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October 16, 2009 Newsletter October 16, 2009
Suitcase, Pack Thyself!...And a Cheer and Stamp for the Printed Word
With all the traveling I do, you think my suitcase would be trained to pack itself by now. Seriously. Wednesday night as I went to pack for my trip to Indianapolis for Bouchercon, I hoped the clothes would line up and just fold themselves in. Atten hut....fold and march. Of course, I needed to rethink for cold weather. I had missed the "it’s getting colder" memo and walked around the block from my parking garage the other day with a light fleece sweatshirt on and realized everyone else had on winter coats, and scarves. I had not even added socks with my loafers! Flipping to the Indy forecast I saw numbers I had not seen in a while --- 30 and 40. I like 70 and 80. So I unboxed my turquoise cowboy boots and pulled out my turquoise vest --- and smiled. Sometimes it’s the little things. Forgot how much I loved those!

I got to the airport, but my flight was cancelled and I was reassigned to one leaving two hours later. This meant I grabbed two books out of my suitcase and another ball of yarn (this means I had four books and three balls of yarn), which means
I get some "be prepared" award, but after all one never knows how long one REALLY will be delayed. I hunkered down in the lounge and started banging on my keyboard. My version of the piano. And spent a lovely two hours writing.

I love Bouchercon, the annual mystery fan convention named for Anthony Boucher. This is the fifth time I have attended, and each time I know a few dozen more people! Lots of "my mysterious friends," both authors and readers, are here, and Michael Connelly and S.J. Rozan are being honored. Yes, we will have more on this in the weeks to come. But as I type in my hotel room quickly between events, I am happy again to be part of the book community.

We are moving into Awards season. The National Book Award nominees were announced this week. You can read them here. Last night the winners of the Macavity and Barry Awards were announced. Here are links to the winners: 2009 Macavity Award Winners and 2009 Barry Award Winners.

We are launching a new feature this week that I am very excited about called Sneak Peek: An Early Look at an Upcoming Book. With this feature/contest, we are offering our readers the chance to preview select early picks --- and share feedback on them. We know that readers champion books that they love, and we want you to be part of the excitement of upcoming releases as early as possible. We kick this off with STILL MISSING, a debut thriller by Chevy Stevens (which I read in a day and closed it saying "wow."), which will not be in stores until next July! Thus, this is a really special opportunity to get on the bandwagon for this book well in advance of publication.

We want a group of our readers not just to read this book, but also to share their comments so their voices can resonate with others as part of the
"early buzz." Read on for how to be part of this special opportunity. In fairness, since this is such a special opportunity, I ask that you are sure you will have time to read this book in the timeframe where we need it read and commented on before you sign up to take part! See details below.

Click here to read the comments we received for HOSTILE INTENT, Michael Walsh's latest suspense/thriller novel. You may also remember reading the glowing feedback we received for A QUIET BELIEF IN ANGELS by R.J. Ellory. We have the author’s responses to our advance readers’ questions here. I look forward to catching up with Ellroy here this weekend.

I read today that and Amazon are offering select titles for $9. While this in theory sounds great, I am just not crazy about it. It just seems to undervalue the printed word as just another commodity and undermine the creative force that goes into it. Even before I read this, I had planned to write you the following, and I think it even makes more sense now.

When I was in high school and college, I worked for a newspaper --- the same one my dad worked at for 37 years. After that I moved onto magazines for 17 years. Thus, as much as I love reading books, the original ink in my veins came from traditional print news media. I read this piece yesterday, and it again ignited my thoughts about print media. Last week’s closing of four magazines at Conde Nast gave me pause. It was the end of an era for a magazine like Gourmet. Now I have 10 years of Gourmet magazines in my attic with lovely binders organizing them. I confess that these days I spend more time on than flipping through those magazines to figure out what I would like to cook. A magazine junkie for years, I now flip through People at the supermarket checkout and read everything else online --- for free. I like free, but I have realized more and more these past few weeks that free costs someone else money, and though the magazine and newspaper models are flawed, everything for free is not the way to go.

Yes, this sounds amusing coming from me, who does not charge you to get this newsletter or read the site, but we were built at a different time and our structure is based on different economics. That said, I do not want the entire magazine and newspaper culture to disappear. We will miss it if it does. You will miss local newspaper coverage if it disappears. You will miss the voices you have come to love in print if they are silenced. So consider this a cheer for reading...beyond books.

