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December 3, 2010 Newsletter December 3, 2010

Quick Trip Across the Country --- And It's NOT a Book Conference!

I am writing from a plane somewhere over the middle of the country as I head to San Francisco. Surprisingly, I am not going to a conference or any bookish event. Shockingly, I am going on a four-day vacation. I got this spur-of-the-moment plan as I needed some more miles to make gold status on Continental, and I entered into some Starwood program in October where I needed 10 nights in a hotel for triple-bonus points. Now ask if I have ever cashed in miles for travel or points for hotels; no is the answer. But these days with air travel, having some status when you travel like a pack mule like me does matter.

I decided to return to San Francisco as I needed a West Coast destination to get enough mileage, and there is a hotel there that I love. Each time I am in that city on business, I wish I had time to explore it more without the constraints of having just an hour between conference events. It really was a spur-of-the-moment trip, and feeling a tad guilty about going on vacation alone, I asked my husband if he wanted to come along. Although we always go to the beach as a family, the last time Tom and I traveled alone together on a trip was about 20 years ago! I remember the last time vividly. I was shooting a marketing film in L.A. The first morning of the trip as I was packing up to go on the shoot, he asked what time we were going to have dinner. I answered something like “when the sun goes down.” Clearly not used to the pace of my business trips, he looked at me like I was daft. While I plan a lot, I am from the school of “winging it” on vacation, and I even do this a lot on business trips. Above you can see a photo of the trunk of the car as it was packed to go to the airport. Everything aqua is mine; everything else is Tom’s. I thought that was worthy of a picture. While I am “winging it,” I also am prepared. For total humor, when my son dropped us off at the airport, I did hear my husband say to him “Wish me luck,” and I don’t think he was talking about the flight!

I knew I was going to be writing on the plane and thus not much good company. He brought up some book selections from “the library” in the family room, which I promptly made some edits on. So he is happily reading INNOCENT by Scott Turow while I tap away on my laptop. I get more done in the air than I do on the ground since there are no interruptions, thus I cranked out dozens of emails all ready to be sent when we land. I have been patrolling the aisles looking at what people are reading. There are a mix of hardcovers (imagine that!), trade paperbacks, magazines, newspapers, one iPad where someone is reading something (not sure what) and one iPad where someone is watching "Law and Order: SVU." Oh and lots of people are sleeping. At quick glance we have DECISION POINTS by George W. Bush, EAT PRAY LOVE by Elizabeth Gilbert and STONES INTO SCHOOLS by Greg Mortenson.

Speaking of San Francisco, when I was at Bouchercon they screened a really fun movie that was pulled together by someone on the organizing committee called The Scene of a Perfect Crime, a movie compilation that was shot in San Francisco. It was so good that I wanted to share it with you here. Enjoy!

Over the holiday, after I emerged from my turkey-induced coma, I got some nice reading done. That Friday, I literally did nothing except get a massage and read. I crashed reading DEEP DOWN TRUE by Juliette Fay. Readers may remember her as she wrote SHELTER ME, which was one of my early Bets On selections. In DEEP DOWN TRUE, Dana Stellgarten is newly divorced and still a bit jangled about it. She has two kids with divided lives shuffling between mom and dad, a niece who shows up on her doorstep in all her Goth glory, and enough drama to make a woman get a job! As she is thrown into the work and dating worlds, Dana becomes her own person. The book has great characters, a storyline that really moves, and some great, deep-down honesty as Dana figures out who she really is. I also love that she volunteers for something called Comfort Food, delivering meals to those who are ill; it’s nicely woven into the story. It will be in stores on January 25th, and I am picking it as a Bets On!

A few months ago, I read a really wonderful book called A THOUSAND CUTS by Simon Lelic, and I forgot to tell you about it. Imagine that! It’s one of those books where the story unfolds and unfolds, and it gets better and better with each plot twist. See if this one line intrigues you: Samuel Szajkowski, a history teacher, walks into a school assembly and turns an ordinary day into a memorable one as he pulls a gun and kills three students and a co-worker before turning the gun on himself. You never thought of bullying quite like this. It’s tight, it makes you think, and when it’s done, you will think how well done it was. It released in hardcover in March, and will be available in paperback on January 25th. It will be another Bets On selection.

