Skip to main content

November 24, 2010 Newsletter November 24, 2010
Giving Thanks for Our Readers

I am just back from Orlando where I attended the National Council of Teachers of English Conference at one of the Disney properties. The endless refrain there was “Have a magical day!” said with such cheeriness that I felt I was trapped in some sugar-coated dream. I loathe manufactured fun, thus when I called the other night asking about a lap pool on the property, I was cringing when they told me there was none, but there was a pool with a large slide located near the themed dig site. Lucky for me, I have zip sense of direction, and thus I found a different pool that did not have these over-the-top amenities; rather I was happy with lines for laps on the bottom, which I always thought of as one of the prerequisites for “a lap pool.”

Pictured above is the oversized go-cup I bought for $13.99 the first day at my hotel that allowed me to get as many soft drinks and iced teas as I could pour. Of course, to take advantage of this bargain, I needed to carry a large plastic cup with Mickey, Donald Duck and Goofy on it, which made ME feel goofy, but I decided when in the Magic Kingdom you play along. The other night, I got back from dinner hoping to catch "The Walking Dead" on AMC, but who was I kidding? "The Walking Dead" and other AMC programming was not in keeping with the Disney happy theme. Instead I had a couple of news channels, the three major networks, and then Disney channels galore, including something called The Secret Disney or The Hidden Disney, which would enhance your visit to this magical place. However, I am not sure it can be very secret or hidden since it’s shown in every room across the resort.

The conference was terrific --- got to hear over 60 young adult authors speak and talk to English teachers from across the country. It was quite an experience. And layering this on top of the Miami Book Fair made for a booklover’s dream the past week.

At the Miami Book Fair, the panels and events on Saturday and Sunday were wonderful. The author pairings are done by Mitch Kaplan (below left), who owns Books & Books and who also is one of the founders of the Fair. His keen sense of pulling this programming together from his knowledge of the participants makes this event hum. My friend John often says that Mitch is like a terrific nightclub owner in both his store and at the Festival. He knows exactly what talent to bring in, how to seat the guests and how to create an ambience that sparks an experience.

Two of my favorite pairings were Sebastian Junger, author of WAR, and Karl Marlantes, author of MATTERHORN, both of whom are pictured above middle, on Saturday (that's Karl with the beard), and Carl Hiaasen (top left), author of STAR ISLAND, and Scott Turow (top right), author of INNOCENT, on Sunday. In their discussion, Junger and Marlantes made it clear that between Vietnam and Afghanistan we have done little to ensure that veterans are taken care of upon their return. Their thoughts on the tolls of war were thought-provoking, and their standing-room only audience was completely captivated by their discussion. You can watch this entire brilliant talk here on C-Span. I say again that no matter what side of the aisle you are on concerning the current wars that we are battling, we need to think about our soldiers and our veterans. I walked away from this talk planning to make a donation to The work they are doing on behalf of veterans of the Iraq/Afghanistan Wars is admirable. On Monday night the 29th at 9PM ET, Restrepo, the documentary that Junger and Tim Hetherington made in Afghanistan, will be airing on National Geographic Channel. I just now got a note from Paul Rieckhoff, who runs IAVA, and he sent me this link about the movie where it's noted that $2 from the purchase of every copy of the film will go right to IAVA. It's a very easy way to support this organization.

On a much lighter note, Hiaasen’s latest takes place on South Beach, and he was so funny trying to describe why a story set there works and why it’s risky. As he said, “South Beach is so over the top that it’s hard to believe anything you dream up will not happen there by the time you publish your book.” And he ranted about celebrity journalism. As he said, in the past people had to have TALENT to be a celebrity. Now you can crash a party at the White House and get a show. He is irritated that it’s hard to find actual news, and people who have NO talent are everywhere. He then asked a question that I have been wondering for months: “WHO are the Kardashians, and how many of them are there? 15 or 16? These people are getting a lot of heat, which is in an inverse to their value to society. WHY do I care about them?” For the record, while getting my nails done one day, I watched this show and am fairly sure that such vacuousness should be outlawed. Turow followed, saying that Hiaasen is the greatest comic novelist, and he is right. I know I said a few weeks ago that I never get to go back and read books that already are out, but I may have to make an exception with STAR ISLAND; it sounds great. During the summer, we ran an interview with Hiaasen that you can read here.

