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Bookreporter.com Updates

Friday, July 17, 2009

July 17, 2009

The following reviews, interviews and features began running on Bookreporter.com on Friday, July 17th.

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

THE GRAVEYARD BOOK by Neil Gaiman
WINTERGIRLS by Laurie Halse Anderson
SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson
THE LION AND THE MOUSE by Jerry Pinkney


Reviews and Excerpts
UNDONE by Karin Slaughter (Thriller)
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. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.
- Click here to read a third excerpt from UNDONE.

JERICHO’S FALL by Stephen L. Carter (Thriller)
In an imposing house in the Colorado Rockies, Jericho Ainsley, former head of the Central Intelligence Agency and a Wall Street titan, lies dying. He summons to his bedside Beck DeForde, the younger woman for whom he threw away his career years ago, miring them both in scandal. Beck believes she is visiting to say farewell. Instead, she is drawn into a battle over an explosive secret that foreign governments and powerful corporations alike want to wrest from Jericho before he dies. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.
- Click here to read an excerpt from JERICHO’S FALL.

THE BEST OF TIMES by Penny Vincenzi (Fiction)
On a Friday afternoon, on a motorway outside of London, a trailer truck suddenly and violently swerves across fives lanes of traffic --- careening cars into one another like dominoes and leaving a trail of chaos and confusion. Within the space of a minute, a pileup has amassed, and, as the survivors await help, their stories unfold. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.
- Click here to read an excerpt from THE BEST OF TIMES.
- Click here to see the reading group guide for THE BEST OF TIMES.

BEST FRIENDS FOREVER by Jennifer Weiner (Fiction)
When Addie Downs opens her front door and discovers her long-lost childhood best friend, Valerie Adler, standing there, with terror on her face and blood on her coat, she finds herself on an extraordinary adventure on which she’ll learn the truth about her past and forever change her future. Reviewed by Roberta O’Hara.
- Click here to read an excerpt from BEST FRIENDS FOREVER.

RAIN GODS by James Lee Burke (Thriller)
When Hackberry Holland became sheriff of a tiny Texas town near the Mexican border, he had hoped to leave certain things behind: his checkered reputation, his haunted dreams, and his obsessive memories of the good life with his late wife, Rie. But the discovery of the bodies of nine illegal aliens, machine-gunned to death and buried in a shallow grave behind a church, soon makes it clear that he won't escape so easily. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE LOVERS by John Connolly (Thriller)
Deprived of his private investigator's license and under scrutiny by the police, Charlie Parker takes a job in a Portland bar. But he uses his enforced retirement to begin a different kind of investigation: an examination of his own past and an inquiry into the death of his father, who took his own life after apparently shooting dead two unarmed teenagers. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

IN THE HEART OF THE CANYON by Elisabeth Hyde (Fiction)
In this irresistible page-turner from the author of THE ABORTIONIST’S DAUGHTER, a group of varied strangers gather for a rafting trip down the Colorado River --- a journey that will thrill them, terrify them, and change their relationships and their lives forever. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

THE PENNY PINCHERS CLUB by Sarah Strohmeyer (Fiction)
If you happen to be suffering the money blues, this novel is the prescription! Kat's spending ways come to a screeching halt when she discovers that she must not only pay off her considerable consumer debt, but also save up enough to divorce her husband. How she goes about finding her inner frugality makes for a timely tale about finances that manages to be upbeat and fun to read. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

MY REMARKABLE JOURNEY by Larry King (Memoir)
For a half-century the world's most influential figures have been telling their story to Larry King. Now the man in suspenders shares his riveting and inspiring story, from his humble roots in Depression-era Brooklyn to the heights of celebrity as host of CNN's “Larry King Live.” Reviewed by Marge Fletcher.

THE GLASSBLOWER OF MURANO by Marina Fiorato (Fiction)
Hurting from a painful divorce and unsure of her place in the world, Nora Manin moves to Venice on a whim to trace her family history and study the art of glassblowing. While rebuilding her life, she uncovers a mystery surrounding an ancestor and unexpectedly falls in love. Reviewed by Amy Gwiazdowski.
- Click here to see the reading group guide for THE GLASSBLOWER OF MURANO.

