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May 6, 2011 Newsletter May 6, 2011
Adventures in LA: Tommy Trojan, the Big Tree, Authors and Me
My trip to LA was filled with blue skies, sunny days and lots of time for making memories. Friday night I swung by Skylight Books, which was hosting the Mystery Writers of America’s Southern California soiree for mystery authors; well, swung was the wrong word as rather I crawled there in wicked LA traffic. It was fun to see Brett Battles, Naomi Hirahara, Christine Faust, Linda Brown, Bobby McCue and the rest of the gang, and to again catch up with Dan Kusunoki, the extraordinary graphic novel expert at Skylight, but I found myself feeling very nostalgic for this same event that used to be held at the Mystery Bookstore in Westwood. (They closed in January.)

Continuing my SoCal bookstore tour that had started the previous night at Book Soup, I left Skylight just as Marcia Clark was arriving to talk about GUILT BY ASSOCIATION (order from Amazon or IndieBound) to head out to Pasadena to Vroman's, which is Southern California's oldest and largest independent bookstore that opened in the late 1800s. I am so glad I made this visit. It was a hopping Friday night at the store with many folks out shopping, and there was a great vibe to the place. The depth of their inventory was great, as well as their sidelines. I especially enjoyed the California section where there were some terrific titles. Saw a novel called HELEN OF PASADENA (order from Amazon or IndieBound) by Lian Dolan, which you’ll hear more about in a bit. Loved the free parking behind the store as I felt like most of the weekend was about $5 or $10 parking and lots of getting parking tickets validated.

Saturday it was time to head over to the LA Times Festival of Books in their new location at USC. As I was staying downtown, the drive was quick and parking was really easy. Later I managed to forget what parking structure I had used, but that was par for the course for the day. While USC works well as a venue, and as Lisa See reminded me, it does not have the hilly terrain of UCLA, I found myself wandering more than usual as I was on unfamiliar turf, whereas I used to zip from panel to panel. The signage at the show could have been much better. Note: the firemen and the campus police were best for directions, which was comforting and logical.

For anyone planning on attending in the future, study the photos of the statue of Tommy Trojan and the Big Tree. Those were noted to me by many people as directions. “Turn right at Tommy Trojan,” or “lunch is by the Big Tree, and you will know what the Big Tree is when you see it.” I never saw Tommy 'til I sought him out to take this picture, and FINALLY at the end of the day I figured out what the Big Tree was! It always takes time to get used to a new location for an event, and by the end of Sunday I was a lot more comfortable.

The first panel, “Dangerous Histories,” was with newly crowned LA Times Mystery Book Prize Award winner Tom Franklin, who won for CROOKED LETTER, CROOKED LETTER (the book I predicted would win last week), Kelli Stanley, author of CITY OF DRAGONS (note: I see Kelli wearing that fedora at many mystery conferences and finally got to meet her) and moderator extraordinaire Denise Hamilton, whose next book DAMAGE CONTROL (Amazon, IndieBound) will be in stores on September 6th. (See the photo above with Denise, Tom and Kelli) Tom said that he never planned to write a mystery at all; he just sees himself as a Southern author. But he knows that mysteries sell, and in his mind there is a mystery at the heart of all fiction.

His character of Larry Ott is very autobiographical. Tom had his first date in the hamlet where he lived when he was 16 with a woman named Carla. He took her to the drive-in, but she wanted to go see her boyfriend as she was “in a family way” and told him to come get her in four hours. He sat at the drive-in alone trying to look like he was with a date by propping a blanket up next to him on the seat. He later found out she was not pregnant, but she is now in prison for murdering her husband, so he considers himself lucky the date did not go so well. Also, he never realized that his character, "32," who was nicknamed for the number on his jersey, had the same number as O.J. Simpson.

