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Friday, December 3, 2010

December 3, 2010

The following interviews, reviews and features began running on the website on Friday, December 3rd.

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

SHELTER ME by Juliette Fay
A THOUSAND CUTS by Simon Lelic

KILLER ON A HOT TIN ROOF: A Delilah Dickinson Literary Tour Mystery, Book 3 by Livia J. Washburn (Mystery)

Delilah Dickinson is finally looking forward to a nice, relaxing time leading her literary travel agency’s latest tour at the annual Tennessee Williams Literary Festival in New Orleans. After all, a group of intelligent, low-key English professors can’t be too much trouble. It turns out though that these academics don’t waste any time showing their claws, especially when one of the professors claims he can prove Williams didn’t even write “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” Reviewed by Usha Rao and excerpted.

-Click here to read an excerpt from KILLER ON A HOT TIN ROOF.

RESCUE by Anita Shreve (Fiction)

In this emotionally-charged novel from acclaimed author Anita Shreve , EMT Peter Webster meets the intriguing Sheila Arsenault in the aftermath of a car accident. His life is altered forever when he falls in love with the young woman, who has a secret that reverberates even 18 years later. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

PORT MORTUARY: A Scarpetta Novel by Patricia Cornwell (Thriller)

Now chief of the brand-new Cambridge Forensic Center, Dr. Kay Scarpetta is being confronted with a case that could ruin her --- both personally and professionally. A young man has died from what looks like cardiac arrhythmia, but signs suggest he was alive when the Center zipped him in a body bag. As radiology scans reveal more shocking details, Scarpetta realizes that she’s fighting a cunning and cruel enemy --- and more people are going to die. Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum.

OF LOVE AND EVIL: The Songs of the Seraphim, Book Two by Anne Rice (Metaphysical Thriller)

OF LOVE AND EVIL follows ANGEL TIME in Anne Rice's The Songs of the Seraphimseries, chronicling one man's sins and virtues and his search for redemption. Toby O'Dare is a knot in the web of humanity, a weak human attempting to compensate for past evils. In this story of angels and devils, Rice dives headfirst into such nebulous paradigms as good and evil, musing on the differences between the two and on perceived conditions for salvation --- those decreed by God and those by men. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.

THE DISTANT HOURS by Kate Morton (Fiction)

Australian writer Kate Morton has a knack for concocting deliciously old-fashioned reads. Her third novel --- set in the 1990s, with flashbacks to World War II Britain --- is highly atmospheric, with an inquisitive, bookish heroine who uncovers a whole graveyard of family secrets. Reviewed by Kathy Weissman.

CLEOPATRA: A Life by Stacy Schiff (Biography)

Famous before she was notorious, Cleopatra has gone down in history for all the wrong reasons. In a masterly return to classical sources, Stacy Schiff rescues the magnetic queen who reshaped the ancient world. Rich in detail and epic in scope, this is a luminous reconstruction of a dazzling life. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

CHRISTMAS AT THE MYSTERIOUS BOOKSHOP edited by Otto Penzler (Mystery/Short Stories)

Award-winning mystery editor and bookstore owner Otto Penzler invited 17 of the biggest names in suspense and mystery writing to write a seasonal short story set in or around The Mysterious Bookshop, his New York City store. The result is an all-star lineup of writers delivering excellent mysteries appropriate for any season. Reviewed by Tom Callahan.

THE SHERLOCKIAN by Graham Moore (Mystery)

In 1893, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle kills his greatest character, Sherlock Holmes, to his own delight and the disgust of his fans. Shortly thereafter, he finds himself involved in a real-life murder case. Over 100 years later, a scholar of Sherlock Holmes channels the literary detective attempting to solve a murder tied to Conan Doyle’s long-lost journal. Reviewed by Amy Gwiazdowski.

SAUL BELLOW: LETTERS edited by Benjamin Taylor (Literature/Memoir)

Benjamin Taylor offers up a rich selection of the correspondence of American literary giant Saul Bellow. Anyone with even a passing interest in the history of American literature in the second half of the 20th century will find countless rewards in these letters. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.

SELECTED STORIES by William Trevor (Fiction/Short Stories)

Over a career spanning more than half a century, William Trevor has crafted exquisitely rendered tales that brilliantly illuminate the human condition. Bringing together 48 stories from four anthologies, this second volume of Trevor's collected fiction offers what The New York Times Book Review has called "treasures of gorgeous writing, brilliant dialogue, and unforgettable lives." Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman.

