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September 8, 2006 Newsletter

September 8, 2006

This Week on

Back to the Books Talks to Jed Rubenfeld, Author of THE INTERPRETATION OF MURDER Talks to Dan Burstein, Author of SECRETS OF MARY MAGDALENE

Our Newest Featured One to Watch Author: Lise Haines, Author of SMALL ACTS OF SEX AND ELECTRICITY

Author Talk: Eric Van Lustbader, Author of THE TESTAMENT

Author Talk: Brad Meltzer, Author of THE BOOK OF FATE

Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Tess Gerritsen, Author of THE MEPHISTO CLUB

Our Newest Romantic Suspense Author: Tara Taylor Quinn, Author of IN PLAIN SIGHT

Featured One to Watch Author: John Boyne, Author of THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PAJAMAS

Now in Stores: KILL ALL THE LAWYERS by Paul Levine

This Week's Reviews and Features Blog Poll: 10th Anniversary Special

Question of the Week: What Would Make Us Better?
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
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
Summer Beach Bag Feature

Back to the Books

Welcome back! We had a lovely week away, with lots of time for reading and relaxing. I had a great time on the Outer Banks. You can read my blog about what I read here. Quick snapshot of the titles I read, what I will call the topline notes: RICOCHET by Sandra Brown, TRIPTYCH by Karin Slaughter, THE THIRTEENTH TALE by Diane Setterfield, PROMISE ME by Harlan Coben, ANGEL'S REST by Charles Davis, TALLGRASS by Sandra Dallas (coming in March 2007) and BLOOD AND CIRCUMSTANCE by Frank Turner Hollon (coming in January 2007) and THE WIDOW by Carla Neggers. Please note that there are two blogs on this same page. Scroll down for the vacation reading one, or read both at the same time!
The second blog has my reflections on two books that were written by 9/11 widows. One is LOVE YOU, MEAN IT, which comes from a phrase four widows, who call themselves The Widow's Club, used to sign their emails to one another. The other is WAKE UP CALL: The Political Education of a 9/11 Widow by Kristen Breitweiser. These are two very different books, but both are good reading to give you some perspective on the impact of 9/11 on these women five years out.
We have a new One to Watch author to share with you this week, Lise Haines, author of SMALL ACTS OF SEX AND ELECTRICITY. It's a witty and provocative look at love, friendship and family. We have 10 copies to give away. Interested? Then send a note to [email protected] by Friday, September 15th with your name and your mailing address.
Our lineup this week has interviews with Jed Rubenfeld, the author of THE INTERPRETATION OF MURDER, and Dan Burstein, the author of SECRETS OF MARY MAGDALENE. We also have an interview with Eric Van Lustbader, whose new book, THE TESTAMENT, hit stores this week. We also have links to a podcast of an interview that Eric did with Steve Berry, author of THE TEMPLAR LEGACY, that we think you will enjoy, as well as a video of Eric talking about THE TESTAMENT. And we have an interview with Brad Meltzer about his new one, THE BOOK OF FATE, and a link to a game for you to play online.
This Saturday, Lifetime will air the premiere of the movie adaptation of THE MERMAID CHAIR by Sue Monk Kidd at 9ET. It will be re-aired on Sunday and Monday. Our movie and film maven, Jennifer Krieger, has more about this in this month's Books Into Movies feature.
The September/October issue of Pages magazine has our latest "In the Club" column where we interview authors about their experiences chatting it up with book clubs. Included are comments from Mary Kay Andrews, Loraine Despres, Connie May Fowler, Robert Hicks, Cassandra King, Phillip Margolin, Kris Radish, Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi and Lisa See. We ended up with so much great material for this feature that we will have more from authors in the November/December issue. Good reading elsewhere in the magazine with a cover story on Brad Meltzer and other interesting features.
We enjoyed reading last week's poll about how long you have been reading While 70% of you have been reading us for five years or less, there are a whopping 25% who have been with us for five years or more. And we welcome the 5% for whom this was their first visit. To help us celebrate our 10th anniversary, may we ask you this week to forward the newsletter to readers who you know who are not subscribed? We had one reader write last week to tell us that each week she sends the newsletter off to 20 other people. We love hearing that.
While on the Outer Banks, we watched the entire fourth season of "24" on DVD, which made Season Five make a whole lot more sense. Yes, these seasons can be watched out of context, but somehow rolling them in order works better. It's amazing how many people are watching this show on DVD. Someone from the production team commented that the DVDs actually helped build the audience for the new episodes of the show.
Okay, the dreaded lawn guys are across the street mowing so I am going to stop now. Here comes the whir of the lawnmowers and the trimming tools. Yowser. I guess it's better now than on the weekend, but I truly wish they could accomplish these tasks Monday-Thursday instead of when I am trying to write on Fridays. Have a great weekend. I am pretending it's still summer vacation and planning hammock time and floating time this weekend. Floating is contingent on our rather finicky pool heater. I fear there will be an "ugh" moment when I hit the water.


