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February 17, 2006 Newsletter

February 17, 2006

This Week on

When A Book is Good...One Bikes Longer!

THE 5th HORSEMAN by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro


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

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

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

Our Newest Featured One to Watch Author: Kate Mosse, Author of LABYRINTH

One to Watch Author Feature: Allegra Goodman, Author of INTUITION

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

Our First Annual Oscar Basket For Book Lovers Contest --- Win Books, Treats and a $50 Blockbuster Gift Card!

This Week's Reviews and Features Blog

Poll: Book Club Member?
Question of the Week: Book Clubs -- The Good and The Bad
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 author would you like to hear read his or her book to you?
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

When A Book is Good...One Bikes Longer!

This week we had a record breaking snowfall so my younger son got a chance to get the sleds out and build a snow fort, but the snow left almost as fast as it came. The latter is great news since now I can take my car in and get the salt washed off of it. I park in a garage in the city where a number of record company execs keep their cars and their drivers are on standby waiting to chauffeur them around town. All of their cars gleam even on the saltiest of days. I always feel like my car is so grungy by comparison especially since it's black. Maybe I should just pay them to wash mine, too!
This week I read THE JURY MASTER by Robert Dugoni, a debut suspense/thriller title that grabbed my attention from the first chapter. This is how good the book is --- I did an extra half an hour on the exercise bike the other morning just to keep reading. Seriously, I think that's a pretty critical endorsement of just how good a book is since typically I am on the exercise bike thinking that even emptying the dishwasher sounds like a good reason to stop biking. In the next weeks you'll hear lots more about THE JURY MASTER here.
Now I am reading MONEY, A MEMOIR: Women, Emotions, and Cash by Liz Perle. The book opens with a tearful scene in the Singapore Airport where the protagonist is departing on a flight with her son leaving her marriage behind. She had arrived in Singapore just five weeks earlier planning to spend three years there with her husband during his job transfer. During the first week he asked her to leave. As she flies back to the States she is well aware that in the waters beneath her, her possessions are making their way to Singapore as she flies in the opposite direction. Great visual. She has $1,500 cash in her hand, which is prompting thoughts about money and what it means. Perle has a great line that I can see ending up on my wall of quotes, "The secret to happiness is wanting what you have, not having what you want." Ponder that one. I look forward to more reading.
A couple of months ago I read WHEN YOUR WIFE HAS BREAST CANCER by Mark Weiss. It's both heartwarming and informative as Mark shares the story of his wife Cathy's diagnosis, treatment and recovery. The tone of the book has both candor and hope. Mark's honesty is why the book works. You can see him trying to cover all bases as a husband, father and provider. For anyone who knows anyone in this situation, I highly recommend this book. It actually is applicable beyond just those who are encountering the challenges of breast cancer to those facing other cancers that can fracture normal life.

Last year at the Miami Book Fair I spent some time with James O. Born, author of ESCAPE CLAUSE, which we are reviewing this week. When I met Born and heard the title of his book I froze and then recovered. I started writing a novel about 8 years ago. The title of it --- ESCAPE CLAUSE. Who would think someone else would dream up the same title? Well, Joe Hartlaub clearly loved Jim's book, which is on my Florida reading pile for Sleuthfest in two weeks. Now for my novel there are 250 pages on some hard drive somewhere that have not been touched in years so I think there's no worry about mixing up our books at the bookstore any time soon.
For those of you who have a fondness for the Templars --- and from what we are seeing there are quite a few of you (Raymond Khoury's book, THE LAST TEMPLAR is again number five this week on the New York Times list) --- take some time over the weekend to play the game at Steve Berry's website, Steve's book, THE TEMPLAR LEGACY, hits stores on Tuesday.
Watching the Olympics this week I have a blog perking in my head. Will take some time and write this up over the weekend. I see parallels between the US Team and books. Check back during the week to see where I am going with this.
I am looking forward to the long weekend. Of course, I have made a list of 23 things to do with the extra day, but on this agenda definitely is some good reading time. Hope a good book finds its way to you as well. Happy reading.

Carol Fitzgerald (

List of titles reviewed and featured on February 17th.

List of titles reviewed and featured on February 10th.

