Two exciting US debuts: A LINE OF BLOOD by Ben McPherson & EARLY ONE MORNING by Virginia Baily

Two exceptional authors are making their first outing in the US today.

If you’re in the mood for an “engrossing – and very dark – domestic thriller” you can’t do better than Ben McPherson’s provocative, intensely twisty, and suspenseful A LINE OF BLOOD.

For Alex Mercer, his wife, Millicent, and their precocious eleven-year-old son, Max, are everything—his little tribe that makes him feel all’s right with the world. But when he and Max find their enigmatic next-door neighbor dead in his apartment, their lives are suddenly and irrevocably changed. The police begin an extremely methodical investigation, and Alex becomes increasingly impatient for them to finish. After all, it was so clearly a suicide.

As new information is uncovered, troubling questions arise—questions that begin to throw suspicion on Alex, Millicent, and even Max. Each of them has secrets it seems. And each has something to hide.

With the walls of their perfect little world closing in on them day after day, husband, wife, and son must decide how far they’ll go to protect themselves—and their family—from investigators carefully watching their every move . . . waiting for one of them to make a mistake.

A Line of Blood explores what it means to be a family—the ties that bind us, and the lies that can destroy us if we’re not careful. It will have you wondering if one of them is guilty—or if all of them are—and will keep you on edge until its shocking final pages.

For something bit less dark, but equally emotionally taught, Virginia Baily’s “powerhouse debut” EARLY ONE MORNING tells the moving story of two women’s decision to save a child during WWII.

Chiara Ravello is about to flee occupied Rome when she locks eyes with a woman being herded on to a truck with her family.

Claiming the woman’s son, Daniele, as her own nephew, Chiara demands his return; only as the trucks depart does she realize what she has done. She is twenty-seven, with a sister who needs her constant care, a hazardous journey ahead, and now a child in her charge.

Several decades later, Chiara lives alone in Rome, a self-contained woman working as a translator. Always in the background is the shadow of Daniele, whose absence and the havoc he wrought on Chiara’s world haunt her. Then she receives a phone call from a teenager claiming to be his daughter, and Chiara knows it is time to face up to the past.

Baily’s already received high praise in the UK–“Incredibly sure-footed, a big, generous and absorbing piece of storytelling, fearless, witty and full of flair…. [Baily] masterfully explores themes of identity, belonging and loss.”―Samantha Harvey, Guardian–and we can’t wait for the US to get to know her!

Natalie Taylor on Making Room After Loss

At age 24, Natalie Taylor had a great job and a wonderful husband, with whom she was expecting her first child. But four months before her son was born, tragedy struck, and her husband died in a freak accident. Now, after seven years, Natalie has re-married and found happiness again.

Natalie recently wrote on her blog If You Give a Mom a Cocktail about her path to re-marriage, the stress that getting back into the dating world caused her, and how she ultimately gained a new perspective on relationships. The heart, she writes, “has room for so much love and so many people, we are fools to think there is a finite list for any of us.” She’s discovered the joy of “making room” for new relationships. “It’s not about forgetting or moving on or any of those ideas,” she points out. “It’s about inviting more people in.”

You can read Natalie’s full piece here. Her book about her experience with loss and new motherhood, SIGNS OF LIFE (Broadway Books), is available now.

Signs of Life_cover


Gretchen Rubin and Elizabeth Craft’s HAPPIER Podcast in The New Yorker


Happier, the podcast from Gretchen Rubin and her sister, Elizabeth Craft, is one of the subjects of this delightful piece by Sarah Larson for The New Yorker, “Better Living Through Podcasts“. Check it out for recommendations for a few other podcasts, including Elizabeth Gilbert’s.

Larson writes about Rubin:

“Like Daniel Kahneman’s “Thinking, Fast and Slow,” [Rubin’s] books and podcast try to explain us to ourselves so that we’re working with, not against, the occasionally maddening ways in which we operate. She’s not trying to make you perfect; she just wants you to get enough sleep and to enjoy, rather than dread, celebrating loved ones’ birthdays.”