THE NIGHT COUNTER by Alia Yunis (Fiction)
If Scheherazade, the famous narrator of 1001 Nights, gained immortality beyond the immortality of her words, how do you imagine she would spend her time? In her debut novel, THE NIGHT COUNTER, Alia Yunis writes that she would spend her time collecting more stories. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

IN THE VALLEY OF MIST: Kashmir: One Family in a Changing World by Justine Hardy (Current Events)
IN THE VALLEY OF MIST is the story of the North Indian state of Kashmir, as told by the English journalist Justine Hardy, who spent decades visiting and revisiting the region dubbed “Heaven on Earth.” Middle Eastern conflict is no easy read for most of us, but having it described by a Western outsider and one who is familiar with the Dars --- a somewhat typical Kashmiri family --- gives the reader personal insight into what can often be a very impersonal conflict. Reviewed by Shannon Luders-Manuel.

STARFINDER: A Skylords Novel by John Marco (Fantasy)
Moth has the Starfinder. Rendor wants it. The dragon wants it. The Skylords want it. They all will do anything to get it. Born to lives where those they love have been lost, Moth and his friend Fiona undertake a perilous adventure to restore a woman to her true form, free the skies from the control of callous masters, and somehow begin to find faith in each other and those around them. Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard.


Interview
Karin Slaughter
Karin Slaughter's latest novel, UNDONE, features characters from both her Grant County and Will Trent/Atlanta series who come together to solve a grisly murder. In this interview with Bookreporter.com's Joe Hartlaub, Slaughter describes the hardest aspect of this "cross-pollination" and examines the complex relationships shared by the main characters. She also discusses the shocking statistics she uncovered while researching crimes committed against women in the US, reveals her ultimate goal in writing crime fiction, and shares details about her next book, tentatively titled BROKEN.


Author Talks
Stephen L. Carter
Stephen L. Carter is a law professor and has written 11 fiction and nonfiction titles, including the novels THE EMPEROR OF OCEAN PARK, NEW ENGLAND WHITE and PALACE COUNCIL. In this interview, Carter explains how his latest book, JERICHO'S FALL, differs from his previous work and was inspired by his fascination with the prominence of mental illness amongst the intelligence community. He also discusses his research on the CIA and elaborates on the difficult lives spies lead.

Jennifer Weiner
In this interview, Jennifer Weiner --- bestselling author of seven titles, including GOODNIGHT NOBODY, IN HER SHOES and CERTAIN GIRLS --- discusses her latest novel, BEST FRIENDS FOREVER, and elaborates on some of its themes, including friendship and its connection with faith and religion. She also explains why she is always drawn to exploring relationships between women in her books, and shares what she hopes readers will take away from her work.


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." Bookreporter.com is celebrating the lazy days of summer reading with our Fifth Annual Bookreporter.com 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.

LOOSE GIRL by Kerry Cohen (Memoir)
LOOSE GIRL is Kerry Cohen’s captivating memoir about her descent into promiscuity and how she gradually found her way toward real intimacy. The story of addiction --- not just to sex, but to male attention --- LOOSE GIRL is also the story of a young girl who came to believe that boys and men could give her life meaning.

THE RICHEST SEASON by Maryann McFadden (Fiction)
When lonely corporate wife Joanna Harrison runs away to Pawleys Island, she has no idea what happens next. But as a new life takes root, thanks to a passionate fisherman and a commitment to save endangered turtles, demands from her old life may force her to return.

SUMMER BLOWOUT by Claire Cook (Fiction)
Bella Shaughnessy is the resident makeup maven in a family of Boston Irish hair salon owners; she has an artful solution to almost every problem. But Bella feels bruised beyond the reach of even the best concealer when her half-sister runs off with her husband. What could she come up with to cover a hurt like that?

THE WILDWATER WALKING CLUB by Claire Cook (Fiction)
Three women find each other --- and themselves --- when they start walking together. But it’s more than mere exercise. It’s the beginning of a fresh attitude, a new strength and forever friendships. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.


