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Bookreporter.com Updates

Monday, April 4, 2011

April 4, 2011



The following interviews, reviews and features began running on the Bookreporter.com website on Friday, April 1st.


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

CALEB’S CROSSING by Geraldine Brooks
THE GOODBYE QUILT by Susan Wiggs
THE LAND OF PAINTED CAVES by Jean M. Auel
THE NEW GREEK CUISINE by Jim Botsacos

The murder victim's fingertips were severed and her body mutilated. Recognizing the need for expert psychological insight on this gruesome case, LAPD homicide detective Milo Sturgis calls in his friend and colleague, Alex Delaware. When a lead offers up the dead woman's nickname --- Mystery --- the case takes an alarming turn. But just when they think they've reached the solution to Mystery's violent death, their confidence is devastated by another brutally stunning revelation. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.
-Click here to read an excerpt from MYSTERY.

Moving back and forth in time between the stories of Sam, Violet and Iris, Rae Meadows's latest novel is the spellbinding tale of three remarkable women connected across a century by the complex wonder of motherhood. Reviewed by Jamie Layton.
-Click here to read an excerpt from MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS.

The first time was easy. No one ever suspected the victim had been murdered. The crime long buried, the dark passions guiding the killer's hand are still alive. But the need for revenge cannot be denied. Only one person can stop the killing. Only one person can identify the killer. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.
-Click here to read an excerpt from CLOSER THAN BLOOD.

On a stifling hot day in August 1954, 13-year-old Jubie Watts joins her mother, sisters, baby brother and African-American maid in the family Packard for a trip to Florida. Along the way, the differences between blacks and whites in the American South of the 1950s are made abundantly and dangerously clear. Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller.
-Click here to read an excerpt from THE DRY GRASS OF AUGUST.

It's a day like any other for Tracy Waterhouse, running errands at the local shopping center, until she makes a purchase she hadn't bargained for. One moment of madness is all it takes for Tracy's humdrum world to be turned upside down, the tedium of everyday life replaced by fear and danger at every turn. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

Acclaimed novelist Andre Dubus III reflects on his violent past and a lifestyle that threatened to destroy him --- until he was saved by writing. TOWNIE is a riveting, visceral and profound meditation on physical violence and the failures and triumphs of love. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

A quiet, severely disfigured Afghan girl experiences a promising vision of her nation's future when American troops occupy her desert village and arrange surgery for her cleft lip. Based on an enlightening true story, WORDS IN THE DUST tells of a shy 13-year-old and how much her life changes because of the simple kindness of a few concerned American soldiers. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.

New York Times bestselling author James Grippando is back with a sinister thriller that leads his ever-popular hero, Jack Swyteck, to secret detention sites and an underground video ring spanning the globe. Reviewed by Judy Gigstad.

It was 30 years ago that four remarkable young women formed a bond that has endured the trials of time and distance. Now that bond is about to be profoundly tested as the past comes back to bite them. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

Jasper Fforde's return to the fantastical BookWorld opens during a time of great unrest. All-out Genre war is rumbling, and the BookWorld desperately needs a heroine like Thursday Next. But with the real Thursday apparently retired to the Realworld, the Council of Genres turns to the written Thursday. Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard.

After the body of novice nun Camille Renard is found in a faded yellow bridal gown at St. Marguerite’s cathedral, New Orleans detectives Rick Bentz and Reuben Montoya are called to investigate. This brutal strangulation is especially upsetting to Montoya, who dated Camille in high school. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

On Bent Road, a battered red truck cruises ominously along the prairie; a lonely little girl dresses in her dead aunt's clothes; a boy hefts his father's rifle in search of a target; a mother realizes she no longer knows how to protect her children. It is a place where people learn: Sometimes killing is the kindest way. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

Inspector Kari Vaara is pushed into investigating a 90-year-old national hero for war crimes committed during World War II. The Interior Minister demands a conclusion of innocence, preserving Finland's heroic perception about itself and its role in the war, but Germany wants extradition. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

What if you found out that your grandfather was a Nazi SS officer? This is the confession that Martin Davidson received from his mother upon his grandfather's death. THE PERFECT NAZI is Davidson's exploration of the truth behind this dark family secret. Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott.

