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March 11, 2005 Newsletter

March 11, 2005

This Week on

A Very Techy Week for Us Bookish Folks Talks to Jodi Compton, Author of SYMPATHY BETWEEN HUMANS Talks to Kevin Guilfoile, Author of CAST OF SHADOWS

New Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight Author: Francine Mathews, Author of BLOWN

One To Watch: Victor Gischler, Author of SUICIDE SQUEEZE

Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight:  Jess Walter, Author of CITIZEN VINCE and Iris Johansen, Author of BLIND ALLEY 


Special Book Club Contest: Win a Year's Worth of Reading for Your Group

One to Watch: Philip Beard, Author of DEAR ZOE

One to Watch: Alicia Erian, Author of TOWELHEAD

This Week's Reviews and Features Blog

Poll: Where do you buy most of your books?
Question of the Week
Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading -- TWO Prizes!
Quick Links to Features On The Book Report Network
Past Reviews
Can't See the Graphics? Read This Newsletter Online

Past Poll: Which of these February releases are you most excited about reading.


Past Question of the Week: Name an author that you recently discovered --- and enjoyed.
Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight Promotion
Debut Suspense/Thriller One to Watch Promotion
Mystery Mayhem Promotion

Fantasy Author Spotlight Promotion

One to Watch Promotion
Chick Lit Promotion
Read Author Bibliographies here.

A Very Techy Week for Us Bookish Folks

Well, this was a rather eventful week at We installed a new server, which had a lot fewer glitches than I expected. I anticipate tech upgrades with all the enthusiasm of a root canal with no Novocain. There were only three moments where I felt the Morse Code and two paper cups and string were a fabulous way to communicate! Our tech guy, Michael Murray at Obelisk Consulting, is the best and my hat goes off to him on this one. What does this mean for you, our readers? The pages on our websites should come up a lot faster and lots more of you should be able to interface with our sites simultaneously. More than 850,000 unique visitors hit our seven websites last month, making this a rather necessary upgrade.

If you look at the header on this week, you will see a lot more menu choices to choose from --- right on top. Joan Suszko, our designer, reworked this header so we could get many of our best-read features a quick click away. We have lots of plans for new content that we will be adding in the weeks to come, hence new links like the audiobooks link are there. Stay tuned. Thanks to Gena Bland, our producer, for integrating this into our pages. Hope it making browsing even easier.

Our new Suspense/Thriller author is Francine Mathews, the author of BLOWN, which will be in stores on April 26th. The book opens with a scene at a marathon that has a crazed terrorist handing out tainted water. See, another good reason I do not run in marathons!  Want to be one of our 20 advance readers of BLOWN? Then send your name and mailing address to by Thursday, March 24th to enter our random drawing.

Living in New York you typically see movies, television shows and commercials being shot all the time. A couple of years ago I walked through the set of a Law & Order episode being shot on the Upper West Side. When I saw Jerry Orbach and company I do I know these people? I love reading about random star encounters. Thus reading the opener of SUICIDE SQUEEZE was a blast. Marilyn Monroe, Joe DiMaggio and Billy Wilder cross paths with Teddy Folger one afternoon in the '50s on the set of one of Monroe's movies. A baseball card signed by all three makes this the best day of Folger's life. And from there...well, that's the story.

Victor Gischler, author of SUICIDE SQUEEZE, is our new One To Watch author. The book is in stores on March 29th.  Want to be one of our 10 advance readers of SUICIDE SQUEEZE? Then send your name and mailing address to by Friday, March 18th to enter our random drawing.

Also, this week Pam Lewis answers reader questions about SPEAK SOFTLY, SHE CAN HEAR. Check out what she had to say.

Been sitting in this chair too long --- and I am craving a thin-crusted pizza and a Corona with lime. Sooooo have a great week. Happy reading.

Carol Fitzgerald (

. Talks to Jodi Compton, Author of SYMPATHY BETWEEN HUMANS's Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight Team (Carol Fitzgerald, Joe Hartlaub and Wiley Saichek) interviewed Jodi Compton, author of SYMPATHY BETWEEN HUMANS. Compton explains how she developed some of the storylines and characters in her second novel, the similarities and differences between her and Sarah Pribek --- her main protagonist --- and the direction in which this series is headed.

SYMPATHY BETWEEN HUMANS by Jodi Compton (Suspense)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
On the streets of Minneapolis, Detective Sarah Pribek has worked everything from vice to missing persons. But six months after the death of a small-town criminal in rural Minnesota, Sarah is still protecting the identity of a killer. And now a zealous D.A.'s investigator has come to town, determined to make an arrest. With her ex-partner half a world away and her husband in prison, only Sarah remains to face the consequences of last fall.

Read Jodi Compton's replies to reader questions here.

Read an interview with Jodi Compton here as well as our review of SYMPATHY BETWEEN HUMANS. Talks to Kevin Guilfoile, Author of CAST OF SHADOWS's Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight Team (Carol Fitzgerald, Joe Hartlaub and Wiley Saichek) interviewed Kevin Guilfoile, author of CAST OF SHADOWS. Guilfoile talks about the cloning and retribution plotlines in his debut novel, as well as his characters, the integral role that gaming plays in the story's development, and the authors who have most influenced his writing.

CAST OF SHADOWS by Kevin Guilfoile (Thriller)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
Davis Moore is a fertility doctor in Chicago specializing in reproductive cloning when his seventeen-year-old daughter is brutally raped and murdered. The case is investigated but never solved. Months later, Moore discovers a vial containing the killer's DNA. Tormented by grief, he decides to use his medical practice as a way to exact revenge.

