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March 27, 2009 Newsletter March 27, 2009
My Goal This Week: You Make at Least ONE Addition to Your "To Be Read List"

Okay, get out your "to be read list" and grab a pen since there are some real winners to share this week...

For weeks now at the office we all have been looking forward to sharing Paul Levine's latest book, ILLEGAL, with you. It's a complete departure for readers who know Levine from his Solomon vs. Lord series. Here he takes on the subject of illegal immigration in a thriller that packs a punch. It reads authentically, which is a true testimony to the meticulous research that Levine did, and you can read more about in our interview with him. It was a house favorite for a while now, so we are glad it's now in stores for you to enjoy!

Last Sunday night I started reading an advance reading copy of a memoir that was sent my way called CRAZY FOR THE STORM by Norman Ollestad. Here's the copy from the cover: "On February 19, 1979 I was in a plane crash with my father; his girlfriend, Sandra; and the pilot of our chartered Cessna. Sandra was 30 years old. My dad was 43. I was 11. Just after sunrise, we slammed into a rugged 8,600-foot mountain engulfed in a blizzard. By the end of our nine-hour ordeal, I was the only survivor." Intrigued I started reading and then found myself only stopping when my eyes could no longer stay open. In the morning, I pulled the book into bed as soon as I was awake. All day at the office, I was sneaking a page here and a page there until I could get home and just keep reading.

What worked was not just the story, but also the language, the pacing, the way I "saw" it unfold. When the action builds the chapters shorten and seem to volley back and forth so it has amazing pitch. It's coming June 2nd. And I think you will read it and remember it for a long time. Everyone who I told about it (and I did that a lot this week) said, I want to read it now. Mark your calendars. You will be hearing a lot more about this in the weeks to come, and I cannot wait to hear the conversation about it as more and more people hear about it. Ah, yet another moment where I would like to move the calendar ahead!

Speaking of books I love, I am ready to name my next Bets On pick, A RELIABLE WIFE by Robert Goolrick. I am going to one of Goolrick's New York events on Tuesday night at the B&N on 82nd and Broadway, so I think it's fair to share my pick now in hopes that those of you in New York might join me there as well. The past few weeks when booksellers, reviewers and librarians were talking about books they loved, very often we all were talking about

The book opens with Ralph Truitt standing on a train platform on a cold winter morning waiting for a woman who had answered his ad looking for
"a reliable wife;" "a simple honest woman." But Catherine Land is not the woman who she appears to be, and she, like Ralph, has secrets to hide and thus their story takes you on one very wild ride. The official pub date is April 7th, but if you are going to the B&N event, drop me a line so I can say hi. I think it will be moving into stores next week.

Okay, for those of you who ever wanted to read a Lee Child book, we have a chance for you to do that online --- for free. At you have the opportunity to read the entire book, PERSUADER. You can read it on screen in the handy dandy very cool format they have there where you can flip the pages, or you can download it to any of the following applications -- eReader, Kindle, Issuu widget, Scribd widget and Stanza app for iPhone. Before you think I am really a tech chick, note I know what just two of those are. And we share that Lee's next book, GONE TOMORROW, is on sale May 19, 2009. As always, we'll remind you closer to the on-sale date. And we also will tickle you when you can get a sneak peek of Chapters 1-5 starting May 4th at Blood on the Page.

This Sunday night HBO will have the premiere airing of "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" at 8pm only on HBO. Since "Big Love" has ended, I was hoping there might be something terrific to fill my Sunday this week to justify that I pay for HBO!

Speaking of "Big Love," I am going to read a whole group of books about polygamy until the season starts again. I have lined up THE 19th WIFE by David Ebershoff, UNDER THE BANNER OF HEAVEN by Jon Krakauer, SHATTERED DREAMS by Irene Spencer and THE CHOSEN ONE by Carol Lynch Williams, a brilliant YA title coming in May that I started last night, which is the story of a 13-year-old girl growing up on a compound who is promised to her 60-year old uncle, who already has six wives. The voice of Kyra is amazing, and when you read of her secret visits to the bookmobile for weekly escape, you will treasure your freedom to read books all the more. I also confess that whenever I see a Hummer on the street I panic that it's Roman. Seriously.

My trip to the Virginia Festival of the Book ended just as smashingly as it started. There were many special moments, including the Saturday evening event that I attended with S.J. Rozan and Denise Hamilton where John Grisham and Stephen L. Carter were the featured authors --- and the talk was about the law and legal thrillers. The banter and conversation was great both on stage and in the car going back to the hotel. The previous evening I had heard Rozan and Hamilton speak along with Dan Fesperman and Caroline and Charles Todd on a wonderful crime-themed panel brilliantly moderated by Willetta Heising. Heising always does meticulous research in advance of her interviews, which ensures that readers walk away with a terrific in-depth look at the authors and their work. She really captures the essence of each author's work.

