Skip to main content

April 4, 2008 Newsletter

April 4, 2008

This Week on

My New Favorite Book... Talks to Karen Robards, Author of GUILTY Talks to Linda Francis Lee, Author of THE EX-DEBUTANTE

Author Talk: Joel Goldman, Author of SHAKEDOWN

Now in Stores: BEAUTIFUL BOY by David Sheff --- A Starbucks Selection 

Now in Stores: THE FORTUNE COOKIE CHRONICLES by Jennifer 8. Lee

Featured Romantic Suspense Author: Heather Graham, Author of THE DEATH DEALER

Featured Women's Fiction Author: Elizabeth Noble, Author of THINGS I WANT MY DAUGHTERS TO KNOW

Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Gregg Olsen, Author of A COLD DARK PLACE

Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Linda Fairstein, Author of KILLER HEAT

Books into Movies for April
Introducing the Grab Bag of Books Giveaway!

This Week's Reviews

Poll and Question of the Week: Visiting the Library

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

Historical Fiction Promotion

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

My New Favorite Book...

I flew back from Minneapolis last Friday night after a three-hour delay where the reasons varied from "weather" to "air traffic in Newark." At one point I wanted to go over to the gate agent and say, "Pick a story and stick to it and we just might believe you!" It was an evening where I once again gave silent thanks for my laptop's Verizon air card as I sat on the floor of the airport sending emails and IMing with the office. By the time I got home and unpacked, I was more than wide awake having passed the "tired" needle hours ago. I now was on what mothers with small children refer to as "my second wind." Thus it was time to pluck a book from the stash that I had picked up at the conference and relax by reading.
My first choice was
THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN by Garth Stein, which will be in stores on May 13th. I started reading around 11:30. At 1:30 I still was reading. I woke up at 7 and kept reading, though I really needed more sleep. Crashing back to sleep at 9, I was back reading at 11 and I finished it at 12:30. Can you tell that I LOVED this book?
It's narrated by a dog named Enzo, who is close to death, but is not despairing of this as he knows he will return to this world as a man...a smart man from what he has learned from his master Denny and from watching shows on the National Geographic Channel and Speedvision all day. Now, let me be clear. I am not into dogs. We do not have a dog. But I love wickedly clever books. Also, my husband has both raced on the amateur circuit and instructed amateur race car drivers over the years, so I know that a truly great driver knows how to drive in the rain --- and also knows the value of knowing when to pit to get rain tires put on. All this said, you need not love dogs, know one whit about car racing, or even care about car racing to enjoy this book. It's just one fun smart read with one very quotable dog. I still am laughing when I think of parts of this book. It's a great read for men, women, book clubs, has a wide audience. And I can see Enzo quoted on t-shirts in years to come. This fictional dog could become a cult figure. I kid you not.
There are times that life gives me ideas on things to do on the site that I scratch my head and think --- WHY did we not do this sooner? The new feature is Books into Movies NEW on DVD. The reality is that I rarely make it to the movie theater, but I love Netflix. I play with my queue regularly and love watching many flicks that were based on books. And I know I am not alone. So last week, after my family watched The Kite Runner, I asked our intrepid editorial team to consider a feature that notes when Books into Movies release on DVD, so those of you who, like me, rent can get on top of watching what you have read. Enjoy.
April is National Poetry Month, and as we mentioned last week, all of our Quotes of the Day on will be from poets. For the 10th year in a row, Knopf Publishing is offering to send via email a free poem each day for the entire month to anyone who registers on their website. In addition, each week there will be a podcast by a different poet reading his or her own work.
We received some nice feedback for Lisa Jackson’s new romantic suspense, LOST SOULS. See what our advance readers had to say here. Also, Joan Johnston, author of A STRANGER’S GAME, responded to our advance readers' questions. You may read her responses here.

Joel Goldman's new book SHAKEDOWN, which we review this week, is wonderful. I read it months ago and have been looking forward to sharing it with you. It's the start of a new series that we are quite excited about. Goldman's books are set in Kansas City. Click here to read his comments about the importance of setting in a mystery or thriller work. 

I attended a reading by Jennifer 8. Lee, author of THE FORTUNE COOKIE CHRONICLES: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food last month, and let's just say I never will think about Chinese food quite the same way again. Her reading was quite fun.

