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Friday, June 4, 2010

June 4, 2010

The following reviews, interviews and features began running on on Friday, June 4th.

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

THE BRAVE by Nicholas Evans
ROOM by Emma Donaghue
THE DUFF by Kody Keplinger

Reviews and Excerpts
THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US by Charles Martin (Fiction)
Strangers Ben Payne and Ashley Knox find themselves miles from nowhere after their plane crashes in the snowy Utah wilderness. Both are injured, and resources are limited. In a vibrant and original tale combining adventure, redemption, sorrow, hope and love, we learn what it takes to attempt to survive such a dire situation. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon and excerpted.
- Click here to see the reading group guide for THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US.

ROBERT LUDLUM’S ™ THE BOURNE OBJECTIVE by Eric Van Lustbader (Thriller)
Facing down mercenaries in Africa, Jason Bourne witnesses the death of an art dealer named Tracy Atherton. Her killing dredges up snatches of Bourne's impaired memory, in particular the murder of a young woman on Bali who entrusted him with a strangely engraved ring­­ --- an artifact of such powerful significance that people have killed to obtain it. Now he's determined to find the ring's owner and purpose. But Bourne never knows what terrible acts he'll discover he committed when he digs into the past. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

THE BURNING WIRE: A Lincoln Rhyme Novel, by Jeffery Deaver
The weapon is invisible and omnipresent. Without it, modern society grinds to a halt. It is electricity. The killer harnesses and steers huge arc flashes with voltage so high and heat so searing that steel melts and his victims are set afire. When the first explosion occurs in broad daylight, reducing a city bus to a pile of molten, shrapnel-riddled metal, officials fear terrorism. Lincoln Rhyme, a world-class forensic criminologist known for his successful apprehension of the most devious criminals, is immediately tapped for the investigation. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from THE BURNING WIRE.

SEAWORTHY: A Swordboat Captain Returns to the Sea, by Linda Greenlaw (Memoir)
Linda Greenlaw hadn't been bluewater fishing for 10 years --- not since the events chronicled in the books THE PERFECT STORM and THE HUNGRY OCEAN --- but when her lobster traps aren't paying off, her truck is on its last gasp, and the bills are piling up, she decides to take a friend up on his offer and captain a boat for a season of swordfishing. Capturing the moment-by-moment details of her journey, Greenlaw tells a story about human nature and the nature around us, about learning what can be controlled and when to let fate step in. Reviewed by Roz Shea and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from SEAWORTHY.

HITCH-22: A Memoir, by Christopher Hitchens (Memoir)
More the account of an intellectual odyssey than a conventional autobiography, HITCH-22 chronicles the controversial critic-journalist-activist’s often storm-tossed journey across the ideological spectrum. What makes it a most rewarding trip is that Christopher Hitchens is a traveling companion with a vigorous mind and a gift for sparkling prose. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.

STEINBRENNER: The Last Lion of Baseball, by Bill Madden
Throughout his three decades of covering the Yankees, award-winning sportswriter Bill Madden has cultivated hundreds of sources at every level in the organization, from the many managers and front-office personnel George Steinbrenner has fired to the bat boys who are ever present in the locker room. All of them have colorful stories about the man with whom they have enjoyed a love-hate relationship, but it is the Boss himself whose voice rises above the rest. Reviewed by Ron Kaplan.

POINT DUME by Katie Arnoldi (Fiction)
In her third novel (following CHEMICAL PINK and THE WENTWORTHS), Katie Arnoldi brings to life subjects she knows well --- the death of surf culture, human trafficking, the Mexican drug cartel, illegal pot farms on public lands, environmental devastation, and obsessive love. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

IN THE FULLNESS OF TIME: 32 Women on Life After 50, edited by Emily W. Upham and Linda Gravenson
(Nonfiction Anthology)
Between the covers of IN THE FULLNESS OF TIME, concert pianist-interviewer Emily W. Upham and freelance writer-editor Linda Gravenson have collected and presented the diverse voices of leading women who accepted the risk and opportunity of reflecting on life after 50. In this unique and spirited anthology, they not only tell of life “like it is,” but candidly recount how it was and how they intend to live the rest of it well. Very well. Reviewed by Pauline Finch.