So, I am going to ask you to do something. Pick something that you like to read and vow to buy the print version once a week...or twice...if it’s a newspaper. If it’s a magazine, pick one and buy a copy instead of reading online. Or even better, buy a subscription, which these days is cheaper than buying on newsstand. Like my story about your favorite stores a few months ago, you do need to support the things that matter to you. In the models where they actually can support themselves. You will miss local newspaper coverage. You will miss the voices you have come to love in print if they are silenced. So consider this a cheer for reading...beyond books. Thanks for allowing me to share that. Because you want this as much as you want your favorite stores to be there when you want them.

Okay, I am racing off to see Michael Connelly interviewed, and with my sense of direction I better race there. Have a great week...happy reading...hope you find something you love here this week.

Carol Fitzgerald ([email protected])

Author Talk: Michael Connelly, Author of NINE DRAGONS
Michael Connelly's latest Harry Bosch novel, NINE DRAGONS, finds the series' homicide detective protagonist out of his element on many levels, as he travels to Hong Kong in search of his kidnapped daughter, which he believes may be related to a murder case he is investigating in L.A. In this interview, Connelly discusses what prompted him to delve into the character's personal life in this installment, and elaborates on what he has at stake in solving these cases. He also explains the origins of the book's title and shares what initially captivated him about the exotic setting.

NINE DRAGONS by Michael Connelly (Thriller)
Fortune Liquors is a small shop in a tough South L.A. neighborhood, a store Bosch has known for years. The murder of John Li, the store's owner, hits Bosch hard, and he promises Li's family that he'll find the killer. But when the one good thing in his life, the person he holds most dear, is taken from him, Bosch travels to Hong Kong in an all-or-nothing bid to regain what he has lost. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read a review of NINE DRAGONS.
-Click here to read an excerpt from NINE DRAGONS.

Click here to read an interview with Michael Connelly.

Now in Stores: PURSUIT OF HONOR by Vince Flynn
PURSUIT OF HONOR by Vince Flynn (Political Thriller)
In this newest addition to the Mitch Rapp saga, Vince Flynn returns to the secretive world of fearless Americans who must risk their lives for their country’s security, fighting a covert war that can never be discussed, even with their own political leaders. PURSUIT OF HONOR takes place shortly after the conclusion of EXTREME MEASURES, which featured a series of cataclysmic events that left the nation reeling. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read an excerpt from PURSUIT OF HONOR.

Click here to read a review of PURSUIT OF HONOR.

Now in Stores: LOCKED IN by Marcia Muller
LOCKED IN: A Sharon McCone Mystery by Marcia Muller (Mystery)
With bullet fragments lodged in her skull, Sharon McCone faces the greatest challenge of her life. While her team of investigators works to track down her assailant, all she can do is lie in the hospital bed and ponder a future devoid of her sense of touch and her ability to speak. Though her mind is alert, she is a victim of locked-in syndrome. Reviewed by Maggie Harding.

-Click here to read an excerpt from LOCKED IN.
-Visit Marcia Muller’s official website,

Click here to read a review of LOCKED IN.

Now in Stores: CHRONIC CITY by Jonathan Lethem
CHRONIC CITY by Jonathan Lethem (Fiction)
The latest novel by the acclaimed author of MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN and THE FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE is both a paean to and an elegy of Manhattan’s infinitely complex landscape. CHRONIC CITY winds up less a story of its characters and more a testament to a city vast enough to continually escape definition. Reviewed by Max Falkowitz.

-Click here to read an excerpt from CHRONIC CITY.
-Click here to see the reading group guide for CHRONIC CITY.

Click here to read a review of CHRONIC CITY.

Now in Stores: UNSEEN ACADEMICALS by Terry Pratchett
UNSEEN ACADEMICALS by Terry Pratchett (Fantasy)
Wizards love to smoke and eat. That's their exercise. Until the funding for their great banquets is held hostage. The only way to keep the money flowing is to revive the sport of football at Unseen University. It's a collision course of comedic events as Ankh-Morpork's finest fumble their way into the realm of athletics. Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard.

Click here to read a review of UNSEEN ACADEMICALS.

