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Friday, December 19, 2008

December 19, 2008

December 19, 2008

The following reviews, interviews, and features are running on beginning Friday, December 19th.

Reviews and Excerpts:
CROSS COUNTRY by James Patterson (Thriller)
When the home of Alex Cross's oldest friend is turned into the worst murder scene Alex has ever seen, the destruction leads him to believe that he's chasing a horrible new breed of killer. As Alex and his girlfriend become entangled in the deadly Nigerian underworld of Washington D.C., they discover a stunningly organized gang of lethal teenagers headed by a powerful, diabolical man --- the African warlord known as the Tiger. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.
-- Click here to read an excerpt from CROSS COUNTRY.

SHOW NO FEAR: A Nina Reilly Novel by Perri O'Shaughnessy (Legal Thriller)
In this prequel to the bestselling series that chronicles Nina Reilly's illustrious career as a criminal lawyer, Perri O'Shaughnessy gives readers a glimpse into her early life as a single mom and introduces several of the series' popular characters, including skirt-chasing homicide detective Paul van Wagoner. Reviewed by Lori Lamothe.
-- Click here to read an excerpt from SHOW NO FEAR.

DARK PURSUIT by Brandilyn Collins (Thriller)
Kaitlan Sering's estranged grandfather, novelist Darell Brooke, was the legendary King of Suspense --- until an auto accident left him unable to concentrate. Now she's begging him to protect her from a real serial killer. Can his muddled mind devise a plan to catch the murderer? Reviewed by Marcia Ford.
--Click here to read an excerpt from DARK PURSUIT.

OUTLIERS: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell by Malcolm Gladwell (Psychology/Business)
In his third book, social commentator Malcolm Gladwell takes a fresh and stimulating look at the definition of success. Beyond innate talent and hard work, he asks: What are the true determinants of high achievement, and how can we make more opportunities available to a broader group in our society? Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.

TITANIC'S LAST SECRETS: The Further Adventures of Shadow Divers of John Chatterton and Richie Kohler by Brad Matsen (History)
As the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic approaches, a team of experts on the 1912 disaster has unveiled a new theory that radically revises history on a subject that continues to fascinate "Titaniacs" the world over. Much of what you thought you "knew" about that April night in 1912 is wrong, they say, and the true story has remained covered up for a century. Reviewed by Robert Finn.
-- Visit the publisher's official website,

THE KING OF SWORDS by Nick Stone (Thriller)
When Detective Max Mingus and his partner, Joe Liston, are called to the scene of a death at Miami's Primate Park, it looks like another routine --- if slightly bizarre --- investigation. That is, until two things turn up: the victim's family, slaughtered, and a partly digested tarot card in the dead man's stomach --- the King of Swords. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

SECOND TIME AROUND by Marcia Willett (Fiction)
In this lovely page-turner, Mathilda Rainbird dies, leaving her home in a secluded cove at the shore to three unknown relatives, all strangers to one another. We follow the lives of young Tessa, widower Will and retired school matron Beatrice, as they connect with each other and with Mathilda's housekeeper, Isobel. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

NIGHT OF THUNDER: A Bob Lee Swagger Novel by Stephen Hunter (Thriller)
In NIGHT OF THUNDER, Marine Corps master sniper Bob Lee Swagger lets loose his swift sword of justice against Sinnerman. Set against the backdrop of the week-long NASCAR event, deep in the heart of Dixie, the story takes Swagger through scandals bubbling over with corrupt cops, meth lab crackers and deranged evangelicals set on making Swagger's life miserable. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

SPELLBOUND BY BEAUTY: Alfred Hitchcock and His Leading Ladies by Donald Spoto (Biography)
The final volume in Donald Spoto's Hitchcock trilogy that began with THE ART OF ALFRED HITCHCOCK and continued with THE DARK SIDE OF GENIUS is the story of the great moviemaker and his female stars, the unusual ideas of sex and romance that inform his films, and the Hollywood dreams that often became nightmares. Reviewed by Ron Kaplan.

THE SPANISH GAME by Charles Cumming (Spy Thriller)
Six years ago, Alec Milius was released by MI6 after a disastrous operation. His world shattered, Milius has been living in Madrid, attempting to put his former life as a spy behind him and quietly rebuild his life. But all his plans come crashing down when the head of a separatist movement goes missing, and Milius is lured back into the world of espionage, the brutal world of lies and desperation. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

THE JOURNAL OF HÉLÈNE BERR by Hélène Berr (Memoir)
Call her the French Anne Frank if you like, but Hélène Berr is more than just another Holocaust account. This true journal, newly translated into English, records at once the average life of a French college student in the 1940s and the horrors of World War II. Reviewed by Sarah Hannah Gómez.

