> YOUNG ADULT
Forgotten by Cat Patrick; Little Brown, 304 pages ($17.99). Ages 12 and up.
Sixteen-year-old London Lane has no ability to recall the past -- overnight, every night, her memory is wiped clean of what transpired before -- but she can see the future in haunting detail. Then she sees a disturbing vision of a funeral -- but isn't certain if it's from the future or the past. This promising debut novel -- part mystery, part psychological drama and part romance -- is a perfect beach read and has already been optioned as a movie by Paramount with Hailee Steinfeld, an Oscar nominee at 14 for "True Grit," to star. Patrick does a pretty convincing job portraying the torment London suffers when she has to rely on detailed daily notes just to survive from one day to the next in a high school environment. While the neat tying up of the plot at the end seems a bit like cheating, readers will still be enthralled with the way Patrick is able to maintain the suspense. (The author says she came up with the idea when she forgot what she was doing one day, while suffering sleep-deprivation after giving birth to twins.)
-- Jean Westmoore
Lightning by Jean Echenoz, translated from the French by Linda Coverdale; New Press (142 pages, $19.95)
Gregor, Jean Echenoz's character based on the life of Nikola Tesla, the eccentric Serbian inventor, is born as a bolt of lightning sets the surrounding forest on fire.
From that point on, his life moves in bolts and flashes. He swallows his education whole, excelling at everything and, with a pocket full of diplomas, heads for the United States to work with Thomas Edison at the Edison Electric Co. There, Gregor develops the alternating current, disagrees with Edison over its relevance and finds himself looking for a job. He goes to work for Westinghouse, where he invents the motor, the generator, the transformer, the turbine. He is a trusting man and does not care about money, and Mr. Westinghouse cheats him out of his rightful share. He moves from his rooms at the Waldorf Hotel, to the St. Regis, to an attic room in the New Yorker Hotel, where he cares for his pigeons and measures time in 33-minute intervals. He lives with an obsessive fear of microbes. But still, he discovers: the particle beam. He lives on milk and crackers.
Echenoz captures the spare beauty of Tesla, this often-drawn and much-translated figure, till his death at 86. He is a lean ghost in the history of power, electricity and invention. Echenoz fixes him even more firmly in our imaginations.
-- Los Angeles Times
Against All Enemies by Tom Clancy with Peter Telep; Putnam, 756 pages ($28.95)
The big news for the Tom Clancy brotherhood was the return of the Jack Ryans, father and son, last December in "Dead or Alive" -- until then, the Ryan saga hadn't made an appearance since 2003's "The Teeth of the Tiger." It was easy to assume that, with a seven-year gap, Clancy was just slowing down.
That assumption is wrong. "Against All Enemies" landed in June and is chock-full of espionage and treachery and rivaled only by the Yellow Pages in size. Where Clancy had been helped with "Dead or Alive" by Grant Blackwood, Clancy is aided in this new one, which introduces us to hero Maxwell Moore, by Peter Telep (though Clancy's is the only face you'll see on the book's dust jacket).
"Against All Enemies" revolves around the world of Moore, a former Navy SEAL and CIA paramilitary operations officer.
The book opens with a devastating attack off the coast of Pakistan on a U.S. ship carrying a Taliban prisoner. Moore is the sole survivor. What drives him is revenge: In looking for the cell responsible for the attack, however, Moore stumbles into deeper, stranger conspiracies, including an unexpected alliance between a drug cartel on the U.S.-Mexico border and Taliban fighters who have been charged by their leaders to "bring the jihad back to the United States."
This doesn't have that Cold War-era mystique that Clancy's earlier books possess -- like Le Carre, Clancy is still seeking his footing in the contemporary world of terrorism, tribal menace and shadow groups. But there are still plenty of bits of what his fans have always enjoyed most -- the gadgetry. After Moore plants a GPS beacon on a van containing hostages, he turns to his smart phone.
-- Los Angeles Times