THE 5th HORSEMAN by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro

THE 5th HORSEMAN by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro (Thriller)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
Lawyer Yuki Castellano receives the devastating news that her mother, a patient at San Francisco Medical Center, has died after being given the wrong medication. But this is not the first time the hospital has made this mistake. Lieutenant Lindsay Boxer and the Women's Murder Club investigate for themselves and face an unspeakable menace.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE 5th HORSEMAN.

Click here to read a review of THE 5th HORSEMAN.


IN THE COMPANY OF THE COURTESAN by Sarah Dunant (Historical Fiction)
Reviewed by Kathy Weissman
A bold courtesan (is there any other kind in fiction?), a philosophically inclined dwarf, and the dazzle of 16th-century Venice --- both its wealth and pageantry and its damp, seamy demi-monde --- combine to make IN THE COMPANY OF THE COURTESAN (by the author of THE BIRTH OF VENUS) a triumph of passion and wit.

-Click here to read an excerpt from IN THE COMPANY OF THE COURTESAN.

Click here to read a review of IN THE COMPANY OF THE COURTESAN.


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 its DA VINCI CODE-esque mix of modern day thrills and ancient religious mysteries.

-Click here to read a new 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.


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.

-Click here to read a new excerpt from KILL ME,
-Click here to read our list of advance copy winners.
-Click here to read Fast Facts about Stephen White.
-Click here to read Stephen White's backlist.
-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.


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 (which comes out March 14th), Montanari re-establishes himself at the forefront of the suspense/thriller genre.

-Click here to read our list of Advance Copy Winners.
-Click here to read Fast Facts about Richard Montanari.
-Click here to read Richard Montanari's backlist.
-Click here to read Richard Montanari's bibliography.

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 One to Watch Author: Kate Mosse, Author of LABYRINTH

Our newest featured One to Watch author is Kate Mosse, whose novel LABYRINTH has as many twists as a real labyrinth and two female protagonists, set apart by 800 years, who are both strong and obsessed with a mystery that slips between the present day and the year 1209.

-Click here to read our list of Advance Copy Winners.
-Click here to read an excerpt from LABYRINTH.
-Click here to read critical praise for LABYRINTH.
-Click here to read Kate Mosse's backlist.

More about LABYRINTH:
In this extraordinary thriller, rich in the atmospheres of medieval and contemporary France, the lives of two women born centuries apart are linked by a common destiny

July 2005. In the Pyrenees mountains near Carcassonne, Alice, a volunteer at an archaeological dig stumbles into a cave and makes a startling discovery --- two crumbling skeletons, strange writings on the walls, and the pattern of a labyrinth; between the skeletons, a stone ring, and a small leather bag.

Eight hundred years earlier, on the eve of a brutal crusade to stamp out heresy that will rip apart southern France, Alais is given a ring and a mysterious book for safekeeping by her father as he leaves to fight the crusaders. The book, he says, contains the secret of the true Grail, and the ring, inscribed with a labyrinth, will identify a guardian of the Grail. As crusading armies led by Church potentates and nobles of northern France gather outside the city walls of Carcassonne, it will take great sacrifice to keep the secret of the labyrinth safe.

In the present, another woman sees the find as a means to the political power she craves; while a man who has great power will kill to destroy all traces of the discovery and everyone who stands in his way.

Click here to read more about Kate Mosse and LABYRINTH.

One to Watch Author Feature: 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.

-Click here to read a new excerpt from INTUITION.
-Click here to read our list of advance copy winners.
-Click here to read critical praise for Allegra Goodman and INTUITION.
-Click here to read Allegra Goodman's backlist.
-Click here to read Fast Facts about Allegra Goodman.

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.


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 bated breath.

-Click here to read a new excerpt from ISOLATION WARD.
-Click here to see our list of advance copy winners.

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.


Our First Annual Oscar Basket For Book Lovers Contest --- Win Books, Treats and a $50 Blockbuster Gift Card!

In celebration of this year's Oscar Awards, and Newmarket Press bring you our First Annual Oscar Basket for Book Lovers Contest. Newmarket Press is renowned for book tie-ins for some of the most successful and acclaimed films of our time, and it's primed for another big Oscar season with books tying in to eight films that garnered a total of 29 Academy Award nominations. We're featuring all eight of those books in our basket, along with a $50 Blockbuster gift card and, of course, essential movie goodies --- an assortment of only the finest movie snacks and the obligatory popcorn!

