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Friday, February 20, 2009

February 20, 2009

The following reviews, interviews and features began running on beginning Friday, February 20th:

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

AMERICAN WIFE by Curtis Sittenfeld
RETRIBUTION by Jilliane Hoffman
PLEA OF INSANITY by Jilliane Hoffman

Reviews and Excerpts
RUN FOR YOUR LIFE by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge (Thriller)
A calculating killer who calls himself The Teacher is taking on New York City, murdering the powerful and the arrogant. His message is clear: remember your manners or suffer the consequences. For some, it seems that the rich are finally getting what they deserve. For New York's elite, it is a call to terror. Only one man can tackle such a high-profile case: Detective Mike Bennett. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.
- Click here to read an excerpt from RUN FOR YOUR LIFE.

WHILE MY SISTER SLEEPS by Barbara Delinsky (Fiction)
Molly Snow has mixed feelings about her sister and roommate, Robin. Robin has always been a star and a bit of a slob, and Molly resents both qualities. But Molly's life is turned upside down and inside out when Robin suffers a heart attack and ends up in a coma. The Snow family implodes as secrets unfurl and difficult decisions must be made. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.
- Click here to read an excerpt from WHILE MY SISTER SLEEPS.
- Click here to see the reading group guide for WHILE MY SISTER SLEEPS.

AMONG THE MAD: A Maisie Dobbs Novel by Jacqueline Winspear (Historical Mystery)
Jacqueline Winspear has created an indomitable and unique sleuth in Maisie Dobbs. Her combined professions of psychologist and detective surely precede what would now be called a psychological profiler. Maisie uses her hard-wired intelligence and highly developed intuition to aid her in solving cases between World War I and World War II England. AMONG THE MAD, the sixth book in Winspear's historical mystery series, is set in London during Christmas 1931 through New Year’s 1932. Reviewed by Jennifer McCord.
-Click here to read an excerpt from AMONG THE MAD.

CUTTING FOR STONE by Abraham Verghese (Fiction)
I’ve been telling everybody to read this superb novel from Abraham Verghese. It is refreshing on every level --- from the setting (Ethiopia) to its characters (Indian medical workers, twin boys borne of a nun) to a complex web of storylines that covers every emotional base. This is one of those books you will not want to see end and that will leave you hungry for more. Reviewed by Jamie Layton.
-Click here to read an excerpt from CUTTING FOR STONE.
-Click here to see the reading group guide for CUTTING FOR STONE.

THE SWEET BY AND BY by Todd Johnson (Fiction)
Among the longleaf pines and family farms of eastern North Carolina, days seem to pass without incident for Margaret Clayton and Bernice Stokes until they discover each other in a friendship that will take them on the most important journey of their lives. Rich with irresistible characters, THE SWEET BY AND BY is a testament to the truth that the most vibrant lives are not necessarily the most visible ones. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.
-Click here to read an excerpt from THE SWEET BY AND BY.

HANDS OF MY FATHER: A Hearing Boy, His Deaf Parents, and the Language of Love by Myron Uhlberg (Memoir)
By turns heart-tugging and hilarious, Myron Uhlberg’s memoir tells the story of growing up as the hearing son of deaf parents --- and his life in a world that he found unaccountably beautiful, even as he longed to escape it. HANDS OF MY FATHER is filled with stories about growing up not just as the child of two deaf people but as a book-loving, mischief-making, tree-climbing kid during the remarkably eventful period that spanned the Depression, the War and the early 1950s. Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott.
-Click here to read an excerpt from HANDS OF MY FATHER.

RANSOM MY HEART by Princess of Genovia Mia Thermopolis, with help from Meg Cabot (Historical Romance)
Mia Thermopolis, Princess of Genovia and star of Meg Cabot's #1 New York Times bestselling Princess Diaries books, has "penned" her first historical romance novel --- with help from Cabot. Mia has always been an outspoken animal-rights activist and committed environmentalist. In keeping with Mia's true spirit, Cabot will be donating her worldwide proceeds from RANSOM MY HEART to Greenpeace. Reviewed by Amy Alessio.
-Click here to read an excerpt from RANSOM MY HEART.

THE YANKEE YEARS by Joe Torre and Tom Verducci (Sports)
The former manager of the New York Yankees --- and one of its most successful --- teams up with Sports Illustrated’s senior baseball writer for this unique and somewhat baffling presentation. Although Joe Torre gets top billing as the nominative author, the reader will get the impression that Tom Verducci is telling the story, since the narrative is written in the third person. Reviewed by Ron Kaplan.

