Early on in this business, I learned to pay attention when multiple copies of a book started rolling in the door. More than one copy of a review book arriving doesn’t necessarily indicate that the book will be good, but it does tell me that someone, somewhere thinks this is a book good enough to push.
A lot of books are published every day. Very few of them get that sort of publisher support. Especially with the cost of printing and mailing and all the admin involved with that. Even a single Advanced Reading Copy or review copy indicates a vote of confidence from the publisher. But if we get a whole bouquet of a single book? There’s a push going on.
Up until about a decade ago, we used to see this a lot. And then, maybe in part due to the sudden sensations e-books became, though the stream of review books did not thin appreciably, the multiple copies of big books mostly did. (I say mostly, because there have been notable exceptions. We were under an avalanche of The Passage by Justin Cronin back in 2010 when that book was first published. We probably had eight copies of The Passage come through various doors. It was astonishing.)
This season, there has been a clear winner in the ARC department: and it’s for a book not due for publication until early next year. But if the advance push is anything at all to go by, Barry Eisler’s new thriller The God’s Eye View (Thomas & Mercer) is going to be a fairly significant book. We’ve had five copies of this one fly at us in recent weeks. And since the book is not slated for publication until February 2, 2016, I predict we’ll see a few more copies before then.
We’ve not read the book yet, but here’s what Thomas & Mercer are saying:
Eisler’s latest standalone thriller … anticipates tomorrow’s news headlines about national surveillance with an elaborate chess game of political blackmail, terrorist provocations, and wWhite House scheming. When NSA analyst Evelyn Gallagher discovers the existence of a covert government program code named God’s Eye and connects it with the mysterious deaths of a string of journalists and whistleblowers, she finds herself and her young son in the midst of a global war between those desperate to keep the state’s darkest secrets and those intent on revealing them.
While no one has rained more copies of a single book on us recently, a work of non-fiction, Arms: The Culture & Credo of the Gun (Biblioasis), published last month, was a strong second. With a clever cover and a timely message, Arms, by award-winning author A.J. Somerset, would have gotten our attention anyway. In this heart-breaking year, this one deserves special attention. From Biblioasis:
How were firearms transformed from tools used by pioneers into symbols of modern manhood? Why did the National Rifle Association’s focus shift from encouraging responsible gun use to lobbying against gun-safety laws? How have the film, television and video game industries molder our perception of gun violence? When did the fear of gun seizures arise, and how has it ben used to benefit arms manufacturers, lobbyists, and the far-right? Somerset’s book answers these questions, taking the readers through the evolution of gun culture in the United States and Canada over more than a century.
It is in some ways unsurprising that Seventh Street Books would put a big push on Allen Esken’s sophomore effort, The Guise of Another. His 2014 debut, The Life We Bury won multiple best debut and best first awards. Eskens was a criminal defense attorney for 20 years, then learned his writing chops at a few important venues, including the MFA program at Minnesota State and Minneapolis’ Loft Literary Center.
Esken aims his literary talents on sharp, suspenseful novels heavy on complex plot and edge-of-seat action. Out today, this looks like one to watch.
Editor’s Note: This is <i>not</i> an invitation to publicists to send us more than one copy of books. Please don’t! We get more books than we can handle already! ◊
Linda L. Richards is the editor of January Magazine and the author of several books.