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April 1, 2005 Newsletter

April 1, 2005

This Week on

What I Read on My Spring Break

Announcing Advance Reader Giveaway for COUNTDOWN by Iris Johansen and an Author Talk with Johansen and Forensic Sculptor, Daniel Sollitti

Author Talk: Rebecca Wells, Author of YA-YAS IN BLOOM Talks to Alicia Erian, Author of TOWELHEAD

Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight: Francine Mathews, Author of BLOWN

Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight:  Jess Walter, Author of CITIZEN VINCE

ONE FALSE MOVE by Alex Kava is Now in Paperback

One to Watch: Victor Gischler, Author of SUICIDE SQUEEZE

2005 Spring Golf Books

Books Into Movies

This Week's Reviews and Features Blog

Poll: How do you keep your place in your book?
Question of the Week: Pass Along Reading
Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading -- TWO Prizes!
Quick Links to Features On The Book Report Network
Past Reviews
Can't See the Graphics? Read This Newsletter Online

Past Poll: Where do you buy most of your books?

Past Question of the Week: Name one author or book that your discovered on
Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight Promotion
Debut Suspense/Thriller One to Watch Promotion
Mystery Mayhem Promotion

Fantasy Author Spotlight Promotion

One to Watch Promotion
Chick Lit Promotion
Read our Author Bibliographies here.

What I Read on My Spring Break


Weather this week on the Outer Banks was less than stellar. The ocean water has not warmed up yet, thus land temperatures are not where they should be for this time of year. Oh growl.

As a result, the box of books that I toted here got a pretty thorough inventory. Two titles --- THE THIRD SECRET by Steve Berry and LEEWAY COTTAGE by Beth Gutcheon, both coming out in May, were standouts. THE THIRD SECRET delves into the third secret of Fatima and is splayed across a papal election. Given the current state of the Pope's health, it was interesting to look at the traditions that surround a papal death and election. LEEWAY COTTAGE is historical fiction that is set on the coast of Maine (where Leeway Cottage is situated), Connecticut and Europe. The story includes a look at the Danish Resistance during World War II that saved virtually all of the 7,000 Jews in Denmark, as well as chronicles scenes from the marriage between Sydney and Laurus. It's a new look at time period that has been oft-written about.

LEEWAY COTTAGE has made me want to explore Historical Fiction more in depth on Look for more about this in the months to come.

I now am reading THE DEATH COLLECTORS by Jack Kerley, whose last book many of you may remember, THE HUNDREDTH MAN. Death collectors collect memorabilia from serial killers. Chilling thought.

We are sharing three interviews with you this week, as well as more than a dozen reviews. And our annual Golf Books feature by our resident golf expert, Stuart Shiffman. Philip Beard, the author of DEAR ZOE, responds to reader questions.

I am off to enjoy the remaining hours of Spring Break since the sun is shining. Have a great week. And don't forget to change your clocks.

Carol Fitzgerald ([email protected])  

PS. The elevator in the rental house was almost as fab as the high-speed Internet connection!


Announcing Advance Reader Giveaway for COUNTDOWN by Iris Johansen and an Author Talk with Johansen and Forensic Sculptor, Daniel Sollitti

Fiction meets fact as bestselling author Iris Johansen and real-life forensic artist and veteran northern New Jersey police sergeant Daniel Sollitti get together to discuss their work. Mr. Sollitti completed his formal forensic art training at the United States Secret Service Training Facility in Maryland and studied 3-Dimensional clay reconstruction of a skull under forensic sculptor Seth Wolfson. Ms. Johansen's newest hardcover, COUNTDOWN --- her sixth thriller featuring forensic sculptor Eve Duncan --- will be released on May 10th, while last year's bestseller, BLIND ALLEY, is now available in paperback.

Want to be one of our 20 advance readers of COUNTDOWN? Then send your name and mailing address to [email protected] by Friday, April 15th.

BLIND ALLEY by Iris Johansen (Suspense)
Now Available in Paperback
Reviewed by Maggie Harding
Iris Johansen, the New York Times bestselling author of FIRESTORM, has written a psychological thriller so terrifying, so relentlessly paced, it won't leave you time to catch your breath before the next shock comes. A forensic sculptor is locked in a deadly duel with a serial killer determined to destroy her --- one life at a time.

More about COUNTDOWN:
In this relentless psychological thriller a young woman is caught in a maze of secrets and stalked by a merciless killer. The countdown begins the moment you open this riveting novel that only grows more electrifying as the pages turn, more exciting as time runs out. . .

Read more about Iris Johansen here.


Author Talk: Rebecca Wells, Author of YA-YAS IN BLOOM


In this interview Rebecca Wells, author of YA-YAS IN BLOOM, describes the changes that have occurred in her life since the 1996 publication of the enormously successful DIVINE SECRETS OF THE YA-YA SISTERHOOD. She talks about various themes in her Ya-Ya novels and how we can apply them to our own lives, the influence that her family and friends have had on the development of this series, and why millions of women respond to her books on such an emotional level.
YA-YAS IN BLOOM by Rebecca Wells (Fiction)
Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller
Rebecca Wells is back with another installment in her Ya-Ya saga, this time extolling on the genesis of the Ya-Yas --- exactly how Vivi, Teensy, Caro and Necie came together --- and following them through more than sixty years of friendship, family and frivolity.

