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Friday, October 10, 2008

October 10, 2008

James Villas
James Villas, the former food and wine editor of Town & Country magazine as well as the author of several cookbooks, recently published his first work of fiction, DANCING IN THE LOWCOUNTRY. In this interview with's Lourdes Orive, Villas explains his personal connection with the South Carolina coast, where the story takes place, and discusses the real-life inspirations behind its characters and settings. He also elaborates on the importance of food in his work, creates the perfect menu for a Southern meal over which book clubs can discuss the novel, and shares details about what he is working on next.

Mystery Mayhem Feature
M. C. Beaton
A SPOONFUL OF POISON by M. C. Beaton (Mystery)
On Sale Now
We have 10 advance reading copies of A SPOONFUL OF POISON by M. C. Beaton to give away to readers who would like to preview the book and comment about it. A description can be found by clicking the link below. If you are interested, please fill out this form by Friday, October 17th.

When Agatha Raisin goes to the remote hamlet of Comfrey Magna to politely turn down a public relations job, she encounters the stunning green eyes of handsome widower George Selby, and promptly agrees to do whatever PR work the village needs. But as events in Agatha’s new adventure A SPOONFUL OF POISON unfold, the rural festival Agatha is promoting soon takes a deadly turn, and Agatha must investigate the toxic spiking of some local preserves.

Mystery Mayhem Feature
Christopher Fowler
THE VICTORIA VANISHES by Christopher Fowler (Mystery)
On Sale October 28, 2008
It’s a case tailor-made for the Peculiar Crimes Unit. A lonely hearts killer is targeting middle-aged women at some of England’s most well-known pubs --- including one torn down eighty years ago. What’s more, Arthur Bryant happened to see one of the victims only moments before her death at the pub that doesn’t exist. Indeed, this case is littered with clues that defy everything the veteran detectives know about the habits of serial killers, the methodology of crime, and the odds of making an arrest. Now, with the public on the verge of panic and their superiors determined to shut the PCU down for good, Detectives Bryant and May must rise to the occasion in defense of two great English traditions --- the pub and the Peculiar Crimes Unit.

Suspense/Thriller Feature
M. J. Rose
THE MEMORIST by M. J. Rose (Suspense)
On Sale October 28, 2008
She is paralyzed by the past. He was robbed of the future.
The dreads are back. As a child, Meers Logan was haunted by memories of another time and place, always accompanied by the faint strains of elusive music. Now the hand of the past has reached out again. An envelope addressed to her and delivered to the Phoenix Foundation --- an institute dedicated to the recovery of past life memories --- contains a childhood drawing of an elaborate box that Meers recognizes... and a sheet from an auction catalogue identifying the object she spent years imagining as an eighteenth century gaming box.

Suspense/Thriller Feature
Katherine Neville
THE FIRE by Katherine Neville (Suspense)
On Sale October 14, 2008
Katherine Neville’s groundbreaking novel, THE EIGHT, dazzled audiences more than twenty years ago and set the literary stage for the epic thriller. A quest for a mystical chess service that once belonged to Charlemagne, it spans two centuries and three continents, and intertwines historic and modern plots, archaeological treasure hunts, esoteric riddles, and puzzles encrypted with clues from the ancient past. Now the electrifying global adventure continues, in Neville’s long anticipated sequel: THE FIRE.

Romantic Suspense Feature
Carla Neggers
COLD PURSUIT by Carla Neggers (Romantic Suspense)
On Sale October 28, 2008
A number of prominent figures have been killed under mysterious circumstances in the past year. All unconnected. But when an esteemed U.S. ambassador is slain in a questionable hit-and-run in Washington, D.C. and his stepdaughter vanishes mere hours later in the mountains of northern New England, suspicions are raised by a Secret Service agent and a recovering Special Forces soldier in COLD PURSUIT, the newest novel by New York Times bestselling author Carla Neggers.

Graphic Novels
THE ALCOHOLIC by Jonathan Ames and Dean Haspiel
In one of the best graphic novels of the year, a man offers his entire life story as a way of explaining how and why he turned to alcohol to solve his problems. As a series of painful events takes place, he gets mired deeper and deeper in his disease, yet he still manages to retain a remarkable warmth and humor, telling a story that is as witty as it is sad. Reviewed by John Hogan.

After several unsuccessful attempts to quit smoking, a middle-aged man agrees to be hypnotized to overcome his addiction. However, the treatment isn’t exactly what he expected: He wakes up as a 15-year-old who has never smoked. But is that a blessing or a curse? Reviewed by John Hogan.

Book-loving cinephiles are in for quite a busy month, with eight films gracing October's Books into Movies feature. With a little something for everyone, from over-the-top comedies like Sex Drive and How to Lose Friends and Alienate People to heavy dramas like CIA action thriller Body of Lies and the inspiring biopic The Express, there will be no shortage of reasons to catch your old and new favorites brought to life on the big screen.

Two of this month's buzziest movies are based on YA bestsellers. City of Ember, adapted from Jeanne DuPrau's sci-fi/fantasy series about a mysterious, crumbling underground city lit entirely by floodlamps, is sure to be a hit for the all-ages crowd, while Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist aims for a slightly older audience, as it follows two teens nursing heartbreak and the need for a live-music fix over the course of one fateful night.

