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Friday, February 19, 2010

February 19, 2010

The following reviews, interviews and features began running on on Friday, February 19th.

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

NEVER LOOK AWAY by Linwood Barclay
HELL GATE by Linda Fairstein
HUSH by Kate White
BODILY HARM by Robert Dugoni
SHUTTER ISLAND by Dennis Lehane
THE GHOST WRITER by Robert Harris

Reviews and Interviews
LAST SNOW by Eric Van Lustbader (Thriller)

While awaiting a crucial meeting with Russian president Yukin, a man named Lloyd Berns, the American president’s minority whip in the Senate, was killed in Capri. Surprising, yes, but not as surprising as the fact that he was in Capri at all. He was supposed to have been in Kiev. What made him change plans? President Carson’s right-hand man, Jack McClure, will find out. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.
- Click here to read an excerpt from LAST SNOW.

THE FIRST RULE: A Joe Pike Novel by Robert Crais (Thriller)

Frank Meyer had the American dream --- until the day a professional crew invaded his home and murdered everyone inside. With the help of Elvis Cole, Joe Pike sets out on an investigation that quickly entangles them both in a web of ancient grudges, blood ties, blackmail, vengeance, double crosses and cutthroat criminal­ity. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.
- Click here to read an excerpt from THE FIRST RULE.

THE GIRL WHO FELL FROM THE SKY by Heidi W. Durrow (Fiction)

With her strict African American grandmother as her new guardian following the tragic death of her parents, Rachel moves to a mostly black community, where her light brown skin brings mixed attention her way. Growing up in the 1980s, she learns to swallow her overwhelming grief and confronts her identity as a biracial young woman in a world that wants to see her as either black or white. Reviewed by Jamie Layton.
- Click here to read an excerpt from THE GIRL WHO FELL FROM THE SKY.

UNION ATLANTIC by Adam Haslett (Fiction)
Centered on manipulation in the world of contemporary finance and a suburban land use battle, Adam Haslett’s debut novel is a character-driven modern morality play unafraid to deliver some harsh truths about the values that shape our lives
today. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.

HORNS by Joe Hill (Supernatural Thriller)
Ignatius Perrish spent the night drunk and doing terrible things. He woke up the next morning with a thunderous hangover, a raging headache…and a pair of horns growing from his temples. Ig then is possessed of a terrible new power to go with his terrible new look --- a macabre talent he intends to use to find the monster who killed his beloved, Merrin, and destroyed his life. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE SWAN THIEVES by Elizabeth Kostova (Fiction)

Masterpiece theatre! Elizabeth Kostova explores the drama of art history in this seductive second novel (following her bestselling Dracula chronicle, THE HISTORIAN). It not only entices readers with an intriguing riddle --- why a painter would attack a canvas in Washington’s National Gallery --- but plunges us into the richness and detail of an artist’s inner vision. Reviewed by Kathy Weissman.

THE WIFE’S TALE by Lori Lansens (Fiction)

On the eve of their 25th wedding anniversary, Mary's husband, Gooch, doesn't come home from work. His disappearance shocks her and hurls her into a world she never bothered to look at before. What Mary finds is a new life full of possibilities she didn’t let herself imagine until now. Reviewed by Amy Gwiazdowski.

THE LOST BOOKS OF THE ODYSSEY by Zachary Mason (Fiction)

The well-known and oft-recounted adventures of brave Odysseus of Homeric myth find themselves resculpted and wholly engaging in Zachary Mason's debut novel. With great precision and wit, Mason reimagines the grand journey of pitfalls and adventure and provides a whole new outlook on the great myth of The Odyssey. Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard.

HESTER: The Missing Years of The Scarlet Letter by Paula Reed (Historical Fiction)

Nathaniel Hawthorne omitted several years from Hester Prynne’s life when he wrote THE SCARLET LETTER. In her debut novel, Paula Reed fills in what happened to the scorned woman and her impertinent child during those missing years. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

THE AMERICAN GIRL by Monika Fagerholm (Fiction)

Crime mystery and gothic saga, social study and chronicle of the late ’60s and early ’70s, a portrait of the psyche of young girls on the cusp of sexual awakening, THE AMERICAN GIRL is a bewitching glimpse of the human capacity for survival and for self-inflicted wounds. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

THE BOYS FROM SANTA CRUZ by Jonathan Nasaw (Thriller)

When troubled teen Luke Sweet is left orphaned and homeless, the court ships him off to a treatment program for juvenile delinquents. Little Luke has a twisted past, though, and when several members of the group turn up dead, he quickly becomes the number one suspect. Former FBI agent E. L. Pender must track him down before anyone else gets hurt. But when clues about another psycho-killer surface, the case becomes much more dangerous than anyone thought possible. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

LETTER TO MY DAUGHTER by George Bishop (Fiction)

The year is 2004, and it’s the eve of Liz's 15th birthday. A family disagreement escalates, and Laura slaps her daughter on the cheek. During the night, Liz slips out of the house and drives away in Laura’s car. While waiting, worrying and hoping for Liz’s safe return home, Laura pours out her love in a heartfelt letter describing her own very turbulent teen years. Reviewed by Carole Turner.

RESCUING OLIVIA by Julie Compton (Thriller)

Anders Erickson has fallen for Olivia, who likes to live in the moment and doesn’t want to talk about her past. That’s fine with Anders --- who has his own memories he’d like to forget --- until a car runs their motorcycle off the road and causes an accident that puts Olivia in a coma. Reviewed by L. Dean Murphy.

