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Friday, January 9, 2009

January 9, 2009

The following reviews, interviews and features began running on beginning Friday, January 9th:

Also mentioned in the newsletter opener, which can be read here:

THE HELP by Kathryn Stockett
CASE HISTORIES by Kate Atkinson
THE DEAD MAN by Joel Goldman
A RELIABLE WIFE by Robert Goolrick
THE MIDDLE PLACE by Kelly Corrigan

Reviews and Excerpts:
KISS by Ted Dekker and Erin Healy (Suspense)
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. Leaning on Wayne Spade, a forgotten but hopeful lover who stays by her side, Shauna tries to sort out what happened that night by jarring her memory to life. Instead, she acquires a mysterious mental ability that will either lead her to truth or get her killed by the people trying to hide it. Reviewed by Marcia Ford and excerpted.

ON THE GRIND: A Shane Scully Novel, by Stephen J. Cannell (Thriller)
Charged with felony misconduct in a high-profile solicitation of murder case, Lieutenant Shane Scully is faced with an impossible decision: either quietly resign from his job as a detective for the LAPD, the work he loves, or face criminal prosecution. Rather than smear the department’s reputation and his own, Scully chooses to leave. Life as Scully knows it is over. Or so it seems. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub and excerpted.

THE HOUR I FIRST BELIEVED by Wally Lamb (Fiction)
In his new novel, Wally Lamb (author of SHE’S COME UNDONE and I KNOW THIS MUCH IS TRUE) travels well beyond his earlier work and embodies in his fiction myth, psychology, family history stretching back many generations, and the questions of faith that lie at the heart of everyday life. Reviewed by Eileen Zimmerman Nicol and excerpted.

STILL ALICE by Lisa Genova (Fiction)
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. This compelling debut novel has been released simultaneously in hardcover and trade paperback. Reviewed by Carol Fitzgerald and excerpted.

THE FACE by Angela Hunt (Fiction)
Sarah Sims was born without a face and raised in a CIA enclave hidden in an ancient island convent. When her Aunt Renee finally finds her, Sarah is 20 and a computer intelligence expert. She is also resigned to spending her life hidden away where no one can see what passes for her face. Or is she? Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

BONE BY BONE by Carol O’Connell (Mystery)
A cold case is reopened when the bones of a young boy start showing up on his father’s front porch. So many bones. Soon, the authorities discover that the bones belong to at least two different people. After so long, is there any chance of catching the killer? Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

CRUEL INTENT by J.A. Jance (Suspense)
In CRUEL INTENT, J.A. Jance delivers another dead-on thriller chock full of suspense and intrigue with bodies aplenty. Ali Reynolds has returned to Arizona and becomes embroiled in a nasty case of accumulating dead bodies that became that way at the hands of a monomaniacal serial killer. Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum.

THE NIGHT STALKER by James Swain (Thriller)
Days away from execution, notorious serial killer Abb Grimes reaches out to ex-cop Jack Carpenter with a surprising request. Abb’s grandson was lured from his home. The cops are convinced that the boy’s father --- Abb’s troubled son, Jed --- is behind the disappearance, but Jack is not so sure. With a personal connection to the kidnapped child, Jack takes the case, and that’s when the situation goes from terrifying to fatal. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

COLLEGE GIRL by Patricia Weitz (Fiction)
COLLEGE GIRL is a vivid portrait of life on a college campus and a poignant look at what happens to a 20-year-old college senior (and her self-esteem) when she loses her virginity and falls for the wrong guy. Patricia Weitz’s debut novel will resonate with anyone who remembers the often awkward transition from adolescence to adulthood. Reviewed by Sarah Hannah Gómez.

BAD TRAFFIC: An Inspector Jian Novel, by Simon Lewis (Thriller)
Inspector Jian is a tough Chinese cop who thinks he's seen it all. But his search for his missing daughter takes him to the meanest streets he's ever faced. Migrant worker Ding Ming is distressed --- his gang master is making demands, he owes a lot of money to the snakeheads, and no one will tell him where his wife has been taken. Two desperate men, lost in a baffling foreign land, are pitted against a ruthless band of human traffickers in this breathtaking thriller. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

STREET GANG: The Complete History of Sesame Street, by Michael Davis (Arts & Entertainment)
In a fascinating history, television critic Michael Davis details how a motley gang of educators, television professionals, musicians, actors and puppeteers got to Sesame Street. STREET GANG traces the evolution of the show from its inspiration in the civil rights movement through its many ups and downs via the remarkable personalities who have contributed to it. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

MUSIC QUICKENS TIME by Daniel Barenboim (Music/Essays)
Noted pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim doesn’t just make music --- he thinks about it a lot, and about how it can impact a listener’s life and politics. In this slim volume of essays, he tackles not only musical issues but the whole question of Arab-Israeli relations, a subject that has engaged his attention for many years. He thinks music can tell us important things about this seemingly intractable issue. Reviewed by Robert Finn.

Books into Movies Feature
This week's Books into Movies Feature includes:
Not Easily Broken
Hotel For Dogs
"The Last Templar"

Ted Dekker and Erin Healy
Bestselling author Ted Dekker teamed up with his longtime editor, Erin Healy, to co-write the recently released suspense novel KISS. In this interview with's Marcia Ford, Healy describes some of the challenges she faced in the transition from editor to author, while Dekker speculates on his broad readership, despite the fact that he is usually classified as a Christian writer. They also discuss what made their collaboration work, give insight into their writing process, and share details about their next publication, BURN.

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 an excerpt from WICKED GAME.
-- Click here to see Lisa Jackson's backlist.
-- Click here to see Nancy Bush's backlist.

One to Watch Author Spotlight
TWO RIVERS by T. Greenwood (Fiction)
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 third excerpt from TWO RIVERS.

Suspense Thriller Author Spotlight
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 the connection is both personal and terrifying.
-- Click here to read a third excerpt from FINAL BREATH.

Click here for the full newsletter.

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