Carol Fitzgerald ([email protected])

List of titles reviewed and featured on September 8th.

List of titles reviewed and featured on August 25th.


Click here to send us your 10th Anniversary wishes. Talks to Jed Rubenfeld, Author of THE INTERPRETATION OF MURDER

Jed Rubenfeld, a Professor of Law at Yale University, has completed his first work of fiction, THE INTERPRETATION OF MURDER, an historical novel about Sigmund Freud's 1909 visit to the United States. In this interview with's Carol Fitzgerald and Joe Hartlaub, Rubenfeld explains the real-life mystery behind this seemingly successful trip and the psychoanalyst's fascination with Shakespeare's HAMLET that plays a major role in the narrative. He also discusses how he viewed this undertaking as a departure from all things law and describes why he found writing fiction more enjoyable than his previously published Constitutional Law treatises.

THE INTERPRETATION OF MURDER by Jed Rubenfeld (Historical Thriller)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
In this ingenious, suspenseful historical thriller, Sigmund Freud is drawn into the mind of a sadistic killer who is savagely attacking Manhattan's wealthiest heiresses. Inspired by Freud's only visit to America, THE INTERPRETATION OF MURDER is an intricate tale of murder and the mind's most dangerous mysteries.

-Click here to read the study guide for THE INTERPRETATION OF MURDER

Click here to read our interview with Jed Rubenfeld and a review of THE INTERPRETATION OF MURDER. Talks to Dan Burstein, Author of SECRETS OF MARY MAGDALENE

Dan Burstein is the creator of the bestselling Secrets series, which includes such titles as SECRETS OF THE CODE and SECRETS OF ANGELS & DEMONS. His latest book, SECRETS OF MARY MAGDALENE, focuses on this enigmatic figure of the New Testament, thoroughly exploring just how large a role she played in the life of Jesus and the establishment of early Christianity. In an interview with contributing writer Marcia Ford, Burstein describes how he and fellow editor Arne de Keijzer selected the writers and pieces found in the volume, and highlights some of the fascinating information offered in the text. He also discusses the reactions of religious groups toward his books, offers reasons behind Mary Magdalene's mass appeal, and shares his own conclusions on this subject in light of the many conjectures being put forth today.

SECRETS OF MARY MAGDALENE by Dan Burstein (Literary Criticism)
Reviewed by Marcia Ford
Continuing in the tradition of the New York Times bestselling SECRETS OF THE CODE, the latest book from the Secrets team brings together world class experts from different faiths, backgrounds and perspectives to discuss the most thought-provoking new ideas and original thinking about Mary Magdalene.

Click here to read our interview with Dan Burstein and a review of SECRETS OF MARY MAGDALENE.


Our Newest Featured One to Watch Author: Lise Haines, Author of SMALL ACTS OF SEX AND ELECTRICITY

We are so excited to be featuring Lise Haines as our newest One to Watch author. The author of IN MY SISTER'S COUNTRY is a provocative and intelligent writer whose newest title, SMALL ACTS OF SEX AND ELECTRICITY, hits stores September 15th and explores the boundaries of sex, love and friendship.

We have 10 advance reading copies of SMALL ACTS OF SEX AND ELECTRICITY by Lise Haines to give away to readers who would like to preview the book and comment about it. A description can be found by clicking the link below. If you are interested, please send your name and mailing address to [email protected]
 by Friday, September 15, 2006.

Beauty and privilege, a charming, handsome husband and two promising young daughters, money, a beach house on the Pacific --- Jane has everything that Mattie thinks she wants. But Jane always works to damage what she's given. Mattie knows that better than anyone.

