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Friday, April 24, 2009

April 24, 2009

The following reviews, interviews and features began running on on Friday, April 24th.

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

DRIFTWOOD SUMMER by Patti Callahan Henry
THE PHOTOGRAPHER by Emmanuel Guibert
WRONGFUL DEATH by Robert Dugoni
RULES OF VENGEANCE by Christopher Reich
BURNT SHADOWS by Kamila Shamsie

Reviews and Excerpts
FIRST FAMILY by David Baldacci (Political Thriller)
Bestselling author David Baldacci returns with his fourth book featuring Sean King and Michelle Maxwell. This time around, the former Secret Service agents turned private investigators are engaged in a search for the kidnapped niece of the First Lady, who is taken right from under their noses after a birthday party at Camp David. As with Baldacci’s previous political thrillers, all may not be as simple as it seems in this heart-pounding novel. Reviewed by Ray Palen.
- Click here to read an excerpt from FIRST FAMILY.

TEA TIME FOR THE TRADITIONALLY BUILT: The New No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency Novel by Alexander McCall Smith (Mystery)
The latest installment in The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series finds Precious Ramotswe in need of her own formidable detection talents: saving not only an old friend and a couple’s new engagement --- but even the local football team! Fortunately, we know there are few problems that can’t be fixed when the irrepressible Precious Ramotswe puts her mind to them. Reviewed by Roz Shea.
- Click here to read an excerpt from TEA TIME FOR THE TRADITIONALLY BUILT.

DEADLOCK by Iris Johansen (Thriller)
Emily Hudson has devoted her life to rescuing the priceless artifacts and relics so often overlooked in the horrors of war until it’s too late. Dodging bandits, side-stepping explosives and traveling from one treacherous hot-spot to another isn’t easy, but it’s a job Emily is perfectly suited for, having no roots to hold her to any one place for long. Until one day, when the ultimate danger comes looking for Emily and her team. Reviewed by L. Dean Murphy.

FATALLY FLAKY by Diane Mott Davidson (Mystery)
Colorado caterer Goldy Schulz encounters bridezilla --- and murder --- in another delectable novel by the New York Times bestselling author of SWEET REVENGE, DARK TORT and DOUBLE SHOT. In FATALLY FLAKY, catering weddings and cooking low-fat food could be killing Goldy --- literally. Reviewed by Marge Fletcher.

I LOVED, I LOST, I MADE SPAGHETTI by Giulia Melucci (Memoir)
From failure to fusilli, I LOVED, I LOST, I MADE SPAGHETTI tells the story of Giulia Melucci's fizzled romances and the mouth-watering recipes she used to seduce her men, smooth over the lumps, and console herself when the relationships flamed out. Peppered throughout Giulia's delightful and often poignant remembrances are fond recollections of her mother's cooking, the recipes she learned from her, and many she invented on her own inspired by the men in her life. Reviewed by Jamie Layton.

THE GEOMETRY OF SISTERS by Luanne Rice (Fiction)
New York Times bestselling author Luanne Rice explores the complex emotional equations of love and loyalty that hold together three pairs of remarkable sisters. Here in the halls of Newport Academy, a unique private school that has attracted generations of rebels, outcasts and visionaries, an unforgettable lesson in the eternal truths of sisterhood is about to begin. Reviewed by Sarah Hannah Gómez.