Introducing's New Sneak Peek Feature: An Early Look at an Upcoming Book --- Our First Featured Title: STILL MISSING by Chevy Stevens
"A heart-pounding debut. Stevens pulls out all the stops in this cat-and-mouse battle between a brilliant psychopath and his tenacious victim. By equal turns clever and compelling, STILL MISSING is the not-to-be missed thriller of the year."
––Lisa Gardner, New York Times bestselling author of THE NEIGHBOR

-Click here to read more about STILL MISSING.

At, we have the opportunity to read many great books well in advance of their release dates. Now, with our Sneak Peek Feature/Contest, we are offering our readers the chance to preview select early picks --- and share feedback on them. We know that readers champion books that they love, and we want you to be part of the excitement of upcoming releases as early as possible.

We are kicking off the Sneak Peek Feature with STILL MISSING, Chevy Stevens’s chilling debut suspense/thriller novel releasing in July 2010. We have 60 specially formatted early reader editions to give away to readers who would like to read the book and share their comments about it. We really want to hear what you have to say about STILL MISSING, so if you will have time to read it in early-mid November, please enter this contest. If not, we plan to have more opportunities like this in the future.

To enter, fill out this form and answer the following question by Wednesday, October 28th at 11:59PM.

What other suspense/thriller authors do you usually read?

Once the copies of STILL MISSING have been shipped, we will contact our winners and ask them to respond with their thoughts on the book.

STILL MISSING by Chevy Stevens (Thriller)
On the day she was abducted, Annie O’Sullivan, a 32-year-old realtor, had three goals --- sell a house, forget about a recent argument with her mother, and be on time for dinner with her ever-patient boyfriend. The open house is slow, but when her last visitor pulls up in a van as she's about to leave, Annie thinks it just might be her lucky day after all. Interwoven with the story of the year Annie spent as the captive of a psychopath in a remote mountain cabin, which unfolds through sessions with her psychiatrist, is a second narrative recounting events following her escape --- her struggle to piece her shattered life back together and the ongoing police investigation into the identity of her captor.

The truth doesn’t always set you free.

STILL MISSING is that rare debut find --- a shocking, visceral, brutal and beautifully crafted novel.

Click here to read all the details of our Sneak Peek Feature/Contest.

Featured Historical Fiction Author: Sandra Brown, Author of RAINWATER
Sandra Brown is the author of more than 50 New York Times bestsellers --- including most recently SMASH CUT and SMOKE SCREEN --- and is the recipient of the 2008 Thriller Master Award from International Thriller Writers, Inc. In RAINWATER, her historical fiction debut releasing on November 3rd, Brown delivers a powerful story set during the desperate and often violent time of the Great Depression.

-Click here to read an excerpt from RAINWATER.
-Click here to read Sandra Brown’s bio.
-Click here to see Sandra Brown’s backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for Sandra Brown.
-Visit Sandra Brown’s official website,
-Click A TARGET="_blank" HREF="">here to see our advance copy winners.

More about RAINWATER:
From acclaimed bestselling author Sandra Brown comes a powerfully moving novel celebrating the gifts, generosity and foresight of a great bygone generation. Centered around an independent woman who runs a Texas boarding house during the Dust Bowl and a mysterious boarder, RAINWATER tells a story that bears witness to a bittersweet truth: that love is worth whatever price one must pay for it.

Click here to read more about Sandra Brown and RAINWATER.

Featured Mystery Mayhem Author: Joanne Fluke, Author of PLUM PUDDING MURDER

Like the protagonist in her popular Hannah Swensen mysteries, Joanne Fluke was born and raised in a small town in rural Minnesota. In PLUM PUDDING MURDER, the newest addition to the series, Fluke offers a delightful holiday-themed mystery. The yuletide season in Lake Eden, Minnesota, guarantees a white Christmas, delectable holiday goodies from Hannah Swensen's bakery, The Cookie Jar --- and murder. PLUM PUDDING MURDER is now available in stores.

-Click here to read an excerpt from PLUM PUDDING MURDER.
-Click here to read Joanne Fluke’s bio.
-Click here to see Joanne Fluke’s backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for PLUM PUDDING MURDER.
-Visit Joanne Fluke’s official website,

-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

New York Times bestselling author Joanne Fluke serves up a deliciously deadly holiday treat with her new Hannah Swensen mystery. PLUM PUDDING MURDER includes 12 original dessert recipes, including recipes for a complete Christmas dinner.