Madeline, one of our readers in Florida, wrote me last month and implored me to get an advance copy of Chelsea Cain’s THE NIGHT SEASON, which is coming in March. She works in a store and had already read her advance copy. I read it, and she was right. It’s GREAT! Portland detective Archie Sheridan is back and putting his life together as Gretchen is behind bars…again…and not there to torment him. Instead, reporter Susan Ward steps up to the plate in a bigger role here, and she and Archie continue their cat and mouse game. In the story, the Willamette River in Portland has flooded and a few people have drowned. But as the medical advisor looks more closely at the victims, it’s found that these people did not die innocently; they were poisoned. With a new serial killer running around, Archie’s team is back doing what they do best. Susan also has discovered a story of a flood from the past, and her story has ramifications on the future. It’s fast-paced and so well done and a lot less gritty than Chelsea’s previous novels. If you have not explored her work before, you can jump in here. And having been to Portland earlier this year, reading this was all the more interesting. I found myself picturing the neighborhoods.

Last Saturday night I saw a "Person of the Week" piece on "NBC Nightly News" about Mackenzie Bearup, pictured above, a teenager from Alpharetta, GA who has started, a charity to get books into the hands of homeless and abused children. I was so impressed that I posted the piece, which you can view here, on Facebook and got some nice notes and feedback from readers. I also wrote Mackenzie to see if we could interview her. We did, and you can read our interview on here. Mackenzie also shares ways readers can contribute with both books and donations! If you are looking for something nice to contribute to this holiday season, this may be an answer.

Along with, another great cause to get involved with is the first ever Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day, happening nationwide on Saturday, December 4th. The idea started with blogger and aspiring author Jenny Milchman on her blog, Suspense Your Disbelief. Jenny said that if she ever gets famous, she was going to establish this holiday to show children the pleasure of visiting a bookstore. It looks like now that very idea is going to make her famous, at least in the book world! Since she first posted her idea on November 10th, it has gained lots of momentum, and it looks like Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day is an official unofficial holiday. You can check out the holiday’s website here, which has a handy map of participating stores. If you’re a bookseller, please add your store to the list. If you’re a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle, please join in!

One more date to remember is Monday, December 6th for Oprah’s interview with Jonathan Franzen about his bestseller, FREEDOM, which she named as her latest Book Club pick in September. FREEDOM grabbed a lot of headlines before Oprah picked it, and it sat atop the New York Times bestseller list for a few weeks, and is still on the extended list at No. 19. Given the history between the two, this should be an interesting interview about one of the most talked-about books in recent years. Visit Oprah’s website here for more information about the interview. Oprah also announced this week that she will name her next book club pick at the end of the segment.

On the site this week we’re featuring Dean Koontz’s latest, WHAT THE NIGHT KNOWS, in our Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight. Koontz probably doesn’t need much of an introduction as he’s one of the most successful authors ever with nearly 400 million books in print, but WHAT THE NIGHT KNOWS is getting a lot of attention. It’s a chilling ghost story about a detective who is part of similar, sinister plots that happen two decades and an entire continent apart. WHAT THE NIGHT KNOWS won’t be in stores until December 28th, but we have 20 copies to give away to readers who would like to preview the book and comment on it. Enter here by Friday, December 10th for your chance to win.

We’ve just completed our second week of Author Holiday Blogs, and I hope you’ve been following along. We’ve had some great posts so far from the likes of Lisa Scottoline, Francine Rivers, Deanna Raybourn, William Kent Krueger, Christopher Rice and many, many more. This weekend’s bloggers include Donna VanLiere, whose post "Autumn at Christmastime" is up now, with Anne Fortier, Anne Perry and Helen Simonson to take you through Monday. These are always so much fun for everybody and definitely one of my favorite projects we do at As I was travelling when the series started, I couldn’t keep up with the daily posts, but when I got home I was able to read through the entire series here. It definitely got me ready for the holidays. If you can’t check the site each day, you can subscribe via RSS here or email here to receive the day’s posts.