After picking up an audiobook copy of Rubin’s latest book, BETTER THAN BEFORE (Crown), Larson found:

“Rubin had learned that there was a close correlation between habits and happiness, so she figured out how we form them, use them, and change them. Once I came to understand habits as harnessing our own laziness—making a habit frees you from decision-making, which you can use to your advantage—my relationship to them changed permanently.”

You can learn more about Rubin’s take on habits on her site. Happier is part of the Panoply network, which also produces podcasts like Sport’s Illustrated’s This Is Your Brain on Sports, Popular Science’s Futuropolis, Vulture’s TV Podcast,  NYT Magazine’s The Ethicist–and many more.

Andria Williams in Grist Journal

I guess I can write anywhere, I said. All I need is a word processor, right? So into the U.S. Navy we went. 

Andria Williams has a fantastic essay in Grist Journal on finding herself as a writer, a mother, and a military spouse. Read the piece here on her husband’s decision to join the Navy, and how it’s changed their family–and changed her as a reader and a writer.

Andria runs Military Spouse Book Review, a blog for book reviews by military spouses, often covering books about the military, like Gayle Tzemach Lemmon’s Ashley’s War (and genres far beyond– we’re very fond of this review of Mad Max.…).  You can follow her on Twitter @andria816 for updates on the blog and the occasional lego reenactment of literary scenes (c/o her children; we like this one of Smith Henderson’s Fourth of July Creek).

Random House will publish Andria’s debut novel, THE LONGEST NIGHT, this coming January. The book is getting a lot of early love on Goodreads, and was recently included in Library Journal’s list of “Five Key Literary/Historical Debuts”:

With the book drawing inspiration from the nation’s only fatal nuclear accident (on January 3, 1961) and Williams responsible for, which is aimed at military spouses, female veterans, and women in the military, this book should get attention. —Library Journal


Ray Young Bear Poem in The New Yorker this week–a Preview of His Upcoming Collection

MANIFESTION WOLVERINE_Final CoverThe New Yorker featured Ray Young Bear’s poem “Four Hinterland Abstractions” on their site today! It will also appear in the print edition of  the August 3rd issue. The poem is part of his forthcoming collection MANIFESTATION WOLVERINE: The Collected Poetry of Ray Young Bear, which Open Road Media will publish this October.

Praise for Ray’s work to date:

“I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that Ray Young Bear is the best poet in Indian Country and in the top 46 in the whole dang world. Sacred and profane, profound and irreverent, his poetry pushes you into a corner, roughs you up a bit, maybe takes your wallet, and then gives you a long kiss goodbye.” —Sherman Alexie

“Ray Young Bear’s work is the gift of an anguished imagination marked with grief and wild humor. His writing alternately lashes and heals, but ultimately instructs from a deep vision of the world.” —Louise Erdrich
“These are remarkable poems. I read them over and over again, and I become more and more convinced that they proceed from a native intelligence that is at once ancient and contemporary, straightforward and ironic, provocative and insightful. The poet speaks from a kind of timeless experience; his voice is the voice of the coyote or singer of Beowulf or the inventor of words. “The Invisible Musician” is a work extraordinarily rich and rewarding.” —N. Scott Momaday

“It was clear from Ray Young Bear’s earliest poems that he was a poet of great ability. He has gotten better. The physical detail is ground, and there are mysterious interminglings of water and air that hold the worlds together.” —Robert Bly

“[Ray Young Bear is] a national treasure.” —Robert F. Gish

“Ray Young Bear is magic. He writes as if he lived 10,000 years ago in a tribe whose dialect happens to be modern English.” —Richard Hugo

“No one, absolutely no one, tells the tribal story like Young Bear.” —Elizabeth Cook-Lynn


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