But even she is caught off-guard when Jane leaves her whole life behind one broken morning before dawn. And it will take Mattie awhile to see that, by driving away, Jane has forced open the questions that have always hung in the air between them --- the ones that are hardest to answer --- questions about desire and envy and integrity. These are the issues of the heart that reveal themselves, not through the bold and dramatic gestures of a woman like Jane, but in even the briefest moments and the smallest of acts.

With the same rich language and keen, compassionate eye that earned acclaim for her first novel, Lise Haines delves here into the forces that memory and touch raise in our lives and our most private hungers.

Click here to read more about Lise Haines and SMALL ACTS OF SEX AND ELECTRICITY.


Author Talk: Eric Van Lustbader, Author of THE TESTAMENT

Eric Van Lustbader has written a number of bestselling novels, including THE NINJA (his first thriller) and THE BOURNE LEGACY, a continuation of Robert Ludlum's Jason Bourne series. In this interview, Lustbader describes the focus of his latest stand-alone novel, THE TESTAMENT, and its relation to today's social and political climate. He also elaborates on his goal to introduce his readers to a variety of civilizations and histories, explains his fascination with father-son relationships, and discusses the personal elements he infuses into all of his books.

THE TESTAMENT by Eric Van Lustbader (Thriller)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
Braverman "Bravo" Shaw always knew his father had secrets. But not until Dexter Shaw dies does Bravo discover that his dad belonged to the Order of Gnostic Observatines, a hidden sect long believed extinct. For centuries, the Order has guarded a lost Testament that could shake Christianity to its foundations. Dexter Shaw was the latest Keeper of the Testament --- and Bravo is his chosen successor.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE TESTAMENT.
-Click here to listen to Eric Van Lustbader discuss THE TESTAMENT with fellow thriller writer Steve Berry.
-Click here to watch Expanded Books's interview with Eric Van Lustbader.
-Click here to visit Eric Van Lustbader's website, 

Click here to read an interview with Eric Van Lustbader and our review of THE TESTAMENT.


Author Talk: Brad Meltzer, Author of THE BOOK OF FATE

Brad Meltzer is the author of the New York Times bestselling novels THE TENTH JUSTICE, DEAD EVEN, THE FIRST COUNSEL, THE MILLIONAIRES and THE ZERO GAME. In this interview, Meltzer explains how a personal experience helped shape the protagonist of his latest thriller, THE BOOK OF FATE, and discusses how his background in and fascination with history have influenced all of his writing. He also describes meeting with two former U.S. Presidents and shares some of the fascinating trivia he learned from them.

THE BOOK OF FATE by Brad Meltzer (Thriller)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
Presidential aide Wes Holloway tries to figure out what really happened eight years ago when the President's oldest friend was the supposed victim of a crazed assassin. His determination to discover the truth will lead Wes on a chase that takes him back to that fateful day, back to a decade-old presidential crossword puzzle, to ancient Masonic symbols hidden in the street plan of Washington, DC, and even to a 200-year-old secret code invented by Thomas Jefferson.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE BOOK OF FATE.
-Click here to play the "Guess Who's a Mason" game, based on THE BOOK OF FATE.

Click here to read an interview with Brad Meltzer and our review of THE BOOK OF FATE.


Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Tess Gerritsen, Author of THE MEPHISTO CLUB

Tess Gerritsen, the New York Times bestselling author of VANISH, BODY DOUBLE and THE SINNER, is our newest featured Suspense/Thriller Author. A master of the genre, Gerritsen's newest page-turner --- THE MEPHISTO CLUB, which hits shelves September 12th --- will chill you to the bone.

-Click here to see our Advance Copy Winners.
-Click here to read an excerpt from THE MEPHISTO CLUB.
-Click here to read Fast Facts about Tess Gerritsen.
-Click here to read Tess Gerritsen's Backlist.
-Click here to read Critical Praise for THE MEPHISTO CLUB.
-Click here to read a Study Guide for THE MEPHISTO CLUB.

Evil exists. Evil walks the streets. And evil has spawned a diabolical new disciple in this white-knuckle thriller from New York Times bestselling author Tess Gerritsen.

