The January 2017 Indie Next List Preview

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Below are the 20 Indie Next Great Reads and 12 Now in Paperback titles featured on the January 2017 Indie Next List flier, which is on its way to stores in the IndieBound movement.

Beginning January 1, these titles will be featured on downloadable fliers and shelf-talkers on and

The January 2017 Indie Next Great Reads

History of Wolves: A Novel, by Emily Fridlund  
(Atlantic Monthly Press, 9780802125873, $25)
“A lonely teenager in rural northern Minnesota, Linda is desperate for connection and obsessed with both her enigmatic new neighbors and a classmate entangled in a scandalous relationship with a teacher. Narrating these seemingly disparate story threads is the adult Linda, who may have been villain, victim, or bystander in at least one tragedy. With lyrical prose and precise pacing, debut author Fridlund builds tension and weaves a complex, multilayered morality tale rich in metaphor and symbolism. This haunting, meticulously crafted novel will inspire lengthy rumination on topics ranging from the meaning of the title to the power of belief. Perfect for reading groups!” —Sharon Flesher, Brilliant Books, Traverse City, MI

The Second Mrs. Hockaday: A Novel, by Susan Rivers
(Algonquin Books, 9781616205812, $25.95)
“When Major Gryffth Hockaday returns home after years fighting in the Civil War, he discovers that his wife had given birth to a child who later died, both events occurring under mysterious circumstances. Knowing he cannot be the father of the child, he has murder charges brought against his wife. The trial and the story of what happened unfold through letters and diary entries written by Placidia Hockaday and other family members, culminating in a shocking truth. Inspired by actual events, the characters and story that Rivers has created are truly memorable and The Second Mrs. Hockaday is a unique and fascinating read.” —Sherri Gallentine, Vroman’s Bookstore, Pasadena, CA

The Bear and the Nightingale: A Novel, by Katherine Arden
(Del Rey, 9781101885932, $27)
The Bear and the Nightingale is an enchanting mix of fairy tale, fantasy, and historical fiction set in medieval Russia. Nestled between the northern wilderness and civilization is a village where old and new traditions live side by side. Vasya, the last daughter of Pyotr and Marina, is born on the howling winds of autumn. Different from the others in her village, she is destined to be like her grandmother and is gifted with powers by birthright. As time goes by, Vasya is tested. Caught in the conflict between the old spirits and the new religion, Vasya must do everything in her power to save her family and village. Arden’s novel is the rich, mesmerizing fairy tale you’ve been waiting for!” —Jennifer Steele, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI

The Dry: A Novel, by Jane Harper
(Flatiron Books, 9781250105608, $25.99)
“This story of a small town and the secrets it has been protecting for decades is fast-paced and never predictable. In a remote section of rural Australia during an extended drought, devastating weather conditions collide with an unexpected turn of events that ultimately results in the murder of a young family. Bearing the scars of the town’s past, Aaron Falk returns home for the funeral and is forced to make a choice between saving himself and facing a secret he has been hiding from for 20 years. This is an amazing debut that I could not put down!” —Dana Gillespie, East City Bookshop, Washington, DC

Everything You Want Me to Be: A Novel, by Mindy Mejia
(Atria/Emily Bestler Books, 9781501123429, $26.99)
“To some extent we are all chameleons. We fit ourselves to the situations we find ourselves in, act differently around our boss than with our family, and tell little white lies out of kindness. But what if that’s all you did? Hattie Hoffman is just a teenager, but she has already mastered the art of observing the people around her, assessing their desires and expectations and molding herself accordingly. Everything You Want Me to Be is a chilling mystery that explores the mutability of identity through the eyes of three very different people. If you’re looking for the next captivating thriller that everyone will be comparing to Gone Girl or The Girl on the Train, this is it!” —Lauren Peugh, Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, AZ

Fever Dream: A Novel, by Samanta Schweblin, Megan McDowell (Trans.)
(Riverhead Books, 9780399184598, $25)
“Haunting, foreboding, eerie, and ominous, Schweblin’s Fever Dream is the first of the Argentine author’s books to appear in English. Despite its brevity, Fever Dream throbs with a quickened pulse, as heightening tension is its most effective quality. An intriguing yet purposefully vague plot adds to the story’s mystique, one of peril, poison, and the unexplained terror of worms. Metaphorical in scope, Schweblin’s impressively constructed tale leaves much to the imagination but is all the richer for doing so. Unsettling and compelling, this is a delirious, potent novel not to be overlooked.” —Jeremy Garber, Powell’s Books, Portland, OR

Lucky Boy: A Novel, by Shanthi Sekaran
(Putnam, 9781101982242, $27)
“Soli is an 18-year-old Mexican girl who enters the U.S. illegally and gives birth to a baby boy. Rashi and Kavya Reddy are an Indian-American couple in Berkeley who have unsuccessfully tried to have children. Their stories intersect when Soli is arrested and her baby is taken from her by Child Protective Services and given into foster care with the Reddys, who become attached to baby Ignacio and want to adopt him. Sekaran does a good job describing the trials and tribulations of illegal immigrants, and Soli’s hope of regaining custody rings true. A compelling read that examines very topical parental rights and immigration issues.” —Valerie Koehler, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, TX

