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June 4, 2004 Newsletter June 4, 2004
This Week on
Chicago Chicago And Books Into Movies: A Historical Tale Talks To Edna Buchanan, Author of COLD CASE SQUAD
Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight: Tami Hoag, Author of KILL THE MESSENGER and Perri O'Shaughnessy, Author of UNLUCKY IN LAW Talks To Linwood Barclay, Author of BAD MOVE Talks To Christopher Fowler, Author of FULL DARK HOUSE
ERAGON by Christopher Paolini
This Week's Book Reviews and Features
Poll: Weigh In and You Could Win ALEXANDER HAMILTON by Ron Chernow or THE NARROWS by Michael Connelly
Question of the Week: Talk to us about book clubs like Book of the Month Club
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: Are you in a book club?
Past Question of the Week: What book would you most like to discuss with a group?
Chicago Chicago And Books Into Movies: A Historical Tale
I am tapping out this newsletter a couple of days early this week as by the time it arrives I will be in Chicago at the annual Book Expo America Conference. Nine years ago I attended this event for the first time when we were planning I spent the first hour telling publishers and authors about a great new site we were launching on the Internet about books with a goal to connect readers and authors. (Keep in mind that this was about six months after Amazon first launched.) The more I outlined our plans, the more that people looked at me like I needed to be hauled away in a straitjacket for having a really looney idea. Books were sold in stores. Authors appeared and read in stores. What was I talking about? I called my business partner, told him I was going to collect as many catalogs (these showcase the books for the upcoming season) as I could and then I was going to the movies since it was clear that no one was going to take us seriously till we were live.

Today we have close to 600,000 unique visitors accessing our websites each month (there are now 7) and more than 40,000 newsletter subscribers. After all this time I still do not take anything for granted. So thanks to each of you for reading.

We have a very full lineup this week --- no short week around here, folks --- with three interviews and 15 reviews. I spent hammock time last weekend with one of the books that we are reviewing, THE RULE OF FOUR, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The book is set at Princeton. Our reviewer, Roberta O'Hara is very familiar with Princeton so I enjoyed reading her comments about it in her review this week. I'd like to take a moment to thank our reviewers. Not sure how many of you know our writers are all volunteers. Each week they wow me with the quality of their writing and their passion for books.

If you were traveling last week, don't forget to take a look at our special game that was designed for us by Jim Gladstone, author of a book just out called GLADSTONE'S GAMES TO GO. See details above on how you can enter a contest associated with the game! This is the book to buy NOW to get ready for summer car and plane trips, as well as those idyllic afternoons at the beach, lake or pool.

Also, if you participate in a reading group don't forget to consider registering your group with us at Click on the graphic above for more details.

We've updated our Books Into Movies feature. A good story can be told and re-told, and the proof is in the number of summer movies that are based on books this year. Among the favorites you can look forward to seeing on the big screen now and in the months to come include Shrek 2, Troy, The Notebook, The Stepford Wives, and of course, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. And if you're in the mood for the original, click on the Amazon link beneath the film headings and check out the books.

Okay, time to finish packing. My book for the plane --- BREACH OF TRUST by D.W. Buffa that Joe gave great marks to last week. I look forward to sharing the latest titles with you that I find when I am in Chicago. Hmmmm...wonder if I will have time to catch Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban!

Have a great week.

Carol Fitzgerald (
Read our Books Into Movies feature here. Talks To Edna Buchanan, Author of COLD CASE SQUAD
Pulitzer Prize-winning crime reporter Edna Buchanan, author of COLD CASE SQUAD, talks to's Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight Team (Carol Fitzgerald, Joe Hartlaub and Wiley Saichek) about her inspiration for the "Cold Case Squad" series, as well as her strong personal attachment to her characters. She also discusses in great detail the workload of real-life cold case squads, her writing routine, and the possibility of adapting her fiction for television or film.

COLD CASE SQUAD by Edna Buchanan (Mystery)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
A man and a woman are shot dead at a strip club in Miami Beach. A few hours later, an explosion in a garage rocks a child's birthday party and burns a father of three to death. The murders go unsolved and the fire is chalked up to an accident. But was it really an accident?
Read our interview with Edna Buchanan and a review of COLD CASE SQUAD here.
Read more about Tami Hoag and KILL THE MESSENGER here. Read more about Perri O'Shaughnessy and UNLUCKY IN LAW here.
Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight: Tami Hoag, Author of KILL THE MESSENGER and Perri O'Shaughnessy, Author of UNLUCKY IN LAW
Tami Hoag, author of KILL THE MESSENGER, is our June Suspense/Thriller Author. KILL THE MESSENGER hits bookstores July 6th.