Next Saturday we are leaving on a cruise. Scratch that. We are leaving on a crossing. A cruise is the kind of a trip on a boat where you go somewhere WARM and wear a bathing suit. After a cold winter, I could feel my bones being warmed with a trip like that. But oh no, we are crossing the Atlantic. On the Queen Elizabeth 2, which has only THREE more transatlantic crossings in her before she is retired to Dubai in November.
Wonder how I know all these facts? My older son is an ocean liner junkie, so we are embarking (good nautical word) on a family expedition that is sure to go down in the record books as one of the biggest adventures we have undertaken. Wait...I do not want to use the phrase "go down" in a sentence, since this journey will be taking place during the anniversary of the Titanic's crossing. We will be in the same sailing coordinates as the Titanic on the anniversary night, and we will be laying a wreath to commemorate this. I kid you not. My son already has informed me of this. Want to read more about why we are taking this adventure? The blog with all the details is here. For the record I will be at the front of the ship/liner (not boat) that evening with my eyes peeled looking for icebergs. Look, I saw the movie. I do not need to live it!
I am facing a packing adventure this week. Getting on the ship I can do my Audrey Hepburn with much luggage moment, but we are flying back where the Virgin Atlantic people have NO sense of humor about luggage. Can these people not understand there are SIX dressy nights on board the ship/liner? That alone is a suitcase. And then there are the books/knitting/clothes to wear by day to consider. Luckily my younger son is small and does not like to change often, so I can get a third bag from him, though he already has set down the gauntlet that there will be NO turquoise luggage with his name on it. Okay, that's fair. He likes red. I am sure I can persuade him to carry a BIG red bag. Wish me luck.
Have a great week....hope you find something wonderful to read.

Carol Fitzgerald (

Click here to find out more about THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN. Talks to Karen Robards, Author of GUILTY

In this interview with's Shannon McKenna Schmidt, Karen Robards --- bestselling author of over 30 works of fiction --- discusses what sparked the idea for her latest romantic thriller, GUILTY, and sheds light on how her protagonist's checkered past affects present-day actions, creating the backbone of the story. She also explains why the novel revolves around the legal field, describes how her own children inspired one of the book's characters and reveals the biggest challenge of her writing process.

GUILTY by Karen Robards (Romantic Suspense)
Kate White is a prosecutor in the Philadelphia DA's office and the single mother of an adored young son. But she has a dark secret in her past that threatens her new life, in this suspenseful and romantic thriller from New York Times bestselling author Karen Robards. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

-Click here to read a review of GUILTY.
-Click here to read a second excerpt from GUILTY.

-Visit the author's official website,

Click here to read our interview with Karen Robards. Talks to Linda Francis Lee, Author of THE EX-DEBUTANTE

In this interview with's Cindy Crosby, Linda Francis Lee talks about what inspired the story behind her latest novel, THE EX-DEBUTANTE, and explains the main difference between traditional Southern debut balls and the modernized ones held today. She also shares which of her characters she enjoyed writing the most, muses on the differences between living in Texas and New York, and dishes on some of her own past debutante experiences.

THE EX-DEBUTANTE by Linda Francis Lee (Fiction)
From Linda Francis Lee, author of THE DEVIL IN THE JUNIOR LEAGUE, comes this steamy escapist romp through the bigger-than-life world of Texas debutantes. It’s outrageous, saucy fun as Lee lampoons the lives of the ultra-rich Texas society set and paints a portrait of one ex-debutante who must decide if she’ll risk everything for love. Reviewed by Cindy Crosby.

-Click here to read a review of THE EX-DEBUTANTE.
-Click here to read an excerpt from
-Visit the author’s official website,

Click here to read our interview with Linda Francis Lee.


Author Talk: Joel Goldman, Author of SHAKEDOWN

Joel Goldman is probably best known for his crime/thriller novels featuring trial lawyer Lou Mason. His latest work of fiction, SHAKEDOWN, is the first book in a new series centered on Jack Davis, an FBI Special Agent who suffers from a rare disorder that interferes with his ability to effectively do his job. In this interview --- consisting of a Q&A as well as a Note from the Author --- Goldman shares the story behind his new protagonist and describes the unique history of Kansas City, his hometown and the setting of his books. He also discusses current and future projects in the works and provides advice for aspiring writers.

