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September 28, 2007 Newsletter

September 28, 2007

This Week on

Fordham Memories Sparked...Times Two.... Talks to the Authors of THE CHOPIN MANUSCRIPT, The International Thriller Writers' Serial Book Project

Special Feature: Spotlight on Jane Austen

New Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: J.D. Robb Celebrates the Release of the 25th Book in Her In Death Series

Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: John Hart, Author of DOWN RIVER

Featured One to Watch Author: Joshua Henkin, Author of MATRIMONY

Featured One to Watch Author: Peter Pezzelli, Author of ITALIAN LESSONS

Featured One to Watch Author: Shobhan Bantwal, Author of THE DOWRY BRIDE

Win an Advance Reading Copy of ULTRAVIOLET by Nancy Bush

Now in Stores: ISABELLA MOON by Laura Benedict

Now in Stores: MENDING FENCES by Sherryl Woods

Now in Stores: BEHIND CLOSED DOORS by Tara Taylor Quinn

New in Paperback for September

This Week's Reviews and Features

Poll, Question and Word of Mouth

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

Historical Fiction Promotion

One to Watch Promotion
Books Into Movies
Bestseller Lists
Coming Soon
New in Paperback

Summer Beach Bag of Books Promotion

Fordham Memories Sparked...Times Two....

Interesting week as I was on call for jury duty in New Jersey. My number finally came up on Wednesday, and I walked into the courthouse waiting for the "bomp bomp" sound that I hear on "Law & Order." The jury waiting room was crowded with potential jurors, most of whom were reading. I was thinking of handing out my business cards with all of our URLs on them, but froze in my chair when a police officer walked by. My overactive imagination had me writing a plot of getting arrested at jury duty for soliciting.

We watched a video about the legal process. It was very overacted. I think that they should have used clips from "Law & Order" to illustrate their points; it would have been more compelling, and after all, we all know the legal system from TV and books anyway. As I live in a county where there is very little crime, we were dismissed in a few hours after the four possible trials settled out of court.

At our house we have been watching "The War" on PBS this week. I think the opening night stat that hit me the hardest was the one where I learned --- and I do confess that I did not know this --- that 50 million to 60 million people were killed during World War II, most of them civilians. I confess that while I knew there were more than six million killed in the Holocaust, I was not aware of this equally staggering number. I found myself thinking about the potential talents of those who were killed and how different this world might have been had they survived. Lots of chatter about this series from colleagues and friends, and I found myself thumbing through the book all week.

Out this week is THE COLDEST WINTER by David Halberstam, which addresses America and the Korean War. I had a very interesting journalism course when I was in college at Fordham where we read a number of books about Journalism in the '60s. It was a great class where we read a book a week and wrote a paper about it. THE BEST AND THE BRIGHTEST by Halberstam was one of the titles that stood out in my mind when I think about this class. Sadly, as many of you may know, Halberstam was killed last April in a car accident on his way to conduct an interview for an upcoming book. His passing is a huge loss. A number of bestselling authors, including Robert Caro, Joan Didion, Nathaniel Philbrick, Gay Talese, Frank Deford and Frank McCourt, will be touring on the "Halberstam Tribute Tour," where they will promote this book on his behalf. There was a great piece in the New York Times in late August about how these authors came together because Halberstam always had given so much to so many. You can read tour details here.

My Fordham days were on my mind again when I was reading Alan Alda's new one, THINGS I OVERHEARD WHILE TALKING TO MYSELF. It's a terrific look at the questions we all ponder. "What do I value?" and "What is the good life?." Alda is a Fordham graduate, and he was the speaker at my college graduation. It was 1978 and having him as the speaker was beyond cool. Somewhere in a box are some photos I took that day. I remember the speech being perfect though I cannot recall one line from it now. I do remember that he did not pander to us; he made us no promises. I just remember leaving feeling empowered by what he said, which was a lovely thing.

