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Friday, June 18, 2010

June 18, 2010

The following reviews, interviews and features began running on on Friday, June 18th.

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

SCOUT, ATTICUS AND BOO: A Celebraiton of Fifty Years of TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Mary McDonaugh Murphy
COMPOSED by Roseanne Cash
NO MERCY by John Gilstrap
HIGHEST DUTY: My Search for What Really Matters by Chelsey Sullenberger
BROKEN by Karin Slaughter
ICE COLD: A Rizzoli and Isles Novel by Tess Gerritsen
SIZZLING SIXTEEN: A Stephanie Plum Novel by Janet Evanovich

Reviews and Excerpts
FRANKENSTEIN: LOST SOULS by Dean Koontz (Suspense)
In FRANKENSTEIN: LOST SOULS, Dean Koontz puts a singular twist on this classic tale of ambition and science gone wrong and forges a new legend uniquely suited to our times --- a story of revenge, redemption, and the razor-thin line that separates humanity from inhumanity as we consider a new invitation to apocalypse. Reviewed by Judy Gigstad and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from FRANKENSTEIN: LOST SOULS.

IMPERIAL BEDROOMS by Bret Easton Ellis (Fiction)
Bret Easton Ellis follows the teenagers he introduced in his 1985 debut novel, LESS THAN ZERO, by revisiting these characters nearly 25 years later as they enter an even more desperate middle age. Reviewed by Ray Palen and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from IMPERIAL BEDROOMS.

INSATIABLE by Meg Cabot (Paranormal Romance)
Writer Meena Harper hates vampires --- that is, until she finds herself falling in love with one. To say he’s no good for her is putting it nicely, so she has to find a way to break free before the damage is done. Reviewed by Danica Davidson.

CUM LAUDE by Cecily von Ziegesar (Fiction)
As a group of freshmen find out, that first year of college is more than credits and cramming. Between the lust and the love, the secrecy and the scandal, they'll all receive an unexpected education. It's a time of shifting alliances, unrequited crushes, and coming of age. Reviewed by Sarah Hannah Gómez.

WHIPLASH: An FBI Thriller, by Catherine Coulter (Paranormal Romantic Suspense)
Yale professor Dr. Edward Kender's father is undergoing chemotherapy when the supply of a critical accompanying drug suddenly runs out. Unwilling to accept the drug company's disingenuous excuse of production line problems, Dr. Kender hires private investigator Erin Pulaski to prove that something more sinister is going on at Schiffer Hartwin. Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin.

ROLLING THUNDER: A John Ceepak Mystery, by Chris Grabenstein (Mystery)
A prominent citizen suffers a heart attack on opening day of a brand new boardwalk roller coaster in the seedy seaside resort town Sea Haven, New Jersey. Initially ruled a tragic accident, it isn’t long before there are suspicious hints of foul play --- especially after another dead body is discovered: a stunning young beach beauty. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub

A QUESTION OF BELIEF: A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery, by Donna Leon (Mystery)
In Donna Leon’s latest installment of her bestselling series, Venetian Commissario Guido Brunetti must contend with ingenious corruption, bureaucratic intransigence, and the stifling heat of a Venetian summer. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE ANNIVERSARY MAN by R.J. Ellory (Thriller)
Twenty years ago, John Costello and his girlfriend became victims of the deranged "Hammer of God" killer who terrorized Jersey City throughout the summer of 1984. When a new spate of murders starts, John is the only one who can discern the complex pattern that lies behind them. But could this dark knowledge threaten his own life? Reviewed by L. Dean Murphy.

STRIP by Thomas Perry (Thriller)
An aging but formidable strip club owner has been robbed by a masked gunman as he placed his cash receipts in a bank’s night-deposit box. Enraged, he sends his half-dozen security men out to find a suspect who is spending lots of cash and is new enough to Los Angeles not to know he was robbing a gangster. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

PERFECT READER by Maggie Pouncey (Fiction)
In her first novel, Maggie Pouncey offers a tender portrait of a daughter’s struggle to come to terms with her writer-father’s legacy, in life and on the page. PERFECT READER is a pensive, tightly focused character study rich with insight and graceful prose. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.

