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Friday, May 21, 2010

May 21, 2010

The following reviews, interviews and features began running on on Friday, May 21st.

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

61 HOURS by Lee Child
BEACHCOMBERS by Nancy Thayer
HEALER by Carol Cassella
OXYGEN by Carol Cassella
THE BRAVE by Nicholas Evans
THE BOURNE OBJECTIVE by Eric Van Lustbader
SEAWORTHY: A Swordboat Captain Returns to the Sea by Linda Greenlaw

Reviews and Excerpts
BY FIRE, BY WATER by Mitchell James Kaplan (Historical Fiction)
Luis de Santángel, chancellor to the court and longtime friend of the lusty King Ferdinand, has had enough of the Spanish Inquisition. Santángel is from a family of conversos, and his Jewish heritage makes him a target of the brutal Inquisitor Tomás de Torquemada. When a dear friend’s demise brings the violence close to home, Santángel takes retribution into his own hands, simultaneously growing ever closer to a beautiful Jewish silversmith, Judith Migdal. Reviewed by Melanie Smith and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from BY FIRE, BY WATER.

FLIGHT OF SHADOWS by Sigmund Brouwer
She escaped the religious enclave of Appalachia. But peace and freedom are even further out of reach for Caitlyn as the myriad dangers pursuing her threaten to crush her last shred of hope. Will she ever discover the truth of her origin? A lightning-fast chase through an all-too-plausible future, bestselling author Sigmund Brouwer is at his best in this terrifying ride into the heart of compelling moral questions about science and society. Reviewed by Marcia Ford and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from FLIGHT OF SHADOWS.

(Historical Romance)
Lynn Kurland turns back time for hopeless romantic Pippa Alexander. Pippa is invited to showcase her exquisite medieval costumes at a birthday party taking place at her sister’s fairy tale English castle. One of the guests could hold the keys to her acclaim as an international designer, and she is anxiously anticipating her future --- until one enchanted evening she takes a fateful step in the direction of the past and Montgomery de Piaget. Reviewed by Hillary Wagy and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from ONE ENCHANTED EVENING.

61 HOURS: A Reacher Novel, by Lee Child (Thriller)
A tour bus crashes in a savage snowstorm and lands Jack Reacher in the middle of a deadly confrontation. In nearby Bolton, South Dakota, one brave woman is standing up for justice in a small town threatened by sinister forces. If she’s going to live long enough to testify, she’ll need help. Because a killer is coming to Bolton, a coldly proficient assassin who never misses. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from 61 HOURS.

BLUE-EYED DEVIL by Robert B. Parker (Western)
In this posthumously published western, New York Times bestselling author Robert B. Parker brings gunmen Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch back to the town of Appaloosa where they once were the law. But now they find themselves in trouble with the new sheriff. Reviewed by Tom Callahan.

SUPREME JUSTICE by Phillip Margolin (Political Thriller)
Filled with the fast-paced twists and surprises that propelled EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE, SUPREME JUSTICE reunites attorney Brad Miller, FBI agent Keith Evans, and private investigator Dana Cutler to untangle a five-year-old case involving a ghost ship and the President’s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE LAST STAND: Custer, Sitting Bull, and the Battle of the Little Bighorn, by Nathaniel Philbrick (History)
The Battle of the Little Bighorn and the life of George Armstrong Custer are part legend, part fact, and certainly one of the most recognized events in American history. Historian Nathaniel Philbrick, an award-winning author for his writing on 19th-century America, turns his attention to the Little Bighorn, its actors and impact on our nation. Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman.

SOMEWHERE INSIDE: One Sister’s Captivity in North Korea and the Other’s Fight to Bring Her Home, by Laura Ling and Lisa Ling
(Memoir/Current Affairs)
When television journalist Laura Ling was arrested in 2009 a few steps inside the territory of North Korea, it set off an international incident that reached up to the highest levels of the North Korean and American governments. Laura and her devoted sister, Lisa, have now told the story of that event and its aftermath. Reviewed by Robert Finn.

ANTHILL by E. O. Wilson (Fiction)
Though firmly a parable working in well-worn grooves, E. O. Wilson’s ANTHILL is an inspiring work that does something rare: it makes passionate statements about conservation and the human condition that avoid all triteness. Reviewed by Max Falkowitz.