For research he uses the Sears catalog as for any year there will be all the products that you need for historical research, especially with older historical references. Kelli loves eBay for her research and loves to pick up items to keep with her as talismans as she writes. She also uses the 1940s phone books to get names of places and addresses that will work for the backdrop of her stories. Denise trades on her background as an LA Times writer as she writes, and she recognizes what a company town this is. She noted that Mickey Cohen’s IN MY OWN WORDS is a great period book to draw on for reference. Also Life magazine, particularly its Letters to the Editor, were noted as great reference points for research.

Right after this event, one of our readers, Kathy from Rancho Cucamonga, CA, found me (you can see us pictured above). We had a great catch-up, and she gave me a really cute tea light holder decorated in turquoise for my patio. Really lovely to see her again, and this week she filled me in on many of the panels I never got to see.

Sunday I started my day with a panel called “Lives Interrupted” with Luanne Rice (loved her book THE SILVER BOAT); Sonya Sones, who just wrote her first adult novel, THE HUNCHBACK OF NEIMAN MARCUS; Rachel DeWoskin (BIG GIRL SMALL, [Amazon, IndieBound]) and Lian Dolan (HELEN OF PASADENA…I knew that aforementioned bookstore visit would come in handy). As the moderator said, these books all have characters who are rendered extraordinary given what the authors do for them.

While not autobiographical, Luanne’s book is drawn from her own experiences with her sisters after her mother passed away. For Sonya, the theme has to do with coming of middle age, a coming-of-age story we rarely talk about as the main character’s daughter is off to college; she wanted to capture those feelings when life gets turned upside down. Rachel looks at a teenage dwarf who is involved in a sex scandal at her high school, and she amusingly drew from her experience with her daughter, who made her watch The Wizard of Oz a zillion times. She watched and thought what happens if Judy Garland was the small girl instead of the munchkins and wanted to capture how all teenage girls feel small. As for Helen, she finds out her husband is leaving her for another woman, and then he is freakishly killed by a Rose Parade float on page one. Lian addresses Pasadena as an old society town where breaking in is not easy.

Next up was “Stories from the South” with Dorothea Benton Frank (who was her ever humorous self talking about LOWCOUNTRY SUMMER [Amazon, IndieBound]), Tayari Jones (SILVER SPARROW [Amazon, IndieBound] has been on my shelf, and after hearing her speak I look forward to reading it; it’s coming in June and is the No. 1 Indie Next Pick for that month), Mark Childress (GEORGIA BOTTOMS [Amazon, IndieBound]) and Jo-Ann Mapson (SOLOMON’S OAK [Amazon, IndieBound], which actually is Southwestern fiction). They talked about the idiosyncrasies of writing about the South and how the landscape becomes a character in regional fiction. The conversation was lively, and I found myself feeling like I was going to be headed out to the sultry Southern air and a mint julep on the porch once I left.

“Fiction: Worlds in Translation” had Lisa See (spent time with her Friday and am loving DREAMS OF JOY [Amazon, IndieBound], which is coming out May 31st, and the film adaptation of SNOW FLOWER AND THE SECRET FAN will be in theaters this summer), Karl Marlantes (he’s a great speaker, MATTERHORN is brilliant; my husband ranks it in his top 10) and Elena Mauli Shapiro (whose 13, RUE THERESE I have seen but knew nothing about). Details matter to these folks, and hearing how they infuse their writing with them made their work come alive. Though I have seen Karl twice before, I still am amazed his book took 30 years to write! Elena talked about finding a box in the apartment house she lived in when she was growing up that had been left by a recluse as the heart of her work. And Lisa’s travels, as well as her own deep-rooted family history, always have me dropping right into the setting as I read her books.

As I left this event, I was happy to meet up with another Kathy, one of our readers who works as a room volunteer every year at the Festival. She was back in the Mystery room just like usual, proving that some things never change even though the venue does. Lovely to see her again.

