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Friday, October 30, 2009

October 30, 2009

The following reviews, interviews and features began running on on Friday, October 30th. Blog
The titles, authors and noteworthy items below were featured in Carol Fitzgerald’s latest Facebook Roundup Blog:

NINE DRAGONS by Michael Connelly
31 HOURS by Masha Hamilton
NOTES LEFT BEHIND by Brooke and Keith Desserich
Miami Book Fair: "The School of Comics and Graphic Novels: Educational Sessions for Teachers, Librarians and Comics and Graphic Novel Creators."
UNDER THE DOME by Stephen King
FORD COUNTY by John Grisham
THE BOX: UNCANNY STORIES by Richard Matheson

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

NOTES LEFT BEHIND by Brooke and Keith Desserich
The Reincarnationist series by M. J. Rose
The Mindhunters series by Kylie Brant

Reviews and Excerpts
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 is about to catch him. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from URGE TO KILL.

LAST NIGHT IN TWISTED RIVER by John Irving (Fiction)
John Irving’s 12th novel is a shaggy, shambling, lovable bear of a book. Inspired, in part, by Bob Dylan’s song “Tangled Up in Blue,” it is vintage Irving, stuffed to overflowing with a cast of memorable characters, dark humor, a surfeit of tragedy and loss, and enough love, sex and death to fill at least two or three less ambitious novels. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from LAST NIGHT IN TWISTED RIVER.

TRUE BLUE by David Baldacci (Thriller)
David Baldacci’s latest release is a stand-alone novel featuring ex-cop Mace Perry and attorney Roy Kingman. TRUE BLUE presents a mysterious high-profile homicide in the nation’s capital that collides with the dark side of national security, with unexpected outcomes and lethal twists at every turn. Reviewed by Ray Palen and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from TRUE BLUE.

ANGEL TIME: The Songs of the Seraphim, by Anne Rice (Metaphysical Thriller)
A lethal assassin finds he has no taste for his job anymore, for he has seen a way beyond killing back to a life he envisioned for himself before tragedy struck him at a formative age. Anne Rice returns to the mesmerizing storytelling that has captivated readers for more than three decades in a metaphysical thriller about angels and assassins. Reviewed by Kate Ayers and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from ANGEL TIME.

ABANDONED by Cody McFadyen (Thriller)
Cody McFadyen, acclaimed author of THE DARKER SIDE, THE FACE OF DEATH and SHADOW MAN, delivers this shocking new thriller that brings to light a psychopath unlike any we’ve ever seen --- a killer who thrives in absolute darkness and doesn’t derive pleasure from the kill. And only one woman has the ability to see him coming…even if it’s already too late to stop her own murder. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from ABANDONED.

THE BOY WHO HARNESSED THE WIND: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope, by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer (Memoir)
Have you ever cried with joy? If not, then here’s your chance. This tale, a true story of determination, conquering adversity and ingenuity lost and found in a hostile landscape, will make you cheer as you follow a young African boy who sets out to do the impossible. It’s a story that well embodies the concept of “the audacity of hope” with no strings attached. Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott.

Envisioning the first book of the Bible like no one before him, R. Crumb, the legendary illustrator, reveals the story of Genesis in a profoundly honest and deeply moving way. Originally thinking he would do a takeoff of Adam and Eve, Crumb became so fascinated by the Bible’s language that he decided instead to do a literal interpretation using the text word for word in a version primarily assembled from the translations of Robert Alter and the King James Bible. Reviewed by John Hogan.

BLOOM COUNTY: THE COMPLETE LIBRARY, Volume One: 1980-1982 written and illustrated by Berkeley Breathed
(Graphic Novel)
Berkley Breathed's Bloom County was one of the most popular and critically acclaimed newspaper strips of all time. BLOOM COUNTY: THE COMPLETE LIBRARY highlights the first time the entire run of the immensely popular Bloom County strip has been collected in beautifully designed hardcover books with exceptional reproduction. Reviewed by John Hogan.

INVISIBLE by Paul Auster
Far more than just a “writer’s writer,” Paul Auster also has the ability to tell a mind-blowing story that will intrigue readers regardless of their own literary bents. In INVISIBLE, this brilliant author tells a story about the power of stories --- and how we tell them. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

THE GATES by John Connolly (Fantasy Thriller)
Bursting with imagination, THE GATES is about the pull between good and evil, physics and fantasy. It is about a quirky and eccentric boy, who is impossible not to love, and the unlikely cast of characters who give him the strength to stand up to a demonic power. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

MY DEAD BODY by Charlie Huston (Thriller)
A full-out civil war breaks out between the Vampyre gangs of New York in this fifth and final installment of the Joe Pitt Casebook series. Pitt has to stay alive long enough to save a missing girl who is carrying a baby that might impact the destiny of all Vampyres. Reviewed by Tom Callahan.