Turow talked about how PRESUMED INNOCENT changed his life. He talked about why he did not write a follow-up for so many years. He did not want to be locked into writing Rusty Sabich forever. He did not want to compete with himself. And he wanted to write something so he would not feel like he was writing himself into a telephone booth. You cannot create the same thing twice. He started thinking about the book with one line on a post-it about a man who is sitting on a bed where the body of a dead woman lies (or lays, he is not sure which word is right). And then he realized it could be Rusty sitting there. And then he imagined the rest of the story. Was it “ex-sex?” Were they still together? And from there, INNOCENT was born.

Speaking of talent, Mark Rotella’s (below right) talk about AMORE: The Story of the Italian American Song reminded me of so many of the big-name singers who I loved --- and who had talent. Rotella looks at the Italian Americans who wrote and recorded songs between the '40s and '50s. The lineup is impressive and will have you harkening back to the music of yester years with great longing. One of the nice parts about these book events is seeing pals like Kate White, who is pictured in the middle below. Kate has been a friend for years, but given our schedules, we only get to catch up at events like this. Her talk on a panel with Susan Hassler was fun, and the audience was filled with people who LOVE mysteries. There was a lot of conversation about reading ahead. I was surprised how many people do that! It may be anything from reading the last few chapters to flipping ahead to see if a favorite character is still alive at the end. People also talked about how with a Kindle it’s MUCH tougher to skip ahead to read the ending, which was pretty amusing. I also zipped over to hear Daphne Kalotay, who wrote RUSSIAN WINTER, which I have been enjoying. I wish I had had time to meet her.

I saw Jonathan Tropper, who always makes me laugh, at the author party and then caught part of his panel on Sunday. Lisa Unger and Alafair Burke were a great pairing, talking about their thrillers and why they work. Alafair grew up living in fear of the BTK Killer, something that I had not known. She literally never wanted to be alone as she feared he would come after her. Lisa was terrific sharing the story behind FRAGILE. She had flown down for the day, and as always we had one of our speed chats.

When I was not at panels and programs, I was in the Author Hospitality suite saying hello to author friends...and meeting some for the first time. It was really nice to meet Susanna Daniel, the author of STILTSVILLE, which is one of my Bets On selections. The book is set in the Miami area, thus getting to meet Susanna, who now lives in Wisconsin, was a blast; I still wish I could have stayed in one of those stilt houses. And Helen Simonson, who wrote MAJOR PETTIGREW’S LAST STAND, is someone I had not had the pleasure of meeting before, but we had time for a nice chat before her talk. That book is just out in paperback.

And it was fun to see our readers as well. Miriam Kassanoff was in a few of the panels that I was in, and she told me about a book she would like to write that sounds really funny, or at least it has an irreverently funny title that we are keeping secret for now! Another reader, who I think said her name was Theresa McAllister, stopped by at the Hiaasen/Turow talk; she recognized me as I stood to take a photo of the crowd in the room. How? Because I was wearing turquoise. And I had my annual visit with Cristina Vasquez and her sister, Sarah, and her friend, Patty. Once again there was not enough time to spend with any of them. In fact, Cristina went to some panels that I could not make it to and was sending me text messages throughout the day alerting me to what was going on in other rooms, for which I was very grateful.

On the site this week we have an interview with Cotton Malone, Steve Berry’s fictional former spy turned antiquarian book dealer, who returns in THE EMPEROR'S TOMB. Giving the interview as the character is a first for any author, I think, and a great way to really show his personality. It will certainly add another level to the reading experience. Joe Hartlaub has our review of THE EMPEROR'S TOMB and says “it's a prime example of storytelling at its best.”

Joe also has our review of Brad Thor’s THE ATHENA PROJECT, which is a departure from his popular Scott Harvath series. THE ATHENA PROJECT follows an elite, all-female anti-terrorism unit from each member’s recruitment through training and deployment into some of the most dangerous assignments in the world. Joe says in his review, “Thor’s fans will want to read THE ATHENA PROJECT immediately, as will those looking to jump onto a new thriller series by an author with a track record for creating riveting and addicting prose on every page he writes.”

