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Friday, August 6, 2010

August 6, 2010

The following reviews, interviews and features began running on on Friday, August 6th.

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

RUNNING SCARED by Lisa Jackson
EAT, PRAY, LOVE by Elizabeth Gilbert
MOCKINGJAY by Suzanne Collins

Reviews and Excerpts
MOURN THE LIVING by Henry Perez (Thriller)
From city to city, one man walks the streets, carefully choosing his victims. Mercilessly, he cuts their throats. And with each kill, he leaves his chilling trademark, honed to razor-sharp perfection over decades of practice. But now, reporter Alex Chapa is tracking the story, following the lead of a murdered colleague --- and getting dangerously close to the most elusive serial killer in decades. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.
- Click here to read an excerpt from MOURN THE LIVING.
- Click here to read Henry Perez’s bio.
- Click here to see Henry Perez’s backlist.
- Click here to read critical praise for Henry Perez’s books.

THE RED QUEEN by Philippa Gregory (Historical Fiction)
If you’ve wondered where the whole Tudor drama began, look no further than this stunning novel of England’s chronically tempestuous 15th century. From a writer with a gift for making the past live, THE RED QUEEN is the tale of a woman who spent her life in a holy --- and unholy --- war to put her son, the future Henry VII, on the throne. Reviewed by Kathy Weissman.

A STRANGER LIKE YOU by Elizabeth Brundage (Psychological Thriller)
Hedda Chase is a top-flight executive producer at Gladiator Films who recently pulled the plug on a film project initiated by one of her predecessors. An enraged Hugh Waters, the screenwriter on the project, flies to Los Angeles and finds Hedda, kidnaps her, and locks her in the trunk of her vintage BMW in the parking lot at LAX. He leaves the keys in the ignition, the parking ticket on the dash, and lets “destiny” take its course. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.
- Click here to watch a trailer for A STRANGER LIKE YOU.

FRAGILE by Lisa Unger (Mystery)
When a troubled teen disappears, some people in The Hollows --- a quaint, charming town outside of New York City --- think she just ran away. But others remember a time a couple of decades back when another local girl disappeared, and they know she didn’t run away. She never made it out of The Hollows. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

IN HARM’S WAY by Ridley Pearson
Sun Valley sheriff Walt Fleming's budding relationship with photographer Fiona Kenshaw hits a rough patch after Fiona is involved in a heroic river rescue and attempts to duck the press. She begs Walt to keep her photo out of the paper, but to no avail. Meanwhile, Lou Boldt, a police sergeant out of Seattle, calls to report that a recent murder may have a Sun Valley connection. After a badly beaten body is discovered just off a local highway, Walt knows there is a link --- but can he pull the pieces together in time? Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum.

SO COLD THE RIVER by Michael Koryta (Supernatural Thriller)
Struggling filmmaker Eric Shaw is asked to make a documentary about Campbell Bradford, a 95-year-old billionaire whose past is wrapped in mystery. In Bradford’s hometown, Eric discovers an extraordinary history --- a hotel that has been restored to its former grandeur just in time for his stay. Soon, however, frequent and intense hallucinations draw him deeper into the town's dark history. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.
- Click here to see the reading group guide for SO COLD THE RIVER.

CAPTIVE QUEEN: A Novel of Eleanor of Aquitaine by Alison Weir (Historical Fiction)
Following her portrayals of Queen Elizabeth I in THE LADY ELIZABETH and Lady Jane Grey in INNOCENT TRAITOR, Alison Weir now harks back to the 12th century with a tale that brings vividly to life England’s most passionate --- and destructive --- royal couple: Eleanor of Aquitaine and King Henry II. Reviewed by Marge Fletcher.

DISCORD’S APPLE by Carrie Vaughn (Fantasy/Action & Adventure)
Carrie Vaughn --- author of the New York Times bestselling urban fantasy series featuring werewolf talk radio host Kitty Norville --- creatively merges several narrative strands in DISCORD'S APPLE, a suspenseful, provocative novel about the gods of Olympus and the end of the world as we know it. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

HOW TO BE AN AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE by Margaret Dilloway (Fiction)
When Shoko, a young Japanese war bride, arrives in America armed with the helpful guide, How to Be an American Housewife, she is eager to be a true American woman. But Shoko eventually discovers that she must also incorporate the part of herself that is ultimately Japanese in order to achieve the American dream. Reviewed by Amie Taylor.
- Click here to see the reading group guide for HOW TO BE AN AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE.

NO PLACE FOR HEROES by Laura Restrepo (Fiction)
DELIRIUM author Laura Restrepo takes readers back to the days of unrest in Colombia and Argentina during the “Dirty War” that lasted from 1976 to 1983. Restrepo does this as she recounts the story of her heroine's passion for the revolution and for the revolutionary hero who fathered her son. Reviewed by Maggie Harding.

