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Friday, February 26, 2010

February 26, 2010

The following reviews, interviews and features began running on on Friday, February 26th.

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

SHUTTER ISLAND by Dennis Lehane

Reviews and Excerpts
In an outstanding tribute to one of the greats, author Jerome Charyn brings Emily Dickinson back to her full living form, challenging perceptions we've been left with. The withered spinster with the blank stare is obliterated, and in her place is an intelligent, lonely woman who seems more sensual goddess than recluse. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.
- Click here to read a second excerpt from THE SECRET LIFE OF EMILY DICKINSON.

DEAD BY MIDNIGHT by Beverly Barton (Romantic Suspense)
The Midnight Killer is obsessed with the porn movie Midnight Masquerade. With stealth and precision, he stalks the victims on his list --- all characters connected with the film. As the body count rises, and with former Midnight Masquerade actress Lorie Hammonds in his crosshairs, it’s only a matter of time before he strikes again. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.
- Click here to read an excerpt from DEAD BY MIDNIGHT.

VICTIM SIX by Gregg Olsen (Thriller)
The bodies are found in towns and cities around Puget Sound. The young women who are the victims had nothing in common, yet somebody carefully chose them to stalk, capture and torture --- a depraved killer whose cunning is matched only by the depth of his bloodlust. The dying has only just begun, and the next victim will be the most shocking of all. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.
- Click here to read an excerpt from VICTIM SIX.

FANTASY IN DEATH by J.D. Robb (Mystery)
NYPSD Lieutenant Eve Dallas is having as much trouble figuring out how Bart Minnock was murdered as who did the murdering. The victim's girlfriend seems sincerely grief-stricken, and his quirky but brilliant partners at U-Play appear equally shocked. No one seemed to have a prob­lem with the enthusiastic, high-spirited millionaire. Of course, success can attract jealousy, and gaming, like any business, has its fierce rivalries and dirty tricks. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.
- Click here to read an excerpt from FANTASY IN DEATH.

LIVE TO TELL by Wendy Corsi Staub (Thriller)
All Lauren Walsh wants is to protect her children from the pain of her messy divorce. But when their father goes missing, a case of mistaken identity puts all their lives in danger, and a stealthy predator lurks in the shadows, watching and waiting. Lauren is about to uncover an unfathomable truth --- a truth this cold-blooded mastermind would never let her live to tell. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.
- Click here to read an excerpt from LIVE TO TELL.

MONEY TO BURN by James Grippando (Thriller)
In this timely stand-alone thriller ripped from the headlines, New York Times bestselling author James Grippando explores a world in which the destruction of financial institutions and the people who run them can occur in a matter of hours --- perhaps even minutes. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

MAKING TOAST: A Family Story by Roger Rosenblatt (Memoir)
There was a time when a brief account of three generations of a close-knit family living under the same roof and struggling to make sense of the death of a young wife and mother wouldn’t have been all that extraordinary. That it takes place within the last two years in an affluent household in Bethesda, Maryland, transforms Roger Rosenblatt’s plainspoken, heartfelt memoir into something remarkable. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.

REMARKABLE CREATURES by Tracy Chevalier (Historical Fiction)
Mary Anning spends her days hunting fossils on the beaches of Lyme Regis. A discovery of hers creates an uproar in the scientific community and challenges previously accepted beliefs of evolution and extinction. Her friend, Elizabeth Philpot, becomes her unlikely champion in making sure that Mary and her finds are not forgotten. Reviewed by Amy Gwiazdowski.

POOR LITTLE BITCH GIRL by Jackie Collins (Romance)
Childhood friends Annabelle, Denver and Carolyn went their separate ways as adults. But the murder of Annabelle’s mother, the beautiful movie star Gemma Summer, has reunited these beauties, and the disagreements of the past are forgotten as they all try to forge new lives in spite of their previous scandals and secrets. Reviewed by Amie Taylor.

APPLE TURNOVER MURDER: A Hannah Swensen Mystery with Recipes by Joanne Fluke (Mystery)
When a smarmy community college professor ends up dead, it’s up to Hannah Swensen to take time out from her busy baking schedule to track down the killer of this plagiaristic poet and bring him or her to justice. Reviewed by Amie Taylor.

