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Friday, April 29, 2011

The following interviews, reviews and features began running on the website on Friday, April 29th.

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

THE LOCK ARTIST by Steve Hamilton

From the New York Times bestselling author of WHITER THAN SNOW and PRAYERS FOR SALE comes a novel about the secrets and passions of three generations of women who have all lived in the same Victorian home called the Bride's House. Reviewed by Jamie Layton.

When Colombian billionaire Terry Prince wants to purchase Centurion Studios, raze it and build a multimillion-dollar Hollywood resort in its place, there's only one thing standing in his way: New York attorney Stone Barrington. Will the ruthless hotelier eliminate Stone, as he does all other obstacles in his path? Or will Stone use his wits, charisma and considerable resources to save the studio and his own life as well? Reviewed by Amie Taylor.

With this adult novel, millions of devoted Sweet Valley fans can return to the world Francine Pascal created in 1983. Except that this time around, there’s a rift between the identical Wakefield twins. Elizabeth is in New York; Jessica still on the West Coast. Ten years have passed since the last installment, and Jessica and Elizabeth are all grown up, dealing with the complicated adult world of love, careers, betrayal and sisterhood. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

A demented killer is on the loose, targeting victims connected with the Powell Security Agency. He begins his work before dawn, slitting his victims’ throats and then carving pieces of flesh from their bodies. Powell agent Maleah Purdue and former FBI profiler Derek Lawrence team up to stop the madman and his deadly game. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

The houses in Willow Tree Court are sleek and modern --- the kind designed to harbor happy families and laughing children. But Molly Dennehy's stepson's school has just been rocked by a brutal slaying, and a psychopath known as the Cul-de-Sac Killer is murdering families in Seattle homes. Homes just like hers. With each passing day, Molly grows more convinced that someone is watching her family. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

Unfinished at the time of David Foster Wallace’s death, THE PALE KING is a deeply compelling and satisfying novel. The agents at the IRS Regional Examination Center in Peoria, Illinois, appear ordinary enough to a newly arrived trainee named David Foster Wallace. But as he immerses himself in a routine so tedious and repetitive that new employees receive boredom-survival training, he learns of the extraordinary variety of personalities drawn to this strange calling. Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman.

Throughout his youth, Arthur Phillips struggles with a larger-than-life father --- a con artist who works wonders of deception but is a most unreliable parent. Arthur is raised in an enchanted world of smoke and mirrors, where the only unshifting truth is his father’s deep and abiding love for the works of William Shakespeare. As his father is dying, Arthur takes on his mission to see a previously unknown Shakespeare play, The Tragedy of Arthur, published and acknowledged. But is this play nothing more than his father’s last great con? Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

On a winter day in 2008, a retired high-ranking naval officer vanished during his daily walk in a forest near Stockholm. It has nothing to do with brooding detective Kurt Wallander --- officially. But he soon becomes involved in matters that aren’t his responsibility, making promises he won’t keep, and lying when it suits him. Continually haunted by his past, he will have no choice but to come face-to-face, this time, with his most intractable adversary: himself. Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum.

Tony Youn grew up one of two Asian-American kids in a small town of near wall-to-wall whiteness. Too tall and thin, he wore thick Coke-bottle glasses, braces, Hannibal Lecter headgear, and had a protruding jaw that required surgery. Ironically, it was this surgery that led him to his life's calling --- and the four years of angst, mishaps, triumphs, non-stop studying and intermittent heavy drinking that eventually earned him an MD, and the role of successful plastic surgeon. Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott.

It’s August in Rome, and Nic Costa’s vacation is about to be cut short by a scream, a girl covered in blood, and a man lying dead in the Via Beatrice Cenci. It seems that Malise Gabriel, a scholar with an impressive list of enemies, stepped onto faulty scaffolding and fell to his death. On the surface, it’s no more than an unfortunate accident. But soon another body is discovered. Nic knows that something evil is circling Malise’s daughter Mina --- and now that something is closing in for the kill. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

Silvana and her eight-year-old son Aurek spent World War II hiding in the forests of Poland. Wild, almost feral Aurek doesn't know how to tie his own shoes or sleep in a bed. Silvana’s husband, Janusz, fled to England and waited for them to arrive, at 22 Britannia Road. He was determined to forget Poland, forget his own ghosts, and begin a new life as a proper English family. But for Silvana, forgetting is not a possibility. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

BULLFIGHTING: Stories by Roddy Doyle (Fiction/Short Stories)
Anyone looking for a guide to the psyche of the middle-aged man would do much worse than to settle down with Roddy Doyle’s outstanding new collection of 13 stories. Set, with one exception, in present-day Dublin and its environs, they offer the literary equivalent of an MRI of the souls of a troubled, yet sympathetic, group of men. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.