New This Week for Tami Hoag:
-Read an excerpt from KILL THE MESSENGER
-See our Advance Reading Copy Winners

Previous Weeks:
-Read about DARK HORSE (mass market paperback, on sale 6/1)
-Read more about Tami Hoag
-Read Fast Facts about Tami Hoag
-Browse through Hoag's bibliography
-Read critical praise for Hoag's books

At the end of a long day, bike messenger Jace Damon has one last drop to make. But en route to delivering a package for one of L.A.'s sleaziest defense attorneys, he's run down by a car, chased through back alleys and shot at. He narrowly manages to escape with his life --- and a package someone would kill for. Now he finds himself suspected of murder, and he's on the run from both the cops and a brutal killer. The key to saving himself and his ten-year-old brother may be the envelope with a message no one wants delivered: the truth.

Perri O'Shaughnessy, author of UNLUCKY IN LAW, is our latest featured Suspense/Thriller author. UNLUCKY IN LAW will be in stores July 13th.

New This Week for Perri O'Shaughnessy:
-Read Fast Facts about Perri O'Shaughnessy
-Read critical praise for O'Shaughnessy's books
-Browse through Perri O'Shaughnessy's bibliography
-Enter to win one of 20 advance copies of UNLUCKY IN LAW by sending an email to with your name AND mailing address by Friday, June 11th. PLEASE specify that you want to read UNLUCKY IN LAW since we also are using this mailbox for Tami Hoag requests.

Previous Weeks:
-Read about UNLUCKY IN LAW
-Read more about Perri O'Shaughnessy

Nina Reilly takes on the most dangerous and difficult case of her career in New York Times bestselling author Perri O'Shaughnessy's latest thriller. An ingenious blend of forensic science, history, and gripping suspense, UNLUCKY IN LAW pits the tough but compassionate attorney against the most unbeatable adversary of all: the law.
Read our Suspense/Thriller feature here. Talks To Linwood Barclay, Author of BAD MOVE's Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight Team (Carol Fitzgerald, Joe Hartlaub and Wiley Saichek) recently interviewed Linwood Barclay, author of BAD MOVE. In their discussion Barclay explains his character choices and his decision to venture into the mystery genre. He also talks about life in suburbia and the challenges of juggling the jobs of humor columnist and fiction writer.

BAD MOVE by Linwood Barclay (Thriller)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
Zack Walker is a safety-obsessed father who quickly discovers that his suburban neighborhood is not a crime-free paradise. Crime escalates from petty thievery and drugs to murder, and Zack's paranoid tendencies get him implicated in a crime. To protect his family --- and his freedom --- he heads off to track down the killer himself.

Read our interview with Linwood Barclay here. Talks To Christopher Fowler, Author of FULL DARK HOUSE
Christopher Fowler talks to Joe Hartlaub and Wiley Saichek about FULL DARK HOUSE, the first book in a riveting new series. Fowler explains how he weaves the rich history of London in the 1940s into his story and how growing up in the city has influenced his work. He also addresses the future of protagonists Arthur Bryant and John May and shares his experiences as the creative director of a film and design company.

FULL DARK HOUSE by Christopher Fowler (Mystery & Detective)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
This is the first book in a riveting new series featuring Arthur Bryant and John May, two of Britain's oldest detectives, who have been partnered in the London Police Department's Peculiar Crimes Unit for over sixty years. Here, Christopher Fowler tells the story of both their first and last case --- and how this crime-fighting odd couple changed the face of detection.
Click here for our interview with Christopher Fowler and a review of FULL DARK HOUSE.
ERAGON by Christopher Paolini
ERAGON by Christopher Paolini celebrates 40 weeks on the New York Times Chapter Book List! The deluxe edition of ERAGON--which hits stores August 11th--contains a chapter excerpt from the next book ELDEST, a foldout map, new art, and a guide to ancient languages!

Sign up for the Random House Alagaësia and Strange Lands Newsletter in the month of June and enter to win an autographed copy of the book! Click on the link below to sign up for the newsletters.

Visit the Official ERAGON Fan Center for exclusive content and sweepstakes.

"An authentic work of great talent." -The New York Times

"Christopher Paolini make[s] literary magic with his precocious debut." -People
Click here for more about ERAGON and to sign up for the newsletters.
This Week's Book Reviews and Features
FATHER JOE: The Man Who Saved My Soul by Tony Hendra
Reviewed by Jesse Kornbluth
Tony Hendra was an English schoolboy when a romance with a married woman led him to a big-eared Benedictine priest. Father Joe comforted the teenager, starting a friendship that spanned four decades. In Father Joe, Hendra tells the remarkable story of "the man who saved my life."

THE RULE OF FOUR by Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason (Thriller)
Reviewed by Roberta O'Hara
An Ivy League murder, a mysterious coded manuscript, and the secrets of a Renaissance prince collide memorably in THE RULE OF FOUR --- a brilliant work of fiction that weaves together suspense and scholarship, high art and unimaginable treachery.

THE ENEMY by Lee Child (Thriller)
Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum
In his latest novel, Lee Child shifts time and places his hero in the past. He uses this device in an effort to answer what his fans want to know: "What made him the way he is? And what on earth was he like way back when he was still in the army?" Major Jack Reacher races to solve multiple murders that no one seems to want to acknowledge.

