Mississippi Books and Writers

July 2001

Note: Prices listed below reflect the publisher's suggested list price. They are subject to change without notice.

24 Hours

A Novel by Greg Iles

Signet (Paperback, $7.99, ISBN: 0451203593)

Publication date: July 2001

Description from Kirkus Reviews:

A tepid thriller from bestselling Iles (The Quiet Game, 1999, etc.) in which an upscale family falls victim to a not-so-typical kidnapping masterminded by a psychopath with more than money on his mind. Dr. Will Jennings is on his way from Mississippi to a medical meeting in New Orleans, leaving behind his loving, if somewhat resentful, wife Karen, who quit medical school when she became pregnant, and their precious, precocious five-year-old daughter, Abby. Life is a mixed bag for the doctor. He’s flying his own plane to the convention where he’s presenting a breakthrough anesthesia drug that could make him a very wealthy man. But he suffers from debilitating arthritis, and Abby is a juvenile diabetic who requires insulin injections. The whole house of cards comes tumbling down when the child is snatched by kidnapper extraordinaire Joe Hickey, assisted by his abused spouse, a former drug-addicted lap dancer, and his devoted, mentally challenged, 300-pound cousin Huey. The devious trio’s carefully orchestrated plan, which they’ve refined over five previous capers, divides the story into three scenarios, each redneck villain paired with a member of the genteel Jennings family. Hickey’s motto, “The kid always makes it,” is endangered by Abby’s insulin needs, the Type-A personalities of the Jennings clan, and the search for revenge. Should Will call in the authorities? Should he and Karen submit to the kidnappers’ bizarre personal demands? How far will they go to save their daughter and still keep their self-respect? And by the way, have they missed the truly important things in life? The clever plot generates some heat, but veteran Iles’s clunky prose (“Hickey’s words cut to the bone, but something more terrible struck Will like a hammer”), hackneyed psychological “insights,” and tedious medical details send this thriller into a tailspin. Literary Guild/Doubleday Book Club alternate selection. —Copyright 2000 Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Dead Sleep Dead Sleep

A Novel by Greg Iles

Putnam (Hardcover, $19.95, ISBN: 0399147357)

Publication date: July 2001


With five novels, Greg Iles has proven himself one of the most talented and versatile thriller writers at work today. Critics hailed 24 Hours as “diabolical” (People), “ingenious” (London Times), “masterfully written” (New Orleans Times-Picayune), and “brilliantly plotted bone-chilling suspense” (Publishers Weekly). In Dead Sleep, Iles gives us his most intricate and emotionally resonant story ever.

Jordan Glass, a photojournalist on a well-earned vacation, wanders into a Hong Kong art museum and is puzzled to find fellow patrons eyeing her with curiosity. Minutes later, she stumbles upon a gallery containing a one-artist exhibition called “The Sleeping Women,” a mysterious series of paintings that has caused a sensation in the world of modern art. Collectors have come to believe that the canvases depict female nudes not in sleep but in death, and they command millions at auction. When Jordan approaches the last work in the series, she freezes. The face in the painting seems to be her own.

This unsettling event hurls her back into a nightmare she has fought desperately to put behind her—for, in fact, the face in the painting belongs not to Jordan but to her twin sister, murdered one year ago. At the urging of the FBI, Jordan becomes both hunter and hunted in a duel with the anonymous artist, a gifted murderer who knows the secret history of Jordan’s family, and truths that even she has never had the courage to face.

New Orleans Style New Orleans Style

A Novel by Shirley Jean Johnson

Writers Club Press (Paperback, $13.95, ISBN: 0595188117)

Publication date: July 2001


New Orleans Style tells the tale of a young woman lost and her children’s fast-paced lives in New Orleans, making their own destiny.

When a young white woman is attacked and left for dead, the older black woman who finds her becomes her guardian angel. It is she who raises the women’s twin newborns; one dark and one very light skinned. Their journey through the streets and culture of New Orleans is met with occurrences good and very bad. One that is so evil, everyone’s life is changed by it. When Vicy and her brother Tori vow revenge, it becomes a life-long endeavor, one that makes them very rich and very powerful; not only in New Orleans but all over the world!

Edge of Victory II: Rebirth Edge of Victory II: Rebirth

By Greg Keyes

Star Wars: The New Jedi Order, Book 8

Ballantine (Paperback, $6.99, ISBN: 0345446100)

Publication date: July 2001


The Star Wars epic continues its dazzling space odyssey in The New Jedi Order—as Luke and Mara, Leia and Han, and others battle the mighty enemy from beyond the galactic rim.

The brutal Yuuzhan Vong are scouring the universe for Jedi to slaughter. With no help from the divided New Republic, the Jedi stand alone against their seemingly invincible foe. Han and Leia Organa Solo risk deadly consequences with their controversial tactics to bolster the Jedi resistance. After uncovering a new Yuuzhan Vong menace, Anakin and Tahiri find themselves wanted for murder by the Peace Brigade. To avoid capture, they jump into hyperspace … and into trouble far graver.

Hunted by the Yuuzhan Vong, wanted as criminals by the New Republic, and with unrest stirring within their own ranks, the Jedi find peril everywhere they turn. But even in the midst of despair, while the fiercest battle of all looms on the horizon, hope arises with the birth of one very special child….