In St. Bruno, sex is easy, corruption festers, and double-dealing is a way of life. Rene Shade is an uncompromising detective swimming in a sea of filth. As Shade takes on hit men, porn kings, a gang of ex-cons, and the ghosts of his own checkered past, Daniel Woodrell's three seminal novels pit long-entrenched criminals against the hard line of the law, brother against brother, and two vastly different sons against a long-absent father. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

A proud Coloradoan and self-proclaimed western writer, Sandra Dallas is the award-winning author of such bestsellers as WHITER THAN SNOW, PRAYERS FOR SALE, TALLGRASS and NEW MERCIES. Her 10th novel, THE BRIDE’S HOUSE, tackles the secrets and passions of three generations of women who have all lived in the same Victorian home called the Bride’s House. In this interview, conducted by’s Jamie Layton, Dallas discusses thereal house that served as inspiration for her latest title. She also lists her favorite places in Colorado and explains how her journalism background --- covering events in her beloved Rocky Mountains --- served as a foray into fiction.

In Kevin O’Brien’s 11th thriller, DISTURBED, a serial killer in suburban Seattle chooses homes, gains entrance, and methodically kills everyone inside.'s Joe Hartlaub talks to O’Brien about the ins and outs of writing murder --- and how television shows, social networking and communication devices all come into play, in both good ways and bad. O’Brien professes his love for Hitchcockian suspense, weighs in on bullying, offers a sneak peek of his next book, and enthusiastically discusses being a member of Seattle7Writers, a collective of Pacific Northwest authors who seek to raise awareness of Northwest literature and promote literacy.

The 2011 Major League Baseball season is in full swing. As of this writing, there is the usual set of surprises, with some teams and individual players exceeding preseason predictions while others are not living up to expectations. One thing you can always count on: a variety of entertaining books to fill in those inevitable rain delays and interminable pitching changes. This year’s list includes plenty of New York-centric titles to keep Yankees, Mets and even Brooklyn Dodger fans busy.

Mother’s Day is a time to recognize the woman who raised and nurtured us. Why not brighten her special day with some great books? From April 15th through May 2nd, readers will have the chance to win one of our 10 Mother’s Day gift baskets. Each basket is filled with a selection of 12 books from our 24 featured titles, giving Mom a book to read each month and making Mother’s Day truly a yearlong celebration. Also included are a variety of gifts to treat her: a rather large Godiva chocolate bar, a collection of body products from Crabtree & Evelyn, Tazo Tea, and a 4x6 picture frame.

With books that are moving, uplifting, humorous and informative, look no further than for the perfect gift for Mom. Click here to see our featured titles.

Here at, Mother’s Day will be a month-long celebration with the help of some of our author friends and their mothers. During the next few weeks, we will be featuring daily blog posts from authors, including Elizabeth Noble, Chelsea Cain, Sarah Addison Allen, and more! Reading these pieces will give you a new understanding and insight into the role Mom played as authors got their start or followed into the literary world. Click here to set up an RSS feed.

Winner of the New England Book Award for Fiction and a New York Times Editors' Choice, Lily King's masterful third novel received glowing critical praise upon its initial publication and is poised to make an even bigger splash in paperback.

Gardiner Amory is a New England WASP who's beginning to feel the cracks in his empire. Nixon is being impeached, his wife is leaving him, and his worldview is rapidly becoming outdated. His daughter, Daley, has spent the first 11 years of her life negotiating her parents' conflicting worlds: the liberal, socially committed realm of her mother and the conservative, decadent, liquor-soaked life of her father. But when they divorce, and Gardiner's basest impulses are unleashed, the chasm quickly widens and Daley is stretched thinly across it.

Brianna Karp entered the workforce at age 10, supporting her mother and sister throughout her teen years in Southern California. Although her young life was scarred by violence and abuse, Karp stayed focused on her dream of a steady job and a home of her own. By age 22 her dream became reality. Karp loved her job as an executive assistant and signed the lease on a tiny cottage near the beach. And then the Great Recession hit. Karp, like millions of others, lost her job. In the six months between the day she was laid off and the day she was forced out onto the street, Karp scrambled for temp work and filed hundreds of job applications, only to find all doors closed. When she inherited a 30-foot travel trailer after her father's suicide, Karp parked it in a WalMart parking lot and began to blog about her search for work and a way back.

As you may or may not know, our company, The Book Report Network, has a number of websites about books and authors in addition to Throughout the year, features adult books on, our site for young adult readers, that we think will have definite appeal to a teen audience. In the spirit of sharing, we are now spotlighting a selection of titles each month that we believe are great reads that you might enjoy.

