It’s beginning to look a lot like crowed aisles in the bookstores this holiday season. With an unusually sizeable number of big-name books in the publishing pipeline potentially drawing in ever-more book buyers, it's almost a matter of a good thing gone awry.
According to Michael Cader, founder of Publishers Lunch, a book industry website, “There’s a legitimate question whether this is too much at once, whether the market can handle it. There are just so many of them.”
That’s where I come in. Over the course of the foreseeable future of ever-dwindling shopping days ‘til Christmas, I’ll be offering — weekly if not more frequently — a selective assortment of suggestions in fiction and non, from scratch ‘n’ sniff children’s books to “Outhouses of the World" coffee table tomes, to scratch 'n' sniff “Outhouses of the World” publications too, perhaps.
In any case, we have some catching up to do. Before we get to Grisham and Pynchon; Atwood and Allende; Crichton, King and Koontz; we should take note of some titles that have hit the bookstore shelves in the past few weeks.
In a change of pace for the always gripping Dennis Lehane (Mystic River), Coronado offers five stories and the titular centerpiece, a two-act play based on Lehane’s short story "Until Gwen." Take a hustler father, a son just out of prison, mix in an uneasy reunion and some missing loot and you have the makings of some volatile intensity. Indeed, as the lead-off story would have it, "a small town is a hard place to keep a secret."
After an absence of six years, Dick Francis, in Under Orders, is not only back with another racetrack caper, he’s bringing back popular series character Sid Halley, once a champion jockey, and now a gumshoe out to solve the murder of jockey - in a case that gets a little too up close and personal.
John Le Carre keeps going strong, too, bringing a lighter, comic touch in The Mission Song, a story of an idealistic and earnest British interpreter, Bruno "Salvo" Salvador, whose expertise brings him steady work that soon enough spirals into covert government assignments and no lack of hot water and trouble.