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Born in 1964, Amor Towles was raised in a suburb of Boston, Massachusetts. He graduated from Yale College and received an M.A. in English from Stanford University where he was a Scowcroft Fellow. From 1991-2012, he worked as an investment professional in New York. He continues to live in Manhattan with his wife and two children.
Mr. Towles is an ardent fan of early 20th century painting, 1950’s jazz, 1970’s cop shows, rock & roll on vinyl, manifestoes, breakfast pastries, pasta, liquor, snow-days, Tuscany, Provence, Disneyland, Hollywood, the cast of Casablanca, 007, Captain Kirk, Bob Dylan (early, mid, and late phases), the wee hours, card games, cafés, and the cookies made by both of his grandmothers.
His novel, Rules of Civility, was published by Viking/Penguin in July 2011 and reached the bestseller lists of The New York Times, the Boston Globe and Los Angeles Times. The book was rated by The Wall Street Journal as one of the ten best works of fiction in 2011. The book’s French translation received the 2012 Prix Fitzgerald. The book has been published in 15 languages.
In the fall of 2012, the novel was optioned by Lionsgate to be made into a feature film. Viking/Penguin will be publishing Towles’s new novel, A Gentleman in Moscow, on September 6, 2016.
Sentenced to house arrest in Moscow’s Metropol Hotel by a Bolshevik tribunal for writing a poem deemed to encourage revolt, Count Alexander Rostov nonetheless lives the fullest of lives, discovering the depths of his humanity.
Inside the elegant Metropol, located near the Kremlin and the Bolshoi, the Count slowly adjusts to circumstances as a “Former Person.” He makes do with the attic room, to which he is banished after residing for years in a posh third-floor suite. A man of refined taste in wine, food, and literature, he strives to maintain a daily routine, exploring the nooks and crannies of the hotel, bonding with staff, accepting the advances of attractive women, and forming what proves to be a deeply meaningful relationship with a spirited young girl, Nina. “We are bound to find comfort from the notion that it takes generations for a way of life to fade,” says the companionable narrator. For the Count, that way of life ultimately becomes less about aristocratic airs and privilege than generosity and devotion. Spread across four decades, this is in all ways a great novel, a nonstop pleasure brimming with charm, personal wisdom, and philosophic insight. Though Stalin and Khrushchev make their presences felt, Towles largely treats politics as a dark, distant shadow. The chill of the political events occurring outside the Metropol is certainly felt, but for the Count and his friends, the passage of time is “like the turn of a kaleidoscope.” Not for nothing is Casablanca his favorite film. This is a book in which the cruelties of the age can’t begin to erase the glories of real human connection and the memories it leaves behind.
A masterly encapsulation of modern Russian history, this book more than fulfills the promise of Towles’ stylish debut, Rules of Civility (2011).
The audio book is authentically read by Steven Shanahan, it is 9 hrs and 46 mins long.
Watch Interview with Jane Harper on YouTube.
Jane Harper was born in Manchester in the UK, and moved to Australia with her family at age eight.
She spent six years in Boronia, Victoria, and during that time gained Australian citizenship.
Returning to the UK with her family as a teenager, she lived in Hampshire before studying English and History at the University of Kent in Canterbury.
On graduating, she completed a journalism entry qualification and got her first reporting job as a trainee on the Darlington & Stockton Times in County Durham.
Jane worked for several years as a senior news journalist for the Hull Daily Mail, before moving back to Australia in 2008.
She worked first on the Geelong Advertiser, and in 2011 took up a role with the Herald Sun in Melbourne.
In 2014, Jane submitted a short story which was one of 12 chosen for the Big Issue’s annual Fiction Edition.
That inspired her to pursue creative writing more seriously, and that year she applied for the Curtis Brown Creative online 12-week novel writing course.
She was accepted with a submission for the book that would become The Dry and wrote the first full draft during the three-month course.
Jane lives in St. Kilda with her husband and daughter.
A mystery that starts with a sad homecoming quickly turns into a nail-biting thriller about family, friends, and forensic accounting.