THE GOOD SON by Michael Gruber (Suspense)
After a group of international peacekeepers is abducted by a band of masked terrorists in rural Pakistan, Special Ops soldier Theo Bailey takes action. Among the multinational hostages are an American billionaire, an American Quaker couple --- and Theo’s mother. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

NEVERLAND by Douglas Clegg (Supernatural Thriller)
Children never get to decide where to go on vacation, and if they did, they likely would not choose to go to a Georgia shore to stay with a venerable grandmother. Beau Jackson does just that with his family every year. The difference this time is that his cousin, Sumter, has a new friend. Her name is Lucy, and she offers to make all of the pain and lies go away for Beau and the others if they will just make a few sacrifices. Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard.

THIS IS NOT THE STORY YOU THINK IT IS: A Season of Unlikely Happiness, by Laura Munson (Memoir)
Laura Munson recounts a period of months in which her faith in herself --- and her marriage --- was put to the test. Shaken to the core after the death of her beloved father, not finding the professional success that she had hoped for, and after countless hours of therapy, Laura finally realized she had to stop basing her happiness on things outside her control and commit herself to an "End of Suffering." Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

THE EYES OF WILLIE McGEE: A Tragedy of Race, Sex, and Secrets in the Jim Crow South, by Alex Heard (History)
Based on exhaustive documentary research --- court transcripts, newspaper reports, archived papers, letters, FBI documents, and the recollections of family members on both sides --- Mississippi native Alex Heard tells a moving and unforgettable story that evokes the bitter conflicts between black and white, North and South, in America. Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott.

Author Interviews
Mitchell James Kaplan
Mitchell James Kaplan’s debut novel, BY FIRE, BY WATER, is a work of historical fiction that chronicles some of the world-changing events that took place in 15th-century Spain, as seen from the perspective of Luis de Santángel --- the behind-the-scenes figure responsible for Christopher Columbus’s discovery of the New World. In this interview with’s Melanie Smith, Kaplan explains what initially drew him to this particular period, and provides some historical context for such infamous occurrences as the Spanish Inquisition and the expulsion of the country’s Jewish population. He also shares some fascinating and little-known information he encountered in his research, points out contemporary parallels in the ways in which people justify carrying out extreme political policies, and discusses his next novel, which will focus on the early evolution of Judaism and Christianity.

Sigmund Brouwer
Bestselling author Sigmund Brouwer recently spoke with’s Marcia Ford about his latest work of fiction, FLIGHT OF SHADOWS, the follow-up to last year’s dystopian thriller, BROKEN ANGEL. In this interview, Brouwer elaborates on the book’s predominant theme of freedom, and talks about the scientific and ethical dilemmas he addresses in the narrative. He also discusses his work in promoting childhood literacy, describes his ideal working environment, and shares details about his next novel, REALM.

Lynn Kurland
Lynn Kurland’s most recent historical romance, ONE ENCHANTED EVENING, is the latest installment in her bestselling di Piaget series, and follows two star-crossed lovers born centuries apart who must endure numerous obstacles --- including a little time travel --- to reach their “happily ever after.” In this interview with’s Hillary Wagy, Kurland explains how she pieced together the book’s multi-layered plot, and describes what she personally looks for in romantic heroes and heroines. She also speculates on the appeal of this ever-popular genre, shares what she learned about herself and her work while visiting different periods in history, and reflects on the “magic” found in her own day-to-day life.

One to Watch Author Spotlight
THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US by Charles Martin (Fiction)
On a stormy winter night, two strangers wait for a flight at the Salt Lake City airport. Ashley Knox is an attractive, successful writer, who is flying East for her much-anticipated wedding. Dr. Ben Payne has just wrapped up a medical conference and is also eager to get back East for a slate of surgeries he has scheduled for the following day. When the last outgoing flight is cancelled due to a broken de-icer and a forthcoming storm, Ben finds a charter plane that can take him around the storm and drop him in Denver to catch a connection. And when the pilot says the single engine prop plane can fit one more, if barely, Ben offers the seat to Ashley knowing that she needs to get back just as urgently. And then the unthinkable happens. The pilot has a heart attack mid-flight and the plane crashes into the High Uintas Wilderness --- one of the largest stretches of harsh and remote land in the United States.
- Click here to read an excerpt from THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US.
- Click here to read Charles Martin's bio.
- Click here to see Charles Martin's backlist.
- Click here to read critical praise for THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US.
- Click here to read more about THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US.