Rae Meadows is the author of MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS, the riveting tale of a new mom who discovers a whole host of buried secrets after receiving a box of her mother’s belongings, which forces her to face a few of her own. In this interview with Bookreporter.com’s Jamie Layton, Meadows talks about the events that inspired her latest novel, elaborating on how she first heard about orphan trains and how her experiences as a mother helped shape the course of Sam’s story. She also muses on the forces that made the Orphan Train Movement necessary, speculates on the nature of parent/child relationships, and reveals plans for her next historical novel.

Gregg Olsen
In Gregg Olsen's newest thriller, CLOSER THAN BLOOD, Detective Kendall Stark --- first introduced in VICTIM SIX --- investigates a former classmate who has recently murdered her husband. In this interview with Bookreporter.com's Joe Hartlaub, Olsen discusses the appeal of "black widow" characters, the use of violence in his writing, and the controversial relationships between older women and teenage boys that have captivated America 
in recent years. He also reveals which of his novels he would most like to see made into a movie and hints at his future writing plans.

A Southern woman born and raised in CharlotteNorth Carolina, Anna Jean Mayhew is the author of THE DRY GRASS OF AUGUST, the spellbinding story of a 13-year-old girl who is confronted with racial tensions --- and an unexpected tragedy --- when she travels to Florida on an ill-fated vacation with her family and their black maid. In this interview with Bookreporter.com’s Bronwyn Miller, Mayhew talks about her own childhood in the Jim Crow South, elaborating on the personal experiences that helped shape her debut novel. She reflects on the ways in which her hometown has informed her writing, gives the scoop on some of her favorite coming-of-age stories, and reveals how she made the transition from an aspiring writer to a published author at the impressive age of 71.

A first-time novelist and a member of the Army National Guard, Trent Reedy is the author of WORDS IN THE DUST, the remarkable tale of an Afghan girl named Zulaikha who dares to hope for a better future --- and the surgery she'll need to fix her cleft palate --- when American soldiers arrive in her village. In this interview, Reedy talks about his own experiences as a soldier in Afghanistan, elaborating on the real-life figure who inspired his book. He also explains how the experience of war altered his feelings about the Afghan people, reflects on the challenges of writing his first-ever novel, and recalls the fan letter he wrote that helped launch his career as a writer --- and sparked the beginning of a long-lasting literary friendship.


Samantha is lost in the joys of new motherhood --- the softness of her eight-month-old daughter's skin, the lovely weight of her child in her arms --- but in trading her artistic dreams to care for her child, Sam worries she's lost something of herself. And she is still mourning another loss: her mother, Iris, died just one year ago. When a box of Iris's belongings arrives on Sam's doorstep, she discovers links to pieces of her family history but is puzzled by much of the information the box contains. She learns that her grandmother Violet left New York City as an 11-year-old girl, traveling by herself to the Midwest in search of a better life. But what was Violet's real reason for leaving? And how could she have made that trip alone at such a tender age?
-Click here to read a review of MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS. 
-Click here to read an excerpt from MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS.
-Click here to read critical praise for MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS.
-Click here to read Rae Meadows's bio.
-Click here to see Rae Meadows's backlist.
-Click here to read more about MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS.
-Visit Rae Meadows's official website, www.RaeMeadows.com.
-Click here to see the winners of the ARC mailing contest.

The first time was easy. No one ever suspected the victim had been murdered. The crime long buried, the dark passions guiding the killer's hand are still alive. But the need for revenge cannot be denied. Only one person can stop the killing. Only one person can identify the killer. Only one person knows the face of death --- is as close as the face in the mirror…
-Click here to read a review of CLOSER THAN BLOOD.
-Click here to read an excerpt from CLOSER THAN BLOOD.
-Click here to read critical praise for CLOSER THAN BLOOD.
-Click here to read Gregg Olsen's bio.
-Click here to see Gregg Olsen's backlist.
-Click here to read more about CLOSER THAN BLOOD.
-Visit Gregg Olsen's official website, www.GreggOlsen.com.
-Click here to see the winners of the ARC mailing contest.

