February 2022 Prepub Alert: The Complete List

All the February 2022 Prepub Alerts in one place, plus a central index, a downloadable spreadsheet, and a print-ready PDF of all posts.







The February 2022 Prepub Alert posts are also available as:

An index linking to individual posts

A downloadable spreadsheet of titles

A print-ready PDF of all Prepub Alert posts


From Shakespeare’s Era to the Near Future: Mystery

Armstrong, Kelley. The Deepest of Secrets. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Feb. 2022. (Casey Duncan, Bk. 7). 368p. ISBN 9781250781734. $27.99. CD. MYSTERY/POLICE PROCEDURAL

Deep in the Yukon, off-the-grid Rockton exists to keep the secrets of its residents secret. Now someone is spilling them all, and Det. Casey Duncan (with her boyfriend, Sheriff Eric Dalton) must find out who is responsible, or the town will tear itself to ribbons. With a 50,000-copy first printing.

Barron, Stephanie. Jane and the Year Without a Summer. Soho Crime. Feb. 2022. 336p. ISBN 9781641292474. $27.95. MYSTERY/HISTORICAL

In this latest in a popular series, Jane Austen is feeling queasy and feverish, so she heads to the Cheltenham Spa in Gloucestershire with sister Cassandra. Alas, all is not relaxing; the boarders at the guest house where they stay are a restless, troubled bunch, and we just know something bad is about to happen.

Beaton, M.C. Death of a Green-Eyed Monster. Grand Central. Feb. 2022. 256p. ISBN 9781538746707. $27. CD/downloadable. MYSTERY/COZY

Sgt. Hamish Macbeth falls in love with Dorothy McIver, the constable he has just hired, and she accepts his proposal of marriage. But of course murder gets in the way of the wedding plans. When Beaton passed away in 2019, she was working with Scottish writer Rod Green on both this book and an Agatha Raisin mystery that was published to strong reviews, and he will be taking over both series.

Clare, Alys. Magic in the Weave. Severn House. Feb. 2022. 256p. ISBN 9780727890108. $28.99. MYSTERY/HISTORICAL

In October 1604, Gabriel Taverner, a ship's surgeon turned country physician and, unexpectedly, sleuth, must attend to an actor in Shakespeare’s theater troupe who collapses after performing a particularly gruesome play. (Maybe it was Titus Andronicus?) Now Gabriel is worried. Has the man died of plague? Or is something evil afoot? From veteran historical fiction author Clare.

Cosimano, Elle. Finlay Donovan Knocks ’Em Dead. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Feb. 2022. 368p. ISBN 9781250242181. $26.99. MYSTERY

Having broken into the adult market with the attention-getting Finlay Donovan Is Killing It, multi-award-winning YA author Cosimano brings back her heroine for another round of zany mayhem in suburban Virginia. Single-mom suspense writer Finlay is again trying to complete a novel, supported by beloved live-in nanny Vero, when she learns that someone wants to do in her ex-husband. Russian mobsters? Gun-toting soccer mamas? All in a day’s work for Finlay. With a 100,000-copy first printing.

Harrod-Eagles, Cynthia. Dying Fall. Severn House. Feb. 2022. 256p. ISBN 9780727850188. $28.99. MYSTERY/POLICE PROCEDURAL

A woman lies dead at the bottom of a staircase. DCI Bill Slider of the Shepherd’s Bush murder squad has yet to make an identification, and there’s no murder weapon lying about. But he just doesn’t think it’s an accident. The next outing for DCI Slider after the LJ-starred Headlong.

Ide, Joe. The Goodbye Coast: A Philip Marlowe Novel. Mulholland: Little, Brown. Feb. 2022. 272p. ISBN 9780316459273. $28. Downloadable. MYSTERY

Ide takes a detour from his raved-about “IQ” series by reimagining iconic detective Philip Marlowe in contemporary times. This Marlowe is a reserved and efficient private eye who takes on two tricky cases, agreeing to find the daughter of a difficult Hollywood starlet and a child kidnapped from his mother by his father. Just as important is Marlowe’s relationship with his once-admired LAPD homicide detective dad, awash in alcohol after the death of his wife. With a 40,000-copy first printing.

Lovesey, Peter. Reader, I Buried Them & Other Stories. Soho Crime. Feb. 2022. NAp. ISBN 9781641293617. $27.95. MYSTERY/SHORT STORIES

Cartier Diamond Dagger–carrying Lovesey grabbed Ruth Rendell’s attention when he published his first story 50 years ago and has since written 100 short-form mysteries. Here are 15 favorites he selected for this collection, along with a personal essay about his sources of inspiration.

McPherson, Catriona. Scot Mist. Severn House. Feb. 2022. 240p. ISBN 9780727890337. $28.99. MYSTERY

In this latest from the Agatha Award–winning McPherson, the pandemic disrupts The Last Ditch Motel, which responds by selecting a few special rooms as a safe haven for those in need. But it’s not that safe: first, ominous signs appear, then a dead body. Does this mean that someone inside is responsible?

Preston, Douglas & Lincoln Child. Diablo Mesa. Grand Central. Feb. 2022. 368p. ISBN 9781538736753. $29. CD/downloadable. MYSTERY/POLICE PROCEDURAL

The indefatigable Preston/Child team brings back archaeologist Nora Kelly and FBI Agent Corrie Swanson in a timely tale featuring the slightly off-the-wall billionaire founder of Icarus Space Systems, who hopes to bring his project publicity (that is, glory) by persuading the Santa Fe Archaeological Institute to excavate the 1947 Roswell Incident site. As Nora’s turn of spade uncovers two murder victims, she needs to call on Corrie for help. With a 250,000-copy first printing.

Raybourn, Deanna. An Impossible Impostor. Berkley. (Veronica Speedwell Mystery, Bk. 7). Feb. 2022. 336p. ISBN 9780593197295. $26. MYSTERY/HISTORICAL

Veronica Speedwell returns with natural historian beau Revelstoke “Stoker” Templeton-Vane in tow, doing a favor for Sir Hugo Montgomerie, head of Special Branch. Sir Hugo’s goddaughter’s globe-trotting brother Jonathan was thought to have perished in the fiery 1883 eruption of Krakatoa, but now a man claiming to be Jonathan—and also claiming amnesia—has arrived home at Hathaway Hall. Can Veronica discover who he really is?

Robb, J.D. Abandoned in Death. St. Martin’s. (In Death, Bk. 54). Feb. 2022. 368p. ISBN 9781250278210. $28.99. CD. MYSTERY/POLICE PROCEDURAL

In homicide detective Eve Dallas’s futuristic New York City, a young woman lies dead on a playground bench. She has neatly brushed hair, nice clothing decades out of date, fresh but incongruous tattoos and piercings, and a note in childish script proclaiming “Bad Mommy.” Now Eve must track down a killer who she suspects is sixtyish and haunted by a traumatic childhood, even as the disappearances of other young women come to light. With a 75,000-copy first printing.

Slocumb, Brendan. The Violin Conspiracy. Anchor. Feb. 2022. 320p. ISBN 9780593315415. $28. Downloadable. MYSTERY/LITERARY

Asserting himself in a profession that has not proved accepting, Black classical violinist Ray McMillian is thrilled to learn that the instrument he plays—once his great-grandfather’s—is actually an invaluable Stradivarius. He’s devastated when it’s stolen before the all-important Tchaikovsky Competition and further learns that descendants of the family that had enslaved his great-grandfather claim it’s theirs. Slocumb knows his strings; an award-winning music educator, he has performed with numerous symphonies and serves as concertmaster for the NOVA Symphony Orchestra, serving Northern Virginia Community College.

