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February 24, 2006 Newsletter

February 24, 2006

This Week on

Pass the M&Ms Please Talks to Steve Berry, Author of THE TEMPLAR LEGACY

Our First Featured Romantic Suspense Author --- Lisa Jackson, Author of SHIVER

Our Newest Debut Suspense/Thriller Featured Author --- Robert Dugoni, Author of THE JURY MASTER

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 Featured Author: Allegra Goodman, Author of INTUITION

Debut Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight --- Joshua Spanogle, Author of ISOLATION WARD Talks to Martha Grimes, Author of THE OLD WINE SHADES

This Week's Reviews and Features Blog

Poll: Book Club Member?
Question of the Week: Book Clubs -- Where Do You Stand on Them?
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

Pass the M&Ms Please

I am watching the wind whipping the leaves on our front lawn up and down the block. We now have the leaves from at least three blocks away on our lawn while ours have floated three blocks west. I broke my "Always Work at Home on Fridays" rule to attend the Comicon Convention at the Jacob Javits Center in the city, where graphic novels, manga and good old comic books rule! I recognized Archie and not much else. It's a whole other world --- and it's selling like crazy!
I am caught up in Olympic Madness. To see how I relate this to books and authors --- there's always a book and author angle --- read my latest blog.
This week we are launching our first-ever Romantic Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight with SHIVER by Lisa Jackson. I read this book last weekend and wondered how I have missed Jackson in the past. In SHIVER Jackson writes great characters, a really hairy plot and layers up the red herrings. I am very pleased to be sharing this book --- and author --- with you as the first title in this feature. I look forward to reading her backlist, as well, which is why I love these promotions. We have 40(!) copies of SHIVER to give away to readers who enter at by Friday, March 10th. Be sure to include your name and mailing address.
We also launch, as promised, our Debut Suspense/Thriller feature for THE JURY MASTER by Robert Dugoni. For those of you who missed my note last week, this was the book that kept me riding the exercise bike for an extra half hour, because I loved it so much! We have 10 copies of THE JURY MASTER to give away to readers who enter at by Friday, March 3rd. Be sure to include your name and mailing address.
This week we also add our latest installment in our New in Paperback feature, which is written by Tom Donadio. Included is PRINCE OF FIRE, Daniel Silva's fifth novel featuring art restorer/Israeli agent Gabriel Allon, who is lured into a climactic battle with a Palestinian master-terrorist; Michael Connelly's THE CLOSERS, in which LAPD detective Harry Bosch returns to the force after a three-year attempt at retirement; SNOW FLOWER AND THE SECRET FAN by Lisa See, the emotional story of two women who form a deep friendship in nineteenth-century China; Cassandra King's THE SAME SWEET GIRLS, about a spirited, tight-knit group of Southern women who come to terms with the decisions they've made in their lives; and ALL THIS BELONGS TO ME by Ad Hudler, a trade paperback original that centers on two disparate and lonely characters who are brought together thanks to a mishap in the mail.
Many of you may remember Ad from his previous books, HOUSEHUSBAND and SOUTHERN LIVING. Please note Ad's website has been updated and he's visiting with book clubs with a very interesting offer --- twice each year he will visit a book club in its home town anywhere in North America and cook them all dinner as he discusses one or more of his novels. The club also gets the fun responsibility of being the focus group for his next novel, passing judgment on early drafts and giving suggestions for the manuscript via emails and conference calls. Learn more about this offer at on his Book Club page.

Are you a fan of Sophie Kinsella's books? There's a new forum on her website and from the looks of things readers are having a lot of fun chatting up her books --- and life. Want to get into the action? Here's the link to share your Kinsella thoughts --- or perhaps ideas on the best places to shop near YOU! I know we have some secret Shopaholics in our midst. Here's the link.
Our First Annual Oscar Basket Contest closes on March 1st so be sure to get your entry in to win our basket, which includes books from Newmarket Press tying in to 8 of the films, a $50 Blockbuster gift card and, of course, essential movie goodies --- an assortment of only the finest movie snacks and the obligatory popcorn!

Did you hear M&M will give gifts to some Academy Award nominees, with personalized M&Ms printed with their names and messages such as "Congrats" and "Best of Luck"? Masterfoods also will sell Oscar Party Blend (red and yellow M&Ms) for a limited time online.
I am off to plan my layered look for warmth since it's freezing here and my typical white t-shirt and jeans is not working with the draft by my office window. Have a great weekend. Stay warm.

