CONFESSIONS OF A WALL STREET SHOESHINE BOY
By Doug Stumpf (HarperCollins; July 3)
The Précis: Vanity Fair deputy editor’s novel about a Brazilian shoe-shiner to downtown businessmen who stumbles on an insider-trading scheme.
Pros: Film rights already picked up by Warner Bros. with Blood Diamond’s Charles Leavitt adapting it. And Graydon should come through with a kick-ass book party.
Cons: May be too colorful and serious to work as a best-selling thriller, and too clunky and contrived to live up to Tom Wolfe—or even Dana Vachon.
THE HEADMASTER RITUAL
By Taylor Antrim (Houghton Mifflin; July 9)
The Précis: Hypereducated (Stanford, Oxford) freelancer’s novel about a tony boarding school with a sinister headmaster.
Pros: Antrim’s preppy good looks and big-time blurbs might just help him slip into the Sittenfeldian prep-school niche.
Cons: Was changed from hardcover to paperback original—booksellers said they’d sell more copies that way. But the print run is still low, and advance reviews are mixed.
THE TENDERNESS OF WOLVES
By Stef Penney (Simon & Schuster; July 10)
The Précis: The 38-year-old’s Jack London–style tale is set in nineteenth-century northern Canada—a highbrow, atmospheric murder mystery.
Pros: The debut has already won the Costa Prize in England—not only the “debut” category but the general prize (an unusual feat).
Cons: Wolves? The northern territories? The Costa Prize? A 25,000 print run seems just about right; this is probably headed for the midlist.
By Eugene Drucker (Simon & Schuster; July 17)
The Précis: A lead violinist from the Emerson String Quartet writes about a young violinist forced to play for dying concentration-camp inmates.
Pros: Any music lover worth his Philharmonic season tickets would want to have it on the shelf, or buy it as an impressively thoughtful gift.
Cons: Probably too much of a downer to draw huge numbers, and how many non-season-ticket-holders know Drucker’s résumé?
THE SEPTEMBERS OF SHIRAZ
By Dalia Sofer (Ecco; August 1)
The Précis: Jewish-Iranian immigrant’s fictionalization of the fate of Jews in the early days of the Iranian Revolution.
Pros: Interest in Iran isn’t going away, and Sofer’s angle is bound to entice readers. Heavily marketed and a natural for book clubs.
Cons: The soft-focus title and easy topical appeal might turn some critics off, along with its slightly stiff dialogue.