The March 2014 Indie Next List Preview

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

The March 2014 Indie Next Great Reads

#1 Pick: Shotgun Lovesongs: A Novel, by Nickolas Butler
(Thomas Dunne Books, 9781250039811, $25.99)
“This is a spectacular first novel, full of wit, energy, love, and a true feeling of home that other writers strive to achieve but few actually succeed in creating. It’s the story of four men and a woman tied by their youth in a small town in Wisconsin. Their lives change over the years — one becomes a farmer, one an indie rock star, one a not-so-successful businessman, and one an ex-rodeo rider — but they all cling to that notion of home and small-town America, even as that dream is drying up and blowing away on the wind. Like Richard Russo, Jonathan Tropper, and Larry McMurtry, Butler knows exactly what is happening inside men’s heads and he knows how to express their feelings without ever becoming maudlin. Every note rings true. I cannot wait to see what he writes next!” —Bill Carl, The Booksellers at Fountain Square, Cincinnati, OH

The Enchanted: A Novel, by Rene Denfeld
(Harper, 9780062285508, $25.99)
“A death row inmate, a fallen priest, and the Lady. These nameless characters are central to this dark, enthralling, magical story. Locked in a dungeon cell, the inmate deals with his incarceration by transforming the prison into a wondrous place. The rumblings of the earth become golden horses running below his cell, molten lava flowing from their manes. The Lady works to have the sentences of the condemned commuted to life in prison while the priest is fallen, lost, and desperately in love with her. These characters live and work in a truly enchanted place, and I was sorry to leave them behind when the book was finished.” —Jessie Martin, Nicola’s Books, Ann Arbor, MI

Gemini: A Novel, by Carol Cassella
(Simon & Schuster, 9781451627930, $25.99)
“A medical mystery, a love story, and a novel of depth and complexity — Cassella manages all of this in Gemini. Jane Doe is transferred late at night into the care of ICU doctor Charlotte Reese. Jane may have been dropped on the hospital doorstep with a thick pile of papers detailing everything that can go wrong with her after a hit-and-run accident, but the crucial detail of her identity is missing, and with it the people who would speak for her while she dwells in a coma. As Charlotte attempts to unravel the mystery of her patient, she finds herself examining her own life. Full of suspense, heartbreak, insight, and a gripping, unexpected ending, Gemini is a pleasure to read.” —Luisa Smith, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA

After I’m Gone: A Novel, by Laura Lippman
(William Morrow, 9780062083395, $26.99)
“In 2012, retired detective Sandy Sanchez opens the cold case file on the murder of Julie Saxony. Julie was the mistress of the wealthy, unscrupulous businessman Felix Brewer, who ran away to escape a prison sentence in 1976. Julie disappeared 10 years later and her decomposed body was found in 2001. Sandy’s investigation reveals suspicious facts about Felix’s wife, Bambi, their three daughters, and the family and friends of the murder victim. Chapters alternate between past and present to uncover startling revelations about the power of money, friendship, loyalty, love, trust, and truth in this latest from the award-winning Lippman.” —Diana Randolph, Redbery Books, Cable, WI

The Weight of Blood: A Novel, by Laura McHugh
(Spiegel & Grau, 9780812995206, $26)
“This is a literary thriller that will keep you reading well into the night. Two girls, Lila and Cheri, disappear a generation apart. Lucy, Lila’s grown daughter and Cheri’s friend, soon realizes there is a connection between the two that runs deep in her family. The Ozark Mountain landscape is the perfect setting for this powerful and haunting mystery. Fans of Gillian Flynn will not be disappointed in this gritty coming-of-age story that tests the limits of family loyalty.” —Amanda Skelton, Union Avenue Books, Knoxville, TN

The Museum of Extraordinary Things: A Novel, by Alice Hoffman
(Scribner, 9781451693560, $27.99)
“Hoffman’s latest work of fiction is a tour de force of imagination which, at the same time, builds a world so real and present that the reader senses a tangible reality. The setting is New York and Brooklyn in 1911, where sideshow ‘curiosities,’ Russian émigré Jews, the emerging workers unions, and the lost, wild beauty of Manhattan’s rivers and woods blend into a dream. Hoffman’s research is precise, her vision unique, and her writing extraordinarily evocative. This is a beautiful and sensitive novel.” —Karen Pennington, Books Inc., San Francisco, CA

The Accident: A Novel, by Chris Pavone
(Crown, 9780385348454, $26)
“Literary agent Isabel Reed is the first to receive the manuscript of The Accident, which, unbeknownst to her, is a dangerous thing to have in one’s possession. It reveals secrets that a powerful media mogul and his cronies, including a CIA agent, have spent a lifetime concealing. They will stop at nothing to see that The Accident is never published and that their reputations remain intact. Readers get an insider’s glimpse into the gears of the publishing machine as the manuscript changes hands and endangers everyone who knows of its existence. A compelling thriller for book lovers!” —Hannah Johnson-Breimeier, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI

A Circle of Wives: A Novel, by Alice LaPlante
(Atlantic Monthly Press, 9780802122346, $25)
“What would you do if you discovered your husband had another wife, or even two, at the same time that he is married to you? Full of marital and murderous deception, LaPlante’s new novel echoes the tension and suspense of her previous work, Turn of Mind, and leads the reader down a path of betrayal, power, passion, and terror. A fabulous read!” —Annie Philbrick, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT

The Spinning Heart: A Novel, by Donal Ryan
(Steerforth Press, 9781586422240, paper, $15)
“Workers and their families are left to pick up the pieces after the biggest construction company in a small Irish town closes abruptly, with its owner having escaped to Dubai without paying anyone. Along with tensions created by the financial collapse, old family feuds and rampant gossip flare up and push the townsfolk to the edge. Ryan explores the human cost of the recession with consternation, but not without humor and great tenderness for his characters. Told in the Irish vernacular through multiple points of view, The Spinning Heart is a sobering account of the social and economic situation in contemporary Ireland. Spectacular!” —Pierre Camy, Schuler Books and Music, Grand Rapids, MI

Above: A Novel, by Isla Morley
(Gallery Books, 9781476731520, $24.99)
“Blythe can’t imagine anything worse than the 17 years she has been held captive in an abandoned underground missile silo until she escapes with her teenage son. The book begins as the compelling story of a teenager who has to endure her abduction by a mad survivalist who was convinced that the world was coming to an end, but it ends as a riveting, heart-stopping tale of determination, love, and hope for the future.” —Nancy McFarlane, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC

Bark: Stories, by Lorrie Moore
(Knopf, 9780307594136, $24.95)
“Is there any living writer who can so effortlessly chronicle the messy absurdity, unintended humor, and quiet pathos of the human condition better than Lorrie Moore? I had been eagerly awaiting another short story collection from her, and Bark delivers in full. The Moore I’ve known and loved is back, replete with her trademark pithy one-liners, wry observations, wicked wit, and spot-on renderings of her characters’ quirks, failings, and stubborn dreams.” —Laurie Paus, The Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA

The Good Luck of Right Now: A Novel, by Matthew Quick
(Harper, 9780062285539, $25.99)
“Can the hero of a coming-of-age-story be 39 years old? Is Jung’s theory of synchronicity a valid supposition? And what would Richard Gere do? These and other intriguing questions are addressed in Quick’s poignant new novel. After the death of his mother, Bartholomew Neil faces the future alone, pitifully unprepared for the realities of life. He embarks upon a one-sided correspondence with Gere, and although there is never a response, it somehow provides the wisdom and support Bartholomew needs to confront the mysteries of his past and to meet the challenges of his future. Accompanied by an appealing array of eccentric characters, Bartholomew makes his own good luck and thoroughly engages the reader in the process.” —Lynn Beeson, Loganberry Books, Shaker Heights, OH

Runner, by Patrick Lee
(Minotaur, 9781250030733, $24.99)
“All I can say about this thriller is wow! When Sam Dryden decides to solve his insomnia by going for a run near the beach, he almost runs over a young girl who is also running, but definitely not for fun. She is being chased by what seems to be an army, and Sam — ex-military himself — can’t help but come to her rescue. What follows is an exciting story of brainwashing and psychic manipulations all done for the wrong reasons. Sam and his young friend must always stay one step ahead of the folks who want to get her, but then Lee throws in an interesting twist to make readers question the identity of the real bad guys. An amazing book that will keep you up until you finish!” —Barbara Kelly, Portland Bookstore, University of Southern Maine, Portland, ME

The Weirdness: A Novel, by Jeremy P. Bushnell
(Melville House, 9781612193151, paper, $16.95)
“If the Devil wanted to make a deal with you but it was because he really wasn’t such a bad guy and he needed help saving the planet, would you agree? If you’re aspiring novelist Billy Ridgeway, of course you would. It’s only Lucifer. What could possibly go wrong? Bushnell does a hilariously great job constructing a contemporary tale of moral and spiritual dilemmas, and also expertly describes the ego and nuances of a struggling writer — a whole other kind of demon!” —Liberty Hardy, RiverRun Bookstore, Portsmouth, NH

While Beauty Slept, by Elizabeth Blackwell
(Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam, 9780399166235, $25.95)
“Humble Elise Dalriss was a companion to the beautiful princess Rose, who, as the fable recounts, was doomed since birth. The king’s aunt Millicent, who was banished from the kingdom on the day after Rose’s birth because the king felt she had put a spell on his wife, returns on the celebration day and proclaims, ‘You will all spend the rest of your life in fear.’ Then she disappears, leaving behind a kingdom reeling in shock and horror. Through the eyes of Elise, Blackwell has retold the tale of Sleeping Beauty using dark, sensual, and magical language and a complex plot full of surprises. Readers will be enthralled with this debut.” —Karen Briggs, Great Northen Books & Hobbies, Oscoda, MI

