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June 30, 2006 Newsletter

June 30, 2006

This Week on

Greetings from ThrillerFest in Phoenix Talks to Stephen Spignesi, Author of DIALOGUES

Our Newest One to Watch Author --- Barbara Cleverly, Author of THE PALACE TIGER Beach Bag of Books Contest --- Spotlight on THE MEN I DIDN'T MARRY by Janice Kaplan and Lynn Schnurnberger

Our Newest Suspense/Thriller Author --- David L. Robbins, Author of THE ASSASSINS GALLERY

Featured Suspense/Thriller Author --- M. J. Rose, Author of THE VENUS FIX

Featured Suspense/Thriller Author --- Kay Hooper, Author of SLEEPING WITH FEAR

Featured One to Watch Author --- Robyn Young, Author of BRETHREN

Now in Stores: THE DRESSMAKER by Elizabeth Birkelund Oberbeck

New in Paperback for June

This Week's Reviews and Features Blog

Poll: Summer Reading Lists --- You Weigh In
Question of the Week: Best Required Reading
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

Greetings from ThrillerFest in Phoenix

I am in Phoenix at ThrillerFest, the International Thriller Writers Convention, where I am having a wonderful time meeting up with some of my favorite thriller writers. Last night there was a reception hosted by Steve Berry and a signing of THRILLER by many of its authors. As you may know, this anthology was written by more than 30 of the International Thriller Writers. Many of the stories feature the authors' characters from their previous work, or plots or settings that readers have come to know from their writing. It's a nice way to sample these authors' work. I know that many of the stories that I read made me add more by those writers to my future reading list. You can read more about THRILLER here.

This afternoon's activity will be really fun as I am serving on "the jury" as Jack Reacher, Lee Child's character, is going on trial. Lee will be playing the role of Reacher. Paul Levine is defending him and Michele Martinez is prosecuting. M. Diane Vogt is the judge and James O. Born is the expert witness. Last night I had dinner with Levine and Martinez. Hmmmmm...a juror dining with the lawyer AND prosecutor the night before a trial! This promises to be interesting.

There are lots of other panels to enjoy today and tomorrow. Joe Hartlaub, our Senior Writer and reviewer of all things thriller, is here and we had a nice dinner the other night. I think this is the third time I have seen Joe in all the years he has been writing for us! It's interesting having a virtual staff who you know only via email! Today I am meeting Maggie Harding, another of our reviewers, who lives in the area. I am looking forward to that. Tomorrow night is an awards ceremony where Clive Cussler will be awarded the 2006 ThrillerMaster Award. I will miss this, but am sure Joe will give me a full report. I will write a blog about ThrillerFest next week!

There is three hours time difference between here and the New York office, thus I am clocking some long days dividing my time up between working with them and working here. I have to say that it's nice to take a hike and a water aerobics class and then write the newsletter! 

Every woman has old boyfriends that she remembers, often quite fondly as memory has a way of romanticizing the past. A few weeks ago a woman at my son's softball game was talking about my cousin who she had a wicked crush on in grade school. She told me she still thinks of Nicky who she had not seen since the 6th grade.

As time passes we also often wonder WHY these old relationships did not work. I remember one time an old boyfriend called and as the conversation started I was trying to recall why we fell apart. About fifteen minutes in I started talking about a book that I had read. He said, "I never read." I then thought that this never would have worked and then five minutes later he said something else and I remembered exactly why he was not "the one." I say all this as a prelude to introducing our latest beach bag title, THE MEN I DIDN'T MARRY by Janice Kaplan and Lynn Schnurnberger. Fun reading for those who recall "the ones who got away." As always, we have a terrific beach bag of prizes including two "beachy" films about boyfriends, best friends, summer and fun: Beach Blanket Bingo and How to Stuff a Wild Bikini.

