David Bajo. The 351 Books of Irma Arcuri (Viking, June 19, 2008). For most of his adult life, the mathematician Philip Mazyrk has carried on a love affair with Irma Arcuri. Now Irma has vanished and left Philip her entire library of 351 books. Buried in the text of this library lay the secrets of Irma’s disappearance. Philip reads the novels an begins to sense a more profound and troubling design at work. As clues, warnings, and implications both inside and outside the library mount, Philip begins to realize that he too is trapped in a narrative. Who is Irma Arcuri? What is really buried in the library? And, most important, whose story is this?
Emilio Calderón. The Creator’s Map (Penguin, July 17, 2008) Malaga’s Calderón, winner of Spain’s Fernando Lara prize, gets his first English translation for his first adult novel. Although told in Rome, 1952, when the beheading of a prince initiates the mailing of a startling letter, it harks back to 1937, the turbulent days of the Spanish Civil War and Mussolini when the Spanish Academy in Rome was so busted it sold off its assets including some rare books. One turns out to mention a map, one of 12 sacred objects that legend holds confer enormous power. It is purchased by Prince Junio Vivarini, a Fascist/Nazi sympathizer, whom the beautiful Academy librarian Montserrat and architecture student José Maria Hurtado meet via the rare bookseller. Could the map be hidden in the Vatican Library? With its raft of further secrets and questions, the narrative spins out romance, espionage, mystery, a gorgeous portrait of Rome, and some serious questions about the role of the Vatican with Nazis.
Alicia Giménez-Bartlett, Jonathan Dunne (translator). Death Rites (Europa, June 20, 2008). Inspector Delicado has been chained to a tiresome desk job in the documentation department of the Barcelona police force for months. But things are about to change. The department is short-handed and there’s a serial rapist on the loose. Delicado is partnered with the portly and impossibly compliant Sergeant Fermín Garzón with orders to solve the case before it succeeds in ruining the good name of the Barcelona police force. However, the only lead they have is the rapist’s mysterious signature: a circular mark of unknown origins he leaves on his victims’ forearms. No witnesses, no other leads, and no help from the victims themselves. This is the third in this series.
Yxta Maya Murray. The Queen Jade (HarperCollins, June 3, 2008). In the aftermath of 1998 Hurricane Mitch, a mine of blue jade is uncovered in Guatemala, accelerating a centuries-long hunt for the Queen Jade and prompting Lola Sanchez, whose archaeologist mother has gone missing, to solve the mystery surrounding the legendary stone. This is a trade paperback edition of the 2005 hardback.
Leonardo Padura. Havana Gold (Bitter Lemon, June 1, 2008). Twenty-four year old Lissette Delgado was beaten, raped, and then strangled with a towel. Marijuana is found in her apartment and her wardrobe is suspiciously beyond the means of a high school teacher. Lieutenant Conde is pressured by “the highest authority” to conclude this investigation quickly when chance leads him into the arms of a beautiful redhead, a saxophone player who shares his love for jazz and Japanese fighting fish. This is the second in this series.
Ian Vasquez. In The Heat (Minotaur, June, 2008). Boxer Miles Young thinks he’s got one more shot in him before it’s time to hang up the gloves for good. He may be the only one who thinks so. The truth is, he enjoys the recognition his career has brought him at home, in the small Latin American country of Belize, and he’s worried about how he’ll support his daughter once it’s over. So when his promoter comes to him with a proposition that includes one last big fight, he listens.Isabelle Gilmore wants Miles to find her daughter, who’s run off with some of her mother’s money and her no-good boyfriend. Isabelle’s afraid Rian’s going to marry the kid, the only son of corrupt ex-police chief Marlon Tablada, and she wants Rian - and the money - found. In return, Miles gets put on a fight card with a $30,000 payday.
He’s reluctant, but Isabelle thinks a hometown hero can get people to talk in ways a private investigator can’t. Trouble is, before he can find Rian, he learns that there’s much more to Isabelle, her daughter, and Marlon than Isabelle let on.
Art at Our Doorstep: San Antonio Writers and Artists
Edited by Nan Cuba and Riley Robertson
Trinity University Press, April, 2008
Art at Our Doorstep: San Antonio Writers and Artists pays tribute to the city's vibrant creative community. A gathering of literary and visual art, the book features poetry, fiction, and nonfiction from the city's writers, as well as images of painting, sculpture, photography, and installations from the city's artists. All gathered here are closely associated with the city or have been in years past, and together they represent San Antonio's inimitable local culture with style, intelligence, and affection. Collected in one place for the first time, the works of San Antonio's writers and artists are interspersed, resulting in a book of unusual appeal. Ranging from the abstract to the highly narrative, from the surreal to the hyper real, and from the everyday to the sublime, the art is arresting and the texts equally powerful. This elegant anthology features National Endowment for the Arts fellows, National Book Award finalists, Fulbright fellows, Artpace San Antonio artists-in-residence, best-selling authors, and critically acclaimed artists. Writers and artists in the collection include: Josephine Niggli, Carmen Tafolla, Bryce Milligan, Oscar Casares, Trinidad Sanchez, Jr., Cruz Ortiz, RikyArmendariz, Norma Elia Cantú.