The Latin word is scrawled in blood at the scene of a young woman's brutal murder: I HAVE SINNED. It's a chilling Christmas greeting for Boston medical examiner Maura Isles and Detective Jane Rizzoli, who swiftly link the victim to controversial celebrity psychiatrist Joyce O'Donnell --- Jane's professional nemesis and member of a sinister cabal called the Mephisto Club.

Delving deep into the most baffling and unusual case of their careers, Maura and Jane embark on a terrifying journey to the very heart of evil, where they encounter a malevolent foe more dangerous than any they have ever whose work is only just beginning.


Click here to read more about Tess Gerritsen and THE MEPHISTO CLUB.

Our Newest Romantic Suspense Author: Tara Taylor Quinn, Author of IN PLAIN SIGHT

We are thrilled to be featuring Tara Taylor Quinn as our newest Romantic Suspense Author. Lisa Jackson fans will fall hard for Quinn's unique ability to explore edgy subjects with mesmerizing style. Her newest title, IN PLAIN SIGHT, hits stores October 2nd and it's sure to satisfy her old fans and garner her new ones as well.

-Click here to see our Advance Copy Winners.
-Click here to visit Tara's website,

More about IN PLAIN SIGHT:
Are those red laces in the hiking boots of the youth sulking in your favorite mall?  If so, beware. The red laces could signal danger In Plain Sight --- and a tie to white supremacists who want to strike fear in people like you and me.


On the outside, Arizona chief prosecutor Janet McNeil is the epitome of a driven, daring attorney who lives life by her own rules. But inside her world is in chaos. Terrifying nightmares keep her in a constant state of anxiety. Yet saving face is imperative now that she's prosecuting a member of a white supremacy organization, a killer who wouldn't think twice about using his twisted followers to silence Jan for good.

It looks like an ordinary neighborhood.....

Neighbor Simon Green is the only person who isn't begging her to quit the case. Simon, an ex-police officer with dark secrets of his own, understands how vital it is to obliterate violence and hate. But when one word from the most unlikely source threatens to change their lives forever, Jan must decide what risks she's willing to take.

Quinn's latest Romantic suspense hits the stands with Publisher's Weekly and USA Today support and follows through on a road unlike any other as she attacks an edgy subject with boldness and compassion.

Click here to read more about Tara Taylor Quinn and IN PLAIN SIGHT.

Featured One to Watch Author: John Boyne, Author of THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PAJAMAS

We are SO excited to be featuring John Boyne, author of THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PAJAMAS, as one of our One to Watch authors. The incredible story of two boys, one the son of a commandant in Hitler's army and the other a Jew, THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PAJAMAS hits stores on September 12th and is already garnering exciting advanced buzz --- this is a book that touches everyone who reads it.

-Click here to see our Advance Copy Winners.
-Click here to read a new excerpt from THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PAJAMAS.
-Click here to read the Reading Group Guide for THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PAJAMAS.
-Click here to read John Boyne's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PAJAMAS.

Set during the Holocaust, Bruno is only nine years old when his father, a commandant in Hitler's army, is transferred from Berlin to Auschwitz. The house at "Out-With," as Bruno calls it, is small, dark, and strange. He spends long days gazing out the window of his new bedroom, where he notices people dressed in striped pajamas and rows of barracks surrounded by a barbed wire fence. Bored and lonely, and not really understanding the circumstance of his new existence, Bruno sets out to explore the area and discovers Shmuel, a very thin Jewish boy who lives on the other side of the fence. An unlikely friendship develops between the two boys, but when Bruno learns that his mother plans to take her children back to Berlin, he makes a last effort to explore the forbidden territory where the boy in the striped pajamas lives.

Click here to read more about John Boyne and THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PAJAMAS.


Now in Stores: KILL ALL THE LAWYERS by Paul Levine

KILL ALL THE LAWYERS by Paul Levine (Mystery & Detective)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
Steve Solomon and Victoria Lord are back, bickering and bantering, in Paul Levine's third Solomon vs. Lord legal thriller. Why does an ex-client want to kill Steve? When Victoria learns the reason, she's angry enough to murder him, too. Or at least break up their law firm.

-Click here to read an excerpt from KILL ALL THE LAWYERS.
-Click here to visit Paul Levine's website,


Click here to read our review of KILL ALL THE LAWYERS.

