“Sleeping Beauties.” By Stephen King and Owen King. Scribner. Sept. 26, 2017. 720 pages. $32.50.

It’s unusual for two Kings to rule simultaneously, but Stephen King and his son Owen have collaborated on a disaster novel that plays to their individual strengths. “Sleeping Beauties” places its action in a small Appalachian town, where the residents – cops, homeowners, and the inmates and staff of a women’s prison – witness the first signs of a global pandemic. As wives, mothers and daughters fall asleep, they exude a gauzy material that covers them like a cocoon. Soon the desperate men of Dooley start to panic, building to a bloody confrontation. This father/son horror thriller may be perfect bedtime reading as the days grow shorter and darker.

– Mike Berry, Maine Sunday Telegram contributing reviewer

“After the Eclipse.” By Sarah Perry. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Sept. 26, 2017. 368 pages. $27.

In her forthcoming memoir, Maine native Sarah Perry crafts a stunning memorial to her mother Crystal. Just days after a partial eclipse in 1994, Sarah’s single mother was murdered in their Bridgton home. Sarah, who was only 12 at the time, heard everything from her bedroom just feet away. In “After the Eclipse,” she conducts a personal investigation into not just the crime, but her mother’s life – and how her sudden disappearance changed the trajectory of Sarah’s own life. With rich prose, Sarah Perry tackles grief, and how we persevere in the face of tragedy.

– Josh Christie, co-owner, Print: A Bookstore, Portland

“Night Stories: Fifteen Paintings and the Stories They Inspired.” By Linden Frederick. Glitterati Arts Incorporated. Oct. 7, 2017. 132 pages. $45.

For years, I have kept tacked above my writing desk a dozen or so 3-inch by 3-inch prints of paintings by Belfast-based artist Linden Frederick. They are unpeopled scenes – rundown markets, near-vacant motels, lonely-lit homes – yet they ooze with the shadows and implication of human touch. Not since Edward Hopper has an American painter made pictures so dripping with tantalizing narrative possibilities. In the forthcoming collection “Night Stories,” 15 writers – including Maine greats Tess Gerritsen, Lily King, Lois Lowry, Richard Russo and Elizabeth Strout – have each taken a new nocturnal Frederick painting and responded with an original short story. For centuries, poets have been reacting to visual art with ekphrastic poems, whereas fiction writers more often begin a story via an inciting incident or compelling character. It’s about time more fiction writers got into the ekphrastic business. I can’t wait to read “Night Stories” and see what this talented group has woven from Frederick’s mysterious and captivating paintings.

– Joshua Bodwell, executive director, Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance

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