Our latest featured Suspense/Thriller author is J.D. Robb, who celebrates the publication of her 25th (!) title in the bestselling In Death series with CREATION IN DEATH, which will be released on November 6th. I read my first J. D. Robb book about six months ago, and it sent me back to the shelves to find more. The stories are set in New York City in 2058 and are written through the eyes of Eve Dallas, a detective with the New York City Police and Safety Department. Those of you who ponder the future, but also like to be thrilled, will love these well-plotted books with strong characters. Robb, whose real name is Nora Roberts, always impresses me with her drive. She writes every day, no matter where she is. These books are thrillers, so those of you who might shy away thinking this is soft romance, be aware that is not the case. There is an edge here that will keep you reading more. We have 20 copies of CREATION IN DEATH to give away to readers who would like to preview the book and comment about it. If you are interested, please fill out this form by Friday, October 12th.

We have advance readers' comments for HEARTSICK by Chelsea Cain, THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak and RED SEA by Emily Benedek. Also, Joseph Finder, author of POWER PLAY, responds to readers' questions this week. You can read his replies here. We are happy to share that another of our featured One to Watch authors, Sarah Addison Allen, the author of GARDEN SPELLS, hits the New York Times bestseller list at number seven this week! We love news like that.

A book that I just loved and told you about months ago, NO TIME FOR GOODBYE by Linwood Barclay, is reviewed this week by Joe Hartlaub, who clearly enjoyed it as much as me. Linwood and I have had some nice chats at various conferences, all of which were delightful, thus sharing this one with you is real fun.

Banned Books Week begins on September 29th. The titles that are banned always shocks me. When I see the absolute nonsense that scores huge ratings on reality TV shows and I see the ridiculous headlines at the supermarket checkouts, banned titles always give me pause. You can read more about them here. With just days to spare, I want to remind you that September is Library Card Signup Month. But then again, you already have a library card, don't you?

I saw a leaf floating in the pool the other day. It was yellow. It is a foreboding of fall and cold. I swam faster when I saw it, knowing my days of swimming are waning. I have few plans for the weekend, which is lovely. There will be a little baseball for my younger son and as much outdoors time as possible. My desk here at the house where I work on Fridays needs lots of attention, but I figure there are enough winter dreary days for that in the future. Here's wishing you all a great week of reading. Hope you find something that belongs on your bookshelf as you read on.

Carol Fitzgerald (


Click here to read more about THINGS I OVERHEARD WHILE TALKING TO MYSELF. Talks to the Authors of THE CHOPIN MANUSCRIPT, The International Thriller Writers' Serial Book Project

THE CHOPIN MANUSCRIPT is a unique collaboration among 15 distinguished international thriller writers who came together to create a single audiobook with each author contributing a chapter to the ongoing story. The book is hailed as the first-ever serialized audiobook thriller.

Jeffery Deaver created the book's central character and put the plot in motion with the first chapter. From there the story was turned over to 14 authors --- including Lee Child, Lisa Scottoline, Joseph Finder, David Hewson, S.J. Rozan and P. J. Parrish --- who each wrote a chapter that propels the story along. Along the way, the plot takes twists and turns as each author puts his or her own imprint onto the tale. Characters are added as the action moves around the world --- and the stakes get higher and higher. The book wraps with Deaver writing the final two chapters,
bringing THE CHOPIN MANUSCRIPT to its explosive conclusion.

What was it like to take part in the world's first audio serial thriller? We asked some of the participants to give us their insights on this ambitious project.

-Click here to read our interview with Jeffery Deaver.
-Click here to read our interview with Jim Fusilli, Project Editor and Contributor.
-Click here to read our roundtable interview with contributing authors David Corbett, John Gilstrap, James Grady, John Ramsey Miller, Ralph Pezzullo, S.J. Rozan, Peter Spiegelman and Erica Spindler.
-Click here to watch an exclusive video with Jeffery Deaver, Lee Child, Joseph Finder, Jim Fusilli, David Hewson and P. J. Parrish, and listen to the first chapter for free.
-Click here for more information about THE CHOPIN MANUSCRIPT.

Click here to read our interviews with the authors of THE CHOPIN MANUSCRIPT.