THE SCENT OF RAIN AND LIGHTNING by Nancy Pickard (Fiction)
When a convicted killer returns home after an early release from prison, the people of the town are outraged, the powerful family who lost a son and daughter-in-law that long-ago night foremost among them. But if they thought there was trouble 23 years ago, they haven’t seen what trouble the accused murderer has in store for them in the near future. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

STAY by Allie Larkin (Fiction)
Van is living a nightmare, having witnessed the secret love of her life marrying Van's best friend. In an alcohol- and “Rin Tin Tin” marathon-fueled buying spree on the Internet, she buys herself a German Shepherd companion from Slovakia. Has she ruined an already messed-up life? Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

Author Talk
Cecily von Ziegesar
Though she has made a name for herself penning the hugely popular and bestselling Gossip Girl series for teens, Cecily von Ziegesar’s new novel, CUM LAUDE, is aimed at an older audience and centers on a group of college freshmen testing the boundaries of their first taste of freedom. In this interview, von Ziegesar explains why she chose to shift away from YA literature in this latest project and recalls some of the real-life experiences that served as inspiration. She also elaborates on the book’s message, reveals the origin of her characters’ memorable names, and mentions some of her favorite writers. Beach Bag of Books Contest
Whether your "beach" is on sand, your backyard deck, or a grassy meadow in the country, the summer months mean it's time for "beach reading." is celebrating the lazy days of summer reading with our Sixth Annual feature and contests.

During select weeks from May 28th through September 3rd, we will highlight a different book or collection of books from these featured titles with a contest prize --- a beach bag stocked with the featured book(s) and summertime essentials. Five FABULOUS beach bags will be given away each week, as well as five copies of the featured book(s) to additional winners.

Our current featured Beach Bag titles are:
THE ANGEL'S GAME by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
THE BEST OF TIMES by Penny Vincenzi
COMMENCEMENT by J. Courtney Sullivan
THAT OLD CAPE MAGIC by Richard Russo

Fifth Annual Father's Day Contest
Father’s Day is a time to celebrate the men in our lives who have raised and inspired us. Why not show him your appreciation by inspiring him with a great book? From May 28th through June 14th, readers will have the chance to win one of our five Father’s Day Cooler Tote Bags. Each gray cooler tote bag is filled with a copy of our 12 featured titles, giving dad a book to read each month and making Father’s Day truly a yearlong celebration. Also included are a variety of handy and fun items that we know he’ll love.

Our featured Father’s Day titles are:

- COOP: A Family, a Farm, and the Pursuit of One Good Egg by Michael Perry
- CRAZY FOR THE STORM: A Memoir of Survival by Norman Ollestad
- DON'T LET ME GO: What My Daughter Taught Me About the Journey Every Parent Must Make by David W. Pierce
- LOSING MY COOL: How a Father’s Love and 15,000 Books Beat Hip-Hop Culture by Thomas Chatterton Williams
- MANHOOD FOR AMATEURS: The Pleasures and Regrets of a Father, Husband and Son by Michael Chabon
- NORTH BY NORTHWESTERN: A Seafaring Family on Deadly Alaskan Waters by Captain Sig Hansen and Mark Sundeen
- THE PACIFIC by Hugh Ambrose
- RAIDERS FROM THE NORTH: Empire of the Moghul by Alex Rutherford
- SHOP CLASS AS SOULCRAFT: An Inquiry into the Value of Work by Matthew B. Crawford
- UNFINISHED BUSINESS: One Man’s Extraordinary Year of Trying to Do the Right Things by Lee Kravitz

Debut Suspense Thriller Author Spotlight
STILL MISSING by Chevy Stevens
On the day she was abducted, Annie O’Sullivan, a 32-year old realtor, had three goals --- sell a house, forget about a recent argument with her mother, and be on time for dinner with her ever- patient boyfriend. The open house is slow, but when her last visitor pulls up in a van as she's about to leave, Annie thinks it just might be her lucky day after all. Interwoven with the story of the year Annie spent as the captive of psychopath in a remote mountain cabin, which unfolds through sessions with her psychiatrist, is a second narrative recounting events following her escape --- her struggle to piece her shattered life back together and the ongoing police investigation into the identity of her captor.
- Click here to read an excerpt from STILL MISSING.
- Click here to read Chevy Stevens’s bio.
- Click here to read critical praise for STILL MISSING.
- Click here to read more about STILL MISSING.

CRASHERS by Dana Haynes
Whenever a plane goes down in the USA, a "Go Team" made up of experts is assembled by the National Transportation Safety Board to investigate. Those people --- each of them a leading expert in a specific area --- are known informally as "Crashers." CRASHERS is a fresh and utterly compelling thriller, an original mix of action, investigation and a brilliant cast of characters that grabs the reader in a way few novels can and fewer do.
- Click here to read a third excerpt from CRASHERS.

Romantic Suspense Author Spotlight
BLIND SPOT by Nancy Bush
The crime scene at an Oregon rest stop is brutal beyond belief --- a young man’s lifeless body cut to ribbons, and his pregnant girlfriend left alive but comatose. Psychologist Claire Norris is assigned to treat the survivor at a private mental hospital. But there are no clues to the identity of the catatonic “Jane Doe.” A difficult job only becomes more complicated with the arrival of ex-homicide detective Langdon Stone, who questions Claire’s every move. Reluctantly working together, Claire and Lang begin to unravel the chilling truth about a twisted case --- one with ties to a killer who is right in their midst, eager to see a mission of evil through to its terrifying end.
- Click here to read an excerpt from BLIND SPOT.
- Click here to read Nancy Bush’s bio.
- Click here to see Nancy Bush’s backlist.
- Click here to read critical praise for BLIND SPOT.
- Click here to read more about BLIND SPOT.

