OR

West of Sunset: A Novel, by Stewart O’Nan
(Viking, 9780670785957, $27.95)
“This novel begins after F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda have streaked across the Jazz Age sky like bright, shiny shooting stars. Scott is in Hollywood working as a script doctor and shakily holding on to sobriety; Zelda is in a mental hospital clinging to sanity just as tenuously. Unaccustomed to the workaday world, Scott struggles to prove his worth in Hollywood by showing up to work on time, paying his bills, and living a life of quiet desperation. Gone are the days of wine and roses; Scott must now learn to live as if there is a tomorrow. O’Nan offers a subtle portrait of an American icon as an ordinary man attempting to redefine himself after nearly losing it all.” —Kerry Spaulding, University Book Store, Mill Creek, WA

Wildalone: A Novel, by Krassi Zourkova
(Morrow, 9780062328021, $25.99)
“Thea, a piano prodigy determined to leave Bulgaria for America, has just discovered she is a ‘ghost child,’ someone raised in the shadow of a dead sibling. Her sister, Elza, attended Princeton, also as a piano prodigy, but was found dead with no known cause. Eighteen years later, as Thea learns of this tragedy for the first time, she is determined to solve the mystery of her sister’s death, but two brothers, as handsome as they are mysterious, are determined to keep the bizarre circumstances of her sister’s death secret. Enter the world of samodivi, or ‘wildalones,’ forest witches who entrap men and ‘daemons’ who ensnare young girls. Ancient Greek mythology meets Bulgarian legend in this shadowy, sensuous world of magic, mystery, and romance.” —Karen Briggs, Great Northern Books & Hobbies, Oscoda, MI

The Unquiet Dead: A Novel, by Ausma Zehanat Khan
(Minotaur, 9781250055118, $25.99)
“This is part page-turning murder mystery with complex characters and part heartbreaking story of the Bosnian war that explores the themes of loss and the cost of justice. Rachel Getty and Esa Kahattak work in a special division of the Canadian police that handles minority-sensitive cases. They get called in on a case that looks like someone fell off the bluffs in an unfortunate accident, but rumors are that the victim isn’t an ‘average Joe’ at all, but a Bosnian war criminal using an assumed identity. As Esa and Rachel begin to investigate, they find that nothing is really as clear-cut as it seems. This is a brilliant debut, and I can’t wait to see more from this talented author.” —Amanda Skelton, Union Avenue Books, Knoxville, TN

Before I Go: A Novel, by Colleen Oakley
(Gallery Books, 9781476761664, $24.99)
“After just a few years in remission, Daisy’s breast cancer returns with a vengeance and she is given mere months to live. The love shared by Daisy and Jack, her husband, is unbounded and immense. While undergoing experimental cancer treatments, Daisy decides to look for her replacement, a new wife for Jack. She visits dog parks, bookstores, and finally lands upon the ideal woman through an online match service. No spoilers here, but suffice it to say that things do not go as planned. This book about cancer and death is filled with love and a grand sense of humor, is never maudlin or sappy, and serves as a necessary reality check for all of us.” —Nancy Simpson-Brice, Book Vault, Oskaloosa, IA

Doing the Devil’s Work: A Novel, by Bill Loehfelm
(Sarah Crichton Books, 9780374298586, $26)
“In this third book in a series, Maureen Coughlin, a gritty, strong-willed redhead, is finally a full-fledged New Orleans cop. After a mysterious corpse is found and a late-night traffic stop goes awry, all hell breaks loose. Is Maureen a target yet again? This book grabs readers from the first paragraph and only releases them wanting more a few hundred pages later. Venture in and become a part of Maureen Coughlin’s New Orleans, and you’ll be holding your breath for the entire ride!” —Amy Loewy, Garden District Book Shop, New Orleans, LA