Read an interview with Rebecca Wells and a review of YA-YAS IN BLOOM here. Talks to Alicia Erian, Author of TOWELHEAD Co-Founder Carol Fitzgerald and contributing writer Shannon McKenna interviewed Alicia Erian, author of TOWELHEAD. Erian explains how the premise of her debut novel originated and why she chose to write this story from a child's point-of-view. She also talks about the process of titling the book, her transition from short story-writing to novel-writing, and the authors who have influenced her work.

TOWELHEAD by Alicia Erian (Fiction)
Reviewed by Shannon McKenna
Set in 1991 against the backdrop of the first Gulf War, Alicia Erian's debut novel unfolds the story of an Arab-American girl navigating an unfamiliar suburban and cultural terrain with no emotional support or direction.

Click here to read our interview with Alicia Erian and a review of TOWELHEAD.


Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight: Francine Mathews, Author of BLOWN

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Our latest Suspense/Thriller Author is Francine Mathews whose new book, BLOWN, will be in stores on April 26, 2005. In the opening chapters a crazed killer hands cups of tainted water to runners participating in a Marine-sponsored marathon. From there Mathews' character Caroline Carmichael is called in --- and from there the action is non-stop.

See our Advance Readers here.
Read an excerpt of BLOWN here.

BLOWN by Francine Mathews (Suspense)
On Sale: April 26, 2005
Former CIA analyst Francine Mathews has created "one of the toughest female secret agents we've seen in a long time." (USA Today) Using her firsthand expertise of international espionage, Mathews offers another brilliantly realized suspense novel so intense, so authentic, it lethally blurs the line between fact and fiction. In BLOWN, Caroline Carmichael returns in a white-hot tale of terror on the streets of Washington, where one woman must gamble her life to save her country.


Read more about Francine Mathews and BLOWN here.


Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight:  Jess Walter, Author of CITIZEN VINCE

Jess Walter, whose CITIZEN VINCE hits bookstores April 12th, is one of our featured Suspense/Thriller authors.
About the Book:
It's the fall of 1980, eight days before the presidential election that pits a beleaguered hangdog Democrat against a suspiciously sunny Republican. In the Pacific Northwest, a small-time thief named Vince Camden is headed to his witness-protection job at Donut Make You Hungry. But Vince is about to learn that it's not so easy to leave your old self behind --- especially when your old self is being hunted by a killer. Over the next unforgettable week, Vince will find himself enmeshed in a local politician's troubles, torn between a beautiful young law clerk and a neurotic prostitute, playing poker with a not-yet-celebrated New York Mafioso, and looking for redemption in --- of all places --- a voting booth.
Read more about Jess Walter.
Sign up to get news about Jess Walter.


Read more about Jess Walter and CITIZEN VINCE here.


ONE FALSE MOVE by Alex Kava is Now in Paperback

Melanie Starks and her seventeen-year-old son, Charlie, have been running one con job or another for as long as she can remember. Worried about Charlie, though, Melanie is ready to start over. Then her brother, Jared, reappears in her life.

Released on a technicality, Jared Barnett is just out of prison and feeling more invincible than ever. He has the perfect plan to rob a local Nebraska bank, but he needs Melanie's and Charlie's help. Feeling that she owes the brother who saved her from an unspeakably violent childhood, Melanie agrees to Jared's plan.

But within seconds, shots are fired and Jared and Charlie run out of the bank. They are empty-handed and four people are dead. When they refuse to tell her what happened in those few desperate moments, Melanie realizes her brother and son have formed a silent bond. And now they are all on the run from the police, taking a hostage with them and willing to do anything to survive.


Read more about ONE FALSE MOVE by Alex Kava here.

Read more about our One to Watch feature here.

One to Watch: Victor Gischler, Author of SUICIDE SQUEEZE

Our latest One to Watch author is Victor Gischler, whose new book SUICIDE SQUEEZE went on sale on March 29th.
New This Week:
-Read another excerpt from SUICIDE SQUEEZE.
Here's the skinny on SUICIDE SQUEEZE:
The Edgar Award-nominated author of GUN MONKEYS delivers an adrenaline rush of a novel that features a special appearance by Joe DiMaggio. The high spot of Teddy Folger's life was the day in 1954 that he got an autographed baseball card from Joe DiMaggio himself. It's been downhill ever since.

Read more about Victor Gischler and SUICIDE SQUEEZE here.


2005 Spring Golf Books

To celebrate the start of the 2005 PGA season,'s contributing writer Stuart Shiffman takes a look at some of the golf books that are available this spring. Included in this roundup is a history of Augusta National, one of the game's most revered courses, as well as a tribute to the man who helped create professional golf as it's known today, an instructional guide that aims to help readers improve their golf swing, and two novels that will be worthy additions to the bookshelves of golf fiction fans everywhere.