New In Paperback
December's roundup of New in Paperback titles includes CHANGE OF HEART by Jodi Picoult, which delves into the polemical issue of the death penalty and how one's perspective on the matter is often dependent upon religious beliefs; Lisa Scottoline's LADY KILLER, a thriller that marks the return of Philadelphia attorney Mary DiNunzio, whose high school rival seeks assistance and protection from her mobster boyfriend; PEOPLE OF THE BOOK, a riveting story of the survival of a medieval manuscript over five centuries of European history from Pulitzer Prize winner Geraldine Brooks; THE WINDING WAYS QUILT, the 12th installment in Jennifer Chiaverini's bestselling Elm Creek Quilts series; WHAT I WAS, celebrated young adult author Meg Rosoff's most unusual coming-of-age novel about friendship and humanity, viewed through the lens of an old, world-weary narrator; and RIDING TOWARD EVERYWHERE, in which noted novelist, journalist and occasional rail rider William T. Vollmann delivers a portrait of the life of trainhopping that is both lyrical and unsettling. Staff Picks of 2008
Before ringing in the new year, we at The Book Report Network reflect on some of our favorite books published in 2008. Though it was difficult to narrow down, each staff member chose up to five books that he or she enjoyed the most this year. Take a look and see if any of our selections match yours --- and which titles you may want to consider reading in the future. Reviewer Picks of 2008

Recently we asked our reviewers to provide us with a list of some of their favorite books from 2008. Included is a mix of fiction and nonfiction titles, all published this year. Take a moment to read these varied lists of titles and see if you agree with their selections! Please note that due to personal and professional commitments, some reviewers were not able to participate in this feature.

Holiday Countdown
There's one gift that's perfect for everyone on your holiday list --- a book! Yes, everyone has people who are readers on their lists, which makes shopping for them easy. But beyond these kindred spirits, there's a book that can match just about any recipient's interests, even if reading is not their true passion. That is why we are going to be sharing 45 reasons why a book makes a perfect gift, counting down from today until Christmas Day, December 25th. Check back and see why we think this is the gift you want to give --- and, oh yes, receive!

What To Give / What To Get
Need ideas for holiday gift-giving (and getting)? Check out these "reader perfect" suggestions in 13 categories. There's something for everyone on your list. Let the shopping begin!

Romantic Suspense Author Spotlight
WICKED GAME by Lisa Jackson and Nancy Bush
(Romantic Suspense)
On Sale January 27, 2009
Twenty years ago, wild-child Jessie Brentwood vanished from St. Elizabeth's high school. Most in Jessie's tight circle of friends believed she simply ran away. Few suspected Jessie was hiding a shocking secret --- one that brought her into the crosshairs of a vicious killer. Two decades pass before a body is unearthed on school grounds and Jessie's old friends reunite to talk. Most are sure the body is Jessie's and the mystery of what happened to her has finally been solved. But soon, Jessie's friends each begin to die in horrible, freak accidents that defy explanation.
-- Click here to read more about WICKED GAME.
-- Click here to read Lisa Jackson's bio.
-- Click here to read Nancy Bush's bio.

One to Watch Author Spotlight
TWO RIVERS by T. Greenwood (Fiction)
On Sale December 30, 2008
A haunting new novel set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War and civil rights movement is an examination of the power of grief, and the importance of forgiveness.
-Click here to read a second excerpt from TWO RIVERS.

On the Edge of Your Seat: Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight

FINAL BREATH by Kevin O'Brien
On Sale December 30, 2008
At first the deaths seem random: a young Portland couple brutally murdered in a game gone awry, a Chicago woman who plummeted to her death from an office building, an aspiring screenwriter asphyxiated in his New York apartment . . . but the macabre souvenirs television reporter Sydney Jordan receives reveal the connection is both personal and terrifying.
-- Click here to read the second excerpt from FINAL BREATH.

KISS by Ted Dekker and Erin Healy
On Sale January 7, 2009
After a car accident puts Shauna McAllister in a coma and wipes out six months of her memory, she returns to her childhood home to recover, but her arrival is fraught with confusion. Her estranged father, a senator bidding on the White House, and her abusive stepmother blame Shauna for the tragedy, which has left her beloved brother severely brain damaged.
-- Click here to read the third excerpt from KISS.

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