Todd, Charles. A Game of Fear. Morrow. (Inspector Ian Rutledge Mysteries, 24). Feb. 2022. 336p. ISBN 9780062905598. $28.99. lrg. prnt. MYSTERY/HISTORICAL

It’s 1921, and Scotland Yard again hands Inspector Ian Rutledge bizarrely challenging cases, but nothing quite like his latest: the woman presiding over a stately manor called Benton Abbey in sea salt–drenched Essex claims to have seen a brutal murder committed by Captain Nelson. There is no body, Nelson supposedly died during the Great War, yet Lady Benton seems perfectly calm and reasonable when interviewed. What’s going on? With a 100,000-copy first printing.


Spotlight: Toni Morrison

Morrison, Toni. Recitatif: A Story. Knopf. Feb. 2022. 64p. ISBN 9780593315033. $16. lrg. prnt. LITERARY FICTION

Verdelle, A.J. Miss Chloe: A Literary Friendship with Toni Morrison. Harper. Feb. 2022. 160p. ISBN 9780063031661. $22.49. LITERATURE

The only short story Nobel laureate Morrison ever wrote, “Recitatif” concerns Twyla and Roberta, friends in childhood, who lost touch as adults but keep encountering each other at places like a grocery store, a diner, and a protest march. One is white, one is black, but readers don’t know which is which, Morrison having aimed to craft “an experiment in the removal of all racial codes from a narrative about two characters of different races for whom racial identity is crucial.” Bearing an introduction by Zadie Smith, this is the story’s first-time appearance as a stand-alone. When Verdelle published the Good Negress in 1995, she won early praise from Morrison. The novel went on to claim the Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award and PEN/Faulkner finalist honors, but Verdelle’s next novel—a Western featuring Black characters—has languished. Nevertheless, the novel led to a friendship with Morrison, detailed here along with Verdelle’s early struggles to write and thoughts on what it means to be considered a writer with promise, still struggling. Originally scheduled for September 2021.


Veteran Thriller Authors

Greaney, Mark. Sierra Six. Berkley. (Gray Man, Bk. 11). Feb. 2022. 528p. ISBN 9780593098998. $28. ESPIONAGE

Hood, Joshua. Robert Ludlum’s The Treadstone Transgression. Putnam. (Treadstone Novel, Bk. 3). Feb. 2022. 384p. ISBN 9780593419793. $28. CD. Downloadable. ESPIONAGE

Hurwitz, Gregg. Dark Horse: An Orphan X Novel. Minotaur: St. Martin's. Feb. 2022. (Orphan X Novel, Bk. 7). 432p. ISBN 9781250252302. $28.99. CD. THRILLER

Jance, J.A. Nothing To Lose: A J.P. Beaumont Novel. Morrow. Feb. 2022. 384p. ISBN 9780063010062. $28.99. CD. THRILLER

Johansen, Roy. Killer View. Grand Central. Feb. 2022. 384p. ISBN 9781538762813. $28. CD/Downloadable. THRILLER

Kanon, Joseph. The Berlin Exchange. Scribner. Feb. 2022. 384p. ISBN 9781982158651. $28. CD. THRILLER

Kellerman, Jonathan. City of the Dead: An Alex Delaware Novel. Ballantine. Feb. 2022. 336p. ISBN 9780525618584. $28.99. CD/Downloadable. THRILLER

McKinty, Adrian. The Chase. Little, Brown. Feb. 2022. 384p. ISBN 9780316531283. $28. CD. THRILLER

Mezrich, Ben. The Midnight Ride. Grand Central. Feb. 2022. 304p. ISBN 9781538754634. $29. THRILLER

Parks, Adele. Both of You. Mira: Harlequin. Feb. 2022. 384p. ISBN 9780778386384. $28.99; pap. ISBN 9780778312048. $16.99. THRILLER/DOMESTIC

Back when he was the junior member of a CIA action team (and known as Sierra Six), Court Gentry, a.k.a. the Gray Man, helped messily eliminate a terrorist leader who now appears to be very much alive; next in Greaney’s No. 1 New York Times best-selling series. In Hood’s Robert Ludlum’s The Treadstone Transgression, the continuation of a recently launched series, Adam Hayes is asked by his CIA Black Ops program to set up a safe house and is the only survivor when the mission is blown. Dedicated to helping others after having escaped from a shadowy black box program aimed at creating assassins, Evan Smoak, a.k.a. Orphan X, has a new mission in Hurwitz's Dark Horse: rescue the kidnapped daughter of Texas drug overlord Aragon Urrea (200,000-copy first printing). In Jance's Nothing To Lose, retired police detective Beaumont is asked for help by the son of his former partner Sue Danielson, who was murdered years ago by her raging ex-husband. Johansen gives us a big, new Killer View of Jessie Mercado, a Southern California private investigator who surfaces regularly in the “Kendra Michaels” series he writes with his mother, Iris Johansen. In the Edgar Award–winning Kanon’s Cold War Berlin–set The Berlin Exchange, two U.S. students and an MI5 operative are being quietly traded far from Checkpoint Charlie for physicist Martin Keller, who had been imprisoned in the UK and now wants to see his ex-wife and son—but what do the East Germans want from him? (125,000-copy first printing). Wending their way through City of the Dead, Kellerman stalwarts Alex Delaware and his buddy, Det. Milo Sturgis, discover a naked, bled-out young man in the streets and a trail of blood leading to the nearby home of sliced-up Cordelia Gannett, an internet influencer Alex knows. Multi-award-winning Northern Irish writer McKinty follows up the New York Times best-selling, Paramount Pictures–ready The Chain with The Chase, so obviously of interest that we won’t even worry about the absence of plot details (150,000-copy first printing). In the New York Times best-selling Mezrich’s The Midnight Ride, fresh-from-prison Nick Patterson sneaks into a hotel room on an obligatory job to find his fence dead and scared-witless MIT student Hailey Gordon hiding out after having been caught counting cards; added to this mix is a U.S. history professor’s discovery of an unsettling secret about the Revolutionary War (75,000-copy first printing). A domestic-thrills author with 20 Sunday Times best sellers to her name, Parks limns the unaccountable disappearance of two women—contented wife and stepmother Leigh and wealthy, newly married Kai—in cases that shouldn’t be linked but seem to be in Both of You (100,000-copy paperback and 10,000-copy hardcover first printing).


Rising-Star Thriller Authors

Dawson, Delilah S. The Violence. Del Rey: Ballantine. Feb. 20 22. 512p. ISBN 9780593156629. $28. Downloadable. THRILLER

Chelsea wants out of her marriage for the sake of her daughters and for her own sake; her high-school-sweetheart husband is anything but sweet, brutally controlling her every move. Now a terrible virus that prompts inexplicable rages is marauding through the nation, and Chelsea sees it as a means of escape. From the New York Times best-selling author of multiple sf/fantasy titles.

Foley, Lucy. The Paris Apartment. Morrow. Feb. 2022. 320p. ISBN 9780063003057. $28.99. CD. THRILLER

Suddenly jobless, woefully penniless, and without many friends for support, Jess decides to start anew by abandoning England and heading to Paris, where half-brother Ben has grudgingly agreed to let her stay with him for a time. But when she arrives at his apartment, Ben has vanished, and the cold and creepy neighbors—from a socialite to an alcoholic to a troubled young woman—seem to know something they’re not telling. Following the million-copy best-selling The Guest List, a Reese’s Book Club pick; with a 300,000-copy first printing.

Hawkins, Rachel. Reckless Girls. St. Martin’s. Jan. 2022. 320p. ISBN 9781250274250. $27.99. CD. THRILLER

Seeking escape from a going-nowhere job and deep family sorrow, Lux McAllister agrees with boyfriend Nico to sail two young women to an island in the South Pacific, never mind its past history of shipwrecks and bloodshed. They’re surprised to discover a yacht anchored in the bay, with bright and shiny couple Jake and Eliza aboard, but everyone bonds happily. Then the scary stuff starts. Following the New York Times best-selling The Wife Upstairs; with a 200,000-copy first printing.

