SCENE: INTERIOR HOUSE. SOMEWHERE IN NEW YORK.
BILL: So, I thought I might write a book about politics—
HILARY: Stop right there, Bill. No.
BILL: But, I was President for eight years. I might have something—
BILL: But . . .
HILARY: I already wrote a book about politics. Three, in fact. Not counting the children’s books.
BILL: But . . . President. World Leader.
HILARY: No one wants to talk about the ‘90s yet. And besides, Barack has a book coming out next year. There can be only one presidential book a season.
HILARY: Look, Bill. I was serious when I said you needed a hobby.
Bill wanders off. It’s peaceful and quiet for about two hours.
BILL: [From the other room] Hey, I could take this online course!
HILARY: Are you on Facebook?
BILL: . . . uh, no.
HILARY: You’re not supposed to be on Facebook, Bill!
BILL: I’m using the dog’s account.
HILARY: The dog has an account?
BILL: “Learn how to write with the James Patterson Master Class.” This looks like it will be fun!
Anyway, that’s how we imagined Bill Clinton ended up collaborating with James Patterson for The President Is Missing, which is our lead-off book in this week’s newsletter. As you can imagine from the title, the thrill in this thriller is that the President is, indeed, missing. And we suspect he’s not merely wandered off for shawarma or something. We also expect that the book is a non-stop juggernaut of cybersecurity hijinks, political machinations, and the quest for a decent sandwich. We could be wrong about that last bit, though.
And speaking of political thrillers, we are absolutely delighted that Mick Herron’s latest Slough House novel, London Rules, is finally out this week. Oh! Golly gosh goodness! Mick’s Slough House books. OMG. These are the best. We read London Rules a few months ago when SOHO Crime sent around ARCs, and then we turned around and devoured the first four books in the series. They are so good.
What's so good about them? Well, Slough House is where MI6 sends its miscreants and troublemakers, thinking that if they can pile on enough sh*twork, these spies will just quit, saving everyone the headache of actually firing them. The head of Slough House is Jackson Lamb, the last “joe” still in the field (though who is the enemy and why Lamb thinks he’s still active may be a distinction that only Lamb sees), and he rules the “slow horses,” as they are called, with a management style that can be called—and we’re being very generous here—confrontational and demeaning. Imagine that someone pitched John Le Carre to write a mash-up of The Office and Dynasty, and you’ll have an idea of what gleeful fun you’re in for.
The series starts with Slow Horses, and we’ll expect you’ll devour them as quickly as we did. And then we can talk about how much of a ruthless bastard Lamb is, and what a fascinating character he is.
And speaking of authors we love, Peter Wohlleben’s The Weather Detective has finally been translated and is out this week. As you may recall, Wohlleben is the author of The Hidden Life of Trees and The Inner Life of Animals, two books that we’ve really enjoyed. We’re delighted to have his thoughts on weather now, and we suspect that we’re not going to feel the touch of an idle mistral or look upon the puffy cumulus humilis the same way again.
And speaking of fun things to watch, Sara Wolf has this week’s snarky game of wits and longing looks. Bring Me Their Hearts is the story of Zera, an immortal badass whose heart is in a jar under a witch’s desk, and Lucien, a crown prince with a devil-may-care attitude and an irresponsible attraction to things that could kill him. Naturally, these two hit it off in the grand tradition of “Are they going to kill each other or wreck all the furniture with their foreplay?” And, as the book copy reads: “Winner takes the loser’s heart. Literally.” Get some popcorn and settle in, dear readers.
And speaking of forbidden romance, we also have Kristina Pérez’s Sweet Black Waves, the first book in a new trilogy that’s inspired by the star-crossed romance of Tristan and Eseult. In Sweet Black Waves, young Branwen is resolute in her hatred for those who killed her parents, but when she unknowingly saves the life of a man who is tied to interests which might destroy the kingdom and family she serves, Branwen has to face some really difficult choices. It’s not serious drama without death and war and the sort of love that can make your heart go all explodey.
And speaking of complicated love stories, how about Invisible Ghosts by Robyn Schneider. This one has magnificently silly theater nerds, drama class, and . . . the ghost of a long-dead brother. This is tricky to explain at dinner parties. “Oh, yes, and this is the ghost of my dead brother, who is kind of a jerk, but he understands me, so it’s okay, right?” Naturally, the boy in question has a secret of his own—one that makes “oh, and this is the ghost of my dead brother” seem perfectly normal. Quaint, even. Kids, these days.
And speaking of raising the stakes, Fredrik Backman is back this week is Us Against You, the sequel to last year’s bittersweet and delightful story of small town ice hockey. In Us Against You, all of the former Beartown players have gone off to play for the rival team in neighboring Hed, and the rivalry between these two teams turns dark. Before the big game, hijinks and tensions get deadly, leaving everyone to wonder what’s been truly lost in the all-encompassing desire to win. You lose something when you’re willing to do anything to win, don’t you?
And speaking of costs paid and lessons learned, Dan Abrams and David Fisher bring us Lincoln’s Last Trial: The Murder Case that Propelled Him to the Presidency. Back in the day, when Lincoln hadn’t grown that historical Presidential scruff, he was a hard-working self-taught man of the law. During his two decades of lawyering, Lincoln presided over more than 3,000 cases, including more than 25 murder trials. But it was the trial of “Peachy” Quinn Harrison that captured the nation’s attention, coming as it did less than nine months before the Republican convention, and about the same amount of time since the great debates between Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas, the incumbent Democratic Senator. Naturally, Lincoln has to team up with a longtime political rival in order to win this case, making the whole thing perfect for prime time.
And speaking of working in the spotlight, this week also sees the return of Emily Charlton, the long-suffering heroine of Lauren Weisberger’s The Devil Wears Prada. When Life Gives You Lululemons finds Emily lost in the LA suburbs, which is totally not where Emily wants to be. Add one mega-supermodel and now wife to a man who has his eye on the Presidency, and one stay-at-home mom with more legal experience than the rest of her zip code, and you’ve got a recipe for snark and disaster in the world of superficiality and designer sexy.
And speaking of sexy, we’ve got a stack of Summer Bingo cards under the desk. It’s time to earn some Colby Cash again, dear readers. Get your Bingo card and start collecting those stamps. We’re already challenging one another to stretch in our reading, and we’re ready to hear your stories about what you’re reading this summer. In fact, if you read everything in this week’s newsletter, that would be . . . let’s see . . . carry the one . . . at least a row’s worth of stamps!