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Friday, October 2, 2009

October 2, 2009

The following reviews, interviews and features began running on on Friday, October 2nd.

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

A RELIABLE WIFE by Robert Goolrick
HURRY DOWN SUNSHINE by Michael Greenberg
IF I STAY by Gayle Forman
TOWER by Reed Farrel Coleman and Ken Bruen
GIRL TROUBLE: Stories by Holly Goddard Jones
THE MERCY RULE by Perri Klass
THE HELP by Kathryn Stockett

Reviews and Excerpts
13 ½ by Nevada Barr (Psychological Thriller)
With 13 ½ 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. Reviewed by Roz Shea and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from 13 1/2.

A QUIET BELIEF IN ANGELS by R.J. Ellory (Thriller)
Growing up in rural Georgia during the 1940s, Joseph Vaughan finds himself at the center of a series of mutilations and killings of young girls. The killers are never caught, and Joseph, an aspiring writer, continues to be haunted by the murders. Years later he sets out to 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. Reviewed by L. Dean Murphy and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from A QUIET BELIEF IN ANGELS.

HOSTILE INTENT by Michael Walsh (Thriller)
Michael Walsh --- New York Times bestselling author of AS TIME GOES BY --- is back with his first military thriller about an ultra-top secret US Government-Op, whose real identity is known only by a select few in the highest echelons of Washington, D.C. Someone is trying to draw him out by putting America’s citizens in the crosshairs --- and they will continue the slaughter until they get what they want. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from HOSTILE INTENT.

HER FEARFUL SYMMETRY by Audrey Niffenegger (Fiction)
Audrey Niffenegger’s highly anticipated second novel (following THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE) begins with a death. Elspeth Noblin dies of cancer, leaving her London apartment to her estranged sister's twin daughters, Julia and Valentina. Wanting to be free of their staid life, the young ladies leave for London unaware of the dark secret that has kept their mother and aunt apart for decades. Reviewed by Amy Gwiazdowski and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from HER FEARFUL SYMMETRY.

AN ECHO IN THE BONE by Diana Gabaldon (Historical Fantasy)
The time-traveling Scots are back! After a four-year wait, Diana Gabaldon’s bestselling and award-winning Outlander series continues with another incurably romantic, historically twisted saga that veers dizzily between the 18th and 20th centuries. Reviewed by Kathy Weissman and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from AN ECHO IN THE BONE.

SMASH CUT by Sandra Brown (Romantic Suspense)
When a prominent Atlanta businessman is shot and killed during an armed robbery, it appears to be a situation of wrong place, wrong time. But his friend Julie Rutledge believes differently and sets out to prove that it was murder, orchestrated by the victim's nephew, Creighton Wheeler. Representing him is famed defense lawyer Derek Mitchell, who soon realizes that his client is as depraved as Julie claims. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from SMASH CUT.

JULIET, NAKED by Nick Hornby (Fiction)
In his sixth novel, Nick Hornby returns to the world of pop music, telling the story of a collection of “Hornbyesque” characters, as frustrating as they are likable in their struggles to navigate the shoals of ordinary life. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from JULIET, NAKED.

THE FURY by Jason Pinter (Thriller)
The brother who journalist Henry Parker never knew has been shot point-blank in a rat-hole apartment, wasted by hunger and heroin. Stephen Gaines was a man with whom Henry shared nothing --- except a father. Now Henry is forced to question everything he ever knew...and figure out why this man was murdered in cold blood. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from THE FURY.

DEXTER BY DESIGN by Jeff Lindsay (Thriller)
After his surprisingly glorious honeymoon in Paris, life is almost normal for Dexter Morgan. But the discovery of a corpse (artfully displayed as a sunbather relaxing on a Miami beach chair) naturally piques Dexter’s curiosity, and Miami’s finest realize they have a terrifying new serial killer on the loose. And Dexter, of course, is back in business. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

LITTLE BIRD OF HEAVEN by Joyce Carol Oates (Fiction)
Joyce Carol Oates recounts a spiraling cycle of failure, despair and violence, played out in a dead-end Rust Belt town, in LITTLE BIRD OF HEAVEN, a powerful portrait of a town, and a people, in perpetual decay. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

CAPITOL OFFENSE by William Bernhardt (Legal Thriller)
A man, driven to the brink of madness, is accused of killing a cop. It might not look quite so bad if he hadn’t gone to a lawyer beforehand to learn how to get away with it. Now he and his attorney have to convince a jury to let him off. But the stakes are high for the DA, who can’t afford to let him win on an insanity defense. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

THE CAVALIER IN THE YELLOW DOUBLET by Arturo Perez-Reverte (Fiction/Action & Adventure)
Captain Alatriste begins an affair with the famous --- and famously beautiful --- actress María de Castro, and discovers that the competition for her favors may be much more dangerous than he'd bargained for, especially when Alatriste and his protégé, Íñigo, become unwilling participants in a court conspiracy that could lead them both to the gallows. Reviewed by Curtis Edmonds.