Federal agent Aaron Falk is called back to his rural Australian hometown for the funeral of his best friend, Luke, who apparently committed suicide after killing his wife and 6-year-old son; he’s also called to reckon with his own past. Falk and his father were run out of town when he was accused of killing his girlfriend. Luke gave him an alibi, but more than one person in town knows he was lying. When Luke’s parents ask Falk to find the truth, long-buried secrets begin to surface. Debut author Harper plots this novel with laser precision, keeping suspects in play while dropping in flashbacks that offer readers a full understanding of what really happened. The setting adds layers of meaning. Kiewarra is suffering an epic drought, and Luke’s suicide could easily be explained by the failure of his farm. The risk of wildfire, especially in a broken community rife with poverty and alcoholism, keeps nerves strung taut. Falk’s focus as an investigator is on following the money; nobody in town really understands his job, but his phone number turns up on a scrap of paper belonging to Luke’s late wife, a woman he’d never met. The question throughout is whether Luke’s death is something a CSI of spreadsheets can unravel or if it’s a matter of bad blood from times past finally having reached the boiling point. Falk struggles to separate the two and let his own old grudges go. A fellow investigator chastises him: “You’re staring so hard at the past that it’s blinding you.”
A chilling story set under a blistering sun, this fine debut will keep readers on edge and awake long past bedtime.
The audio book is authentically read by Steven Shanahan, it is 9 hrs and 46 mins long.
Watch Interview with Jane Harper on YouTube.
Ken Liu is an author and translator of speculative fiction, as well as a lawyer and programmer. A winner of the Nebula, Hugo, and World Fantasy awards, he has been published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Asimov’s, Analog, Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, and Strange Horizons, among other places.
Ken’s debut novel, The Grace of Kings (2015), is the first volume in a silkpunk epic fantasy series, The Dandelion Dynasty. It won the Locus Best First Novel Award and was a Nebula finalist. He subsequently published the second volume in the series, The Wall of Storms (2016) as well as a collection of short stories, The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories (2016).
In addition to his original fiction, Ken is also the translator of numerous literary and genre works from Chinese to English. His translation of The Three-Body Problem, by Liu Cixin, won the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2015, the first translated novel ever to receive that honor. He also translated the third volume in Liu Cixin’s series, Death’s End (2016) and edited the first English-language anthology of contemporary Chinese science fiction, Invisible Planets (2016).
He lives with his family near Boston, Massachusetts.
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY REVIEW
Hugo-winner Liu delivers truly epic fantasy adventure in the magnificent second chapter (after The Grace of Kings) of the groundbreaking Dandelion Dynasty series, inspired by the legends surrounding China’s Han Dynasty. Onetime con man Kuni Garu, now Emperor Ragin of Dara, has successfully ruled the island archipelago—and kept the peace—for nearly a decade. But now that Kuni’s sons are old enough to be given official responsibilities, there’s increased scheming at court; Kuni’s not the only one playing the long game. Add in growing civil unrest caused by the heavy hand of tradition behind government appointments, fresh political intrigue brewing offshore, and the sudden appearance of invaders from the north, and Liu has enough plots for five novels. He keeps them all moving like a juggler tossing up bowling balls, boomerangs, and crystal goblets: disaster seems imminent more than once, but somehow everything stays up in the air and gloriously unbroken. Liu’s characters are a delight, the worldbuilding is unusual and impeccable, and the writing is smooth and luminous. This tale of divided loyalties, deadly ambition, and “silkpunk” technology delivers enough excitement and sense of wonder to enchant any fan of epic fantasy.
The audio book is convincingly read by Michael Kramer, it is 29 hrs and 4 mins long.
Watch Interview with Ken Liu on YouTube.
Tana French was born in 1973 in the United States and grew up in Ireland, Italy, United States, and Malawi.
Her parents are David French and Elena Hvostoff. When she was a child, she dreamed of going into archaeology.
Instead, she attended Trinity College in Dublin where she trained as a professional actress.
She has worked in theatre, film and voiceover.
Her father was an economist who worked on resource management for the developing world,
so the family lived in many different cultures.
She has written six books:
Dublin Murder Squad, In the Woods (2007), The Likeness (2008), Faithful Place (2010), Broken Harbor (2012),The Secret Place (2014), The Trespasser (2016)
She ultimately settled in Ireland and since 1990 has lived in Dublin, which she considers home.