On the lighter side, Debbie Macomber’s CALL ME MRS. MIRACLE follows a storekeeper hoping to keep his shop open, an aunt desperately searching for that elusive toy and the miracle maker who hopes to make everyone happy. Few authors can spread the holiday spirit like Debbie, and this looks like the perfect read to unwind with. Our reviewer, Judy Gigstad, says, “CALL ME MRS. MIRACLE is an entertaining holiday story that surely will touch the heart.” There's also a film version airing on Hallmark Channel this Saturday the 27th, with more details below.

One more review to highlight is Laura Pedersen’s BUFFALO UNBOUND: A Celebration, which is an ode to her frigid, snow-covered hometown of Buffalo, New York. Laura has had a series of hits with her Hallie Palmer series, but her nonfiction writing is just an enjoyable. Her memoir, BUFFALO GAL, really brought the city to life, and BUFFALO UNBOUND keeps that momentum going. Reviewer Terry Miller Shannon says, “Although rife with in-jokes for Buffalo locals, making it a must-read for East Coasters, BUFFALO UNBOUND abounds with entertainment (along with many riveting facts) for those who have never experienced the area firsthand.”

Our Holiday Cheer Daily Contest got off to a smashing start this week with three different contest books being given away these past couple of days. Contests are on break until Monday, but you can check out all our featured titles here. For those of you just tuning in, each day from Monday to Friday, we’re giving away a select title or two, and some days may even have special bonus prizes, but you won’t know that until you enter the day’s contest. Each contest will run from noon to noon (ET), so you have to act fast every day! You can also learn what the day’s featured title, or titles, will be with our special newsletter that you can sign up for here. This email will mail around noon (ET) every day until the contest ends on December 23rd. Sign up and don’t miss any more chances to win some great books, and who knows what else!

Our "What to Give, What to Get" Gift Guide will be especially handy now that the gift-giving season is upon us. Here you will find all sorts of book suggestions for family members, friends, co-workers, or yourself in one of our 14 categories. There’s bound to be a title or two perfect for someone on your list. Peruse, then shop via our links or online.

Although the Bookreporter offices will be closed for the next few days, our Author Holiday Blogs will keep on rolling. Every day, we will be featuring a new author sharing his or her holiday memories. This week we’ve already featured posts from Francine Rivers, Christopher Rice, Antoinette van Heugten and Beth Hoffman, with Lisa Scottoline and her daughter Francesca, Sarah Blake and William Kent Krueger on the way. You can read the whole series as it is updated here, and subscribe for an RSS feed here or an email feed here.

I am headed to the kitchen to make Thanksgiving dinner, which has a soundtrack for me with a drumbeat called "chop chop chop." As much work as this is, it's actually a pretty easy meal to make. And there are leftovers, thus I cook once, and then the weekend is pretty much a repeat. By Monday I get really bored with the idea of eating turkey for another year.

For those of you shopping this weekend, please think about supporting your local stores. While Friday is Black Friday, and Monday is Cyber Monday, Saturday has now been coined Small Business Saturday, an effort being supported by American Express. I guess we rest on Sunday since Sunday does not have a name attached to it!

Here's wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving. We are grateful to you for all of your support, notes and comments. We could not do what we do without you.

Read on...

Carol Fitzgerald ([email protected])


An Interview with Cotton Malone of THE EMPEROR’S TOMB by Steve Berry

Hold on to your seatbelts, because international bestselling author Steve Berry is back with THE EMPEROR’S TOMB. This latest installment in his Cotton Malone series follows the former Justice Department operative around the world as he embarks on a harrowing search for Cassiopeia Vitt, a woman from his past who has saved him more than once…and is now being tortured by a mysterious man on the Internet. In this interview, Berry’s elusive hero gives the scoop on his most recent adventure, sharing his impressions of the People’s Republic of China and details about the covert agents who have helped him on the ground. He also offers insight into China’s alarming child trafficking epidemic, reveals his knowledge of Chinese culture and the brutal, secret brotherhood known as the Ba, and talks about his plans for the future --- including a possible return to the United States.

THE EMPEROR’S TOMB by Steve Berry (Thriller)
Ex-Justice Department operative Cotton Malone’s life is shattered when he receives a message carrying an unknown Web address…and logs on to find his old friend Cassiopeia Vitt being tortured by a mysterious man whose only demand is to “Bring me the artifact she’s asked you to keep safe.” But Malone doesn’t know what he’s talking about. And his search will send him around the world on his most harrowing adventure yet. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read a review of THE EMPEROR’S TOMB.
-Click here to read an excerpt from THE EMPEROR’S TOMB.