For the last event, I went to see the ever-funny Jennifer Weiner, who did not disappoint. In addition to talking a bit about July's THEN CAME YOU (Amazon, IndieBound), she also shared that she has temporarily relocated to Southern California where she is at work on her TV show called “State of Georgia” co-written with "Desperate Housewives" writer Jeff Greenstein, which premieres on June 29th. When you have known an author for years and get a moment to circle back and see them like this, it’s such fun. Jen has come a long way from GOOD IN BED.

Sunday night I moved to a hotel near the airport, and as I was running through the lobby to check out the Manager’s Reception, someone asked me if I was Carol from She introduced herself as Jean, one of our readers from Salt Lake City. She has one great memory to have recognized me! She was in town for the weekend, but was not attending the Festival, thus I gave her HUGE points for recognizing me and am so happy she said hello. Going on the road and meeting readers is one of the most fun parts of this job.

Onward to this week. We’re celebrating the release of RACING IN THE RAIN: My Life as a Dog by Garth Stein, a young reader's edition of the beloved bestseller THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN, which also is a huge book club favorite. We wanted to do something special to celebrate, so we created a website where you can learn more about both books and get some ideas on how to read these books as a family so everyone can read, enjoy and talk about Enzo, the wise canine narrator who loves philosophy and race cars. It’s pretty special when an entire family can discuss the same book, and we have written up some ideas on how you can do just that with our Family Discussion Guide. You can also comment about the books here.

Melanie Smith reviews RACING IN THE RAIN and says, “The new novel is every bit as charming and touching as the adult one.” We also have a special interview with Garth where he talks about his decision to adapt the book for a younger crowd and where the name Enzo came from. As a very special treat, your family can enter to win a phone or Skype chat with Garth as well a signed copy of both books and some “I Heart Enzo” T-shirts and “Go Enzo” baseball caps from The Enzo Store. Five runners-up can also win signed books, shirts and caps. Enter here by Friday, June 3rd at noon ET. It should be a lot of fun!

We have interviews from three great authors this week. Pulitzer Prize winner Geraldine Brooks talks about her latest, CALEB’S CROSSING, a work of historical fiction about the first Native American to graduate from Harvard in 1665 as the Colonies begin to grow. Click here for the interview.

I read EXPOSURE by Therese Fowler earlier this year and told you to be on the lookout for it. It’s about a mother dealing with the legal problems her son encounters after he’s caught in a sexting scandal. It’s very timely and drawn from a similar incident in Therese’s own life. There’s a strong message here that's sure to spark a lot of debate. You can read about Therese’s decision to handle this topic in an interview here. She also contributed an essay as part of our Mother’s Day blog series here.

Pete Hamill’s TABLOID CITY is a “ripped-from-the-headlines” novel about a murder investigation in New York City that has ties to terrorist plots, a Madoff-esque financier and tabloid media. There are a lot of characters and plotlines that all weave into one thrilling conclusion. Read an interview with Pete here.

Speaking of Mother’s Day, I hope all the moms have a wonderful, relaxing day. Our Mother’s Day contest has come to a close, and you can see if you’re one of the 10 lucky winners here. The gift baskets were shipped this week, but because of some travel and weather issues, they may be a day or two late in arriving. For those of you still trying to decide what to get mom, you can check out our 24 featured titles. Our Mother’s Day blog series is also wrapping up. This weekend we have pieces from Elizabeth Noble, Erica Bauermeister, Chelsea Cain and Rae Meadows.

One of our featured Mother’s Day titles is THE STORY OF BEAUTIFUL GIRL by Rachel Simon, which is my latest Bets On pick. I read this book during my winter vacation and loved it. It’s a harrowing story about a young white woman and black man --- both with disabilities --- who show up on the doorstep of a farmhouse with an infant in the middle of the night during a raging storm. The police soon show up looking for the couple, who narrowly escape but not before thrusting the baby at the house owner and saying two words: “Hide her.” The story that unfolds for each character during the next 40 years will really stay with you. We’ll have our review next week, but you can read more of why I chose it as a "Bets On" pick below.