SHAKEDOWN by Joel Goldman (Thriller)
The lives of three people collide over mass murder at a Kansas City residence that Special Agent Jack Davis has carefully staked out for weeks. Kate Scranton, whose job is spotting lies for high-priced courtroom lawyers, is convinced that mild-mannered Latrell Kelly knows something about the crime. But Latrell is hiding far more than Kate can guess. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read a review of SHAKEDOWN.

-Click here to read an excerpt from SHAKEDOWN.
-Visit the author's official website,

Click here to read an interview with Joel Goldman.

Now in Stores: BEAUTIFUL BOY by David Sheff --- A Starbucks Selection 
BEAUTIFUL BOY: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Meth Addiction by David Sheff (Memoir)
BEAUTIFUL BOY is an amazingly honest and exquisitely written account of a family’s torturous journey through addiction. It raises questions that reflect the fears of every parent: Where does one’s responsibility to a loved one end? How --- and when --- should a parent know whether his or her child is substance abusing? And how does a family recover from the wounds afflicted by addiction and get on with their lives? Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott.

-Click here to read an excerpt from BEAUTIFUL BOY.


Click here to read a review of BEAUTIFUL BOY.


Now in Stores: THE FORTUNE COOKIE CHRONICLES by Jennifer 8. Lee

THE FORTUNE COOKIE CHRONICLES: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food by Jennifer 8. Lee (Sociology)
As American as apple pie? How about as American as General Tso's chicken? Are hamburgers and fries the quintessential American dish, or is it chop suey? If, like so many Americans, a visit to your favorite Chinese restaurant just isn't complete without cracking open a fortune cookie at the end of the meal, then Jennifer 8. Lee's exploration of Chinese-American food is the book for you. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE FORTUNE COOKIE CHRONICLES.
-Visit the publisher's website,


Click here to read a review of THE FORTUNE COOKIE CHRONICLES.

Featured Romantic Suspense Author: Heather Graham, Author of THE DEATH DEALER

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Heather Graham has written over one hundred novels and novellas. In THE DEATH DEALER, the chilling follow-up to THE DEAD ROOM, a woman and a private investigator must get to the bottom of a series of murders mirroring the macabre stories of Edgar Allan Poe. THE DEATH DEALER is now in stores.

-Click here to read a second excerpt from THE DEATH DEALER.
-Click here to read Heather Graham’s bio.
-Click here to read critical praise for THE DEATH DEALER.
-Visit the author’s official website,
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

Genevieve O'Brien knows all about nightmares. She survived for two months as the prisoner of a deranged killer. Now a new menace is stalking the streets of New York. The media is buzzing about the “Poe Killings,” a string of homicides mirroring the author's macabre stories --- and Genevieve’s own mother may be in danger...

Spooked by the bizarre slayings, Genevieve turns toward the one who rescued her --- private investigator Joe Connolly.


Click here to read more about Heather Graham and THE DEATH DEALER.


Featured Women's Fiction Author: Elizabeth Noble, Author of THINGS I WANT MY DAUGHTERS TO KNOW

Elizabeth Noble is the author of three internationally bestselling novels: THE READING GROUP, THE FRIENDSHIP TEST and ALPHABET WEEKENDS. In THINGS I WANT MY DAUGHTERS TO KNOW, her new book releasing on April 8th, Noble crafts a heartfelt story that celebrates the love between a dying mother and her daughters and the endless possibilities of life.

-Click here to read a third excerpt from THINGS I WANT MY DAUGHTERS TO KNOW.
-Click here to read Elizabeth Noble’s bio.
-Click here to see Elizabeth Noble's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for THINGS I WANT MY DAUGHTERS TO KNOW.
-Visit the author’s official website,
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

When Barbara realizes time is running out, she writes letters to her four daughters, aware that they'll be facing the trials and triumphs of life without her at their side. But how can she leave them when they still have so much growing up to do? By drawing on the wisdom in Barbara's letters, the girls might just find a way to cope with their loss. And in coming to terms with their bereavement, can they also set themselves free to enjoy their lives with all the passion and love each deserves?


Click here to read more about Elizabeth Noble and THINGS I WANT MY DAUGHTERS TO KNOW.


Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Gregg Olsen, Author of A COLD DARK PLACE

Gregg Olsen is the New York Times bestselling author of seven nonfiction books and two novels. As a journalist and true crime author, Olsen has received numerous awards and much critical acclaim for his writing. In A COLD DARK PLACE, his new thriller now in stores, police officer Emily Kenyon must find a diabolical killer --- before the killer finds her daughter...