FOREIGN BODIES by Cynthia Ozick (Historical Fiction)

The nephew of divorced schoolteacher Bea Nightingale has gone missing in Paris, and her estranged, difficult brother pesters her to go find him. Bea’s escapades lead her into a web of lies and start a series of events she could not have foreseen, as sheinadvertently wreaks havoc on the very people she tries to help. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS: A Story of Loss and Gain by Portia de Rossi (Memoir)

Portia de Rossi weighed 82 pounds when she collapsed on the set of the Hollywood film that should have been the highlight of her career. On the outside, she was thin and glamorous, but inside, she was literally dying. In this beautifully written work, de Rossi shines a bright light on dark subjects. Reviewed by Pauline Finch.

THE KILLING OF CRAZY HORSE by Thomas Powers (History)

Crazy Horse, the great Sioux Indian chief and warrior, died under mysterious circumstances on an army base in Nebraska in 1877. Thomas Powers uses this incident as a means of painting a broad and deeply detailed account of the Plains Indian wars that virtually destroyed Indian culture and opened the west to settlement by white adventurers. Reviewed by Robert Finn.

THE IDENTITY MAN by Andrew Klavan (Thriller)

John Shannon is a three-time loser for a murder he didn’t commit, and the cops are closing in on him. But when a bizarre text draws him to a midnight meeting, a foreigner known as the Identity Man offers Shannon the chance to start again. It seems too good to be true --- and it is. His new home is a ruined city crawling with corruption --- and for some reason, everyone wants Shannon dead. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE IMMORTALS: A Taylor Jackson Novel by J.T. Ellison (Thriller)

Eight Nashville teenagers are found dead, victims of a ritual killing thought to be blessed by Death himself. Emotions are running high, and homicide lieutenant Taylor Jackson knows she must act quickly, but tread carefully. Exploring the subcultures of mysticism and witchcraft, Taylor becomes immersed in a darkness that threatens to unhinge her world --- and learns how unchecked wrath can push a killer to his limits. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

Author Interviews

Livia J. Washburn

Livia J. Washburn’s KILLER ON A HOT TIN ROOF follows literary travel agent Delilah Dickinson --- and several high-strung academics --- as she makes the trek to Tennessee Williams’s New Orleans, only to discover that the celebrated writer might be a phony and that the actual author of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” is mysteriously dead. In this interview with’s Usha Rao, Washburn reveals why she decided to make Tennessee Williams the subject of her latest Delilah Dickinson Literary Tour mystery and how she came to be so knowledgeable about the festival that’s held annually in his honor. She also speculates on how the “real” Williams of her novel felt about the supposedly authentic playwright and explains why her heroine is so determined to stay single.

What to Give, What to Get knows that readers crave ideas for gift-giving --- and getting --- at the holidays. With this in mind, we’re offering a What to Give, What to Get Guide with “Reader Perfect” suggestions in 14 categories. We have book ideas for everyone on your holiday list. And while you're looking for gifts for others, may we suggest you jot down notes for books YOU want?

Let the shopping begin!

Holiday Cheer Daily Contest

The holiday season is upon us! At, this means it's time for us to share the spirit of the season with you with our Holiday Cheer Contest and Feature. This year, we will spotlight a different title or two on select days from November 22nd through December 23rd, so you will have to check the site each day to see the featured prize book and enter. We also will be sending a special daily newsletter to announce the day's title, which you can sign up for here. Some days may feature special bonus prizes, including gourmet treats, holiday items, or even some of Carol Fitzgerald’s Bets On picks from this year.

-Click here to enter today's contest.

-Click here to see this year's featured titles.

-Click here to receive our special newsletter announcing each day's prize book.'s Holiday Author Blogs

Between now and New Year's Day, close to 50 authors will be sharing their favorite memories of giving or receiving a book at the holidays.

You can read Helen Simonson's post, The Rituals of Christmas, now.

The following authors have recently shared their stories:

Anne Perry on the Book That's Changed Her for the Better

Anne Fortier on Holiday Magic

Donna VanLiere: Autumn at Christmas

A Radio Romance: Ken Harmon on Garrison Keillor's WLT

Melissa Clark on the Holiday Cookbook That Changed Her Life

Sheila Roberts: Would You See What I See?

Susan Mallery: Books Can Be the Best of Friends

William Kent Krueger on Shared Lives and Shared Poems

Sarah Blake on the Gifts of Good Books and Bad Weather

Harry the Ham: Francesca Serritella on Second Families

Lisa Scottoline: Big Pimpin' on Thanksgivin'

Beth Hoffman: An Early Christmas Memory

-Click here to subscribe to the Holiday Author Blogs.

