By Tom Beer
Newsday
1. “The Strain,” by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan (William Morrow)
Genre: Fiction
On sale: June 2
Opening: “The dish, they called it. Glowing green monochrome … like a bowl of pea soup supplemented with clusters of alphabet letters tagged to coded blips. Each blip represented hundreds of human lives … “
The story: A trans-Atlantic flight suddenly stops on the tarmac at JFK, all passengers mysteriously dead – except four, who remember nothing and complain of a strange soreness in their necks. Vampires, anyone?
The scoop: Filmmaker del Toro (“Pan’s Labyrinth”) tries his hand at fiction with this modern-day tale of viral vampirism, co-written with thriller writer Hogan.
2. “K Blows Top,” by Peter Carlson (PublicAffairs)
Genre: Nonfiction
On sale: June 8
Opening: “Maybe it was Khrushchev throwing a temper tantrum because he wasn’t allowed to visit Disneyland.”
The story: An account of Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev’s surreal 1959 American tour, in which he cracked jokes, met Marilyn Monroe, sparked a riot in a supermarket and, yes, was denied entry to Disneyland by none other than Walt himself.
The scoop: Advance reviewers have delighted at this comical romp through Cold War history by a former feature writer for The Washington Post.
3. “Just Like Family,” by Tasha Blaine (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Genre: Nonfiction
On sale: June 9
Opening: “Fatima worked in a house of light. She showed me around the apartment as if it were her own, pointing out the four bathrooms, the formal dining room, the master bedroom suite.”
The story: A year in the life of three nannies – and a window on the world of contemporary domestic labor.
The scoop: Blaine, herself a former nanny and graduate of the MFA program at NYU, spent more than five years interviewing nannies about their lives and work.
4. “The Angel’s Game,” by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (Doubleday)
Genre: Fiction
On sale: June 16
Opening: “A writer never forgets the first time he accepted a few coins or a word of praise for a story.”
The story: A gothic novel set in 1920s Barcelona, about a young crime reporter-pulp novelist who takes on a mysterious assignment from his publisher: to write a novel for which “people will live and die.”
The scoop: Spanish writer Zafon’s “The Shadow of the Wind” was a cult hit with American readers; “The Angel’s Game” brings back the grand guignol style and literary sensibility – with a higher body count.
5. “Stormy Weather,” by James Gavin (Atria)
Genre: Nonfiction
On sale: June 23
Opening: “On a gray, rainy Manhattan day in April 1994, I walked to the Wyndham, a midtown hotel, to do an interview for The New York Times. My heart was pounding, for I was about to meet Lena Horne, an intimidating show-business and cultural icon.”
The story: A biography of Lena Horne, one of the great African-American entertainers of the 20th century, who started as a chorus girl at the Cotton Club and went on to Hollywood and later headlined Las Vegas.
The scoop: Gavin, who penned a biography of Chet Baker, depicts the toll of an unhappy childhood and pervasive racism on this frosty but gifted diva.
6. “Labor Day,” by Joyce Maynard (William Morrow)
Genre: Fiction
On sale: July 28
Opening: “It was just the two of us, my mother and me, after my father left.”
The story: Awkward, 13-year-old Henry lives in a small New Hampshire town with his anti-social, divorced mom, but their self-contained world is transformed when they take in an escaped convict.
The scoop: Maynard, a journalist and fiction writer, is famous for the affair she had with J.D. Salinger in the early ’70s; here, she herself channels the voice of a misfit teenage boy.
7. “Inherent Vice,” by Thomas Pynchon (The Penguin Press)
Genre: Fiction
On sale: Aug. 4
Opening: “She came along the alley and up the back steps the way she always used to. Doc hadn’t seen her for over a year. Nobody had.”
The story: 1960s Los Angeles is the setting for this psychedelic noir starring Doc Sportello, a private eye drawn by an ex-girlfriend into investigating a kidnapping plot involving a millionaire, surfers, ex-cons and rock stars.
The scoop: The Glen Cove native and author of postmodern classics like “The Crying of Lot 49” is back with his own stab at detective fiction – a slim 400-some pages, after the doorstopping 1,000-plus of “Against the Day.”
8. “The Magicians,” by Lev Grossman (Viking)
Genre: Fiction
On sale: Aug. 11
Opening: “Quentin did a magic trick. Nobody noticed.”
The story: A geeky Brooklyn teen enrolls in a college for wizards, then discovers he can actually visit Fillory, the land described in the beloved fantasy novels of his childhood.
The scoop: Grossman, the author of “Codex” and book critic at Time magazine, pays homage to C.S. Lewis and J.K. Rowling in this novel for grown-up Narnians.
9. “South of Broad,” by Pat Conroy (Doubleday)
Genre: Fiction
On sale: Aug. 11
Opening: “It was my father who called the city the Mansion on the River. He was talking about Charleston, South Carolina, and he was a native son, peacock proud of a town so pretty it makes your eyes ache with pleasure just to walk down its narrow, spellbinding streets.”
The story: Leopold Bloom King (son of a James Joyce devotee) comes of age amid the colorful characters of Charleston, S.C., during the 1970s, haunted by the suicide of his golden-boy older brother.
The scoop: The crowd-pleasing author of “The Prince of Tides” hasn’t published a novel in 14 years; he’s back in the game with this tribute to the city of churches and Southern manners.
10. “A Paradise Built in Hell,” by Rebecca Solnit (Viking)
Genre: Nonfiction
On sale: Aug. 20
Opening: “Who are you? Who are we? In times of crisis, these are life-and-death questions.”
The story: A look at how people respond to disasters – from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake to 9-11 and Hurricane Katrina – and the powerful sense of community and purpose that often arises, briefly, in the moment.
The scoop: Solnit, who won a National Critics Book Circle Award for “River of Shadows,” was inspired to write about disasters after experiencing the 1989 San Francisco earthquake.


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