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Friday, August 28, 2009

August 28, 2009

The following reviews, interviews and features began running on on Friday, August 28th.

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

TAKING WOODSTOCK: The Shooting Script by James Schamus
EVIL AT HEART by Chelsea Cain
HEAVEN'S KEEP by William Kent Krueger
SPARTAN GOLD: A Fargo Adventure by Clive Cussler with Grant Blackwood
THE SPIRE by Richard North Patterson
CATCHING FIRE by Suzanne Collins
THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins

Reviews and Excerpts
CORNERED by Brandon Massey (Thriller)
Corey Webb is 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 15 years, Leon Sharpe. Leon is charismatic, fiercely intelligent...and a ruthless psychopath. When Corey refuses to share the wealth, Leon kidnaps Corey's wife and hearing-impaired daughter for ransom. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from CORNERED.

206 BONES by Kathy Reichs
At the start of her 12th novel featuring forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan, bestselling author Kathy Reichs’s protagonist finds herself bound and injured in an underground tomb. In flashbacks, Reichs fills in how and why Tempe got herself into this deadly predicament. Reviewed by Ray Palen and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from 206 BONES.

THE WEIGHT OF SILENCE by Heather Gudenkauf (Fiction)
It happens quietly one August morning. As dawn’s shimmering light drenches the humid Iowa air, two families awaken to find their little girls have gone missing in the night. Masterfully written and beautifully told, Heather Gudenkauf’s debut is a stunning novel of family devotion, honesty and regret that will linger long after the last page is turned. Reviewed by Lourdes Orive and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from THE WEIGHT OF SILENCE.
- Click here to see the reading group guide for THE WEIGHT OF SILENCE.
- Click here to read Heather Gudenkauf’s blog post, “Nature and Novels.”

A BIG LITTLE LIFE: A Memoir of a Joyful Dog, by Dean Koontz (Memoir)
Dean Koontz thought he had everything he needed, both in his professional and personal lives. Then along came Trixie. Koontz had always wanted a dog and had even written several books in which dogs were featured. But not until Trixie was he truly open to the change that such a beautiful creature could bring about in him. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

BLINDMAN'S BLUFF: A Decker and Lazarus Novel, by Faye Kellerman (Mystery)
Someone has broken into the exclusive Coyote Ranch compound of billionaire developer Guy Kaffey and viciously gunned him down, along with his wife and four employees. LAPD homicide detective Peter Decker and his wife, Rina Lazarus, must solve this brutal multiple murder, which will have repercussions for their own lives. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

THE LAW OF NINES by Terry Goodkind (Thriller)
Alex saves a beautiful woman from being run over by a truck. She vanishes from his life but mysteriously shows up again, insisting that he can save her world from doom. His mother, locked away in a mental institution, insists that people watch her through mirrors, and his grandfather warns that trouble will find him. And they're all right. Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard.

STRENGTH IN WHAT REMAINS: A Journey of Remembrance and Forgiveness, by Tracy Kidder (Biography)
The latest work from Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Tracy Kidder is a stirring account of one man’s remarkable flight from terror in his homeland of Burundi to the United States and then back home to confront the burdens of memory and forgiveness. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.

EVEN MONEY by Dick Francis and Felix Francis (Mystery)
Bookmakers beware: Dick Francis and Felix Francis are providing lots of inside information about your operations. There is even a chart of bookmakers’ odds as used on British racecourses. This dynamic writing team has hit the big money yet again with EVEN MONEY, their new quick-paced read. Reviewed by Marge Fletcher.

HELL’S GATE by Stephen Frey (Thriller)
When 35-year-old lawyer Hunter Lee decides to turn his back on the New York City rat race that has made him rich but cost him his marriage, he takes his brother's advice and sets out to build a new life in the beautiful but isolated town of Fort Mason, Montana. However, escape is hardly what he finds there. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

NEW TRICKS by David Rosenfelt (Mystery)
Andy Carpenter, lawyer to the dogs, finds himself with yet another canine client in David Rosenfelt’s seventh episode of this enjoyable courtroom series starring the dog-loving attorney. A wise-cracking, irreverent legal wizard who can afford to pick and choose his cases can be a match for any prosecutor and judge. Andy is clearly that, as he battles to defend Steven Timmerman, charged with the murder of his father and stepmother. Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman.