Kistler, Bonnie. The Cage. Harper. Feb. 2022. 352p. ISBN 9780063089143. $26.99. THRILLER/PSYCHOLOGICAL

Kistler, who did nicely with her recent debut, House on Fire, comes up with an intriguing premise for her next novel. On a late Sunday night, two women—a company lawyer and the human resources director—leave the offices of fashion conglomerate Claudine de Martineau International and board the elevator on the 30th floor. By the time the elevator reaches the lobby, one of them is dead. But which one—and how? With echoes of Megan Goldin’s The Escape Room; a 40,000-copy first printing.

Morrow, Bethany C. Cherish Farrah. Dutton. Feb. 2022. 336p. ISBN 9780593185384. $26. Downloadable. THRILLER

Farrah Turner's country club community includes only one other Black girl, best friend Cherish Whitman, and Cherish’s adoptive parents are white. At least from Farrah’s perspective, the girls have a love-hate relationship, and when her own family faces difficulties, Farrah insinuates herself into the wealthy Whitman household. Soon, though, it’s clear that all is not right with the Whitmans, and readers will start wondering who is in control. Adult/YA author Morrow made USA TODAY’s list of 100 Black fiction writers to read.

Wrobel, Stephanie. This Might Hurt. Berkley. Feb. 2022. 336p. ISBN 9780593100080. $26. Downloadable. THRILLER

Natalie Collins's troubled sister, Kit, has retreated to Wisewood, an institution on a private island off the Maine coast where she hopes to achieve the true fearlessness of her Maximized Self. Guests must stay for six months without outside contact, but Natalie receives a message from someone there threatening to reveal a secret she's been keeping from Kit and hurries to Wisewood to set things right. Once there, she finds leaving with Kit is not so easy. Wrobel debuted with Darling Rose Gold, which indeed struck best seller gold.

Youers, Rio. No Second Chances. Morrow. Feb. 2022. 352p. ISBN 9780063001053. $27.99. THRILLER

Luke Kingsley's acting career crashed and burned when his celebrated R&B singer wife vanished and he found himself almost universally suspected of her murder. Friend Kitty Rae thinks he’s innocent, but she’s got a secret hustle running product for social influencer/drug dealer Johan Fly, and Luke must protect her when Johan discovers that she’s been skimming. Following the acclaimed Lola on Fire; with a 50,000-copy first printing.


Debut Thriller Authors 

Buccola, Allison. Catch Her When She Falls. Random. Feb. 2022. 368p. ISBN 9780593231296. $27. THRILLER/PSYCHOLOGICAL

Senior year in high school was not the glory time Micah Wilkes had anticipated; her best friend, Emily, was murdered, and Micah’s boyfriend was convicted of the crime. A decade later, Micah has pulled herself together—she owns a coffee shop in her small Pennsylvania town—and is beginning to rethink what she knows about the murder. Then a true crime blog resurrects the case, homing in on Emily’s long-vanished younger brother as a possible culprit. A thriller with a literary bent and an insider’s perspective—Buccola is an attorney.

Henkel, Calla. Other People’s Clothes. Doubleday. Feb. 2022. 320p. ISBN 9780385547352. $28. THRILLER

Studying in Berlin to escape painful memories of her best friend’s murder, art student Zoe Beech befriends another U.S. exchange student, starry-eyed Hailey Mader, and together they obsess over the notorious Amanda Knox trial while happily subletting a prewar apartment from famed thriller writer Beatrice Becks. Soon, though, Zoe suspects that Beatrice is watching them, intent on using their lives as fodder for her next book. From Berlin-based playwright/artist Henkel.

Mayquist, Kit. Tripping Arcadia. Dutton. Feb. 2022. 368p. ISBN 9780593185209. $26. SUSPENSE/GOTHIC

After her father is injured and then fired, Lena helps support her parents by grabbing an ambiguous-sounding job with the louche, wealthy, Boston-based Verdeaus; she helps the family doctor tend to Jonathan, the family’s sickly, alcohol-unsteady heir. As she works the family’s over-the-top parties (struggling to resist  Jonathan’s gorgeous sister, Audrey), she learns a shocking truth: the Verdeaus are responsible for her father’s misfortune. And she vows revenge. From bisexual, trans masculine writer Mayquist.


International Settings: Literary Fiction

Barry, Quan. When I’m Gone, Look for Me in the East. Pantheon. Feb. 2022. 320p. ISBN 9781524748111. $26. Downloadable. LITERARY

A young monk named Chuluun has been handed a daunting task: He must find the reincarnation of a legendary lama within the great sweep of Mongolia, trudging from the sere Gobi Desert to the ancient capital ruled by Chinggis Khan. Along the way, he seeks help from his identical twin, Mun, who was once seen as a reincarnation himself but has since abandoned the monastic life. They’re not actually together in this quest, but they can hear each other’s thoughts. From the author of the multi-best-booked We Ride Upon Sticks, an Alex Award winner.

Doyle, Roddy. Life Without Children: Short Stories. Viking. Feb. 2022. 192p. ISBN 9780593300565. $25. Downloadable. LITERARY/SHORT STORIES

An end-of-her-rope nurse, a man unable to return home, a middle-aged son who cannot attend his mother’s funeral: these are some of the characters in Booker Prize winner Doyle’s new collection, featuring stories written mostly during last year’s pandemic lockdown. Irish author Doyle investigates how we learned to survive loneliness and grief in a whole new way.

Hadley, Tessa. Free Love. Harper. Feb. 2022. 320p. ISBN 9780063137776. $26.99. LITERARY

It might be 1967 England, but the conventional Fischers—dedicated mom Polly; Roger, a Foreign Office careerist and loving father; and their teenage children, smart Collette and savvy Hugh—aren’t exactly swinging. At least not until the son of an old friend comes to dinner and drunkenly kisses Polly, which sets her on fire and ends up subverting the entire family. From Windham-Campbell Prize winner Hadley; with a 40,000-copy first printing.

Mishra, Pankaj. Run and Hide. Farrar. Feb. 2022. 224p. ISBN 9780374172169. $26. LITERARY

Renowned for nonfiction titles like Age of Anger that rigorously assess class, ethnicity, and postcolonialism, Windham-Campbell Prize winner Mishra also received the Los Angeles Times Book Prize/Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction for 2000’s The Romantics. His new novel opens with hopeful young Arun at the elite Indian Institute of Technology, struggling to overcome a hard, low-caste upbringing and dazzled by two self-confident friends who eventually become hard-partying international players in finance. Arun’s life is not so flashy—he retreats to a Himalayan village to write—and when he later encounters a journalist writing an exposé about his friends, everything spins out of control. With a 30,000-copy first printing.

Petterson, Per. Echoland. Feb. 2022. 144p. tr. from Norwegian by Don Bartlett. ISBN 9781644450765. pap. $15. LITERARY
Petterson, Per. Men in My Situation. Graywolf. Feb. 2022. 304p. tr. from Norwegian by Ingvild Burkey. ISBN 9781644450758. $26. LITERARY

Published in the United States in 2007, Norwegian author Petterson’s Out Stealing Horses was proclaimed a New York Times Best Book and won the International Dublin Literary Award. After other appreciated U.S. publications, Petterson now arrives with Men in My Situation, the portrait of a man undone. Arvid Jansen bitterly mourns the loss of his parents and brothers in a terrible ferry accident, after which his wife divorced him and whisked away their three daughters. A year later, when she asks for a ride home from the train station, he sees that his family has moved on without him and confronts his now aimless life. Poignantly, Arvid first appeared as a bright-eyed 12-year-old in Petterson’s debut novel, Echoland, now receiving its first U.S. publication.

