Books to look forward to in September

Trigger Mortis USATrigger Mortis by Anthony Horowitz

James Bond fans can look forward to a new 007 thriller with Trigger Mortis being released September 9 both in the UK and USA. While Ian Fleming’s estate has worked with other authors in the past to publish new books using the deceased novelist’s spy (Jeffrey Deaver, Sebastian Faulks and William Boyd), this is the first time an author uses one of Fleming’s Bond girls: Pussy Galore from Goldfinger, Ian Fleming’s Bond novels published in 1959, is back.

The story takes place in 1957, two years after the conclusion of Goldfinger. From the publisher’s website, here’s some of what it’s about:

“The world’s most famous spy, James Bond, has just returned victorious from his showdown with Auric Goldfinger in Fort Knox. By his side is the glamorous and streetwise Pussy Galore, who played no small part in his success. As they settle down in London, the odds of Galore taming the debonair bachelor seem slim—but she herself is a creature not so easily caught.

Meanwhile, the struggle for superiority between the Soviet Union and the West is escalating. In an attempt to demonstrate Soviet strength, SMERSH plans to sabotage an international Grand Prix in the hot zone of West Germany. At the Nürburgring Racing Circuit, Bond must play a high-speed game of cat and mouse to stop them, but when he observes a secretive meeting between SMERSH’s driver and a notorious Korean millionaire, it becomes clear that this is just the infamous organization’s opening move.”

For the fans who are more interested in Bond on the screen than in the written word, in November, Spectre will be released, starring Daniel Craig as Bond. Here’s the trailer.

Mary McGrory by John NorrisMary McGrory: The First Queen of Journalism by John Norris

Mary McGrory (1918 – 2004) won the Pulitzer Prize in 1975 for her columns about Watergate in The Washington Star. She covered 12 Presidential campaigns and major American events, from the Army-McCarthy hearings in 1954 to the invasion of Afghanistan in 2003. From the publisher’s website, here’s some insight into McGrory:

“Behind the scenes she flirted, drank, cajoled, and jousted with the most important figures in American life, breaking all the rules in the journalism textbook. Her writing was admired and feared by such notables as Lyndon Johnson (who also tried to seduce her) and her friend Bobby Kennedy who observed, ‘Mary is so gentle—until she gets behind a typewriter.’ Her soirees, filled with Supreme Court justices, senators, interns, and copy boys alike, were legendary.”

Author John Norris wrote an article in the May/June 2014 Politico Magazine about McGrory, and it mentions the Johnson seduction. Here’s an excerpt from the article. McGrory has just learned that President Lyndon B. Johnson is on his way to her apartment:

“A Bostonian ever proud of her Irish roots, McGrory had adored President John F. Kennedy, and she had been a constant behind-the-scenes presence during the Camelot years. So she was no stranger to power, but the impromptu nature of Johnson’s visit was unnerving.

McGrory invited him in and offered the president a drink. They engaged in some friendly small talk until Johnson, tumbler of scotch in his large hand, finally put his cards on the table. “Mary, I am crazy about you,” he confessed. He wanted to sleep with her.

Then, in what has to be one of the most awkward and unromantic propositions in presidential history, Johnson tried to make the case that since McGrory had always admired Kennedy, she should now transfer her affections to him.”

Those who’ve read Robert A. Caro’s The Passage of Power will understand what’s behind Johnson’s thinking. (And if you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it.)

Publisher’s Weekly says, “The book is a rich portrait, and will likely encourage readers to seek more of McGrory’s groundbreaking writing.” Kirkus Reviews says, “Norris is plainly in love with his fascinating subject, which is not only McGrory, but newspaper journalism in general.”

Purity by Jonathan FranzenPurity by Jonathan Franzen

Jonathan Franzen, the author Time Magazine put on their August 23, 2010, cover under the title Great American Novelist, is publishing this new novel in September. Kirkus Reviews describes it as: “A twisty but controlled epic that merges large and small concerns: loose nukes and absent parents, government surveillance and bad sex, gory murder and fine art.” Publisher’s Weekly writes: “Though the novel lacks resonance, its pieces fit together with stunning craftsmanship.”

Purity is a California girl and recent college graduate, who interns for an organization in Bolivia run by the charismatic leader Andreas Wolf. Wolf is trafficking in the world’s secrets, and he’s on the lam (sounding very similar to Julian Assange). Description from the publisher’s website includes the following:

“Young Pip Tyler doesn’t know who she is. She knows that her real name is Purity, that she’s saddled with $130,000 in student debt, that she’s squatting with anarchists in Oakland, and that her relationship with her mother–her only family–is hazardous. But she doesn’t have a clue who her father is, why her mother chose to live as a recluse with an invented name, or how she’ll ever have a normal life.

Enter the Germans. A glancing encounter with a German peace activist leads Pip to an internship in South America with The Sunlight Project, an organization that traffics in all the secrets of the world–including, Pip hopes, the secret of her origins.”

Purity is Franzen’s fifth novel, following his best-sellers Freedom and The Corrections.