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Friday, January 16, 2009

January 16, 2009

The following reviews, interviews and features began running on beginning Friday, January 16th:

Also mentioned in the Newsletter Opener, which can be read here:

SHELTER ME by Juliette Fay
THE LAST TEMPLAR by Raymond Khoury

Reviews and Excerpts:
TWO RIVERS by T. Greenwood (Fiction)
In Two Rivers, Vermont, Harper Montgomery is living a life overshadowed by grief and guilt. Since the death of his wife, Betsy, 12 years earlier, Harper has narrowed his world to working at the local railroad and raising his daughter, Shelly, the best way he knows how. Still wracked with sorrow over the loss of his life-long love and plagued by his role in a brutal, long-ago crime, he wants only to make amends for his past mistakes. Reviewed by Alexis Burling and excerpted.

FINAL BREATH by Kevin O’Brien (Thriller)
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 that the connection is both personal and terrifying. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub and excerpted.

PLUM SPOOKY: A Stephanie Plum Between-the-Numbers Novel, by Janet Evanovich (Mystery)
Just when bounty hunter Stephanie Plum’s life can’t get any more complicated, in walks the mysterious Diesel, a man who seems to show up at the most inconvenient moments. This time, he’s the instigator for Stephanie’s new adventure, which involves camping in the Pine Barrens with her sidekick Lula --- and perhaps even a sighting of the Jersey Devil. Reviewed by Roz Shea and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from PLUM SPOOKY.

ECLIPSE by Richard North Patterson (Legal Thriller)
With uncanny timing, Richard North Patterson dramatizes the global lust for oil and exposes the geopolitics at the root of the current oil crisis in his prophetic new book, ECLIPSE. The story is set in the fictional country of Luandia --- a land of chaos, lawlessness, and oil-rich deltas ruled by oil companies and a brutal, corrupt government. Reviewed by Ray Palen and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from ECLIPSE.

THE WORLD ACCORDING TO BERTIE: A 44 Scotland Street Novel, by Alexander McCall Smith (Fiction)
There is never a quiet moment on 44 Scotland Street. Here, Pat deals with the reappearance of Bruce, which has her heart skipping --- and not in a pleasant way. Angus Lordie's dog Cyril has been taken away by the authorities, accused of being a serial biter. As usual, Big Lou is still looking for love. And Bertie now has a little brother who he hopes will help distract his pushy mother. Reviewed by Roz Shea and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from THE WORLD ACCORDING TO BERTIE.

SING THEM HOME by Stephanie Kallos (Fiction)
In her superb second novel, Stephanie Kallos invites readers to become part of an unusual family --- and a unique small Midwestern town --- as she delves into their intertwined histories. SING THEM HOME is a moving portrait of three siblings who have lived in the shadow of unresolved grief since their mother’s disappearance when they were children. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

, by Jennifer Baszile (Memoir)
The civil rights movement of the 1960s may have afforded legal equality to African Americans, but that doesn't mean attitudes instantly changed. Jennifer Baszile, now a history professor at Yale, records her childhood in 1970s and ’80s suburbia as one of the only black girls around. Reviewed by Sarah Hannah Gómez.

CALLING MR. LONELY HEARTS by Laura Benedict (Thriller)
Growing up, Roxanne, Del and Alice tested the limits of their friendship with cruel, and often dangerous, games --- but they always knew they would be bound together forever. But when an enigmatic man named Varick enters the picture and seduces the women in turn, their lives become unrecognizable to them. His secret lies buried in their shared past. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

DYING FOR REVENGE by Eric Jerome Dickey (Fiction)
Eric Jerome Dickey follows up 2007’s SLEEPING WITH STRANGERS and WAKING WITH ENEMIES with the final installment in his trilogy. This fast-paced story about a steamy, seamy underworld of crime that spans the globe features the hit man Gideon, a character who captivated fans in the first two books, squaring off against his most intriguing adversary yet. Reviewed by Marie Hashima Lofton.

THE BOOK OF UNHOLY MISCHIEF by Elle Newmark (Historical Mystery)
In 15th-century Venice, the search is on for a book rumored to hold great secrets and maybe the key to eternal life. What could an orphan and a royal chef have to do with such a treasure? Surprisingly, a lot. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

NOTHING TO FEAR: FDR’s Inner Circle and the Hundred Days That Created Modern America, by Adam Cohen (History)
In this stimulating history of FDR’s Hundred Days, Adam Cohen paints a lively and dramatic portrait of the activist leaders who helped create the programs that began to lift the United States out of the Great Depression. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.