Viking Bay: A Kay Hamilton Novel, by M.A. Lawson
(Blue Rider Press, 9780399165740, $26.95)
“As recounted in the first book in this series, Rosarito Beach, Kay Hamilton went rogue when working for the DEA and was fired. She now has the perfect job working for the Callahan Group, a top secret agency that does the government’s dirty work. Lawson has found the perfect vehicle for Kay’s daredevil personality and her no-holds-barred action when she is trying to right a wrong or bring someone to justice. A rogue agent in a rogue agency suits Kay to a T and makes for nonstop action and a great, entertaining read.” —Nancy McFarlane, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC

The Internet Is Not the Answer, by Andrew Keen
(Atlantic Monthly Press, 9780802123138, $25)
“In the midst of celebrating all that the Internet has done for us comes this thoughtful invitation to consider the negative impacts of its presence in our lives. Keen, himself a veteran of the tech industry, reveals the behind-the-scenes workings of the Internet with input from others involved. His best message, however, is that with consideration and the application of care we can still shape a future society that utilizes the strengths of the internet while not allowing it to overwhelm us and turn us into robotic servants of the very technology that was designed to help us gain freedom and growth as human beings.” —Linda Bond, Auntie’s Bookstore, Spokane, WA

The Soul of Discretion: A Chief Superintendent Simon Serrailler Mystery, by Susan Hill
(Overlook Press, 9781468301458, $26.95)
“Fans of character-driven suspense who aren’t afraid of gritty plot lines are sure to enjoy Hill’s Chief Inspector Simon Serrailler series. Hill doesn’t shy away from taking her characters into difficult territory, and The Soul of Discretion is definitely her most nerve-racking novel yet. Serrailler goes deep undercover to try to stop a ring of child pornographers while his sister, Cat, is left to deal with family drama, financial problems, a rift in their father’s second marriage, and an attentive police officer. Guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat!” —Carol Schneck Varner, Schuler Books & Music, Okemos, MI

The January 2015 Now in Paperback

The Accident: A Novel, by Chris Pavone (Broadway Books, 9780385348478, $15)
Recommended in hardcover by Hannah Johnson-Breimeier, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI

And the Dark Sacred Night: A Novel, by Julia Glass (Anchor, 9780307456113, $15.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Anderson McKean, Page & Palette, Fairhope, AL

A Circle of Wives: A Novel, by Alice LaPlante (Grove Press, 9780802122926, $15)
Recommended in hardcover by Annie Philbrick, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT

The Crane Wife: A Novel, by Patrick Ness (Penguin Books, 9780143126171, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by William D. Carl, Books on the Square, Providence, RI

The Girl With a Clock for a Heart: A Novel, by Peter Swanson (William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780062267504, $14.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Jerry Brown, The Bookstore, Radcliff, KY

If Only You People Could Follow Directions: A Memoir, by Jessica Hendry Nelson (Counterpoint, 9781619024670, $15.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Josh Cook, Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA

The Kept: A Novel, by James Scott (Harper Perennial, 9780062236654, $15.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Emily Crowe, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA

Lost Lake: A Novel, by Sarah Addison Allen (St. Martin’s Griffin, 9781250019820, $15.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Susan Thomas, CoffeeTree Books, Morehead, KY

North of Boston: A Novel, by Elisabeth Elo (Penguin Books, 9780143126126, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Kathleen McGonagle, Buttonwood Books & Toys, Cohasset, MA

Radiance of Tomorrow: A Novel, by Ishmael Beah (Sarah Crichton Books, 9780374535032, $14)
Recommended in hardcover by Deon Stonehouse, Sunriver Books & Music, Sunriver, OR

The Secret of Magic: A Novel, by Deborah Johnson (Berkley Trade, 9780425272787, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Bill Cusumano, Square Books, Oxford, MS

Unremarried Widow: A Memoir, by Artis Henderson (Simon & Schuster, 9781451649291, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Kathy Ashton, The King’s English Bookshop, Salt Lake City, UT