Zambra, Alejandro. Chilean Poet. Viking. Feb. 2022. 368p. tr. from Spanish by Megan McDowell. ISBN 9780593297940. $27. LITERARY

In high school, Gonzalo and Carla loved each other, then broke up catastrophically. Nine years later, their attempt at reconciliation fails. But Carla’s six-year-old son, Vincente, absorbs the dreamy Gonzalo’s passion for verse and by age 18 is able to persuade American journalist Pru to write a piece showing that there’s more to Chilean poetry than Nobel Prize winners Gabriela Mistral and Pablo Neruda. Will it bring Vincente and Gonzalo together again? From the multi-award-winning Mexican author Zambra.


Spotlight: Olga Tokarczuk’s The Books of Jacob

Tokarczuk, Olga. The Books of Jacob. Riverhead. Feb. 2022. 992p. tr. from Polish by Jennifer Croft. ISBN 9780593087480. $32. LITERARY

Given how she balances fact and fiction on a knife’s edge, one can expect blazingly original Nobel Prize winner Tokarczuk (Flights) to do justice to enigmatic 18th-century Polish religious leader Jacob Frank in this fictionalized portrait. Frank first appeared in a Polish village as a young Jew who seemed to come out of nowhere, went on to enthrall crowds as he traveled the Hapsburg and Ottoman empires, converted to Islam and then Catholicism, and was both loved and hated, worshipped and condemned. What a saga—and, not surprisingly, it runs nearly 1,000 pages.


Women in the World: Literary Fiction

Bhanoo, Sindya. Seeking Fortune Elsewhere. Catapult. Feb. 2021. 240p. ISBN 9781646220878. $26. SHORT STORIES

From O. Henry Prize winner Bhanoo, this debut collection moves from Pittsburgh to Washington to Tamil Nadu as it illuminates the lives of South Indian immigrants to the United States and the families who remain behind. Throughout, Bhanoo focuses on women like a widow in a retirement community anticipating her daughter’s visit from America and a put-upon wife who makes a bold choice of her own when she inherits a house.

Dark, Alice Elliot. Fellowship Point. S. & S. Feb. 2022. 592p. ISBN 9781982131814. $28. LITERARY

Facing her third round of cancer at age 80, celebrated children’s author Agnes Lee fends off requests to write her memoirs while struggling to complete the final volume of her series. She also wants to find a way to forestall development on a beautiful Maine peninsula called Fellowship Point after her death. That would require dissolving a generations-old partnership involving the peninsula that includes Agnes’s best friend Polly as another shareholder, so the narrative also becomes the story of their lifelong friendship. A much-anticipated work from the author of In the Gloaming; with a 75,000-copy first printing.

Haigh, Jennifer. Mercy Street. Ecco. Feb. 2022. 352p. ISBN 9780061763304. $27.99. LITERARY

A counselor at Mercy Street, a woman’s clinic in Boston, Claudia recognizes how important her work is for her patients. But she’s feeling the stress of daily antiabortion protests outside the clinic doors and seeks relief from cheery pot dealer Timmy. Among the other customers she meets is woebegone Anthony, who spends much of his time chatting online with an antiabortion crusader going by the screen name Excelsior11. And now Excelsior11 is targeting Mercy Street. From the New York Times best-selling, PEN/Hemingway Award–winning Haigh; with a 100,000-copy first printing.

LaCour, Nina. Yerba Buena. Flatiron: Macmillan. Feb. 2020. 304p. ISBN 9781250810465. $26.99. CD. LITERARY

Sara Foster flees home at age 16 and eventually ends up as a popular (if slightly mysterious) bartender at the Los Angeles restaurant Yerba Buena. When directionless undergraduate Emilie Dubois takes a job arranging flowers at the restaurant , the connection between her and Sara sizzles. But can love conquer all, including the troublesome past? A first adult novel from Printz Award–winning YA author LaCour; with a 150,000-copy first printing.

Ladner, Kiare. Nightshift. Custom House: Morrow. Feb. 2022. 256p. ISBN 9780063138247. $27.99. LITERARY

In late 1990s London, 23-year-old Meggie meets glamorous new coworker Sabine and is so entranced that she trots along when Sabine changes to the nightshift, sacrificing boyfriend and diurnal routine in the process. Recalling her infatuation years later, Meggie reveals that Sabine started pushing her away, and their relationship fell into dangerous territory. From debuter Ladner, shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award; with a 50,000-copy first printing.

Morris, Amelia. Wildcat. Flatiron: Macmillan. Feb. 2020. 304p. ISBN 9781250809216. $26.99. LITERARY

Once a shopgirl, now a new mother and aspiring writer, Leanne is becoming increasingly uncertain of her path in life—and suspicious of her putative best friend, the wealthy and socially prominent Regina. As she sorts through issues of friendship, class, and whether her father is really speaking to her from the grave, Leanne benefits from a blooming new friendship with the distinguished author Maxine Hunter. A debut from popular blogger/podcaster Morris; with a 75,000-copy first printing.

O’Neill, Heather. When We Lost Our Heads. Riverhead. Feb. 2022. 400p. ISBN 9780593422908. $26. LITERARY/HISTORICAL

At age 12, bubbly Marie Antoine rules over the children of the glittering 19th-century Montreal neighborhood called Golden Mile until sly-eyed, decidedly unbubbly Sadie Arnett moves in. The two girls bond obsessively yet remain a combustible, even dangerous mix, oscillating between closeness and absence into adulthood as Marie inherits her father’s sugar empire and Sadie becomes absorbed in working-class revolution. From the author of the Orange Prize–nominated Lullabies for Little Criminals.

Otsuka, Julie. The Swimmers. Knopf. Feb. 2022. 144p. ISBN 9780593321331. $23. LITERARY

Known to one another only by their preferred lanes (slow, medium, or fast), a group of women who share the pleasure of swimming regularly at the local pool are disrupted when it is closed owing to a bad crack. Alice is particularly affected; she swam to ward off her descent into dementia, and as her health fails precipitously, she’s troubled by memories of the Japanese American internment camp where she spent World War II and visited by an estranged daughter who has missed her chance to reconnect. From National Book Award finalist Otsuka.

Walker, Saria. The Cherry Robbers. Mariner: HarperCollins. Feb. 2022. 432p. ISBN 9780358251873. $27. LITERARY

In 2017 New Mexico, celebrated artist Sylvia Wren is confronted by a journalist wanting to expose her secret: she’s living under an assumed identity, having been born Iris Chapel in 1950s Connecticut, one of six sisters who stand to inherit a fortune built on firearms. Their mother believed that victims of gun violence haunt their house, and with tragedy striking repeatedly as the sisters begin to marry, Iris flees to build a new and safer life. Following Dietland, turned into a hit TV show; with a 40,000-copy first printing.

Wang, Weike. Joan Is Okay. Random. Feb. 2022. 224p. ISBN 9780525654834. $26. LITERARY

A hard-charging ICU physician at a New York City hospital, Joan feels deeply appreciated by her colleagues and somewhat pushed about by her Chinese immigrant parents, who returned from America to China once their children were grown. Now, with her mother visiting and a terrible health crisis descending, Joan wrestles with being Chinese American, meeting the demands of her male-dominated profession, and finding her own voice. From a 5 Under 35 honoree of the National Book Foundation, author of the PEN/Hemingway Award–winning Chemistry.


Rebuilding Family/Finding Home: Literary Fiction

Black, Daniel. Don’t Cry for Me. Hanover Square: Harlequin. Feb. 2022. 288p. ISBN 9781335425737. $26.99. LITERARY

On his deathbed, a Black father named Jacob writes a letter to his gay son, Isaac, to whom he has not spoken in many years. Jacob seeks not only reconciliation but the opportunity to communicate family and ancestral truths to his only son as he recalls a rural Arkansas background dating to the days of enslavement, his painfully chaotic relationship with Isaac’s mother, and his sorrow at the collapse of their family. Above all, he senses where he failed as a father. From the multi-award-nominated author of Tell Me of a Home; with a 75,000-copy first printing.

