Madman's TaleJohn Katzenbach
(Ballantine Books · hardcover · $24.95)
In Katzenbach's latest, the bestselling author spins a murder mystery set in an insane asylum in which a pair of patients sets out to find a perpetrator who raped and mutilated a young nurse. Sounds gruesome, but advance readers have said Madman's Tale is an uplifting tale starring some courageous, unlikely heroes.
(Dutton Books · hardcover · $24.95)
In a follow-up to his well-received debut novel, The Impressionists, Kunzru wrangles with the joys and perils of hyper-consumerism in modern California. Kunzru's protagonist is a gullible East Indian immigrant who looses a computer virus into the network of a former employer in an elaborate attempt to get his old job back.
Mortal LoveElizabeth Hand
(William Morrow · hardcover · $24.95)
In this deeply weird black fantasy, Hand braids three story lines into a peculiar tale about a supernatural feminine force that recurs throughout history, driving artists and dreamers mad with its (her?) blistering erotic force. Advance word is that Mortal Love should appeal to readers who normally wouldn't touch a fantasy novel with a 10-foot wand.
Ordinary WolvesSeth Kantner
(Milkweed Editions · hardcover · $22)
By most accounts, this debut novel manages to tread the difficult line between good storytelling and environmental advocacy without stumbling. The tale of a white boy raised in the Alaskan wilderness struggling to cope with mainstream urban American culture shows a lot of promise.