Empire of Unreason The Shadows of God

By J. Gregory Keyes

The Age of Unreason, Book 4

Ballantine (Paperback, $15.00, ISBN: 034543904X)

Publication date: July 2001

Description from Publishers Weekly:

In the fourth and final volume in his Age of Unreason series (Newton’s Cannon, etc.), Keyes brings his multi-threaded yarn to a thrilling conclusion. Based on the premise that Sir Isaac Newton devised a theory of alchemy that led to the industrial use of demons, the book builds to a climactic confrontation to see who will reshape the universe. Chief among Newton’s apprentices are wizard/scientist Benjamin Franklin, South Carolina’s ambassador to the court of New Paris (Mobile), and Adrienne de Montchevreuil, sorceress and heir to a secret tradition.

Against them is Adrienne’s son, Nicolas (aka the Sun Boy), with his army of Russians, Mongols and Coweta natives that sweeps over the Great Plains. Such imaginative devices as demon-levitated airships and aetherschreibers (wireless sets) lend interest to the author’s alternate 18th-century world, as do revelations behind certain historical events, like the identity of who helped Louis XIV drop a comet on London.

Keyes entertains both with details of everyday life and with the conversations of people who may not have met but should have. He produces a fine pastiche of the formal writing of Voltaire (who appears as Franklin’s friend and rival), marred only by a more modern “crash cut” narrative, which occasionally jumps mid-scene or reverses chronology, diffusing the suspense. Still, with the unfolding of secrets and past deeds, Keyes brings a welcome level of character uncertainty to the deterministic Newtonian novel. —Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Natural Selection

A Novel by Frederick Barthelme

Counterpoint Press (Paperback, $14.00, ISBN: 1582431310)

Reprint Edition

Publication date: July 2001


Finally restored to print, Frederick Barthelme’s classic novel about love, marriage, and one man’s search for something more.

Peter Wexler is unhappy. He’s forty and obsessed with what’s wrong in the world, including his marriage, a “thirtysomething” version of Ozzie and Harriet. Deciding a change of scenery might help put his life back in order, Peter leaves his wonderful wife and their ten-year-old son in search of a resolution to the confusion, estrangement, fatigue, and adultery that have confounded his life.

Natural Selection is an intimate novel about a man getting smart, and getting there a little later than he should have. It’s caustic and subtle, slick and funny, charming, deeply melancholy, and more than anything else, true.

The Law of Averages: New and Selected Stories

Stories by Frederick Barthelme

CounterPoint Press (Paperback, $15.00, ISBN: 1582431574)

Publication date: July 2001


Two decades of stories from one of the premier writers of American fiction.

Twenty years ago Frederick Barthelme began publishing stories that turned readers’ expectations on their heads. In The New Yorker, Esquire, GQ, and elsewhere he published story after story that confounded the prevailing literary assumptions, treating our very ordinary lives with a new kind of careful and loving attention and imagination. He wrote intimate, funny, odd, detailed, laugh-out-loud stories about relationships that almost happen and ones that almost don’t, about the ways we look at each other when we mean things we cannot bring ourselves to say.

Before there were slackers, or kids in parking lots, or stories that took the mundane seriously, there were these prescient stories by Frederick Barthelme. He took a post-ironic stance before the post-ironic had a name. He took fiction where few were then willing to go, took as his subject small romances, private fears, suburban estrangement, office angst, cultural isolation, apparently insignificant humiliations, and the growing information surplus (CNN is a sociological novel, he once remarked). He wrote-and continues to write-with a laser-surgery precision that stuns and delights both readers and critics. If he arrived at the new-literature party a little earlier than the other guests, he has not left early, and is thus well represented in The Law of Averages, with old and new stories side by side, ready to give up their abundant pleasures.

Little Cliff's First Day of School Little Cliff’s First Day of School

By Clifton L. Taulbert, illustrations by E. B. Lewis

Dial Books for Young Readers (Hardcover, $16.99, ISBN: 0803725574)

Publication date: July 2001

Description fromSchool Library Journal:

(Kindergarten-Grade 2) In this second story about Little Cliff, an African-American boy growing up in the rural South in the 1950s, it is time for his first day of school. His happy and proud great-grandparents have laid out his special clothes, but Cliff does “not want to start first grade—not one bit.” He is so frightened when it’s time to leave that he tries hiding under the house—a favorite refuge from the heat of summer. However, determined Mama Pearl coaxes him out and walks him to school herself. As they near the schoolyard, Cliff sees his friends enjoying a ball game and realizes that school isn't just being “quiet, quiet, quiet” and “work, work, work.” He can have fun as well. The lengthy text is appropriately flavored by dialect that is readily accessible to young readers: Mama Pearl chides, “Cliff, don’t step on my nerves. Now you git them shoes on right now.” Lewis’s large watercolor paintings of the boy with downcast eyes, bowed head, and slumped shoulders speak volumes about his apprehensions. The country schoolhouse looks run-down and uninviting until it is surrounded by energetic youngsters. Children will recognize in Cliff’s reactions their own first-day jitters and will be comforted by the last scene in which a laughing-crying Mama Pearl hugs him and says, “I am just so happy we made it to school on our first day.” —Marianne Saccardi, Norwalk Community College, CT. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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