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Friday, August 21, 2009

August 21, 2009

The following reviews, interviews and features began running on on Friday, August 21st.

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

OXYGEN by Carol Cassella
PRIME TIME by Hank Phillippi Ryan
FACE TIME by Hank Phillippi Ryan
AIR TIME by Hank Phillippi Ryan
DYING FOR MERCY by Mary Jane Clark
PARANOIA by Joseph Finder
THE 7TH VICTIM by Alan Jacobson
LOVING A LOST LORD by Mary Jo Putney
LOVING FRANK by Nancy Horan
THE WOMEN by T. C. Boyle

Reviews and Excerpts
VANISHED by Joseph Finder (Thriller)
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. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt of VANISHED.

INHERENT VICE by Thomas Pynchon (Fiction)
It’s been a while since private eye Doc Sportello has seen his ex-girlfriend. Suddenly out of nowhere she shows up with a story about a plot to kidnap a billionaire land developer with whom she just happens to be in love. Doc soon finds himself drawn into a bizarre tangle of motives and passions, in Thomas Pynchon’s new novel set at the tail end of the psychedelic ’60s in L.A. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

A PLAGUE OF SECRETS by John Lescroart (Legal Thriller)
As two men fall victim to murder, prosecutors close in on Maya Townshend, the beautiful socialite niece of the city’s mayor. Maya has a secret she needs to protect at all costs during her very public trial, where not only her future but the entire political landscape of San Francisco hangs in the balance, hostage to an explosive secret that Dismas Hardy is privilege-bound to protect. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

SOUL OF A DOG: Reflections on the Spirits of the Animals of Bedlam Farm, by Jon Katz (Memoir)
Do animals have souls? Some of our greatest thinkers --- Aristotle, Plato, Thomas Aquinas --- and countless animal lovers have been obsessed with this question for thousands of years. Now New York Times bestselling author Jon Katz looks for an answer and finds even more questions as he recounts the lives and stories of the residents of his celebrated Bedlam Farm. Reviewed by Judy Gigstad.

RED, WHITE & DEAD: An Izzy McNeil Novel, by Laura Caldwell (Mystery)
In the final installment of Laura Caldwell’s outstanding summer trilogy, Izzy McNeil is moonlighting as a private investigator and hot on the trail of one of Chicago's most notorious gangsters. When an unexpected run-in blows Izzy's cover, she is swept into an evil underworld where she definitely is not safe. That is until Izzy receives help from an unlikely source. Now she is racing from Chicago to Rome, all the while battling personal demons, Mafiosi killers and red hot emergency desires. Reviewed by Hillary Wagy.

DUNE ROAD by Jane Green (Fiction)
The heroine of DUNE ROAD is a single mom who works for a famous --- and famously reclusive --- novelist. When she stumbles on a secret that the great man has kept hidden for years, she knows that there are plenty of women in town who would love to get their hands on it --- including some who fancy the writer for themselves. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

ABANDON by Blake Crouch (Thriller)
On Christmas Day in 1893, every man, woman and child in a remote gold mining town disappeared, belongings forsaken, meals left to freeze in vacant cabins. And not a single bone was ever found. One hundred thirteen years later, two backcountry guides are hired by a history professor and his journalist daughter to lead them into the abandoned mining town so that they can learn what happened. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

SWIMMING by Nicola Keegan (Fiction)
SWIMMING is the story of Pip’s journey from a small Midwestern swim team to her first state meet, her brutal professional training, and the final, record-breaking swims that lead to her dizzying ascent to the Olympic podium in Barcelona. It’s the story of a girl who discovers --- in the loneliness of adolescence, in the family tragedies that threaten to engulf her --- the resilience of the human spirit and the spectacular power of her own body. Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller.

TO HEAVEN BY WATER by Justin Cartwright (Fiction)
As he moves toward old age, David Cross loses his wife, Nancy, to illness, and retires from his job as a prominent television news anchor. As David’s son Ed and his dancer wife Rosalie struggle to conceive a child, and David’s daughter Lucy seeks refuge from a chaotic ex-boyfriend, all of them are now forced to face their lives without the woman who was the center of the family. Reviewed by Alexis Burling.

NOT THAT KIND OF GIRL: A Memoir, by Carlene Bauer (Memoir)
Carlene Bauer discovers God at age seven, and she spends the rest of her life trying to reconcile her faith with unwavering doubt and an equally unwavering attachment to literary romantic heroines. Which will win --- her quest for piousness and unworldliness, or her quest to live a carefree and literary life in New York City? Reviewed by Shannon Luders-Manuel.

BURY ME DEEP by Megan Abbott (Mystery)
Edgar Award-winning novelist Megan Abbott revisits and re-imagines one of the most sensational true crime stories of the 20th century in BURY ME DEEP. In October 1931 a railroad station agent in Los Angeles opened two abandoned steamer trunks. Their grisly contents pointed law enforcement in the direction of a young woman. But was she really responsible? Reviewed by Tom Callahan.

MONSTER HUNTER INTERNATIONAL by Larry Correia (Science Fiction/Horror)
Owen Pitt has killed his boss by shoving him out an office window. That might seem like a bad thing until you hear that the victim was a werewolf. Whether you know it or not, monsters exist. They are everywhere. And one group thrives on the obligation to serve and protect while remaining in the shadows: Monster Hunter International. And Owen is their new recruit. Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard.

Author Interviews
Joseph Finder
New York Times bestselling author Joseph Finder's latest novel, VANISHED, introduces readers to Nick Heller, a Special Forces-trained intelligence investigator commissioned by his 14-year-old nephew to find and rescue his estranged brother. In this interview with's Joe Hartlaub, Finder discusses what sets his protagonist apart from those of his previous works and explains how his interest in family dynamics fueled the plot of this story. He also shares details on the book's companion comic, contemplates the future of communications technology, and reveals how he avoids giving in to distraction while writing.

Author Talk
Laura Caldwell
Laura Caldwell is the acclaimed author of such novels as BURNING THE MAP, A CLEAN SLATE and THE ROME AFFAIR. Her latest offering is a trilogy of thrillers --- RED HOT LIES, RED BLOODED MURDER and RED, WHITE & DEAD --- that released this summer in successive months, featuring entertainment lawyer Izzy McNeil. In this interview, Caldwell compares her own personality traits to that of her protagonist, and weighs the pros and cons of releasing the second and third installments so quickly after the first. She also explains why she had trouble publishing her first novel and shares some of the famous Chicago landmarks where events in the books take place.

Romantic Suspense Author Spotlight
SILENT KILLER by Beverly Barton
To most people, men like Mark Cantrell are fine, upstanding pillars of the community, completely beyond reproach…but their killer knows better. They are sinners of the worst kind, and they must burn on earth before they burn in hell.
- Click here to read Beverly Barton’s bio.
- Click here to read more about SILENT KILLER.

Suspense Thriller Author Spotlight
CRUSH by Alan Jacobson
Fresh off the most challenging case of her career, THE 7th VICTIM heroine and renowned FBI profiler Karen Vail returns in an explosive thriller set against the backdrop of California’s wine country. Meticulously researched during years of work with the FBI profiling unit and extensive interviews with wine industry professionals, bestselling author Alan Jacobson delivers a high-velocity thriller featuring the kind of edge of-your-seat ending that inspired Nelson DeMille to call him “a hell of a writer.”
- Click here to read Alan Jacobson’s bio.
- Click here to read more about CRUSH.

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 third excerpt from 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 Advance Reader Comments for FEAR THE WORST.

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 a second excerpt from UNDER THIS UNBROKEN SKY.

Click here to read the full newsletter.

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