THE BUCOLIC PLAGUE: How Two Manhattanites Became Gentlemen Farmers: An Unconventional Memoir, by Josh Kilmer-Purcell
A happy series of accidents and a doughnut-laden escape upstate take Josh Kilmer-Purcell and his partner, Brent, to the doorstep of the magnificent (and fabulously for sale) Beekman Mansion. One hour and one tour later, they have begun their transformation from uptight urbanites into the 200-year-old-mansion-owning Beekman Boys. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

I’LL MATURE WHEN I’M DEAD: Dave Barry's Amazing Tales of Adulthood, by Dave Barry
In hilarious, brand-new pieces, Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist Dave Barry tackles such varied topics as fatherhood, new fatherhood, self-image, the battle of the sexes, celebrityhood, technology, parenting styles, certain unmentionable medical procedures, and much more. Reviewed by Ron Kaplan.

THE FROZEN RABBI by Steve Stern (Fiction)
The Yiddish literary tradition is full of bizarre characters, offhand curses and incantations, self-deprecatory humor, and a deep sense of humanity. It’s a tradition spun by hearty survivalists who have been to hell and back and know how to laugh about it. Steve Stern’s THE FROZEN RABBI fits the mold quite well. Reviewed by Max Falkowitz.

SILENT AUCTION: A Josie Prescott Antiques Mystery, by Jane K. Cleland (Mystery)
Josie Prescott arrives at Rocky Point, New Hampshire’s renovated lighthouse to conduct an antiques appraisal and is horrified to discover the bludgeoned body of her neighbor Zoë’s beloved nephew, Frankie. The owners of the lighthouse are avid antiques collectors, and Josie soon begins to suspect that a scrimshaw tooth from their collection may be the key to solving the crime that has shaken Rocky Point and broken her dear friend’s heart. Reviewed by Amy Alessio.

Author Interview
Charles Martin
Charles Martin --- author of such novels as WHEN CRICKETS CRY, WRAPPED IN RAIN and THE DEAD DON’T DANCE --- recently spoke with’s Terry Miller Shannon about his latest work of fiction, THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US. In this interview, Martin discusses the inspiration behind this “story of love and survival” and explains how the plot grew from a visual of one of the book’s minor characters. He also offers insight into his unconventional “back-to-front” writing process, briefly describes some of his own less-harrowing experiences in the wilderness, and shares details about his next project currently in the works.

Author Talk
Jeffery Deaver
Jeffery Deaver’s latest thriller, THE BURNING WIRE, finds quadriplegic forensics expert Lincoln Rhyme on the heels of a killer who commits his murders using the city’s electrical grid. In this interview, Deaver explains his criteria for “assigning” the cases in his novels to new or existing protagonists, and discusses the influence of the New York setting over his main character’s story arc. He also talks about what motivated him to create the series’ villain, The Watchmaker, and sheds light on Lincoln’s ongoing battle with his physical disability. 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:

- PERFECTION: A Memoir of Betrayal and Renewal by Julie Metz

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

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 an excerpt from 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.
- Click here to read more about THE DEVIL AMONGST THE LAWYERS.

Debut Suspense Thriller Author Spotlight
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 an excerpt from CRASHERS.
- Click here to read Dana Haynes's bio.
- Click here to read critical praise for CRASHERS.
- Click here to read more about CRASHERS.

Suspense Thriller Author Spotlight
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 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.
- Click here to read more about PRAY FOR SILENCE.

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 more about THE EXILE.
- Click here to read Andrew Britton's bio.
- Click here to see Andrew Britton's backlist.

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.

One to Watch Author Spotlight

PERFECTION: A Memoir of Betrayal and Renewal 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 six-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, of rebirth and happiness --- if not perfection.
- Click here to read a review of PERFECTION.
- Click here to read an 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.

Click here to read the full newsletter.

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