-Click here to read fast facts about Gregg Olsen.
-Click here to read Gregg Olsen’s bio.
-Visit the author’s official website,
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

In a secluded farm house in the Pacific Northwest, a family has been slaughtered --- and a teenage son has disappeared. Single mother and cop Emily Kenyon spearheads a dark hunt for a killer. But Emily’s teenage daughter Jenna knows the boy suspected of murdering his family and wants to help him --- perhaps too much. As Emily fits the puzzle pieces together, she realizes that the danger surrounding her daughter is worse than she had imagined.


Click here to read more about Gregg Olsen and A COLD DARK PLACE.


Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Linda Fairstein, Author of KILLER HEAT

Bestselling author Linda Fairstein is one of America's foremost legal experts on crimes of sexual assault and domestic violence. Her bestselling legal thriller series featuring Alexandra Cooper continues with its 10th installment, KILLER HEAT. In this latest thriller, which is now available in stores, Fairstein orchestrates a page-turning mix of cutting-edge legal issues and forensics, New York City history and spine-tingling suspense.

-Click here to read a review of KILLER HEAT.
-Click here to read a second excerpt from KILLER HEAT.
-Click here to read an interview with Linda Fairstein.
-Click here to read fast facts about Linda Fairstein.

-Click here to read Linda Fairstein’s bio.
-Click here to see Linda Fairstein's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for Linda Fairstein and KILLER HEAT.
-Visit the author’s official website,
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

More about KILLER HEAT:
Just as Manhattan D.A. Alex Cooper is claiming an especially gratifying victory in a rape case, she’s informed that the body of a young woman has been found in an abandoned building. The brutality of the murder is disturbing enough, but when a second body, beaten and disposed of in exactly the same manner, is found off the Belt Parkway, the city’s top brass want the killer found fast, before the tabloids can start churning out ghoulish serial killer headlines. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

Click here to read more about Linda Fairstein and KILLER HEAT.

Books into Movies for April
The films spotlighted in April’s Books into Movies feature each promise to tell some memorable tales, with truly heartfelt, emotional and even bone-chilling performances from their star-studded casts, including the likes of Jodie Foster, Jena Malone, Uma Thurman, Colin Firth, Helen Hunt and Matthew Broderick.

Lovers of horror will delight in The Ruins, based on the acclaimed thriller by Scott Smith, whose previous novel inspired the 1998 Oscar-nominated crime drama, A Simple Plan. Delivering far less bloody but equally heavy doses of drama are the films The Life Before Her Eyes and Then She Found Me, Helen Hunt’s directorial debut. Nim’s Island, based on the children’s book by Wendy Orr, offers a family-friendly breath of fresh air.

Movie and book lovers will have the perfect excuse to spend a Saturday night in on April 12th, when the small-screen adaptation of Kim Edwards’s bestseller and book club fave, THE MEMORY KEEPER’S DAUGHTER, premieres on Lifetime Network. Dermot Mulroney, Gretchen Mol and Emily Watson bring to life this heart-wrenching story of a doctor who --- upon discovering that one of his newborn twins suffers from Down syndrome --- makes an impulsive decision that will forever alter the lives of everyone involved.

And last but certainly not least, we have a brand new addition to our Books into Movies feature. Each month we will now let you know about the films based on books that are being released on DVD. April’s lineup includes Reservation Road, Charlie Wilson’s War and The Golden Compass. See our complete list here.

Click here to read our Books into Movies feature.

Introducing the Grab Bag of Books Giveaway! is excited to announce the start of our brand new Grab Bag of Books contest. Every month five readers will be awarded a signature tote bag filled with some of the hottest books --- and may even include a sneak peak at titles that haven’t been released yet. This contest period’s winners will each receive a copy of THE DISREPUTABLE HISTORY OF FRANKIE LANDAU-BANKS by E. Lockhart, HOTLANTA by Denene Millner and Mitzi Miller, HOW TO BE POPULAR by Meg Cabot (signed by the author!), QUEST FOR THE LOST CITY OF GOLD by Stephen Biesty and YOGA FOR TEENS CARD DECK by Mary Kaye Chryssicas.
Click here to read all the contest details.


