The following is a list of some recently released books that have crossed our desks.


"YEAR OF THE DOG," by Henry Chang, Soho, $24 (f)

Sequel to "Chinatown Beat," which introduced NYPD detective Jack Yu. Yu's been transferred to a different precinct, but he cannot get away from Chinatown's criminals — his old friends — who have hooked up with criminals in Hong Kong in an elaborate nationwide credit card fraud scheme. Chang grew up in N.Y.'s Chinatown and Manhattan's Lower East Side. He writes about the places and people he knows best.

"FRIENDLY FIRE," by A.B. Yehoshua, translated from the Hebrew by Stuart Schoffman, Harcourt Books, 386 pages, $26 (f)

A story of a Jewish couple who spend an unaccustomed week apart. Told in short, parallel chapters, the book explores relationship ties and how they bind and tear.

"WAR OF A THOUSAND DESERTS: Indian Raids and the U.S.-Mexican War," by Brian DeLay, Yale University Press, in association with William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies, Southern Methodist University, 496 pages with 31 black-and-white illustrations, $35 (nf)

DeLay's book starts with the question: What role did Indian nations of the southern Plains — Comanches, Kiowas, Apaches — play in the era of the U.S.-Mexican War? In the early 1830s, following American expansion, Indian tribes launched attacks across 10 Mexican states. These raids claimed thousands of lives, ruined much of northern Mexico's economy and depopulated its countryside. This interethnic war emboldened the United States to seize Mexican territory, leaving northern Mexico too divided, exhausted and distracted to resist the American invasion and subsequent occupation.

"DEATH OF A GUNFIGHTER: The Quest for Jack Slade, the West's Most Elusive Legend," by Dan Rottenberg, Westholme Publishing, includes black-and-white illustrations, $29.95 (nf)

Joseph Alfred "Jack" Slade, former wagon train captain and Mexican War veteran, is hired by a stage line to clean up its most dangerous area. Across the Great Plains, he became known as "The Law West of Kearny." He kept stagecoaches and the U.S. mail running and helped launch the Pony Express. Once Slade restored the peace, leaving him without challenges, his life descended into an alcoholic. Since Slade's death in 1864, persistent myths and stories have defied the efforts of writers and historians, including Mark Twain, to capture the real Jack Slade. Dan Rottenberg assembles years of research to reveal the true story.


"BULBS IN THE BASEMENT, GERANIUMS ON THE WINDOWSILL," by Alice and Brian McGowan, Storey Publishing, 208 pages in full color with photos and illustrations throughout, $17.95 (nf)

A comprehensive resource on the care and maintenance of tender plants. Helpful for cooler-zone gardeners who can discover how to overwinter what used to be considered annual plants. The book promises to help gardeners garden outside their zone, save money, transform "annuals" into perennials, expand the plant palette and allow enjoyment of favorite plants year after year. A tender perennial is a plant that acts more like an annual in your garden.

"THE MONSTERS OF TEMPLETON," by Lauren Groff, Voice, $14.95 (f)

Willie Upton, a descendant of the village's founding family, returns home seeking refuge from an affair with a professor at Stanford. Willie discovers from her mother that she is actually the daughter of a prominent Templetonian. Willie's search for the truth about her lineage sends her sifting through Templeton's thorny past.

"THE LIFE ROOM," by Jill Bialosky, Harvest Paperback, 352 pages, $14 (f, reprint)

When Eleanor Cahn, wife, mother, professor of literature, goes to Paris to present a picture, she realizes that something is not quite right. A meeting with a childhood friend, Steven, leaves her unsettled and forces her to realize she has suppressed her passionate, questing, artistic self for years.

"BUCOLICS," by Maurice Manning, Harvest Paperback, 120 pages, $14 (f, reprint)

There are 70 poems in this collection. Manning celebrates the virtues of nature and finds deep gratitude for the mysterious hand that created it all.

"THE WHAM-O SUPERBALL OPERATOR MANUAL," by R. Ubberball, with illustrations by Cynthia L. Copeland, Cider Mill Press, $12.95 (nf)

This little book contains a superball and 25 "super-duper" activities you can do with the ball. You get a little of the history of the superball, which hit stores in the summer of 1965, as well as the games and tricks.

"LOST SOCK! 200 Clever Way to Use Your Single Socks," by Cynthia L. Copeland with Anya Lewis, Cider Mill Press, $9.95 (nf)

Cute illustrations and little bits of trivia are sprinkled throughout the book. And, of course, some ideas are better than others. Using a single sock, filling it with rice, heating it and using it as a relief for sore muscles is a great idea, using the leftover sock for a gardening glove — hmmm. Maybe not.

"CHAT," by Archer Mayor, Grand Central Publishing, $6.99 (f)

Reprint in paperback of the latest installment in the classical Joe Gunther series. Joe takes a leave of absence to learn the cause of a near-fatal accident his mother and brother were involved in. He ends up involved in the middle of a child predator case and a high-speed Internet chase.

—Compiled by Kari Morandi