Also garnering plenty of attention with their A-list casts and thought-provoking subject matter are the guaranteed tearjerker The Secret Life of Bees, based on Sue Monk Kidd's poignant novel that reexamines the meaning of family, and the star-studded Hollywood satire What Just Happened, about an aging producer on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

Also, new on DVD this month are Gus Van Sant's Paranoid Park and Lifetime Network's The Memory Keeper's Daughter, as well as the family-friendly films Journey to the Center of the Earth 3-D and Kit Kittredge: An American Girl.

» Click here for more details about October’s films.

New Reviews and Excerpts
DANCING IN THE LOWCOUNTRY by James Villas (Fiction)
Ella Dubose is a Southern lady of a certain age --- an age at which memories of youth can rush in at every turn and overwhelm the present. But while Ella’s two younger children are concerned for her health and want to limit her independence, Ella --- elegant, unconventional and unrepentantly willful --- has very different ideas. And she’s not about to be controlled by anyone, not when there are tasks she needs to complete and loose ends that must be tied. Reviewed by Lourdes Orive and excerpted.

CALLED OUT OF DARKNESS: A Spiritual Confession, by Anne Rice (Memoir)
Anne Rice has written magnificent tales of otherworldly beings: novels that explore the realms of good and evil, love and alienation, pageantry and ritual, each a reflection of her own moral journey. Now, in CALLED OUT OF DARKNESS --- her first work of nonfiction --- she talks about her life as a Catholic. Reviewed by Ray Palen and excerpted.

HARDLY KNEW HER: Stories, by Laura Lippman (Fiction/Short Stories)
Dark, smart and violent, bestselling author Laura Lippman's first collection of short stories have a fascinating and sinister edge. HARDLY KNEW HER contains 16 tales and one novella, most told from the perspective of desperate and depressed women who find their sexuality to be both a liberating source of power and a confining detriment. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman and excerpted.

BETWEEN HERE AND APRIL by Deborah Copaken Kogan (Fiction)
When a deep-rooted memory suddenly surfaces, Elizabeth Burns becomes obsessed with the long-ago disappearance of her childhood friend, April Cassidy. Deborah Copaken Kogan, author of a riveting war memoir titled SHUTTERBABE, explores another kind of war in her first novel: the battles women and mothers secretly --- and sometimes tragically --- wage with themselves. Reviewed by Norah Piehl and excerpted.

WHEN WILL THERE BE GOOD NEWS? by Kate Atkinson (Mystery)
With CASE HISTORIES, the first novel featuring detective Jackson Brodie, Kate Atkinson took her well-established skill at exploring characters and relationships and applied it to the mystery genre. Since then, with ONE GOOD TURN and now with WHEN WILL THERE BE GOOD NEWS?, she continues writing intricate, suspenseful character studies that are bound to appeal even to literary purists who swear they would never read a mystery novel in their lives. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

DOWNTOWN OWL by Chuck Klosterman (Fiction)
Owl, North Dakota is a very small town. Just six months before a devastating storm hits this sleepy burg, readers of Chuck Klosterman's wonderful debut work of fiction are introduced to three Owl citizens: Mitch, Julia and Horace. Despite the apparent lack of excitement in Owl, these individuals, and their friends and family, lead interesting and compelling lives, deftly rendered by Klosterman. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

TOO CLOSE TO HOME by Linwood Barclay (Thriller)
Promise Falls isn’t the kind of community where a family is shot to death in their own home. But that is exactly what happened to the Langleys one sweltering summer night, and no one in this small upstate New York town is more shocked than their next-door neighbors, Jim and Ellen Cutter. Linwood Barclay, critically acclaimed author of NO TIME FOR GOODBYE, brings terror closer than ever before in a thriller where murder strikes in the place we feel safest of all. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

BREAKING COVER by J.D. Rhoades (Thriller)
From the Shamus Award-nominated author of the critically-acclaimed Jack Keller southern crime series comes an explosive stand-alone thriller about an undercover federal agent, a chameleon whose specialty is assaulting criminal organizations from within.Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE SACRED BOOK OF THE WEREWOLF by Victor Pelevin (Fiction)
Victor Pelevin’s new novel, his first in six years, is both a supernatural love story and a satirical portrait of modern Russia. It concerns the adventures of a hardworking 15-year-old Moscow prostitute named A. Huli, who in reality is a 2,000-year-old werefox who seduces men in order to absorb their life force. Reviewed by Max Falkowitz.

SLEEPING ARRANGEMENTS by Madeleine Wickham (Fiction)
It's the perfect weeklong getaway. Get your friend to lend you his villa in Spain, take your family along, and enjoy some free time with your kids and your husband, trying to remember why you've been together this long in the first place. Too bad that's the plan for both Chloe and Philip's family and Hugh and Amanda's. They've been double-booked. Reviewed by Sarah Hannah Gómez.

DON'T YOU FORGET ABOUT ME by Jancee Dunn (Fiction)
At 38, Lillian Curtis is content with her life. She enjoys her routine as a producer for a talk show in New York City starring showbiz veteran Vi Barbour, a spirited senior. Lillian’s relationship with her husband is pleasant if no longer exciting. Most nights she is more than happy to come home to her apartment and crawl into her pajamas. Then she is hit with a piece of shocking news: Her husband wants a divorce. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

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