Click here to read an interview with Steve Berry’s protagonist, Cotton Malone.

Now in Stores: THE ATHENA PROJECT by Brad Thor

THE ATHENA PROJECT by Brad Thor (Thriller)
Just as skilled, fearsome and deadly as their colleagues, the only thing setting Delta Force’s new members apart is their gender. When an attack in Rome kills over 20 Americans, four women from Athena Team must find out who’s responsible. But that’s only the surface. While a discovery in South Africa confirms one of America’s greatest fears, a foreign spy closes in on a U.S. secret. And it might be the biggest threat of all. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE ATHENA PROJECT.

Click here to read a review of THE ATHENA PROJECT.

Books into Movies: Call Me Mrs. Miracle, Based on Debbie Macomber’s Latest Book

Following up on the huge success of last year’s made-for-TV movie, Mrs. Miracle, Hallmark Channel will be airing Call Me Mrs. Miracle on Saturday, November 27th at 8:00pm ET. Based on bestselling author Debbie Macomber’s novel of the same name, this heartwarming film marks the return of a miracle-working woman who somehow manages to save the holiday season for everyone.

No one celebrates the holidays like Emily Merkle --- Mrs. Miracle, as she is known by some --- who is back to ensure that this Christmas is the most magical and meaningful of all. When Mrs. Miracle appears as a seasonal employee in the toy department at the financially troubled Finley’s Department Store, neither the store’s owners nor the customers have any idea of the saintly events that are about to unfold.

-Click here to read a review of CALL ME MRS. MIRACLE.


Click here for more details about the movie.’s Holiday Cheer Contest and Feature

The holiday season is upon us! At, this means it's time for us to share the spirit of the season with you with our Holiday Cheer Contest and Feature. This year, we will spotlight a different title or two each weekday until December 23rd, so you will have to check the site each day to see the featured prize book(s) and enter. We also will be sending a special daily newsletter to announce the day's title(s), which you can sign up for here. Some days may feature special bonus prizes, including gourmet treats, holiday items, or even some of Carol's Bets On picks from this year.

This year's featured titles are:

-ARTISAN BREAD IN FIVE MINUTES A DAY by Jeff Herzberg, MD, and Zoë François
-ATLAS OF REMOTE ISLANDS by Judith Schalansky
-BLIND YOUR PONIES by Stanley Gordon West
-THE COLLECTIBLES by James J. Kaufman
-DELIRIOUS by Daniel Palmer
-EVERYTHING CHRISTMAS by David Bordon and Tom Winters
HEALTHY BREAD IN FIVE MINUTES A DAY by Jeff Herzberg, MD, and Zoë François
-KNIT THE SEASON by Kate Jacobs
-LADY IN WAITING by Susan Meissner
-THE LOST DOGS by Jim Gorant
-MY NEST ISN'T EMPTY, IT JUST HAS MORE CLOSET SPACE by Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Scottoline Serritella
-PRAYERS AND LIES by Sherri Woods Emmons
-THE SIXTH SURRENDER by Hana Samek Norton
-TRUE GRIT: Movie Tie-In Edition by Charles Portis


Click here to read all the details of's Holiday Cheer Contest and Feature.'s Author Holiday Blogs --- Authors Write About Their Bookish Holiday Memories

Between now and New Year's Day, more than 40 authors will be sharing their favorite memories of giving or receiving a book at the holidays. They include Sarah Blake, Nelson DeMille, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Heidi W. Durrow, Margaret George, Patti Callahan Henry, Beth Hoffman, Raymond Khoury, William Kent Krueger, Anne Perry, Deanna Raybourn, Francine Rivers, Lisa Scottoline, Helen Simonson and Donna VanLiere.

The following authors already have shared their stories:

-Beth Hoffman: An Early Christmas Memory
-Antoinette van Heugten on Holidays with Special Needs Children
-Christopher Rice on Buying Books for Your Loved Ones
-Francine Rivers on THE ONE YEAR BIBLE
-Patti Callahan Henry: A Christmas Story
-Deanna Raybourn on Seasonal Must-Reads

-Click here to subscribe to the Blog via RSS.
-Click here to subscribe to the Blog via Email.