Barbara Cleverly is our newest featured One to Watch Author. She has made a name for herself with works such as THE LAST KASHMIRI ROSE and THE DAMASCENED BLADE and her newest tale of overseas intrigue and mystery, THE PALACE TIGER, hits stores in paperback on July 25th and is destined to be a perfect summer read.

We have 10 Advance Copies of THE PALACE TIGER to share with readers who would like to read the book and comment on it. Interested? Then send your name and mailing address to by Friday, July 7th.

I am pleased to share that Elisabeth Hyde, the author of THE ABORTIONIST'S DAUGHTER, has a new website that asks readers "Who Killed Diana Duprey?" You can see it here.

I am meeting up with my husband and sons in Denver on Saturday night. They are driving out to meet me. I love that they forgot the atlas and thus were buying one at Wal-Mart in Western Pennsylvania! I was thinking...just get on 70 West, but clearly they wanted to see things along the way. Wednesday night they called me from the top of the arch in St. Louis. I picture myself sitting on the curb at Denver International Airport waiting for them Saturday night as my older son wants to see one more presidential or historical attraction along the way.
Have a firecracker 4th...enjoy this long weekend with a book!

Carol Fitzgerald (

List of titles reviewed and featured on June 30th.

List of titles reviewed and featured on June 23rd.

Click here to read more about THRILLER. Talks to Stephen Spignesi, Author of DIALOGUES

New York Times bestselling author Stephen Spignesi spoke with's Carol Fitzgerald and Joe Hartlaub about DIALOGUES, his debut suspense/thriller. In this interview, Spignesi describes his role of writing this book as that of an observing transcriptionist, and discusses the unusual duality present in today's society regarding euthanasia and capital punishment. He also explains how he structured the novel, and names real-life inspirations behind his characters and plot elements.

DIALOGUES by Stephen Spignesi (Thriller)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
In this electrifying debut, Stephen Spignesi reinvents the psychological thriller with a chilling tale of mounting intensity. Ingeniously crafted and crackling with suspense, here is a puzzle within a puzzle, at the center of which stands a hauntingly enigmatic young woman whose story will challenge everything you think you know....

Click here to read our interview with Stephen Spignesi and a review of DIALOGUES.

Our Newest One to Watch Author --- Barbara Cleverly, Author of THE PALACE TIGER

Barbara Cleverly is our newest featured One to Watch Author. She has made a name for herself with works such as THE LAST KASHMIRI ROSE and THE DAMASCENED BLADE and her newest tale of overseas intrigue and mystery, THE PALACE TIGER, hits stores in paperback on July 25th and is sure to be a breathless summer read.

We have 10 Advance Copies of THE PALACE TIGER to share with readers who would like to read the book and comment on it. Interested? Then send your name and mailing address to by Friday, July 7th.

In her award-winning mysteries --- from THE LAST KASHMIRI ROSE to THE DAMASCENED BLADE --- Barbara Cleverly paints a dazzling portrait of the British Raj, infusing it with intrigue, enchantment, and menace. And in her detective hero Joe Sandilands, war veteran and Scotland Yard policeman, Cleverly gives us a gallant guide to this paradise lost. Having seen humankind at its worst, now, in a lush royal kingdom, Sandilands will see it at its most dangerously complex....

Click here to read more about Barbara Cleverly and THE PALACE TIGER. Beach Bag of Books Contest --- Spotlight on THE MEN I DIDN'T MARRY by Janice Kaplan and Lynn Schnurnberger

Every week from May 19th through August 25th a different title in the Second Annual Beach Bag of Books promotion will be featured with a review and contest prize --- a beach bag stocked with that book, plus summertime essentials that tie in to its theme. Five FABULOUS beach bags will be given away each week, as well as five copies of the book to additional winners.

