The idle pleasures of summer reading have made way for the books of fall, which will account for half the year’s sales for the $27 billion books industry. You know – big-name authors, combined with the gift-giving season. Today, we look at a sampling of new fiction, with a similar taste of nonfiction coming Oct. 12.
This list is arranged alphabetically by authors’ last names. Many are on sale now; for the others, publishing dates are noted.
“The Japanese Lover” by Isabel Allende (Atria, $28, 336 pages, on sale Nov. 3): Best-seller Allende traces the secret and ultimately tragic 70-year love affair between Alma Belasco and Ichimei Fukuda, culminating in a touching ending in a San Francisco nursing home. She has appeared for the Bee Book Club.
“Sorcerer to the Crown” by Zen Cho (Ace, $27, 384 pages): Magic is an integral part of reimagined Britain in the early 1800s, but it seems to be mysteriously diminishing. That’s when the chief magician of the Royal Society of Unnatural Philosophers travels into the land to discover why. What he finds threatens to alter sorcery for all time.
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“The Crossing” by Michael Connelly (Little, Brown, $28, 400 pages, Nov. 3): In the 20th LAPD detective Harry Bosch novel, he puts himself in the line of fire for his half brother, Micky Haller, who Connelly introduced in “The Lincoln Lawyer” (2005).
“The Promise” by Robert Crais (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, $28, 416 pages, Nov. 10): This time, detective agency partners Elvis Cole and Joe Pike team up with LAPD K-9 officer Scott James and his German shepherd, Maggie, to stop a serial killer before he stops them. Crais has appeared for the Bee Book Club.
“The Clasp” by Sloane Crosley (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $26, 384 pages, on sale Tuesday): With humor and insight, the author of the memoir “I Was Told There’d Be Cake” moves to her first novel. Three 20-something friends embark on a global treasure hunt for a valuable necklace that vanished in World War II France.
“Numero Zero” by Umberto Eco (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $24, 208 pages, Nov. 3): Intellectual-philosopher-novelist Eco (“The Name of the Rose”) takes us to 1992 Milan in a suspenseful, satirical tale of absurd politics, corrupt media and murder.
“The Scam” by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg (Bantam, $28, 304 pages): In their fourth adventure, con artist-master thief Nicolas Fox partners with FBI agent Kate O’Hare to bring down the ruthless Evan Trace, whose casino in Macau is a front for terrorists and mobsters. Evanovich has appeared for the Bee Book Club.
“Tricky Twenty-Two,” also by Evanovich, stars go-to character Sephanie Plum (Bantam, $28, 304 pages, Nov. 17). The plucky bounty hunter is on the case when a college fraternity president skips his court date and vanishes. The usual suspects are there: Joe Morelli, a cop and her on-again, off-again boyfriend; security specialist Ranger, her mysterious protector and mentor; and Grandma Mazur, an over-the-top senior. Wacky stuff.
“Playing With Fire” by Tess Gerritsen (Ballantine, $28, 272 pages, Oct. 27): The physician-turned-thriller writer steps away from her popular “Jane Rizzoli-Maura Isles” series for a stand-alone. Violinist Julia Ansdell buys a musical score at an antiques store in Rome, which, when played, weaves an evil spell. She sets out to find the truth about the “Incendio Waltz,” and regrets it. Gerritsen has appeared for the Bee Book Club.
“The Last September” by Nina de Gramont (Algonquin, $26, 320 pages): Set in Cape Cod, this debut is a lyrical cross between a murder mystery and a love story, in the best ways. A wife-mother’s psyche is explored in the moving story of an idyllic couple’s descent into tragedy and resurrection in hope.
“Rogue Lawyer” by John Grisham (Doubleday, $29, 352 pages, Oct. 29): Heavily armed loner lawyer Sebastian Rudd conducts business from his bulletproof van and scoffs at the notion of “ethical behavior.” The cops and the drug dealers both want to take him out, but they’ll have to wait while he finishes his biggest, most dangerous case.
“City On Fire” by Garth Risk Hallberg (Knopf, $30, 944 pages, Oct. 13): One of the most-buzzed-about debut novels of fall is this homage to mid-1970s New York City, with all its grit, glamour, wealth and punk scenery recreated. Multiple characters layer on multiple stories, with a common thread: the detective trying to figure out who was responsible for a New Year’s Eve shooting in Central Park. Bring your A reading game.
“Avenue of Mysteries” by John Irving (Simon & Schuster, $28, 480 pages, Nov. 3): Young teen Lupe Diego is a mind reader who can see the future path of her brother, Juan Diego. As adults, their pasts and futures meet in startling ways. Irving won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for “The Cider House Rules,” one of his many award-winning novels.
“The Bazaar of Bad Dreams” by Stephen King (Scribner, $30, 512 pages, Nov. 3): In a twist, King has assembled a collection of recent stories (some of them new) and introduces each one with an explanation of how the idea came to him and the circumstances in which he wrote it into a tale. Autobiography among the horror.
“Ashley Bell” by Dean Koontz (Bantam, $28, 576 pages; Dec. 8): Young Bibi Blair’s doctors give her a year to live, but she stuns the medical community with her sudden recovery. A diviner tells her she beat death so she can save a woman named Ashley Bell. Bibi’s search for the unknown woman leads her into a threatening hidden world.
“The Drowning” by Camilla Lackberg (Pegasus, $26, 400 pages): Lackberg’s psychological thrillers have dominated Sweden’s best-seller lists since 2008. In a small Nordic town, crime writer Erica Falck and her husband, detective Patrik Hedstrom, investigate a missing-person case and a murder, discovering deadly secrets.
“The Big Book of Sherlock Holmes Stories,” edited by Otto Penzler (Pantheon, $40, 816 pages, Oct. 27): This eclectic, century-spanning collection of 83 tales by various authors illuminates one of literature’s most enduring characters and his chronicler, Dr. John Watson. Among the contributors are Anne Perry, Stephen King and Neil Gaiman.
“Crimson Shore” by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (Grand Central, $27, 352 pages, Nov. 10): The 15th entry in the collaborators’ superb Aloysius Pendergast series finds the FBI “special agent” taking on the case of a ransacked wine cellar. Accompanying him is his mysterious ward, Constance Greene, who finally makes her intentions clear.
“Library of Souls” by Ransom Riggs (Quirk, $19, 464 pages): The conclusion of a young-adult crossover fantasy trilogy (after “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” and “Hollow City”) sees protagonists Jacon and Emma traveling through time to rescue the Peculiars.
“Saturn Run” by John Sandford and Ctein (Putnam, $28, 496 pages, Tuesday, Oct. 6): In 2066, American astronomers spot an unidentified spaceship approaching Saturn, and conclude that whoever can retrieve it will have new technology that will change the balance of power on Earth. A new kind of space race is now on between the U.S. and China. Sandford is best known for his 26-title “Prey” series.
“See Me” by Nicholas Sparks (Grand Central, $27, 496 pages, Oct. 13): Bad boy Colin meets good girl Maria, and soon they’re planning to continue their fragile but life-changing love. Bad boogie from Maria’s past shows up. The mega-selling novelist was reared in Carmichael.
“The Gates of Evangeline” by Hester Young (Putnam, $26, 416 pages): In this Southern gothic mystery, bereaved but tough New York journalist (and bereaved mother) Charlotte Cates is led by her dream-visions of imperiled children to a moss-shrouded estate in Louisiana. There, she investigates a 30-year-old missing-child case, which leads to an evil she couldn’t imagine.
Allen Pierleoni: 916-321-1128, @apierleonisacbe