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March 13, 2009 Newsletter March 13, 2009
There Could Be a Book In This....

My younger son has always wanted a dog. I, who read/saw MARLEY & ME, am a lot less sure about this concept. A few weeks ago, a teacher at his school told us about the Seeing Eye Dog program where people raise and nurture puppies from the time they are weaned until they are old enough to train. Thus our time with the dog would have a definitive start/stop date. This sounded reasonable --- and altruistic --- so I started to explore it.

Speaking with a program coordinator, I was told that first we would have to go to a Puppy Meeting on the first or third Monday of a month. Sounded good. I also was told we would need to join the 4H Club. Sounded reasonable. I was then whipping out my calendar to schedule the puppy’s arrival and thinking about things it would need --- like chew toys so it would not chew on wood around the house. I was thinking a chew toy necklace would be a good thing since it always would be handy and wondered if they had been invented.

In the midst of this conversation, the puppy coordinator told me that left alone puppies could be VERY destructive in their playful way. This was sounding a bit ominous. I had a puppy as a child. I remember Tippy being lured to the car with my mom’s lipstick. I remember Tippy running away with it. I remember Tippy coming back with red all over his coat. I reminded myself not to try to lure the puppy with lipstick.

Our next step will be a puppy meeting in April. By the way, I thought in my naiveté that these were meetings for the puppy families to see the puppies. Rather it’s a playdate for the puppies themselves. Who knew? Clearly I am on a pretty steep learning curve here. That said, I really admire the concept of the program, though I think we would be excellent puppy babysitters for those in the program who are traveling rather than official puppy families --- something even more contained than the 10 months I had been considering. I see less gnawing in that picture. It would end up as a short story and a short feature, not a longer book and a major motion picture. More to come on this as we continue on this adventure.

Thursday I am headed to the Virginia Festival of the Book where I kick off the event with an event called Wine and Words, with David Baldacci and Adriana Trigiani, which promises to be memorable. Over the course of the next few days, John Grisham, Brad Meltzer, Katherine Neville, Mary Doria Russell and way too many other authors to mention will be on hand for this bookish weekend. If you are planning to attend, let me know! I would love to say hi. By the way, one of my favorite yarn shops is in the mall there. It’s called The Needle Lady and I will be making a pilgrimage there. I am driving down so there is lots of room for yarn!

Our new featured author this week may be familiar to many of you. Lisa Jackson is a writer whose works we enjoy sharing with you, as she is a talented storyteller. In MALICE, her new romantic suspense novel releasing on March 31st, the mysterious reappearance of a long-deceased wife followed by a string of odd murders forces a New Orleans detective to reexamine his past. We have 10 copies of MALICE 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, March 20th.

Our offer for an advance reading copy of Lisa Scottoline’s new one, LOOK AGAIN, is still open until next Friday. We also have a link to a terrific video where Lisa tours her local Borders store and shares her favorite thriller titles with readers. She’s really impressive with her ongoing conversation as she plucks titles from the shelves. Give that woman a talk show!

For those of you in book groups, we have a Book Group Survey on It’s the first survey since 2001, and as we were pulling together the questions, it was interesting to see how much had changed in the past eight years. If you are in a book club, you can answer the survey here. We will be pulling together a survey in the next two months and look forward to hearing feedback from our non-book club readers there.

The National Book Critics Circle Awards were announced this week, and we have them for you here.

I have a quiet weekend planned. Lots and lots of reading is on the agenda. My older son is trekking up to Maine for spring break to look at lighthouses. This is a lot more adventuresome than my typical college break where I would head to some beach in a warm place. Come to think of it, though, I always did have a book with me! Have a great week. Here’s hoping there are flowers blooming wherever you are...we sure don’t have any color here yet. And be careful, because it IS Friday the 13th....

Carol Fitzgerald (

Click here to learn more about the Virginia Festival of the Book.

/td> Talks to Barry Eisler, Author of FAULT LINE
Barry Eisler's seventh book and first stand-alone thriller, FAULT LINE, revolves around two estranged brothers who must join forces when one finds himself caught up in a technology-based conspiracy. In this interview with's Joe Hartlaub, Eisler explains what prompted this foray outside of the John Rain universe and sheds light on the complex relationship shared between the two siblings. He also discusses his motivation for creating strong female characters, recounts his experiences on the set of Rain Fall --- the film based on his first novel that releases in Japan in April --- and heaps praise on one of his latest favorite reads, Charlie Huston's THE MYSTIC ARTS OF ERASING ALL SIGNS OF DEATH.

FAULT LINE by Barry Eisler (Thriller)
A full-throttle thriller that is both emotionally and politically charged, FAULT LINE centers on a conspiracy that has spun out of the shadows and onto the streets of America, a conspiracy that can be stopped by only three people --- three people with different worldviews, different grievances, different motives. To survive the forces arrayed against them, they’ll first have to survive one another. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read a review of FAULT LINE.