Carol Fitzgerald (

List of titles reviewed and featured on February 24th.

List of titles reviewed and featured on February 17th.


Click here to read more about our Oscar Watch Contest. Talks to Steve Berry, Author of THE TEMPLAR LEGACY's Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight Team (Carol Fitzgerald, Joe Hartlaub and Wiley Saichek) interviewed Steve Berry, author of THE AMBER ROOM, THE ROMANOV PROPHECY, THE THIRD SECRET, and the newly released THE TEMPLAR LEGACY. Berry discusses how he conceived the Cotton Malone series as a new challenge for himself and speculates on reasons behind readers' renewed interest in the Middle Ages. He also shares fascinating and little-known tidbits about the Knights Templar that he discovered through his research and explains how he divides his time between penning novels and practicing law.

THE TEMPLAR LEGACY by Steve Berry (Suspense/Thriller)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
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 our interview with Steve Berry and a review of THE TEMPLAR LEGACY.

Our First Featured Romantic Suspense Author --- Lisa Jackson, Author of SHIVER

To launch our Romantic Suspense Author Spotlight we are featuring Lisa Jackson, author of SHIVER. In each of her gripping bestsellers, Lisa Jackson has brought readers to the edge of their seats and proven herself a master of romantic suspense. Now the New York Times bestselling author delivers SHIVER --- her most powerful novel yet. 

We have 40! advance reader copies of SHIVER to share with readers who would like to read the book and comment on it. Interested? Send your name and contact info to by Friday, March 10th.

More about SHIVER:
Detective Reuben "Diego" Montoya is back in New Orleans where a serial killer is turning The Big Easy into his personal playground. The victims are killed in pairs -- no connection, no apparent motive, no real clues. Somebody's playing a sick game, and Montoya intends to beat him at it.

His only lead is the ex-wife of one of the victims, Abby Chastain,a woman haunted by painful secrets. Twenty years ago she watched in horror as her mother, a patient at the Our Lady of Virtues Mental Hospital, plunged through a window to her death. Abby has always dreaded that she too would one day go insane...especially now, back in this town, where she's begun to feel watched, as if the devil himself is scraping a fingernail along her spine.

As more bodies are found in gruesome, staged scenarios Montoya's in a desperate race to find a killer whose crimes are getting more terrifying, and closer all the time. Plunging deep into a nightmare investigation will uncover a shocking revelation -- a deadly connection between Abby and Montoya and an asylum where unspeakable crimes were committed, evil once roamed free, and a human predator may still wait.

Click here to read more about Lisa Jackson and SHIVER.


Our Newest Debut Suspense/Thriller Featured Author --- Robert Dugoni, Author of THE JURY MASTER

Our newest Debut Suspense/Thriller author, Robert Dugoni, has written a legal thriller with a soul in THE JURY MASTER, which is on sale March 21st. It has high praise from both Nelson DeMille and Stephen White.

We have 10 advance copies of THE JURY MASTER 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, March 3rd.

In a courtroom, David Sloane can grab a jury and make it dance. He can read jurors' expressions, feel their emotions, know their thoughts. With this remarkable ability, Sloane gets juries to believe the unbelievable, excuse the inexcusable, and return the most astonishing verdicts. The only barrier to Sloane's professional success is his conscience -- until he gets a call from a man later found dead, and his life rockets out of control.

THE JURY MASTER hurtles through one hairpin turn and into another. Sloane fights for his life, he gets closer and closer to an explosive truth: about who he is, how little he knows, and who is the master of his fate...

Click here to read more about Robert Dugoni and THE JURY MASTER.


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 an excerpt from THE SKIN GODS.
-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 an excerpt from LABYRINTH.
-Click here to read our list of Advance Copy Winners.
-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 Featured Author: Allegra Goodman, Author of INTUITION






Allegra Goodman, one of our featured One to Watch authors, 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.