Suspense Thriller Author Spotlight

WHAT THE NIGHT KNOWS by Dean Koontz (Thriller)

In the late summer of a long ago year, a killer arrived in a small city. His name was Alton Turner Blackwood, and in the space of a few months he brutally murdered four families. His savage spree ended only when he himself was killed by the last survivor of the last family, a 14-year-old boy.

Half a continent away and two decades later, someone is murdering families again, recreating in detail Blackwood's crimes. Homicide detective John Calvino is certain that his own family --- his wife and three children --- will be targets in the fourth crime, just as his parents and sisters were victims on that distant night when he was 14 and killed the slayer.

-Click here to read an excerpt from WHAT THE NIGHT KNOWS.

-Click here to watch a trailer for WHAT THE NIGHT KNOWS.

-Click here to read Dean Koontz's bio.

-Click here to see Dean Koontz's backlist.

-Click here to read more about WHAT THE NIGHT KNOWS.

-Visit Dean Koontz's official website,

SILENT VICTIM by C.E. Lawrence (Thriller)

At first, they look like suicides. Two bodies within a week --- one found floating in New York’s East River, another electrocuted in the bathtub. But forensics show that the victims were drugged, then killed. As the death toll grows, so does the brutality of the murders --- and the killer dubbed the Flesh Collector continues to prey. NYPD profiler Lee Campbell joins the frantic pursuit of a murderous madman who delights in taunting police with gruesome messages. Somewhere in the killer’s terrifying handiwork lie the clues to his twisted psyche. But the case is growing disturbingly personal. Getting close enough to stop the monster means getting close enough --- to die…

-Click here to read a third excerpt from SILENT VICTIM.

-Click here to read C.E. Lawrence's bio.

-Click here to see C.E. Lawrence's backlist.

-Click here to read critical praise for SILENT VICTIM.

-Click here to read more about SILENT VICTIM.

-Visit C.E. Lawrence's official website,

Mystery Mayhem Author Spotlight

KILLER ON A HOT TIN ROOF by Livia J. Washburn

Delilah Dickinson is finally looking forward to a nice, relaxing time leading her literary travel agency’s latest tour at the annual Tennessee Williams Literary Festival in New Orleans. After all, a group of intelligent, low-key English professors can’t be too much trouble, right?

Wrong, as it turns out. These academics don’t waste any time showing their claws, especially when one of the professors claims he can prove Williams didn’t even write CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF. But when the supposed real author --- Howard Burleson, apparently once a very close friend of Tennessee’s --- turns up dead, Delilah knows she’s got to get to the bottom of things…even if the truth is as dirty as all them lies!

-Click here to read a review of KILLER ON A HOT TIN ROOF.

-Click here to read a third excerpt from KILLER ON A HOT TIN ROOF.

-Click here to read an interview with Livia J. Washburn.

-Click here to read Livia J. Washburn's bio.

-Click here to see Livia J. Washburn's backlist.

-Click here to read critical praise for KILLER ON A HOT TIN ROOF.

-Click here to read more about KILLER ON A HOT TIN ROOF.

-Click here to see the winners of the ARC mailing contest.

Books into Movies

’Tis the season for moviegoers, and this month, is giving you the gift of six lit-based flicks that will have you dashing to your local theater. December is going to be a month of exciting adventures and abiding classics, with several enduring favorites making a splash on the big screen. Enter a world of lost warriors, dragons and dwarves inThe Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the latest feature-length installment of C.S. Lewis’sThe Chronicles of Narnia series. Or hop on board with Jack Black as he adds his own special brand of comedy to Rob Letterman’s contemporary take on Gulliver’s Travels. And if you find that you still haven’t had enough of the high seas, then the latest adaptation of Shakespeare’s timeless tragicomedy The Tempest is a definite must.

If you’re hoping to stay dry this holiday season, then December has something for you, too. I Love You Phillip Morris is the comedic true tale of a white-collar criminal’s quest for love, and the Coen brothers will be gunning for yet another Oscar with True Grit, the action-packed remake of the 1969 interpretation of Charles Portis’s Western-themed classic. Those in the mood for some seasonal romance shouldn’t miss Hemingway’s Garden of Eden, a moving drama of the Jazz Age based on Ernest Hemingway’s abandoned novel of the same name.

As everyone knows, December is first and foremost a time for family and friends, so for those of you who would rather celebrate the season at home, our Books into Movies on DVD feature is spotlighting a wide selection of book-based blockbusters --- and they’re all guaranteed to make great stocking suffers. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, Restrepo,Nanny McPhee Returns, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole and The Townare hitting stores just in time for the holidays. And if you’re looking to cash in on post-seasonal sales, The American and Twelve will be available on December 28th.

-Click here for more details about December's films.

Click here to read the full newsletter.

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