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Friday, September 25, 2009

September 25, 2009

The following reviews, interviews and features began running on on Friday, September 25th. Blog
The titles, authors and noteworthy items below were featured in Carol Fitzgerald’s latest Facebook Roundup Blog:

The Best of National Book Week Awards Fiction
The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon
THE TIME OF MY LIFE by Patrick Swayze

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

by Dan Brown
ANGELS & DEMONS by Dan Brown

Reviews and Excerpts
THE LOST SYMBOL by Dan Brown (Thriller)
Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned unexpectedly to deliver an evening lecture in the U.S. Capitol Building. Within minutes of his arrival, however, the night takes a bizarre turn. A disturbing object --- artfully encoded with five symbols --- is discovered in the Capitol Building. Langdon recognizes the object as an ancient invitation…one meant to usher its recipient into a long-lost world of esoteric wisdom. When Langdon’s beloved mentor, Peter Solomon --- a prominent Mason and philanthropist --- is brutally kidnapped, Langdon realizes his only hope of saving Peter is to accept this mystical invitation and follow wherever it leads him. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from THE LOST SYMBOL.
- Click here to read more about THE LOST SYMBOL.

SILENT KILLER by Beverly Barton (Romantic Suspense)
SILENT KILLER is the searing new thriller from award-winning and national bestselling author Beverly Barton. A serial killer is at work ––– one whose rage grows more vicious each day ––– and in a town full of secrets, trusting the wrong person could be deadly. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from SILENT KILLER.

CRUSH by Alan Jacobson (Thriller)
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 another high-velocity thriller. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from CRUSH.

TRUE COMPASS: A Memoir, by Edward M. Kennedy (Memoir)
Senator Edward M. Kennedy finished this personal memoir just shortly before his death from cancer on August 25th. Beloved by many, reviled by many others, he surely knew that this book would be his final public testament. The last scion of a fate-haunted and tragic family, he tells his story here unapologetically. It is a family history and a tale of inside politics, both stories told with grace and obvious personal passion. Reviewed by Robert Finn and excerpted.

A CHANGE IN ALTITUDE by Anita Shreve (Fiction)
As Margaret and her husband, Patrick, climb Mount Kenya with their new acquaintances, a small and seemingly innocent action on Margaret's part sets off an unimaginable calamity. That tragedy is the stone tossed into the pond of their marriage, possibly altering it --- and them --- forever. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from A CHANGE IN ALTITUDE.
- Click here to see the reading group guide for A CHANGE IN ALTITUDE.

THE YEAR OF THE FLOOD by Margaret Atwood (Fiction)
Adam One, the kindly leader of the God's Gardeners --- a religion devoted to the melding of science and religion, as well as the preservation of all plant and animal life --- has long predicted a natural disaster that will alter Earth as we know it. Now it has occurred, obliterating most human life. Two women have survived: Ren, a young trapeze dancer locked inside the high-end sex club Scales and Tails, and Toby, a God's Gardener barricaded inside a luxurious spa where many of the treatments are edible. Have others survived? Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from THE YEAR OF THE FLOOD.

THE MURDER OF KING TUT: The Plot to Kill the Child King, by James Patterson and Martin Dugard (Nonfiction Thriller)
James Patterson and Martin Dugard have taken on the coldest of all cold case murders, though whether it was actually a murder at all is by no means a settled point. The victim --- circa 1324 B.C. --- was King Tutankhamen, the 18-year-old Pharaoh of Egypt whose tomb, rediscovered in 1922, provided the most astonishing archaeological treasure trove of modern times. Patterson and Dugard have woven a cleverly contrived fictional fantasia around the known facts and “solved” the “crime” --- at least to their own satisfaction. Reviewed by Robert Finn and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from THE MURDER OF KING TUT.

HARDBALL: A V.I. Warshawski Novel, by Sara Paretsky
When V. I. Warshawski is asked to find a man who's been missing for four decades, a search that she figured would be futile becomes lethal. Old skeletons from the city's racially charged history, as well as haunting family secrets --- her own and those of the elderly sisters who hired her --- rise up to brush her back from the plate with a vengeance. Reviewed by Marge Fletcher.