RICKWOOD FIELD: A Century in America's Oldest Ballpark by Allen Barra (Sports History)
One hundred years ago, Birmingham, Alabama businessman Rick Woodward had a dream to build a ballpark for the city’s minor league franchise. While modern stadiums are constructed for hundreds of millions of dollars, Woodward accomplished his dream for a mere $75,000. Baseball historian Allen Barra vividly captures the rich history of Rickwood Field and its impact on American culture. Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman.

Author Interview
Henry Perez
Henry Perez follows up last year’s acclaimed thriller, KILLING RED, with MOURN THE LIVING, which finds reporter Alex Chapa investigating a serial killer with an unusual calling card who is responsible for the murder of a friend and colleague. In this interview with’s Joe Hartlaub, Perez discusses the different elements he had woven together to create the plot of this story and speculates on the appeal of journalists in mystery fiction. He also mentions a few current favorite reads, shares his thoughts on the future of the newspaper industry, and recounts some of his own colorful experiences as a journalist chasing stories.

Author Talks
Elizabeth Brundage
Elizabeth Brundage’s third novel, A STRANGER LIKE YOU, is a psychological thriller that centers on a Hollywood executive who is abducted by a spurned screenwriter bent on proving the plausibility of his rejected script. In this interview, Brundage elaborates on the various themes and elements explored in this latest work --- including religion, sexism and war --- and discusses her instinctual writing process that relies on choices made by the characters she creates. She also responds to the “feminist” label placed upon her work by critics, describes how her roots as a screenwriter have enriched her fiction, and reflects on the somewhat unresolved ending to main character Hedda Chase’s story.

Philippa Gregory
Philippa Gregory’s second installment in The Cousins’ War series, THE RED QUEEN, centers on Lady Margaret Beaufort --- matriarch of the House of Tudor, mother to King Henry VII, and political rival of Elizabeth Woodville, the protagonist of last year’s THE WHITE QUEEN. In this interview, Gregory compares the two influential monarchs in their roles as dynastic pawns and political figures alike, and elaborates on what their positions in a male-dominated society reveal about women in the 15th century. She also reflects on Margaret’s lasting historical legacy while speculating on how her life would have differed had she been born a man, and describes one of the biggest challenges she has encountered as a writer so far.

Beach Bag of Books
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:
- THE DARK END OF THE STREET: New Stories of Sex and Crime by Today's Top Authors by Jonathan Santlofer and S.J. Rozan, featuring new stories from Lee Child, Michael Connelly, and more.
- BURN by Nevada Barr
- STILL MISSING by Chevy Stevens
- THEY'RE WATCHING by Gregg Hurwitz Bets On
Two books that Carol is betting you will love. Each is special in its own way written with characters you will remember, lots of emotion and a strong sense of place. And our reviewers see why she is excited about them; they are too. We'd love to know what you think once you read them.
- Click here to read a review of RICH BOY.
- Click here to read a review of STILTSVILLE.

Books into Movies
With an onslaught of sleepy sequels and tired remakes these past few months, August’s Books into Movies feature is spotlighting a handful of films that provide the perfect antidote to this lackluster season of summer blockbusters. Whether you’re looking to escape the scorching temps with fun popcorn flicks like the over-the-top comic adaptation
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and the unconventional comedy The Switch, or in need of inspiration and perhaps a good cry with the redemptive Eat Pray Love and the poignant biopic Mao’s Last Dancer, moviegoers a bit disheartened by the summer’s earlier offerings will surely find a little something to suit their cinematic cravings --- from edgy teen drama in Twelve, to sweet, nostalgic romance in Flipped, and fantastical family-friendly adventures in Nanny McPhee Returns.

Don’t forget that there’s plenty more where that came from, so check out our Books into Movies on DVD feature, where we’re spotlighting the endearing and hilarious
Diary of a Wimpy Kid and the sentimental tearjerker The Last Song.

New in Paperback
August’s roundup of New in Paperback titles includes FORD COUNTY, John Grisham’s first collection of short stories that takes us back to the setting of his debut novel, A TIME TO KILL; VANISHED by Joseph Finder, the first book in a new series featuring Nick Heller, a Special Forces-trained intelligence investigator commissioned by his 14-year-old nephew to find and rescue his estranged brother; THE SIEGE, in which Sam Purdy --- a secondary character in Stephen White’s bestselling Alan Gregory series --- takes center stage as he investigates the mysterious disappearance of a group of Yale students; PURSUIT OF HONOR, the 10th addition to Vince Flynn’s Mitch Rapp saga and a return to the secretive world of fearless Americans fighting a covert war that can never be discussed; LABOR DAY, Joyce Maynard’s affecting tale of three damaged people who come together to form an unlikely family; THE PROMISED WORLD by Lisa Tucker, in which a literature professor’s carefully constructed life is shattered after the death of her twin brother and the unraveling of the secret world they shared; and OPEN, Andre Agassi’s revealing and engrossing memoir of his rollercoaster life both on and off the tennis court.

Click here to read the full newsletter.

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