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January 16, 2004 Newsletter January 16, 2004
This Week on
Throw a Log on the Fire: It's a Three Dog Night Talks To: Joseph Finder, author of PARANOIA (Also, See Contest Details) Talks To: Jodi Compton, author of THE 37TH HOUR
Read Our Third Excerpt from Reed Arvin's THE LAST GOODBYE
OUT OF REACH by Patricia Lewin
Pages from the Past - Historical Fiction Newsletter from Bantam Dell
This Week's Book Reviews and Features
Poll: Book Ads
Question of the Week
Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading -- TWO Prizes!
On The Book Report Network
Past Reviews
Can't See the Graphics? Read This Newsletter Online
Past Poll: What best describes the book you read in 2003?
Past Question: What do you think was the BEST book of 2003?
Read more about Olivia Goldsmith here. Read more about Light Wedge here. Read more about Marian Keyes here.
Throw a Log on the Fire: It's a Three Dog Night
Sad news to report today. Olivia Goldsmith, who is best known as the author of THE FIRST WIVES CLUB died yesterday afternoon from complications during plastic surgery. She was one of those authors whose writing made me laugh out loud. The first year we started she came to the office one day to work with Jesse on a project. There she made me laugh in person. She was charming, witty and so full of life. In a piece I read today it was said that she had asked upon her death that her organs be donated. I wish she also could have donated her warm sense of humor to someone. She will be missed.

The last two weeks have been busy with author events. Last week I went to a party Marian Keyes to celebrate the publication of her book, UNDER THE DUVET. Her publisher hosted the party in a suite at the St. Regis Hotel where Marian greeted us wearing her pjs. She is tons of fun and I look forward to sharing an interview with her with you in the weeks to come! For more about Marian and her books, click on the cover of UNDER THE DUVET.

This Wednesday Laura Pedersen did a reading of her new book, LAST CALL. In addition to reading from her book, she shared stories and anecdotes with the audience about her writing and her characters that left no doubt about the depths of her storytelling ability. The audience was completely mesmerized. And by the way, she had quite a crowd for a night when a wicked snowstorm hit the city and the temperatures were pretty low too. For more about Laura, go to

Last night (on a night where temperatures with the wind chill hovered around -30) I met Jennifer Weiner, the author of GOOD IN BED and IN HER SHOES when we were co-panelists on a panel about Chick Lit. She told us that the HBO series about GOOD IN BED is in production and IN HER SHOES is being made into a movie where Toni Collette and Cameron Diaz. And she is working on a new book as well, in which the main character is --- a MOM. Mommy Lit, anyone?

Many of you have written to ask me where you can purchase a Light Wedge. If you click on the photo of the Light Wedge you will go right to a website where you can learn more about it!

This week we share interviews with Joseph Finder, author of PARANOIA and Jodi Compton, author of THE 37TH HOUR. I hope you enjoy reading them. For me the pleasure of talking to authors about their work never loses its appeal. There are so few places where many readers can connect with authors, which is why we are so happy to do it here.

A request from me. Please answer our Poll question. I am including the link right below this letter. The topic is one that I am passionate about. I really feel that most book ads leave a lot to be desired. I want you to weigh in on what YOU think so I can share it with publishers. And may I ask that you share this link with friends who read so they too can vote?

Off to throw a log on the fire. This week's cold has reminded me that I never am going to climb Everest, drive a sled in the Iditarod dog race or visit the North Pole.

Thanks for reading.

Carol Fitzgerald (
Answer our poll question about book ads here! Talks To: Joseph Finder, author of PARANOIA (Also, See Contest Details)
In this interview with's Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight team (Carol Fitzgerald, Joe Hartlaub, and Wiley Saichek) Joseph Finder talks about writing PARANOIA, including his research and how he developed the book's major plot twist. He also talks about the pre-publication buzz that surrounded the novel and reveals certain details concerning its conclusion --- so be sure to pay attention to our spoiler alert midway through this interview!