One of our guest bloggers earlier this week was Susan Mallery, whose post “Books Can Be the Best of Friends” you can read here. Mallery is the author of more than 100 books, and some of you may be fans of her Fool’s Gold series, a romance series set in California’s Sierra Nevada range. Susan had the clever idea to create a magazine for the series, updating fans on the characters, sights and sounds of the fictional town. What an innovative way to connect characters and readers, and add another level to the story! You can check out her Fool’s Gold site here and the special “Holiday Wishes” catalog here.

As the holiday shopping gets into full swing, don’t forget our annual What to Give, What to Get Gift Guide. Surely you can find the perfect book for the reader on your list in one of our 14 categories, some of which we’re spotlighting later in this newsletter.

Our Holiday Cheer Daily Contest is wrapping up its first full week. And we are getting notes from readers about how much they are enjoying this! I love that. As a reminder, you can sign up to receive a special daily newsletter spotlighting the day’s featured title here and then enter to win it. You can also check here Monday through Thursday at noon ET to enter as well. In addition to one of our great titles, we’re also giving away some special holiday items, but you won’t know when we'll be doing this or what the bonus items are until you enter!

This week we have a review of Anita Shreve’s RESCUE. Shreve always presents a powerful story and takes chances with her storytelling technique, which I really admire. The dynamic between the characters and how the story unfolds is really intriguing. Reviewer Terry Miller Shannon says that “her latest tale pulls readers right into the lives of her characters, making us acutely experience joys and tragedies.

In closing, I have a question for those of you using eReaders. Many of you have written to share that you are using them to read preview chapters of books as you read the newsletter. Can you let me know more about this? Also, for those of you who have eReaders that also function in other capacities beyond reading books, I’m curious to know how you use them aside from reading books. Please drop me a note to tell me what other features you’re using on your eReader. Just send a note to

Well, my battery is dying, we are somewhere over the Rockies, and thus I am going to stop and pick up a book. Here’s wishing those of you celebrating Hanukkah a wonderful celebration. Have a great week, and in the hubbub of shopping and racing around preparing for the holidays, take some time to read!

Carol Fitzgerald (


Now in Stores: RESCUE by Anita Shreve

RESCUE by Anita Shreve (Fiction)
In this emotionally-charged novel from acclaimed author Anita Shreve, EMT Peter Webster meets the intriguing Sheila Arsenault in the aftermath of a car accident. His life is altered forever when he falls in love with the young woman, who has a secret that reverberates even 18 years later. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.


Click here to read a review of RESCUE. Talks to Livia J. Washburn, Author of KILLER ON A HOT TIN ROOF

Livia J. Washburn’s KILLER ON A HOT TIN ROOF follows literary travel agent Delilah Dickinson --- and several high-strung academics --- as she makes the trek to Tennessee Williams’s New Orleans, only to discover that the celebrated writer might be a phony and that the actual author of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” is mysteriously dead. In this interview with’s Usha Rao, Washburn reveals why she decided to make Tennessee Williams the subject of her latest Delilah Dickinson Literary Tour mystery and how she came to be so knowledgeable about the festival that’s held annually in his honor. She also speculates on how the “real” Williams of her novel felt about the supposedly authentic playwright and explains why her heroine is so determined to stay single.

KILLER ON A HOT TIN ROOF: A Delilah Dickinson Literary Tour Mystery, Book 3 by Livia J. Washburn (Mystery)
Delilah Dickinson is finally looking forward to a nice, relaxing time leading her literary travel agency’s latest tour at the annual Tennessee Williams Literary Festival in New Orleans. After all, a group of intelligent, low-key English professors can’t be too much trouble. It turns out though that these academics don’t waste any time showing their claws, especially when one of the professors claims he can prove Williams didn’t even write “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” Reviewed by Usha Rao.

-Click here to read a review of KILLER ON A HOT TIN ROOF.
-Click here to read an excerpt from KILLER ON A HOT TIN ROOF.
-Click here to read Livia J. Washburn’s bio.
-Click here to see Livia J. Washburn’s backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for KILLER ON A HOT TIN ROOF.
-Click here to see our finished copy winners.


Click here to read our interview with Livia J. Washburn.

New Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Dean Koontz, Author of WHAT THE NIGHT KNOWS

Suspense master Dean Koontz returns with WHAT THE NIGHT KNOWS, a gripping thriller about a detective who finds himself investigating a series of murders nearly identical to the ones that haunted and destroyed his childhood.

