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February 03, 2006 Newsletter

February 3, 2006

This Week on

Memory Lane and The Super Bowl of Reading Talks to Keri Arthur, Author of FULL MOON RISING

Our Newest Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Richard Montanari, Author of THE SKIN GODS

Our Newest Featured Debut Suspense/Thriller Author: Joshua Spanogle, Author of ISOLATION WARD

Valentine's Day Contest: Books to Fall in Love With --- Enter to Win a Romantic Basket for Yourself or Your Valentine by SUNDAY!

Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight: Stephen White, Author of KILL ME

Suspense/Thriller Feature --- Spotlight on Steve Berry, Author of THE TEMPLAR LEGACY

Our Newest Featured One to Watch Author: Allegra Goodman, Author of INTUITION

Now In Stores: WHALE SEASON by N. M. Kelby

February Books Into Movies

This Week's Reviews and Features Blog

Poll: Books On Your iPod
Question of the Week: Listening to Your Favorite Author
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 question of the Week: What book are you recommending most these days?
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

Memory Lane and The Super Bowl of Reading

I am not a huge lover of Broadway, but this week I took a night and went with some pals to see "Jersey Boys," the story of the Four Seasons. My uncle was Nick Massi, who was one of the original members of the band so the evening was more than just seeing a show. I found myself tapping my toe as if I was listening to the soundtrack of my growing up. Couple of notes here. There are a few "embellishments" to make the story more sensational. No one in the family recalls my uncle doing jail time or leaving his kids. I guess tweaking the memoir happens on Broadway as well as in publishing. Fun show if you have time to see it.
This week we announce Richard Montanari as our newest Suspense/Thriller author. I met Richard two years ago at Bouchercon in Toronto. Over drinks he told me about his love of noir movies. He told me that while doing research for THE SKIN GODS he often watched two or three a day. That research truly comes through in this book, which will have you heading to rent DVDs to watch after you read. We have 20 advance reading copies to give away to readers who enter their names and snail mail addresses by Friday, February 17th. THE SKIN GODS is in stores on March 14th.
Fans of Michael Crichton, pay attention. That turned a few heads! Joshua Spanogle is our newest Debut Suspense/Thriller author, and his book ISOLATION WARD is a medical and psychological thriller that tracks the trail of a baffling virus. I read this one over the holidays and enjoyed it. We have 10 advance reading copies to give away to readers who would like to read and comment. Interested in entering? Then send your name and mailing address to by Friday, February 10th. ISOLATION WARD is on sale on February 28th.

You have until Sunday night to enter our Valentine's Day Contest, so get your entries in NOW. Remember we can send this to a special someone for you! Here are some other Valentine's Day contests running that you may want to check out: has a drawing to win 7 books here.

-Fiction Addiction is running a free writing contest for Valentine's Day with a February 28th deadline for entries.

In all the hubbub of the last few weeks we failed to share that we are now posting the BookSense Bestsellers each week. BookSense, as you know, is the trade organization made up of Independent Booksellers cross-country. See what your fellow readers are reading here.

Speaking of bestsellers, we got news that THE LAST TEMPLAR by Raymond Khoury debuts at #10 on the New York Times list this Sunday, which we love to see --- and as for next week, well, you'll just have to come back and find out what happens then! Let's just say...more good news.
Richard Hawke answers questions from our Advance Readers about his debut novel, SPEAK OF THE DEVIL. Hawke has a sense of humor. We like that. Pages Magazine this month has a cover story on Ayelet Waldman and Michael Chabon. We have a review of Waldman's new book, LOVE AND OTHER IMPOSSIBLE PURSUITS which I read last summer. It will provide lots of discussion topics.

Michele Martinez wrote to tell us that her MOST WANTED paperback giveaway announced in last week's newsletter was a smashing success! Demand was overwhelming, and all of the copies were snapped right up. Congratulations to the lucky winners. For those of you who are just discovering Michele, here's good news: the latest book in her series featuring New York City federal prosecutor Melanie Vargas, THE FINISHING SCHOOL, is in stores now.

This week I have been reading MAGIC HOUR by Kristin Hannah, which will be in stores February 28th. I think it's one of her best. She moves her work into a new direction here. While I am seeing her usual emotional fiction, I also am seeing a suspense element that is stronger than usual. Looking forward to finishing this one as there are a lot of threads to pull together.
Here's to a fun Super Bowl weekend. Hmmmmmm...way I see is a Super Bowl of Reading.

Carol Fitzgerald (

List of titles reviewed and featured on February 3rd.