On a scorching day in August 1954, 13-year-old Jubie Watts leaves CharlotteNorth Carolina, with her family for a Florida vacation. Crammed into the Packard along with Jubie are her three siblings, her mother, and the family’s black maid, Mary Luther. For as long as Jubie can remember, Mary has been there --- cooking, cleaning, compensating for her father’s rages and her mother’s benign neglect, and loving Jubie unconditionally. Bright and curious, Jubie takes note of the anti-integration signs they pass, and of the racial tension that builds as they journey further south. But she could never have predicted the shocking turn their trip will take. Now, in the wake of tragedy, Jubie must confront her parents’ failings and limitations, decide where her own convictions lie, and make the tumultuous leap to independence…
-Click here to read a review of THE DRY GRASS OF AUGUST. 
-Click here to read an excerpt from THE DRY GRASS OF AUGUST.
-Click here to read critical praise for THE DRY GRASS OF AUGUST.
-Click here to read Anna Jean Mayhew's bio.
-Click here to read more about THE DRY GRASS OF AUGUST.
-Click here to see the winners of the ARC mailing contest.

Sarah Blake's THE POSTMISTRESS was one of the breakout hits of 2010, telling the story of three women separated by an ocean yet linked by the events leading to America's involvement in World War II. Now this bestseller is available in paperback!

More about THE POSTMISTRESS:
It is 1940. Iris James is the postmistress and spinster of FranklinMassachusetts, a small town on Cape Cod. She firmly believes that her job is to deliver and keep people’s secrets, to pass along the news of love and sorrow that letters carry. Yet one day Iris does the unthinkable: she slips a letter into her pocket. And then she does something even worse --- she reads the letter, then doesn’t deliver it.
Meanwhile, Frankie Bard broadcasts from overseas with Edward R. Murrow. Her dispatches beg listeners to pay heed as the Nazis bomb London nightly. Most of the townspeople of Franklin think the war can't touch them. But both Iris and Frankie know better...
-Click here to read a review of THE POSTMISTRESS.
-Click here to read an excerpt from THE POSTMISTRESS.
-Click here to read critical praise for THE POSTMISTRESS.
-Click here to see the reading group guide for THE POSTMISTRESS.
-Click here to read our interview with Sarah Blake.
-Click here to read Sarah Blake's bio.
-Click here to read more about THE POSTMISTRESS
-Click here to see the winners of THE POSTMISTRESS Paperback Contest.
  
The Rev. Clare Fergusson wants to forget the things she saw as a combat helicopter pilot and concentrate on her relationship with Chief of Police Russ Van Alstyne. MP Eric McCrea needs to control the explosive anger threatening his job as a police officer. Will Ellis, high school track star, faces the reality of life as a double amputee. Orthopedist Trip Stillman is denying the extent of his traumatic brain injury. And bookkeeper Tally McNabb wrestles with guilt over the in-country affair that may derail her marriage. But coming home is harder than it looks. One vet will struggle with drugs and alcohol. One will lose his family and friends. One will die. Since their first meeting, Russ and Clare’s bond has been tried, torn, and forged by adversity. But when he rules the veteran’s death a suicide, she violently rejects his verdict, drawing the surviving vets into an unorthodox investigation that threatens jobs, relationships, and her own future with Russ.
-Click here to read an excerpt from ONE WAS A SOLDIER.
-Click here to read critical praise for ONE WAS A SOLDIER.
-Click here to read Julia Spencer-Fleming's bio.
-Click here to see Julia Spencer-Fleming's backlist.
-Click here to read more about ONE WAS A SOLDIER.
-Visit Julia Spencer-Fleming's official website, www.JuliaSpencerFleming.com


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