We have 20 copies of WHAT THE NIGHT KNOWS, which releases on December 28th, 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, December 10th at noon ET.

-Click here to read an excerpt from WHAT THE NIGHT KNOWS.
-Click here to watch a trailer for WHAT THE NIGHT KNOWS.
-Click here to read Dean Koontz’s bio.
-Click here to see Dean Koontz’s backlist.
-Visit Dean Koontz’s official website,

In the late summer of a long ago year, a killer arrived in a small city. His name was Alton Turner Blackwood, and in the space of a few months he brutally murdered four families. His savage spree ended only when he himself was killed by the last survivor of the last family, a 14-year-old boy. Half a continent away and two decades later, someone is murdering families again, recreating in detail Blackwood’s crimes. Homicide detective John Calvino is certain that his own family --- his wife and three children --- will be targets in the fourth crime, just as his parents and sisters were victims on that distant night when he was 14 and killed their slayer.

Here is ghost story like no other you have read. In the Calvinos, Dean Koontz brings to life a family that might be your own, in a war for their survival against an adversary more malevolent than any he has yet created, with their own home the battleground. Of all his acclaimed novels, none exceeds WHAT THE NIGHT KNOWS in power, in chilling suspense, and in sheer mesmerizing storytelling.


Click here to read more about Dean Koontz and WHAT THE NIGHT KNOWS.’s Holiday Cheer Contest and Feature

The holiday season is upon us! At, this means it's time for us to share the spirit of the season with you with our Holiday Cheer Contest and Feature. This year, we're spotlighting a different title or two on select days through December 23rd, so you will have to check the site each day to see the featured prize book(s) and enter. We also are sending a special daily newsletter to announce the day's title(s), which you can sign up for here. Some days may feature special bonus prizes, including gourmet treats, holiday items, or even some of Carol's Bets On picks from this year.

This year's featured titles are:

-ARTISAN BREAD IN FIVE MINUTES A DAY by Jeff Herzberg, MD, and Zoë François
-ATLAS OF REMOTE ISLANDS by Judith Schalansky
-BLIND YOUR PONIES by Stanley Gordon West
-THE COLLECTIBLES by James J. Kaufman
-DELIRIOUS by Daniel Palmer
-EVERYTHING CHRISTMAS by David Bordon and Tom Winters
HEALTHY BREAD IN FIVE MINUTES A DAY by Jeff Herzberg, MD, and Zoë François
-KNIT THE SEASON by Kate Jacobs
-LADY IN WAITING by Susan Meissner
-THE LOST DOGS by Jim Gorant
-MY NEST ISN'T EMPTY, IT JUST HAS MORE CLOSET SPACE by Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Scottoline Serritella
-PRAYERS AND LIES by Sherri Woods Emmons
-THE SIXTH SURRENDER by Hana Samek Norton
-TRUE GRIT: Movie Tie-In Edition by Charles Portis


Click here to read all the details of's Holiday Cheer Contest and Feature.'s Author Holiday Blogs --- Authors Write About Their Bookish Holiday Memories

Between now and New Year's Day, close to 50 authors will be sharing their favorite memories of giving or receiving a book at the holidays.

Here are links to some recent posts from authors who already have shared their stories:

-Donna VanLiere: Autumn at Christmas
-A Radio Romance: Ken Harmon on Garrison Keillor's WLT
-Melissa Clark on the Holiday Cookbook That Changed Her Life
-Sheila Roberts: Would You See What I See?
-Susan Mallery: Books Can Be the Best of Friends
-William Kent Krueger on Shared Lives and Shared Poems
-Sarah Blake on the Gifts of Good Books and Bad Weather
-Harry the Ham: Francesca Serritella on Second Families
-Lisa Scottoline: Big Pimpin' on Thanksgivin'
-Beth Hoffman: An Early Christmas Memory

-Click here to subscribe to the Blog via RSS.
-Click here to subscribe to the Blog via Email.


Click here to read's Author Holiday Blogs.