THE UNLIKELY DISCIPLE: A Sinner’s Semester at America’s Holiest University by Kevin Roose (Memoir)
As a sophomore at Brown University, Kevin Roose spent his days drinking fair-trade coffee, singing in an a cappella group, and fitting right in with Brown's free-spirited, ultra-liberal student body. But when Roose leaves his Ivy League confines to spend a semester at Liberty University, a conservative Baptist school in Lynchburg, Virginia, obedience is no longer optional. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

THE TOURIST by Olen Steinhauer (Thriller)
Milo Weaver used to be a “tourist” for the CIA --- an undercover agent with no home, no identity --- but he’s since retired from the field to become a middle-level manager at the CIA’s New York headquarters. When the arrest of a long-sought-after assassin sets off an investigation into one of Milo’s oldest colleagues and exposes new layers of intrigue in his old cases, he has no choice but to go back undercover and find out who’s holding the strings once and for all. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

DEAD SILENCE by Randy Wayne White (Thriller)
Doc Ford manages to save a U.S. senator from an abduction attempt that occurs right before his eyes. But the companion in her car is not so lucky. A 14-year-old Minnesota boy, in New York as the prize for an essay-writing contest, is snatched and vanishes --- dead, authorities fear, until they receive the kidnappers’ ultimatum. Ford goes on the hunt, but if what happened before was unthinkable, it’s nothing compared with what he discovers. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE VENETIAN JUDGMENT by David Stone (Thriller)
Winter in Venice and a killing frost has cut deep into CIA cleaner Micah Dalton’s heart as he heads out into the night to erase the last members of the Serbian gang who shot his lover, a hand-to-hand vendetta Dalton does not intend to survive. And he might not have, if a mysterious jade box containing a stainless steel glasscutter had not arrived at his villa. The box, and the dangerous message it contains, triggers a global search for a possible mole within the upper echelons of the CIA itself. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

SECRET SON by Laila Lalami (Fiction)
Youssef el-Mekki is living with his mother in the slums of Casablanca when he discovers that the father he believed to be dead is, in fact, alive and eager to befriend and support him. Leaving his mother behind, Youssef assumes a life he could only dream of. His future appears assured until an abrupt reversal of fortune sends him back to the streets and his childhood friends, where a fringe Islamic group has set up its headquarters. Reviewed by Elliott Walker.

New in Paperback
April’s roundup of New in Paperback titles includes ODD HOURS, the fourth Odd Thomas book that finds Dean Koontz’s young hero struggling to save several entire cities from total destruction; THE BOURNE SANCTION by Eric Van Lustbader, which centers on Jason Bourne’s investigation of a previously unknown Muslim extremist sect called the Black Legion; CERTAIN GIRLS, a sequel to Jennifer Weiner’s debut novel that catches up with protagonist Cannie Shapiro 13 years after her appearance in GOOD IN BED; WINTER STUDY, Nevada Barr’s 14th mystery featuring National Park Ranger/sleuth Anna Pigeon; UNACCUSTOMED EARTH, a collection of short stories by Jhumpa Lahiri that takes us from Cambridge and Seattle to India and Thailand as they enter the lives of sisters and brothers, fathers and mothers, daughters and sons, friends and lovers; SOMEBODY ELSE’S DAUGHTER, a psychological thriller and a probing study of richly conflicted characters in emotional turmoil from THE DOCTOR’S WIFE author Elizabeth Brundage; and APPLES & ORANGES, Marie Brenner's memoir of sibling rivalry that asks a universal question: How can two people from the same family turn out so entirely different?

Fourth Annual Mother's Day Contest
From April 17th through May 1st, readers will have the chance to win one of our five Mother's Day gift baskets filled with goodies Mom will just love, as well as one copy of ALL 13 of our featured books. With titles that are moving, uplifting, humorous and informative, look no further than here for the perfect gift for Mom.

Our featured Mother’s Day titles are:

BAD MOTHER: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities, and Occasional Moments of Grace by Ayelet Waldman
THE DIARY by Eileen Goudge
FLOWERS ON MAIN: A Chesapeake Shores Novel by Sherryl Woods
THE GIRLS FROM AMES: A Story of Women & a Forty-Year Friendship by Jeffrey Zaslow
HEART AND SOUL by Maeve Binchy
PRAYERS FOR SALE by Sandra Dallas
STERN MEN by Elizabeth Gilbert
TEA TIME FOR THE TRADITIONALLY BUILT: The New No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Novel by Alexander McCall Smith
TIME IS A RIVER by Mary Alice Monroe

- Click here for all the contest details.