Special Feature: Spotlight on Jane Austen

Everything is coming up Jane Austen recently, with the release of Austen-themed movies Becoming Jane and The Jane Austen Book Club, accompanied by a landslide of related books. Although Austen, a literary icon --- and arguably one of the greatest literary novelists in the English language --- wrote only six books in her lifetime (SENSE AND SENSIBILITY, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, MANSFIELD PARK, EMMA, NORTHANGER ABBEY and PERSUASION), the number of spin-off titles continues to boggle the minds of book lovers. Jane-ites just can't get enough. With this in mind,'s Cindy Crosby takes a look at 15 recently published books --- both fiction and nonfiction --- that celebrate all things Austen. If you can't decide what to try first, look for Cindy's picks at the end to discover which ones are don't-miss, hands-down favorites. Intrigued? Read on, Austenophiles…


Click here to read our Jane Austen feature.


New Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: J.D. Robb Celebrates the Release of the 25th Book in Her In Death Series

J.D. Robb, aka Nora Roberts, has written over 100 books in her illustrious career. On November 6th, CREATION IN DEATH, the 25th installment in her bestselling In Death series, will be released. As Eve Dallas --- a lieutenant in the New York Police and Security Department --- hunts for a killer known as “The Groom,” who plagued the city nine years earlier, she realizes that this new wave of attacks is becoming alarmingly personal.

We have 20 copies of CREATION IN DEATH to give away to readers who would like to preview the book and comment about it. If you are interested, please fill out this form by Friday, October 12th.

-Click here to read J.D. Robb’s bio.
-Visit the author’s official website,

NYPSD Lieutenant Eve Dallas keeps the streets of a near-future New York City safe in this extraordinary series. But even she makes mistakes, and is haunted by those she couldn't save --- and the killers she couldn't capture. When the body of a young brunette is found in East River Park, artfully positioned and marked by signs of prolonged and painful torture, Eve is catapulted back to a case nine years earlier. When it becomes apparent that a gruesome killer known as “The Groom” has returned, Eve is determined to finish him once and for all.


Click here to read more about J.D. Robb and CREATION IN DEATH.

Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: John Hart, Author of DOWN RIVER
John Hart's first novel, THE KING OF LIES, was a bestseller when it was released in 2006. His second work of fiction is DOWN RIVER, and it tells the haunting story of Adam Chase as he returns to the hometown he was exiled from to reclaim his life. The book will be available on October 2nd and promises to be a worthy follow-up to his debut.

-Click here to read an excerpt from DOWN RIVER.
-Click here to read fast facts about John Hart.
-Click here to read John Hart’s bio.
-Click here to see John Hart's backlist.
-Visit the author’s website,
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

More about DOWN RIVER:
Adam Chase has a violent streak, and not without reason. As a boy growing up in Rowan County, North Carolina, he saw things that no child should see, suffered wounds that cut to the core and scarred thin. The trauma left him passionate and misunderstood --- a fighter. After being narrowly acquitted of a murder charge, Adam is hounded out of the only home he’s ever known, exiled for a sin he did not commit. For five long years he disappears, fades into the faceless gray of New York City. Now he’s back and nobody knows why, not his family or the cops, not the enemies he left behind.


Click here to read more about John Hart and DOWN RIVER.


Featured One to Watch Author: Joshua Henkin, Author of MATRIMONY

Joshua Henkin's second novel, MATRIMONY (following SWIMMING ACROSS THE HUDSON), releases on October 2nd. In this book, Henkin presents a beautifully detailed portrait of what it means to share a life with someone --- to do so when you're young, and to try again, afresh, on the brink of middle age.

-Click here to read a third excerpt from MATRIMONY.
-Click here to read Joshua Henkin’s bio.
-Click here to see Joshua Henkin's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for MATRIMONY.
-Visit the author’s website,
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

More about MATRIMONY:
Starting at the height of the Reagan era and ending in the new millennium, MATRIMONY is about love and friendship, about money and ambition, desire and tensions of faith. It asks what happens to a marriage when it is confronted by betrayal and the specter of mortality. What happens when people marry younger than they’d expected? Can love endure the passing of time?

