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Friday, January 7, 2011

January 7, 2011

The following interviews, reviews and features began running on the website on Friday, January 7th.

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




ONE AMAZING THING by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

ALICE I HAVE BEEN by Melanie Benjamin

STILL ALICE by Lisa Genova

MERCILESS by Mary Burton

THE PARIS WIFE by Paula McLain


ORIGINAL SIN: A Sally Sin Adventure by Beth McMullen

Reviews and Excerpts

WHAT THE NIGHT KNOWS by Dean Koontz (Supernatural Thriller)

Long ago, Alton Turner Blackwood brutally murdered four families. But the last survivor of the last family ended his savage spree. Now someone is recreating Blackwood’s crimes two decades later. And homicide detective John Calvino knows his own family will be the fourth target --- just like it was when he was 14 and killed the slayer. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

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

365 THANK YOUS: The Year a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life, by John Kralik (Memoir/Inspirational)

At age 52, John Kralik was as down as he could get, as he contemplated financial, romantic, health and residential problems galore. Then he heard a mysterious voice speak to him about gratitude. He decided that he would attempt to ferret out someone to be grateful to every day for a year. The result is this thoroughly delightful and uplifting book --- the perfect read for the beginning of a new year. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

THREE SECONDS by Anders Roslund and Börge Hellström (Thriller)

Top-secret operative Piet Hoffman has spent years infiltrating the Polish mafia --- and now he’s a key player in their attempt to take over drug distribution in Swedish prisons. To stop them, Hoffman goes deep cover. But when a botched deal ends in murder, the subsequent investigation threatens to expose him --- and reveal bigger crimes at the highest levels. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

DAMAGE by John Lescroart (Thriller)

When the heir of San Francisco’s most powerful family was convicted of rape and murder, the fallout was swift and uncompromising…even for head homicide detective Abe Glitsky. Now Ro Curtlee has been released after a retrial, and within 24 hours, the star witness’s body is discovered. Ro is out for revenge, and it’s up to Abe to stop him. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read an excerpt from DAMAGE.

SECRETS TO THE GRAVE by Tami Hoag (Thriller)

Everyone knew of Marissa Fordham, but no one actually knew her. So when she’s found dead with her daughter’s head resting on her body, it’s up to sheriff’s detective Tony Mendez and child advocate Anne Leone to piece things together. And as they dig into Marissa’s past, they uncover a fact that puts them directly in the sights of a killer: Marissa Fordham never existed. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

-Click here to read an excerpt from SECRETS TO THE GRAVE.

SCARED TO DEATH by Wendy Corsi Staub (Thriller)

Elsa Cavalon is terrified that an old nightmare is beginning again. And Marin Quinn’s storybook marriage is over. They’re perfect strangers whose perfect lives were shattered, bound together by a long-lost child --- and loneliness. But someone is watching them and their children. Someone driven by vengeance, with a need for innocent blood. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read an excerpt from SCARED TO DEATH.

-Visit Wendy Corsi Staub's official website,

THE LAKE OF DREAMS by Kim Edwards (Fiction)

From the author of THE MEMORY KEEPER’S DAUGHTER comes a startling new novel about the power of guilt, family dynamics and redemption. A young woman visiting her mother finds some old political pamphlets, a piece of delicate cloth, and a few other mementos hidden away. Once she begins investigating their origin, a buried relative is revealed whose story brings revelation and ultimately healing. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

NAKED CRUELTY: A Carmine Delmonico Novel by Colleen McCullough (Thriller)

It’s 1968, and the Holloman suburb of Carew is being terrorized by vicious rapes. A victim speaks out, and it escalates to murder. For Captain Carmine Delmonico, it’s a case with no clues…and even worse, there’s trouble inside the Holloman PD. As the killer makes his plans, Carmine must use every resource --- including a highly motivated neighborhood watch, the Gentlemen Walkers. Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum.

THE RADLEYS by Matt Haig (Fiction)

The Radleys are a typical family. Except Peter and Helen are vampires, and they’ve abstained from blood-chasing so that their children could lead normal lives. But when their daughter commits a shocking act of violence, the police launch an investigation that uncovers an unknown history --- and leads to a visit from their malevolent Uncle Will. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

DISASTER PREPAREDNESS: A Memoir by Heather Havrilesky (Memoir)

A thoughtful memoir about the real and imagined perils of growing up, DISASTER PREPAREDNESS charts how painful moments evolve into defense mechanisms, some of which are piteously ill-suited to modern life. From cheerleading camp to her father’s sudden death, Heather Havrilesky reexamines old injuries, lessons learned, and the insights that carried her through. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

THIRD DEGREE: A Murder 101 Mystery by Maggie Barbieri (Mystery)

On her way to meet NYPD detective Bobby Crawford’s parents, Alison Bergeron stops to steel her resolve. She’s never met his family…or answered his proposal. A brawl breaks out, and Alison witnesses the death of a local blogger. And when his car explodes later, what looked like a crime of passion becomes much more complicated --- maybe even premeditated. Reviewed by Usha Rao.

