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Thursday, July 2, 2009

July 2, 2009

The following reviews, interviews and features began running on on Friday, July 2nd.

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

MUDBOUND by Hilary Jordan
TRUST NO ONE by Gregg Hurwitz
THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU by Jonathan Tropper
A RELIABLE WIFE by Robert Goolrick
THE MIDDLE PLACE by Kelly Corrigan
THE NEIGHBOR by Lisa Gardner
THE TWENTIES GIRL by Sophie Kinsella
FEAR THE WORST by Linwood Barclay
SMASHER by Keith Raffel

Review and Excerpts
KILLING RED by Henry Perez (Thriller)
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 has set his sights on Annie “Red” Sykes, the only survivor of his bloodlust 15 years ago. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt of KILLING RED.

HANDBAGS AND HOMICIDE: A Haley Randolph Mystery, by Dorothy Howell (Mystery)
The only reason a twenty-something gal like Haley Randolph would ever work at a mid-class department store like Holt's is for the extra cash required to support her serious designer handbag habit. Unfortunately, when Haley becomes the prime suspect in her miserly manager's murder, her part-time job turns into a full-time headache. Reviewed by Amie Taylor and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt of HANDBAGS AND HOMICIDE.

RELENTLESS by Dean Koontz (Thriller)
Dean Koontz’s new thriller explores the razor-thin line between the best and worst of human nature --- and the anarchy simmering just beneath society’s surface --- as a likable, successful family man is drawn into a confrontation with a foe of unimaginable malice. Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt of RELENTLESS.

KILLER SUMMER by Ridley Pearson (Thriller)
Sun Valley, Idaho --- playground of the wealthy and politically connected --- is home to an annual wine auction that attracts high rollers from across the country, and Blaine County Sheriff Walt Fleming is the one who must ensure it goes off without a hitch. But when a passing truck catches his eye, his suspicions throw him headlong into the discovery of a complicated plan to steal the rare wine. Reviewed by L. Dean Murphy.

A name written on a tiny piece of paper leads Connie Goodwin, a Harvard graduate student, on a quest that uncovers evidence of a long-lost book. Written in the late 1600s, it seems to point to witchcraft. Now, in 1991, someone other than Connie is intent on finding the book and will stop at nothing to possess it. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

RETURN TO SULLIVANS ISLAND by Dorothea Benton Frank (Fiction)
The next generation of Hamiltons and Hayes may well have its beginning with the return of Beth Hayes to the family homestead on Sullivans Island. The family has recruited her to housesit the Island Gamble for a year while her elders are off “doing their own thing.” Will she be able to overcome her resentments and live up to her family’s expectations? Reviewed by Maggie Harding.

When author Kendall Aims loses everything in one fell swoop, her author friends step in to assist her by secretly collaborating on the book Kendall must write but can't. What follows is an intriguing plot with lots of twists and turns, a rumination on friendship, and a fascinating peek into the publishing business. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

SATCHEL: The Life and Times of an American Legend, by Larry Tye (Biography)
Few reliable records or news reports survive about players in the Negro Leagues. Through dogged detective work, Larry Tye has tracked down the truth about Leroy “Satchel” Paige, interviewing more than 200 Negro Leaguers and Major Leaguers, talking to family and friends who had never told their stories before, and retracing Paige’s steps across the continent. Reviewed by Ron Kaplan.

FAKE I.D. by Jason Starr (Thriller)
A New York bar bouncer with dreams of being more, Tommy Russo jumps at the chance to join a horse-owning syndicate. But to do so he’ll have to pony up $10,000 --- and that’s money he doesn’t have. So what’s an ambitious young man to do? Anything he has to... Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

DOWN AROUND MIDNIGHT: A Memoir of Crash and Survival, by Robert Sabbag (Memoir)
What would it be like to experience a plane crash as a passenger? It's a terrifying scenario that we've all thought about at one time or another. In DOWN AROUND MIDNIGHT, Robert Sabbag writes about his own harrowing experience. Thirty years after the event, he tells about the crash and its aftermath on his own life and the lives of other passengers. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.

NEWTON AND THE COUNTERFEITER: The Unknown Detective Career of the World’s Greatest Scientist, by Thomas Levenson (History/Biography)
What most people know about Isaac Newton starts --- and usually ends --- with an apple falling from a tree. That led eventually to Newton’s theory of gravity and to his famous “laws of motion,” the invention of calculus and discoveries about the behavior of light. Much less known is his role in reforming the coinage of money in England and his pursuit of counterfeiters. MIT science professor Thomas Levenson focuses on one such case --- a long-running battle of wits between Newton and a master counterfeiter named William Chaloner. Reviewed by Robert Finn.

Author Interviews
Ridley Pearson
Ridley Pearson is the author of over 20 novels for both adults and young readers, including THE DIARY OF ELLEN RIMBAUER, PETER AND THE STARCATCHERS (co-written with Dave Barry), KILLER VIEW and KILLER WEEKEND. In this interview with's L. Dean Murphy, Pearson discusses what prompted him to write his latest, KILLER SUMMER, as a heist novel, and describes the real-life inspirations behind the book's setting and characters. He also gives insight into his writing process, professes his love for villainous characters, and explains how he got started writing children's books.

Henry Perez
Henry Perez is a former television producer and journalist who recently published his debut novel, KILLING RED, a suspense thriller about a serial murderer on death row whose crimes are being replicated by a copycat killer. In this interview with's Joe Hartlaub, Perez compares and contrasts himself to his reporter protagonist, Alex Chapa, and discusses his and other characters' evolutions throughout the course of the story. He also describes his favorite aspect of the writing process, shares his thoughts on the current state of print media, and reveals what readers can look forward to in his follow-up novel, MOURN THE LIVING.

Dorothy Howell
With over 20 historical romances under her belt, Dorothy Howell's most recent novel HANDBAGS AND HOMICIDE --- now in paperback --- marks her first attempt at writing a mystery. In this interview with's Amie Taylor, Howell explains why she chose to try her hand at this new genre and describes what inspired the book's quirky plot and main character. She also confesses to a weakness for shopping --- one accessory in particular --- lists some of the many career hats she wore before turning to writing full time, and hints at what's in store for protagonist Haley Randolph in the next installment of the series.

Author Talk
Katherine Howe
Katherine Howe's debut, THE PHYSICK BOOK OF DELIVERANCE DANE, follows two intertwined narratives --- one of a Harvard graduate student in 1991, and the other of a woman caught in the middle of the infamous Salem Witch Trials three centuries previous. In this interview, Howe describes her personal connection to this historical event, and discusses her interest in portraying it accurately as opposed to its more common "fairy tale version." She also explains what drew her to the real-life titular figure, and speculates why people have always been fascinated with this period in American history.

Books into Movies
This month’s Books into Movies Feature includes
Public Enemies
I Love You, Beth Cooper
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

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 Jeanne Kalogridis’s bio.
- Click here to read Jean Kalogridis’s Author Bibliography.
- Click here to read more about THE DEVIL’S QUEEN.

UNDONE by Karin Slaughter
In the trauma center of Atlanta’s busiest hospital, Sara Linton treats the city’s poor, wounded, and unlucky --- and finds refuge from the tragedy that rocked her life in rural Grant County. Then, in one instant, Sara is thrust into a frantic police investigation, coming face-to-face with a tall driven detective and his quiet female partner. In UNDONE, three unforgettable characters from Karin Slaughter’s New York Times bestselling novels FAITHLESS and FRACTURED collide for the first time, entering an electrifying race against the clock --- and a duel with unspeakable human evil.
- 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 third 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 a second 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.

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 a third excerpt from THE FIXER UPPER.

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