Please answer our current poll: “Are you on Facebook?” We’re planning to add a comment section to our reviews to let readers weigh in and share their thoughts. The technology from Facebook makes this a great, easy-to-use feature, but we want to be sure enough of YOU are there to make this worthwhile. Your feedback will be valuable to us as we consider this option. You can also answer our Question of the Week: “Name up to three authors you’re following, or would like to follow, on Facebook.” And, as always, our Word of Mouth feature is open for you to share what you’re reading.

Last weekend’s news of the mission that resulted in bin Laden’s death read like a thriller. And this week, one of the hottest Internet searches was for Navy SEALs. SEAL TEAM SIX by Howard E. Wasdin (Amazon, IndieBound) will be out next Tuesday. It already was scheduled to be published, but with this news it was moved up two weeks. Also, Linda Greenlaw fans, take note: Don't forget to tune in to Discovery on May 12th at 10pm ET for the exciting third season premiere of "Swords: Life on the Line."

I am ready for a weekend of celebrating moms and being celebrated. After this hectic week, may there PLEASE be time for reading. It was a week where a whole lot of keyboard banging was going on, but as a result, I found myself reading just one page a day, which is frustrating and not much fun.

Carol Fitzgerald (


An Interview with Geraldine Brooks, Author of CALEB’S CROSSING

Geraldine Brooks won the Pulitzer Prize in fiction for MARCH; her first novel, YEAR OF WONDERS, became an international bestseller; and PEOPLE OF THE BOOK has been translated into 20 languages. Her latest book, CALEB’S CROSSING, is a work of historical fiction based loosely on true-life events; in 1665, a young man from Martha's Vineyard became the first Native American to graduate from Harvard College. In this interview, Brooks explains why she chose this slice of history, containing few facts, to turn into a novel. She also discusses her research methods, her fascination with the 17th century, and how she discovered that her very own history was closer to her characters than she ever could have imagined.

CALEB'S CROSSING by Geraldine Brooks (Historical Fiction)
Bethia Mayfield lives among pioneers and Puritans of the 17th century. She yearns for an education, but her gender forbids it. At 12 she encounters Caleb, the Native American son of a chieftain, and the two forge a secret friendship. When Caleb goes to Cambridge to study Latin and Greek, Bethia finds herself there too --- but she is indentured as a housekeeper. From this position, she can closely observe Caleb’s crossing of cultures. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

-Click here to read a review of CALEB’S CROSSING.
-Click here to read an excerpt from CALEB’S CROSSING.


Click here to read an interview with Geraldine Brooks.

An Interview with Therese Fowler, Author of EXPOSURE

Therese Fowler's latest novel, EXPOSURE, is a modern drama that touches on relevant societal issues. Sexting is at the heart of this book, as two teens, helplessly in love, become "exposed" when the over-18 boy sends naked photos to the under-18 girl, whose strict father immediately has him arrested. In this interview, Fowler discusses the close-to-home seed for the plotline --- her very own son, who found himself in a similar situation --- revealing how, amid her horror and frustration, this story took immediate precedence over the one she had been writing. She also expresses her hope that EXPOSURE will endow readers with a better sense of the technological, high-pressure world in which today’s teens live.

EXPOSURE by Therese Fowler (Fiction)
Amelia Wilkes’s father does not allow her to date, though that doesn’t stop the high school senior from carrying on a secret romance with her classmate, Anthony Winter. But the couple’s passion is exposed sooner than expected when Amelia’s father finds naked pictures of Anthony on his daughter’s computer. Just hours later, Anthony is arrested. As events spiral out of control and the scandalous story makes national news, Amelia and Anthony must risk everything to clear their names. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

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


Click here to read an interview with Therese Fowler.

