When I wrote my Guarantee These Books post a few weeks ago I didn’t set out to only include books written by women. But it worked out that way.

Since writing it, I’ve been lucky enough to read some more books (by men this time) in which I’m confident enough to offer a money-back guarantee. As a reminder, here’s how it works:

Preorder any one (or all) of these books. When you get it, read it. If you don’t like it, let me know, and I’ll buy you a new book. All I ask is that you donate the one you purchased to a local library or charitable organization. Or give it to a person you think will like it more than you did.

I’m a big fan of supporting independent businesses, too, and if you’re so inclined, it’s important to remember that authors—even the ones who are very successful—are akin to family businesses, too. They create their books with the support of those around them, and their stories travel to readers most often through recommendations, that all-important word-of-mouth. So when you preorder a book, you are supporting the author in an entirely tangible fashion. 

I do understand that we’re all on a budget nowadays; none of us has money to burn. So if preordering isn’t practical for you, I hope you’ll request some or all of these titles from your local library. 

And here are the books I’m adding to the list, in order of their release dates. I’ll post full reviews of these closer to the date they’re available, too.

CREOLE BELLE by James Lee Burke (July 17) 

I’m not giving anything away when I tell you that Dave Robicheaux did not perish at the end of THE GLASS RAINBOW. The opening of CREOLE BELLE finds him in a recovery unit in New Orleans, but he is soon back in Iberia Parish, confronting the evil that dwells in men’s’ souls and the kindness that can overcome us when we least expect it.

If you don’t know who Dave Robicheaux is and have no idea what THE GLASS RAINBOW was about, it will not hamper your enjoyment of this book.

A hundred years from now, assuming the United States of America still exists, people will be talking about and referring to CREOLE BELLE as a window to the soul of America in 2012. Yes, this is another story featuring the Bobbsey Twins from Homicide, but it is also much more than a taut and skillful crime fiction tale. It is a commentary on modern society, the depth of which I have not seen in any literary work this century. While this is technically a work of fiction, it contains as much truth as any book I’ve ever read. I don’t use the term ‘important’ lightly, but here, it applies. This is an important book, one that should be required reading for us all. And don’t let its 500-ish pages put you off; I’m skittish about long books, but this one makes full use of every single word.

Preorder CREOLE BELLE:        
Author’s website: www.jamesleeburke.com

THE PROPHET by Michael Koryta (August 7)

If you read THE CYPRESS HOUSE, THE RIDGE, or any of Michael Koryta’s previous books, then I likely don’t have to convince you to read this one. I managed to procure a copy at BEA, but I haven’t read it yet, mostly because I know I need to clear the decks and be ready to read it straight though, non-stop.

And I know that when I do, it will knock my socks off. Koryta is a consummate storyteller, and I know this book is no exception. But if you’d like a plot summary to convince you to preorder, here you go:

Adam Austin hasn’t spoken to his brother in years. When they were teenagers, their sister was abducted and murdered, and their devastated family never recovered. Now Adam keeps to himself, scraping by as a bail bondsman, working so close to the town’s criminal fringes that he sometimes seems a part of them. 

Kent Austin is the beloved coach of the local high school football team, a religious man and hero in the community. After years of near misses, Kent’s team has a shot at the state championship, a welcome point of pride in a town that has had its share of hardships. 

Just before playoffs begin, the town and the team are thrown into shock when horrifically, impossibly, another teenage girl is found murdered. When details emerge that connect the crime to the Austin brothers, the two are forced to unite to stop a killer-and to confront their buried rage and grief before history repeats itself again. 

Preorder THE PROPHET:        
Author’s website: www.michaelkoryta.com

THE SURVIVOR by Gregg Hurwitz (August 21) 

A man goes out on a ledge to execute his carefully planned suicide. But before he can jump, he becomes a hero. And in so doing, his life spins even further out of control than it already was.

I could give more plot summary, but I really don’t want to spoil anything for you! 

Gregg Hurwitz’s YOU’RE NEXT was one of my favorite books last year. I really didn’t think he could do any better…but he has. I’m not normally a big fan of books where important plot elements sneak up on me, but in this case, the sneaking is masterful, and the story is so compelling that it truly is difficult at best to set it down. I can’t imagine anyone reading this book and not loving it. Really.

Preorder THE SURVIVOR:        
Author’s website: www.gregghurwitz.net

So that brings the list of guaranteed books to seven. I hope you’ll consider preordering some or all of them because each is special—and important—in its own way, and each author deserves all the support we can muster.