PARANOIA by Joseph Finder (Thriller)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
Adam Cassidy, a low level employee at a high-tech corporation, finds himself charged with a crime after manipulating the system. Instead of a prison term, Corporate Security offers him a chance to become a spy in the headquarters of their chief competitor --- but little does Adam know that this is where the nightmare begins.

Want be eligible to win a signed copy of PARANOIA and a PARANOIA T-shirt? Then sign up for Finder's newsletter at by January 31st! Take note: There will be a new contest each month.
Read our interview with Joseph Finder, a review of PARANOIA and more here. Talks To: Jodi Compton, author of THE 37TH HOUR
In this interview conducted by Carol Fitzgerald, Joe Hartlaub and Wiley Saichek, Jodi Compton discusses various elements of her debut novel THE 37th HOUR --- including characters, theme and setting. She also talks about her influences as a writer and offers a preview of her second novel featuring Detective Sarah Pribek.

THE 37TH HOUR by Jodi Compton (Mystery & Detective)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
Jodi Compton's lead character, Sarah Pribek, is a "missing persons" investigator in the Twin Cities who ends up living the nightmare she walks others through each day when her husband, a fellow officer, goes missing. In her travels to find him, she learns about his troubled past and secrets that help her define who he is.

Read our interview with Jodi Compton, a review of THE 37th HOUR and more here.
Read more about THE LAST GOODBYE  here. Read more about Reed Arvin here.
Read Our Third Excerpt from Reed Arvin's THE LAST GOODBYE
THE LAST GOODBYE by Reed Arvin will be in stores on February 17, 2004.

New This Week:
Read the third excerpt from THE LAST GOODBYE.
Read the terrific press that this book has been getting!

In Case You Missed Previous Weeks:
-Read two other excerpts from THE LAST GOODBYE
-Find out who the advance readers of THE LAST GOODBYE are.
-Read Fast Facts about Arvin and more about his backlist.
-Read about Reed Arvin
Read our Suspense/Thriller Spotlight here.
OUT OF REACH by Patricia Lewin
A CIA agent who covers the embassy circuit in the nation's capital, Erin Baker is driven by a family tragedy, the kidnapping of her younger sister when she was a child. Then one day, while jogging in the park, she spots an ice cream vendor performing magic tricks. She has seen this man before, the day her sister was snatched. When a child disappears from the park, Erin is certain the two cases are linked. Erin joins FBI agent Alec Donovan in the desperate pursuit of a criminal involved in the most wicked form of international commerce imaginable. As they get closer to the truth, they find themselves, and those they love, are perfect targets for a killer.

Intensely gripping and terrifying, OUT OF REACH will please readers of mysteries, thrillers and romantic suspense. Says Tess Gerritsen, Patricia Lewin is "A writer with the genuine talent to thrill."
Read more about OUT OF REACH including an excerpt here.
Pages from the Past - Historical Fiction Newsletter from Bantam Dell
Pages of the Past is a new monthly e-newsletter from the Bantam Dell Publishing Group dedicated to showcasing the best in historical narratives. Subscribe today and preview newly released books of historical fiction and fact, read exclusive author essays, and learn about upcoming titles.
Click here to sign up for the Pages of the Past newsletter.
This Week's Book Reviews and Features
MR. PARADISE by Elmore Leonard (Thriller)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
Mr. Paradise, an 84-year-old retired criminal attorney, is entertaining two lovely ladies at his house one night when things go terribly wrong --- Mr. Paradise and one of the women end up dead, and Detective Frank Delsa has his hands full trying to solve this grisly double homicide.

THE LADY AND THE UNICORN by Tracy Chevalier (Fiction)
Reviewed by Norah Piehl
Tracy Chevalier --- author of the internationally bestselling novels THE VIRGIN BLUE, GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING and FALLING ANGELS --- once again fills in the gaps in art history, weaving an imaginative tale that focuses on the behind-the-scenes drama of some famous tapestries.