List of titles reviewed and featured on January 27th.

Click here to read more about The Very Best of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Talks to Keri Arthur, Author of FULL MOON RISING's Jennifer Krieger interviewed Australian supernatural romance writer Keri Arthur, who's making her American debut with FULL MOON RISING. Arthur talks about her inspiration for this sensuous tale of intrigue and suspense, explains how she developed the concept of the Directorate --- an organization created to govern or control vampires and werewolves --- for this novel, and describes the important role that humor plays in fiction, particularly in relation to her protagonist, Riley Jenson.

FULL MOON RISING by Keri Arthur (Fiction)
Reviewed by Jennifer Krieger
Keri Arthur's American debut is as sexy and spirited as her main character, the vivacious redheaded Riley. But Riley is no ordinary young woman --- her powerful supernatural abilities and her unbridled, unabashed desires render her dangerous to her enemies and delicious to her readers.

-Click here to read our advanced reader comments for FULL MOON RISING.

Click here to read our interview with Keri Arthur and a review of FULL MOON RISING.

Our Newest Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Richard Montanari, Author of THE SKIN GODS

Our newest featured Suspense/Thriller author is Richard Montanari, who readers will no doubt recognize from his previous page-turners THE ROSARY GIRLS, KISS OF EVIL, DEVIANT WAY, and THE VIOLET HOUR. Now, with his noir thriller THE SKIN GODS, Montanari re-establishes himself at the forefront of the suspense/thriller genre.

We have 20 advance copies of THE SKIN GODS to share with readers who would like to read the book and comment on it. Interested? Then send your name and mailing address to by Friday, February 17th. (Please note this address as we are are also running a Suspense/Thriller ARC giveaway for Stephen White with a very similar address.)

More about THE SKIN GODS:
With the breakneck pacing and intricate plotting of his most recent novel, THE ROSARY GIRLS, Richard Montanari established himself as one of the most exciting suspense writers working today. Now he proves himself a virtuoso with THE SKIN GODS, an explosive new thriller featuring Philadelphia homicide detectives Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano.

It is the steaming heart of summer in the City of Brotherly Love. Back on the force after taking a bullet during the arrest of a sadistic murderer, Detective Kevin Byrne warily returns to police headquarters. He cannot shake the memory of the Rosary Killer's innocent victims --- or his growing sense that the evil has not been vanquished. And when he and his partner, Detective Jessica Balzano, are called in on a bizarre case, Byrne's gravest suspicions are confirmed.

Hot on the psychopath's trail, Balzano and Byrne descend into the mouth of madness and beyond, deep into the depraved underworld of S&M clubs and the porn industry, where the worship of flesh leads to malevolent evil. Before the final credits roll, the investigators will discover that none of The Actor's victims are as innocent as they appear to be, and that the clue the police need to prevent future murders might be found in Detective Byrne's own dark past.

Click here to read more about Richard Montanari and THE SKIN GODS.


Our Newest Featured Debut Suspense/Thriller Author: Joshua Spanogle, Author of ISOLATION WARD

Joshua Spanogle is our newest Debut Suspense/Thriller author. With ISOLATION WARD, Spanogle has put his medical and bioethics training to good use creating a spine-tingling novel that will have readers turning the pages with baited breath.

We have 10 advanced reading copies of ISOLATION WARD by Joshua Spanogle to give away to readers who would like to preview the book and comment about it. If you are interested, please send your name and mailing address to by Friday, February 10, 2006.

Straight out of today's hospitals and labs --- and tomorrow's headlines --- comes a frightening, scalpel-sharp thriller from medical insider Joshua Spanogle. In an astounding debut, Spanogle takes us on an all-too-real race against a young doctor enters the dark side of scientific research, desperate to stop a terrifying epidemic before it is too late....

At once a taut medical thriller and a riveting psychological portrait of a young doctor on the edge, ISOLATION WARD is a tale of runaway tension --- with a brilliant "what-if" premise that is harrowing...heartbreaking...and impossible to wrench from your imagination.

Click here to read more about Joshua Spanogle and ISOLATION WARD.


Valentine's Day Contest: Books to Fall in Love With --- Enter to Win a Romantic Basket for Yourself or Your Valentine by SUNDAY!

Valentine's Day is all about love, sex and intimacy --- and our Valentine's Day Basket is filled with books about just that.

How about the love poems of Pablo Neruda? Sexy tips from relationship expert Tracey Cox? Three wry and witty Valentine's Day murder-mysteries? A book to "share" the inner you? --- and another to fill out with your lover to get to know each other better? Yes, these are books to fall in love with.

