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WORD: Fiction for the holidays from novelists James, Morrison, Schwartz

With holiday shopping season underway and literary fans on the lookout for hot new offerings, WORD’N’BASS.com’s choices include the freshly completed novels of American icon Henry James, a new thriller from breakout author Boyd Morrison, and a prequel short story from Stephen Jay Schwartz.

First up is a project of historical proportions from the Library of America, which announced on Dec. 10 they’d completed the full 20 novels of Henry James after 30 years. LOA’s new volume (its sixth and final one) brings together two masterpieces of James’ works at the end of his career, "The Ambassadors" originally printed in 1903, "The Golden Bowl" (1904), and his final novel, "The Outcry" (1911).

James’ The Golden Bowl is a novel about an American woman who marries an Italian prince, while her wealthy father marries her girlhood friend, with neither aware that the Prince and the friend have been (and possibly continue to be) lovers. LOA says the relationship benders in The Golden Bowl is an exploration of the fragility and strength of human ties and further develops what James once called that "complex fate, being an American."

The Outcry, James’s last completed novel, is a crisp and witty comedy of manners adapted from an unproduced stage play he had written in 1909. Its light plot serves as a platform for a more serious discussion of the ethics of art collecting.

You can buy the black-jacketed edition of Henry James: Novels 1903-1911 for immediate delivery in time for Christmas directly from The Library of America and get 20% off with free shipping anywhere in the U.S. It will be available in bookstores starting January 6, 2011.

Boyd Morrison, whose end-of-the-world thriller novel "The Ark" launched in May 2010 as one of the Indie Next picks, saw the debut author make his first book signing in his hometown of Seattle before embarking on a book tour that brought him to LA, Denver, Houston, and Phoenix.

Interestingly, Morrison first self-published The Ark after failing to draw interest from major publishers and sold 7,500 copies as an eBook in three months. That drew interest from Simon & Schuster imprint Touchstone Books, which eventually gave him a two-book deal.

In his second novel with Touchstone, a thriller "Rogue Wave," Morrison again visits apocalyptic themes as a surprise tsunami threatens to wipe out Honolulu. Rogue Wave, which launched on November 30, is available in bookstores nationwide.

Meantime Stephen Jay Schwartz, one of the most entertaining crime writers we’ve come across this year, has issued a free eBook that tells the story of "Beat" (Forge Books) and "Boulevard" protagonist Hayden Glass. In "Crossing The Line," Schwartz wrote a short story prequel to the LA Times bestselling novels and it’s now available as a free download at his website.

In Crossing The Line, young LAPD officer Glass is driven to move quickly up the ranks at the department. Only one year in, he decides to pad his experience with a stint in Vice. But, with a marriage on the rocks and carrying the weight of a dark and troubled past, Hayden cannot resist the temptations he encounters on the street.


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