The July 2011 Indie Next List Preview

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Here’s a preview of the titles on the July 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 July 1 on and

The July 2011 Indie Next List Great Reads

#1 Pick: Turn of Mind, by Alice LaPlante
(Atlantic Monthly Press, $24.00, 9780802119773)
"This is an emotionally intense story of a 64-year-old hand surgeon, Jennifer White, as she experiences the unyielding onslaught of dementia. On any given day she is lucid, catatonic, violent, or very, very sly. Does she feel any remorse for her less-than-stellar parenting of her two children? Did she kill her friend Amanda and amputate her fingers? LaPlante's exceptional skill with words puts readers inside this brilliant woman's mind so that we might experience her anger, frustration, and increasing confusion. This is a remarkable, heart-wrenching, and utterly compelling debut novel." -- Susan Wasson, Bookworks, Albuquerque, NM

A Good Hard Look: A Novel, by Ann Napolitano
(Penguin Press, $25.95, 9781594202926)
"Although Flannery O'Connor's literary and personal history has been well examined, Napolitano shows an exquisite ability to capture the essence of mid-20th century Georgia and the fictional characters that O'Connor created. Some novelists might have been tempted to emulate her Southern Gothic style; Napolitano treads lightly in this field, letting tragedy work where it best fits. She captures both the joys and weaknesses of O'Connor's characters in a parallel to the beloved author's belief that it is difficult to distinguish between blessings and curses. A Good Hard Look is an artful novel that is as electrifying as O'Connor's peacocks and as magnetic as her life." -- Bill Threlfall, Tattered Cover Bookstore, Denver, CO

The Last Werewolf, by Glen Duncan
(Knopf, $24.95, 9780307595089)
"With this novel, Duncan has reinvented a genre. Jake Marlowe is literally the last werewolf in existence, and after 200 years he has resigned himself to a date with his executioner at the next full moon. That is, until everything changes. Duncan's razor-sharp writing combines all the gory raunchiness of classic horror with the elegance of top literary fiction, while also managing to include a considerable amount of hip pop culture. This is a smart and engaging thriller that is not to be missed." -- Katherine Osborne, Kennebooks, Kennebunk, ME

Once Upon a River: A Novel, by Bonnie Jo Campbell
(W. W. Norton, $25.95, 9780393079890)
"Margo Crane is a 20th century Huck Finn, and the tale of her odyssey on the Stark River is a passage into adulthood that is as distinct and memorable as any in recent years. With writing as elemental and powerful as the natural world that Margo encounters on her journey, Campbell asserts her position as one of the major talents in American fiction." -- Bill Cusumano, Nicola's Books, Ann Arbor, MI

Before I Go to Sleep: A Novel, by S.J. Watson
(Harper, $25.99, 9780062060556)
"Christine wakes every morning in a state of panic. Due to a horrible accident she has no memory and relies on daily notes from her husband, Ben, to understand her life. That is until Dr. Nash, a neuropsychologist, begins to work with her. Little by little, Christine pieces together her lost memories until she is dangerously close to discovering the truth of her past. This is a psychological thrill ride that, at times, leaves you uneasy, queasy, and afraid of the next twisted turn. I couldn't put it down!" -- Kristin Bates, McLean & Eakin Booksellers, Petoskey, MI

Trespasser: A Novel, by Paul Doiron
(Minotaur, $24.99, 9780312558475)
"Maine Game Warden Mike Bowditch is back on the job, following his introduction in Doiron's debut, The Poacher's Son, and once again he's tripping over bodies. He is called to the scene of an accident in which a car hit a deer, but when he arrives neither the deer nor the driver are there. He is convinced by a state patrolman to leave the matter to the state police, but the situation continues to haunt Bowditch. Where would a young woman go on a cold, snowy Maine night? Devastated when the truth is revealed, Bowditch risks all to finally bring a killer to justice. Doiron is an author to watch!" -- Vicki Erwin, Main Street Books, St.Charles, MO

Dominance: A Novel, by Will Lavender
(Simon & Schuster, $24.00, 9781451617290)
"Don't read this evil, fiendishly good thriller. Don't ask why a cold-blooded axe murderer would be permitted to speak to a group of college students, let alone teach a class. Dominance is about secrets, power, and murder. It's a disturbing book, and readers will definitely find themselves manipulated by the author. If you are foolish enough to start reading this book, be warned that you will not be able to stop. Be sure to leave the lights on when you're finished!" -- Geoffrey Jennings, Rainy Day Books, Fairway, KS

Original Sin: A Sally Sin Adventure, by Beth McMullen
(Hyperion, $24.99, 9781401324216)
"Original Sin is the perfect beach book. Former superspy Sally Sin gives it all up for love. She now lives as Lucy, a stay-at-home mom of a three-year-old in San Francisco. Everything she has worked for comes into jeopardy, however, when an old nemesis finds her and she has to go back to her old job to keep her family safe. Very funny and fast paced, this is a witty and engaging read. I can't wait for the next installment!" -- Cinda Meister, Booksmart, Morgan Hill, CA