Here are our latest featured titles:
STRINGS ATTACHED by Judy Blundell (Historical Fiction)
When Kit Corrigan arrives in New York City, she doesn't have much. She's fled from her family in Providence, Rhode Island, and she's broken off her tempestuous relationship with a boy named Billy, who's enlisted in the army. The city doesn't exactly welcome her with open arms. She gets a bit part as a chorus girl in a Broadway show, but she knows that's not going to last very long. She needs help --- and then it comes, from an unexpected source.
-Excerpt's interview with Judy Blundell

SUMMER AND THE CITY: A Carrie Diaries Novel, by Candace Bushnell (Fiction)
Seventeen-year-old Carrie Bradshaw is finally in New York. But can she manage to prove herself as a writer so she can remain in the city of her dreams? As the countdown of her summer ticks away, she grapples with writer's block, men and friendships in another delightful installment of her adventures. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.
-Browse inside SUMMER AND THE CITY

VIOLA IN REEL LIFE by Adriana Trigiani (Fiction)
Viola doesn't want to go to boarding school, but somehow she ends up at an all-girls school in South Bend, Indiana far away from her home in Brooklyn, New York. There's no way she's going to survive the year. Boarding school, though, and her roommates and even the Midwest are nothing like she thought they would be. Reviewed by Lourdes Orive.

VIOLA IN THE SPOTLIGHT by Adriana Trigiani (Fiction)
Viola is back home in Brooklyn where she's free to be her spunky self. But the excitement of getting to hang with her two best friends comes to a screeching halt when Andrew starts acting strange and Caitlin ditches her for a new boy. Amid Viola's confusion --- should she stay or leave Brooklyn? --- a tragic event proves that friendships are her true foundation. Reviewed by Amy Alessio.
-Behind-the-scenes look at the cover photo shoot for VIOLA IN THE SPOTLIGHT and an interview with Adriana Trigiani

WE ALL FALL DOWN: Living with Addiction by Nic Sheff (Memoir)
In his memoir TWEAK, Nic Sheff took readers on an emotionally gripping roller-coaster ride through his days as a drug addict. In this powerful follow-up about his continued efforts to stay clean, Nic writes candidly about eye-opening stays at rehab centers, devastating relapses, and hard-won realizations about what it means to be a young person living with addiction. Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott.

THE BRIDE'S HOUSE by Sandra Dallas (Fiction)
From New York Times bestselling author Sandra Dallas comes THE BRIDE'S HOUSE, a novel about the secrets and passions of three generations of women who have all lived in the same Victorian home.

It’s 1880, and for unassuming 17-year-old Nealie Bent, the Bride’s House is a fairy tale come to life. It seems as if it is being built precisely for her and Will Spaulding, the man she is convinced she will marry. But life doesn’t go according to plan, and Nealie finds herself in the Bride’s House pregnant --- and married to another. For Pearl, growing up in the Bride’s House is akin to being raised in a mausoleum. Her father has fashioned the house into a shrine to the woman he loved, resisting all forms of change. When the enterprising young Frank Curry comes along and asks for Pearl’s hand in marriage, her father sabotages the union. But he underestimates the lengths to which the women in the Bride’s House will go for love. Susan is the latest in the line of strong and willful women in the Bride’s House. She’s proud of the women who came before her, but the Bride’s House hides secrets that will force her to question what she wants and who she loves.
-Mother's Day blog post from Sandra Dallas
-Official website:

DISTURBED by Kevin O'Brien (Suspense/Thriller)
In DISTURBED, the latest pulse-pounding thriller from Kevin O'Brien, a newlywed tries to adjust to her new, affluent neighborhood only to learn that a brutal killer is lurking around, stalking his victims.

The houses in Willow Tree Court are sleek and modern--the kind designed to harbor happy families and laughing children. No one would guess the secrets that lurk beyond the neat lawns and beautiful facades. Molly Dennehy is trying to fit in to her new surroundings, though her neighbors are clearly loyal to her husband's ex-wife. But that's the least of Molly's worries. Her stepson's school has been rocked by a brutal slaying, and a psychopath known as the Cul-de-Sac Killer is murdering families in Seattle homes. Homes just like Molly's. With each passing day, Molly grows more convinced that someone is watching her family, someone consumed with rage and vengeance. On this quiet road, a nightmare has been unleashed, and the trail of terror will lead right to her door.
-Official website:

Romantic Suspense Author Spotlight
Beverly Barton is back with DEAD BY MORNING, a book loaded with her trademark suspense and romance as two security officials race to uncover the clues that could lead them to the serial killer terrorizing their offices.

Maleah Purdue is tough, outspoken and completely dedicated to her work at the Powell Security Agency. But her fearless exterior shatters when a madman begins killing her colleagues one by one, mimicking a notorious serial killer already behind bars. Working alongside top profiler Derek Lawrence, Maleah will do anything to find the murderer, even if it means playing a psychopath's twisted mind games. No one connected to the Agency is safe. No one is beyond suspicion. For as Maleah and Derek piece together the clues, they uncover a chilling legacy of lies and brutal vengeance --- and a killer who has been hiding in plain sight all along.

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