EAST MEETS WEST ... Palo Alto resident Carina Sue Burns is about to release her first novel with Morgan James Publishing. Inspired by her own life story, "The Syrian Jewelry Box: A Daughter's Journey for Truth" invites young adult readers on an international journey across the Middle East and Europe to unravel a tangled family mystery. Burns will hold a book signing at Books, Inc. in Palo Alto on Friday, Nov. 13, at 7 p.m. As of Nov. 3, the book will be available at Books, Inc., on amazon.com and at Barnes & Noble. Info: carinasueburns.com
IN DEFENSE OF THE MIDDLEMAN ... Here in Silicon Valley, we're all familiar with the Steve Jobs model of genius. But what about the unsung heroes of the tech and business worlds? According to journalist and author Marina Krakovsky, the middlemen are crucial cogs in making the economic world go 'round. Krakovsky's book is "The Middleman Economy: How Brokers, Agents, Dealers, and Everyday Matchmakers Create Value and Profit." The book is available locally at Kepler's Books as well as on amazon.com. Info: themiddlemaneconomy.com
SEX, DRUGS AND ROCK 'N' ROLL ... Los Altos Hills resident Susan Altstatt has published her debut novel, "Belshangles," a story set in the rock 'n' roll scene of the early 1980s. The frontman of an English rock band, bisexual 20-something Tommi Rhymer finds himself tiring of the rock-star lifestyle just as a fan shows up to change his life. The book is available on amazon.com. Info: danielpublishing.com
SILICON VALLEY VENTURES ... She lives in New Jersey, but Kristen Luciani's newest contemporary romance novel, "Nothing Ventured," is based here in Silicon Valley. Released on Kindle earlier this week, the book is the second in the "Venture" series, following 2014's "Unlikely Venture," which also took the culture of CEOs and venture capitalists as its basis. The heroine of "Nothing Ventured" is a single mom with a Stanford MBA and a power job at a prestigious venture capital firm who finds herself struggling to balance her personal and professional lives. The book is available at amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. Info: kristenluciani.com
ANIMATION GONE AWRY ... Crime, corruption and ... cartoons? Those are the subjects of Bay Area author Brandon Neff's forthcoming novel, "The Monster Of Hidden City." At the famed digital animation studio Fog City, a nefarious producer plots with a Silicon Valley business tycoon. Will our hero uncover the secret society before it's too late? The book will become available on amazon.com and on smashwords.com on October 20. Info: facebook.com/TheMonsterOfHiddenCity
Items for Book Talk may be sent to Arts & Entertainment Editor Elizabeth Schwyzer, Palo Alto Weekly, P.O. Box 1610, Palo Alto, CA 93202 or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.