The Homecoming of Samuel Lake: A Novel, by Jenny Wingfield
(Random House, $25.00, 9780385344081)
"Wingfield has the storyteller's gift, and she writes her debut tale of preacher-without-a-church Samuel Lake and his family with the assurance of a seasoned author. After the death of his father-in-law, John, Samuel moves his wife, Willadee, and their three children into his mother-in-law's house in rural Arkansas. John used to run Never Closes -- a bar that stayed open all night -- from the back porch of his house. Calla, his wife, runs Moses -- a convenience store that is open all day -- from the front porch. Inside the house between those two porches, an extraordinary family lives a life complete with love, lust, heartbreak, heroics, and miracles. A perfect book for the many fans of The Help." -- Jill Miner, Saturn Booksellers, Gaylord, MI

The Map of Time: A Novel, by Felix J. Palma
(Atria, $26.00, 9781439167397)
"When H.G. Wells releases his new novel The Time Machine, he has no idea about the series of events he will set in motion. Join Wells on this romp through time as he tries to set Victorian London, literature, and his life back in order. Characters and events both real and imagined weave together in the three story lines that form this engaging and creative tale with all the twists, turns, and paradoxes that every good time travel book should have. Light the oil lamp, find a comfy chair, and enjoy!" -- Shawn Bridges, Literary Lion, Stephenville, TX

Graveminder, by Melissa Marr
(William Morrow, $22.99, 9780061826870)
"Rebekka is no stranger to funerals and the dead. After all, her grandmother went to every funeral in her hometown, stood at every grave, and told the dead to stay where she put them. Rebekka has spent much of her life running -- from commitment, from her hometown, from the memories of her sister's suicide, and especially from her attraction to the Undertaker, Byron. But when she returns to bury her grandmother she finds out more about the town's secrets than she ever wanted to know. Filled with ancient contracts, the walking dead, and fated love, this eerie tale draws you in and leaves you yearning for more." -- Angela Mann, Kepler's Books & Magazine, Menlo Park, CA

The Hypnotist: A Novel, by Lars Kepler
(Farrar Straus & Giroux, $27.00, 9780374173951)
"Detective Inspector Joona Linna takes on a bizarre murder case when a young Swedish family is found brutally slain in their own home. Questioning the surviving witness is not an option, as the young boy's life hangs by a thread. What Linna needs is a hypnotist. Erik Maria Bark is that man, but he gave up practicing 10 years ago after a tragic accident. The detective won't take no for an answer, so Erik puts the boy in a trance. What happens next won't just threaten everything Erik has managed to rebuild, it will tear families apart, turn friends into bitter enemies, and rob Erik of Benjamin, his only son. Gritty, fast-paced, and impossible to put down." -- Paula Longhurst, The King's English, Salt Lake City, UT

The Soldier's Wife: A Novel, by Margaret Leroy
(Voice, $14.99, 9781401341701)
"Open this book and you'll be transported to the island of Guernsey during World War II, where you'll meet Vivienne de la Mare, a true heroine. Leroy paints the setting beautifully. You will see the abundant gardens already going to seed because they've been abandoned by those who left the island before the Germans came. You will feel the weight of the German occupation as the soldiers move in, take most of the food, and ever so politely terrify the people. As Vivienne takes great risks to care for her children and her mentally frail mother-in-law, she falls into a forbidden love affair. Warning: Once you start The Soldier's Wife, you'll be hooked." -- Elaine Petrocelli, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA

Ten Thousand Saints: A Novel, by Eleanor Henderson
(Ecco, $26.99, 9780062021021)
"Reminiscent of Michael Cunningham's A Home at the End of the World, though with a definitely original voice, this sweeping, powerful first novel touches on the themes of teenage angst, suburban disaffection, and the punk scene in the late 1980s, while also tackling the larger subjects of love, identity, complex family relationships, religion, and sexuality. You'll fall in love with the characters and want to hang out with them after the book is through. In one word: 'Wow!'" -- Carol Schneck, Schuler Books & Music, Okemos, MI

This Burns My Heart: A Novel, by Samuel Park
(Simon & Schuster, $25.00, 9781439199619)
"In South Korea in 1960, Soo-Ja Choi is a beautiful young woman from a well-to-do family. As the country is struggling to recover from a divisive war and tries to enter the modern world, Soo-Ja is exploring her options as a young adult. When her father does not allow her to accept a position studying to be a diplomat, he destroys her dreams. Over the next 15 years, she struggles with her life decisions, her new family, and a love she gave up before she understood the permanence of choice. A compulsive read, the novel is based on the life of Park's mother." -- Terry Gilman, Mysterious Galaxy Books, San Diego, CA

The Devil All the Time: A Novel, by Donald Ray Pollock
(Doubleday, $26.95, 9780385535045)
"This is a powerhouse of a novel. Disturbing? Yes. But Pollock, the author of the story collection Knockemstiff, earns the gravity of his subject matter. As the title suggests, God is pretty elusive to the characters in this book, despite their many attempts to have it otherwise. There is, however, an almost biblical inevitability in the fate of these people, and Pollock hooks your interest in their destinies from the very beginning. It's (pardon the pun) 'a hell of a ride!'" -- Robert Sindelar, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA

Pao: A Novel, by Kerry Young
(Bloomsbury USA, $15.00, 9781608195077)
"Imagine The Godfather set in Jamaica with a Chinese gangster in the title role. Now make the gangster funny, charming, and give him a conscience. There you have Pao. As a youngster, Pao's family immigrates to Jamaica under the protection of Zhang, who keeps Jamaica's Chinatown running smoothly. Pao is taken under Zhang's wing, shown the ropes, and educated in the philosophy of Sun Tzu's The Art of War. As Jamaica struggles for independence from British rule, Pao negotiates his way through awkward predicaments, both political and romantic. This is an utterly endearing story of a sensitive wise guy.'" -- Deon Stonehouse, Sunriver Books, Sunriver, OR

The Reservoir: A Novel, by John Milliken Thompson
(Other Press, $15.95, 9781590514443)
"I couldn't put this book down. Based on real events in 1885, this is the story of the murder of Lillie, who was eight months pregnant when she was found floating face up in Richmond, Virginia's drinking water reservoir. Was it an accident, suicide, or something more sinister? The author captures not only the feeling of the time, when many legal procedures were far different than today, but also the timeless questions of trust and whether we can ever really know the true motivations of others, even those closest to us." -- Mary Kay Brunskill Cohen, Anderson's Bookshop, Naperville, IL

The Return of Captain John Emmett: A Mystery, by Elizabeth Speller
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26.00, 9780547511696)
"It is in particular stories of war that we are forced to see the cost of one life lost and how that loss effects so many others. Speller's novel of the aftermath of World War I is such a story. After his military service has ended, John Emmett is found dead, an apparent suicide. His grieving sister Mary calls on Laurence Bartram, an old schoolmate, to help her understand what has happened. As he delves into the circumstances, Bartram realizes that others involved with Emmett in a disturbing wartime event have also died violently. This is a compelling story with a sympathetic protagonist who finds that there are seldom easy answers, few happy endings, and no good wars." -- Laura Keys, Blue Elephant Book Shop Inc., Decatur, GA

The Shooting Salvationist: J. Frank Norris and the Murder Trial that Captivated America, by David R. Stokes
(Steerforth, $26.99, 9781586421861)
"J. Frank Norris was the pastor of a mega-church before the concept existed. He was famous, and to many he was a righteous and inspiring hero. To others, however, he was brash and abrasive, the object of scorn and hatred. His endless crusades frustrated both businessmen and politicians in Fort Worth, Texas. On July 17, 1926, Norris shot and killed an unarmed man in the church office. Stokes presents the complete story of the shooting, the criminal trial, and their aftermath. Eighty-five years ago this event captured the attention of the entire nation, and modern readers will likewise be enthralled by the skillful presentation of this shocking crime." -- Christopher Rose, Andover Bookstore, Andover, MA

The July 2011 Indie Next Now in Paperback

Brilliant: The Evolution of Artificial Light, by Jane Brox (Mariner, 9780547520346, $15.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Dale Szczeblowski, Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA

The Cookbook Collector: A Novel, by Allegra Goodman (Dial Press, 9780385340861, $15)
Recommended in hardcover by Becky Dayton, The Vermont Book Shop, Middlebury, VT

Faithful Place: A Novel, by Tana French (Penguin, 9780143119494, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Charlotte Tuinman, M Is for Mystery, San Mateo, CA

Fur, Fortune, and Empire: The Epic History of the Fur Trade in America, by Eric Jay Dolin (W.W. Norton 9780393340020, $18.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Christopher Rose, Andover Bookstore, Andover, MA

The Instructions, by Adam Levin (McSweeney’s, dist. PGW, 9781936365166, $20)
Recommended in hardcover by Ed Conklin, Chaucer’s Books, Santa Barbara, CA

The Lovers: A Novel, by Vendela Vida (Ecco, 9780060828400, $13.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Joni Ditzler, Maria’s Bookshop, Durango, CO

Memory Wall Stories, by Anthony Doerr (Scribner, 9781439182840, $14)
Recommended in hardcover by Cody Morrison, Square Books, Oxford, MS

My Name Is Memory: A Novel, by Ann Brashares (Riverhead Trade, 9781594485183, $15)
Recommended in hardcover by Sarah Hill, The River’s End Bookstore, Oswego, NY

The Secret Lives of the Four Wives: A Novel, by Lola Shoneyin (William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780061946387, $14.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Jennie Turner-Collins, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Cincinnati, OH

The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno: A Novel, by Ellen Bryson (St. Martin’s Griffin, 9780312577124, $15.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Karen Briggs, Great Northern Books and Hobbies, Oscoda, MI

The Wake of Forgiveness: A Novel, by Bruce Machart (Mariner, 9780547521947, $14.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Rebecca Fitting, Greenlight Bookstore, Brooklyn, NY

The Widower’s Tale: A Novel, by Julia Glass (Anchor, 9780307456106, $15)
Recommended in hardcover by Emily Crowe, Odyssey Bookshop South Hadley, MA