Click here to read more about Joshua Henkin and MATRIMONY.

Featured One to Watch Author: Peter Pezzelli, Author of ITALIAN LESSONS
Peter Pezzelli's first book, HOME TO ITALY, was a Book Sense pick in 2004. With his trademark warmth, humor and wisdom, Pezzelli's new novel, ITALIAN LESSONS (which is now in stores), weaves an unforgettable tale of Italian-American life and family, hope and heartbreak, lessons learned and lessons deferred, and a love that can heal time's greatest wounds.

-Click here to read a second excerpt from ITALIAN LESSONS.
-Click here to read Peter Pezzelli's bio.

-Click here to see Peter Pezzelli's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for ITALIAN LESSONS.
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

Fresh out of college, Carter Quinn has returned to his home in North Providence, Rhode Island, unsure of just about everything except his plans to go to Italy and pursue the woman of his dreams. To do that, he needs to learn to speak Italian, and only one man is right for the job --- Giancarlo Rosa...if Carter can survive him.


Click here to read more about Peter Pezzelli and ITALIAN LESSONS.


Featured One to Watch Author: Shobhan Bantwal, Author of THE DOWRY BRIDE

Shobhan Bantwal's debut novel, THE DOWRY BRIDE, is now available in stores. In this moving work, Bantwal introduces Megha, a woman forced to flee her home after overhearing a plot for her murder --- by her own husband and mother-in-law! With nowhere to go, Megha seeks refuge with Kiran. The relationship that develops will challenge her views on love and tradition.

-Click here to read a third excerpt from THE DOWRY BRIDE.
-Click here to read Shobhan Bantwal’s bio.
-Click here to read critical praise for THE DOWRY BRIDE.
-Visit the author’s website,
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

One sultry night, a young bride overhears an extraordinary conversation. The voices speak of a plot to murder a wife who has failed to produce a child and whose family has failed to produce the promised dowry.

Megha is sick with horror when she realizes she is the intended victim. Her husband and his mother are plotting to kill her! In the moment of panic, she runs for her life. But fleeing from her would-be killers seems impossible --- unless she can find someone to help her.


Click here to read more about Shobhan Bantwal and THE DOWRY BRIDE.


Win an Advance Reading Copy of ULTRAVIOLET by Nancy Bush

We are celebrating the release of ULTRAVIOLET by Nancy Bush --- the third installment in the Jane Kelly Mystery series --- with a special contest where 20 readers will be randomly selected to receive an advance reading copy of the book. In this story, newly minted private investigator Jane Kelly finds out that high society weddings can be murder --- literally!

To enter, simply fill out this form by Friday, October 12th at 11:59AM.

ULTRAVIOLET by Nancy Bush (Mystery)
Newly minted private investigator Jane Kelly and her spunky pug sidekick “The Binkster” are back, and they discover that high society weddings can be murder --- literally! When Roland Hatchmere is bludgeoned to death with a silver platter before his daughter’s wedding, the prime suspect is his second ex-wife, Violet “Ultraviolet” Purcell. Every new discovery into the eccentric-bordering-on-insane Purcell family leads Jane deeper into danger, and soon she wonders if her first official case might also be her last...

-Click here to read more about ULTRAVIOLET.


Click here to read all the contest details.


Now in Stores: ISABELLA MOON by Laura Benedict

Two years ago, in idyllic Carystown, Kentucky, nine-year-old Isabella Moon disappeared on her way home from school. Is it just coincidence that Kate Russell, a young woman with no discernible past, arrived in town just months before Isabella’s disappearance?

Dark and suspenseful, tense and eerie, tinged with the supernatural, ISABELLA MOON is an engrossing, beautifully written debut novel, a breathtaking and artful story of the dark mysteries that can lurk in the most bucolic of places --- and the ghost of a little girl who watches as evil rises unstoppably to the surface.