French is married and has two daughters with her husband. She has retained dual citizenship of the US and Italy.
A hint of the supernatural spices the latest from a mystery master as two detectives try to probe the secrets teenage girls keep—and the lies they tell—after murder at a posh boarding school.
The Dublin novelist (Broken Harbor, 2012, etc.) has few peers in her combination of literary stylishness and intricate, clockwork plotting. Here, French challenges herself and her readers with a narrative strategy that finds chapters alternating between two different time frames and points of view. One strand concerns four girls at exclusive St. Kilda’s who are so close they vow they won’t even have boyfriends. Four other girls from the school are their archrivals, more conventional and socially active. The novel pits the girls against each other almost as two gangs, with the plot pivoting on the death of a rich boy from a nearby school who had been sneaking out to see at least two of the girls. The second strand features the two detectives who spend a long day and night at the school, many months after the unsolved murder. Narrating these chapters is Stephen, a detective assigned to cold cases, who receives an unexpected visit from one of the girls, Holly, a daughter of one of Stephen’s colleagues on the force, who brings a postcard she’d found on a bulletin board known as “The Secret Place” that says “I know who killed him.” The ambitious Stephen, who has a history with both the girl and her father, brings the postcard to Conway, a hard-bitten female detective whose case this had been. The chapters narrated by Stephen concern their day of interrogation and investigation at the school, while the alternating ones from the girls’ perspectives cover the school year leading up to the murder and its aftermath. Beyond the murder mystery, which leaves the reader in suspense throughout, the novel explores the mysteries of friendship, loyalty and betrayal, not only among adolescents, but within the police force as well.
Everyone is this meticulously crafted novel might be playing—or being played by—everyone else.
The audio book is authentically read by Stephen Hogan and Lara Hutchinson, it is 20 hrs and 34 mins long.
Watch Tana French on her novel The Secret Place on YouTube.
Lisa Unger is the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of fourteen novels, including Darkness, My Old Friend, Fragile, Die For You, Black Out, Sliver of Truth, Beautiful Lies, also her latest thriller Ink and Bone.
Her books are published in twenty-six languages worldwide, have sold millions of copies and have been named “Best of the Year” or top picks by the Today show, Good Morning America, Walmart Book Club, Target, Harper’s Bazaar, Family Circle, Good Housekeeping, Publishers Weekly, Washington Life, New York Daily News, Entertainment Weekly, Sun Sentinel, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Suspense Magazine, Amazon and Independent Booksellers.
She has been a finalist in or winner of numerous literary awards including the Goodreads Choice Awards for Best Book, International Thriller Writers Award for Best Novel, Silver Falchion Award for Best Book, Florida Book Award, France’s Prix Polar International Best Book and Bookspan’s International Book of the Month. Her essays have appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR and Travel+Leisure Magazine.
Lisa Unger currently lives in Tampa Bay, Florida with her husband, daughter and labradoodle.
A girl with the gift of seeing the spirit world tries to harness her ability while working with a private detective who isn’t a believer.
The Hollows is a world unto itself, as different from the rest of New York as the name implies. Everyone in The Hollows appears to be there for a definite reason. For Finley Montgomery, that reason is her grandmother Eloise. Finley relies on Eloise to help her cope with the world around her—more specifically, the spirits each of them sees. Eloise has taught Finley how to stay in the present and cope with her double-edged gift. Manhattanite mother Merri Gleason drives to The Hollows wishing she had some kind of connection to the spirit world. Ever since her young daughter was kidnapped on a family vacation to The Hollows, Merri’s been obsessed with figuring out whether she’s still alive. Merri’s made an appointment with private detective Jones Cooper, but he’s not optimistic. His only hope is that Eloise, his sometime collaborator, will have some inkling about what’s going on. But it turns out that Finley’s the one tuned in to the case. The story of the haphazard collaboration is interspersed with chapters of a young girl’s struggle with people who seem like kidnappers. Is this the child everyone’s looking for?
Unger’s beloved characters (Crazy Love You, 2015, etc.) continue a deftly balanced story that’s supernatural without a creepy aftertaste.
The audio book is well read by Molly Pope, it is 11 hrs and 49 mins long.
Watch an ABC YouTube interview About Writing Ink and Bone YouTube.