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The Early Word: New Books for the Week of April 25, 2011

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My new favorite series name: Sarah Graves’ Home Repair Is Homicide. Because I live it. Barely.

Bel-Air Dead (Stone Barrington Series #20)
by Stuart Woods
But who’s counting? There’s a saga born every minute, with the prolific Stuart Woods a seemingly  constant presence on the new release shelves – and, as he racks up his 46th novel with Bel-Air Dead, it’s not just your imagination. His publishers now have him under an agreement for three books a year — to be published in January, April and September — instead of two, with a three-book deal with Putnam for 2011 and 2012 and a contract that keeps him “writing as long as I can think and move my fingers.” This consequently chaotic schedule presumably keeps Woods, who normally thinks two books ahead, more on the ball than usual while “solving this problem by working more days.” The mad dash and potential recklessness also may or may not have been the impetus for a recent interview inquiry: “A lot of readers want to know why there are so many errors in a published book.”

In whatever shape, the newest addition to the New York Times-bestselling series — the 20th entry in the Stone Barrington mysteries — flies the New York attorney to Los Angeles to represent recent widow, and beautiful lover from his past Arrington Calder, in her attempts to keep control of Centurion Studios. Dropping everything to assist her, Barrington jockeys for position to arrange for his client to have the controlling interest, starting with reorganizing Arrington’s shares; buying more stock for her; and finally forging partnerships with other holders.

Hard-playing CEO of Prince Investments Terry Prince wants the choice property in Bel-Air where Centurion Studios where he knows there’s a prettier penny to be paid. Killing stockholder Jennifer Harris is only the first underhanded sign of how far Prince is willing to go. With longtime pal Dino Bacchetti at his side as well as the mighty resources of Mike Freeman’s Strategic Services and Bill Eggers’s law firm Woodman & Weld, Barrington matches financial wits with the arrogant Prince. The sequence of events in Bel-Air Dead hits the ground running the moment Stone touches ground in California through every twist and turn until the climax.

MORE FICTION

The Great Night (First Edition)
by Chris Adrian

Summer and the City (Carrie Diaries Series #2)
by Candace Bushnell

Abandon
by Meg Cabo

The Bride’s House
by Sandra Dallas

Knockdown (Home Repair Is Homicide Series #14)
by Sarah Graves

Born of Shadows (League Series #5)
by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Bumped
by Megan McCafferty

Southern Comfort
by Fern Michaels

Thor by Walter Simonson Omnibus
by Walter Simonson

NONFICTION

Stories I Only Tell My Friends: An Autobiography
by Rob Lowe

Escoffier: Le Guide Culinaire, Revised
by: H. L. Cracknell, R. J Kaufmann, Georges Auguste Escoffier

The Wizard of Lies: Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust
by Diana B. Henriques

The Age of Deception: Nuclear Diplomacy in Treacherous Times
by Mohamed ElBaradei

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About Gordon Hauptfleisch