IN THE DARK by Mark Billingham (Thriller)
On a rainy night in south London, a gun is fired into a car, which swerves onto the pavement and plows into a bus stop. It seems that a chilling gang initiation has cost the life of an innocent victim, with three more lives changed forever. But the reality is far more sinister. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

MILES FROM NOWHERE by Nami Mun (Fiction)
Joon is a Korean immigrant living in the Bronx of the 1980s. Her parents have crumbled under the weight of her father’s infidelity; he has left the family, and mental illness has rendered her mother nearly catatonic. So Joon, at the age of 13, decides she would be better off on her own, a choice that commences a harrowing and often tragic journey that exposes the painful difficulties of a life lived on the margins. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

T. Greenwood
T. Greenwood, a creative writing professor at The George Washington University, is the author of several novels, including BREATHING WATER, NEARER THAN THE SKY, UNDRESSING THE MOON and the newly released TWO RIVERS. In this interview with's Alexis Burling, Greenwood elaborates on the complex relationships among her characters and the metaphorical significance of the book's title. She also examines the parallel themes of atoneLink
ment and forgiveness that are present in all of her works, muses on the idea of finding "real love" more than once in a lifetime, and shares with readers the same advice she gives to her students in the classroom.

Kevin O'Brien
In this interview with's Joe Hartlaub, Kevin O'Brien --- author of 10 novels, including ONE LAST SCREAM, KILLING SPREE and THE LAST VICTIM --- credits his sister and brother-in-law for the inspiration and first-hand research behind his latest thriller, FINAL BREATH, and discusses how his childhood love for television series like "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" and "The Twilight Zone" helped shape his writing style. He also reveals the origins of some of his books' supernatural elements, describes why his hometown of Seattle is so conducive to creative endeavors, and shares details about his next project, tentatively titled VICIOUS.

Author Talk:
Richard North Patterson
Richard North Patterson has made a name for himself in the suspense/thriller and legal fiction genres by centering his novels on contemporary controversial topics, such as the death penalty, gun control legislation and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The events that take place in his latest release, ECLIPSE, loosely parallel the real-life experiences of a Nigerian activist caught in the middle of a corrupt government and the world's reliance on oil. In this interview, Patterson recounts Ken Saro-Wiwa's tragic story and discusses both the political and social ramifications caused by the current worldwide energy crisis. He also describes the dangers he encountered while visiting the city of Lagos for research, and shares his thoughts on alternative energy sources and minimizing America's dependence on foreign oil.

Suspense Thriller Author Spotlight
LETHAL LEGACY by Linda Fairstein (Suspense)
When Assistant District Attorney Alex Cooper is summoned to Tina Barr’s apartment on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, she finds a neighbor convinced that the young woman was assaulted. But the terrified victim, a conservator of rare books and maps, refuses to cooperate with investigators. Then another woman is found murdered in that same apartment with an extremely valuable book, believed to have been stolen. As Alex pursues the murderer, she is drawn into the strange and privileged world of the Hunt family, major benefactors of the New York Public Library and passionate rare book collectors.
- Click here to read Linda Fairstein’s bio.
- Click here to read Linda Fairstein's bibliography.

Suspense Thriller Author Spotlight
KISS by Ted Dekker and Erin Healy (Suspense)
- Click here to read Advance Reader Comments for KISS.

Romantic Suspense Author Spotlight
WICKED GAME by Lisa Jackson and Nancy Bush (Romantic Suspense)
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 a second excerpt from WICKED GAME. Bets On...:
STILL ALICE by Lisa Genova (January 6th)
Alice Howland, happily married with three grown children, is a celebrated Harvard professor at the height of her career when she notices a forgetfulness creeping into her life. As confusion starts to cloud her thinking and her memory begins to fail her, she receives a devastating diagnosis: early onset Alzheimer's disease. Fiercely independent, Alice struggles to maintain her lifestyle and live in the moment, even as her sense of self is being stripped away. STILL ALICE has an authentic voice and a pitch-perfect tone even as Alice loses control of her own words. This compelling debut novel has been released simultaneously in hardcover and trade paperback.
- Click here to read an excerpt from STILL ALICE.
- Click here to see the reading group guide for STILL ALICE.

SHELTER ME by Juliette Fay (December 30th)
After the sudden death of her husband, Janie LaMarche’s life sweeps her up and unwillingly marches her on with a role as a solo parent to her two small children. As she stumbles through each day overwhelmed and dazed in a haze of grief and overwhelming sadness, she finds a cast of unlikely characters who help her unravel her feelings --- and set a new course. These include a contractor who shows up ready to build the porch her husband had commissioned without her knowledge and the parish priest who is unflinchingly nice even when Janie is acerbic and biting, as well as strong-willed Aunt Jude and a cousin named Cormac, who delivers bakery creations from his shop to match every mood. Along with these well-drawn characters, strong emotion and wry humor ensure that SHELTER ME is a story to savor and love.
- Click here to read an excerpt from SHELTER ME.
- Click here to see the reading group guide for SHELTER ME.

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