Spring Books Preview: 10 Titles to Read

Rob Lowe's dishy memoir, E. Lockhart's buzzy YA tale and gripping historical pieces are among the new books getting released this season.

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

Savage Girl by Jean Zimmerman

(Viking Adult, $27.95, March 6)

ELEVATOR PITCH: This is a historical thriller set in the 1870s about a girl who becomes part of Manhattan high society after allegedly being raised by wolves in the Nevada desert -- and may or may not be a serial killer.

AIMED AT: True Detective fans lamenting the long wait for season two will be drawn to the creepy Edith Wharton-meets-Stephen King page-turner.

Flash Boys by Michael Lewis

(W.W. Norton, $27.95, March 31)

ELEVATOR PITCH: Details are scant on what the publisher calls "the biggest story to hit Wall Street in years," but it is likely to be a look at how automated high-frequency computer trading by financial firms is creating a "war of robots" among investment banks.

AIMED AT: The legions of fans who have turned Lewis (Liar's Poker, Moneyball) into the go-to pop anthropologist for explaining the quirky personalities and complicated high-end math that has transformed baseball, Wall Street and Silicon Valley.

Love and Treasure by Ayelet Waldman

(Knopf, $26.95, April 1)

ELEVATOR PITCH: Inspired by the true story of World War II's "Hungarian Gold Train," the tale set in present-day New York centers on a woman uncovering the truth about what her grandfather did as an American soldier in the war.

AIMED AT: Fans of The Goldfinch, treasure hunts and the work of Waldman's husband, Michael Chabon (with whom she is developing the WWII-set Hobgoblin for HBO).

Frog Music by Emma Donoghue

(Little Brown, $27, April 1)

ELEVATOR PITCH: It's a fast-paced thriller set in 1876 San Francisco about a prostitute on the hunt for a friend's murderer and her own lost baby.

AIMED AT: A wide audience that includes readers of her previous book, the Jaycee Dugard-like tale Room, historical-fiction fans and the literary crowd (it's an indie bookstore pick-of-the-month).

Love Life by Rob Lowe

(Simon & Schuster, $27, April 8)

ELEVATOR PITCH: On the heels of Lowe's successful 2011 memoir, Stories I Only Tell My Friends, comes some really intimate stories -- like how he blew a chance to hook up with Madonna -- plus anecdotes and advice on fatherhood, marriage and career. Did we mention Lowe dishes on what the hot tub at the Playboy mansion really is like?

AIMED AT: Theoretically, the Father's Day gift crowd will snatch this up for its warm tales of Lowe's sons and wife -- but in reality, Love Life is for anyone who loves a little salacious Hollywood gossip and an inside peek at the life of one of Hollywood's most enduring heartthrobs.

Natchez Burning by Greg Iles

(HarperCollins, $27.99, April 29)

ELEVATOR PITCH: A former prosecutor's defense of a beloved town doctor accused of murdering a nurse takes him back to Mississippi's war against the 1960s civil rights movement and a secretive KKK group run by one of the state's richest men.

AIMED AT: Readers of legal thrillers like those by Scott Turow (who is in an all-author band with Iles, Stephen King and Dave Barry) and John Grisham, as well as Iles fans cheering his return after a five-year hiatus brought on by a devastating car accident.

Noble Hustle by Colson Whitehead

(Doubleday, $24.95, May 6)

ELEVATOR PITCH: The MacArthur Fellow's funny account of playing in the 2011 World Series of Poker despite having never entered a poker tournament before, which resulted in a madcap six-week boot camp that mixed yoga and trips to Atlantic City's casinos.

AIMED AT: Fans of David Foster Wallace's great nonfiction essays, Grantland readers (where a shorter version already has appeared) and lovers of well-written stories exploring quirky corners of America.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

(Delacorte, $17.99, May 13)

ELEVATOR PITCH: A 17-year-old girl who belongs to a Kennedy-esque clan tries to piece together the truth about the traumatic head injury she suffered two years earlier while she was summering on the family's private island off the coast of Cape Cod.

AIMED AT: The Fault in Our Stars lovers looking for an added dash of mystery and menace. They could turn this book with great early buzz (Fault author John Green is already a fan) into the season's breakout YA hit.

The Son by Jo Nesbo

(Knopf, $25.95, May 13)

ELEVATOR PITCH: A model inmate breaks out of prison to clear his disgraced father and expose corruption at the highest levels of Norway's government.

AIMED AT: Fans of taut atmospheric thrillers that run from Stieg Larsson to Turow who have not yet discovered Nesbo, a budding superstar in the U.S.

The Possibilities by Kaui Hart Hemmings

(Simon & Schuster, $25, May 13)

ELEVATOR PITCH: In the ski town of Breckenridge, Colo., a single mother grieving over the death of her 22-year-old son meets a young woman with a secret about the son that changes the mother's life.

AIMED AT: Already being adapted by Jason Reitman, Hemmings' second novel looks to build on the interest created from The Descendants' Oscar win with something thematically similar.

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