MENNONITE IN A LITTLE BLACK DRESS: A Memoir of Going Home, by Rhoda Janzen (Memoir)
Despite small rebellions, Rhoda Janzen stayed close to the Mennonite world she was raised in. That is, until she went to graduate school. But she never severed ties with her family or the Mennonite community, so when crisis struck in the form of a divorce followed by a debilitating car accident, she was welcomed home with open arms. Her memoir centers on that homecoming but also celebrates a religious community more vibrant and diverse than most people realize. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

From religion to recipes, from carpooling to cat whispering, bestselling author Celia Rivenbark gives voice to the hilarious, the hateful, the horrible and the heaven-help-us. Pull up a chair and sit next to Celia --- she says the things we only dare to think! Reviewed by Maggie Harding.

MOON RIVER AND ME: A Memoir, by Andy Williams (Memoir)
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the words “Moon River”? If you’re like me and millions of other baby boomers, you’ll think of Andy Williams. In his aptly named memoir, this well-known singer and entertainer for nearly seven decades takes us on a journey from his humble beginnings to his rise to stardom. Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin.

Author Interviews
John Lutz
URGE TO KILL, John Lutz's fourth novel to feature protagonist Frank Quinn, finds the former NYPD police detective leaving retirement in order to investigate two strings of serial murders that may have been committed by the same killer. In this interview with's Joe Hartlaub, Lutz explains how an observation made during his stint as a civilian employee with the St. Louis PD prompted him to focus this series on older, more experienced members of law enforcement, and why he chose a rather unlikely setting for one of the book's most chilling scenes. He also reflects on the appeal of serial murders for thriller readers, selects his dream cast if the novel were ever to be adapted to film, and shares some of his favorite reads from the last several months.

Berkeley Breathed
It’s been 20 years since Berkeley Breathed left the world of Bloom County behind. Since then, he has kept busy with such strips as Outland and Opus and writing prose works, but his defining work remains the one he began on December 8, 1980. After all these years and multiple requests from fans and publishers alike, he has agreed to collect his Bloom County work in five oversized volumes. Each of the Bloom County: The Complete Library editions will feature not only the strips themselves, carefully reproduced, but also running commentary from Breathed himself as he looks back on the characters and settings he once inhabited daily. John Hogan, the Editorial Director for, talked to Breathed about what he thought of his work now that he’s looking back on it from the distance of the 21st century.

Author Talk
Anne Rice
Anne Rice's latest release, ANGEL TIME, is the first book in a new series of metaphysical thrillers called Songs for the Seraphim. In this interview, Rice describes her aim for these novels and explains what inspired the concept behind "Angel Time." She also reflects on the appeal of these heavenly beings, discusses some of the fun settings featured in the book, and shares details about the series' next installment, WORLD ENOUGH AND TIME.

Feature Story
Beyond the Pages: Robert Weil, Executive Editor and Vice President, W.W. Norton
In his long career as an editor, Robert Weil has worked with some of the most successful and revered authors in the world. Recently, he served as editor on THE HEMINGSES OF MONTICELLO by Annette Gordon-Reed, which won multiple awards, including the 2008 National Book Award for nonfiction and the Pulitzer Prize for History in 2009, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Prize for biography. His storied career also includes some graphic works --- two very notable works, in fact. The first is the bestselling STITCHES by David Small, which has been nominated for this year's National Book Award in the Young People's Literature category, and the latest is R. Crumb’s THE BOOK OF GENESIS ILLUSTRATED, which debuted last week at the top of the New York Times Graphic Books Bestseller List.

John Hogan, the Editorial Director for, talked with Weil about how he got started working on graphic books in the first place, how he edits them, and what it was like to work on both GENESIS and STITCHES.

Historical Fiction Author Spotlight
RAINWATER by Sandra Brown
From acclaimed bestselling author Sandra Brown comes a powerfully moving novel celebrating the gifts, generosity and foresight of a great bygone generation. Centered around an independent woman who runs a Texas boarding house during the Dust Bowl and a mysterious boarder, RAINWATER tells a story that bears witness to a bittersweet truth: that love is worth whatever price one must pay for it.
- Click here to read a third excerpt from RAINWATER.

Mystery Mayhem Author Spotlight
The yuletide season in Lake Eden, Minnesota, guarantees a white Christmas, delectable holiday goodies from Hannah Swensen's bakery, The Cookie Jar --- and murder. As a shadow hangs over her friends' Christmas wedding, Hannah's determined to cook a killer's goose before anyone else gets burned.
- Click here to read a third excerpt from PLUM PUDDING MURDER.

Debut Suspense Thriller Author Spotlight
MANIA by Craig Larson

Seattle newspaper photographer Nick Wilder has gained a reputation capturing gruesome homicide scenes on film. His latest assignment: Tracking an unpredictable, deranged serial killer terrorizing the dark, wet streets of Seattle. But when the Street Butcher claims Nick’s brother as his latest casualty, Nick suddenly finds himself on the other side of the hunt...


Determined to avenge his brother’s murder, Nick stumbles into a dizzying labyrinth of deceit and danger. The deeper he digs, the more the trail circles back to him --- and to the secrets locked in his disturbing past. As Nick zeroes in on the killer, the more he must risk to unmask the depraved psychopath haunting his every move. As the motives heighten and the suspects narrow, the cold, stark Seattle winter turns ever chillier...
- Click here to read a third excerpt from MANIA.

Women’s Fiction Author Spotlight
WINDFALL by Penny Vincenzi
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 Advance Reader Comments for WINDFALL.

Click here to read the full newsletter.

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