From January 20th through Sunday, February 5th, readers will have the chance to win one of our five Valentine's Day baskets. They are filled with one copy of each of our featured books --- ALL ABOUT ME and ALL ABOUT US by Philipp Keel, THE HOT SEX HANDBOOK by Tracey Cox, TWENTY POEMS OF LOVE AND A SONG OF DESPAIR by Pablo Neruda and VALENTINE'S DAY IS KILLING ME by MaryJanice Davidson, Leslie Esdaile and Susanna Carr. Also included: some irresistible Valentine's Day goodies --- a red heart-shaped candle from Illuminations; pink, white and red roses that are mineral bath salts; a heart-decorated picture frame; Lucky Lovers Message Dice; a red comfy pillow; and Godiva heart-shaped candies in a heart-shaped box.

What makes this contest even more romantic? You can have your basket shipped either to yourself or to your valentine! If you want to fete your valentine, send us the name and address of the person you want it sent to along with your entry. Also tell us what you would want the gift card to say. Either way, we'll notify you if you win.

Click here to read all the details about our Valentine's Day Basket Contest.


Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight: Stephen White, Author of KILL ME

Stephen White, one of our featured Suspense/Thriller authors, hardly needs any introduction. The author of such works as MISSING PERSONS, BLINDED, THE BEST REVENGE, and many more has been delighting readers with his twisting, tangled plots and shocking twists. KILL ME, which hits shelves March 2nd, is both intelligent and gripping, firmly solidifying White's place as one of the most talented suspense/thriller writers out there.

We have 20 advance copies of KILL ME to share with readers who would like to read the book and comment on it. Interested? Then send your name and mailing address to by Friday, February 10th.

-Click here to read Critical Praise for KILL ME.

More about KILL ME:
We've all been there. A loved one or a dear friend becomes desperately ill or is tragically injured. Someone-maybe even you-says, "If that ever happens to me, I wish someone would just . . . kill me."

What if you could choose when to die? But once you decide, you can't change your mind. Ever. No matter what.

KILL ME brings Alan Gregory face-to-face with the most challenging case of his career. As always, White's characters are indelible and the dialogue is dead-on, but KILL ME is fresh and thought provoking in a way that's so uncommon in crime fiction. KILL ME delivers on all the promise of White's earlier work and then raises the bar in an unforgettably inventive tale of life and death.

Click here to read more about Stephen White and KILL ME.

Suspense/Thriller Feature --- Spotlight on Steve Berry, Author of THE TEMPLAR LEGACY

One of our featured Suspense/Thriller authors is Steve Berry, who has already made a name for himself with such page-turners as THE THIRD SECRET, THE ROMANOV PROPHECY and THE AMBER ROOM. His newest work, THE TEMPLAR LEGACY, comes out February 21st, and is sure to satisfy old fans and lure new readers with it's DA VINCI CODE-esque mix of modern day thrills and ancient religious mysteries.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE TEMPLAR LEGACY.
-Click here to read the list of our advanced copy winners.
-Click here to read Fast Facts about Steve Berry.

The ancient order of the Knights Templar possessed untold wealth and absolute power over kings and popes...until the Inquisition, when they were wiped from the face of the earth, their hidden riches lost. But now two forces vying for the treasure have learned that it is not at all what they thought it was --- and its true nature could change the modern world.

Click here to read more about Steve Berry and THE TEMPLAR LEGACY.

Our Newest Featured One to Watch Author: Allegra Goodman, Author of INTUITION






Allegra Goodman, our newest featured One to Watch author, has already generated a devoted following among readers who love her wry wit and astute observations of the nuances of family life. Her previous novel THE FAMILY MARKOWITZ was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and KAATERSKILL FALLS was a National Book Award finalist. Now, with INTUITION, she turns her penetrating gaze on the lies and intrigue that threaten to shake the placid surface of a small academic community. Surprising and gripping, INTUITION will satisfy old Goodman fans and garner her new ones as well.

We have 20 advance copies of INTUITION to share with readers who would like to read the book and comment on it. Interested? Then send your name and mailing address to by Friday, February 10th.

More about INTUITION:
Sandy Glass, a charismatic publicity-seeking oncologist, and Marion Mendelssohn, a pure, exacting scientist, are co-directors of a lab at the Philpott Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts dedicated to cancer research and desperately in need of a grant. Glass and Mendelssohn demand dedication and obedience in a competitive environment where funding is scarce and results elusive. So when the experiments of Cliff Bannaker, a young postdoc in a rut, begin to work, the entire lab becomes giddy with newfound expectations. But Cliff's rigorous colleague -- and girlfriend -- Robin Decker suspects the unthinkable: that his findings are fraudulent.