The featured titles include: CAPOTE: The Shooting Script; MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA: A Portrait of the Film; GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK: Bringing the True Story of the Legendary Edward R. Murrow/Joseph McCarthy Broadcast to Film; THE CONSTANT GARDENER: The Shooting Script; THE SQUID AND THE WHALE: The Shooting Script; WAR OF THE WORLDS: The Shooting Script; CINDERELLA MAN: The Shooting Script; TIM BURTON'S CORPSE BRIDE: An Invitation to the Wedding

(You can read full descriptions of all of Newmarket's Oscar Tie-in books in our Oscar Watch Feature)

All you have to do to enter this contest is tell us your favorite movie that is based on a book.

Click here for all the contest details.


This Week's Reviews and Features

THE BRIEF HISTORY OF THE DEAD by Kevin Brockmeier (Fiction)
Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon
When a virus wipes out mankind, the dead gather in "The City" to remain as long as someone on Earth remembers them. Laura's parents, co-workers, friends and acquaintances reside there but Laura, isolated at an Antarctic research center, has no idea how truly alone she is...or that so many dead people rely on her memories alone in order to continue their afterlife existence.

FOR LACI: A Mother's Story of Love, Loss, and Justice by Sharon Rocha (Memoir)
Reviewed by Amie Taylor
A beautiful pregnant woman, a cheating husband, and a murder trial. Pick up this powerful and deeply moving memoir for a riveting read about the notorious Scott Peterson case, and the inside story from the victim's mother, Sharon Rocha.

A FAMILY DAUGHTER by Maile Meloy (Fiction)
Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon
The story of the Santerres is continued from LIARS AND SAINTS in this tale told from the point of view of several of the characters. When Abby chronicles her family's fascinating secrets, both factual and fictional, in the form of a novel, family members are horrified --- and then spurred to unexpected actions.

ESCAPE CLAUSE by James O. Born (Suspense)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
Florida Department of Law Enforcement agent Bill Tasker is sent by his supervisor to investigate what appears to be an inmate homicide at Manatee Correctional Prison. The reality, however, is that there is as much to fear from the administration of the facility as there is from the inmates themselves.

ALL NIGHT LONG by Jayne Ann Krentz (Romantic Suspense)
Reviewed by Hillary Wagy
ALL NIGHT LONG is a romantic suspense that connects the dots from lust to love. The words to Lionel Ritchie's 1983 hit song of the same title come to mind: "lose yourself in wild romance." One look at Irene Stenson, and Luke Danner is in hot pursuit of the woman who ignites his passionate side.

A GODLY HERO: The Life of William Jennings Bryan by Michael Kazin (Biography)
Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman
Michael Kazin, professor of history at Georgetown University, has written the first major biography of William Jennings Bryan in almost forty years --- and the first to draw on the countless letters Bryan received from his followers as well as on his speeches and the lively journalism of his time.

HOLMES ON THE RANGE by Steve Hockensmith (Mystery)
Reviewed by Kate Ayers
In Steve Hockensmith's captivating debut novel, brothers Big Red and Old Red Amlingmeyer play a Western Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson in the late 1800s, as they try to solve the mystery of who killed a couple of hands at the ranch they have joined.

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.
Sign up here to get notified each time this blog is updated.
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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: Book Club Member?
Are you in a book group?

-Yes, I am a member of a book group.
-No, I am not a member of a book group, but I would like to be.
-No, I am not a member of a book group and I have no interest in this.
-I used to be a member of a book group, but I am not anymore.

Is it easy to find book clubs in your community?

-I am not sure since I have never looked into this.
-This does not interest me, so I do not know.
Answer the Poll here.

Question of the Week: Book Clubs -- The Good and The Bad

What about being in a reading group appeals or does not appeal to you?

Please note: Our question of the week will update on March 3rd.

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 IN THE COMPANY OF THE COURTESAN by Sarah Dunant and MAGIC HOUR by Kristin Hannah

Please note that our next Word of Mouth update will be on March 3rd. 

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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