-Click here to read a review of ISABELLA MOON.
-Click here to read an excerpt from ISABELLA MOON.


Click here to read more about Laura Benedict and ISABELLA MOON.


Now in Stores: MENDING FENCES by Sherryl Woods

Two families...bound by friendship...devastated by secrets

For ten years, Emily Dobbs and Marcie Carter have been the closest of friends. But when Marcie's son is arrested for date rape, the bond between the families could be shattered forever.

As the Carters try to deal with the unthinkable, Emily discovers her daughter has been hiding a terrible secret…a secret that threatens the futures of both families.

When things seem darkest, both she and Marcie discover that sometimes the first step toward a better future is mending fences with the past.

-Click here to see the discussion guide for MENDING FENCES.


Click here to read more about MENDING FENCES.


Now in Stores: BEHIND CLOSED DOORS by Tara Taylor Quinn

Closing the Door Doesn’t Always Keep You Safe

The Ivory Nation has infiltrated every level of Arizona politics. Ask Laura Clark, who marries a brilliant black professor and becomes the victim of a violent assault...behind closed doors. The police say it was a random act of violence, but Harry will never forget the words whispered in the darkness while his hands were bound and he was forced to witness the attack on his beloved wife: “White should stay with white.”

To give in means to abandon their marriage, their freedom, so Laura and Harry risk their lives...and fight back.

This is the second riveting, suspenseful story in Quinn’s Ivory Nation trilogy --- fiction based on fearful fact from an author who takes risks.


Click here to read more about BEHIND CLOSED DOORS.


New in Paperback for September

September's roundup of New in Paperback fiction titles includes Markus Zusak's THE BOOK THIEF, an unforgettable novel set during World War II in Germany about a girl who steals to survive and discovers the power of books with the help of her accordion-playing foster father; THE RISING TIDE, which marks the beginning of a trilogy by Jeff Shaara about the military conflict that defined the 20th century --- World War II; TRUE EVIL by Greg Iles, the chilling story of a divorce attorney who may be orchestrating the deaths of his clients' spouses; ONE GOOD TURN, the follow-up to CASE HISTORIES (Kate Atkinson's 2004 bestseller), featuring former detective Jackson Brodie; and THE HOUNDS AND THE FURY, Rita Mae Brown's fifth thrilling mystery set in Virginia foxhunting country.

Among our nonfiction highlights are THUNDERSTRUCK by Erik Larson, a fast-paced drama that chronicles the lives of two men whose passions took them in vastly divergent directions; THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE THUNDERBOLT KID, Bill Bryson's vivid, nostalgic and utterly hilarious memoir of growing up in the 1950s; and FIRSTLIGHT, in which Sue Monk Kidd charts her emergence as a writer and seeker while reflecting on her roles as wife, mother, daughter, nurse and artist.


Click here to see our New in Paperback roundup for September.


This Week's Reviews and Features

BRIDGE OF SIGHS by Richard Russo (Fiction)
Six years after the bestselling, Pulitzer Prize–winning EMPIRE FALLS, Richard Russo returns with a quietly astounding novel that centers on a trio of characters: Louis Charles (“Lucy”) Lynch, who owns and operates three convenience stores in upstate New York; Sarah Berg, his wife of 40 years; and Bobby Marconi, a world-renowned artist now living in Venice who was very close to both Lucy and Sarah. Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman.

-Click here to read an excerpt from BRIDGE OF SIGHS.

RUN by Ann Patchett (Fiction)
This complex, breathtaking novel from the author of BEL CANTO gives us the Doyles, a Boston family whose members --- blood-related or adopted, official or covert --- embody, in the least didactic way possible, the most urgent issues of race, class and politics. Reviewed by Kathy Weissman.

-Click here to read an excerpt from RUN.

MAKING MONEY by Terry Pratchett (Fantasy)
Terry Pratchett's whimsical novels of Discworld, inhabited by citizens who may be human or otherwise, have never poked more fun at human foibles than in MAKING MONEY. Fans will enjoy meeting new players and revisiting old favorites. Moist von Lipwig seems destined to join the permanent rogue's gallery of unforgettable characters who have entertained readers through 31 adventures. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

-Click here to read an excerpt from MAKING MONEY.