-Click here to read an excerpt from FAULT LINE.
Click here to read our interview with Barry Eisler. Talks to Gregg Olsen, Author of HEART OF ICE

Gregg Olsen's latest work, HEART OF ICE, marks the return of protagonists Sheriff Emily Kenyon and her daughter Jenna, who were first introduced in last year's A COLD DARK PLACE. In this interview with's Joe Hartlaub, Olsen explains what prompted him to resurrect these two characters despite his earlier objections to writing series, but discusses why they won't be making any more appearances in his work in the near future. He also reveals what fascinates him most about the inner workings of killers, gives his two cents on the nature vs. nurture argument, and shares details about two upcoming projects --- a true crime book due out next winter and a serial-killer thriller called VICTIM SIX.

HEART OF ICE by Gregg Olsen (Thriller)
Cherrystone, Washington is the kind of small town where strangers are few and gossip is plentiful. Sheriff Emily Kenyon is investigating the murder of a pregnant young woman whose husband is the prime suspect, yet nagging doubts remain. Immersed in uncovering the truth, Emily doesn’t realize she’s become involved in something much bigger --- a case both dark and horrifying, one that will pit her against a killer whose vengeance knows no limits, and whose next target is chillingly close. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read a review of HEART OF ICE.
-Click here to read an excerpt from HEART OF ICE.


Click here to read our interview with Gregg Olsen.

Now in Stores: LIFE SENTENCES by Laura Lippman
LIFE SENTENCES by Laura Lippman (Mystery)
After a singularly unsuccessful stab at fiction, author Cassandra Fallows believes she may have found the story that will enable her triumphant return to nonfiction. In this new stand-alone novel, Laura Lippman probes the limitations of friendship, the fallibility of memory and the pitfalls of memoir, all while investigating a decades-old unsolved mystery based on a real-life case. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

-Click here to read an excerpt from LIFE SENTENCES.
-Click here to see the reading group guide for LIFE SENTENCES.

Click here to read a review of LIFE SENTENCES.

Now in Stores: CORSAIR by Clive Cussler
CORSAIR: A Novel of the Oregon Files by Clive Cussler with Jack Du Brul (Fiction/Action & Adventure)
For five novels, Clive Cussler has brought readers into the world of the Oregon, a seemingly dilapidated ship packed with sophisticated equipment, and captained by the rakish, one-legged Juan Cabrillo. In CORSAIR, the Oregon and its crew face their biggest challenge yet. When the U.S. secretary of state’s plane crashes while bringing her to a summit meeting in Libya, the CIA, distrusting the Libyans, hire Cabrillo to search for her. Reviewed by Judy Gigstad.

Click here to read a review of CORSAIR.

/a> New Featured Romantic Suspense Author: Lisa Jackson, Author of MALICE
New York Times bestselling author Lisa Jackson has written over 75 novels, and more than 12 million copies of her books are in print. In MALICE, her new novel releasing on March 31st, Jackson crafts a riveting edge-of-your-seat thriller of deception and betrayal as a New Orleans detective is forced to confront the ghosts of his past --- and a killer's twisted vengeance.

We have 10 copies of MALICE 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, March 20th.

-Click here to read Lisa Jackson’s bio.
-Visit Lisa Jackson's official website,

More about MALICE:
The scent is unmistakable --- gardenias, the same perfume that his beautiful first wife, Jennifer, always wore. Opening his eyes in the hospital room where he is recovering from an accident, New Orleans detective Rick Bentz sees her standing in the doorway. She blows him a kiss and disappears. But Jennifer died 12 years ago...

The murders begin soon after this peculiar encounter. Each victim is a part of Jennifer’s past, and each grisly corpse points to Bentz as the prime suspect.

Click here to read more about Lisa Jackson and MALICE.

Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Lisa Scottoline, Author of LOOK AGAIN
Lisa Scottoline is the Edgar Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author of 16 books, including LADY KILLER, DADDY’S GIRL and DIRTY BLONDE. In LOOK AGAIN, her new novel releasing on April 14th, a reporter’s life takes an unexpected turn when she receives a photo of a missing child who is identical to her adopted son.

We have 20 copies of LOOK AGAIN 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, March 20th.

-Click here to read Lisa Scottoline’s bio.
-Visit Lisa Scottoline’s official website,
-Click here to watch a video in which Lisa Scottoline shares her favorite thrillers.

More about LOOK AGAIN:
When reporter Ellen Gleeson gets a “Have You Seen This Child?” flyer in the mail, she almost throws it away. But something about it makes her look again, and her heart stops --- the child in the photo is identical to her adopted son, Will. Everything inside her tells her to deny the similarity between the boys, because she knows her adoption was lawful. But she’s a journalist and won't be able to stop thinking about the photo until she figures out the truth.