Books into Movies/Books into Movies on DVD for December

’Tis the season for moviegoers, and this month, is giving you the gift of six lit-based flicks that will have you dashing to your local theater. December is going to be a month of exciting adventures and abiding classics, with several enduring favorites making a splash on the big screen. Enter a world of lost warriors, dragons and dwarves in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the latest feature-length installment of C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia series. Or hop on board with Jack Black as he adds his own special brand of comedy to Rob Letterman’s contemporary take on Gulliver’s Travels. And if you find that you still haven’t had enough of the high seas, then the latest adaptation of Shakespeare’s timeless tragicomedy The Tempest is a definite must.

If you’re hoping to stay dry this holiday season, then December has something for you, too. I Love You Phillip Morris is the comedic true tale of a white-collar criminal’s quest for love, and the Coen brothers will be gunning for yet another Oscar with True Grit, the action-packed remake of the 1969 interpretation of Charles Portis’s Western-themed classic. Those in the mood for some seasonal romance shouldn’t miss Hemingway’s Garden of Eden, a moving drama of the Jazz Age based on Ernest Hemingway’s abandoned novel of the same name.

As everyone knows, December is first and foremost a time for family and friends, so for those of you who would rather celebrate the season at home, our Books into Movies on DVD feature is spotlighting a wide selection of book-based blockbusters --- and they’re all guaranteed to make great stocking suffers. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, Restrepo, Nanny McPhee Returns, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole and The Town are hitting stores just in time for the holidays. And if you’re looking to cash in on post-seasonal sales, The American and Twelve will be available on December 28th.

Click here for more details about December’s films.

Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: C. E. Lawrence, Author of SILENT VICTIM

C. E. Lawrence thrilled audiences with last year's SILENT SCREAMS, and now she ratchets up the tension with SILENT VICTIM. Two bodies found within a week of each other appear to be suicides, but further investigation leads police into a terrifying game of cat-and-mouse across New York City.

-Click here to read a third excerpt from SILENT VICTIM.
-Click here to read C. E. Lawrence’s bio.
-Click here to see C. E. Lawrence’s backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for SILENT VICTIM.

At first, they look like suicides. Two bodies within a week --- one found floating in New York’s East River, another electrocuted in the bathtub. But forensics show that the victims were drugged, then killed. As the death toll grows, so does the brutality of the murders --- and the killer dubbed the Flesh Collector continues to prey. NYPD profiler Lee Campbell joins the frantic pursuit of a murderous madman who delights in taunting police with gruesome messages. Somewhere in the killer’s terrifying handiwork lie the clues to his twisted psyche. But the case is growing disturbingly personal. Getting close enough to stop the monster means getting close enough --- to die…

Click here to read more about C. E. Lawrence and SILENT VICTIM.

What to Give, What to Get: Spotlight on Mysteries, Thrillers and Suspense

Headed out to do some holiday shopping? Before you go, check out our What to Give, What to Get feature with ideas in 14 categories.

We've been spotlighting the various categories in the newsletter these past few weeks. This week we're featuring
Mystery Madness and Thrilling Reads, Faces and Places, News, Events and Popular Culture and Graphic Reads. First up --- Mystery Madness and Thrilling Reads.

Got a mystery lover on your holiday list? Our Mystery Madness and Thrilling Reads category features a collection of page-turners.

Our featured titles in this category are:

-THE EMPEROR'S TOMB by Steve Berry
-MOONLIGHT MILE by Dennis Lehane

-THE MURDER ROOM: The Heirs of Sherlock Holmes Gather to Solve the World's Most Perplexing Cold Cases by Michael Capuzzo
-SPIDER BONES by Kathy Reichs
-Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy Deluxe Boxed Set
VERMILION DRIFT by William Kent Krueger


Click here to see our Mystery Madness and Thrilling Reads category.

What to Give, What to Get: Spotlight on Biography, Memoir and History

Shopping for a history buff? Or a science/engineering fan? Our Faces and Places category has a number of great choices, from historical narratives to inspiring memoirs.

Our featured titles in this category are:

-ATLANTIC: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms, and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories by Simon Winchester
-BREAKING NIGHT: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard by Liz Murray

-FIRST FAMILY: Abigail and John Adams by Joseph J. Ellis
-HOLLYWOOD: A Third Memoir by Larry McMurtry
-JET AGE: The Comet, the 707, and the Race to Shrink the World by Sam Howe Verhovek

-LET’S TAKE THE LONG WAY HOME: A Memoir of Friendship by Gail Caldwell
-MY READING LIFE by Pat Conroy
-UNBROKEN: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

Click here to see our Faces and Places category.