Our seventh spotlighted title is THE MEN I DIDN'T MARRY by Janice Kaplan and Lynn Schnurnberger, a heartfelt and hilarious story about the ones who got away and moving forward by looking back. In our ex-boyfriend themed Beach Bag, winners will receive a towel with a fun racing-car pattern, "Breath 24/7" self-tanner from Bath & Body Works, a pink and orange candle, a striped journal, colorful beach-ready flip flops, flip-flop cocktail napkins, "Tahiti Sweetie" body lotion and the two "beachy" films about boyfriends, best friends, summer and fun: Beach Blanket Bingo and How to Stuff a Wild Bikini --- as well as a copy of the book. We have five to give away, as well as five additional prizes of copies of THE MEN I DIDN'T MARRY. To enter to win answer the question below:

What is Bill's new favorite band?

You can find the answer by reading an excerpt here:

THE MEN I DIDN'T MARRY by Janice Kaplan and Lynn Schnurnberger (Fiction)
Reviewed by Hillary Wagy
Bellini's, Bendel's, Birkin bags, and a New York social event titled BYOB (Bring Your Old Boyfriend) are just some of the best ways to get over an old love and pursue THE MEN I DIDN'T MARRY. Move over Annette Funicello --- Hallie Lawrence Pierpont's version of Beach Blanket Bingo (1965) requires a cool dip in the ocean, sans bikini.

Click here to read all the details of our Summer Beach Bag Contest.


Our Newest Suspense/Thriller Author --- David L. Robbins, Author of THE ASSASSINS GALLERY

Our newest featured Suspense/Thriller author is David L. Robbins, New York Times bestselling author of WAR OF THE RATS, LIBERATION ROAD and LAST CITADEL. His newest thriller, THE ASSASSINS GALLERY, comes out July 25th and is a breathlessly-paced historical thriller, with an ending you'll never see coming.

We have 20 Advance Copies of THE ASSASSINS GALLERY to share with readers who would like to read the book and comment on it. Interested? Then send your name and mailing address to by Friday, July 7th.

(Please note the slight difference in the mailbox address as we had two Suspense/Thriller ARC giveaways running simultaneously)

New Year's Eve, 1945. The assassin steps out of the Atlantic Ocean in the middle of a raging nor'easter. Cool and efficient, she's a weapon of war superbly trained in the ancient arts of subterfuge and murder. And even though she's outnumbered, she's got one major advantage --- No one knows she's coming.

Professor Mikhal Lammeck's specialty is the history and weaponry of assassins. But even Lammeck is caught off guard when the Secret Service urgently requests his help: A gruesome double murder and suicide in Massachusetts has set off alarm bells. It's only a hunch, but all too soon Lammeck suspects the unthinkable.

In the waning days of the war, someone wants one last shot to alter history. An assassin is headed to Washington, D.C., to kill the most important soldier of them all: the U.S. commander in chief. As Lammeck and a killer at the top of her profession circle the streets of the capital in the hunt for FDR, one of them will attempt to kill the world's most powerful man; the other, to save him. And between them, for an instant, history will hang in the balance...

Click here to read more about David L. Robbins and THE ASSASSINS GALLERY.


Featured Suspense/Thriller Author --- M. J. Rose, Author of THE VENUS FIX

We are thrilled to be featuring M. J. Rose as one of our featured Suspense/Thriller authors. Already an established voice in the genre, M. J. Rose is the author of the previous novels LIP SERVICE, IN FIDELITY, FLESH TONES, SHEET MUSIC and THE HALO EFFECT. Her newest psychologically chilling page-turner THE VENUS FIX, the latest in the Morgan Snow series, hits stores on July 1st.

-Click here to see our Advance Reader Copy winners.
-Click here to read M. J. Rose's backlist.
-Click here to read a new excerpt from THE VENUS FIX.

More about THE VENUS FIX:
International bestselling author M. J. Rose returns with the third thrilling book in her Butterfield Institute series featuring sex therapist/reluctant crime solver Dr. Morgan Snow. THE VENUS FIX follows Dr. Snow as she strives to make the connection between murdered online Web cam sex performers and her clients.