Suspense Thriller Author Spotlight
FEAR THE WORST by Linwood Barclay Your daughter doesn’t come home from her summer job. You go there looking for her. No one’s seen here --- no one’s ever seen her. So where has she been going every day? And where is she now?

In Linwood Barclay’s riveting new thriller, an ordinary man’s desperate search for his daughter leads him into a dark world of corruption, exploitation and murder. Sometimes the people you think you know best are the ones harboring the biggest secrets.
- Click here to read Linwood Barclay’s bio.
- Click here to read Linwood Barclay’s bibliography.
- Click here to read more about FEAR THE WORST.

DYING FOR MERCY by Mary Jane Clark
When death shatters the serenity of the exclusive moneyed enclave of Tuxedo Park, New York, Eliza Blake, cohost of the country's premier morning television show KEY to America, is on the scene. While attending a lavish gala at her friends' newly renovated estate, Pentimento, Eliza's host is found dead --- a grotesque suicide that is the first act in a macabre and intricately conceived plan to expose the sins of the past involving some of the town's most revered citizens.
- Click here to read Mary Jane Clark’s bio.
- Click here to read Mary Jane Clark’s bibliography.
- Click here to read more about DYING FOR MERCY.

RULES OF VENGEANCE by Christopher Reich
Months after foiling an attack on a commercial jetliner, Doctors Without Borders physician Jonathan Ransom is working under an assumed name in a remote corner of Africa, while his newly revealed spy wife, Emma, desperate to escape the wrath of Division, the secret American intelligence agency she betrayed, has vanished into the netherworld of international espionage. Both look forward to sharing a stolen weekend in London --- until an ambush on a convoy of limousines turns their romantic rendezvous into a terrorist bloodbath.
- Click here to read an excerpt from RULES OF VENGEANCE.

NO MERCY by John Gilstrap
Deep inside the dangerous world of rescue operations, one anonymous hero pays no ransom, takes no prisoners and breaks every rule. Meet Jonathan Grave. No names. No feds. No trace evidence. That’s how Jonathan Grave operates. As a freelance specialist in covert rescues, he has to work outside the law to get things done --- especially in highly sensitive hostage situations. But when an Indiana college student is abducted, and Jonathan’s meticulous plan explodes into a deadly shooting spree, the local authorities are out for blood --- and they’re not alone. Someone wants to control a devastating secret...someone rich and powerful...someone willing to capture, torture and kill anyone to get it. Even the people Jonathan loves most.
- Click here to read an excerpt from NO MERCY.

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 Advance Reader Comments for THE SHIMMER.


Historical Fiction Author Spotlight
THE DEVIL’S QUEEN: A Novel of Catherine de Medici by Jeanne Kalogridis
Confidante of Nostradamus, scheming mother-in-law to Mary, Queen of Scots, and architect of the bloody St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, Catherine de Medici is one of the most maligned monarchs in history. In her latest historical fiction, Jeanne Kalogridis tells Catherine’s story --- that of a tender young girl, destined to be a pawn in Machiavellian games.
- Click here to read the second excerpt from THE DEVIL’S QUEEN.


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 a review of THE LIKENESS.
- Click here to read an excerpt from THE LIKENESS.
- Click here to read Tana French’s bio.
- Click here to read more about THE LIKENESS.
- Click here to read Tana French's bibliography.


Women’s Fiction Author Spotlight
THE FIXER UPPER by Mary Kay Andrews
After her boss in a high-powered Washington public relations firm is caught in a political scandal, fledgling lobbyist Dempsey Jo Killebrew is left almost broke, unemployed and homeless. Out of options, she reluctantly accepts her father's offer to help refurbish Birdsong, the old family place he recently inherited in Guthrie, Georgia. All it will take, he tells her, is a little paint and some TLC to turn the fading Victorian mansion into a real-estate cash cow.
- Click here to read Mary Kay Andrews’ Answers to Reader Questions.

THE LACE MAKERS OF GLENMARA by Heather Barbieri
"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. 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.
- Click here to read Heather Barbieri’s Answers to Reader Questions.


Literary Fiction Author Spotlight
THE WONDER SINGER by George Rabasa
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.
- Click here to read George Rabasa’s Answers to Reader Questions.


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