FIRE AND ICE by Julie Garwood (Romantic Suspense)
When sexy Chicago FBI agent Jack MacAlister, the one with the “bad boy smile,” meets beautiful ice maiden Sophie Rose, the chemistry is instantaneous. Sophie has an acute aversion to FBI agents, and Jack soon realizes he must rely on his player instincts to get the attention of the woman who just “knocked the air out of him.” Reviewed by Hillary Wagy.

THE SILENT MAN by Alex Berenson (Thriller)
It’s been a rough few years for CIA agent John Wells: the undercover work in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the attack on the United States, the Chinese plot that could have led to war. Wells is exhausted, and his nights filled with disturbing dreams. But he knows he has no time for that. He has made many enemies, and the world won’t stay quiet for long. Nevertheless, Wells is not prepared for what is about to happen. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE RENEGADES by T. Jefferson Parker (Thriller)
Some say that outlaws no longer exist, that the true spirit of the American West died with the legendary bandits of pulp novels and bedtime stories. Charlie Hood knows that nothing could be further from the truth. These days he patrols vast stretches of the new American West, not on horseback but in his cruiser. The outlaws may not carry six-shooters, but they’re strapped all the same. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

ALL THE COLORS OF DARKNESS by Peter Robinson (Mystery)
When the body of a man is discovered hanging from a tree in the woods near Eastvale, all signs point toward suicide. But when his older and wealthier lover is discovered bludgeoned to death in his home, Detective Inspector Annie Cabbot begins to think differently. Increasingly confounded, she calls in the vacationing Chief Inspector Alan Banks. Once on the investigation, Banks finds himself plunged into a case where nothing is as it seems. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

A MAD DESIRE TO DANCE by Elie Wiesel (Fiction)
A man of mysterious wealth and traumatic background is handed from one psychoanalyst to another. It is hoped that, because she shares culture with him, the new doctor can help the patient better. But the case of Doriel Waldman turns out to be more complicated and difficult than Thérèse Goldschmidt had realized it would be. Using Freudian theory, she attempts to understand and heal him, but her work is thwarted by his non-compliance: he insists he is just mad. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

Author Talks
Jacqueline Winspear
Jacqueline Winspear's most recent publication, AMONG THE MAD, is the sixth novel in her award-winning and bestselling Maisie Dobbs series about a female psychologist and investigator in post-World War I London. In this interview, Winspear recalls some of her first-hand experiences with psychiatric disorders, which figure greatly in the book, and discusses her fascination with the fine line that separates madness from "normal" everyday behavior. She also draws parallels between 1930s England and today's political and economic climate, reveals surprising statistics about women during the early decades of the 20th century, and hints at what's in store for Maisie in the next installment of the series.

Todd Johnson
Todd Johnson's debut novel, THE SWEET BY AND BY, chronicles the unlikely friendship formed among five women in a North Carolina nursing home. In this interview, Johnson credits his visits with his grandmothers as indirect inspiration for this story and explains how he came up with the book's poetic title. He also discusses the link between religion and Southern culture, mentions his writing influences, and recalls his experiences working as a musician in New York.

Suspense Thriller Author Spotlight

FAULT LINE by Barry Eisler
CIA agent-turned-novelist Barry Eisler is the bestselling author of the John Rain novels, which have won the Barry and Gumshoe Awards and have been translated into nearly 20 languages. In his first stand-alone thriller, FAULT LINE, Eisler delivers a fast-paced story in which two estranged brothers --- one a Silicon Valley lawyer, the other an undercover military operative --- must put aside decades of resentment and hurt to thwart a deadly techno-conspiracy. FAULT LINE will be available in stores on March 10th.
-Click here to read an excerpt from FAULT LINE.

HEART OF ICE by Gregg Olsen
A New York Times bestselling author, Gregg Olsen has written seven nonfiction books, three novels and contributed a short story to a collection edited by Lee Child. As a journalist and true crime author, Olsen has received numerous awards and much critical acclaim for his writing. In HEART OF ICE, his new thriller releasing on February 24th, Sherriff Emily Kenyon must stop a serial killer who is targeting young women.
-Click here to read an excerpt from HEART OF ICE.

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