Skip to main content

April 2, 2004 Newsletter April 2, 2004
This Week on
Speed Reading
ONE TO WATCH: Talks to Jonathan Tropper, and Reviews THE BOOK OF JOE
Debut Suspense/Thriller: One to Watch --- Talks to David Hewson and Reviews A SEASON FOR THE DEAD
Debut Suspense/Thriller: One To Watch --- Our Next Author is Lauren Kelly, author of TAKE ME, TAKE ME WITH YOU
Mystery Mayhem: Talks to Rita Mae Brown and Reviews WHISKER OF EVIL
Batter Up: Baseball Books --- Great Reading for Opening Day
This Week's Book Reviews and Features
Poll: What's Your Comfort Genre?
Question of the Week: Who is your favorite "comfort read" author?
Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading -- TWO Prizes!
On The Book Report Network
Past Reviews
Can't See the Graphics? Read This Newsletter Online
Past Poll: Do you want to see author interviews on the web?
Past Question of the Week: Name three authors you would want to see interviewed on the web.
Read more about Hover Car Racer here. Read our golf books feature here. Read an excerpt of CAN YOU KEEP A SECRET here.
Speed Reading

My bookish weekend in Virginia last weekend was such fun. The Virginia Festival of the Book gets better every year --- this was their 10th Anniversary. I got back from that whirlwind trip and Monday night attended a panel presented by New York is Book Country for writers who want to break into the children's market. Since I am asked questions about this all the time, I found it to be a great fact-gathering session. Bottom line: read books CURRENTLY being published in the marketplace!

Following that I went to hear Sophie Kinsella read from her new one --- CAN YOU KEEP A SECRET? She is very funny in person and reading with her British accent gave the book a whole new sound to me. She also shared the title of the next Shopaholic title due this fall --- SHOPAHOLIC AND SISTER. I left that reading smiling. Later I re-read the excerpt that you can find by clicking on the cover above, this time hearing her voice.

Matthew Reilly, the author of the recently released SCARECROW is serializing his latest book online in eight parts starting on April 4th (04:04:04). It's fast-paced action in a story about a young boy who races his hover car against some pretty ominous odds. Reilly has written it with a plan that it will be great reading for both adults and kids. It our house it's a winner with everyone (my youngest is 9). We've previewed Part One and eagerly are looking forward to Part Two. It's the kind of story where you finish reading and say, "next page, please." The eight segments will release on the 4th and 20th of each month from now through July.

Reilly is the #1 bestselling author in Australia and he knows how to write action and thrilling suspense. If you have not read him, this is a great opportunity to give him a try. If you sign up at you can have each installment e-mailed to you! Or starting Sunday, you can read it online at the site. Click on the graphic above for details. We love this way to explore a new author. We added an interview from SCARECROW on Reilly includes an interview in the back of each book that he does. Very clever, eh?

We still are waiting on spring here in New York. But, the calendar makes us realize that the golf courses here will be open soon! With that in mind we bring you our annual golf season opener feature, which you can get to by clicking on the cover above.

Our new Debut Suspense/Thriller author is Lauren Kelly, author of TAKE ME, TAKE ME WITH YOU. It will be in stores on April 27th. We are looking for 10 advance readers. Interested? Then write us at with your name and street mailing address by Friday, April 16th!

Our Poll and Question this week are about comfort books. They were inspired by my weekend of reading when I had a nasty cold. The books and characters that I read did bring me comfort, which makes me wonder --- what is your comfort genre and who are your comfort authors.

Don't forget to change the clocks. Have a great week. If you are celebrating Passover, Happy Passover from all of us!

Carol Fitzgerald (

Read our One to Watch feature here.
ONE TO WATCH: Talks to Jonathan Tropper, and Reviews THE BOOK OF JOE

In this interview with Carol Fitzgerald, Wiley Saichek and reviewer Brandon M. Stickney, Jonathan Tropper talks about the characters in his second novel THE BOOK OF JOE to whom he relates the most, the important themes that emerge from this story and the possible adaptation of the book into a feature film.

THE BOOK OF JOE by Jonathan Tropper (Fiction)
Reviewed by Brandon M. Stickney
Joe Goffman left Bush Falls, Connecticut right after high school and never looked back. Fifteen years later, he wrote a novel that savaged everyone in his hometown --- then became a national bestseller and huge hit movie. Lucky for Joe, he never planned on going home --- until now.