Click here to read more about Joanne Fluke and PLUM PUDDING MURDER.

Featured Debut Suspense/Thriller Author: Craig Larsen, Author of MANIA
Debut author Craig Larsen is a member of the Mystery Writers of America and International Thriller Writers. In MANIA, which releases on November 3rd, he delivers a riveting and critically acclaimed psychological thriller about a man struggling to come to terms with himself while his world is unraveling around him.

-Click here to read an excerpt from MANIA.
-Click here to read Craig Larsen’s bio.
-Click here to read critical praise for MANIA.
-Visit Craig Larsen’s official website,
-Click here to view a trailer for MANIA.
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

More about MANIA:
In the bestselling tradition of Dennis Lehane’s MYSTIC RIVER and Harlen Coben’s TELL NO ONE, talented debut writer Craig Larsen delivers a page-turning, atmospheric psychological thriller. Newspaper photographer Nick Wilder has been tracking a deranged killer through the dark streets of Seattle. But when the Street Butcher claims Nick's brother as his latest victim, Nick's world is turned upside-down. As he zeroes in on the killer, Nick finds himself led in a dizzying circle back to himself. Lee Child calls MANIA "everything a great thriller should be." William Lashner says, "Craig Larsen taps into our deepest terror, that the evil we fear most resides in our own hearts."

"Larsen takes you into a disturbing world of intimate danger and dark passion."

--Harlen Coben, New York Times bestselling author

Click here to read more about Craig Larsen and MANIA.

Featured Women's Fiction Author: Penny Vincenzi, Author of WINDFALL

Penny Vincenzi is the author of many acclaimed novels, including THE BEST OF TIMES, AN OUTRAGEOUS AFFAIR and NO ANGEL. WINDFALL, which is being released in the United States on October 1st, is full of the signatures that make Vincenzi’s books irresistible to devoted fans and newcomers alike: a sharp eye for detail, an assortment of loveable and despicable characters, and a titillating, suspenseful plot.

-Click here to read a third excerpt from WINDFALL.
-Click here to read Penny Vincenzi’s bio.
-Click here to see Penny Vincenzi’s backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for WINDFALL.
-Click here to see the reading group guide for WINDFALL.
-Visit Penny Vincenzi’s official website,
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

More about WINDFALL:
WINDFALL is an addictively dramatic family saga from one of the hottest female writers today. Penny Vincenzi takes us behind closed doors of the glamorous and scandalous English aristocracy. The dutiful doctor’s wife, Cassia Fallon, has just inherited a large fortune from her godmother. Newly empowered, Cassia sheds her domestic burdens and re-forms old relationships --- one of them of a most dangerous kind. Too soon the windfall has become a corrupting force --- one that Cassia cannot resist.


Click here to read more about Penny Vincenzi and WINDFALL.

Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: John Lutz, Author of URGE TO KILL

Award-winning thriller author John Lutz began writing in 1966 and has since gone on to publish over 40 novels and 200 short stories. His work includes SWF SEEKS SAME, which became the film Single White Female, and THE EX, a critically acclaimed feature for HBO. In URGE TO KILL, veteran homicide detective Frank Quinn returns in a desperate hunt for a murdering madman. URGE TO KILL is now available in stores.

-Click here to read a second excerpt from URGE TO KILL.
-Click here to read John Lutz’s bio.
-Click here to see John Lutz’s backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for URGE TO KILL.
-Visit John Lutz’s official website,
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

More about URGE TO KILL:
Homicide detective Frank Quinn can’t stay retired when there’s a new breed of murdering madman on the prowl. In a city terrorized by bloody brutality, Det. Quinn and his team hunt a psychopath who lures beautiful women into a night of unbridled passion, then wakes them to a vicious, drawn-out death. Stumbling over a trail of horribly defiled bodies, Quinn can’t catch the killer --- because the killer’s about to catch him.

The terrifying new thriller URGE TO KILL from New York Times bestselling author John Lutz is a gruesome, page-turning psychological serial killer crime novel that’s both frightening and fascinating. For a killer, once is never enough.


Click here to read more about John Lutz and URGE TO KILL.