Click here to read more about Lisa Scottoline and LOOK AGAIN.

Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Kyle Mills, Author of LORDS OF CORRUPTION

Kyle Mills is the New York Times bestselling author of 10 books, including DARKNESS FALLS and THE SECOND HORSEMAN. Over the years he has consistently impressed critics with his insightful and entertaining contemporary political thrillers. In LORDS OF CORRUPTION, his new novel releasing on March 24th, Mills delivers a pulse-pounding, yet sophisticated, examination of the political turmoil in Africa.

-Click here to read a second excerpt from LORDS OF CORRUPTION.
-Click here to read Kyle Mills's bio.
-Click here to see Kyle Mills's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for LORDS OF CORRUPTION.
-Visit Kyle Mills's official website,
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

When Josh Hagarty is recruited by an obscure charity to manage a farming project in a war-torn region of Africa, he is eager to sign on and atone for a past he regrets. However, before he can even settle into his new life, he begins to suspect that his new employer may not be the philanthropic organization it portrays. Josh tries to lose himself in his work, but soon the precariousness of his situation becomes impossible to ignore.


Click here to read more about Kyle Mills and LORDS OF CORRUPTION.

a name="article_nine">'s 2009 Book Group Survey -- Give Us Your Input and Receive a Complementary Book! is conducting a survey of book groups. Our goal is to identify trends and topics that are of interest to book groups that we can share with publishers and authors, so they can provide the information and resources to enhance your meetings and discussions. We have not done a survey since 2001, and we know that a lot has changed in the last eight years! Thus, we would love to hear from you.

We estimate it will take 12-15 minutes to complete the survey. Through the generosity of our publishing colleagues, each of the first 2,500 survey respondents will receive a book. The 28 titles that have been selected each are worthy of a terrific book group discussion, besides providing some wonderful reading enjoyment. Titles will be selected at random. Your name will not be used for any other mailing.

If you know people in other book clubs, may we suggest that you forward
this link to them? The more voices that are heard for this, the more we will be able to have your comments shared with publishers and authors.

The survey will close on April 30th, so
click here to answer the survey NOW.

One quick note: Given customs and mailing restrictions, the prize offerings are only available to residents of the United States and Canada. To our international readers, we welcome your participation and regret we cannot send prizes overseas.

here for more information about the survey and the 28 prize books.

Please note that only our readers who are members of book clubs are eligible to take this survey.


Click here to take part in the 2009 Book Group Survey.

Special Contest on Enter to Win a Copy of TWO Watchmen Film Companion Books
After more than 20 years, Watchmen has finally landed on big screens everywhere (in a release starring Billy Crudup, Patrick Wilson, Matthew Goode, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Carla Gugino and Jackie Earle Haley). To celebrate,> is offering you the chance to win one of three sets of Watchmen books from Titan Books that delve into the magic behind the movie! The contest is open through March 31st. Readers who fill out this form and who tell us their thoughts on the Watchmen film will be automatically entered to win.

WATCHMEN: THE OFFICIAL FILM COMPANION takes viewers inside this colossal movie with exclusive cast and crew interviews and more than 200 color photographs.

WATCHMEN: THE ART OF THE FILM explores the evolution of the movie’s look, revealing scores of production designs and stunning set photos, costume sketches, original storyboards and other pieces of conceptual art. Filled with unique characters and layer upon layer of arresting detail, Watchmen is a triumph of design; and this hardback volume, a lavish celebration of a comic book made real, offers a unique look into the genesis of that design work.
Click here to read all the contest details.

What's New on is brand new this week, updated with broad-ranging content that represents the diverse tastes of our readers. With an eye for serving the needs of librarians, teachers and general readers of the format, we’re keeping the content fresh. This week’s update includes an interview with actor Chris Meloni, from “Law and Order: SVU,” who voices Green Lantern in an upcoming animated movie. Plus, we have a feature on Robert Venditti, author of the bestselling sci-fi series The Surrogates, plus a look at the upcoming sequel. Speaking of sneak peeks, Eisner Award-winning author Gene Luen Yang has a new graphic novel coming soon, Eternal Smile, and we have a special preview.

One feature we’re all very excited about is an excellent op-ed from teacher John Weaver, who explains how he incorporated Watchmen into his high school English coursework. The children have responded enthusiastically, and it’s been a tremendous experience for everyone involved. His special report explains how Weaver made it work and what it’s teaching his students.

We also have a Watchmen movie contest where readers can win almost $70 worth of free books, reviews of new books, a look at the upcoming Nick Magazine Comics Awards, a feature on turning prose novels into comics, and much, much more. is quickly becoming the premier destination for comics lovers and those who want to know more about the format. We’re making it accessible for everyone; check it out and see for yourself.