As one of New York's top sex therapists, Dr. Morgan Snow sees everything from the abused to the depraved. From high-profile clients with twisted obsessions to courageous survivors, the Butterfield Institute is the sanctuary to heal battered souls.

Morgan's newest patient is a powerful, influential man --- secretly addicted to watching Internet Web cam pornography. But he's not alone in those desires.  Morgan's also working with a group of high school teenagers equally and dangerously obsessed with these real-time fantasies. Fantasies that are all too accessible.

Click here to read more about M. J. Rose and THE VENUS FIX.

Featured Suspense/Thriller Author --- Kay Hooper, Author of SLEEPING WITH FEAR

Kay Hooper, the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of HUNTING FEAR, CHILL OF FEAR, TOUCHING EVIL and the Shadows trilogy, is one of our featured Suspense/Thriller authors. Her mesmerizing newest page-turner is SLEEPING WITH FEAR, which hits shelves on July 18th and is sure to send chills down your spine.

-Click here to see our Advance Reading Copy Winners.
-Click here to read an excerpt from SLEEPING WITH FEAR.
-Click here to read
Fast Facts about Kay Hooper.
-Click here to read Kay Hooper's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for SLEEPING WITH FEAR.

Fear has never been so close....

New York Times bestselling author Kay Hooper returns with a relentless thriller that brings her readers face-to-face with fear itself. In this terrifying new novel, a psychic special agent finds herself caught up in a tangled web of secrets, lies . . . and evil.

Riley Crane woke up fully dressed, a gun under her pillow, and covered in blood. Even more frightening, she didn't remember what happened the night before. In fact, she barely remembered the previous three weeks.

Click here to read more about Kay Hooper and SLEEPING WITH FEAR.

Featured One to Watch Author --- Robyn Young, Author of BRETHREN

Robyn Young, author of BRETHREN --- an epic and atmospheric historical tale --- is one of our featured One to Watch authors. Loaded with adventure, intrigue, politics and romance, BRETHREN, which hits stores on July 11th, is already garnering praise from critics and fellow authors.

-Click here to see our Advance Copy winners.
-Click here to read a new excerpt from BRETHREN.

More about BRETHREN:
When Will Campbell joins the most powerful organization in Europe, the Order of the Knights Templar, he is thrown into a world of intrigue. Apprenticed to the foul-tempered scholar Everard, he must try to make sense of many things: his own past, the dangerous mystery that surrounds Everard, and his feelings for Elwen, the strong-willed young woman whose path seems linked with his own.

From the filthy backstreets of Paris and London to the burning plains of Syria, BRETHREN culminates on the eve of the last Crusade. With page-turning suspense and breathtaking battle scenes, Robyn Young portrays a rich cast of characters, reflecting on each side greed, ambition and religious fanaticism, as well as courage, love and faith.

Click here to read more about Robyn Young and BRETHREN.

Now in Stores: THE DRESSMAKER by Elizabeth Birkelund Oberbeck

With her mother working for Diana Vreeland at Harper's Bazaar, Elizabeth Birkelund Oberbeck was served fashion for breakfast, lunch and dinner while growing up in Manhattan. Later she worked in book and magazine publishing, contributing a regular column to Cosmopolitan. Now, with a charming book that draws on these experiences, Elizabeth celebrates the launch of her debut novel, THE DRESSMAKER. 

A humble French dressmaker in the small town of Senlis, Claude Reynaud falls instantly in love with Valentine de Verlay, the lovely engaged lady of Parisian society who comes to him to design her wedding dress.

A Book Sense Pick and Literary Guild Featured Alternate, THE DRESSMAKER is perfectly suited for reading groups, is "reminiscent of a Jane Austen novel" (Library Journal) and is "an engaging dissection of high fashion and those who determine its whimsical directions." - Booklist

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE DRESSMAKER.