Read our Golf Books feature here.


Books Into Movies

After months of enduring snow, freezing temperatures and slick roads, we embrace spring and all that it has to offer: warm weather, blossoming flowers, longer days --- and (of course) a generous helping of newly released movies that are based on books. These films include Sin City, adapted from a series of graphic novels by Frank Miller; Sahara, which brings to life one of Clive Cussler's action-packed Dirk Pitt adventures; and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, a don't-miss for teenagers (and adults) who have read and enjoyed Ann Brashares's bestselling novel of the same name.

Read our Books Into Movies feature here.


This Week's Reviews and Features

A DEADLY GAME: The Untold Story of the Scott Peterson Investigation by Catherine Crier (True Crime)
Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum
Catherine Crier has been covering the Scott Peterson case since Laci disappeared from her home on December 24, 2002, and was among the first to question the behavior of Laci's husband. Crier --- who gained access to a huge and revealing body of previously unseen police reports, transcripts of recorded conversations, photographic evidence, and other exclusive materials --- takes a detailed and intimate look at the most notorious murder case since O. J. Simpson.

LONG SPOON LANE by Anne Perry (Historical Mystery)
Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon
In Victorian London, detective Thomas Pitt begins an urgent quest to fight police corruption while uncovering the truth behind the murder of a leader of anarchists. To that end, he joins forces with his most detested enemy. As the saying goes, "You need a long spoon to dine with the devil."

A CHANGED MAN by Francine Prose (Fiction)
Reviewed by Eileen Zimmerman Nicol
A young neo-Nazi named Vincent Nolan walks into the Manhattan office of World Brotherhood Watch, a human rights foundation headed by Holocaust survivor Meyer Maslow. But Vincent isn't carrying a gun or threatening anyone; on the contrary, he announces that he wants to make a radical change in his life and would like to work for the foundation.

THE CHAIRMAN by Stephen Frey (Thriller)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
When the founder of Everest Capital unexpectedly passes away, Christian Gillette becomes the new chairman. He will do whatever it takes to make Everest the biggest equity partnership in the world --- but in order to achieve this goal, he must forge alliances with people who simply cannot be trusted.

THE MAGDALEN MARTYRS by Ken Bruen (Mystery)
Reviewed by Kate Ayers
When Jack Taylor is asked to find an aged nun who once worked at a notorious home for wayward girls, he jumps on the chance to get square with the nefarious man who requested it. But the case involves more than simply locating an old lady, much more --- maybe even murder.

NOCTURNES by John Connolly (Thriller)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
In his first collection of short fiction, New York Times bestselling author John Connolly offers a selection of dark, daring, and utterly haunting tales that demonstrates the range and depth of his talent.

JOHN F. KENNEDY: A Biography by Michael O'Brien (Biography/History)
Reviewed by Robert Finn
Michael O'Brien, a retired history professor from the University of Wisconsin, takes an exhaustive and reasonably objective look at John F. Kennedy in the context of his family, his times, and his still-controversial political legacy.

IT'S ONLY A MOVIE: Alfred Hitchcock -- A Personal Biography by Charlotte Chandler (Biography)
Reviewed by Ron Kaplan
In this biography of the "Master of Suspense," Charlotte Chandler draws from her extensive conversations with Alfred Hitchcock, frequently revealing unknown facts and unexpected insights into the man, the director, and his films.

Reviewed by Judy Gigstad
In this follow-up to Con Lehane's debut novel, New York City bartender Brian McNulty fills in for a friend at the fancy East Side saloon and eatery called The Ocean Club. But on his first night McNulty finds much more than he bargained for --- a body floating in the East River.

EIGHT OF SWORDS by David Skibbins (Mystery)
Reviewed by Andi Shechter
Tarot reader and former political activist Warren Ritter sees nothing but danger in Heather's cards. In the next few days the teenager disappears and her mother is found murdered. Warren feels guilty about not being able to prevent these occurrences and is determined to figure out exactly what's going on.

Click here to read this week's reviews and features.

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Poll: How do you keep your place in your book?

For keeping your place in a book, do you use a bookmark or fold down the pages?

Use a bookmark
Flip the cover jacket into the page I am reading when I stop
Fold down the pages
Not sure what I do

Answer the Poll here.

Question of the Week: Pass Along Reading

Question: Name the last book that you passed along to someone and said, "You have to read this."

Please note: Our next question update will be on April 8th.

Answer the Question of the Week here.

Read more about DRAMA CITY here. Read more about  THE AMBASSADOR'S SON here.
Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading -- TWO Prizes!

Tell us what books YOU are reading and loving --- or even those you don't.

This week we have some great prizes: FIVE readers each will win a copy of DRAMA CITY by George Pelecanos and THE AMBASSADOR'S SON by Homer Hickam. Please note that our next Word of Mouth update will be on April 8th.

Need more details about Word of Mouth? Click here.


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--- Carol Fitzgerald ([email protected])

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