An Interview with Pete Hamill, Author of TABLOID CITY

Pete Hamill is an American journalist, novelist, essayist, editor and educator. Born in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn, NY, most of his novels perfectly capture the Big Apple --- and his latest, TABLOID CITY, is no exception. In a stately West Village town house, a wealthy socialite and her secretary are murdered; in the 24 hours that follow, a flurry of activity surrounds their shocking deaths. In this interview, Hamill discusses his journey from journalist to novelist and how the two genres of writing go hand in hand. He also talks about his favorite writers, his personal work habits, and his optimistic hopes for the future of both journalism and literature.

TABLOID CITY by Pete Hamill (Thriller)
In a 24-hour period, the lives of a dozen people will cross paths in New York City in this latest novel from bestselling author and legendary newspaperman Pete Hamill. There will be a murder at a good address, a terrorist plot racing toward its murderous conclusion, and the death of one of the last great daily newspapers in the city. Reviewed by Tom Callahan.

-Click here to read a review of TABLOID CITY.

Click here to read an interview with Pete Hamill.


Special Contest: Win a Chat with Garth Stein for Your Family to Celebrate the Release of RACING IN THE RAIN

"The race is long. It is better to drive within oneself and finish the race behind the other than it is to drive too hard and crash."

That's the wisdom of Enzo, a dog with a lot to say about cars and life. When THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN --- Garth Stein's novel about Enzo and his owners --- was published in 2008, readers immediately fell in love with Enzo, and the book has been a New York Times bestseller ever since. That's because, once people finish reading the novel, they want to tell everybody about it.

Now the whole family can read about Enzo together --- RACING IN THE RAIN: My Life as a Dog is now available in an edition for junior readers.

Consider this site your “Enzo pit stop” with information about the books as well as a Special RACING IN THE RAIN Contest, where your family can win a chat with Garth Stein, signed books and “I Heart Enzo” T-shirts and “Go Enzo” baseball caps from the Enzo Store.


Click here to see our special site for RACING IN THE RAIN.


Special Contest: Win a Signed Copy of MYSTERY WRITERS OF AMERICA PRESENTS THE RICH AND THE DEAD edited by Nelson DeMille

We are celebrating the release of MYSTERY WRITERS OF AMERICA PRESENTS THE RICH AND THE DEAD --- a collection of short stories from today’s leading mystery writers, including Nelson DeMille (who also edited the anthology), Michael Connelly and Ted Bell --- with a special contest. One reader will have the opportunity to win a copy of the book, signed by 11 of the authors, which is in stores now. To enter, fill out this form by Friday, May 20th at noon ET and answer the following question:

If you could team up any two recurring mystery novel characters to solve a crime, who would they be?

The truly wealthy live in another world. From their multi-national businesses to their palatial mansions to their exotic vacations at glamorous places all around the world, they do everything in a big way. And sometimes, that even includes crime.

In this anthology, you'll read about a wealthy writer who plots murder against his hopeless agent, an aging actress who clings to her past of wealth and fame, and a spoiled rich boy who steps into dangerous territory with his mean antics, among others. THE RICH AND THE DEAD features mystery and crime stories set among the upper crust of society, going behind the scenes of the lifestyles of the two percent of the world that controls 60 percent of its riches --- and just how far they'll go to stay on top.



Click here to read all the contest details.


Now in Stores: SIXKILL by Robert B. Parker


SIXKILL: A Spenser Novel by Robert B. Parker (Mystery)
As always, Spenser will stick with an investigation and do the right thing even after he's been fired and warned off the case, no matter what the legal consequences or danger to himself. Acting on behalf of a dead girl found in the suite of nasty Hollywood actor Jumbo Nelson, Spenser finds himself on the wrong side of some very powerful and unpleasant players. Reviewed by Maggie Harding.

-Click here to read an excerpt from SIXKILL.