Click here for more about THE DRESSMAKER.


New in Paperback for June

June's roundup of New in Paperback titles includes OVER HER DEAD BODY, a whodunit by Cosmopolitan editor-in-chief Kate White that takes readers inside the cutthroat world of celebrity magazines; LOOKING FOR PEYTON PLACE, Barbara Delinsky's novel about small-town secrets and deadly corruption --- inspired by the legendary author of PEYTON PLACE; THE BITCH POSSE, debut novelist Martha O'Connor's dark story of three very different best friends whose lives change forever on one fateful night in high school; MAYBE A MIRACLE, Brian Strause's first work of fiction about an American family transfixed by a series of mysterious events; GODS IN ALABAMA by Joshilyn Jackson, a gripping southern tale that centers on a unique, rough-around-the-edges heroine and a dead body; and 1776, a stirring book in which two-time Pulitzer Prize winner David McCullough tells the story of those who marched with General George Washington in the year of the Declaration of Independence.

Click here to read our New in Paperback feature.

This Week's Reviews and Features

PROOF POSITIVE by Phillip Margolin (Thriller)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
In Phillip Margolin's shocking and enthralling thriller, the father-daughter defense attorney team of Frank and Amanda Jaffe matches wits with a brilliant but deranged CSI technician who is more dangerous than the defendants he seeks to unjustly convict.

-Click here to read an excerpt from PROOF POSITIVE.

THE TRAITOR by Stephen Coonts (Thriller)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
Jake Grafton, the new CIA operations officer in charge of Europe, believes that the director of French Intelligence has a secret agent among the leaders of al Qaeda and the Americans want access to that intelligence --- yet the director denies it. Trying to ferret out the truth, Grafton and CIA officer Tommy Carmellini are quickly entangled in a mare's nest of espionage, deception and murder.

NO GOOD DEEDS: A Tess Monaghan Novel by Laura Lippman (Mystery)
Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon
P.I. Tess Monaghan is damned if she does and damned if she doesn't when her boyfriend Crow welcomes a homeless teen into their home. Little does Crow know that this kind-hearted act will unleash federal agents with threats of felony charges onto Tess unless she releases the boy's name. She, however, must protect his identity because, while he has information on the unsolved murder of a federal prosecutor, his life is also in danger.

BLOW THE HOUSE DOWN by Robert Baer (Thriller)
Reviewed by Judy Gigstad
Veteran CIA officer Max Waller has long been obsessed with the abduction and murder of his Agency mentor. He has a photograph of the man standing alongside Osama bin Laden and a mysterious westerner whose face has been cut out. When the first official to whom Max shows the photo winds up dead, the out-of-favor agent suddenly finds himself the target of dark forces within the intelligence community.

DEAD CENTER by David Rosenfelt (Mystery)
Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman
Andy Carpenter's longtime love has arrested a young man for murder, though she believes he's innocent. He's the son of her oldest friend and she's come to Andy to find him representation. Andy follows her to Wisconsin where he must explore a secretive religious community that seems to hold the truth about what really happened to the deceased.

WHITE SHADOW by Ace Atkins (Crime Fiction)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
The murder of a former criminal kingpin in 1955 and its investigation has repercussions not only for a police detective and a crime reporter but also for people and places far removed from that era.

JPOD by Douglas Coupland (Fiction)
Reviewed by Rob Cline
Douglas Coupland, most famous for his 1991 novel GENERATION X, once again sets out to capture the zeitgeist in JPOD. This latest work harkens back to his fourth novel, MICROSERFS, which hit shelves 10 years ago, as a group of video game programmers seek deeper meaning in their technology-driven lives.

TOUCHY SUBJECTS: Stories by Emma Donoghue (Fiction/Short Stories)
Reviewed by Alexis Burling
In this sparkling collection of 19 stories, the bestselling author of SLAMMERKIN returns to contemporary affairs, exposing the private dilemmas that result from some of our most public controversies. With characters old, young, straight, gay and simply confused, Emma Donoghue dazzles with her range and her ability to touch lightly but delve deeply into the human condition.