THE WHISPER by Carla Neggers

Boston detective Cyrus “Scoop” Wisdom is after a bomber until archaeologist Sophie Malone unknowingly leads him to a retired officer’s body and symbols of ritual sacrifice, possibly linked to priceless artifacts she uncovered in Ireland a year ago. Tough and stubborn, Scoop is the best on the force at detecting lies…except maybe those of Sophie Malone. Together Sophie and Scoop face the greatest challenge of their lives: Someone is using ancient rituals to commit modern-day murder --- and the killing has only just begun.
- Click here to read a second excerpt from THE WHISPER.

Suspense Thriller Author Spotlight
THEY'RE WATCHING by Gregg Hurwitz
Patrick Davis is a man with troubles. First his Hollywood dreams crumble and then his storybook marriage hits a snag. Now, DVDs start being delivered to his house --- DVDs that show someone is watching him and his wife, that the two of them are being stalked and recorded by cameras hidden in their house. Then the e-mails start, and someone offers to fix everything, to take the mess his life has become and make it all right. Patrick figures it’s the offer of a lifetime, but he couldn't be more wrong.
- Click here to read an excerpt from THEY'RE WATCHING.
- Click here to read Gregg Hurwitz’s bio.
- Click here to see Gregg Hurwitz’s backlist.
- Click here to read more about THEY'RE WATCHING.

HOSTAGE ZERO by John Gilstrap
Hostage rescue expert Jonathan Grave is used to working alone, and this time he’ll have to go where even the government won’t. An innocent man has been shot and two young people are missing. But tracking them down is just the beginning. To keep them and his covert team alive, Jonathan must plunge into the heart of an ugly secret whose insidious path reaches from one of the world’s most remote places into the highest corridors of power --- and he must defeat enemies who are willing to kill again and again to keep the truth from being revealed.
- Click here to read an excerpt from HOSTAGE ZERO.
- Click here to read John Gilstrap’s bio.
- Click here to see John Gilstrap’s backlist.
- Click here to read critical praise for HOSTAGE ZERO.
- Click here to read more about HOSTAGE ZERO.

THE EXILE by Andrew Britton
For the President of the United States, the horror of life in West Darfur just hit too close to home. His niece Lily, a nurse caring for Sudanese refugees, has been murdered by a corps of fearsome government-backed militia. Any response will destabilize the region and threaten the security of the world. America is out of options. Except one: Ryan Kealey.
- Click here to read a second excerpt from THE EXILE.

VICIOUS by Kevin O’Brien
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… Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.
- Click here to read a review of VICIOUS.
- Click here to read a second excerpt from VICIOUS.
- Click here to read our interview with Kevin O’Brien.
- 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.

PRAY FOR SILENCE by Linda Castillo
New York Times bestselling author Linda Castillo delivers an electrifying thriller in which Chief of Police Kate Burkholder must confront a dark evil to solve the mysterious murders of an entire Amish family. Topping her own bestselling debut, Castillo once again immerses us in the world of the Amish with a chilling story that is both a fast-paced thriller and an intriguing psychological puzzle.
- Click here to read a third excerpt from PRAY FOR SILENCE.

Women's Fiction Author Spotlight
Former Navy SEAL Sax Douchett has returned home to the small coastal town of Shelter Bay, Oregon, determined to put war behind him and get on with his life --- which is easier said than done when everyone is hailing the former bad boy as a local hero. Adjusting to a new beginning becomes even more difficult when he unearths a long-buried secret that reunites him with a cherished part of his past that he’s never forgotten.
- Click here to read an excerpt from THE HOMECOMING.
- Click here to read JoAnn Ross’s bio.
- Click here to see JoAnn Ross’s backlist.
- Click here to read critical praise for THE HOMECOMING.
- Click here to read more about THE HOMECOMING.

Historical Fiction Author Spotlight
In 1935, when Erma Morton, a beautiful young woman with a teaching degree, is charged with the murder of her father in a remote Virginia mountain community, the case becomes a cause célèbre for the national press. A stunning return to the lands, ballads and characters upon which she made her name, THE DEVIL AMONGST THE LAWYERS is a testament to Sharyn McCrumb’s lyrical and evocative writing.
- Click here to read a third excerpt from THE DEVIL AMONGST THE LAWYERS.

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