Frost, Caroline. Shadows of Pecan Hollow. Morrow. Feb. 2022. 352p. ISBN 9780063065345. $27.99. lrg. prnt. LITERARY

Abducted in 1970 by small-time crook Manny Romero, 13-year-old runaway Kit Walker at first gently tended to and then initiated into a life of crime; she and Manny are soon known as the Texaco Twosome for their gutsy gas station robberies. A decade and a half later, Kit is living in modest, muddy Pecan Hollow with her daughter when Manny reappears, just out of jail and ready to start a clean new life—with her. From debuter Frost; with a75,000-copy first printing.

Harris, Kai. What the Fireflies Knew. Tiny Reparations: Random. Feb. 2022. 288p. ISBN 9780593185346. $26. LITERARY

With her father dead of an overdose and her family in financial extremis owing to his addiction, Black preteen Kenyatta Bernice (KB) is sent with teenage sister Nia from Detroit to her estranged grandfather’s home in Lansing, MI. A burdened mother, an irascible grandfather, and a suddenly distant sister (she’s growing up), not to mention the only intermittently friendly white kids across the way—KB is having a tumultuous summer indeed. But it’s a chance to find herself. From debuter Harris.

Lazar, Zachary. The Apartment of Calle Uruguay. Catapult. Feb. 2022. 256p. ISBN 9781646221110. $26. LITERARY

Christopher Bell, a painter struggling to regain his momentum and confounded by issues of identity, having immigrated to the United States at an early age, encounters Venezuelan journalist Ana Ramirez in the woods near his home in Long Island’s East End. Ongoing political crisis forced Ana from her country, and she is looking for work in New York, trying to recover the sense of self she has lost. Their romance gradually reveals their complex pasts and efforts to discover a place to call home. From the author of the multi-best-booked Sway.

Zgheib, Yara. No Land To Light On. Atria. Feb. 2022. 304p. ISBN 9781982187422. $26. LITERARY

Some years ago, Sama arrived in the United States from Syria, intent on achieving her big dreams. Hadi arrived later, a sponsored refugee from the relentless civil war in their homeland. Now they are married and expecting their first child, but when Hadi attends his father’s funeral in Jordan, he’s stopped at the border on his return home, and the lights start to dim ominously on the life they’d imagined together. From Fulbright scholar Zgheib, author of the popular debut novel The Girls at 17 Swann Street.


One-of-a-Kind Writing: Literary Fiction

Heti, Sheila. Pure Colour. Farrar. Feb. 2022. 224p. ISBN 9780374603946. $26. CD. LITERARY

The world is falling apart, with ice melting and species dying—as in our world, though it’s not ours as we know it; it could well be a first draft that the artist in charge will destroy at any moment. Into this experiment wanders Mira, who is united with her father’s spirit when he dies; they exist as a leaf on a tree until she starts longing to return to the human world. From ever original award winner Heti (How Should a Person Be?).

Hamilton, Hugo. The Pages. Knopf. Feb. 2022. 272p. ISBN 9780593320662. $28. Downloadable. LITERARY

This new book by international award winner Hamilton (The Speckled People) is narrated by a book: Joseph Roth’s Rebellion, in a first edition nearly tossed into the flames by Nazis in 1933. Lena Knecht has carried the book from New York to Berlin, where she hopes to puzzle out the meaning of a map it contains, and the narrative arcs from the 1930s to contemporary Germany in its exploration of Roth’s life and issues of censorship and brutal oppression.

Manguso, Sarah. Very Cold People. Hogarth: Crown. Feb. 2022. 208p. ISBN 9780593241226. Downloadable. $25. LITERARY

The Rome Prize–winning Manguso, best known for her aphoristic 300 Arguments, offers a debut novel that limns the limits of small-town white American life. Not postcard pretty like some other New England towns, chilly Waitsfield, MA, is often snowbound, and for Ruthie it’s a place where her high school friends meet violence and her own immigrant past is a source of shame. Can she ever get away from the “very cold people” around her?


SF/Fantasy/Dystopian/Horror: Speculative Fiction 

Abraham, Daniel. Age of Ash. Orbit. Feb. 2022. 560p. ISBN 9780316421843. $28. FANTASY

Blake, Sarah. Clean Air. Algonquin. Feb. 2022. 320p. ISBN 9781643751061. $25.95. DYSTOPIAN

Heuvelt , Thomas Olde. Echo. Tor Nightfire. Feb. 2022. 416p. ISBN 9781250759559. $29.99. HORROR

Larkwood, A.K. The Thousand Eyes. Tor. Feb. 2022. 384p. ISBN 9781250238948. $29.99. FANTASY

Lund. Emme. The Boy with a Bird in His Chest. Atria. Feb. 2022. 320p. ISBN 9781982171933. $27. MAGICAL REALISM

Ross, Rebecca. A River Enchanted. Harper Voyager. Feb. 2020. 368p. ISBN 9780063055988. $27.99. FANTASY

First in the “Kithamar” trilogy, set in an ancient city with a blood-bathed history, Nebula-nominated, Hugo-winning Abraham’s Age of Ash tells the story of a thief named Alys whose hunt for her brother’s murderer reveals secrets that could bring down rulers (40,000-copy first printing). With Clean Air, award-winning author Blake introduces a postapocalyptic world where trees are so overgrown that pollen chokes the world and people must live in domes that someone is viciously slashing. From Hugo nominee and internationally best-selling Dutch author Heuvelt, sends Nick Grevers and climbing partner Augustin up a remote mountain in the Swiss Alps called the Maudit (“cursed” in French), whose eerie stillness presages the horror to come (150,000-copy first printing). In The Thousand Eyes, a follow-up to Larkwood’s LJ-starred debut, The Unspoken Name, Csorwe has defied the wizard she served and disappeared into the unknown to lead a quiet life with her mage-girlfriend—but not for long; bits and pieces of an ancient goddess are arising in the worlds of the Echo Maze, and Csorwe must join with old companions to resist (150,000-copy first printing). Owen, The Boy with the Bird in His Chest in Lund’s debut, is hidden away by his mother for years to protect him but decides to risk an outing in the woods that turns catastrophic (60,000-copy first printing). Successful YA author Ross’s first adult fantasy, A River Enchanted takes place on an island as magical as Prospero’s, where spirits responding only to a bard’s music thrive—and the trouble they are stirring up forces just-returned musician Jack and his nemesis, heiress Adaira, to cooperate (50,000-copy first printing).


Spotlight: Marlon James’s Moon Witch, Spider King

James, Marlon. Moon Witch, Spider King. Riverhead. (Dark Star Trilogy, Bk. 2). Feb. 2022. 656p. ISBN 9780735220201. lrg. prnt. $30. FANTASY

Black Leopard, Red Wolf, Man Booker Prize–winning James’s first foray into fantasy, had the epic sweep, intensely layered structure, and raw if luscious language his readers have come to expect, and it was a National Book Award finalist and New York Times best seller. That book gave the backstory of the Tracker, engaged by a slaver to find a kidnapped child—reputedly the son of a North Kingdom elder—and the companions / adversaries the Tracker gathers in his search. One of them is the 177-year-old Moon Witch, Sogolon, who tells what happened to the child from her perspective. Paramount here is Sogolon’s ancient feud with the king’s chancellor, who works so closely with the king that they are said to be like a spider—a single creature with eight limbs. For readers of fantasy and literary fiction alike, this should be another grand thrill.


