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Friday, June 26, 2009

June 26, 2009

The following reviews, interviews and features began running on on Friday, June 26th.

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

THE LOST CITY OF Z by David Grann
SAVANNAH BLUES by Mary Kay Andrews
PERSEPOLIS by Marjane Satrapi
FAITHLESS by Karin Slaughter
FRACTURED by Karin Slaughter

Reviews and Excerpts
THE FIXER UPPER by Mary Kay Andrews (Fiction)
After her boss in a Washington PR firm is caught in a scandal, lobbyist Dempsey Jo Killebrew is left broke, unemployed and homeless. Out of options, she reluctantly accepts her father's offer to help refurbish Birdsong, a dilapidated, Pepto Bismol–pink Victorian house he recently inherited in Guthrie, Georgia. The delightful New York Times bestselling author returns with a hilarious novel about one woman's quest to redo an old house...and her life. Reviewed by Lourdes Orive.
- Click here to read an excerpt from THE FIXER UPPER.

THE LACE MAKERS OF GLENMARA by Heather Barbieri (Fiction)
"You can always start again," Kate Robinson's mother once told her, "all it takes is a new thread." Overwhelmed by heartbreak and loss, the struggling 26-year-old fashion designer follows her mother's advice and flees to her ancestral homeland of Ireland, hoping to break free of old patterns and reinvent herself. THE LACE MAKERS OF GLENMARA is an enchanting, romantic tale of friendship and love in which a young American woman helps a group of lace makers change their lives --- and, ultimately, her own. Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller.
- Click here to read an excerpt from THE LACE MAKERS OF GLENMARA.

THE WONDER SINGER by George Rabasa (Literary Fiction)
For freelance writer Mark Lockwood, landing the job as ghost writer for opera diva Mercè Casals is a dream. But when she dies in her bath and her agent wants to give the project to a renowned celebrity biographer, Lockwood makes off with the interview tapes to save his last best chance at writing success. Reviewed by Eileen Zimmerman Nicol.
- Click here to read an excerpt from THE WONDER SINGER.

FINGER LICKIN’ FIFTEEN: A Stephanie Plum Novel by Janet Evanovich
Trenton bounty hunter Stephanie Plum is working overtime tracking felons for the bonds office at night and snooping for security expert Carlos Manoso, aka Ranger, during the day. Can Stephanie hunt down two killers, a traitor, five skips, keep her grandmother out of the sauce, solve Ranger’s problems and not jump his bones? Reviewed by Roz Shea.
- Click here to read an excerpt from FINGER LICKIN’ FIFTEEN.

TRUST NO ONE by Gregg Hurwitz (Thriller)
In the middle of the night, a SWAT team bursts into Nick Horrigan’s apartment, grabs him and drags him to a waiting helicopter. A terrorist --- someone Nick has never heard of --- has seized control of a nuclear reactor, threatening to blow it up. And the only person he’ll talk to is Nick, promising to tell Nick the truth behind the events that shattered his life 20 years ago. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.
-Click here to read an excerpt from TRUST NO ONE.

MEDUSA: A Novel from the NUMA® Files by Clive Cussler with Paul Kemprecos (Fiction / Action & Adventure)

For seven books, Clive Cussler has dazzled readers with the “spine-tingling adventures” (Chicago Tribune) of Kurt Austin, Joe Zavala and the rest of the NUMA® Special Assignments Team. But in MEDUSA the NUMA® team faces what may be its most perilous mission of all. Reviewed by Judy Gigstad.

SANCTUARY: A Jack Taylor Novel by Ken Bruen (Thriller)
When a letter containing a list of victims arrives in the post, P.I. Jack Taylor tells himself that it has nothing to do with him. A guard and then a judge die in mysterious circumstances. But it is not until a child is added to the list that Taylor determines to find the identity of the killer, and stop them at any cost. What he doesn’t know is that his relationship with the killer is far closer than he thinks. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

LET THE GREAT WORLD SPIN by Colum McCann (Fiction)
In the dawning light of a late-summer morning, the people of lower Manhattan stand hushed, staring up in disbelief at the Twin Towers. It is August 1974, and a mysterious tightrope walker is running, dancing, leaping between the towers, suspended a quarter mile above the ground. In the streets below, a slew of ordinary lives become extraordinary in Colum McCann’s portrait of a city and its people. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.

THE SECOND DEATH OF GOODLUCK TINUBU: A Detective Kubu Mystery by Michael Stanley (Mystery)
The memorable Kubu of A CARRION DEATH returns in this gripping story of murder, greed and hidden motives. Set in northern Botswana, amid lush vegetation and teeming wildlife, THE SECOND DEATH OF GOODLUCK TINUBU captures the intense loyalties and struggles taking place at the country's borders --- and the shattered dreams of those living just outside this modern democracy. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

In the heart of New York City, hidden in the back room of an old Laundromat, are nine rare and valuable plants. HOTHOUSE FLOWER AND THE NINE PLANTS OF DESIRE tells the story of this legendary garden, and the distance one woman must travel --- from the cold, harsh streets of Manhattan to the lush jungles of the Yucatan Peninsula --- to claim what is hers. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

NAME TO A FACE by Robert Goddard (Thriller)
Robert Goddard’s NAME TO A FACE is another addition to a long line of novels that have captivated readers worldwide with edge-of-the-seat pacing and labyrinthine plotting. This novel features a century’s old mystery involving the sinking of a ship off Sicily in 1707 and how it ties in to a murder 30 years later and the drowning of a journalist in 1999. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

THE DEVIL’S TICKETS: A Night of Bridge, a Fatal Hand, and a New American Age by Gary M. Pomerantz (History)
Through larger-than-life characters and the timeless partnership game they played, THE DEVIL’S TICKETS evokes the last echoes of the Roaring Twenties and the darkness of the Depression. Ultimately it reveals a tension between husbands and wives that is eternal and manifests itself at the bridge table in ways surprising and profound. Reviewed by Curtis Edmonds.