Click here to read's Author Holiday Blogs.

Now in Stores: BUFFALO UNBOUND by Laura Pedersen

BUFFALO UNBOUND: A Celebration by Laura Pedersen (Memoir/History)
With a pitch-perfect deadpan delivery, author and former New York Times columnist Laura Pedersen --- spurred by Forbes magazine's two-time ranking of Buffalo on its list of America's Ten Most Miserable Cities --- defends her beloved hometown while also acknowledging just a few (dozen) of its quirks and flaws. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

-Click here to read an excerpt from BUFFALO UNBOUND.
-Visit Laura Pedersen’s official website,


Click here to read a review of BUFFALO UNBOUND.

Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: C. E. Lawrence, Author of SILENT VICTIM

C. E. Lawrence thrilled audiences with last year's SILENT SCREAMS, and now she ratchets up the tension with SILENT VICTIM. Two bodies found within a week of each other appear to be suicides, but further investigation leads police into a terrifying game of cat-and-mouse across New York City.

We have 20 copies of
SILENT VICTIM, which releases on December 7th, to give away to readers who would like to read the book and comment about it. If you are interested, please fill out this form by Monday, November 29th at noon ET.

-Click here to read a second excerpt from SILENT VICTIM.
-Click here to read C. E. Lawrence’s bio.
-Click here to see C. E. Lawrence’s backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for SILENT VICTIM.

At first, they look like suicides. Two bodies within a week --- one found floating in New York’s East River, another electrocuted in the bathtub. But forensics show that the victims were drugged, then killed. As the death toll grows, so does the brutality of the murders --- and the killer dubbed the Flesh Collector continues to prey. NYPD profiler Lee Campbell joins the frantic pursuit of a murderous madman who delights in taunting police with gruesome messages. Somewhere in the killer’s terrifying handiwork lie the clues to his twisted psyche. But the case is growing disturbingly personal. Getting close enough to stop the monster means getting close enough --- to die…

Click here to read more about C. E. Lawrence and SILENT VICTIM.

Featured Mystery Mayhem Author: Livia J. Washburn, Author of KILLER ON A HOT TIN ROOF
Livia J. Washburn is back with KILLER ON A HOT TIN ROOF. In this third installment of her Delilah Dickinson Literary Tour Mystery series, Delilah and friends travel to New Orleans for the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival, only to find a colleague murdered.

-Click here to read a third excerpt from KILLER ON A HOT TIN ROOF.
-Click here to read Livia J. Washburn’s bio.
-Click here to see Livia J. Washburn’s backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for KILLER ON A HOT TIN ROOF.
-Click here to see our finished copy winners.

Delilah Dickinson is finally looking forward to a nice, relaxing time leading her literary travel agency’s latest tour at the annual Tennessee Williams Literary Festival in New Orleans. After all, a group of intelligent, low-key English professors can’t be too much trouble, right? Wrong, as it turns out. These academics don’t waste any time showing their claws, especially when one of the professors claims he can prove Williams didn’t even write CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF. But when the supposed real author --- Howard Burleson, apparently once a very close friend of Tennessee’s --- turns up dead, Delilah knows she’s got to get to the bottom of things…even if the truth is as dirty as all them lies!
Click here to read more about Livia J. Washburn and KILLER ON A HOT TIN ROOF.

What to Give, What to Get: Spotlight on Books for Teens

Headed out to do some holiday shopping? Before you go, check out our What to Give, What to Get feature with ideas in 14 categories.

We are spotlighting the various categories in the newsletter this week and in upcoming weeks. This week we're featuring Teens’ Choice and Kids' Finds. First up --- Teens’ Choice.

Got a teen on your holiday list? Our Teens' Choice category has you covered no matter how fickle your recipient.

Our featured titles in this category are:

-I AM NUMBER FOUR by Pittacus Lore
-THE IRON KING by Julie Kagawa
-JANE by April Lindner
-MISGUIDED ANGEL: A Blue Bloods Novel by Melissa de la Cruz
-RECKLESS by Cornelia Funke
-REVOLUTION by Jennifer Donnelly
-TORMENT: A Fallen Novel by Lauren Kate
-THE VAMPIRE DIARIES: STEFAN'S DIARIES #1: ORIGINS by Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec


Click here to see our Teens' Choice category.