Difficult Women, by Roxane Gay
(Grove Press, 9780802125392, $25)
“A ‘difficult woman’ has become shorthand for one who speaks her mind, who questions patriarchal power, and who refuses to be defined by a standard of femininity. The women who populate Gay’s story collection are all difficult in their own ways — mothers, sisters, lovers, some married and some single, most of flesh and one of glass — yet they are all searching for understanding, for identity, and for ways to make sense of a sometimes nonsensical, cruel world. Some of Gay’s stories are graphic, some are allegorical, and all are important commentaries on what being female looks and feels like in modern America.” —Becky Gilmer, Bloomsbury Books, Ashland, OR

Books for Living, by Will Schwalbe
(Knopf, 9780385353540, $25.95)
“Anyone can recommend a book, but it’s rare that someone can fully articulate its lifelong impact. Schwalbe has the rarest of voices — both intimate and universal — and with deep care and reflection he offers readers the most personal and heartfelt parts of himself in his latest collection. This is not a list of Schwalbe’s favorite books, but is instead an explanation of how certain books and authors taught him timeless lessons about our deepest longings. Schwalbe’s voice leaps off the page and fills the room as only the liveliest conversations can. I can’t stop thinking about this book and want to read every title mentioned, if only to keep the conversation going.” —Miriam Landis, Island Books, Mercer Island, WA

The River at Night: A Novel, by Erica Ferencik
(Gallery/Scout Press, 9781501143199, $26)
“What would you do to save the lives of your friends? In this debut novel, Winifred and her three friends are about to find out. Instead of a trip to a comfortable, fancy resort in some exotic destination, they embark on an excursion to the Allagash wilderness in upstate Maine. What happens next is everyone’s nightmare, yet it leads to the kind of wisdom few people ever achieve. This is a tense, disturbing, yet satisfying story of the strength of friendship in the face of a severe challenge.” —Linda Bond, Auntie’s Bookstore, Spokane, WA

Two Days Gone: A Novel, by Randall Silvis
(Sourcebooks Landmark, 9781492639732, trade paper, $15.99)
“This is the perfect dead-of-winter read! Ryan DeMarco is shocked to learn that his friend Thomas Huston, an internationally bestselling author, has disappeared into the woods, leaving his slaughtered family behind in their once-serene home. How could a man who has it all – perfect career, perfect wife, perfect kids — become such a monster? This is the question DeMarco sets out to answer, all while on a wild chase to track down Huston before he freezes to death in the harsh northern Pennsylvania winter.” —Maggie Henriksen, Saturn Booksellers, Gaylord, MI

The Most Dangerous Place on Earth: A Novel, by Lindsey Lee Johnson
(Random House, 9780812997279, $27)
“If only we had had the wisdom back in high school, to see behind the facades of the kids who intimidated us, fascinated us, irritated us, and disgusted us — and to understand how the ways we collided with each other and with life would play out for us. Johnson’s literary superpower is to plunge us into such a school and make us feel it all again as if we are there — only this time with all of the wisdom we lacked previously.” —Nina Barrett, Bookends & Beginnings, Evanston, IL

Her Every Fear: A Novel, by Peter Swanson
(William Morrow, 9780062427021, $26.99)
“Swanson builds tension in Her Every Fear like a chess grandmaster slowly revealing his game. Kate Priddy tries to escape her dark past with a move to Boston, only to discover that she is not the only one trying to hide their secrets, and that many are darker than her own. Moving seamlessly between each character’s point of view, Swanson’s heart-stopping thriller draws readers into this terrifying and twisted tale of revenge and holds them until the surprising end.” —Luisa Smith, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA

Little Deaths: A Novel, by Emma Flint
(Hachette Books, 9780316272476, $26)
“In 1965, Ruth Malone, recently separated from her husband, wakes to find her children gone. Both are found dead and Ruth finds herself the prime suspect, tried and convicted by the court of public opinion because she is a single parent and rumors abound about her drinking and dating habits. Flint has created a compelling whodunit based on true events, and I was riveted from page one. This is a literary thriller that will have you parked in your reading chair until you turn the last page!” —Sarah Harmuth Letke, Redbery Books, Cable, WI

Freebird: A Novel, by Jon Raymond
(Graywolf Press, 9781555977603, $26)
“This multigenerational story is a road-trip novel, an ecological disaster drama, and a harrowing post-Iraq War PTSD portrait all rolled into one highly readable, gorgeously written book. Raymond tells this story peering over the shoulders of three strong characters, each of whom have to reconcile feelings of love — both romantic and familial — with the brutal realities of life during wartime. Despite its dark turns, Freebird is a book filled with hope for its characters as well as love for the real world it ably attempts to recreate and offer respite from.” —John Francisconi, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT

Burning Bright: A Novel, by Nick Petrie
(Putnam, 9780399174575, $26)
Burning Bright solidifies Petrie’s place among the best thriller writers working today. His hero, Peter Ash, wanders from town to town, living outdoors because his PTSD will not allow him to remain inside walls for very long. When he discovers a woman on the run from shadowy killers, Ash knows he must help her in spite of his near-crippling claustrophobia. Petrie gives us characters we love, warts and all, and there is a true sense of forward propulsion to his action-packed tale. Peter Ash is a hero for today and Burning Bright puts Petrie in the company of Lee Child and Robert Ludlum.” —William Carl, Wellesley Books, Wellesley, MA

The Sleepwalker: A Novel, by Chris Bohjalian
(Doubleday, 9780385538916, $26.95)
“Once again, master storyteller Bohjalian has crafted a thoughtful, suspenseful novel that grabs hold and doesn’t let go until the end. Exploring the world of sleepwalking and parasomnia, he recounts the story of the night Liana’s mother disappeared. At turns a harrowing mystery and a heartbreaking tale of a family coping with their mother’s affliction, The Sleepwalker is filled with beautiful prose that culminates in a twist readers never see coming.” —Kathleen Carey, Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, NY

The Old Man, by Thomas Perry
(Mysterious Press, 9780802125866, $26)
“Dan Chase is a wealthy old man living a quiet life after the death of his wife and his daughter’s move to another part of the country. But wait — he is being followed, and then his house is broken into and he has to kill the intruder. Next, the old man turns to his ‘go’ bag as it seems he has many identities, stashes of currency, and a plan to disappear. There are secrets to be discovered all throughout this tale and Perry keeps readers wondering what will come next. This is definitely one of Perry’s best!” —Barbara Kelly, Kelly’s Books to Go, South Portland, ME

Leopard at the Door: A Novel, by Jennifer McVeigh
(Putnam, 9780399158254, $26)
Leopard at the Door is a beautifully layered coming-of-age novel set in a Kenya still under the yoke of colonial British rule. Rachel, whose beloved mother died when she was 12, returns to the country she loves after six years in England. She struggles against the expectations of her father and his new partner, Susan, whom Rachel has a difficult time accepting. Fine writing weaves Rachel’s story with the essence of Kenya, the treatment of its people, and the uprising of the Mau Mau who seek independence. This is a thrillingly taut novel — with a clever title, too!” —Biddy Kehoe, Hockessin Book Shelf, Hockessin, DE

The Midnight Cool: A Novel, by Lydia Peelle
(Harper, 9780062475466, $26.99)
“The journey of middle-aged swindler Billy and his young, idealistic partner Charles is a journey into the history and heart of the oft-maligned American dream. As the nation considers whether it will join World War I, Billy and Charles must weigh the merits of freedom against patriotic obligation, their life on the road against the temptation of putting down roots, and their diverging desires against the love and loyalty they bear for each other. As Billy says, ‘I reckon that’s the beauty and the shame of it, all at once.’ Peelle’s exploration of this beauty and shame is exquisitely wrought, richly populated, and ultimately devastating. I finished the novel in tears.” —Mairead Small Staid, Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, MI

Now in Paperback

After the Crash: A Novel, by Michel Bussi (Hachette Books, 9780316309691, $15)
Recommended in hardcover by Darwin Ellis, Books on the Common, Ridgefield, CT

All the Winters After: A Novel, by Seré Prince Halverson (Sourcebooks Landmark, 9781492635215, $15.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Patricia Worth, River Reader Books, Lexington, MO

A Certain Age: A Novel, by Beatriz Williams (William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780062404961, $15.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Dawn Rennert, The Concord Bookshop, Concord, MA

The Charm Bracelet: A Novel, by Viola Shipman (St. Martin’s Griffin, 9781250071330, $15.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Sylvia Smith, Bookmiser, Roswell, GA

The Children’s Home: A Novel, by Charles Lambert (Scribner, 9781501117404, $15)
Recommended in hardcover by Dan Doody, University Book Store, Seattle, WA

Dodgers: A Novel, by Bill Beverly (Broadway Books, 9781101903759, $15)
Recommended in hardcover by Sheryl Cotleur, Copperfield’s Books, Sebastopol, CA

Fallen Land: A Novel, by Taylor Brown (St. Martin’s Griffin, 9781250116840, $15.99)
Recommended in hardcover By Doug Robinson, Eagle Eye Book Shop, Decatur, GA

The Fireman: A Novel, by Joe Hill (William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780062200648, $18.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Sharon K. Nagel, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI

Mothering Sunday: A Romance, by Graham Swift (Vintage, 9781101971727, $15)
Recommended in hardcover by Pamela Klinger-Horn, Excelsior Bay Books, Excelsior, MN

The Portable Veblen: A Novel, by Elizabeth McKenzie (Penguin Books, 9781101981597, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Rico Lange, Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA

The Railwayman’s Wife: A Novel, by Ashley Hay (Washington Square Press, 9781501128660, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Luisa Smith, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA

The Travelers: A Novel, by Chris Pavone (Broadway Books, 9780385348508, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Billie Bloebaum, Third Street Books, McMinnville, OR