One to Watch Author Spotlight
CRAZY FOR THE STORM by Norman Ollestad
From the age of three, Norman Ollestad was thrust into the world of surfing and competitive downhill skiing by the intense, charismatic father he both idolized and resented. While his friends were riding bikes, playing ball, and going to birthday parties, young Norman was whisked away in pursuit of wild and demanding adventures. Yet it were these exhilarating tests of skill that prepared “Boy Wonder,” as his father called him, to become a fearless champion --- and ultimately saved his life.
- Click here to read Norman Ollestad's bio.
- Click here to read Norman Ollestad's bibliography.
- Click here to read more about CRAZY FOR THE STORM.

Suspense Thriller Author Spotlight
WICKED PREY by John Sandford
The Republicans are coming to St. Paul for their convention. Throwing a big party is supposed to be fun, but crashing the party are a few hard cases the police would rather stayed away. Chief among them is a crew of professional stickup men who’ve spotted several lucrative opportunities, ranging from political moneymen with briefcases full of cash to that armored-car warehouse with the weakness in its security system. All that’s headache enough for Lucas Davenport --- but what’s about to hit him is even worse.
- Click here to read an excerpt from WICKED PREY.

LOOK AGAIN by Lisa Scottoline
When reporter Ellen Gleeson gets a “Have You Seen This Child?” flyer in the mail, she almost throws it away. But something about it makes her look again, and her heart stops --- the child in the photo is identical to her adopted son, Will. Everything inside her tells her to deny the similarity between the boys, because she knows her adoption was lawful. But she’s a journalist and won't be able to stop thinking about the photo until she figures out the truth.
- Click here to Advance Reader Comments for LOOK AGAIN.

PLEA OF INSANITY by Jillian Hoffman
The prosecutor --- Julia Vacanti. Young, ambitious, and facing a case that could launch her career. The defendant --- David Marquette. A successful Miami surgeon and devoted family man. The victims --- Marquette’s own wife and three small children. The plea --- Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity. The perfect father and model husband, David Marquette seemingly just snapped one night. Or did he? His experienced defense team claims paranoid delusions caused by schizophrenia drove him to slaughter his entire family.
- Click here to read Advance Reader Comments for PLEA OF INSANITY.

Romantic Suspense Author Spotlight
UNSEEN by Nancy Bush
Gemma La Porte wakes up in a hospital and knows her name and where she lives, but there are blank spaces in her memory. When released, she senses she’s being watched but thinks she's overreacting. As the days pass, Gemma begins having blackouts, waking up and having no idea where she's been or what she's done, especially when she finds blood on her hands. Has she committed murder?
- Click here to read a third excerpt from UNSEEN.

Debut Suspense Thriller Author Spotlight
Two decades ago, at a private women’s college in upstate New York, a student was brutally attacked in her dorm room, but her assailant was never found. Sue Barlow arrives at Wilbourne College twenty years later. When a classmate disappears, Sue thinks it’s an isolated incident until two other girls vanish. As fear grows on campus, Sue begins to sense she’s being watched, and as the body count rises, she soon realizes that a twisted psychopath is summoning her to play a wicked game.
- Click here to read a third excerpt from ALL THE PRETTY DEAD GIRLS.

Women’s Fiction Author Spotlight
PRAYERS FOR SALE by Sandra Dallas
It's 1936 and the depression has ravaged the country. Hennie Comfort is 86 and has lived in the mountains of Middle Swan, Colorado since before it was Colorado. Nit Spindle is just 17 and newly married. After a chance encounter between the two women, the harsh conditions of life that each have endured create an instant bond and an unlikely friendship is formed, one in which the deepest of hardships are shared and the darkest of secrets are confessed.
- Click here to read Advance Reader Comments for PRAYERS FOR SALE.

Click here to read the full newsletter.

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