Click here to read a review of SIXKILL. Bets On: THE STORY OF BEAUTIFUL GIRL by Rachel Simon

THE STORY OF BEAUTIFUL GIRL by Rachel Simon (Fiction)
I first became acquainted with Rachel Simon when she wrote RIDING THE BUS WITH MY SISTER back in 2002. When I saw that she had written THE STORY OF BEAUTIFUL GIRL, I immediately wanted to read it. This is a special book. The story is charged with emotional energy right from the start as Lynnie and Homan show up on the doorstep of Martha, a retired schoolteacher who never had a child, with their newborn child in their arms. She senses the deep bond and love between this couple, but also knows something is wrong with the way they have appeared here. It ends up that they have escaped from the School for the Incurable and Feebleminded. It’s 1968, and mental illness is looked upon quite differently from today; at that time, there was more an attitude of locking away those who were challenged.

Lynnie is a young white woman with difficulty speaking, while Homan is an African American man who is deaf, and the two communicate via sign language. Authorities have pursued them, and Lynnie is captured while Homan escapes. As Lynnie leaves, she whispers to Martha, “Hide her.” And so she does. From there, Martha and baby Julia begin their life together while Martha never forgets the couple who showed up at her door. It’s wonderfully crafted, rich with both setting and character. As soon as I closed it, I said, “This is a perfect Bets On book.”

-Click here to read more about THE STORY OF BEAUTIFUL GIRL.


Click here to see all the titles we’re betting you’ll love.

New Paperback Spotlight: WHAT IS LEFT THE DAUGHTER by Howard Norman

WHAT IS LEFT THE DAUGHTER by Howard Norman (Fiction)
Seventeen-year-old Wyatt Hillyer is suddenly orphaned when his parents, within hours of each other, jump off two different bridges --- the result of their separate involvements with the same compelling neighbor, a Halifax switchboard operator and aspiring actress. The suicides cause Wyatt to move to small-town Middle Economy to live with his uncle, aunt, and ravishing cousin Tilda. Setting in motion the novel's chain of life-altering passions and the wartime perfidy at its core is the arrival of the German student Hans Mohring, carrying only a satchel. Actual historical incidents --- including a German U-boat's sinking of the Nova Scotia-Newfoundland ferry Caribou, on which Aunt Constance Hillyer might or might not be traveling --- lend intense narrative power to Norman's uncannily layered story.

-Click here to read a review of WHAT IS LEFT THE DAUGHTER.
-Click here to read an excerpt from WHAT IS LEFT THE DAUGHTER.
-Click here to read critical praise for WHAT IS LEFT THE DAUGHTER.
-Click here to see the reading group guide for WHAT IS LEFT THE DAUGHTER.
-Click here to read Howard Norman’s bio.
-Click here to see Howard Norman’s backlist.


Click here to read more about WHAT IS LEFT THE DAUGHTER.


New Paperback Spotlight: INDELIBLE by Kristen Heitzmann

INDELIBLE by Kristen Heitzmann (Suspense)
Rescuing a toddler from the jaws of a mountain lion, Trevor MacDaniel, a high-country outfitter, sets in motion events he can’t foresee. His act of bravery entwines his life with gifted sculptor Natalie Reeve --- and attracts a grim admirer. Trevor’s need to guard and protect is born of tragedy, prompting his decision to become a search and rescue volunteer. Natalie’s gift of sculpting comes from an unusual disability that seeks release through her creative hands. In each other they see strength and courage as they face an incomprehensible foe.

-Click here to read more about INDELIBLE.
-Click here to read an excerpt from INDELIBLE.
-Click here to read critical praise for INDELIBLE.
-Click here to read Kristen Heitzmann’s bio.
-Click here to see Kristen Heitzmann’s backlist.


Click here to read more about INDELIBLE.

New Paperback Spotlight: WHEN SPARROWS FALL by Meg Moseley

WHEN SPARROWS FALL by Meg Moseley (Fiction)
A widow and mother of six, Miranda Hanford leads a quiet, private life. When the pastor of her close-knit church announces his plans to move the entire congregation to another state, Miranda jumps at the opportunity to dissolve ties with Mason Chandler and his controlling method of ruling his flock. But then Mason threatens to unearth secrets from her past, and Miranda feels trapped, terrified she’ll be unable to protect her children.

