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WORD: Quick takes on hot fall novels from authors Schwartz, Gruen, Reuss
By BPM Smith

Indian summer has struck, and with the scorching temps of fall underway it’s time to round up some hot September novels that’ll buoy your visits to the cafes, beaches and parks of the San Francisco Bay. Our choices include Stephen Schwartz’s detective novel set in San Francisco, the long-awaited latest from author Sara Gruen and a DC story from acclaimed author Frederick Reuss.

‘Beat’ by Stephen Jay Schwartz
FORGE BOOKS; 336 PAGES; $24.99

Stephen Jay Schwartz will soon publish "Beat" (Macmillan imprint Forge Books), a dark thriller set in San Francisco about an LAPD homicide detective. Odd setting for the LAPD? Perhaps, until we find his obsession with a woman on a website is what made him relocate to The City to feed his sex addiction. Hot!

Schwartz’s story has the backing of Michael Connelly, who says, "Just as I thought there wasn't an original take left on the detective novel, along comes Stephen Jay Schwartz and Beat. Fast and slick, this book is a great ride!"

Beat is the sequel to Schwartz’s debut novel "Boulevard" that came out last September and hit the Los Angeles Times bestseller list in October 2009. Beat launches in hardcover and trade paperback on Sept. 28, with an eBook to come at a later date. For more info go to Schwartz’s website.

‘Ape House’ by Sara Gruen
Spiegel & Grau; 320 PAGES; $25.95

After Sara Gruen's novel "Water For Elephants" (Algonquin Books) became a runaway New York Times bestseller and sparked a heated auction for her next novel Ape House, folks have anticipated her latest with a bit of frenzy. When Random House said it was delayed last year and Hollywood began shooting the film version of Water this summer, some might have thought Gruen was sitting on her laurels.

Well, Ape House finally launched on Sept. 7 and Gruen said last week that her latest novel has also hit the NYT list, debuting at No. 8 as the talented author embarks on a nationwide book tour. Ape House tells the story of a researcher and a journalist from alternating points of view against the backdrop of a research lab that gets bombed.

Interestingly, most of the conversations between the bonobos and humans in Ape House are based on actual conversations Gruen had with apes at the Great Ape Trust in Iowa. Check out her website for more details and her full road show.

‘A Geography of Secrets’ by Frederick Reuss

Those who’ve searched for a political novel set in Washington, DC, but were unsatisfied with the cliche political thrillers du jour will find relief with author Frederick Reuss’ fifth novel "A Geography of Secrets" (Unbridled Books). The acclaimed author of "Mohr" kicked off his fifth novel on Sept. 7, a date many publishers appear to have slated for their most blockbuster books of the fall.

A Geography of Secrets is about a US Defense Intelligence analyst who maps coordinates for military strikes around the world from his windowless office in the nation’s capital. As you’d expect, the gig doesn’t go smoothly. The analyst provides erroneous coordinates and a school in Afghanistan is leveled, setting off the protagonist’s worldwide journey in a search for truth.

Cool side note: Each chapter opens with GPS coordinates mapping where the chapter is set, which readers can enter into GoogleEarth to see where the scene is. For more info hit up Unbridled Books.


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