Brad Meltzer was the perfect lunch speaker on Saturday, and it was such fun to sit at a table with Rosemary Harris, whose gardening mysteries are laced with comedy. Her latest is THE BIG DIRT NAP, and I thank her here for the gardening gloves she had for all the guests at her table. May I remember where I put them when the ground softens up! Later in the day I was at a panel on humor in crime where she, Nancy Martin and Harley Jane Kozak were presenting and Marcia Talley was moderating. THAT was fun! As always, great to see my friend Mayapriya Long while I was in town, as well as pals from New York and all over the country who make this Festival an annual event. Love these reunions.

And I want to give a shout out to Mimi at Needle Lady in Charlottesville. Besides doing bookish things, I had some knitting moments there. I designed the concept for a window treatment for my office that I am going to knit. Hey, when you cannot find fabric you love, you make it up! And then thanks to one of our readers named Kathryn, who read the newsletter. I managed to go back to the store on Saturday and buy some amazing yarn to make a very cool wrap that I had been on the fence about. See, I listen to our readers!

Since March came in like a lion, I think it needs to exit like a lamb. Anyone want to vote with me on this? Have a great week.

Carol Fitzgerald ( Talks to Kyle Mills, Author of LORDS OF CORRUPTION
In this interview with's Joe Hartlaub, bestselling author Kyle Mills talks about what inspired him to set his 10th and latest novel, LORDS OF CORRUPTION, in war-torn Africa and sheds light on the extreme disparity between the continent's economic conditions with that of the U.S. He also explains his knack for penning books with very timely subjects, discusses what led him to pursue writing instead of following in his father's footsteps in law enforcement, and reveals how he would attempt to fix Africa's numerous problems if given the opportunity.

LORDS OF CORRUPTION by Kyle Mills (Thriller)
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. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read a review of LORDS OF CORRUPTION.
-Click here to read an excerpt from LORDS OF CORRUPTION.

Click here to read our interview with Kyle Mills. Talks to Paul Levine, Author of ILLEGAL
In his latest novel, ILLEGAL, Paul Levine --- author of the bestselling Jake Lassiter and Solomon vs. Lord series --- introduces readers to a new protagonist: down-and-out lawyer Jimmy "Royal" Payne. In this interview with's Joe Hartlaub and Nicole Bruce, Levine talks about what inspired him to create this character and explains the book's difference in tone compared to his lighter, more comedic works. He also reveals what prompted him to focus on the subject of illegal immigration, discusses how living in both Florida and California have shaped his attitudes toward this controversial topic, and shares details about the next installment in this new series.

ILLEGAL by Paul Levine (Thriller)
Jimmy “Royal” Payne, a down-on-his-luck lawyer, battles cops, coyotes, and a corrupt and powerful rancher, as he tracks a beautiful Mexican woman who disappeared on a midnight border crossing and is swept into the world of human trafficking. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read a review of ILLEGAL.
-Click here to read an excerpt from ILLEGAL.
-Visit Paul Levine's official website,

Click here to read our interview with Paul Levine.

Now in Stores: PURSUIT by Karen Robards
PURSUIT by Karen Robards (Romantic Suspense)
When young lawyer Jessica Ford gets a Saturday night call from her boss asking her to rescue First Lady Annette Cooper from scandal, she is apprehensive yet thrilled. But rather than advancing her career, the events of that night leave her changed in ways she'll never forget and on the run for her life when she's the sole survivor of a horrible automobile accident. Reviewed by Amie Taylor.

-Click here to read an excerpt from PURSUIT.
-Visit Karen Robards’s official website,

Click here to read a review of PURSUIT.

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.

-Click here to read an excerpt from LOOK AGAIN.

-Click here to read fast facts about Lisa Scottoline.
-Click here to read Lisa Scottoline’s bio.
-Click here to see Lisa Scottoline's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for LOOK AGAIN.
-Visit Lisa Scottoline’s official website,
-Click here to watch a video in which Lisa Scottoline shares her favorite thrillers.
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

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: Jilliane Hoffman, Author of PLEA OF INSANITY
Jilliane Hoffman began her professional career as an Assistant State Attorney prosecuting felonies in Florida. Through 2001, she was the Regional Legal Advisor for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, advising more than 100 special agents on criminal and civil matters in complex investigations involving narcotics, homicide and organized crime. PLEA OF INSANITY, releasing on April 14th, is her third novel, following her international bestsellers RETRIBUTION and LAST WITNESS.