With extraordinary insight, Allegra Goodman brilliantly explores the intricate mixture of workplace intrigue, scientific ardor, and the moral consequences of a rush to judgment.

Click here to read more about Allegra Goodman and INTUITION.


Now In Stores: WHALE SEASON by N. M. Kelby


In the rollicking tradition of Carl Hiaasen's TOURIST SEASON, with the heart of Garrison Keillor's Lake Wobegon, and peopled by the kind of colorful characters who would be quite at home in any Tom Robbins novel, N. M. Kelby's WHALE SEASON is a sharp and funny novel made up of equal parts comic adventure and serial-killer inspired mayhem.

Here's the plot:
One Christmas Eve, Whale Harbor is visited by a man who thinks he's Jesus and claims to be looking for a game of poker. But, as usual, things are not quite what they seem. Having some version of the Lord in town for his birthday creates a strange effect on the locals: unlikely couples are breaking up and making up and making out; a luxury mobile home that belonged to an elderly couple from New Jersey (until they disappeared after a run-in with "the Lord") is won by a down-on-his-luck gambler in an unbelievable hand of poker; the area's most well-known and long-forgotten tourist attraction is rising up from a hole in the ground; and a gun no one has used in years is suddenly in hot demand.

In the steamy climes of southern Florida, you take your miracles where you can get them -- and if that means being led to salvation by a schizophrenic with a rap sheet, so be it.

-Click here to visit N. M. Kelby's website.

Click here to read about more about WHALE SEASON by N. M. Kelby.


February Books Into Movies

February offers some truly exceptional movies based on books. As the Sundance Film Festival winds down, moviegoers will have a chance to see the independent films that made serious waves --- from the startling Tsotsi, based on playwright Athol Fugard's only novel, to the film adaptation of Charles Bukowski's madcap and bawdy pseudo-autobiography FACTOTUM.

Moviegoers in the mood for a compelling story don't have to look just to the Indies. Freedomland, the movie version of Richard Price's controversial novel, presents the complex relationship between race and crime with brutal clarity, and its star-studded cast features Samuel L. Jackson and Julianne Moore. Freedomland and Tsotsi are rife with political struggle and compelling presentations of race, gender and class issues; both promise to be intense and thought-provoking moviegoing experiences.

Those who prefer something lighter will be thoroughly charmed by the film adaptation of the much-loved Curious George books. We know you read --- and adored --- them as a kid, but with a cast that includes Will Ferrell, Drew Barrymore and David Cross, Curious George is bound to entertain the mature adult and delight the inner child in everyone.

Oscar Watch
The Oscar nominations were announced earlier this week. Take a look at our Oscar Watch 2006 feature.

Click here to read our Books into Movies feature.


This Week's Reviews and Features

CELL by Stephen King (Thriller)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
Clayton Riddell has just landed a comic book deal that might finally enable him to support his family. He's feeling good about the future --- but that changes in a hurry. The cause of the devastation is a phenomenon that will come to be known as The Pulse, and the delivery method is a cell phone. Everyone's cell phone.

-Click here to read an excerpt from CELL.

THE GOOD LIFE by Jay McInerney (Fiction)
Reviewed by Scott Handwerker
The phenomenal social satirist Jay McInerney takes readers into the lives of two New York City lovers in his new novel. As the Twin Towers lie in ruin and rescue efforts dwindle, two families --- one incredibly affluent and the other much less so --- struggle with disillusion and ubiquitous familial issues in this beautiful love story that's truly New York.

-Click here to read an interview with Jay McInerney.

PRESIDENT REAGAN: The Triumph of Imagination by Richard Reeves (History)
Reviewed by Robert Finn
This is a detailed and unblinking look at the Reagan Presidency and at the man whose name, alone among those of all our presidents, has become an "ism" all by itself. Richard Reeves brings the same sharp eye and skilled pen to the often baffling figure of Ronald Reagan that he previously had brought to Presidents Kennedy and Nixon.

CAPITOL MURDER by William Bernhardt (Suspense)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
Oklahoma defense attorney Ben Kincaid's legal success has earned him a dubious reward: a journey through the looking glass into the Beltway. Here, in the heart of the nation's capital, a powerful U.S. senator has been caught first in a sordid sex scandal and then in a case of murder.