THE COLDEST WINTER: American and the Korean War by David Halberstam (History)
The literary world lost one of its "best and brightest" when David Halberstam was killed in a car accident in April 2007. His final gift --- to established fans and potentially new ones --- is THE COLDEST WINTER, perhaps the most dramatic and damning accounts of the Korean War ever put to paper. Reviewed by Ron Kaplan.

THE NINE: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court by Jeffrey Toobin (Law/Politics)
In his latest book, noted journalist, attorney and legal commentator Jeffrey Toobin offers an engrossing portrait of the past quarter century at the United States Supreme Court. Combining insightful legal analysis with a penetrating look at the personal side of the justices, it's a book that will appeal to both lawyers and readers looking to learn more about the inner workings of our judicial branch. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.

NO TIME FOR GOODBYE by Linwood Barclay (Thriller)
From critically acclaimed author Linwood Barclay comes a new suspense/thriller that strikes to the core of our most primal fear. What if you woke up one day to find that your entire life had changed? If everyone you loved had disappeared overnight without so much as a chance to ask why? Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE FOLLOWER by Jason Starr (Thriller)
With each meaningless date and disappointing new boyfriend, Katie Porter is becoming more and more disillusioned. No matter how wide a net she casts, she can't seem to find a guy who really understands her. But someone thinks she's special --- very special. And he's following her... Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE KINGDOM OF BONES by Stephen Gallagher (Historical Thriller)
A killer is loose in late-1800s England, and the man accused of the murders must find the culprit to clear his name. But these aren't just any murders. They involve a dabbler in the occult arts. Catching such a force of evil could prove deadly --- and does. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

WRITTEN IN BONE by Simon Beckett (Thriller)
Simon Beckett's second book (following 2006's THE CHEMISTRY OF DEATH) is a well-written thriller in the spirit of the successful "CSI" television programs. The unusual setting creates a visceral discomfort that Beckett drives home to readers. An interesting plot, reliable characters and suspenseful happenings make WRITTEN IN BONE a winner. Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum.

ONE DROP: My Father's Hidden Life --- A Story of Race and Family Secrets by Bliss Broyard (Memoir)
After the death of her father --- renowned literary critic Anatole Broyard --- from cancer, writer Bliss Broyard discovers a long-hidden family secret that sets her off on a path to uncover who he was and, ultimately, who she really is. Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller.

Read this week's reviews and features here.


Poll, Question and Word of Mouth


What do you like to watch on television? Check as many as apply.

Ongoing Prime Time Series
Reality TV Shows
Game Shows
Talk Shows
Cooking Shows
Music Programming
News and Weather
Home and Garden
None of the above
I don't watch television.

-Click here to answer our poll.


What are your three favorite television programs?

-Click here to answer our Question of the Week.

Word of Mouth:

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
BRIDGE OF SIGHS by Richard Russo and THE CHOICE by Nicholas Sparks. Tell us what you are reading and rate the titles 1-5 by noon on October 5th to ensure that you are in the running to win these books.

Please note that our next Word of Mouth update will be on October 5th.


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
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Those who are subscribed to the newsletter by September 30, 2007 automatically are entered in our Monthly Newsletter Contest. This month one winner will be selected to win the following five books:
THE BONE GARDEN by Tess Gerritsen, THE CHOICE by Nicholas Sparks, PLAYING FOR PIZZA by John Grisham, RUN by Ann Patchett and YOU'VE BEEN WARNED by James Patterson and Howard Roughan. Jean from Overland Park, KS was last month's newsletter winner. She won BEYOND REACH by Karin Slaughter, BONES TO ASHES by Kathy Reichs, THE CAREFUL USE OF COMPLIMENTS: An Isabel Dalhousie Novel by Alexander McCall Smith, PLAY DIRTY by Sandra Brown and SPOOK COUNTRY by William Gibson.

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