KILLER SMILE by Lisa Scottoline (Mystery)
Reviewed by Kate Ayers
Mary DiNunzio, one of a sassy group of Philadelphia lawyers, takes on what should have been a simple case involving the estate of an Italian immigrant confined to a WWII internment camp. But when the threats start coming in, the case becomes anything but simple.

BERGDORF BLONDES by Plum Sykes (Chick Lit)
Reviewed by Amie Taylor
If your biggest decision each day is more serious than which designer ensemble to wear, which chic bag to carry and which high society invitations to accept and which to reject, you may want to plunge into a few hours of hedonistic escapism and out-and-out laughter by enjoying a life totally foreign to your own in BERGDORF BLONDES.

Reviewed by Rob Cline
David Sedaris returns to his deliriously twisted domain: hilarious childhood dramas infused with melancholy, the gulf of misunderstanding that exists between people of different nations or members of the same family, and the poignant divide between one's best hopes and most common deeds.

LOADED DICE by James Swain (Suspense)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
Tony Valentine is a gaming consultant who is retained by casinos to identify grifters and the methods that they employ. But when his son, who was attending card-counting school, goes missing, Valentine flies to Las Vegas --- and lands inside a treacherous game with higher stakes than he has ever encountered before.

THE MOTHER KNOT by Kathryn Harrison (Memoir)
Reviewed by Kathy Weissman
Kathryn Harrison was possessed by her mother's memory the way poor Linda Blair was taken over by the devil, and in a sense, THE MOTHER KNOT is the story of an exorcism. A kind of follow-up to THE KISS, Harrison's memoir of incest, this book is provocative as well --- but in a different way.

GRACE AND POWER: The Private World of the Kennedy White House by Sally Bedell Smith (Biography/History)
Reviewed by Brandon M. Stickney
New York Times bestselling author Sally Bedell Smith takes us inside the Kennedy White House to reveal details about the First Couple's marriage, friendships, political associations and, in JFK's case, multiple love affairs.

BRICK LANE by Monica Ali (Fiction)
Reviewed by Shannon Bloomstran
After an arranged marriage to Chanu, a man twenty years older, Nazneen is taken to London, leaving her home and heart in the Bangladeshi village where she was born. She submits, as she must, to Fate and devotes herself to her husband and daughters. Yet to her amazement, she begins an affair with a handsome young radical, and her erotic awakening throws her old certainties into chaos.

TEN DAYS TO D-DAY: Citizens and Soldiers on the Eve of the Invasion by David Stafford (History)
Reviewed by Curtis Edmonds
In honor of the 60th anniversary of D-Day, David Stafford has written a riveting account of the Normandy invasion, drawing on previously unpublished diaries and letters.

THE CADDIE by J. Michael Veron (Fiction)
Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman
From a jail cell in Baton Rouge to the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, gifted but troubled golfer Bobby Reeves and his enigmatic caddie Stewart Jones travel a remarkable path to great courses --- and to redemption.
Read the reviews and features here.
Read Author Bibliographies here. Search here Read about the Light Wedge reading light here.
Poll: Weigh In and You Could Win ALEXANDER HAMILTON by Ron Chernow or THE NARROWS by Michael Connelly
This week's poll gives you the opportunity to give feedback that can influence the direction of some future book clubs for readers. To thank you for your participation, we will select a winner from those who enter the poll to win either THE NARROWS by Michael Connelly or ALEXANDER HAMILTON by Ron Chernow. It will be your choice. To enter just answer YES to the second question and give us your e-mail address. Thanks!

Do you buy books online?

What is the key determinant for you in selecting an online book seller?
The lowest overall price
Free shipping
Great customer service
I do not buy books online.

What kind of information would you like to get from your online bookseller? (Check as many as apply.)
Book reviews provided by independent sources
Personalized recommendations
Book excerpts, first chapters etc.
Author background
Author Q&A

Have you ever belonged to a book club like Book of the Month Club,
Doubleday, Scholastic?
I currently belong.
I once belonged.
I have never belonged to a book club like this.

What keeps you from joining a book club like this (e.g. Book of the Month, Doubleday, Scholastic)? (Check as many as apply.)
High shipping and handling charges
They send me books I really don't want
Their prices are too high
I receive too many mailings from them.
I currently do belong to one of these clubs.

Would you be interested in signing up for a service that automatically sends you your favorite author's new releases - upon publication date - for at least 50% off list price?
Yes, definitely
Yes, if the price is right
No, I might not like all the books my favorite author writes. I would need
to look at it first.
No, definitely not
Answer the Poll here.
Browse through forthcoming books here. Read about books that have won awards here. Harry Potter - Brought to You by
Question of the Week: Talk to us about book clubs like Book of the Month Club
What would it take for you to sign up for a book club like Book of the Month Club, Doubleday, Scholastic, etc?

Our next question update will be on June 11th.
Answer the Question of the Week.
Read more about BLACK by Christopher Whitcomb here. Read more about THE TAKING by Dean Koontz 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 TAKING by Dean Koontz and BLACK by Christopher Whitcomb. Please note that our next Word of Mouth update will be on June 11th.
Need more details about Word of Mouth? Click here.

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--- Carol Fitzgerald (

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