Author Talks
Robert Crais
Though best known for his mysteries featuring private investigator Elvis Cole, Robert Crais's latest novel, THE FIRST RULE, is his second to center on the detective's ex-Marine/ex-L.A.P.D.-officer sidekick, Joe Pike. In this interview, Crais explains his emotional connection to his enigmatic protagonist and elaborates on the book's theme about one's need for family. He also discusses the research he performed on Eastern European gangs in preparation for this novel and reveals why he's hesitant to adapt his Cole/Pike stories for the big and small screens.

Heidi W. Durrow
Heidi W. Durrow's debut work of fiction, THE GIRL WHO FELL FROM THE SKY, was inspired by a true story, one she had read about in a newspaper article years ago. In this interview, Durrow explains how she based her main character on her own life experiences --- despite having not endured what is chronicled in the narrative --- and discusses the novel's structure and its symbolism regarding the protagonist's complicated history, as well as her struggle to move forward. She also describes how she became interested in writing after switching careers several times, shares sound advice to aspiring writers, and names some authors who have acted as both personal and professional influences.

One to Watch Author Spotlight THE SECRET LIFE OF EMILY DICKINSON by Jerome Charyn
What if the old maid of Amherst wasn't an old maid after all? Her older brother, Austin, spoke of Emily as his "wild sister." Jerome Charyn, continuing his exploration of American history through fiction, has written a startling novel about Emily Dickinson in her own voice, with all its characteristic modulations that he learned from her letters and poems. Along the way, Charyn introduces us to member's of Emily's inner circle, both real and imagined, who helped shape the legendary poet.
- Click here to read an excerpt from THE SECRET LIFE OF EMILY DICKINSON.
- Click here to read Jerome Charyn’s bio.
- Click here to see Jerome Charyn’s backist.

ONE GOOD DOG by Susan Wilson
Adam March is a Boston man recovering from the shame of a foolish crime. Chance is a scrappy pit bull mix trying to escape the illegal dogfight circuit. Together they find salvation. Adam, 46, is a ruthless self-made millionaire married to an icy socialite living a picture-perfect existence that includes a teen princess daughter. Adam is sentenced to community service following an outburst at the office and meets the adorable Chance, who teaches Adam about survival and what matters. Chance tells his story in his own words, which makes his mistreatment and return to the fighting pit powerfully disturbing.
- Click here to read a second excerpt from ONE GOOD DOG.

It is 1940. Iris James is the postmistress and spinster of Franklin, Massachusetts, a small town on Cape Cod. She firmly believes that her job is to deliver and keep people’s secrets, to pass along the news of love and sorrow that letters carry. Yet one day Iris does the unthinkable: she slips a letter into her pocket. And then she does something even worse --- she reads the letter, then doesn’t deliver it.

- Click here to read a review of THE POSTMISTRESS.
- Click here to read an excerpt from THE POSTMISTRESS.
- Click here to see the reading group guide for THE POSTMISTRESS.
- Click here to read our interview with Sarah Blake.
- Click here to read Sarah Blake's bio.
- Click here to see Sarah Blake's backlist.

Romantic Suspense Author Spotlight
DEAD BY MIDNIGHT by Beverly Barton
In murder, as in life, timing is everything. With every murder, the killer edges closer, and soon Lorie Hammonds will be the last name left on his list. In the 10 years since her Hollywood career imploded, Lorie has built a good life in her Alabama hometown, but things take a devious turn. She laughs off the first death threat, but the second threat is no joke. Her high school sweetheart, Mike Birkett, is now the small town's sheriff who has tried to keep his distance, but he, too, is drawn into a web of secrets, lies and murders that become increasingly personal.
- Click here to read a third excerpt from DEAD BY MIDNIGHT.

Suspense Thriller Author Spotlight
VICTIM SIX by Gregg Olsen
The bodies begin turning up in the marshes and swamps surrounding Puget Sound, each one more gruesome than the previous. The killer has a precision to his killing, carefully targeting, stalking, torturing and disposing of each victim. Two women find themselves unlikely friends as they race to stop the killer before his next strike. However, time is not on their side as the clues seem to place each of them squarely in the killer's crosshairs.
- Click here to read a third excerpt from VICTIM SIX.

LOOK AGAIN by Lisa Scottoline
When reporter Ellen Gleeson gets a “Have You Seen This Child?” flyer in the mail, she almost throws it away. But something about it makes her look again, and her heart stops --- the child in the photo is identical to her adopted son, Will. Her adoption was lawful, but she’s a journalist and won’t be able to stop thinking about the photo until she figures out the truth. As she investigates, Ellen uncovers clues that no one was meant to discover, and when she digs too deep, she risks losing her own life --- and that of the son she loves.
- Click here to read a review of LOOK AGAIN.
- Click here to read an excerpt from LOOK AGAIN.
- Click here to see the reading group guide for LOOK AGAIN.
- Click here to read our interview with Lisa Scottoline.
- Click here to read Lisa Scottoline’s bio.
- Click here to read fast facts about Lisa Scottoline.
- Click here to read Lisa Scottoline’s backlist.
- Click here to see our advance reader comments for LOOK AGAIN.

Click here to read the full newsletter.

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