College professor Jack Hanford is more than surprised when he gets a call from his estranged sister-in-law’s oldest son, Timothy, informing him that Miranda has taken a serious fall and he has been named legal guardian of her children while she recovers. Quickly charmed by Miranda’s children, Jack brings some much-needed life into the sheltered household. But his constant challenging of the family’s conservative lifestyle makes the recovering mother uneasy and defensive --- despite Jack’s unnerving appeal.

-Click here to read more about WHEN SPARROWS FALL.
-Click here to read an excerpt from WHEN SPARROWS FALL.
-Click here to read critical praise for WHEN SPARROWS FALL.
-Click here to read Meg Moseley’s bio.


Click here to read more about WHEN SPARROWS FALL.’s Mother’s Day Feature and Author Blogs

Mother's Day is a time to recognize the woman who raised and nurtured us. Why not brighten her special day with some great books? From April 15th through May 2nd, readers had the chance to win one of our 10 Mother's Day gift baskets. Each basket was filled with a selection of 12 books from our 24 featured titles, giving Mom a book to read each month and making Mother's Day truly a yearlong celebration. Thanks to all the readers who entered and told us their favorite book that their moms read to them.

Although the contest has ended, we encourage you to visit our Mother's Day feature. With books that are moving, uplifting, humorous and informative, look no further than for the perfect gift for Mom.

-Click here to see our winners.
-Click here to see our featured titles.

Here at, Mother’s Day has been a month-long celebration with the help of some of our author friends and their mothers. For the past few weeks, we've been featuring daily blog posts from authors, including Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark, Luanne Rice, Julia Spencer-Fleming, and many more. Reading these pieces will give you a new understanding and insight into the role Mom played as authors got their start or followed into the literary world.

-Click here to read our Mother's Day Author Blogs.


Paperback Spotlight: FATHER OF THE RAIN by Lily King

Lily King's critically-acclaimed third novel, FATHER OF THE RAIN, follows Daley Amory as she watches the destruction of her parents' marriage against the backdrop of the last days of Richard Nixon's presidency. Long estranged from her charismatic, alcoholic father, Daley returns home to care for him as years of fast living finally take their toll.

-Click here to read a third excerpt from FATHER OF THE RAIN.
-Click here to read critical praise for FATHER OF THE RAIN.
-Click here to read Lily King’s bio.
-Click here to see Lily King’s backlist.
-Click here to see the winners of FATHER OF THE RAIN.

Winner of the New England Book Award for Fiction and a New York Times Editors' Choice, Lily King's masterful third novel received glowing critical praise upon its initial publication and is poised to make an even bigger splash in paperback.

Gardiner Amory is a New England WASP who's beginning to feel the cracks in his empire. Nixon is being impeached, his wife is leaving him, and his worldview is rapidly becoming outdated. His daughter, Daley, has spent the first 11 years of her life negotiating her parents' conflicting worlds: the liberal, socially committed realm of her mother and the conservative, decadent, liquor-soaked life of her father. But when they divorce, and Gardiner's basest impulses are unleashed, the chasm quickly widens and Daley is stretched thinly across it.

Click here to read more about FATHER OF THE RAIN.


Paperback Spotlight: THE GIRL’S GUIDE TO HOMELESSNESS by Brianna Karp

After a tumultuous childhood, Brianna Karp had finally made it, earning a nice salary and living in a beachside condo. That all changed when she abruptly lost her job in 2008 and took up residence in a camper she parked in a Walmart lot, as chronicled in her emotional memoir, THE GIRL'S GUIDE TO HOMELESSNESS.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE GIRL’S GUIDE TO HOMELESSNESS.
-Click here to read critical praise for THE GIRL’S GUIDE TO HOMELESSNESS.
-Click here to visit the book’s official website.
-Click here to read Brianna Karp’s bio.
-Click here to see the winners of THE GIRL’S GUIDE TO HOMELESSNESS.