AFTER YOU by Julie Buxbaum (Fiction)
Julie Buxbaum gives us this mesmerizing tale of love, healing and forgiveness. Ellie Lerner’s best friend was murdered as she walked her daughter to school. Now Ellie is trying to pick up the pieces and make everyone’s lives better. But at the cost of her own? Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

THE WILDERNESS WARRIOR: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America, by Douglas Brinkley (History)
Fresh from his triumph with THE GREAT DELUGE, a brilliant account of Hurricane Katrina, Douglas Brinkley has now tackled a human hurricane --- Theodore Roosevelt, that rampant bundle of energy and enthusiasm who served as U.S. President just over a century ago. Reviewed by Robert Finn.

A DUTY TO THE DEAD: A Bess Crawford Mystery, by Charles Todd (Mystery)
The mother-son team that comprises author Charles Todd has released the first book in a new series featuring WWI British nurse Bess Crawford. Bess delivers a dying soldier’s last wish to his family only to find herself in the middle of a dark and deadly mystery that the family has kept hidden for years. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

BREATHING WATER: A Bangkok Thriller, by Timothy Hallinan (Thriller)
For American ex-pat writer Poke Rafferty, a late-night poker game delivers an unexpected prize: an "opportunity" to write the biography of Khun Pan, a flamboyant, vulgar, self-made billionaire with a criminal past and far-reaching political ambitions. The win seems like a stroke of luck, but as with so many things in Bangkok, the allure of appearances masks something much darker. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE LOCUST AND THE BIRD: My Mother’s Story, by Hanan Al-Shaykh (Memoir)
Enter 1930s Beruit to witness a young girl obsessed with the cinema who has a cinematic tale of her own --- one of poverty, an arranged marriage, and a secret lover --- breathtakingly told by the daughter she left behind. Reviewed by Shannon Luders-Manuel.

Author Interview
Brandon Massey
Brandon Massey is the author of 11 books, which range in genre from short stories and suspense thrillers to horror and supernatural fiction. In this interview with's Joe Hartlaub, Massey discusses what separates his latest thriller, CORNERED, from his previous efforts and elaborates on one of the recurring themes of his work. He also explains why he chose to return to his "day" job, names his personal and professional influences, and reveals the most difficult aspect of his writing process.

Author Talk
Heather Gudenkauf
In this interview, Heather Gudenkauf explains how her years teaching elementary school inspired her to write her debut novel, THE WEIGHT OF SILENCE, and shares what she hoped to convey in this profound story about two children who mysteriously disappear from their small Iowa town. She also describes her unique writing process, lists some of her favorite writers, and shares details about her current project, tentatively called THE FOUNDLING WHEEL.

Suspense Thriller Author Spotlight
13 ½ by Nevada Barr
With 13 1/2, Nevada Barr,
New York Times bestselling author of the award-winning Anna Pigeon novels, has written a taut and terrifying psychological thriller. It carries the reader from the horrifying 1970s murder spree of a child --- dubbed “Butcher Boy” by a shocked public --- in Rochester, Minnesota, to Polly, the abused daughter of Mississippi “trailer trash,” to post-Katrina New Orleans. Bestselling Jeffery Deaver raves that 13 1⁄2 "is a hands-down winner!”
- Click here to read Nevada Barr’s bio.
- Click here to read Nevada Barr’s bibliography.
- Click here to read more about 13 1/2.

Growing up in rural Georgia during the 1940s, Joseph Vaughan finds himself at the center of series of mutilations and killings of young girls. Just a teenager, Joseph becomes determined to protect his community from the killer, but is powerless to prevent more murders --- and no one is ever caught. Ten years later one of his neighbors is found hanging from a rope, surrounded by articles from the dead girls; the killings cease, and the nightmare appears to be over. Desperate and plagued everything he has witnessed, Joseph sets out forge a new life in New York. But even there the past won't leave him alone --- for it seems that the murderer still lives and is killing again, and that the secret to his identity lies in Joseph's own history.
- Click here to read R. J. Ellory’s bio.
- Click here to read more about A QUIET BELIEF IN ANGELS.

HOSTILE INTENT by Michael Walsh
It starts with the unthinkable --- the most horrific act of violence ever committed on American soil --- and only one man can stop them.
- Click here to read Michael Walsh’s bio.
- Click here to read Michael Walsh’s bibliography.
- Click here to read more about HOSTILE INTENT.

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 an excerpt from CRUSH.

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 Advance Reader Comments for NO MERCY.

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 the first excerpt from SILENT KILLER.

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 third excerpt from UNDER THIS UNBROKEN SKY.

Click here to read the full newsletter.

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