What to Give, What to Get: Spotlight on Books Kids Will Love

Our Kids' Finds category spotlights 10 great titles kids will love.

Our featured titles in this category are:

-FANCY NANCY AND THE FABULOUS FASHION BOUTIQUE written by Jane O'Connor and illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser
-RECKLESS by Cornelia Funke
-TINA COCOLINA: QUEEN OF THE CUPCAKES written by Pablo Cartaya and Martin Howard, illustrated by Kirsten Richards
-THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER: Movie Tie-In Edition by C.S. Lewis
-ZORA AND ME by Victoria Bond and T.R. Simon


Click here to see our Kids' Finds category.

What’s New on

With more than 3,100 discussion guides now available, continues to be the leading place for book clubs to find all the resources they need on the web.

Our Blog continues to be a big hit among our readers. Throughout the month we are sharing postings from regular contributors --- including authors, librarians, book club facilitators, booksellers and experts in the publishing industry --- as well as special guests. The latest blog can be found here, and here are quick links to some recent posts:

-Forget Black Friday - Shop Small Business Saturday
-Ditch Secret Santa & Try a Book Swap Instead
-There's no accounting for taste...
-Call to Action for Book Lovers
-These Are a Few of My Favorite Things...
-Reality Check
-Book Clubs in the News
-There's an App for That
-Lists, Lists & MORE Lists

The following guides are now available on

BRAVA, VALENTINE by Adriana Trigiani
THE BRAVE by Nicholas Evans
CLEOPATRA: A Life by Stacy Schiff
COMPASS ROSE by John Casey
FRANKLIN AND ELEANOR: An Extraordinary Marriage by Hazel Rowley
IN HER WAKE: A Child Psychiatrist Explores the Mystery of Her Mother's Suicide by Nancy Rappaport
JUSTICE: What's the Right Thing to Do? by Michael J. Sandel
LADY IN WAITING by Susan Meissner
LIES MY MOTHER NEVER TOLD ME: A Memoir by Kaylie Jones
OOGY: The Dog Only a Family Could Love by Larry Levin
THE PERFECT LOVE SONG: A Holiday Story by Patti Callahan Henry
SPOONER by Pete Dexter
STRONGER THAN SIN by Caridad Piñeiro
THE UNCOUPLING by Meg Wolitzer
THE WEIRD SISTERS by Eleanor Brown

Please note that these titles, for which we already had the guides when they appeared in hardcover, are now available in paperback:

NOT MY DAUGHTER by Barbara Delinsky
NOTES LEFT BEHIND by Brooke and Keith Desserich
THE SWAN THIEVES by Elizabeth Kostova

The following new guides are now available for Christian book groups:

ALMOST HEAVEN by Chris Fabry
CODE TRIAGE: Mercy Hospital Series, Book 3 by Candace Calvert
EMILY'S CHANCE: The Callahans of Texas, Book 2 by Sharon Gillenwater
PURSUIT OF JUSTICE: Call of Duty Series, Book 3 by DiAnn Mills


Click here to visit

This Week's Reviews

HAPPILY EVER AFTER by Nora Roberts (Romance)
As the face of Vows wedding planning company, Parker Brown has a knack for making dreams come true, but she can't see where her own life is headed. Mechanic Malcomb Kavanaugh loves figuring out how things work --- and Parker is no exception. Both know that a major hook-up would be serious, and Parker's business risks have always paid off. But now she’s taking the chance of a lifetime --- with her heart. Reviewed by Jennifer McCord.

-Click here to read an excerpt from HAPPILY EVER AFTER.

A CHRISTMAS ODYSSEY Anne Perry (Mystery)
It’s 10 days until Christmas, and James Wentworth feels nothing but grief. His son has been lured into a deadly world of drugs and passion, and his only hope is his old friend Harry Rathbone. But Rathbone knows nothing about Lucien Wentworth’s underworld…until he meets a reformed brothel-keeper and a mysterious slum doctor. As the trio starts to gather clues, they find themselves on a mission whose outcome they can only guess. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

I STILL DREAM ABOUT YOU by Fannie Flagg (Fiction)
Maggie Fortenberry is a still-beautiful former Miss Alabama. To others, her life seems perfect, but Maggie can’t help but wonder how she wound up where she is. She was on her way to becoming Miss America…until an unexpected event changed everything. Maggie has heartbreaking secrets, but as she tries to solve her problems, she accidentally discovers that everyone --- whether dead or alive --- has something to hide. Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller.