THE OBSERVATIONS by Jane Harris (Historical Fiction)
Reviewed by Kate Ayers
A young Irish girl takes a job at a rundown Scottish manor in the 1860s and finds a perplexing mix of love, fear, madness, mystery --- and possibly a lingering spirit. This powerful story of secrets and suspicions, hidden histories and mysterious disappearances is at once compelling and heartwarming, showing the redemptive power of loyalty and friendship.

AND YOU KNOW YOU SHOULD BE GLAD: A True Story of Lifelong Friendship by Bob Greene (Memoir)
Reviewed by Marge Fletcher
Growing up in Bexley, Ohio, Bob Greene and his four best friends --- Allen, Chuck, Dan and Jack --- were inseparable. Years later, Bob returns to Bexley to be with Jack, who is terminally ill. Tremendously moving, heart-stirring and honest, AND YOU KNOW YOU SHOULD BE GLAD is an uplifting exploration of the power of friendship to uphold us, sustain us, and ultimately set us free.

INTO MY OWN: The Remarkable People and Events That Shaped a Life by Roger Kahn (Memoir)
Reviewed by Ron Kaplan
Roger Kahn, one of America's foremost sportswriters and the celebrated author of THE BOYS OF SUMMER, has again written a book for the hearts and minds of his readers. Chronicling his own life, INTO MY OWN is Kahn's reflection on the eight people who shaped him as a man, a father and a writer.

MISS AMERICAN PIE: A Diary of Love, Secrets and Growing up in the '70s by Margaret Sartor (Memoir)
Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller
Told through her journals from 1972 to 1977, author Margaret Sartor reminisces about her teenage life in her small southern hometown and how these experiences, however painful, humiliating or hilarious, shaped the person she is today.

Click here to read our reviews and features. Blog

Read the Blog

May 5th Entries:
The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books - Part 1 - Getting There, The Mystery Bookstore and the Book Prizes
Los Angeles Times Festival of Books - Part 2 - Saturday's Panels and The Rockbottom Remainders
Los Angeles Times Festival of Books - Part 3 - Sundays Panels and The Redeye

May 4th Entry:
Mysterious Doings

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: Summer Reading Lists --- You Weigh In
Did you have a summer reading list when you were in school?
Not sure.

Do you think summer reading lists are valuable and necessary for kids and teens?
Yes, I think they are an important way to keep kids reading and stretching their minds during the summer.
No, I think they take the 'fun' out of summer reading.
I think it depends on the amount of books/length of books a school requires its students to read.
I am not sure what I think of summer reading lists.

Do you think kids should be able to choose the books on their summer reading lists?
Not sure
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: Best Required Reading

Question: What was your favorite book that you had to read for school?

Please note our Question of the Week will update July 7th.

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 HIT PARADE by Lawrence Block and SANDCASTLES by Luanne Rice

Please note that our next Word of Mouth update will be on July 7th.


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 Writing any of the respond buttons below will not get to us.

Those who are subscribed to the newsletter by June 30th, 2006 automatically are entered in our Monthly Newsletter Contest. This month one winner will be selected to win the following five books:BLUE SCREEN by Robert B. Parker, THE COLD MOON by Jeffery Deaver, KILLER DREAMS by Iris Johansen, MOCKINGBIRD: A Portrait of Harper Lee, by Charles J. Shields and TWELVE SHARP by Janet Evanovich. Last month's winner was Lorinda from Saugerties, NY who won AT RISK by Patricia Cornwell, CAGE OF STARS by Jacquelyn Mitchard, KILLER INSTINCT by Joseph Finder, THE MAN OF MY DREAMS by Curtis Sittenfeld and POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS: True Stories by Augusten Burroughs.

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