Women Make Their Way: Contemporary Pop Fiction

Allen, Jayne. Black Girls Must Be Magic. Harper Perennial. Feb. 2022. 272p. ISBN 9780063211308. $26.99; pap. ISBN 9780063137929. $16.99. CONTEMPORARY

Allen will be debuting this fall with Black Girls Must Die Exhausted, featuring Tabitha Walker’s hard choices after a medical diagnosis threatens to upend her picture-perfect life. In this next in her three-book series, originally self-published, Tabitha faces single motherhood. With a 150,000-copy paperback and 10,000-copy hardcover first printing.

Birdsong, Destiny O. Nobody’s Magic. Grand Central. Feb. 2022. 368p. ISBN 9781538721391. $28. CONTEMPORARY

Sheltered young Suzette, finally experiencing romance; Maple, shattered by the murder of her high-spirited mother; and Agnes, working an exhausting job far from home and possessed of powers that surprise her—all are Black women with albinism living in Shreveport, LA; all are exemplars of women dealing gracefully with grief; and all appear in this debut novel from award-winning poet Birdsong. With a 30,000-copy first printing.

Crimp, Imogen. A Very Nice Girl. Holt. Feb. 2022. 336p. ISBN 9781250792778. $26.99. CONTEMPORARY

Aspiring opera singer Anna studies at an elite London conservatory by day and supports herself by singing jazz at a ritzy bar by night, finding relief from the stress in her budding relationship with cool, wealthy, just-divorcing financier Max. Soon, though, she is caught between him and her career. With a 100,000-copy first printing.

Fox, Hester. A Lullaby for Witches. Graydon House: Harlequin. Feb. 2022. 352p. ISBN 9781525804694. pap. $16.99. CONTEMPORARY

Thrilled with her new job at Harlowe House, a museum in coastal Tynemouth, MA, Augusta Podos follows up a single reference to a woman in the Harlowe family who seems to have been all but wiped from the historical record. Margaret Harlowe, the striking daughter of a late-1800s shipping magnate, was sufficiently interested in herbs and spells to spark rumors that she was a witch. Now she seems to be creepily reaching out to Augusta over the decades, as strange events begin to unfold at the museum. From the author of the library-loved The Witch of Willow Hall; with a 100,000-copy first printing.

Janowitz, Brenda. The Liz Taylor Ring. Graydon House: Harlequin. Feb. 2022. 288p. ISBN 9781525899874. $28.99; pap. ISBN 9781525806476. $16.99. FAMILY LIFE

In 1978, Lizzie Morgan and Ritchie Schneider’s tempestuous romance mirrors that of Liz Taylor and Richard Burton, right down to the 11-carat diamond ring Ritchie gives Lizzie after a nine-month-long breakup; it’s just like the one Burton gave Taylor. Lost for decades, the ring has now reappeared, which means certain conflict and some painfully reawakened memories for the Schneiders’ three children. With a 150,000-copy paperback and 10,000-copy hardcover first printing.

Jio, Sarah. With Love from London. Ballantine. Feb. 2022. 240p. ISBN 9781101885086. $28. Downloadable. CONTEMPORARY

As a teenager, Seattle-based librarian Valentina Baker was abandoned by her mother, who returned to her native London. Now she has inherited her mother’s Primrose Hill apartment and the deed to the Book Garden bookshop, and Valentina starts over with a fight to save the bookstore. Originally scheduled for August 2021.

Katz, Erica. Fake. Harper. Feb. 2022. 384p. ISBN 9780063082588. $26.99. COMING OF AGE

Once aspiring artist Emma Caan makes a living as an art forger—legitimately, as her creations are commissioned by museums and rich collectors wanting to protect their investments. A job offer from oligarch art collector Leonard Sobetsky promises the funds and security Emma needs, but she’s unprepared for the underside of the bright and shiny new world she enters. From the author of The Boys’ Club; with a 50,000-copy first printing.

Korelitz, Jean Hanff. The Latecomer. Celadon: Macmillan. Feb. 2022. 368p. ISBN 9781250790798. $28. CONTEMPORARY

Born into wealth and given very advantage, triplets Harrison, Lewyn, and Sally Oppenheim are looking forward to college and the chance to go their own ways. But then a sibling is born from an embryo leftover from their in vitro beginnings, and life gets complicated. From the author of You Should Have Known, the basis of the HBO show The Undoing; with a 200,000-copy first printing.

Wilkerson, Charmaine. Black Cake. Ballantine. Feb. 2022. 400p. ISBN 9780593358337. $27. CONTEMPORARY

Estranged siblings Byron and Benny come together over their mother’s death and their confusion regarding her final legacy: she’s left them a traditional Caribbean black cake, made from a venerable family recipe, along with a voice recording sharing her story as a young swimmer who left her island home with suspicions of murder hanging over her head. But she doesn’t tell her whole story, and Byron and Benny have more secrets to discover before they are done. Bought in a sizzling auction, this is a buzzing work from debuter Wilkerson.


Black Civil War Soldiers & Three Intriguing Women: Historical Fiction

Faladé, David Wright. Black Cloud Rising. Grove. Feb. 2022. 304p. ISBN 9780802159199. $27. HISTORICAL

In fall 1863, the Union Army is moving toward North Carolina as thousands of formerly enslaved people join its ranks. The African Brigade is formed to run down Confederate irregulars, with abolitionist general Edward Augustus Wild in command and Sgt. Richard Etheridge, the son of an enslaved woman and her enslaver, at the heart of this story. From a Hurston / Wright Award winner; already excerpted in The New Yorker.

de Gramont, Nina. The Christie Affair. St. Martin’s. Feb. 2022. 320p. ISBN 9781250274618. $27.99. HISTORICAL

Taking on the oft-visited question of what happened to Agatha Christie during her 11-day disappearance in 1926, Gramont (The Last September) offers the backstory of Nan O'Dea, who insinuated herself into the lives of Agatha Christie and her husband, Archie, and became Archie’s mistress. A fictional character based on someone real, Nan had a hard upbringing in Ireland, and we see her plotting for years to disrupt this marriage. With a 250,000-copy first printing.

Pataki, Allison. The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post. Ballantine. Feb. 2022. 400p. ISBN 9780593355688. $28. HISTORICAL

The New York Times best-selling author Pataki (Sisi) specializes in reimagining the lives of prominent women, and now she takes on heiress, hostess, and all-’round mover and shaker Marjorie Merriweather Post. Emphasized here: her taste for activism and adventure, which led her from attempting to save the tsar’s treasures in Moscow to skirting the Nazis during World War II to surviving four tempestuous marriages.

Turnbull, Bryn. The Last Grand Duchess: A Novel of Olga Romanov, Imperial Russia, and Revolution. Mira: Harlequin. Feb. 2022. 384p. ISBN 9780778386360. $28.99; pap. ISBN 9780778311706. $16.99. HISTORICAL

Having debuted with The Woman Before Wallis, Turnbull turns to a young woman whose name is well known but whose personal life is not: Grand Duchess Olga, the first daughter of Russia’s last tsar. Here we see Olga’s sheltered personal life within the whirlwind of tea parties, balls, and court intrigue before the Russian Revolution; her tending to injured military officers during the war; a possibility of romance; and the blazing end of the Romanov dynasty. With a 150,000-copy paperback and 10,000-copy hardcover first printing.



Of Current Interest

Abramson, John. Sickening: How Big Pharma Broke American Health Care and How We Can Repair It. Mariner: Houghton Harcourt. Feb. 2022. 288p. ISBN 9781328957818. $28. HEALTH CARE

A former family doctor and Harvard Medical School professor with expertise in national drug litigation, Abramson (Overdosed America) argues that U.S. health care prioritizes corporate well-being over public good, with the leading pharmaceutical companies core to the problem by controlling medical research and withholding the subsequent data as corporate prerogative. Abramson’s litigation work has afforded him access to some of the insider stories and information revealed here, and he’s got suggestions for creating change.