What to Give, What to Get: Spotlight on Current Events and Pop Culture
Our News, Events and Popular Culture category features musical tales from a classical composer and legendary rockers, a haunting memoir about the war in Afghanistan, and the late-night television wars that shook up the industry.

Our featured titles in this category are:

-FINISHING THE HAT: Collected Lyrics (1954-1981) with Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines and Anecdotes by Stephen Sondheim
-LIFE by Keith Richards
-LZ-'75: The Lost Chronicles of Led Zeppelin's 1975 American Tour by Stephen Davis
-WAR by Sebastian Junger
THE WAR FOR LATE NIGHT: When Leno Went Early and Television Went Crazy by Bill Carter
Click here to see our News, Events and Popular Culture category.

What to Give, What to Get: Spotlight on Graphic Novels
Our Graphic Reads category spotlights some of the best graphic novels currently on the shelves. Please visit for more gift ideas.

Our featured titles in this category are:

-ARCHIE MARRIES... written by Michael Uslan, illustrated by Stan Goldberg and Bob Smith
-MALICE #2: HAVOC by Chris Wooding
-THE NIGHT BOOKMOBILE by Audrey Niffenegger
-TROUBLEMAKER: A Barnaby and Hooker Graphic Novel, Book 2 written by Janet Evanovich and Alex Evanovich, art by Joëlle Jones

Click here to see our Graphic Reads category.

This Week's Reviews

PORT MORTUARY: A Scarpetta Novel by Patricia Cornwell (Thriller)
Now chief of the brand-new Cambridge Forensic Center, Dr. Kay Scarpetta is being confronted with a case that could ruin her --- both personally and professionally. A young man has died from what looks like cardiac arrhythmia, but signs suggest he was alive when the Center zipped him in a body bag. As radiology scans reveal more shocking details, Scarpetta realizes that she’s fighting a cunning and cruel enemy --- and more people are going to die. Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum.

OF LOVE AND EVIL: The Songs of the Seraphim, Book Two by Anne Rice (Metaphysical Thriller)
OF LOVE AND EVIL follows ANGEL TIME in Anne Rice's The Songs of the Seraphim series, chronicling one man's sins and virtues and his search for redemption. Toby O'Dare is a knot in the web of humanity, a weak human attempting to compensate for past evils. In this story of angels and devils, Rice dives headfirst into such nebulous paradigms as good and evil, musing on the differences between the two and on perceived conditions for salvation --- those decreed by God and those by men. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.

THE DISTANT HOURS by Kate Morton (Fiction)
Australian writer Kate Morton has a knack for concocting deliciously old-fashioned reads. Her third novel --- set in the 1990s, with flashbacks to World War II Britain --- is highly atmospheric, with an inquisitive, bookish heroine who uncovers a whole graveyard of family secrets. Reviewed by Kathy Weissman.

UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS: A Story of Loss and Gain by Portia de Rossi (Memoir)
Portia de Rossi weighed 82 pounds when she collapsed on the set of the Hollywood film that should have been the highlight of her career. On the outside, she was thin and glamorous, but inside, she was literally dying. In this beautifully written work, de Rossi shines a bright light on dark subjects. Reviewed by Pauline Finch.

CLEOPATRA: A Life by Stacy Schiff (Biography)
Famous before she was notorious, Cleopatra has gone down in history for all the wrong reasons. In a masterly return to classical sources, Stacy Schiff rescues the magnetic queen who reshaped the ancient world. Rich in detail and epic in scope, this is a luminous reconstruction of a dazzling life. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

THE SHERLOCKIAN by Graham Moore (Mystery)
In 1893, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle kills his greatest character, Sherlock Holmes, to his own delight and the disgust of his fans. Shortly thereafter, he finds himself involved in a real-life murder case. Over 100 years later, a scholar of Sherlock Holmes channels the literary detective attempting to solve a murder tied to Conan Doyle’s long-lost journal. Reviewed by Amy Gwiazdowski.