Boy, Snow, Bird: A Novel, by Helen Oyeyemi
(Riverhead, 9781594631399, $27.95)
“In 1953, Boy Novak runs away from her home on the Lower East Side of New York and ends up in a small town in Massachusetts. She marries Arturo Whitman, a widower with an adored daughter named Snow, and the three live happily until the birth of Bird, whose dark skin exposes the Whitmans as African-Americans passing for white. Oyeyemi is a stunning talent who examines the disparity in how we perceive ourselves and how we allow others to perceive us. Boy, Snow, Bird is a bewitching and beguiling tale with unforgettable characters.” —Amanda Hurley, Inkwood Books, Tampa, FL

The Wives of Los Alamos: A Novel, by TaraShea Nesbit
(Bloomsbury, 9781620405031, $25)
“In 1943, families of mathematicians and scientists, escorted under high security, move to The Hill — Los Alamos, New Mexico. Not knowing where they’re going or why, these wives from all over the world cut their ties with friends and relatives to live in isolation, without telephones or uncensored mail. Based on the history of the development of ‘The Gadget’ — the atomic bomb — this novel reads like a collective diary of hundreds of wives. This unique first-person plural recounting of real events culminates with varied reactions to the use of this powerful weapon on the people of Japan. Nesbit portrays these delicate issues brilliantly!” —Jane Morck, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA

The Black-Eyed Blonde: A Philip Marlowe Novel, by Benjamin Black
(Holt, 9780805098143, $27)
“In well-written noir, each sentence feels like a story unto itself and strung together those sentences form a book that feels somehow ‘more’ than any other out there. The Black-Eyed Blonde is such a book. Black manages to mimic the style of one of the best-known authors of the 20th century while still keeping a distinct voice. Raymond Chandler fans will be happy to see Phillip Marlowe back roaming the mean streets of L.A. There’s a sultry femme fatale, a sinister philanthropist, and plenty of punches thrown, pistols whipped, and suits ruined. The Black-Eyed Blonde is a tall drink of whiskey, and I enjoyed every drop!” —Lauren Peugh, Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, AZ

Redeployment, by Phil Klay
(Penguin Press, 9781594204999, $26.95)
“In a whirlwind of short stories, Klay gives us a good, strong impression of how it must feel to be an American soldier in the 21st century. The whole gamut of emotions including guilt, worry, post-traumatic stress disorder, and the difficulties associated with homecoming, are presented as real life events. Sometimes chilling to the bone, sometimes heartbreaking, every story has its own value and will touch your heart.” —Jean-Paul Adriaansen, Water Street Books, Exeter, NH

Blood Will Out: The True Story of a Murder, a Mystery, and a Masquerade, by Walter Kirn
(Liveright, 9780871404510, $25.95)
“More memoir than true crime tell-all, Blood Will Out parses the convoluted relationship between writer Kirn and his Rockefeller friend, Clark, who turns out not to be a Rockefeller at all; instead, he’s a serial impostor, a murderous sociopath, and a con man of the highest order. Kirn unflinchingly reveals his own ambition, desperation, and fixation with wealth and social status that derail his shrewd writer’s instinct and allow him to be bamboozled, even as Clark’s mask slips. A blistering character study of both murderer and writer, Blood Will Out sounds an alarm about the way our own flaws compel us to see what we most desire to see and the grave danger that might put us in.” —Susan Gusho, Watermark Books and Cafe, Wichita, KS

The March 2014 Now in Paperback

 After Visiting Friends: A Son’s Story, by Michael Hainey (Scribner, 9781451676617, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Linda Bubon, Women and Children First, Chicago, IL

Her: A Memoir, by Christa Parravani (Picador, 9781250044396, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Laura Hansen, Bookin’ It, Little Falls, MN

How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia: A Novel, by Mohsin Hamid (Riverhead Trade, 9781594632334, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Caitlin Caulfield, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA

Ordinary Grace: A Novel, by William Kent Kreuger (Atria, 9781451645859, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by William Bauer, Redbery Books, Cable, WI

A Place at the Table: A Novel, by Susan Rebecca White (Touchstone, 9781451608892, $14.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Nancy Simpson-Brice, The Book Vault, Oskaloosa, IA

Snapper, by Brian Kimberling (Vintage, 9780345803368, $15)
Recommended in hardcover by David Enyeart, Common Good Books, St. Paul, MN

Songs of Willow Frost: A Novel, by Jamie Ford (Ballantine Books, 9780345522030, $15)
Recommended in hardcover by Cheryl McKeon, Book Passage, San Francisco, CA

The Sound of Broken Glass: A Novel, by Deborah Crombie (William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780061990649, $13.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Susie Wilmer, Old Firehouse Books, Fort Collins, CO

The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards: A Novel, by Kristopher Jansma (Penguin Books, 9780143125020, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Beth Golay, Watermark Books & Café, Wichita, KS

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves: A Novel, by Karen Joy Fowler (Plume, 9780142180822, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Karen Briggs, Great Northern Books & Hobbies, Oscoda, MI

With or Without You: A Memoir, by Domenica Ruta (Spiegel & Grau, 9780812983401, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Lyn Roberts, Square Books, Oxford, MS

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, by Therese Anne Fowler (St. Martin’s Griffin, 9781250028662, $15.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Karl Meutsch, Phoenix Books, Essex Junction, VT