BLACK HILLS by Dan Simmons (Supernatural Historical Thriller)
Dan Simmons follows his international bestseller DROOD with BLACK HILLS, an epic tale of supernatural suspense set on the American frontier that includes Native American mysticism, General Custer and the Battle of Little Big Horn, and the improbable life of a young Sioux warrior named Paha Sapa. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

DRIVE TIME: A Charlotte McNally Novel by Hank Phillippi Ryan (Mystery)
Investigative reporter Charlotte McNally is an expert at keeping things confidential, but suddenly everyone has a secret --- and it turns out it is possible to know too much. Her latest scoop --- an exposé of a dangerous car scam, complete with stakeouts, high-speed chases and hidden-camera footage --- is ratings gold. But soon that leads her to a brand-new and diabolical scheme. Reviewed by Hillary Wagy.

MR. DARCY BROKE MY HEART by Beth Pattillo (Romance)
Is it even possible, in the eyes of a Jane Austen fan, to think that Mr. Darcy is capable of breaking the heroine's heart? Obviously the answer is yes, but in that case, how could the story possibly end well? Rest assured that it does. Author Beth Pattillo has found a way to ruffle the feathers of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE fans and then restore their confidence in love --- and in gentlemen. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.

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 Interviews
Jerome Cheryn
Jerome Charyn is the author of nearly 40 titles, including three memoirs and the novels DARLIN’ BILL, BLUE EYES and CITIZEN SIDEL. His latest book, THE SECRET LIFE OF EMILY DICKINSON, uncovers the vast but little-known private life of the famously reclusive 19th-century American poet. In this interview with’s Melanie Smith, Charyn explains what initially appealed to him about this literary and historical figure, and describes how he seamlessly incorporated elements of fiction into her biography in this account. He also recalls his reaction to seeing her home during a visit to the Emily Dickinson Museum in Massachusetts, reflects on her mass appeal over 120 years after her death, and shares details about his upcoming novel that takes place in 1940s Germany.

Beverly Barton
Beverly Barton's most recent romantic thriller, DEAD BY MIDNIGHT, features Lorie Hammonds and Sheriff Mike Birkett --- secondary characters from the previous novel DEAD BY MIDNIGHT --- who find themselves caught up in a serial murder plot against the cast of an adult film. In this interview with's Donna Volkenannt, Barton credits her editor for the initial inspiration to create a protagonist with a sordid past and explains how much of her hometown influenced the book's fictional setting of Dunmore, Alabama. She also discusses the process of finding evocative titles for each of her books, singles out a few of her favorite characters from her backlist of over 60 titles, and shares details about various projects in the works --- including a new series and two follow-ups to DEAD BY MIDNIGHT.

Gregg Olsen
Gregg Olsen's latest stand-alone thriller, VICTIM SIX, centers on a seemingly unpatterned string of murders that occur around Washington's Puget Sound. In this interview with's Joe Hartlaub, Olsen provides a bit of insight into the minds of serial killers regarding the "proximity zones" and unwritten "rules" of their crimes, and describes some of the hands-on research he performed to accurately portray elements of the plot and setting. He also discusses some recent advancements made in the field of forensic science, reflects on the difficulties of working on several writing projects at once, and shares his thoughts on two of the most high-profile and influential true crime stories in recent years.

Historical Fiction Author Spotlight
HER MOTHER’S HOPE by Francine Rivers
Near the turn of the 20th century, fiery Marta leaves Switzerland determined to find life on her own terms. Her journey takes her through Europe and finally lands her with children and husband in tow in the central valley of California. Marta’s experiences convince her that only the strong survive. Hildie, Marta’s oldest daughter, has a heart to serve others, and her calling as a nurse during World War II gives her independence, if not the respect of her mother.
- Click here to read an excerpt from HER MOTHER’S HOPE.
- Click here to read Francine Rivers’s bio.
- Click here to see Francine Rivers’s backlist.

One to Watch Author Spotlight
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 third 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 Advanced Reader Comments about THE POSTMISTRESS.

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