Brianna Karp entered the workforce at age 10, supporting her mother and sister throughout her teen years in Southern California. Although her young life was scarred by violence and abuse, Karp stayed focused on her dream of a steady job and a home of her own. By age 22 her dream became reality. Karp loved her job as an executive assistant and signed the lease on a tiny cottage near the beach. And then the Great Recession hit. Karp, like millions of others, lost her job. In the six months between the day she was laid off and the day she was forced out onto the street, Karp scrambled for temp work and filed hundreds of job applications, only to find all doors closed. When she inherited a 30-foot travel trailer after her father's suicide, Karp parked it in a Walmart parking lot and began to blog about her search for work and a way back.

Click here to read more about THE GIRL'S GUIDE TO HOMELESSNESS.

This Week’s Reviews
THE DEVIL’S LIGHT by Richard North Patterson (Thriller)
With the 10th anniversary of the tragic events of September 11, 2001 fast approaching, a currently sidelined CIA operative named Brooke Chandler may be all that stands between Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda, and their plans to launch a nuclear attack against a major western city. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

THE WILDER LIFE: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie by Wendy McClure (Memoir)
Wendy McClure is determined to immerse herself in the world of LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE author Laura Ingalls Wilder. She retraces the pioneer journey of the Ingalls family --- and whether she's churning butter or sitting in a replica log cabin, McClure comes to understand how Wilder's life and work have shaped our ideas about girlhood and the American West. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

KNOCKDOWN: A Home Repair Is Homicide Mystery by Sarah Graves (Mystery)
Jacobia "Jake" Tiptree has not always been a happily-married, old-house repair hobbyist. She actually has a complicated past that causes her shame. Her shady history collides with her sunny present when a stalker arrives who is intent on exacting a bloody vengeance. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

SWEET JIMINY by Kristin Gore (Fiction)
In the throes of a quarter-life crisis, Jiminy Davis quits law school and lands on her grandmother's farm in rural Mississippi. In search of peace and quiet, Jiminy instead stumbles upon trouble and turmoil. She discovers that there was once another Jiminy --- the daughter of her grandmother's longtime housekeeper, Lyn --- who was murdered along with Lyn's husband four decades earlier in a civil rights-era hate crime. Jiminy sets out to solve the cold case, but at what cost? Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE CAMELOT CONSPIRACY: A Novel of the Kennedys, Castro & the CIA by E. Duke Vincent (Historical Thriller)
In 1960, at the height of the Cold War, Dante Amato of the Chicago Mob is ordered to meet with a beautiful Cuban go-between, and then mob boss Sam Giancana summons him to Miami to discuss a U.S. government commission to hit the Cuban dictator. It could be a set-up, or a chance for the mob to restart the flow of gambling and drug money from Havana. But what if all of this leads to Kennedy’s assassination? Reviewed by Kathy Purcell.

WINGED OBSESSION: The Pursuit of the World's Most Notorious Butterfly Smuggler by Jessica Speart (True Crime)
One of the world's most beautiful endangered species, butterflies, are lucrative on the black market. And in this cutthroat business, no one made more money than Yoshi Kojima, the kingpin of butterfly smugglers. Rookie U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agent Ed Newcomer was determined to capture him, and after two failures, Newcomer had one last chance to reel him in. His obsession with Kojima could finally spell the downfall of the untouchable smuggler --- or it could mean yet another failure. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE GODS OF GREENWICH by Norb Vonnegut (Thriller)
Jimmy Cusack is a tough kid from a blue-collar neighborhood who almost made good on Wall Street. After a sterling start to his career, his hedge fund has collapsed, the bank is foreclosing on his upscale condominium, and his wife is two months pregnant. But it’s only when Cusack takes a “must-have” job with Leeser Capital --- a Greenwich fund impervious to the capital market woes --- that his real troubles begin. Reviewed by L. Dean Murphy.

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