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Friday, May 1, 2009

May 1, 2009

The following reviews, interviews and features began running on on Friday, May 1st.

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

WRONGFUL DEATH by Robert Dugoni
THE DAWN PATROL by Don Winslow
COLUMBINE by Dave Cullen
THE GEOGRAPHY OF BLISS: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World by Eric Weiner
THE PHOTOGRAPHER by Emmanuel Guilbert

Reviews and Excerpts
UNSEEN by Nancy Bush (Romantic Suspense)
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? Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.
-Click here to read an excerpt from UNSEEN.

ALL THE PRETTY DEAD GIRLS by John Manning (Thriller)
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 20 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. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.
-Click here to read an excerpt from ALL THE PRETTY DEAD GIRLS.

DEAD BEFORE DARK by Wendy Corsi Staub (Thriller)
Thirty-five tortuous prison years made the Night Watchman’s desire to murder again build like shaken champagne. He is free --- at last! --- and the cork is ready to pop, letting him reclaim macabre fame that made him as notorious as Jack the Ripper. Scotland Yard is out of the question in the mean streets of several U.S. cities, leaving only renowned psychic Lucinda Sloan to keep America safe. But who keeps Lucinda safe from the Night Watchman? Reviewed by L. Dean Murphy.
-Click here to read an excerpt from DEAD BEFORE DARK.

ADMISSION by Jean Hanff Korelitz (Fiction)
In this exquisitely rendered portrait, Portia Nathan's life is almost entirely devoted to her work as one of Princeton University's admissions officers. When a change in her domestic life splits her emotions wide open, Portia must face devastating truths about herself, as her past life collides with the present. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

INTENT TO KILL by James Grippando (Thriller)
In a departure from his Jack Swyteck series, James Grippando tells the story of a fallen baseball star who must use his new skills as Boston's king of sports radio to outwit a dangerous caller and prove --- live and on the air --- that the hit-and-run that killed his wife was no accident. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

HOME SAFE by Elizabeth Berg (Fiction)
Elizabeth Berg tells the story of the recently widowed Helen Ames and of her 27-year-old daughter Tessa. Helen is shocked to discover that her mild-mannered and loyal husband had been leading a double life. The Ames’s had saved money for a happy retirement, planned in minute detail, but that money has disappeared in several big withdrawals --- spent by Helen’s husband before he died. Reviewed by Jennifer McCord.

ALWAYS LOOKING UP: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist by Michael J. Fox
World-famous star of the big and small screen, Michael J. Fox is back with his second memoir following LUCKY MAN in 2002. In ALWAYS LOOKING UP, he talks about the past 10 years of his life and his battle with Parkinson’s disease, focusing on his work, politics, faith and family. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

THE COLOR OF LIGHTNING by Paulette Jiles (Historical Fiction)
In 1863, the War Between the States creeps slowly yet inevitably toward its bloody conclusion --- and eastern thoughts are already turning to different wars and enemies. Paulette Jiles’s latest novel, set in North Texas at the end of the Civil War, is a complex, multicultural Western, a mixture of riveting action and poetic, deeply felt writing. Reviewed by Kathy Weissman.

THE SONG IS YOU by Arthur Phillips (Fiction)
Arthur Phillips’s fourth novel takes some genuine risks. In less capable hands, his romantic, powerful meditation on music and human connection could have become a ludicrous farce or a creepy tale of middle-aged sexual obsession. With his characteristic playfulness and inventiveness, however, Phillips elevates his story to the realm of literary fantasy and musical meditation in terms that will speak to readers and music lovers alike. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

SAG HARBOR by Colson Whitehead (Fiction)
Colson Whitehead’s fourth novel is a lighthearted, distinctive coming-of-age tale about a group of upper middle-class black teenagers passing one seemingly uneventful summer in Sag Harbor, Long Island. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.

THE LAST TESTAMENT by Sam Bourne (Thriller)
As American tanks roll across Iraq and overtake Baghdad, looting breaks out in the city. In the midst of the chaos, an Iraqi teenage boy removes an ancient clay tablet from the Museum of Antiquities. His actions set in motion a series of events and discoveries of biblical proportions. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

SMOOTH TALKING STRANGER by Lisa Kleypas (Romance)
Ella Varner believes marriage is for other people --- until she is seduced by Texas millionaire real estate mogul Jack Travis. SMOOTH TALKING STRANGER is a journey of love, one that includes letting go of old fears and having the courage to be open to new experiences and people who invite you to be a part of their lives. Reviewed by Hillary Wagy.

Author Interviews
Nancy Bush
Nancy Bush has written over 40 mystery, romance, historical and YA novels, including the Jane Kelly Mysteries and the Nancy Drew Files series. Her latest work of fiction, UNSEEN, is her first solo attempt at penning a suspense/thriller, which features some of the characters she created in a book she had co-written with her sister, author Lisa Jackson. In this interview with's Joe Hartlaub, Bush weighs in on the controversial psychological condition that figures greatly in her book, Dissociative Identity Disorder (or Multiple Personality Disorder), and explains why this story is darker in tone than many of her previous titles. She also discusses why she likes exploring several different genres in her work, shares her personal cure for writer’s block, and talks about future projects in the works --- both solo efforts and collaborations with Lisa Jackson.

John Manning's Joe Hartlaub recently spoke with author John Manning about his debut thriller novel, ALL THE PRETTY DEAD GIRLS. In this interview, Manning traces the inspiration behind this book to one of his favorite movies from the ’70s and sheds light on the facets of some of his characters. He also shares his thoughts on spiritual phenomena --- which play an important role in the story --- muses on the possibility of a sequel, and gives details about his next project, hopefully due out next year.

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

Books into Movies
This month's Books into Movies Feature includes:
Angels & Demons

Suspense Thriller Author Spotlight
PEOPLE DIE by Kevin Wignall
(Memoir) Fast, efficient, and deadly… JJ is the best hit man money can buy. His clients are international. His targets never see it coming. His only rule: never get emotionally involved. But in the assassination game, everything can change with a single bullet. When a hit goes down in a Moscow hotel and JJ lets a beautiful young woman walk away carrying her clothes and a package, he knows he’s broken his ultimate rule…
- Click here to read Kevin Wignall's bio.
- Click here to read Kevin Wignall's bibliography.
- Click here to read more about PEOPLE DIE.

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 a second excerpt from WICKED PREY.

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 an excerpt from CRAZY FOR THE STORM.

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