ANNE FRANK: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife, by Francine Prose
(Literary Criticism)
In June 1942, Anne Frank received a red-and-white checked diary for her 13th birthday, just weeks before she and her family went into hiding from the Nazis in an Amsterdam attic. For two years, with ever-increasing maturity, Anne crafted a memoir that has become one of the most compelling, intimate and important documents of modern history. But the diary of Anne Frank, argues Francine Prose, is as much a work of art as an historical record. Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott.

STARDUST by Joseph Kanon (Historical Mystery)
Hollywood is in its heyday, having survived the Second World War, but emotions run high and people do odd things in such times. Ben Collier’s brother took a high dive out of a window. Rumor has it that he might have been involved in some shady business and suddenly the guilt got to him. But Ben thinks something --- or somebody --- else got to him. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

THE LOST THRONE by Chris Kuzneski (Thriller)
Seven monks are brutally murdered at a monastery on a mountain top in Greece. An American treasure hunter is struck down in Russia. While Interpol Homicide Detective Nick Dial investigates the grizzly murders in Greece, former Special Forces operatives Jonathon Payne and D. J. Jones embark on a mission to discover who is behind the death in Russia. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

Author Interviews
Nevada Barr
A departure from her bestselling Anna Pigeon series, Nevada Barr's latest novel, 13 ½, is a stand-alone thriller that connects a string of murders by an 11-year-old child in 1971 Minnesota to the marital troubles of a literature professor in present-day Louisiana. In this interview with's Roz Shea, Barr describes her most recent work as a process 20 years in the making and discusses her reason for setting the book in post-Katrina New Orleans. She also characterizes her famous park ranger protagonist as an idealized alter ego of herself and explains why she chose to let Anna Pigeon sit out this particular adventure.

R.J. Ellory
R.J. Ellory is the author of seven novels --- including CANDLEMOTH, GHOSTHEART and CITY OF LIES --- that have been published in Britain and are now being released in the U.S. by Overlook Press. He recently spoke with's L. Dean Murphy about his fifth book, A QUIET BELIEF IN ANGELS, and explains how events from his own life have informed his works of fiction. He also discusses John Steinbeck's influence on his writing, touches upon the racial inequities amongst his characters, and shares details about upcoming projects due out over the next few years.

Michael Walsh
Michael Walsh is the bestselling author of four novels: EXCHANGE ALLEY, AS TIME GOES BY, AND ALL THE SAINTS, and the newly released HOSTILE INTENT. In this interview with's Joe Hartlaub, Walsh discusses the origins of Devlin --- his government-op protagonist --- and elaborates on his writing process, including his unusual work hours and choice of background music. He also gives his two cents on the probability of the U.S. being attacked by terrorists again in the future, explains how --- if given the opportunity --- he would restructure the country's intelligence operations, and gives advice to readers considering careers in writing.

New in Paperback
October’s roundup of New in Paperback titles includes Jamie Ford’s debut novel, HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET, a love story about two people who come from totally different worlds and a cultural examination set against the backdrop of Japanese internment during World War II; WHILE MY SISTER SLEEPS by Barbara Delinsky, in which the life of a woman is turned upside down and inside out when her sister suffers a heart attack and ends up in a coma; BURN OUT, Marcia Muller’s 26th Sharon McCone mystery that finds the San Francisco PI drawn into the plight of a troubled, highly secretive Native American lady and her dysfunctional family; BLOOD AND BONE, William Lashner’s first stand-alone thriller and an introduction to a young man whose aloofness is seriously challenged when he’s drawn into a murder investigation; and THE LONGEST TRIP HOME, a coming-of-age memoir from MARLEY & ME author John Grogan about growing up in the 1960s and his struggle to find himself despite his family's conflicting values.

Books into Movies
This month’s Books into Movies Feature includes:

Whip It
I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell
Where the Wild Things Are
The Vampire’s Assistant
The Private Lives of Pippa Lee

Suspense Thriller Author Spotlight
URGE TO KILL by John Lutz (Thriller)
Homicide detective Frank Quinn can’t stay retired when there’s a new breed of murdering madman on the prowl. In a city terrorized by bloody brutality, Det. Quinn and his team hunt a psychopath who lures beautiful women into a night of unbridled passion, then wakes them to a vicious, drawn-out death. Stumbling over a trail of horribly defiled bodies, Quinn can’t catch the killer --- because the killer’s about to catch him.

The terrifying new thriller URGE TO KILL from New York Times bestselling author John Lutz is a gruesome, page-turning psychological serial killer crime novel that’s both frightening and fascinating. For a killer, once is never enough.
- Click here to read John Lutz’s bio.
- Click here to read John Lutz’s bibliography.
- Click here to read more about URGE TO KILL.

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 Advance Reader Comments for CRUSH.

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 an excerpt from WINDFALL.

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 Advance Reader Comments for SILENT KILLER.

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