This Week's Reviews and Features

THE GUY NOT TAKEN: Stories by Jennifer Weiner (Fiction/Short Stories)
Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller
For the first time ever, New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Weiner collects her own short stories in one truthful, poignant and hilarious collection. From a wedding registry fantasy (or nightmare) to Bruce Guberman's side of the GOOD IN BED story, Weiner's fans will love these satisfying and diverse morsels.

-Click here to read an interview with Jennifer Weiner.
-Click here to read an excerpt from THE GUY NOT TAKEN.
-Click here to read our study guide for THE GUY NOT TAKEN.

RISE AND SHINE by Anna Quindlen (Fiction)
Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon
Bridget's big sister, Meghan, is the famous host of the nation's top morning show (and the hub around which Bridget's world revolves) --- until Meghan inadvertently utters a profanity while on the air. Bridget's life on the fringes of celebrity changes as her sister's existence unravels.

THE KEEP by Jennifer Egan (Fiction)
Reviewed by Kathy Weissman
It has a castle, but THE KEEP is no fairy tale or neo-gothic --- it's a thoroughly modern novel in which cell phone addicts invade ancient dungeons, past encroaches upon present, and all kinds of prisoners make their escape. Emotionally satisfying and ridiculously diverting, this is Jennifer Egan's most audacious work yet.

THE EMPEROR'S CHILDREN by Claire Messud (Fiction)
Reviewed by Norah Piehl
In her third full-length novel, following WHEN THE WORLD WAS STEADY and THE LAST LIFE, critically acclaimed author Claire Messud gives readers a stylish, sophisticated, bittersweet comic story about finding love, friendship and meaningful work in New York City just after the turn of the millennium.

PUCCINI'S GHOSTS by Morag Joss (Psychological Suspense)
Reviewed by Norah Piehl
Morag Joss, a potential heir of British masters of suspense such as Ruth Rendell and Minette Walters, offers an absorbing, character-driven novel that will draw readers into the dark, desperate mind of a deeply flawed woman and the summer that changed her life forever.

THE FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT by Alan Furst (Historical Fiction)
Reviewed by Judy Gigstad
Alan Furst has written an epic story of romantic love, love of country and love of freedom --- the story of a secret war fought in elegant hotel bars and first-class railway cars, in the mountains of Spain and the backstreets of Berlin. It's an inspiring, thrilling saga of everyday people forced by their hearts' passion to fight in the war against tyranny.

NIGHT WATCH by Sergei Lukyanenko, translated by Andrew Bromfield (Science Fiction/Fantasy)
Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard
Modern-day Moscow is the backdrop of this continuing war between the forces of Light and Dark. Anton Gorodetsky and his companions on the Night Watch must save a young boy and a cursed woman before all of Moscow is destroyed and the balance of power shifted.

Click here to read our reviews and features. Blog

September 8th Entries:
-What I Did On My Summer Vacation
-Reflecting on 9/11: The Books

Note: You can read past blogs here as well.
Sign up here to get notified each time this blog is updated.

Click here to read the blog. Poll: 10th Anniversary Special

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Answer the Poll here.

Read a list of upcoming books here. Browse our author bibliographies by clicking here Sign up for Author Newsletters here.
Question of the Week: What Would Make Us Better?

What would you like to see added to

Please note our Question of the Week will update September 22nd.

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 BOOK OF FATE by Brad Meltzer and THE TESTAMENT by Eric Van Lustbader.

Please note that our next Word of Mouth update will be on September 22nd.


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 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 [email protected]. Writing any of the respond buttons below will not get to us.

Those who are subscribed to the newsletter by September 30, 2006 automatically are entered in our Monthly Newsletter Contest. This month one winner will be selected to win the following five books: THE BOOK OF FATE by Brad Meltzer, FOR ONE MORE DAY by Mitch Albom, FRAGILE THINGS: Short Fictions and Wonders, by Neil Gaiman, THE GUY NOT TAKEN: Stories by Jennifer Weiner and THE TESTAMENT by Eric Van Lustbader. Last month's winner was Alice from Walla Walla, WA, who won HELEN OF TROY by Margaret George, MESSENGER OF TRUTH by Jacqueline Winspear, RICOCHET by Sandra Brown, SNOW BLIND by P. J. Tracy and TRIPTYCH by Karin Slaughter.

Happy reading! Don't forget to forward this newsletter to a friend or to visit our other websites from,,,,, and

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