-Click here to read an excerpt from PLEA OF INSANITY.
-Click here to read Jilliane Hoffman’s bio.
-Click here to see Jilliane Hoffman's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for PLEA OF INSANITY.
-Visit Jilliane Hoffman’s official website,
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

The prosecutor --- Julia Vacanti. Young, ambitious, and facing a case that could launch her career. The defendant --- David Marquette. A successful Miami surgeon and devoted family man. The victims --- Marquette’s own wife and three small children. The plea --- Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity. The perfect father and model husband, David Marquette seemingly just snapped one night. Or did he? His experienced defense team claims paranoid delusions caused by schizophrenia drove him to slaughter his entire family.

Click here to read more about Jilliane Hoffman and PLEA OF INSANITY.

Featured Women’s Fiction Author: Sandra Dallas, Author of PRAYERS FOR SALE
Award-winning and critically acclaimed author Sandra Dallas has captivated readers with her novels that explore themes of loyalty, friendship and human dignity, including NEW MERCIES, THE CHILI QUEEN and TALLGRASS, among others. PRAYERS FOR SALE, Dallas’s eighth work of fiction, is an unforgettable tale of a friendship between two women, one with surprising twists and turns, and one that is ultimately a revelation of the finest parts of the human spirit. PRAYERS FOR SALE will be available in stores on April 14th.

-Click here to read an excerpt from PRAYERS FOR SALE.
-Click here to read Sandra Dallas’s bio.
-Click here to see Sandra Dallas's backlist.
-Visit Sandra Dallas's official website,
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

It's 1936 and the depression has ravaged the country. Hennie Comfort is 86 and has lived in the mountains of Middle Swan, Colorado since before it was Colorado. Nit Spindle is just 17 and newly married. After a chance encounter between the two women, the harsh conditions of life that each have endured create an instant bond and an unlikely friendship is formed, one in which the deepest of hardships are shared and the darkest of secrets are confessed.

Click here to read more about Sandra Dallas and PRAYERS FOR SALE.

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.

-Click here to read a second excerpt from MALICE.
-Click here to read Lisa Jackson’s bio.
-Click here to see Lisa Jackson's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for MALICE.
-Visit Lisa Jackson's official website,
-Click here to view a trailer for MALICE.
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

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.

Now in Stores: SERENDIPITY by Louise Shaffer

SERENDIPITY by Louise Shaffer (Fiction)
A child of theatrical royalty, Carrie Manning is having a hard time getting her own act together. Thirty-seven, aimless, and having just buried a famous mother she never understood, she is desperate to uncover her family’s mysterious past in the hopes that it will help her understand herself.

Carrie’s search reveals the fascinating life stories of her estranged grandmother Lu, a glamorous Broadway star whose dreams came with a price; her great grandmother Mifalda, who gave up everything to come to America as a 16-year-old Italian bride; and her father, Bobby, the charismatic Broadway genius who wrote some of Lu’s greatest musicals and died tragically young. At the heart of Carrie’s discoveries lies the reason for her mother’s complicated life, and a dark secret that has been buried for 30 years.


Click here to read more about SERENDIPITY.

Now in Stores: DAISY CHAIN by Mary E. DeMuth
DAISY CHAIN: Defiance Texas Trilogy by Mary E. DeMuth (Fiction)
The abrupt disappearance of young Daisy Chance haunts the small town of Defiance, Texas. Fourteen-year-old Jed Pepper searches for answers in this gritty and compelling story of love and sorrow, revealing God’s hand of redemption in impossible situations. Lyrical fiction from a bright new literary talent.

-Click here to read an interview with Mary E. DeMuth on
-Click here to read more about
-Click here to read an excerpt from
-Click here to read Mary E. DeMuth's bio.

Click here to read more about Mary E. DeMuth and DAISY CHAIN on

New in Paperback for March

March’s roundup of New in Paperback fiction titles includes NOTHING TO LOSE, the 12th installment in Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series that introduces readers to Hope and Despair, two lonely towns in Colorado; GUILTY by Karen Robards, a suspenseful and romantic thriller in which a feisty female attorney's life is threatened when her hidden past resurfaces in an unexpected way; THE THIRD ANGEL, a remarkable work of fiction from prolific author Alice Hoffman that charts the lives of three women in love with the wrong men; THE CURE FOR MODERN LIFE, Lisa Tucker’s wise, thought-provoking and morally compelling novel that raises questions about major social issues and the unpredictability of human relationships; THE EX-DEBUTANTE by Linda Francis Lee, a funny and poignant story of one ex-debutante who must decide if she’ll risk everything for love; and MUDBOUND, debut novelist Hillary Jordan’s award-winning portrait of two families caught up in the blind hatred of a small Southern town.