Read our interview with Jonathan Tropper and a review of THE BOOK OF JOE here.
See our Debut Suspense/Thriller feature here.
Debut Suspense/Thriller: One to Watch --- Talks to David Hewson and Reviews A SEASON FOR THE DEAD

In this interview with's Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight team (Carol Fitzgerald, Joe Hartlaub and Wiley Saichek), David Hewson talks about A SEASON FOR THE DEAD, his debut suspense novel featuring detective Nic Costa. He discusses his inspiration for this latest work, what he hopes to accomplish in "The Rome Series" and his busy work schedule.

A SEASON FOR THE DEAD by David Hewson (Suspense)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
A bizarre killing spree in modern Rome provides the backdrop for an electrifying blend of history and drama, sensuality and suspense in this first book in a new series featuring Detective Nic Costa. The victims each had intimately known Sara Farnese, a woman whose silence Costa cannot crack and whose carnal history becomes more lurid and unfathomable with every revelation.

Read our interview with David Hewson and a review of A SEASON FOR THE DEAD.

Read our interview with David Hewson and a review of A SEASON FOR THE DEAD.
Debut Suspense/Thriller: One To Watch --- Our Next Author is Lauren Kelly, author of TAKE ME, TAKE ME WITH YOU

This week we announce our latest Debut Suspense/Thriller Author --- Lauren Kelly, who explores the secret kinship of "soul mates," in a mysterious and demonic love story.

Lara Quade, a disaffected intellectual associated with a prominent Princeton research center, is a young woman whose physical beauty has been scarred in a childhood accident. She is jarred out of the routine of her life by a seemingly chance meeting with a young man named Zedrick Dewe, whom she seems to know somehow as he in turn seems to know her. What is the connection between them? Who has brought them together? And why are they drawn so powerfully to one another? Their encounter leads to a highly charged erotic experience that takes an abrupt turn from tender to violent, predictable to terrifying. And from this initial episode springs a sequence of inexplicable events and revelations so shocking that they lead Lara, long in denial about her life, to uncover the truth about the buried hurt and rage in the tortured past of her family.

Read about Lauren Kelly and TAKE ME, TAKE ME WITH YOU here.
Read our Mystery Mayhem feature here.
Mystery Mayhem: Talks to Rita Mae Brown and Reviews WHISKER OF EVIL

In this interview with reviewer Bethanne Kelly Patrick, Rita Mae Brown talks about the themes, setting and characters in her latest Mrs. Murphy Mystery, WHISKER OF EVIL. She also speaks lovingly of her feline companion (and co-author) Sneaky Pie Brown and expresses her passion for animal welfare.

WHISKER OF EVIL by Rita Mae Brown (Mystery)
Reviewed by Bethanne Kelly Patrick
Tiny Crozet, Virginia confronts a deadly disease and an even deadlier villain in this latest installment in the Mrs. Murphy mystery series. "Harry" Haristeen and her loyal pets are back to battle both evil and injustice, as Harry plots to solve the murders and fight for animal rights --- at the post office.

Read our interview with Rita Mae Brown and our review of WHISKER OF EVIL here.
Batter Up: Baseball Books --- Great Reading for Opening Day

As the commercial says, "Chicks dig the long ball." So do guys, actually. In fact, baseball fans are generally in awe of brawny bashers who can hoist the horsehide out of the park. This year's assortment of baseball titles features a healthy dose of biographies about some of the greatest hitters of all time, as well as a photographic retrospective of what many sports historians consider the greatest era in baseball.

Click here to read our baseball feature.
This Week's Book Reviews and Features

THE DEW BREAKER by Edwidge Danticat (Fiction)
Reviewed by Stephen M. Deusner
Recent news of violence in Haiti lends relevance and even more depth to Edwidge Danticat's devastating third novel THE DEW BREAKER, which plumbs the human capacity for cruelty and the possibility of transformation.

GLORIOUS APPEARING: The End of Days (Left Behind #12) by Tim F. Lahaye and Jerry B. Jenkins (Fiction)
Reviewed by Carol Fitzgerald and excerpted
Thousands of years of human history stained by strife, death and sin come to an end when the King of Glory returns to earth. The conclusion of the seven years of Tribulation covered by the Left Behind series portrays the return of Jesus Christ to earth in both glory and judgment.