PERFECTION by Julie Metz
Julie Metz’s life changed forever on one ordinary January afternoon when her husband, Henry, collapsed on the kitchen floor and died in her arms. Suddenly, this mother of a 6-year-old became the young widow in her bucolic small town. But that was only the beginning. Seven months after Henry’s death, just when Julie thought she was emerging from the worst of it, came the rest of it: Henry had hidden another life from her. PERFECTION is the story of rebuilding both a life and an identity after betrayal and widowhood. It is a story of betrayal and widowhood. It is a story of rebirth and happiness --- if not perfection.
- Click here to read a review of PERFECTION,
- Click here to read a second excerpt from PERFECTION.
- Click here to see the reading group guide for PERFECTION.
- Click here to read an interview with Julie Metz
- Click here to read Julie Metz's bio.
- Click here to read critical praise for PERFECTION.

MISS YOU MOST OF ALL by Elizabeth Bass
Sassy Spinster Farm is a place to find solace. At least, that's what it's become since Rue Anderson and her sister Laura transformed their childhood Texas homestead into a successful tourist destination. It's where guests flock to get their hands dirty and taste food fresh from the garden. And it's where Rue is raising her preteen daughter on her own--while trying to keep her outspoken sister in check. It's not easy, but together, it seems there's nothing the two can't handle--until an unexpected, and not entirely welcome guest shows up in the middle of one warm summer night.
- Click here to read a third excerpt from MISS YOU MOST OF ALL.

Suspense Thriller Author Spotlight
VICIOUS by Kevin O'Brien
For more than two years, he held Seattle in a terror grip. A cold-blooded killer who abducted young mothers right in front of their sons and murdered them execution style. Then, as suddenly as the killings began, they seemed to stop. Susan Blanchette is looking forward to a relaxing weekend getaway with her fiancé, Allen, and young son Matthew. But something about the remote lake house doesn’t feel right. A woman vanished from the area a year ago, and now Susan thinks she’s spotted someone lurking around the property. And when Allen disappears, her fear grows…
- Click here to read an excerpt from VICIOUS.
- Click here to read Kevin O'Brien's bio.
- Click here to see Kevin O'Brien's backlist.
- Click here to read critical praise for VICIOUS.
- Click here to read Kevin O'Brien's blog post about his mother, Adele.

BODILY HARM by Robert Dugoni

In his return as “the lawyer who does not lose,” David Sloane is on the verge of another victory, but something about the malpractice case has bothered him from the start. His uneasiness grows when toy designer Kyle Horgan confronts him on the way to the verdict to claim responsibility not only for the child’s death, but also for the fate of a second young boy in central Washington.
- Click here to read a third excerpt from BODILY HARM.

THE KILLING ROOM by John Manning

Old houses have their secrets. The Young residence --- a beautiful Maine mansion overlooking the Atlantic--is no exception. But the secrets here are different. Carolyn Cartwright, private detective and ex-FBI agent, has been hired by Howard Young to investigate a string of gruesome family deaths. The crimes are horrific, brutal, and senseless. One-by-one, members of the Young family are chosen to die. Old and young, weak and strong, no one is safe from a killer with a limitless thirst for revenge. And the only way for Carolyn to uncover the shocking truth is to enter the room no one has ever left alive.
- Click here to read a third excerpt from THE KILLING ROOM.

Historical Romance Author Spotlight
As the sole remaining heir to the Earl of Daventry, Alexander Randall knows his duty: find a wife and sire a son of his own. The perfect bride for a man in his position would be a biddable young girl of good breeding. But the woman who haunts his imagination is Julia Bancroft --- a village midwife with a dark secret that thrusts her into Randall's protection.
- Click here to read a third excerpt from NEVER LESS THAN A LADY.

Women's Fiction Author Spotlight
Tully Sullivan is just like any other suburban mom --- unless you count the days every year that she zones out and turns base metals into gold. Those are weird. And now she’s woken up in a strange place surrounded by strange people who keep insisting that they’re dragons --- and that she’s one, too. But not just any dragon. She’s Ysolde de Bouchier, a famed figure from dragon history.
- Click here to read a second excerpt from LOVE IN THE TIME OF DRAGONS.

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