This Week's Reviews

Anne Perry’s 25th novel to feature Thomas Pitt finds the police inspector called to Buckingham Palace on a secret assignment for the Special Services Branch to investigate a grisly murder within the house of the Royal Family. With limited access to the Palace and only a handful of important guests and household staff, who is guilty of violently murdering the naked prostitute found in the linen closet? Reviewed by Ray Palen.

-Click here to read an excerpt from BUCKINGHAM PALACE GARDENS.

CARROT CAKE MURDER: A Hannah Swensen Mystery with Recipes by Joanne Fluke (Mystery)
No matter what activity cookie maker extraordinaire Hannah Swensen participates in, murder sticks to her like fudge frosting sticks to a warmly baked brownie. When the prodigal uncle of Lisa, Hannah’s associate at The Cookie Jar bakery, is murdered at the Beeseman-Herman family reunion, the hunt for a killer is on --- and so is the oven while Hannah whips up one amazing dish after another. Reviewed by Amie Taylor.

BLIND FALL by Christopher Rice (Psychological Thriller)
In a departure from his previous bestselling novels, Christopher Rice tells a chilling tale with Iraq as the backdrop. When two Marines are injured by a car bomb and sent home, one chooses to disappear while the other wants to find him to thank him for saving his life. Murder, homophobia, family relations and a host of other ingredients bubble up together to make BLIND FALL a rare, timely and satisfying read. Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum.

CURSE OF THE SPELLMANS by Lisa Lutz (Fiction)
Thirty-something private eye Isabel (Izzy) Spellman and her bizarre family are back in fine form. Izzy gets arrested for stalking a neighbor, her teenaged sister Rae runs over a police inspector, her “perfect” older brother David has turned into a hermit, her dad is taking yoga classes and her mom is sneaking out of the house at all hours. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

PLEASURE by Eric Jerome Dickey (Romance)
What happens when a sexually-charged female meets two gorgeous men who happen to be twins and are willing to give her the time of her life? PLEASURE tells the story of a woman seeking the ultimate sexual fantasy and gets involved in much more than she bargained for. Reviewed by Marie Hashima Lofton.
TRAUMA by Patrick McGrath (Psychological Thriller)
As psychiatrist Charlie Weir tries to fix the world around him, he is desperately clinging to sanity as his own world implodes. As people bearing their insecurities, nightmares and obsessions intersect him, a nightmare from his past is exposed as something far more damaging than he had ever expected. Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard.
SALVAGE by Jane Kotapish (Fiction)
After witnessing a horrific accident, the unnamed 37-year-old narrator of SALVAGE flees her hectic Manhattan life and buys a rambling, Victorian house in rural Virginia to recover in solitude. Yet in the uncomfortable quiet of her own company, she finds herself facing questions and obsessions from life's tangled and often disturbed past. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

Read this week's reviews here.


Poll and Question of the Week: Visiting the Library


Given the current economy, are you going to the library to borrow books more these days?

Not sure

How often do you go to the library?

More than once a week
Once a week
A few times a month
Once a month
Every couple of months
A few times a year
Once a year or less
I never go to the library.

At the library what do you borrow most often?

DVDs and videos
Magazines and Periodicals
I do not go to libraries.

-Click here to answer our poll.


What was the last book (name up to three) that you borrowed from the library?

-Click here to answer our question.


Click 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 CERTAIN GIRLS by Jennifer Weiner and WHERE ARE YOU NOW? by Mary Higgins Clark. Tell us what you are reading and rate the titles 1-5 by noon on April 11th to ensure that you are in the running to win these books.

Please note that our next Word of Mouth update will be on April 11th.
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 April 30, 2008 automatically are entered in our Monthly Newsletter Contest. This month one winner will be selected to win the following five books: THE GIRL WITH NO SHADOW by Joanne Harris, HOLD TIGHT by Harlan Coben, SEPULCHRE by Kate Mosse, WHERE ARE YOU NOW? by Mary Higgins Clark and THE WHOLE TRUTH by David Baldacci. Joanne from Jessup, PA
was last month's newsletter winner. She won ANOTHER THING TO FALL: A Tess Monaghan Novel by Laura Lippman, CHANGE OF HEART by Jodi Picoult, THE CURE FOR MODERN LIFE by Lisa Tucker, HOLLYWOOD CROWS by Joseph Wambaugh and A PRISONER OF BIRTH by Jeffrey Archer.

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