Click here to visit

Calling All Teens! Enter the Claudia Ann Seaman Awards for Young Writers Contest
The Claudia Ann Seaman Awards for Young Writers (formerly the Claudia Ann Seaman Poetry Award) is open to all high school students across the country. Each participant may submit a total of three poems, essays or stories on any subject, as long as their fiction and creative nonfiction submission does not exceed 2,500 words. The deadline for entering this annual contest is June 1st.
Click here to read all the contest details.

This Week's Reviews
BEAT THE REAPER by Josh Bazell (Medical Thriller)
Dr. Peter Brown, an intern at Manhattan's worst hospital, has an unusual past that is just about to catch up with him. One morning Peter visits a patient who knows him from his other life, when he had a different name and a very different job. Now he must do whatever it takes to keep his patient alive so he can buy some time…and beat the reaper. Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum.

THE GLISTER by John Burnside (Fiction)
Past a small dreary town, through a poisoned wood, there sits the ruins of a chemical factory. The factory was once the heart and purpose of the town, but it’s shut down now, abandoned and decaying. The people are sick and, without options, stay there to die mysterious and painful deaths. But for the teenage boys of Innertown, the most immediate threat is random, unseen and almost unacknowledged. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

BLEEDING HEART SQUARE by Andrew Taylor (Historical Mystery)
Working from information contained within a mysterious diary, Andrew Taylor’s BLEEDING HEART SQUARE propels readers into 1934 London and the decaying cul-de-sac of the same name that has suspicious characters and an unsolved disappearance of a woman four years earlier. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

THE LOCAL NEWS by Miriam Gershow (Fiction)
Fifteen-year-old Lydia Pasternak watches her family implode after her older brother, Danny, vanishes. Against a backdrop of surreal police and parent interaction, media coverage and peer attention, Lydia struggles to find her place in a world that makes even less sense than usual, in a finely wrought and quietly devastating story. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

GO DOWN TOGETHER: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde by Jeff Guinn (True Crime)
In GO DOWN TOGETHER, bestselling author Jeff Guinn combines exhaustive research with surprising, newly discovered material to tell the real tale of two kids from a filthy Dallas slum who fell in love and then willingly traded their lives for a brief interlude of excitement and, more important, fame. Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott.

NUCLEAR JELLYFISH by Tim Dorsey (Thriller)
Serge A. Storms is upset that his beloved state of Flordia isn't getting its proper recognition, so he signs on with the big Internet travel services. But his new employers aren't exactly sure they want to send their customers to Serge's favorite haunts --- nor do they want to provide tips on how to keep from getting killed on vacation. Unfortunately, Serge's Web presence catches the attention of his nemesis, Agent Mahoney, and the chase is on. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

BASKETBALL JONES by E. Lynn Harris (Fiction)
In E. Lynn Harris’s novels, secrets rule. BASKETBALL JONES, which centers on the relationship between a closeted professional athlete and his male lover, explores the consequences of loving someone who is forced to conform to the rules society demands its public heroes follow. Reviewed by Bernadette Davis.

LEVITTOWN: Two Families, One Tycoon, and the Fight for Civil Rights in America’s Legendary Suburb by David Kushner (History)
Focusing on a little known incident in the history of the struggle for civil rights in the United States --- the fight to integrate the all-white suburb of Levittown, Pennsylvania --- David Kushner offers an absorbing story of personal courage in the face of bigotry. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.

Read this week's reviews here.

Poll and Question of the Week: Short Chapters and Long Books

Do you try to stop reading at the end of a chapter?

Not sure

Do you prefer books with short chapters?

Yes, I like this.
No, I do not like this.
This does not matter to me.

-Click here to answer our poll.


What is the longest book you ever read?

-Click here to answer our question.

Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading --- THREE Prizes
Tell us what books YOU are reading and loving --- or even those you don't.

This week we have three great prizes: FIVE readers each will win a copy of APOLOGIZE, APOLOGIZE! by Elizabeth Kelly, THE LAST DICKENS by Matthew Pearl and LIFE SENTENCES by Laura Lippman. Tell us what you are reading and rate the titles 1-5 by noon on March 20th to ensure that you are in the running to win these books.
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 March 31, 2009 automatically are entered in our Monthly Newsletter Contest. This month, one winner will be selected to win the following five books: HANDLE WITH CARE by Jodi Picoult, ILLEGAL by Paul Levine, LIFE SENTENCES by Laura Lippman, LONG LOST by Harlan Coben and PURSUIT by Karen Robards. Joanne from Tuckahoe, NY was last month's newsletter winner. She won BLOOD AND BONE by William Lashner, PROMISES IN DEATH by J. D. Robb, TRUE COLORS by Kristin Hannah, VERY VALENTINE by Adriana Trigiani and WHILE MY SISTER SLEEPS by Barbara Delinsky.

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

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