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Friday, July 31, 2009

July 31, 2009

The following reviews, interviews and features began running on on Friday, July 31st.

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

THE HELP by Kathryn Stocket
THE FILM CLUB by David Gilmour

Reviews and Excerpts
DYING FOR MERCY by Mary Jane Clark (Suspense)
When death shatters the serenity of the exclusive moneyed enclave of Tuxedo Park, New York, Eliza Blake, co-host of a television show, is on the scene. While attending a lavish gala at her friends' estate, Pentimento, Eliza's host is found dead. Determined to find out the truth, Eliza and her colleagues discover that Pentimento holds the key. Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin.
- Click here to read an excerpt from DYING FOR MERCY.
- Click here to read Mary Jane Clark's blog post, "How About Picking a Page-Turner?"

BLACK HILLS by Nora Roberts (Romantic Suspense)
Time spent with Nora Roberts, the quintessential storyteller, is always time well spent. Every book delivers a smart plot, riveting suspense, and strong, interesting characters. In her latest romantic suspense novel, the reader is transported to the ranchlands of South Dakota. Reviewed by Jennifer McCord.
- Click here to read an excerpt from BLACK HILLS.

LABOR DAY by Joyce Maynard (Fiction)
The small town of Holton Mills, New Hampshire, in 1987 is the setting for Joyce Maynard’s gentle and quietly moving coming-of-age novel. In LABOR DAY, she tells the affecting tale of three damaged people who come together to form an unlikely family. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.
- Click here to read an excerpt from LABOR DAY.
- Click here to read Joyce Maynard’s blog post, “Chance Encounter.”

THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE by Stieg Larsson (Thriller)
Mikael Blomkvist has decided to run a story that will expose an extensive sex trafficking operation between Eastern Europe and Sweden, implicating well-known and highly placed members of Swedish society, business and government. But he has no idea just how explosive the story will be until, on the eve of publication, the two investigating reporters are murdered. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.
- Click here to read an excerpt from THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE.

SECRET OF THE SEVENTH SON by Glenn Cooper (Thriller)
Nine people have been slain in New York City --- nine strangers with nothing in common --- the apparent victims of a frighteningly elusive serial killer. Only one thing links the dead: postcards they received, mailed from Las Vegas, announcing the day they would die. But for Will Piper, the FBI agent investigating the case, nothing is what it seems, and the truth is an ancient secret best left undiscovered. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.
- Click here to read an excerpt from SECRET OF THE SEVENTH SON.

A tale of family and friendship, tragedy and triumph, loss and love, THE CROWNING GLORY OF CALLA LILY PONDER features the warmth, humor, soul and wonder that have made Rebecca Wells one of today's most cherished writers, and gives us an unforgettable new heroine to treasure. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.
- Click here to see the reading group guide for THE CROWNING GLORY OF CALLA LILY PONDER.

STORM CYCLE by Iris Johansen and Roy Johansen (Thriller)
On a university campus in Houston, Texas, a sharpshooter takes aim at a scientist. Several thousand miles away in Cairo, Egypt, a man becomes trapped in a tomb. Fortunately for Rachel Kirby and John Tavak, they have a lot more in common than their respective situations suggest. Reviewed by Amy Gwiazdowski.

In CONFESSIONS OF A JANE AUSTEN ADDICT, a die-hard Jane Austen fan finds herself somehow transported into the 19th century in the strange body of Jane Mansfield, a proper English lady. RUDE AWAKENINGS is exactly the reverse scenario, now with 19th-century Jane finding herself as an impostor inside the body of a blonde knockout, who is Courtney Stone in modern-day U.S.A. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.

THE BRIDE WILL KEEP HER NAME by Jan Goldstein (Fiction)
Madison Mandelbaum has it all: a dream job, incredible friends, and a gorgeous fiancé who adores her. Days before her wedding, though, a mysterious stranger starts sending her messages implying her fiancé is involved in the murder of a call girl. Will Madison and her friends discover the truth before she says “I do”? Reviewed by Meredyth Temple.

THE LAST BRIDGE by Teri Coyne (Fiction)
For 10 years, Alexandra “Cat” Rucker has been on the run from her past. With an endless supply of bourbon and a series of meaningless jobs, Cat is struggling to forget her Ohio hometown and the rural farmhouse she once called home. But a sudden call from an old neighbor forces Cat to return to the home and family she never intended to see again. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

THE UNSEEN by Alexandra Sokoloff (Thriller)
After experiencing a precognitive dream that changes her life forever, a young psychology professor decides to get a fresh start by taking a job at Duke University. She soon becomes obsessed with the files from the world-famous Rhine parapsychology lab experiments, which attempted to prove ESP really exists. Along with a handsome professor, she uncovers troubling cases, including one about a house supposedly haunted by a poltergeist. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

HUNT THROUGH THE CRADLE OF FEAR by Gabriel Hunt, as told to Charles Ardai (Fiction/Action & Adventure)
HUNT THROUGH THE CRADLE OF FEAR is the second installment in a new series featuring globetrotting explorer/good guy Gabriel Hunt. Hunt starts out trying to rescue a scholar who has been abducted by a rich antiquities collector. But it quickly turns into a search for the long-lost secret of the Sphinx that takes Hunt on a nonstop adventure from Egypt to Greece to Turkey to Sri Lanka. Reviewed by Tom Callahan.