MY PRISON WITHOUT BARS by Pete Rose, with Rick Hill (Autobiography)
Reviewed by Ron Kaplan
Pete Rose --- legendary baseball player and lifelong gambler --- discusses what life has been like for him since being banned from baseball in 1989, and tackles the ugly truths about his gambling and his behavior.

EMMA'S SECRET by Barbara Taylor Bradford (Fiction)
Reviewed by Amie Taylor
This wonderful and heartwarming story, set in London and Yorkshire, England, takes us on yet another journey into the imagination of legendary storyteller Barbara Taylor Bradford and into the lives of the indomitable Emma Harte and three generations of her offspring.

THE THIRD CHILD by Marge Piercy (Fiction)
Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum
Marge Piercy is at her poignant best as she relates the story of Melissa Dickinson, a third child born into her high-powered family. Her story is told in an aggregate of themes that range from coming-of-age, to an intense love story, to a political treatise, to a fully realized whole novel that is at times chilling.

FOR THE LOVE OF MIKE by Rhys Bowen (Mystery)
Reviewed by Judy Gigstad
The third installment in Rhys Bowen's Agatha Award-winning series finds Molly Murphy frustrated by the fact that she's finding many places in turn-of-the-century New York City where women are not welcome --- until two business opportunities emerge simultaneously.

I SAILED WITH MAGELLAN by Stuart Dybek (Fiction)
Reviewed by Stephen M. Deusner
After a decade's absence, Stuart Dybek returns to his old stomping ground --- blue-collar Chicago --- for a book that's not quite short stories and not quite a novel, but something more personal and peculiar.

TRUTH OR DARE by Jayne Ann Krentz (Mystery/Romance)
Reviewed by Maggie Harding
Newlywed life for interior designer Zoe and her husband, private investigator Ethan Truax, is suddenly interrupted when a shadowy figure from Zoe's past shows up, and her closest friend is put in terrible danger.

THE FLOATING BOOK: A Novel of Venice by Michelle Lovric (Fiction)
Reviewed by Bethanne Kelly Patrick
Michelle Lovric, who describes herself as "a student of TK," demonstrates that she has done her homework in this vivid, complicated tale of one city and the dark forces that motivate its inhabitants.
Read the reviews and features here.
Read Author Bibliographies here. Search here Read about upcoming books here.
Poll: Book Ads
Do ads in newspapers, magazine and on television influence your decisions to buy books?

All of the time
Some of the time

What would you like to see in an ad for a book to help influence your decision to buy it? (Check as many as apply.)
Cover Photo
Description of the book that tells you what it is about
Descriptive blurbs like "mesmerizing," "breathtaking," and "tantalizing"
Quotes from other authors
Quotes from reviews
None of the above

If, besides the cover, you could have only ONE of the following in an ad, what would you pick?
Description of the book that tells you what it is about
Descriptive blurbs like "mesmerizing," "breathtaking," and "tantalizing"
Quotes from other authors
Quotes from reviews
None of the above

Is there anything else you would like to see in a book ad?
Yes (Explain)
Answer the Poll here.
Question of the Week
Here's our question of the week:

Cite a book ad that either lived up to its expectation --- or did not. Let us know what was in the ad that made you buy the book --- and what worked, or did not about it.
Answer the Question of the Week.
Read about ABSOLUTE FRIEND here. Read about THE KILLING OF THE TINKERS here.
Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading -- TWO Prizes!
Tell us what books YOU are reading and loving --- or even those you don't.

This week we have some great prizes: FIVE readers each will win a copy of ABSOLUTE FRIENDS by John le Carre and THE KILLING OF THE TINKERS by Ken Bruen. Please note that our next Word of Mouth update will be on January 23rd.
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 (see the link on the upper right) or change your preferences below.

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--- Carol Fitzgerald (