Author Talk

John Kralik

An L.A. Superior Court judge and a first-time author, John Kralik is impacting lives across the country with his unique and incredibly moving memoir, 365 THANK YOUS, which tells the story of how a desperate New Year’s Day walk inspired him to write a thank-you note every day for an entire year --- and eventually turn his life around. In this interview, Kralik talks about his aspirations for the future, elaborating on his own idea of goal-setting and his evolving relationship with his daughter. He also shares the stories behind a few of his favorite thank-you notes, reflects on the best way to write a letter, and speculates on where his epistolary inclinations will take him next.

Author Interviews

Dean Koontz

Dean Koontz is the international bestselling author of over 80 heart-stopping masterpieces, including WHAT THE NIGHT KNOWS, a chilling tale about a homicide detective’s relentless quest to put the killer who murdered his family to rest once and for all --- before his wife and children become the next victims. In this interview with’s Sarah Rachel Egelman, Koontz discusses the dream that inspired his latest novel, elaborating on the eerie figure that evolved into Alton Turner Blackwood and why this particular character has haunted him the most. He also muses on the questions of good and evil that found their way into the book, shares some of his favorite ghost stories, and reveals what’s next for a couple of his spine-tingling series. Bets On

LEFT NEGLECTED by Lisa Genova (Fiction)

LEFT NEGLECTED is by Lisa Genova, who many of you will remember as the author of STILL ALICE, a favorite book of mine from two years ago. In fact, it was one of my first Bets On Picks, making Lisa Genova our first Bets On repeat author. LEFT NEGLECTED is just as brilliant. In it, Sarah Nickerson had a busy life --- a husband, three kids (one a baby), a high-powered job, and a long commute where she always tried to fit in one more thing. Well, she’s flying down the Mass Pike headed to work one morning multitasking, making a call on her cell phone, when she looks up and sees a string of red lights in front of her --- stopped traffic. She cannot stop and rolls her car.

When she awakens, Sarah realizes she does not recognize the entire left side of her body --- something called left neglect, hence the title of the book. Once again, Genova has brought readers a compelling story, and I dare you to pick up your BlackBerry to text or make a call without being hands-free while driving once you finish it. Mine’s been buried in my handbag as soon as I turn on the ignition to hide any temptation to read a text! To me, the title also reflects what Sarah has left neglected in her own life over the past years. In rushing, she has missed taking time for a lot of things that matter.

Lisa has a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Harvard, which informs her writing on what happens with the brain. That said, the story here is never bogged down with science, but as she did with her writing about Alzheimer’s in STILL ALICE, you will finish reading LEFT NEGLECTED and have a better understanding of left neglect besides enjoying a full, rich story.

-Click here to read a review of LEFT NEGLECTED.

-Click here to see all the titles we're betting you'll love.

Romantic Suspense Author Spotlight

SENSELESS by Mary Burton (Romantic Suspense)

The vicious burns scarring the victims’ flesh reveal the agony of their last moments. Each woman was branded with a star, then stabbed through the heart. With every death, a vengeful killer finds a brief, blissful moment of calm. But soon it’s time for the bloodshed to start again…

Ten years ago, Eva Rayburn and her sorority sisters were celebrating the end of the school year. That party turned into a nightmare Eva can’t forget. Now she’s trying to start over in her Virginia hometown, but a new nightmare has begun. Every victim is linked to her. And Detective Deacon Garrison isn’t sure whether this mysterious woman needs investigating --- or protecting…

-Click here to read an excerpt from SENSELESS.

-Click here to read Mary Burton's bio.

-Click here to see Mary Burton's backlist.

-Click here to read critical praise for SENSELESS.

-Click here to read more about SENSELESS.

-Visit Mary Burton's official website,

One To Watch Author Spotlight

PRAYERS AND LIES by Sherri Wood Emmons (Fiction)

When seven-year-old Bethany meets her six-year-old cousin Reana Mae, it’s the beginning of a kinship of misfits that saves both from a bone-deep loneliness. Every summer, Bethany and her family leave Indianapolis for West Virginia’s Coal River Valley. For Bethany’s mother, the trips are a reminder of the coalmines and grinding poverty of her childhood, of a place she’d hoped to escape. But her loving relatives, and Bethany’s friendship with Reana Mae, keep them coming back.