Author Interview
Mary Jane Clark
Mary Jane Clark is the New York Times bestselling author of 12 thrillers, including IT ONLY TAKES A MOMENT, WHEN DAY BREAKS and DANCING IN THE DARK. In this interview with's Christine Irvin, Clark discusses her inspiration behind her latest novel, DYING FOR MERCY, and talks about how her career as a writer and producer at CBS News helped shape many of her previous media-based works. She also explains the reason behind setting the book in the historic New York community of Tuxedo Park, gives insight into her daily writing process, and names some of the writers who have influenced her over the years.

Author Talk
Glenn Cooper
In this interview, Glenn Cooper --- whose book SECRET OF THE SEVENTH SON is now available in stores --- discusses how the plot of his debut novel was inspired by philosophical questions he grappled with at a young age, and explains how he relied on his background in science and archaeology to enrich the story. He also describes the book's unusual editing process and shares details about its sequel, BOOK OF SOULS, to be published in 2010.

Beach Bag of Books
CHOSEN TO DIE by Lisa Jackson (Thriller)
The Star Crossed Killer is a brutal and intelligent hunter, a deft serial killer who has eluded the dogged investigation of Montana detective Regan Pescoli. The tables turn in shocking fashion, the madman enslaves her during a well-devised ambush, and Regan must stay alive long enough for those looking for her to unravel the mystery. Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard. Bets On…
THE WEIGHT OF SILENCE by Heather Gudenkauf (July 28th)
As I flew back from San Diego earlier this week, I started reading THE WEIGHT OF SILENCE by Heather Gudenkauf, and from the first page this debut author grabbed me. Why? She dropped me right into the story in the Prologue, and from there the characters drew me through a plot that had me inside their lives and their heads bouncing from one perspective to the next. Though I was jetlagged and worn out when I got home, I could not stop reading and I didn’t until I closed the book at 11:30 that night. So what is the story?
- Click here to see the reading group guide for THE WEIGHT OF SILENCE.

New in Paperback
July’s roundup of New in Paperback titles includes PROMISES IN DEATH by J. D. Robb, in which Lieutenant Eve Dallas faces down a cop killer; THE OTHER QUEEN, a work of historical fiction from Philippa Gregory that examines a different aspect of Tudor England from the perspective of one of Queen Elizabeth’s greatest rivals --- Mary, Queen of Scots; THE COMFORTS OF A MUDDY SATURDAY, the fifth installment in Alexander McCall Smith’s series featuring Isabel Dalhousie, who returns to investigate a medical mystery; GOOD-BYE AND AMEN, a beautifully written novel that continues the story of the Moss family that began in Beth Gutcheon’s critically acclaimed LEEWAY COTTAGE; BOOKS: A Memoir, in which Pulitzer Prize and Academy Award winner Larry McMurtry recounts his life as both a reader and a writer; and THE HOUSE AT SUGAR BEACH, Helene Cooper’s memoir that chronicles her youth and coming of age in 1980s Liberia during a period of political unrest.

Suspense Thriller Author Spotlight
VANISHED by Joseph Finder
Nick Heller is tough, smart, and stubborn. And in his line of work, it's essential. Nick is a high-powered intelligence investigator --- exposing secrets that powerful people would rather keep hidden.

When Nick’s brother disappears without a trace --- and Nick’s favorite nephew pleads for his help --- Nick’s search sets him on a collision course with one of the most powerful corporations in the world --- and they will stop at nothing to protect their secrets.
- Click here to read more about VANISHED.
- Click here to read an excerpt from VANISHED.
- Click here to read Joseph Finder’s Bio.

CORNERED by Brandon Massey
Corey’s living the American dream; he’s a happily married father and successful Atlanta businessman, until he runs into a friend he hasn't seen in over fifteen years, Leon Sharpe. Leon’s charismatic, fiercely intelligent... and a ruthless psychopath. Leon stirs up long-buried memories for Corey, and he’s certain Leon hasn't changed. But Leon’s in bigger trouble than Corey imagined: he's on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list, and has been on the run from the law for the past three years.
- Click here to read Brandon Massey’s bio.
- Click here to read Brandon Massey’s bibliography.
- Click here to read more about CORNERED.

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 a second excerpt from FEAR THE WORST.

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 a third excerpt from NO MERCY.

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 Advance Reader Comments about UNDONE.

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 a review of THE DEVIL'S QUEEN.
- Click here to read an excerpt from THE DEVIL'S QUEEN.
- Click here to read our interview with Jeane Kalogridis.

Click here to read the full newsletter.

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