THE KILLING OF CRAZY HORSE by Thomas Powers (History)
Crazy Horse, the great Sioux Indian chief and warrior, died under mysterious circumstances on an army base in Nebraska in 1877. Thomas Powers uses this incident as a means of painting a broad and deeply detailed account of the Plains Indian wars that virtually destroyed Indian culture and opened the west to settlement by white adventurers. Reviewed by Robert Finn.

FOREIGN BODIES by Cynthia Ozick (Historical Fiction)
The nephew of divorced schoolteacher Bea Nightingale has gone missing in Paris, and her estranged, difficult brother pesters her to go find him. Bea’s escapades lead her into a web of lies and start a series of events she could not have foreseen, as she inadvertently wreaks havoc on the very people she tries to help. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

SAUL BELLOW: LETTERS edited by Benjamin Taylor (Literature/Memoir)
Benjamin Taylor offers up a rich selection of the correspondence of American literary giant Saul Bellow. Anyone with even a passing interest in the history of American literature in the second half of the 20th century will find countless rewards in these letters. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.

SELECTED STORIES by William Trevor (Fiction/Short Stories)
Over a career spanning more than half a century, William Trevor has crafted exquisitely rendered tales that brilliantly illuminate the human condition. Bringing together 48 stories from four anthologies, this second volume of Trevor's collected fiction offers what The New York Times Book Review has called "treasures of gorgeous writing, brilliant dialogue, and unforgettable lives." Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman.

CHRISTMAS AT THE MYSTERIOUS BOOKSHOP edited by Otto Penzler (Mystery/Short Stories)
Award-winning mystery editor and bookstore owner Otto Penzler invited 17 of the biggest names in suspense and mystery writing to write a seasonal short story set in or around The Mysterious Bookshop, his New York City store. The result is an all-star lineup of writers delivering excellent mysteries appropriate for any season. Reviewed by Tom Callahan.

THE IDENTITY MAN by Andrew Klavan (Thriller)
John Shannon is a three-time loser for a murder he didn’t commit, and the cops are closing in on him. But when a bizarre text draws him to a midnight meeting, a foreigner known as the Identity Man offers Shannon the chance to start again. It seems too good to be true --- and it is. His new home is a ruined city crawling with corruption --- and for some reason, everyone wants Shannon dead. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE IMMORTALS: A Taylor Jackson Novel by J.T. Ellison (Thriller)
Eight Nashville teenagers are found dead, victims of a ritual killing thought to be blessed by Death himself. Emotions are running high, and homicide lieutenant Taylor Jackson knows she must act quickly, but tread carefully. Exploring the subcultures of mysticism and witchcraft, Taylor becomes immersed in a darkness that threatens to unhinge her world --- and learns how unchecked wrath can push a killer to his limits. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

Click here to read this week's reviews.

Poll and Question of the Week: Book Buying in 2010 and Spending Holiday Time with an Author


Where did you buy most of your books this year? Please check as many as apply.

Chain bookstore (Borders, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, etc.)
Big-box store (Costco, Sam's Club, Target, Wal-Mart, etc.)
Independent bookseller – Kindle Store – NOOK Store
Other online retailer
Used bookstore
None of the above
I do not buy books.

-Click here to answer our poll.


What author would you most like to spend the holidays with? Please explain why.

-Click here to answer our question.


Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading --- and You Can Win TWO Books!
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 OF LOVE AND EVIL: The Songs of the Seraphim, Book Two by Anne Rice and UNBROKEN: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand. Tell us what you are reading here and rate the titles 1-5 by noon ET on Friday, December 17th to ensure that you are in the running to win these books.

Click here for more details about Word of Mouth.

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.

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Those who are subscribed to the newsletter by December 31, 2010 automatically are entered in our Monthly Newsletter Contest. This month, one winner will be selected to win the following five books: OF LOVE AND EVIL: The Songs of the Seraphim, Book Two by Anne Rice, RESCUE by Anita Shreve, SECRETS TO THE GRAVE by Tami Hoag, UNBROKEN: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand, and WHAT THE NIGHT KNOWS by Dean Koontz. Marya from Centerville, IA was last month's winner. She won THE EMPEROR'S TOMB by Steve Berry, FULL DARK, NO STARS by Stephen King, HELL'S CORNER by David Baldacci, INDULGENCE IN DEATH by J.D. Robb, and MOONLIGHT MILE by Dennis Lehane.

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