Among our nonfiction highlights are A WOLF AT THE TABLE, the prequel to the bestseller RUNNING WITH SCISSORS, in which Augusten Burroughs recreates the unspeakably terrifying relationship between a sociopathic father and a son yearning for unconditional love; LADIES OF LIBERTY by Cokie Roberts, a colorful blend of biographical portraits and behind-the-scenes vignettes chronicling women's public roles and private responsibilities; and THE WARRIOR, a heart-rending memoir written in 28 poems that Frances Richey dedicates to her son, Ben, a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and a Green Beret who served two tours of duty in Iraq.


Click here to see our New in Paperback feature for March.

What's New on has been updated with new reviews of books for kids, teens and adults, plus an in-depth look at the new DVD release of Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter, with comments from the film's director. We continue to explore and explain the industry of graphic novels through a special Roundtable interview on the issues facing publishers as they adapt prose works to the graphic format. Plus, get to know Kids' Comic Con creator Alex Simmons, and read how the graphic novel librarian at Columbia University began developing her collection. All this and much, much more in the latest update to
Click here to visit

This Week's Reviews

THE LONG FALL: The First Leonid McGill Mystery by Walter Mosley (Mystery)
Bestselling author Walter Mosley introduces a new private-eye mystery series set in contemporary New York. Leonid McGill is a down-at-the-heels PI often known to bend the law to help his clients. He is trying to go straight, but when his current job leads to murder, he learns that the past is not so easily escaped. Reviewed by Tom Callahan.

EXECUTION DOCK by Anne Perry (Mystery)
Anne Perry returns to Victorian London with her first William Monk mystery in three years. EXECUTION DOCK pits Commander Monk against the nefarious Jericho Phillips, who is allegedly guilty of a string of child abductions and murders along the bustling docks of the Thames River. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

REUNION by Therese Fowler (Fiction)
Blue Reynolds is a super-famous talk show host, with a big secret in her past: a baby boy she gave up for adoption. As she jets off to Key West to film her program, her life is about to become very complicated as the search for her son intensifies and the big love of her life resurfaces. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

-Click here to read an excerpt from REUNION.

DANTE’S NUMBERS by David Hewson (Suspense)
In Rome, a legendary director is premiering his new film version of Dante’s INFERNO. But within moments, the event is in chaos. A man is dead. The film’s star is missing --- and a priceless relic has vanished. In David Hewson’s new novel of suspense, Detective Nic Costa, numb from the recent death of his wife, finds himself and his fellow detectives drawn into a strange and terrifying limbo --- the first of Dante’s nine circles of Hell. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

DON'T CRY: Stories by Mary Gaitskill (Fiction/Short Stories)
From the powerful pen of Mary Gaitskill comes DON'T CRY, her first collection of short stories in more than a decade. The tales here are intense and thought-provoking, compelling and often tragic, yet filled with a subtle magic. In just 10 stories Gaitskill explores the spectrum of emotion: lust, greed, sorrow, hope, anger and many forms of love. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

GRAVE GOODS: A Mistress of the Art of Death Novel by Ariana Franklin (Historical Mystery)
Vesuvia Adelia Rachel Ortese Aguilar has finally achieved a peaceful, happy, if somewhat unorthodox life for herself. Into her satisfied existence, however, bursts a new request from her so-called benefactor, the man who enables the native Italian to settle safely and without challenge in England. In this third spectacular mystery featuring medieval physician Adelia Aguilar, Ariana Franklin delves into an even older story: the legend of King Arthur and Guinevere. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

WHISPER TO THE BLOOD: A Kate Shugak Novel by Dana Stabenow (Mystery)
Kate Shugak, the irrepressible Aleut private investigator, is back as Dana Stabenow spins her 16th story in this amazing series. Packed with action, adventure, mystery and romance played out against the backdrop of the Alaskan Bush, steeped in Native culture, WHISPER TO THE BLOOD is sure to attract new fans and please devoted Stabenow rats as well. Reviewed by Maggie Harding.


Read this week's reviews here.

Poll and Question of the Week: Previewing Books Before Buying Them

Do you read the inside flap or back copy on a book before you buy it?

Yes, all the time
Yes, if I do not know the author
Some of the time

-Click here to answer our poll.


Name up to three books that you bought purely because the inside flap or back copy was good.

-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 ILLEGAL by Paul Levine, PURSUIT by Karen Robards and REUNION by Therese Fowler. Tell us what you are reading and rate the titles 1-5 by noon on April 3rd 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.

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