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Friday, August 14, 2009

August 14, 2009

The following reviews, interviews and features began running on on Friday, August 14th.

The titles below are also mentioned in the Newsletter Opener, which can be read here:

THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU by Jonathan Tropper

Reviews and Excerpts
FEAR THE WORST by Linwood Barclay (Thriller)
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. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from FEAR THE WORST.

RHINO RANCH by Larry McMurtry (Fiction)
Larry McMurtry has chronicled the life of Duane Moore in five books over five decades. RHINO RANCH marks the conclusion of this iconic saga. Readers can have one final visit with Moore and the inhabitants of Thalia, Texas, in a humorous and often touching novel that reminds us all that our human frailties are bountiful. Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from RHINO RANCH.

THE MAGICIANS by Lev Grossman (Fantasy)
In THE MAGICIANS, a cadre of young wizards --- and the fantasy genre itself --- learn to live in the real world. This fabulously rendered novel manages to completely ensnare readers by their escapist tendencies, then show how our dreams of happiness and magic never quite live up to the real thing. Reviewed by Max Falkowitz and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from THE MAGICIANS.

THE TRAFFICKERS: A Badge of Honor Novel, by W. E. B. Griffin and William E. Butterworth IV (Thriller)
Homicide Sergeant Matthew Payne is used to murder, but lately there’s been an awful lot of it in Philadelphia. A gangland shooting in a popular tourist location has left six dead, most of them innocent bystanders, and days later the body of a headless Latina turns up in the Schuykill River. Everybody assumes they’re not related, but Payne can’t shake the hunch that there’s something more to it. Reviewed by Judy Gigstad.

THE BRIDE’S FAREWELL by Meg Rosoff (Fiction)
Continuing to redefine the boundaries between fiction for adults and teens, Meg Rosoff --- author of the internationally bestselling novel HOW I LIVE NOW --- goes back in time to explore one young woman’s attempts to find her place in an unfriendly world. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

RAVENS by George Dawes Green (Psychological Suspense)
When Shaw and Romeo pull up at a convenience store in Georgia, their only thought is to fix a leaky tire and be on their way again to Florida. But this happens to be the store from which a $318-million Jackpot ticket has just been sold. When a clerk accidentally reveals to Shaw the identity of the winning family, he hatches a ferociously audacious scheme: He and Romeo will squeeze the family for half their prize. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

THE BIRTHING HOUSE by Christopher Ransom (Paranormal Thriller)
A man and his wife hope for a fresh start, but their new house at 818 Heritage is not the kind of place to let its owners be at peace. In fact, it has all sorts of nasty surprises in store for the Harrisons. The previous residents escaped with their lives --- mostly --- but will the new folks have the same luck? Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

ONCE ON A MOONLESS NIGHT by Dai Sijie (Fiction)
Some books are easy to describe. You start at the beginning, discuss the plot, main characters and conflict, and avoid revealing any major surprises to would-be readers. But ONCE ON A MOONLESS NIGHT, the latest from BALZAC AND THE LITTLE CHINESE SEAMSTRESS author Dai Sijie, is not so easy to write about. With shifting points of view, a barely linear progression of action, and stories within stories, this novel is complex and highly literary. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

MIND SCRAMBLER: A John Ceepak Mystery, by Chris Grabenstein (Mystery)
John Ceepak and Danny Boyle are making the rounds in Atlantic City when Danny runs into his former crush, Katie. She’s working for a magician named Rock, and her life seems to be in better order than Boyle could have hoped for. But Ceepak and Boyle soon find themselves on another case when Katie is found strangled to death. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

WHERE THE DEAD LAY by David Levien (Thriller)
After the sudden disappearance of two high-priced detectives, former Indianapolis cop Frank Behr --- the brooding private investigator introduced in David Levien’s nationally acclaimed novel CITY OF THE SUN --- is pulled into a case that is harrowing, relentless and, ultimately, personal. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