AN OBJECT OF BEAUTY by Steve Martin (Fiction)
Lacey Yeager is young, captivating and ambitious enough to take New York City’s art world by storm. Groomed at Sotheby's and hungry to climb the social and career ladders ahead of her, Lacey charms men and women, the rich, and the even richer with her magnetic personality. And her ascension parallels the soaring heights --- and the darkest lows --- of the country’s art world from the late 1990s through today. Reviewed by Eileen Zimmerman Nicol.

COMPASS ROSE by John Casey (Fiction)
A sequel to the 1989 National Book Award winner SPARTINA, COMPASS ROSE tells the story of the inevitable fallout from a married man's sordid affair, resulting in a daughter who becomes the unifying force for her family. The land is as important as any character here, and the living creatures of the Salt Marshes --- both hunters and prey --- form the heart of this fishing community. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.

-Click here to see the reading group guide for COMPASS ROSE.

THE SHADOW WAR by Glen Scott Allen (Thriller)
Colonial historian Benjamin Wainwright arrives at a secretive think tank --- only to discover that the friend who summoned him is dead and might have been leaking information. When the case’s investigator is targeted for assassination, Benjamin wonders if it was really an accident. Everything points towards a centuries-old conspiracy. And as Benjamin and a beautiful Russian attaché start to unravel the truth, what they find questions the entire course of American history. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

ABSOLUTE RISK by Steven Gore (Thriller)
Days after failing to arrive at a secret meeting, an FBI agent’s body is found at the base of a cliff --- and Graham Gage is sent to uncover the truth. As an ill U.S. president transfers power to his alarmingly religious VP, Gage uncovers a conspiracy that could turn the world into chaos. And there’s even more at stake. His wife is trapped in China, and unless he exposes history’s greatest treachery, she’ll die. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

KIDNAP & RANSOM by Michelle Gagnon (Thriller)
When a drug cartel snatches the world’s best ransom negotiator, Jake Riley has to save him. But he’s up against an elite paramilitary group and must navigate Mexico’s dark underbelly to find him. After a mission nearly kills her, FBI Agent Kelly Jones joins Jake to boost her confidence…and quickly realizes she’s over her head. She has one shot to prove herself --- by taking down a killer. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.


Click here to read this week's reviews.

Poll and Question of the Week: Giving Books This Holiday Season


Are you planning to give books as gifts this holiday season? Please check as many as apply.

Yes, I am giving books.

I am buying gift cards from brick-and-mortar bookstores.

I am buying gift cards from online booksellers.

I am buying gift cards from online booksellers for people to buy eBooks.

No, I am not buying books or gift cards from bookstores or online booksellers.

I am not sure what I am doing.

-Click here to answer our poll.


Name up to three books you’d like to give as gifts this holiday season.

-Click here to answer our question.


Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading --- and You Can Win TWO Books!
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 EMPEROR’S TOMB by Steve Berry and RESCUE by Anita Shreve. Tell us what you are reading here and rate the titles 1-5 by noon ET on Friday, December 3rd to ensure that you are in the running to win these books.

Click here for more details about Word of Mouth.

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 November 30, 2010 automatically are entered in our Monthly Newsletter Contest. This month, one winner will be selected to win the following five books: THE EMPEROR'S TOMB by Steve Berry, FULL DARK, NO STARS by Stephen King, HELL'S CORNER by David Baldacci, INDULGENCE IN DEATH by J.D. Robb, and MOONLIGHT MILE by Dennis Lehane. Patricia from Lakebay, WA was last month's winner. She won AMERICAN ASSASSIN by Vince Flynn, THE BRAVE by Nicholas Evans, CHASING THE NIGHT by Iris Johansen, OUR KIND OF TRAITOR by John le Carre, and WORTH DYING FOR: A Reacher Novel by Lee Child.

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

The Book Report Network
250 W. 57th Street - Suite 1228
New York, New York 10107