Aikins, Matthieu. The Naked Don’t Fear the Water: A Journey Through the Refugee Underground. Harper. Feb. 2022. 352p. ISBN 9780063058583. $27.99. POLITICAL SCIENCE

The Polk Award–winning Aikins began reporting from the Middle East and Afghanistan in 2008, actively participating in Afghan society and learning the Dari language. So in 2016, when his friend Omar, a translator and driver, made the heart-buckling decision to flee the war-ravaged country, Aikins decided to go with him. That meant leaving behind his passport and identity and encountering refugees, smugglers, and activists, so that finally as a documentarian he could better understand what being a refugee really means. With a 35,000-copy first printing.

Bluestein, Greg. Flipped: How Georgia Turned Purple and Broke the Monopoly on Republican Power. Viking. Feb. 2022. 288p. ISBN 9780593489154. $29. POLITICAL SCIENCE

Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Bluestein had a ringside seat as famously Republican Georgia “flipped,” electing Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff to the U.S. Senate. The state is expected to be the locus of close and closely fought elections for years to come, and Bluestein—who interviewed the likes of Stacey Abrams, Brian Kemp, Jon Ossoff, Raphael Warnock, and Kelly Loeffler—here provides context.

Fish, Isaac Stone. America Second: How America’s Elites Are Making China Stronger. Knopf. Feb. 2022. 288p. ISBN 9780525657705. $28. POLITICAL SCIENCE

Formerly a Beijing correspondent for Newsweek and now founder and CEO of the research firm Strategy Risks, which provides risk assessment relevant to relations between corporations and the Chinese Communist Party, Fish here digs deeply into the ties between China and U.S. political and business leadership. His argument: these leaders applauded when China expanded into the global market, seeing it as a democratizing force within that country, then became so entrenched in that belief—and in the connections they have built in China—that they have not stood up to China on key political, social, and human rights issues. That may now be changing.

Hurd, Will. American Reboot: An Idealist’s Guide to Getting Big Things Done. S. & S. Feb. 2022. 256p. ISBN 9781982160708. $27. POLITICAL SCIENCE

Dubbed “the future of the GOP” by Politico, Hurd grew up biracial in Texas with a black father and white mother, then worked as an undercover CIA agent and served three terms in the House of Representatives, sometimes as its only Black Republican. In 2020, he decided not to run for reelection so that he could address the issues concerning him in a different way. Those issues include income inequality, rapid technological change, the need to assure U.S. economic and military power, the search for honest political leadership, and the Republican Party’s failure to present a principled vision for the future. With a 75,000-copy first printing.

Khanna, Ro. Dignity in a Digital Age: Making Tech Work for All of Us. S. & S. Feb. 2022. 368p. ISBN 9781982163341. $28. BUSINESS/TECH

Students without computers. Workers whose jobs cannot be done remotely. Individuals anywhere lacking reliable WIFI. The digital divide looms large, and it amplifies the economic inequality rivening U.S. society in particular. Khanna, who represents the Silicon Valley region in the House of Representatives, wants to show how we can democratize digital innovation to strengthen economic opportunity for everyone. He calls it progressive capitalism. As Nobel laureate Amartya Sen explains in the foreword, “Just as people can move to technology, technology can move to people.”

Kipnis, Laura. Love in the Time of Contagion: A Diagnosis. Pantheon. Feb. 2022. 224p. ISBN 9780593316283. $25. PSYCHOLOGY

Some people argue that AIDS changed attitudes about love, sex, and relationships, particularly within the LGBTQ+ community, just as COVID-19 is now changing how we deal with intimacy today. Will those changes remain after the pandemic curtain lifts? Cultural critic Kipnis ( Against Love) ponders this question by blending her own experiences in lockdown with a deep dive into the politics of the virus, the shifts in our understanding of gender relationships wrought by #MeToo, and more.

Naím, Moisés. The Revenge of Power: How Autocrats Are Reinventing Politics for the 21st Century. St. Martin’s. Feb. 2022. 320p. ISBN 9781250279200. $29.99. POLITICAL SCIENCE

In the New York Times best-selling,Washington Post and Financial Times best-booked The End of Power, Naím considered how to challenge the concentration of power in nations worldwide. Here he considers what creates that concentration in the first place, focusing on populism, polarization, and post-truths to explain why autocracy is on the rise worldwide. With a 60,000-copy first printing.

Opoku-Agyeman, Anna Gifty, ed. The Black Agenda: Bold Solutions for a Broken System. St. Martin’s. Feb. 2022. 288p. ISBN 9781250276872. $28.99. SOCIAL SCIENCE

Cofounder of the Sadie Collective, a nonprofit dedicated to tearing down the roadblocks Black women encounter in economics and related fields, Opoku-Agyeman compiles work by Black scholars offering policy-oriented solutions to racial injustice in the United States. The issues addressed here range from Black maternal health to reparations to bias in artificial intelligence. With a 50,000-copy first printing.

Rawlence, Ben. The Treeline: The Last Forest and the Future of Life on Earth. St. Martin’s. Feb. 2022. 304p. ISBN 9781250270238. $28.99. NATURE

The boreal forest, comprising mostly pines, spruces, and larches and spreading out over multiple continents in the world's northern reaches, is Earth’s largest land biome. As such, it provides much of the oxygen we breathe; it’s often called the lungs of the world. So it’s bad news that for the last half-century, the boreal forest has been creeping northward into less sustainable terrain, and we’ll all be choking to death if it disappears. From the author of the multi-best-booked City of Thorns; with a 100,000-copy first printing.

Schwartzel, Erich. Red Carpet: Hollywood, China, and the Global Battle for Cultural Supremacy. Penguin Pr. Feb. 2022. 400p. ISBN 9781984878991. $28. FILM

As the United States and China duke it out for dominance in multiple domains, one interesting area has emerged as a source of real contention: the movies. With China now a key source of revenue for the U.S. film industry, Hollywood studios are scrambling to make movies that will draw in Chinese citizens while satisfying the strict Chinese Communist Party censors. Meanwhile, China has built its own formidable film industry. Get your tickets for this important story; Schwartzel has reported on the film industry for the Wall Street Journal since 2013.

Sieghart, Mary Ann. The Authority Gap: Why Women Are Taken Less Seriously Than Men—and What We Can Do About It. Norton. Feb. 2022. 384p. ISBN 9780393867756. $28.95.

Despite some remarkable strides over the last decades, women are still fighting for their rights in the business arena, often feeling brushed aside or undervalued. London-based journalist/broadcaster Sieghart explores what this kind of gender bias means not just for women but for society, considers its intersection with race and class biases, and recommends how it might be countered.


