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Friday, June 25, 2010

June 25, 2010

The following reviews, interviews and features began running on on Friday, June 25th.

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

GIRLS LIKE US by Sheila Weiler
ICE COLD by Tess Gerritsen
SIZZLING SIXTEEN by Janet Evanovich

Reviews and Excerpts
CRASHERS by Dana Haynes (Thriller)
Whenever a plane goes down in the U.S., 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. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.
- Click here to read an excerpt from CRASHERS.
- Click here to read Dana Haynes's bio.
- Click here to read critical praise for CRASHERS.

PRAY FOR SILENCE by Linda Castillo (Thriller)
New York Times bestselling author Linda Castillo delivers an electrifying thriller in which Police Chief Kate Burkholder must confront a dark evil to solve the mysterious murders of an entire Amish family. Topping 2009’s SWORN TO SILENCE, 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. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.
- Click here to read an excerpt from PRAY FOR SILENCE.
- Click here to read Linda Castillo's bio.
- Click here to see Linda Castillo's backlist.
- Click here to read critical praise for PRAY FOR SILENCE.

THE DEVIL AMONGST THE LAWYERS: A Ballad Novel by Sharyn McCrumb (Historical Fiction)
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. Reviewed by Roz Shea.
- Click here to read an excerpt from THE DEVIL AMONGST THE LAWYERS.
- Click here to see the reading group guide for THE DEVIL AMONGST THE LAWYERS.
- Click here to read Sharyn McCrumb's bio.
- Click here to see Sharyn McCrumb's backlist.
- Click here to read critical praise for THE DEVIL AMONGST THE LAWYERS.

BROKEN by Karin Slaughter (Thriller)
Karin Slaughter’s internationally bestselling novels are as notable for their vivid portraits of lives shadowed by loss and heartbreak as they are for their dramatic criminal investigations. Her latest offering features the return of her most compelling characters and introduces memorable new ones in a tale of corruption, murder and confrontation that will leave more than one life… Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.
- Click here to read a blog post from Karin Slaughter's dad, Howard.

BLOCKADE BILLY by Stephen King (Suspense)
Every effort was made to erase any evidence that William Blakely played professional baseball, and with good reason. Blockade Billy had a secret darker than any pill or injection that might cause a scandal in sports today. His secret was much, much worse... and only Stephen King can reveal the truth to the world, once and for all. Reviewed by Ron Kaplan.

THE SPY: An Isaac Bell Adventure by Clive Cussler and Justin Scott (Historical Thriller)
It is 1908, and international tensions are mounting as the world plunges toward war. When a brilliant American battleship gun designer dies in a sensational apparent suicide, the man's grief-stricken daughter turns to the legendary Van Dorn Detective Agency to clear her father's name. Van Dorn puts his chief investigator on the case, and Isaac Bell soon realizes that the clues point not to suicide but to murder. Reviewed by L. Dean Murphy.

THE LIAR’S LULLABY by Meg Gardiner (Thriller)
In her third novel featuring forensic psychologist Jo Beckett, Edgar Award winner Meg Gardiner proves that she has what it takes to draw in psychological suspense fans and mystery lovers alike. Her plot shifts will have readers flipping backward --- and relentlessly reading onward --- to figure out what they might have missed and propel themselves forward to find out what happens next. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

STRONG JUSTICE: A Caitlin Strong Novel by Jon Land (Thriller)
Caitlin Strong, a fifth-generation Texas Ranger, is back in action and stronger than ever. Not one to back down from a fight, Caitlin takes her battle to Mexican drug lords and white slave traders who spread violence, chaos and fear on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

EIGHT DAYS TO LIVE: An Eve Duncan Forensics Thriller by Iris Johansen (Thriller)
Eve Duncan and her adopted daughter, Jane Macguire, are pitted against the members of a secretive cult who have targeted Jane and have decided that she will be their ultimate sacrifice. In eight days they will come for her. In eight days, what Jane fears the most will become a reality. In eight days, she will die. Reviewed by Judy Gigstad.

THE DEAD LIE DOWN by Sophie Hannah (Mystery)
This brainy British mystery --- Sophie Hannah’s fourth featuring smart-mouthed, authority-averse detectives Charlie Zailer and Simon Waterhouse--- is given an extra frisson by the frame it’s set in: the sophisticated, often snide, always colorful world of the modern-art market. Reviewed by Kathy Weissman.

It’s 1865, New York City, and P. T. Barnum’s American Museum is in full swing. Inside those walls, Bartholomew Fortuno, the world’s thinnest man, is falling in love, but he is also learning the reason behind his exceptionally low weight. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

Author Interviews
Dana Haynes’s Joe Hartlaub recently spoke with author Dana Haynes, whose debut thriller, CRASHERS, features a team of experts from the National Transportation Safety Board who investigates aerial disasters. In this interview, they discuss Haynes’s original source of inspiration for the novel and what prompted him to try his hand at a new genre after penning several mysteries. He also shares his thoughts on the current state of air safety, offers some tips for aspiring authors on tackling writer’s block, and hints at what readers can expect from the next installment in the series.

Linda Castillo
Linda Castillo’s latest novel, PRAY FOR SILENCE, is the second installment in a series featuring Kate Burkholder --- a former member of an Amish community who returns to her hometown as head of their local police force. In this interview with’s Joe Hartlaub, Castillo explains how she first became interested in the Amish lifestyle and what she finds most appealing about her protagonist’s flawed personality. She also discusses what prompted her to start a crime thriller series after penning 20 romantic suspense novels, reveals where she finds inspiration for the dark and disturbing acts of violence featured in her work, and mentions some recent memorable reads to recommend to others. 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 Beach Bag of Books 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:
- LIGHT BOXES by Shane Jones
- THE SLAP by Christos Tsiolkas

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 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 a psychopath in a remote mountain cabin, which unfolds through sessions with her psychiatrist, is a second narrative recounting events following her escape.
- Click here to read a second excerpt from STILL MISSING.

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 a second excerpt from THEY'RE WATCHING.

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 third 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.

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 a second excerpt from HOSTAGE ZERO.

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 a second excerpt from 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 third excerpt from THE WHISPER.

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 a second excerpt from THE HOMECOMING.

Tessa Russo is the mother of two young children and the wife of a renowned pediatric surgeon. Despite her mother’s warnings, Tessa has recently given up her career to focus on her family and the pursuit of domestic happiness. From the outside, she seems destined to live a charmed life.
- Click here to view Advance Reader Comments for HEART OF THE MATTER.

Click here to read the full newsletter.

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