Author Interview
Linwood Barclay
Linwood Barclay is the author of several critically acclaimed novels, including TOO CLOSE TO HOME and NO TIME FOR GOODBYE, a #1 bestseller in Britain. In this interview with's Joe Hartlaub, Barclay explains what sets his latest effort, FEAR THE WORST, apart from his earlier works of fiction and shares the surprising discovery he made while researching the topic of human trafficking, which plays an important role in the book's plot. He also compares and contrasts being an author with his previous jobs as a newspaper columnist and editor, names the biggest influence on his career, and muses on what he might be doing if he weren't writing.

Author Talk
Lev Grossman
Described as a “Harry Potter for adults," Lev Grossman's third and most recent release is THE MAGICIANS, a coming-of-age novel about a young man who discovers modern magic in the real world. In this interview, Grossman characterizes his book as an homage to fantasy and explains his motivations behind writing a story in which contemporary life intersects with fiction. He also discusses how his English-professor parents influenced his approach to literature and reflects on the difference between classic fantasy writers like C. S. Lewis and contemporary authors like J. K. Rowling and Philip Pullman.

Beach Bag of Books
THE CONDITION by Jennifer Haigh (Fiction)
THE CONDITION tells the story of the McKotches, a proper New England family that comes apart during one fateful summer. Compassionate yet unflinchingly honest, witty and almost painfully astute, Jennifer Haigh’s novel explores the power of family mythologies --- the self-delusions, denials and inescapable truths that forever bind fathers and mothers and siblings.

DO DEAD PEOPLE WALK THEIR DOGS? Questions You’d Ask a Medium If You Had the Chance by Concetta Bertoldi (Occultism)
Concetta Bertoldi has been communicating with the "Other Side" since childhood. In her previous book, the bestselling DO DEAD PEOPLE WATCH YOU SHOWER?, she addressed questions about the afterlife that ranged from the poignant to the provocative. Now she returns with DO DEAD PEOPLE WALK THEIR DOGS?, a second volume of intriguing observations about our beloved deceased.

Everyone around Jennifer Johnson is getting married, while she's still single and stuck writing ad copy about men's dress socks. Launched on a humiliating and hilarious quest to find Prince Charming at any cost --- including agonizing online dates, diet-clinic cults, drag-queen fights, and a debilitating addiction to Cinnabon icing, JENNIFER JOHNSON is a cautionary tale about getting what you want --- and how that may be the worst thing to happen to you.

THE SEAMSTRESS by Frances de Pontes Peebles (Fiction)
As seamstresses, the orphaned sisters Emília and Luzia dos Santos know how to cut, how to mend and how to conceal. Emília dreams of falling in love and escaping to the city. Luzia also longs to escape their little town, where residents view her deformed arm with suspicion. But when Luzia is abducted by a group of vigilantes called cangaceiros, the sisters’ quiet lives diverge in ways they never imagined.

One to Watch Author Spotlight
Building to an unforgettable climax, this is the story of a 1930’s immigrant family trying to survive the harsh Canadian prairies, where small and innocent acts have enormous and catastrophic consequences. From a passionate new voice in the world of literary fiction, UNDER THIS UNBROKEN SKY is a tribute to the resiliency of the human spirit told with great sensitivity and cinematic aplomb.
- Click here to read Shandi Mitchell’s bio.
- Click here to read more about UNDER THIS UNBROKEN SKY.
- Click here to read an excerpt from UNDER THIS UNBROKEN SKY.

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 a third excerpt from VANISHED.

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 a second excerpt from CORNERED.

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 a review of DYING FOR MERCY.
- Click here to read a third excerpt from DYING FOR MERCY.
- Click here to read our interview with Mary Jane Clark.
- Click here to read Mary Jane Clark's bio.
- Click here to read Mary Jane Clark's backlist.

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 Advance Reader Comments for RULES OF VENGEANCE.

Click here to read the full newsletter.

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