The legendary attorney Clarence Darrow is most remembered for courtroom battles of the 1920s. The Leopold and Loeb case, the Scopes Monkey Trial and the Ossian Sweet murder trial came at the end of his career as he sought to rehabilitate his image, tarnished by his personal criminal prosecution for jury tampering. Here, Donald McRae portrays Darrow’s personal struggle for redemption as well as his courtroom battles for his clients. Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman.

Mary Kay Andrews
Mary Kay Andrews is the bestselling author of seven books, including SAVANNAH BREEZE, SAVANNAH BLUES, LITTY BITTY LIES and HISSY FIT. In this interview with's Lourdes Orive, Andrews explains what inspired the plot of her latest novel, THE FIXER UPPER, and gives a bit of insight into her main character Dempsey's troubles in life and love. She also discusses her own restoring and decorating, mentions some of her favorite Southern writers, and creates an ideal menu for reading groups to enjoy while discussing her book.

Heather Barbieri
In this interview with's Bronwyn Miller, Heather Barbieri --- whose second novel, THE LACE MAKERS OF GLENMARA, is now available in stores --- explains what inspired the book's plot and describes her personal connection with its setting in Western Ireland. She also discusses the role sewing played in her upbringing, names the character with whom she most identifies, and reveals what she looks forward to on book tours.

George Rabasa
George Rabasa's third novel, THE WONDER SINGER, is about a ghostwriter asked to pen the autobiography of an aging, legendary opera diva who dies unexpectedly before the project is completed. In this interview with's Eileen Zimmerman Nicol, Rabasa discusses the challenges of writing in the story-within-a-story frame, and explains who inspired --- both in name and personality --- the book's main character. He also describes his unconventional writing process, reveals how his former career in advertising helped hone his voice as a writer, and compares and contrasts the life of an author with that of a performer.

Beach Bag of Books
Whether your "beach" is on sand, your backyard deck or a grassy meadow in the country, the summer months mean it's time for "beach reading." is celebrating the lazy days of summer reading with our Fifth Annual Beach Bag of Books feature and contests.

During select weeks from May 22nd through September 4th, a different title or collection of titles will be featured with a contest prize --- a beach bag stocked with the featured book(s) and summertime essentials. Five FABULOUS beach bags will be given away each week, as well as five copies of the featured book(s) to additional winners.

MERCURY IN RETROGRADE introduces three women whose lives intersect when they each decide to move into the same SoHo apartment building. As these disparate ladies become friends, they soon discover that having their carefully planned lives fall to pieces might have been the best thing that could have ever happened to them. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

Suspense Thriller Author Spotlight
UNDONE by Karin Slaughter
In the trauma center of Atlanta’s busiest hospital, Sara Linton treats the poor, wounded and unlucky --- and finds refuge from the tragedy that rocked her life in rural Grant County. But in an instant, Sara is thrust into a frantic police investigation that will take her right back to Grant County. In UNDONE, three unforgettable characters from Karin Slaughter’s bestselling novels FAITHLESS and FRACTURED collide for the first time, entering an electrifying race against the clock.
- Click here to read Karin Slaughter’s bio.
- Click here to read Karin Slaughter's biography.
- Click here to read more about UNDONE.
- Click here to read an excerpt from UNDONE.

THE SHIMMER by David Morrell
In New York Times bestselling author David Morrell’s new novel, THE SHIMMER, bizarre phenomena draw hundreds of people to a remote Texas town, including a Santa Fe police officer and his wife who find themselves plunged into violence and bloodshed that quickly spiral out of control. But has the military known about – and exploited – these inexplicable phenomena for decades, thus unleashing forces they may not be able to control?
- Click here to read a second excerpt from THE SHIMMER.

Mystery Mayhem Author Spotlight
THE LIKENESS by Tana French
Six months after the events of IN THE WOODS, Detective Cassie Maddox is still trying to recover. She’s transferred out of the Murder squad and started a relationship with Detective Sam O’Neill, but she’s too badly shaken to make any commitment either to him or to her career. Then Sam calls her to the scene of his new case: a young woman found stabbed to death in a small town outside Dublin.

The dead girl’s ID says her name is Lexie Madison --- the identity Cassie used, years ago, as an undercover detective. And she looks exactly like Cassie.
- Click here to read more about THE LIKENESS.
- Click here to read an excerpt from THE LIKENESS
- Click here to read a review of THE LIKENESS.
- Click here to read Tana French’s bio.
- Click here to read Tana French's bibliography.

Witty, smart and always chic, Haley Randolph has it all: Gucci, Prada, Chanel, Coach, Burberry, and she’d kill for the newest Louis Vuitton handbag... but it seems she’s not the only one. When someone’s passion for designer purses leads to murder, Haley goes shopping for a killer and to clear her name.
- Click here to read a third excerpt from HANDBAGS AND HOMICIDE.

Debut Suspense Thriller Author Spotlight
KILLING RED by Henry Perez
On death row, serial killer Kenneth Lee Grubb has six days to live and his last request is an interview with reporter Alex Chapa. What begins as a dream story soon turns into a nightmare for Alex. For amidst Grubb’s taunts and boasts lies the horrific claim that someone is carefully repeating his past crimes. When nine people suddenly turn up dead, Alex realizes Grubb is telling the truth. Now the copycat killer is ready to pay his ultimate tribute to his idol. He’s set his sights on Annie “Red” Sykes, the only survivor of his bloodlust fifteen years ago.
- Click here to read a third excerpt from KILLING RED.

Click here to read the full newsletter.

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