This Week's Reviews
DRACULA THE UN-DEAD by Dacre Stoker and Ian Holt (Supernatural Thriller)
Twenty-five years later, Dracula is still roaming the earth and so is a new evil --- an evil more cunning and diabolical than Dracula himself. The next incarnation of the undead rises, committing gruesome murders and terrorizing residents of London and Paris, leaving one individual to stop the carnage. Reviewed by Amy Gwiazdowski.

THE CASEBOOK OF VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN by Peter Ackroyd (Historical Thriller)
What if Victor Frankenstein, self-professed scientist, were to meet Percy Bysshe Shelley, romantic poet and a man who married the author of FRANKENSTEIN? It would most likely go something like the story told in Peter Ackroyd’s THE CASEBOOK OF VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

BLACK FRIDAY: A Maggie O’Dell Novel by Alex Kava (Psychological Thriller)
Caught up in a political nightmare, battling a new interim director and still mourning the death of her boss, FBI profiler Maggie O'Dell must put her own troubles aside and fly to Minnesota to help figure out what's behind a terrorist attack at the largest mall in America on the busiest shopping day of the year --- a massacre that is all the more frightening because no group has claimed responsibility. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE ANTHOLOGIST by Nicholson Baker (Fiction)
The narrator of Nicholson Baker’s 10th novel, THE ANTHOLOGIST, makes a passionate but concrete argument for reading --- and loving --- poetry, even as he tries to make the pieces of his own life rhyme. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

HOUSE OF RECKONING by John Saul (Supernatural Thriller)
In John Saul’s newest work of psychological terror, his 36th novel, a young girl holds the key to unlocking the hidden secrets of a mysterious old mansion known as Shutters and righting the many wrongs of a small town. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

THE PRICE OF LOVE AND OTHER STORIES by Peter Robinson (Mystery/Short Stories)
Ever since the publication of his first mystery featuring Detective Inspector Alan Banks, Peter Robinson has been steadily building a reputation for compulsively readable and perceptive novels that probe the dark side of human nature. Plumbing the territory that he has so successfully staked, THE PRICE OF LOVE AND OTHER STORIES includes two novellas and several stories featuring the Yorkshire policeman at his finest. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE HIDDEN MAN by David Ellis (Legal Thriller)
Jason Kolarich rises from humble beginnings to become a star in a high-powered criminal defense firm. After his wife and daughter die in a freak car accident, he walks away from his celebrity for a simpler life. When he is hired to defend a childhood friend from a murder charge, Jason must relive a tragic incident that has haunted him for decades. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

Read this week's reviews here.

Poll and Question of the Week: Reading Distractions and Guilty Pleasures

Which of the following would most likely take you away from reading? Check as many as apply.

Network television shows
Cable television programs (either live or On Demand)
Television programming on DVR
Movie rentals (Netflix, etc.)
Video games
Computer games
Arts and crafts
Social networking
Nothing takes me away from reading.
I am not sure what takes me away from reading.

-Click here to answer our poll.


What, besides reading, is your guilty pleasure? Name up to three.

-Click here to answer our question.

Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading --- and You Can Win THREE Books!
Tell us what books YOU are reading and loving --- or even those you don't.

This week we have three great prizes: FIVE readers each will win a copy of NINE DRAGONS by Michael Connelly, LOCKED IN: A Sharon McCone Mystery by Marcia Muller and PURSUIT OF HONOR by Vince Flynn. Tell us what you are reading and rate the titles 1-5 by noon on October 23rd to ensure that you are in the running to win these books.
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 October 31, 2009 automatically are entered in our Monthly Newsletter Contest. This month, one winner will be selected to win the following five books: 9 DRAGONS by Michael Connelly, LAST NIGHT IN A TWISTED RIVER by John Irving, LOCKED IN: A Sharon McCone Mystery by Marcia Muller, PURSUIT OF HONOR by Vince Flynn and TRUE BLUE by David Baldacci. Terri from Jacksonville, FL was last month's newsletter winner. She won AN ECHO IN THE BONE by Diana Gabaldon, HAVE A LITTLE FAITH: A True Story by Mitch Albom, HER FEARFUL SYMMETRY by Audrey Niffenegger, THE LAST SONG by Nicholas Sparks and THE PROMISED WORLD by Lisa Tucker.

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

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