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Friday, March 19, 2010

March 19, 2010

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

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

BODILY HARM by Robert Dugoni
BOOK LUST TO GO: Reading for Travelers, Vagabonds, and Dreamers by Nancy Pearl
OXYGEN by Carol Cassella
HEALER by Carol Cassella

Reviews and Excerpts
HER MOTHER’S HOPE by Francine Rivers (Historical Fiction)
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. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.

THINK TWICE by Lisa Scottoline (Mystery)
Bennie and Alice are identical twin sisters, but one of them is evil --- and she will stop at nothing in order to impersonate her sister and empty her bank accounts. When Alice buries Bennie alive, though, Bennie refuses to give up and die. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.
- Click here to read an excerpt from THINK TWICE.

THE PALLBEARERS: A Shane Scully Novel by Stephen J. Cannell (Thriller)
From New York Times bestselling author Stephen J. Cannell comes a powerful new novel in which Detective Shane Scully, who grew up as an orphan, must revisit his painful childhood to find out who murdered the kind and charismatic man who became a father to him. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
- Click here to read an excerpt from THE PALLBEARERS.

THE SURRENDERED by Chang-rae Lee (Fiction)
Western literature is rich with accounts of warfare, some reveling in its heroism and glory and others exposing the grim toll it exacts from all those --- combatants and civilians --- who experience it. To that ample body of work add Chang-rae Lee’s fourth novel, THE SURRENDERED, a devastating saga of three intersecting lives scarred irretrievably by the horrors of war. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg
- Click here to read an excerpt from THE SURRENDERED.

THE GIRL WHO CHASED THE MOON by Sarah Addison Allen (Fiction)
Have you ever felt quieted and contented in the aura of a place, lulled into its sights and scents, acutely aware of its currents? If so, then you should take a good look at Sarah Addison Allen’s THE GIRL WHO CHASED THE MOON, set in a small town with exactly that kind of quality. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.
- Click here to read an excerpt from THE GIRL WHO CHASED THE MOON.
- Click here to see the reading group guide for THE GIRL WHO CHASED THE MOON.

It is the middle of the 20th century, and in a home economics program at a prominent university, real babies are being used to teach mothering skills to young women. For a young man raised in these unlikely circumstances, finding real love and learning to trust will prove to be the work of a lifetime. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

THE WEED THAT STRINGS THE HANGMAN’S BAG: A Flavia de Luce Mystery by Alan Bradley (Mystery)
Flavia de Luce is a dangerously brilliant 11-year-old with a passion for chemistry and a genius for solving murders. This time, Flavia finds herself untangling two deaths --- separated by time but linked by the unlikeliest of threads. Alan Bradley’s second novel featuring Flavia continues to reinvent the English country house mystery with wit and warmth. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

A DARK MATTER by Peter Straub (Suspense)
Horror master Peter Straub returns with a conundrum of a novel, whereby five high school friends share their individual stories about the tragic events they witnessed in the 1960s during a pagan ritual and how their lives were forever changed by this event. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

THE HONOR OF SPIES: An Honor Bound Novel by W. E. B. Griffin and William E. Butterworth IV (Military Thriller)
August 6, 1943: In his brief career in the Office of Strategic Services, 24-year-old Cletus Frade has already been involved in a lot of unusual situations, but nothing like the one he's in now, standing with a German lieutenant colonel named Wilhelm Frogger in a Mississippi prisoner-of-war detention facility. Frade's job? To help Frogger escape. Reviewed by Judy Gigstad.

David R. Dow takes us inside prisons, inside the complicated minds of judges, inside execution-administration chambers, into the lives of death row inmates (some shown to be innocent, others not) and even into his own home --- where the toll of working on these difficult cases is perhaps inevitably paid. Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott.

THE LITTLE DEATH by P. J. Parrish (Mystery)
Most people would kill to live in glamorous Palm Beach, with its beautiful women, five-star resorts and dazzling coast. But most people don't know what really goes on in the bedrooms of the rich and famous. Mark Durand did --- and now the handsome high-class "walker," who escorted the wealthiest women to posh affairs, is dead. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE DREAM OF PERPETUAL MOTION by Dexter Palmer (Fiction)
THE DREAM OF PERPETUAL MOTION is best read not as a novel, but as a complex collection of images, fantasies, dreams, music, narratives and ideas. Through a strange assemblage of clamoring machines, awkward robots and pastiche emerges a surprisingly beautiful work, an experience as much as a book. Reviewed by Max Falkowitz.

FINAL TARGET by Steven Gore (Thriller)
A man lies unconscious in a hospital bed, the victim of a violent assault the police are calling "road rage." If he recovers, prosecutors are waiting to indict him for conspiracy, eager to send him to prison for the rest of his life. Private investigator Graham Gage believes the injured man --- his closest friend, Jack Burch --- had no part in the ever-widening criminal conspiracy surrounding the collapse of defense contractor SatTek Industries. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

Author Talk
Chang-rae Lee
In this interview, Chang-rae Lee --- the bestselling and award-winning author of NATIVE SPEAKER, A GESTURE LIFE and ALOFT --- recalls the early inspiration behind his epic fourth novel, THE SURRENDERED, and explains what he wished to explore in this sweeping narrative that encompasses over 50 years and three continents, as lived by three characters with tragic pasts. He also discusses the challenges he encountered while writing a book with such a large scope, elaborates on the novel’s titular theme of surrender, and reflects on an idea presented in the text about the incontrollable nature of mercy.

Women’s Fiction Author Spotlight
WHITER THAN SNOW by Sandra Dallas
WHITER THAN SNOW opens in 1920, on a spring afternoon in Swandyke, a small town near Colorado’s Tenmile Range. Just moments after four o’clock, a large split of snow separates from Jubilee Mountain high above the tiny hamlet and hurtles down the rocky slope, enveloping everything in its path including nine young children who are walking home from school. But only four children survive.
- Click here to read a second excerpt from WHITER THAN SNOW.

Suspense Thriller Author Spotlight
THE BOOK OF SPIES by Gayle Lynds
For centuries, emperors, historians and even the Vatican have tried to locate Ivan the Terrible's magnificent Library of Gold. Now one of its volumes, The Book of Spies, has surfaced, and along with it the secret book club that owns the fabled library. They form a cabal of the globe's most powerful men --- men who will do anything to achieve their aims and protect their interests. An intelligence officer and a rare book curator now must do what other global agencies can't --- find the library and stop them.
- Click here to read a second excerpt from THE BOOK OF SPIES.

YOU CAN’T STOP ME by Max Allan Collins and Matthew Clemens
Small-town sheriff J.C. Harrow made headlines when he apprehended a would-be presidential assassin --- only to come home that night and find his wife and son brutally murdered. This tragic twist of fate launched his career as the host of reality TV’s smash-hit, "Crime Seen!" But while media star Harrow tracks down dangerous criminals coast to coast --- with the help of viewers’ tips --- a killer with a twisted agenda is making his own bloody path to fame.
- Click here to read a third excerpt from YOU CAN’T STOP ME.

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 view reader comments on ONE GOOD DOG.

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