U.S. History

Avlon, John. Lincoln and the Fight for Peace. S. & S. Feb. 2022. 384p. ISBN 9781982108120. $30. HISTORY

Baime, A.J. White Lies: The Double Life of Walter F. White and America’s Darkest Secret. Mariner: HarperCollins. Feb. 2022. 384p. ISBN 9780358447757. $30. BIOGRAPHY

Chapin, Dwight. The President’s Man: The Memoirs of Nixon's Trusted Aide. Morrow. Feb. 2022. 320p. ISBN 9780063074774. $28.99. MEMOIR

Fischer, David Hackett. African Founders: How Enslaved People Expanded American Freedom. S. & S. Feb. 2022. 800p. ISBN 9781982145095. $40. HISTORY

Kirchick, James. Secret City: The Hidden History of Gay Washington . Holt. Feb. 2022. 912p. ISBN 9781627792325. $29.99. HISTORY

Randall, Willard Sterne. The Founders’ Fortunes: How Money Shaped the Birth of America. Dutton. Feb. 2022. 336p. ISBN 9781524745929. $29. HISTORY

Thompson, Erin L. Smashing Statues: The Rise and Fall of America’s Public Monuments. Norton. Feb. 2022. 224p. ISBN 9780393867671. $25.95. HISTORY

Thompson, Neal. The First Kennedys: The Humble Roots of an American Dynasty. Mariner: HarperCollins. Feb. 2022. 352p. ISBN 9780358437697. $28. HISTORY

In Lincoln and the Fight for Peace, CNN anchor Avlon addresses President Abraham Lincoln’s conciliatory vision regarding the post–Civil War era, aiming to show how it influenced activists from Nelson Mandela to Mahatma Gandhi to Martin Luther King Jr. (75,000-copy first printing). The New York Times best-selling Baime’s White Lies profiles Black civil rights activist Walter F. White, who figured largely in the Harlem Renaissance and the NAACP while leading a dual life as a reporter investigating racial violence in the South because he could pass for white (40,000-copy first printing). Chapin, The President’s Man, here recalls his years as personal aide, special assistant, and finally deputy assistant to President Richard Nixon as the 50th anniversary of Watergate looms. In African Founders, Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Fischer shows that enslaved Africans brought with them skills ranging from animal husbandry to ethics that profoundly shaped colonial and early U.S. society (100,000-copy first printing). A conservative gay reporter who has received awards from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association, Kirchick dug through multitudinous declassified documents and interviewed over 100 people to write Secret City, which profiles the impact of the LGBTQ+ community on Washington, DC, politics since Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration. A multi-award-winning journalist and professor emeritus at Champlain College, Randall intends to show that not only were The Founders' Fortunes pledged in support of the Revolutionary War but that concerns about their fortunes helped prompt it. A professor of art crime at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Thompson is an acknowledged expert in the national debate surrounding Smashing Statues—should controversial public monuments be pulled down or allowed to stand? Journalist/author Thompson ( Kickflip Boys) uses newly released records to tell the story of Patrick and Bridget Kennedy, who fled Ireland’s Great Famine for Boston, MA, and became The First Kennedys, founders of a political dynasty.


Intellectual History

Beckerman, Gal. The Quiet Before: On the Unexpected Origins of Radical Ideas. Crown. Feb. 2022. 352p. ISBN 9781524759186. $28. HISTORY

Revolutions aren’t always about noisy marches, argues award-winning author Beckerman, an editor at the New York Times Book Review. Ranging from voting-rights petitions in 1830s Britain to early 1990s feminist zines, he highlights many social movements that have launched in small, quiet, interpersonal spaces where ideas can be thoughtfully formulated before being purveyed to the larger world. Today’s world of social media doesn’t work that way, and Beckerman ponders the consequences. Intriguing.

Freeman, Charles. The Reopening of the Western Mind: The Resurgence of Intellectual Life from the End of Antiquity to the Dawn of the Enlightenment. Knopf. Feb. 2022. 816p. ISBN 9780525659365. $40. HISTORY

A scholar of Western European thought, Freeman argued in The Closing of the Western Mind that Constantine’s adoption of Christianity turned relatively broadminded later Rome into an authoritarian society, with heavy, centuries-long consequences for Europe. Here he aims to show how European thought began shaking off its bonds, starting around 500 CE and ranging through the era we now call the Enlightenment. In the grand-old-history style.


Reconstructing a Life: Memoirs

Cheung, Karen. The Impossible City: A Hong Kong Memoir. Random. Feb. 2022. 336p. ISBN 9780593241431. $28. Download. MEMOIR

Denk, Jeremy. Every Good Boy Does Fine: A Love Story, in Music Lessons. Random. Feb. 2022. 384p. ISBN 9780812995985. $20. Downloadable. $28. MEMOIR

Drayton, Tiffanie. Black American Refugee. Viking. Feb. 2022. 304p. ISBN 9780593298541. $26. MEMOIR

Foo, Stephanie. What My Bones Know: A Memoir of Reckoning and Healing from Generational Trauma. Ballantine. Feb. 2022. 320p. ISBN 9780593238103. $27. MEMOIR

Hongo, Garrett. The Perfect Sound: A Memoir in Stereo. Pantheon. Feb. 2022. 544p. ISBN 9780375425066. $30. MEMOIR

Jefferson, Margo. Constructing a Nervous System. Pantheon. Feb. 2022. 224p. ISBN 9781524748173. $26. MEMOIR

Mead, Rebecca. Home/Land: A Memoir of Departure and Return. Knopf. Feb. 2022. 240p. ISBN 9780525658719. $27. MEMOIR

Vasquez-Lavado, Silvia. In the Shadow of the Mountain: A Memoir of Courage. Holt. Feb. 2022. 320p. ISBN 9781250776747. $27.99. MEMOIR

Journalist Cheung relates growing up in Hong Kong— The Impossible City—after its 1917 reunification with China, traversing its rich identities while exploring her education at various English-speaking international schools, the city’s literary and indie music scenes, and the protests against restricted freedoms. One of America’s top pianists, MacArthur fellow Denk recounts his upbringing and training, clarifying the complexities of the artistic life and the student-teacher relationship in Every Good Boy Does Fine. As Drayton relates in Black American Refugee, she left Trinidad and Tobago as a youngster to join her mother in the United States but was angered by the contrast in how white and Black people were treated and by age 20 returned to Tobago, where she could enjoy being Black without fear. What My Bones Know reveals Emmy Award–winning radio producer Foo’s relentless panic attacks until she was finally diagnosed with Complex PTSD, a condition resulting from ongoing trauma—in her case the years she spent abused by her parents before they abandoned her. Growing up fourth-generation Japanese American in Los Angeles directly after World War II, Pulitzer finalist poet Hongo recounts spending his life hunting for The Perfect Sound, from his father’s inspired record-player setup and the music his Black friends enjoyed to Bach, Coltrane, ukulele, and the best possible vacuum tubes. Winner of a Pulitzer Prize for criticism and a National Book Critics Circle Award for Negroland, Jefferson offers what she calls a temperamental autobiography with Constructing a Nervous System, woven of fragments like the sound of a 1950s jazz LP and a ballerina’s movements spliced with those of an Olympic runner to explore the possibilities of the female body. In Home/Land, New Yorker staffer Mead captures the excitement, dread, and questions of identity that surfaced after she relocated from New York to her birth city, London, with her family in 2018. Vasquez-Lavado now lives In the Shadow of the Mountain, but once she was a Silicon Valley star wrestling with deep-seated personal problems (e.g., childhood abuse, having to deny her sexuality to her family) when she decided to turn around her life through mountain climbing; eventually, she took a team of young women survivors up Mount Everest (150,000-copy first printing).

The February 2022 Prepub Alert Index


From Shakespeare’s Era to the Near Future: Mystery

Spotlight: Toni Morrison

Veteran Thriller Authors

Rising-Star Thriller Authors

Debut Thriller Authors

International Settings: Literary Fiction

Spotlight: Olga Tokarczuk’s ‘The Books of Jacob’

Women in the World: Literary Fiction

Rebuilding Family/Finding Home: Literary Fiction

One-of-a-Kind Writing: Literary Fiction

SF/Fantasy/Dystopian/Horror: Speculative Fiction

Spotlight: Marlon James’s ‘Moon Witch, Spider King’

Women Make Their Way: Contemporary Pop Fiction

Black Civil War Soldiers & Three Intriguing Women: Historical Fiction


Of Current Interest

U.S. History

Intellectual History

Reconstructing a Life: Memoir

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The February 2022 Prepub Alert posts are also available as:

A downloadable spreadsheet of titles

A print-ready PDF of all Prepub Alert posts

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Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (bhoffert@mediasourceinc.com, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; winner of ALA's Louis Shores Award for reviewing; and past president, awards chair, and treasurer of the National Book Critics Circle, which awarded her its inaugural Service Award in 2023.

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