But as Bethany grows older, she realizes that life in this small, close-knit community is not as simple as she once thought --- that the riverside cabins that hold so much of her family’s history also teem with scandalous whispers, and that those closest to her harbor unimaginable secrets.

-Click here to read an excerpt from PRAYERS AND LIES.

-Click here to read Sherri Wood Emmons's bio.

-Click here to read critical praise for PRAYERS AND LIES.

-Click here to read more about PRAYERS AND LIES.

-Visit Sherri Wood Emmons's official website,

Debut Suspense Thriller Author Spotlight

DELIRIOUS by Daniel Palmer (Psychological Thriller)

Charlie Giles is at the top of his game. An electronics superstar, he’s sold his startup company to a giant Boston firm, where he’s now a senior director. With his dog, Monte, at his side, Charlie is treated like a VIP everywhere he goes.

Then one day, everything in Charlie’s neatly ordered world starts to go terrifyingly wrong. His prestigious job and his inventions are wrenched away from him. His family is targeted, and his former employers are dying gruesomely, picked off one by one. Every sign, every shred of evidence, points to Charlie as a cold-blooded killer. And soon Charlie is unable to tell whether he’s succumbed to the pressures of work and become the architect of his own destruction, or whether he’s the victim of a relentless, diabolical attack.

-Click here to read more about DELIRIOUS.

-Click here to read Daniel Palmer's bio.

-Click here to read critical praise for DELIRIOUS.

-Click here to read more about DELIRIOUS.

-Visit Daniel Plamer's official website,

Suspense Thriller Author Spotlight

WHAT THE NIGHT KNOWS by Dean Koontz (Supernatural 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 their slayer.

-Click here to read a review of WHAT THE NIGHT KNOWS.

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

-Click here to read an interview with Dean Koontz.

-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,

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

New in Paperback

January’s roundup of New in Paperback titles includes WINTER GARDEN, Kristin Hannah’s heartbreaking story of two sisters’ unexpected journey into the depths of their mother’s past --- and their discovery of a harrowing secret that threatens to shatter their family forever; THE GIRL IN THE GREEN RAINCOAT, the latest installment of Laura Lippman’s Tess Monaghan series, in which an investigation by a pregnant Tess ends up opening a Pandora’s box of past crimes and unsettling deaths; NOAH’S COMPASS, Anne Tyler’s riveting narrative of an ex-teacher who wakes up in a hospital after being attacked in his apartment --- only to discover that most of his memory is gone; THE WAY HOME by George Pelecanos, in which old demons and new temptations threaten to conquer a formerly troubled man once and for all; and THE INVISIBLE BRIDGE, Julie Orringer’s heart-wrenching tale of a Hungarian-Jewish architecture student who comes to Paris in 1937 with a mysterious letter that will alter the course of his life.

-Click here to see our New in Paperback feature for January.

Books into Movies

January is a time for new beginnings, and’s Books into Movies feature is celebrating the start of 2011 by spotlighting four fiction-based films that are guaranteed to whet your cinematic appetite --- whether you’re looking for an offbeat confessional, action-packed adventures, or some true-to-life chills.

Booklovers and film enthusiasts beware, because Barney’s Version --- the soon-to-be blockbuster based on Mordecai Richler’s award-winning novel of the same name --- will give viewers the best of both worlds. A quirky look inside the life of an unlikely hero named Barney Panofsky, Barney’s Version tells the story of an ill-fated man who spots the girl of his dreams on his wedding day --- much to the chagrin of the actual bride. While this movie might move you to tears or laughter, Michel Gondry’s take on
The Green Hornet will have you gripping the edge of your seats --- at least when you’re not in stitches over the ridiculous antics of Seth Rogen.

And for those of you looking to launch the New Year with either an epic journey or a colossal thrill, The Way Back --- the incredible story inspired by Slavomir Rawicz’s THE LONG WALK --- chronicles the escape of several multinational prisoners from Siberia, while The Rite --- the real-life account of a seminary student turned exorcist --- promises to give theater-goers the creeps.

But if you’d rather kick off 2011 within the comfort of your own home, this month’s Books into Movies on DVD feature is highlighting Freakonomics, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, Secretariat and The Social Network. You’ll be sure to start the new year with a bang with these four outstanding flicks, regardless of your cinematic tastes.

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

Click here to read the full newsletter.

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