DELIVER US FROM EVIL: Defeating Terrorism, Despotism, and Liberalism by Sean Hannity (Current Events)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub and Jesse Kornbluth
Sean Hannity revisits the harsh lessons America has learned in confronting evil throughout history, arguing that the policies of appeasement from the left have been a miserable failure --- and that such thinking has led to the terrorist attacks on U.S. soil in the 1990s and 2001. Joe Hartlaub calls this book "accurate and dependable," while Jesse Kornbluth believes the Fox News Channel host is anything but "fair and balanced."

PENINSULA OF LIES: A True Story of Mysterious Birth and Taboo Love by Edward Ball (Biography)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
This nonfiction mystery centers on a woman named Dawn Langley Simmons, a British writer who lived in Charleston, South Carolina during the 1960s and became the focus of one of the most unusual sexual scandals of the last century.

SHADOW MEN by Jonathon King (Mystery)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
Jonathon King's third Max Freeman novel revolves around the disappearance of three men who were working as laborers on a dangerous project. Eighty years later, a descendant of these men unexpectedly discovers a series of letters, and he calls upon former Philadelphia police officer Max Freeman for answers. But the search for the truth turns violent in a hurry.

FIRESTORM by Iris Johansen (Thriller)
Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum
Iris Johansen's twenty-third book is the story of two people drawn together by tragedy and arson fires. The main characters share a history: each was traumatized and developed new powers after having been in a deep coma for a long period of time.

GUARDIAN OF THE HORIZON by Elizabeth Peters (Historical Mystery)
Reviewed by Kate Ayers
"Aunt" Amelia Peabody and Radcliffe Emerson are off on another adventure, this time back to the Lost Oasis where they encounter many surprises and plenty of danger.

THE ALPINE PURSUIT by Mary Daheim (Mystery)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
In her highly anticipated hardcover debut, editor and publisher Emma Lord must solve the bizarre murder of a young actor who was shot dead during the opening night performance of a play at his college.

MURDER WALKS THE PLANK: A Death on Demand Mystery by Carolyn Hart (Mystery)
Reviewed by Judy Gigstad
Carolyn Hart's fifteenth novel featuring bookstore owner Annie Darling finds our heroine on a luxurious cruise with her husband Max. The good times don't last long, however, as they soon find themselves in the middle of a multiple murder investigation.

Reviewed by Amie Taylor
This followup to Linda Bruckheimer's acclaimed debut DREAMING SOUTHERN tells the story of three sisters and four generations of southern women as they struggle to find their way --- and themselves --- in the world.

Reviewed by Vin Patel
In this dazzling collection of short stories, prize-winning Anna Gavalda writes simply --- and beautifully --- of human beings longing to connect.

Read the reviews and features here.
Read Author Bibliographies here. Search here Read about the Light Wedge reading light here.
Poll: What's Your Comfort Genre?

To us, a "comfort genre" is the one you turn to when you just need to escape. Maybe you are curled up in bed with the flu, or coming to terms with a deal gone wrong at the office or nursing a broken heart. What kind of books do you turn to when you need comfort? (Check as many as apply.)

Chick Lit
Women's Fiction
Business Books

Answer the Poll here.
Read about books that have won awards here. Read our Books Into Movies feature here.
Question of the Week: Who is your favorite "comfort read" author?

Who is your favorite "comfort read" author?

Our next question update will be on April 16th.

Answer the Question of the Week.
Read more about THE BOOK OF JOE here. Read more about MY SISTER'S KEEPER 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 some great prizes: FIVE readers each will win a copy of THE BOOK OF JOE by Jonathan Tropper and MY SISTER'S KEEPER by Jodi Picoult. Please note that our next Word of Mouth update will be on April 16th.

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. We were forced to move to this format after we were inundated with SPAM at the other address. If you would like to reach me, please write Writing any of the respond buttons below will not get to us.

Quick observation --- we have noticed that many of you have been changing your Internet providers in the past month. If you do, please be sure to "take us along" by signing up for the newsletter in your new name!

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

--- Carol Fitzgerald (

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