LOVE AND SUMMER by William Trevor (Fiction)
In the mid-1950s in the small Irish town of Rathmoye, Ellie Dillahan is married to a man whose life is blighted by an unspeakable tragedy. She lives a quiet life until she meets Florian Kilderry, a young photographer preparing to leave Ireland and his own memories forever. The chance intersection of these two lost souls sets in motion a poignant love affair. Reviewed by Alexis Burling.

AMERICAN ON PURPOSE: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot, by Craig Ferguson (Memoir)
Born in Scotland but determined to come to the United States, comedian Craig Ferguson wasn't always the laughing jokester he is today. He was a milk delivery boy. He was a punk rock drummer. He was an alcoholic and a drug addict. The road from point A to point B was rife with potholes. But Ferguson endured, and in AMERICAN ON PURPOSE he lets everyone in on his life and his dream of America. Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard.

SECOND SIGHT: A Novel of Psychic Suspense, by George D. Shuman
In the fourth installment of George D. Shuman's series, blind psychic Sherry Moore faces off against a fiendish villain bent on her destruction. Set against the backdrop of heinous crimes perpetrated by Big Pharma run amok, Sherry fights for her life while confronting a question born of a miraculous medical innovation: Should she reclaim her sight or remain in the darkness that allows her to save so many lives? Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

WHAT I THOUGHT I KNEW: A Memoir, by Alice Eve Cohen (Memoir)
At age 44, Alice Eve Cohen was happy for the first time in years. But then the stomach pains began. In WHAT I THOUGHT I KNEW, Cohen carries us through her metamorphosis from a woman who has come to terms with infertility to one who struggles to love a heartbeat found in her womb --- six months into a high-risk pregnancy. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

BOARDWALK EMPIRE: The Birth, High Times, and Corruption of Atlantic City, by Nelson Johnson (History)
Atlantic City, New Jersey, has always been more than the Boardwalk and salt water taffy. Nelson Johnson traces the history of Atlantic City vice from its earliest days in this re-released book that is being turned into an HBO series set to air in 2010 starring Steve Buscemi. Reviewed by Tom Callahan.

Author Interviews
Beverly Barton
SILENT KILLER, the latest novel by award-winning romance and romantic suspense author Beverly Barton, centers on a serial killer with a rather unlikely group of targets --- members of the clergy. In this interview with’s Donna Volkenannt, Barton discusses what inspired this unique and rather timely plot, and gives readers insight into her instinctive method of writing, in which she completely immerses herself in the characters she creates. She also comments on the authenticity of non-Southern writers who attempt to portray the region's distinct feel, touts the benefits of being an active member of the Romance Writers of America, and talks about her current projects to be published over the next few years.

Alan Jacobson
Alan Jacobson is the author of four novels: FALSE ACCUSATIONS, THE HUNTED, THE 7th VICTIM and the newly released CRUSH. In this interview with's Joe Hartlaub, Jacobson discusses the research he conducted in order to portray the mind and actions of a serial killer as accurately as possible, and explains why he chose to set his latest thriller in the unlikely location of Napa Valley. He also describes how one of his ideas prompted the production of a tool now used by a branch of the European Crime Division, shares his thoughts on the appeal of California's wine country, and reveals the real-life counterparts to his FBI-agent protagonist, Karen Vail.

Women’s Fiction Author Spotlight
WINDFALL by Penny Vincenzi (Women’s Fiction)
Cassia Fallon has been married to the town doctor for seven years when she mysteriously inherits an enormous fortune from her godmother, whom was believed to have died penniless. A responsible housewife and mother, Cassia is at first determined to be sensible, to stay happy and in control --- but suddenly, for the first time in her life, she is able to do exactly as she likes. The money gives her confidence, and her husband can only look on resentfully as she resumes her medical career, sheds some of her domestic burdens, wings with the jet set, and re-forms old relationships --- one of them of a most dangerous kind. Along the way, Cassia realizes that something seems not quite right about the money left to her and she seeks answers, both about the money and the rest of her life. Too soon the windfall, part benign influence, part brutal force, is an absolutely powerful entity all of its own --- one that Cassia cannot resist.
- Click here to read Penny Vincenzi’s bio.
- Click here to read Penny Vincenzi’s author bibliography.
- Click here to read more about WINDFALL.

Suspense Thriller Author Spotlight
13 1⁄2 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 a third excerpt from 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 a third excerpt from 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 a third excerpt from HOSTILE INTENT.

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