THE WAVE by Walter Mosley (Science Fiction)
Reviewed by Belinda Williams
Errol Porter starts receiving late night phone calls from someone claiming to be his dead father. What he finds in the graveyard where his father is buried will change his life forever. But once Errol's been touched by the Wave, a presence infecting the planet, can anything be the same again?

SINISTER SHORTS by Perri O'Shaughnessy (Suspense/Short Stories)
Reviewed by Maggie Harding
In their first-ever collection of short crime fiction, sisters Pam and Mary O'Shaughnessy, authors of the acclaimed Nina Reilly thrillers, will captivate readers with 19 chilling tales of suspense that feature desperate housewives, hard-boiled PIs, and even an appearance by Reilly herself.

LEAVING HOME by Anita Brookner (Fiction)
Reviewed by Eileen Zimmerman Nicol
Twenty-six year old Emma Roberts comes to the painful realization that if she is ever to become truly independent, she must leave her comfortable London flat and venture out into the wider world. This entails breaking free from a claustrophobic relationship with her reclusive, widowed mother and shedding her inherited tendency toward melancholy.

THE GHOST ORCHID by Carol Goodman (Literary Suspense)
Reviewed by Kate Ayers
Over one hundred years ago, Milo and Aurora Latham lost their four children --- three to illness, one to abduction. Their spirits have been restless ever since. Now the estate's famous guests must help them find peace, or risk perishing themselves, in Carol Goodman's enthralling novel of literary suspense.

Reviewed by Norah Piehl
Controversial novelist and columnist Ayelet Waldman brings us a novel that will get people thinking --- and talking --- about love, family, loss and healing. This is an insightful psychological portrait of a woman grieving over the death of her newborn daughter and unable to connect with her stepson.

THE WORLD TO COME by Dara Horn (Fiction)
Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman
A million-dollar painting by Marc Chagall is stolen from a museum, and the unlikely thief is quiz-show writer Benjamin Ziskind. As Benjamin and his twin sister try to evade the police, they find themselves recalling their dead parents and their stories about trust, loss and betrayal.

OLIVIER by Terry Coleman (Biography)
Reviewed by Kathy Weissman
Journalist Terry Coleman presents a respectful but not too hagiographic new life of the man who was, arguably, the world's greatest modern actor and director. Somewhat specialized --- perhaps best for theatre lovers and ardent anglophiles --- this book draws on hitherto inaccessible material from the Olivier archive.

Click here to read our reviews and features. Blog

January 11th Entry:
My Week in January With James Frey

January 6th Entry:
Reading Outside the Comfort Zone

Note: You can read past blogs here as well.
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Read a list of upcoming books here. Browse our author bibliographies by clicking here. Sign up for Author Newsletters here.
Poll: Books On Your iPod
Do you own an iPod or MP3 player?
-No, but I am getting one soon.
What do you listen to on your iPod or MP3
player? (Please check as many as apply.)

-Television shows
-Interviews and other programming
-I do not own an iPod or MP3 player.
Answer the Poll here.

Question of the Week: Listening to Your Favorite Author

What author would you like to hear read his or her book to you?

Please note: Our question of the week will update on February 17th.

Answer the Question of the Week 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 two great prizes: FIVE readers each will win a copy of THE 5TH HORSEMAN by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro and SEA CHANGE: A Jesse Stone Novel by Robert B. Parker.

Please note that our next Word of Mouth update will be on February 17th. 

Need more details about Word of Mouth? Click here.


As always, here are a few housekeeping notes. If you are seeing this newsletter in a text version, and would prefer to see the graphics, you can either read it online (see the link on the upper right) or change your preferences below.

Those of you who wish to send mail to, please see the form on the Write to Us page.  If you would like to reach me, please write Writing any of the respond buttons below will not get to us.

Those who are subscribed to the newsletter by February 28, 2006 automatically are entered in our Monthly Newsletter Contest. This month one winner will be selected to win the following five books: THE 5TH HORSEMAN by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro, THE BRIEF HISTORY OF THE DEAD by Kevin Brockmeier, THE GOOD LIFE by Jay McInerney, MAGIC HOUR by Kristin Hannah and THE OLD WINE SHADES: A Richard Jury Mystery by Martha Grimes. Last month's winner was Scott from Shasta Lake City, California, who won CELL by Stephen King, DEATH DANCE by Linda Fairstein, GENTLEMEN AND PLAYERS by Joanne Harris, GOT THE LOOK by James Grippando and IF YOU COULD SEE ME NOW by Cecelia Ahearn.

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