Debut Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight --- Joshua Spanogle, Author of ISOLATION WARD

Joshua Spanogle, author of ISOLATION WARD, is one of our featured Debut Suspense/Thriller authors. 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. Talks to Martha Grimes, Author of THE OLD WINE SHADES's contributing writer Roz Shea interviewed mystery author Martha Grimes about her newest release, THE OLD WINE SHADES --- the 20th installment in the bestselling Richard Jury series. Grimes shares the inspiration behind the novel's title, and discusses which of her characters have real-life counterparts and which are figments of her imagination. She also speculates on the future of her new series featuring Emma Graham and reveals just how much she really knows about two recurring subjects in her latest book --- oenology and quantum mechanics.

THE OLD WINE SHADES: A Richard Jury Mystery by Martha Grimes (Mystery)
Reviewed by Roz Shea
In a London pub Scotland Yard Superintendent Richard Jury encounters a stranger named Harry Johnson, who over three successive nights spins a complicated story about a good friend of his whose wife and son (and dog) disappeared one day. Having nothing else to do, Jury begins to follow leads in this baffling mystery, fantastic and unlikely as they seem.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE OLD WINE SHADES.

Click here to read our interview with Martha Grimes and a review of THE OLD WINE SHADES.


This Week's Reviews and Features

THE TWO MINUTE RULE by Robert Crais (Thriller)
Reviewed by Maggie Harding
Ex-con Max Holman learns that his estranged son and three other uniformed cops were gunned down in cold blood the night before Holman's release from jail. When the hit is exposed as a revenge killing and the question of police corruption is raised, Holman takes it upon himself to investigate and find out the truth.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE TWO MINUTE RULE.

PRAYERS FOR THE ASSASSIN by Robert Ferrigno (Futuristic Thriller)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
It's the year 2040, and America has been split into two countries --- a Bible Belt Christian nation and a somewhat benevolent Islamic republic --- following simultaneous suitcase-nuke attacks on New York, Washington, D.C. and Mecca. Twenty-five years after the onslaught, young historian Sarah Dougan uncovers shocking evidence that these attacks might not have been planned by Israel, as was originally believed.

A STRONG WEST WIND by Gail Caldwell (Memoir)
Reviewed by Carole Turner
In this exquisitely rendered memoir, Gail Caldwell divides her life into two parts: the first thirty years spent in Texas, and what came after that. She continually interweaves the lives of her parents --- who came of age during a world war --- with hers, which was shaped by the turbulent 1960s.

I AM NOT MYSELF THESE DAYS: A Memoir by Josh Kilmer-Purcell (Memoir)
Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman
Josh Kilmer-Purcell lived a double life. By day he was a successful young advertising executive, but by night he performed in nightclubs as a drag queen before returning home to his crack-addicted male escort boyfriend. Raunchy but not offensive, sad but not tear-jerking, funny but not hilarious, this roller coaster of a memoir is a promising debut from a writer to keep an eye on.

DOG DAYS by Ana Marie Cox (Fiction)
Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller
Determined to throw off suspicion from her affair with married journalist Rick Stossel, Washington D.C. campaign staffer Melanie Thorton creates a salacious web-blog that becomes the talk of the town. DOG DAYS marks the fiction debut of Ana Marie Cox, who is the creator and writer of the political blog Wonkette.

DOPE by Sara Gran (Fiction)
Reviewed by Norah Piehl
With her third novel, Sara Gran delves deep into the seamy underworld of 1950s New York City. A tough-as-nails heroine named Josephine Flannigan, with her own dark past, becomes an unlikely private eye when the daughter of a prominent family disappears. Things seem to be looking up for Josephine, but nothing is as simple as it seems.

LAST DANCE: Behind the Scenes at the Final Four by John Feinstein (Sports)
Reviewed by Ron Kaplan
John Feinstein explores what it means to a school, a coach, and a player to be in the Final Four or even at The Final --- the moving stories of players and coaches who thought they'd never make it to college basketball's final weekend, the spectacular triumphs of the winning teams, and the heartbreaking defeats for those who missed the cut.

TAKE IT BACK: Our Party, Our Country, Our Future by James Carville and Paul Begala (Current Events)
Reviewed by Robert Finn
Two veterans of Democratic Party political campaigns deliver a detailed "spinal transplant" that they hope may lead their party back from the political wilderness. They also launch a bookful of guided missiles at the current administration in Washington.

Click here to read our reviews and features. Blog

February 24th Entry:
Serious Expectations

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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Click here to read the blog.
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 -- Where Do You Stand on Them?

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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