Read our interview with Kevin Guilfoile and a review of CAST OF SHADOWS here.


New Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight Author: Francine Mathews, Author of BLOWN

Our latest Suspense/Thriller Author is Francine Mathews whose new book, BLOWN, will be in stores on April 26, 2005. In the opening chapters a crazed killer hands cups of tainted water to runners participating in a Marine-sponsored marathon. From there Mathews' character Caroline Carmichael is called in --- and from there the action is non-stop.

We have 20 advanced reading copies of BLOWN by Francine Mathews to give away to readers who would like to preview the book and comment about it. A description can be found by clicking the link below. If you are interested, please send your name and mailing address to by Thursday, March 24, 2005.

BLOWN by Francine Mathews (Suspense)
On Sale: April 29, 2005
Former CIA analyst Francine Mathews has created "one of the toughest female secret agents we've seen in a long time." (USA Today) Using her firsthand expertise of international espionage, Mathews offers another brilliantly realized suspense novel so intense, so authentic, it lethally blurs the line between fact and fiction. In BLOWN, Caroline Carmichael returns in a white-hot tale of terror on the streets of Washington, where one woman must gamble her life to save her country.


Read more about Francine Mathews and BLOWN here.


One To Watch: Victor Gischler, Author of SUICIDE SQUEEZE

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Our latest One to Watch author is Victor Gischler, whose new book SUICIDE SQUEEZE will be on sale on March 29, 2005.

We have 10 advanced reading copies of SUICIDE SQUEEZE to give away to readers who would like to preview the book and comment about it. A description can be found by clicking the link below. If you are interested, please send your name and mailing address to by Friday, March 18, 2005.

Here's the skinny on SUICIDE SQUEEZE:

The Edgar Award-nominated author of GUN MONKEYS delivers an adrenaline rush of a novel that features a special appearance by Joe DiMaggio. The high spot of Teddy Folger's life was the day in 1954 that he got an autographed baseball card from Joe DiMaggio himself. It's been downhill ever since.

Read more about Victor Gischler and SUICIDE SQUEEZE here.


Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight:  Jess Walter, Author of CITIZEN VINCE and Iris Johansen, Author of BLIND ALLEY 

Jess Walter, whose CITIZEN VINCE hits bookstores April 12th, is one of our featured Suspense/Thriller authors.

New This Week
-See our ARC Winners.
-Read an excerpt from CITIZEN VINCE.
About the Book:
It's the fall of 1980, eight days before the presidential election that pits a beleaguered hangdog Democrat against a suspiciously sunny Republican. In the Pacific Northwest, a small-time thief named Vince Camden is headed to his witness-protection job at Donut Make You Hungry. But Vince is about to learn that it's not so easy to leave your old self behind --- especially when your old self is being hunted by a killer. Over the next unforgettable week, Vince will find himself enmeshed in a local politician's troubles, torn between a beautiful young law clerk and a neurotic prostitute, playing poker with a not-yet-celebrated New York Mafioso, and looking for redemption in --- of all places --- a voting booth.
Read more about Jess Walter.
Sign up to get news about Jess Walter.

Another of our featured Suspense/Thriller authors is Iris Johansen, whose novel BLIND ALLEY will be available in paperback March 29th.

Read more about Iris Johansen.
Read more about BLIND ALLEY.
Go to Iris Johansen's Website.

Here's more about BLIND ALLEY:

The New York Times bestselling author of FIRESTORM, Iris Johansen, returns with a psychological thriller so terrifying, so relentlessly paced, it won't leave you time to catch your breath before the next shock comes. A forensic sculptor is locked in a deadly duel with a serial killer determined to destroy her --- one life at a time.

Read more about our Suspense/Thriller Authors here.

Read more about THE JANE AUSTEN BOOK CLUB contest here.


Ever thought about making your book club a Jane Austen Book Club? Given the success of the bestseller THE JANE AUSTEN BOOK CLUB, by Karen Joy Fowler, we're sharing with book clubs what they need to make this happen. Beginning last November thru this April, we will publish a discussion guide that Fowler has written expressly for book clubs for one of the six Jane Austen titles mentioned in the book. Our fifth selection is PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.

To make this Austen celebration even more fun, we are selecting 5 groups to each win 12 copies of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE for their discussion. Interested? Send us your name and mailing address by writing by March 31, 2005 to be eligible to win. See complete list of rules at the link below.

In case you missed past month's selections:
Northanger Abbey

Sense and Sensibility
Mansfield Park

Click here to read more about how to make your book club a Jane Austen Book Club.


Special Book Club Contest: Win a Year's Worth of Reading for Your Group

THE READING GROUP by Elizabeth Noble follows the trials and tribulations of a group of women who meet regularly to read and discuss books. Over the course of a year, each of these women become intertwined, both in the books they read and within each other's lives. Noble reveals the many complicated paths in life we all face, as well as the power and importance of friendship.
Enter the Contest to Win 12 Copies of 12 Perennial Paperback Titles
One VERY lucky group will win a Grand Prize of 12 copies of 12 Perennial paperback titles --- a full year's worth of reading. Additionally five groups will each win 12 copies of The Reading Group for your group. Send the 12 titles that your group read most recently to

Read more about THE READING GROUP and our Special Contest here.


One to Watch: Philip Beard, Author of DEAR ZOE

Philip Beard is one of our featured One to Watch authors, whose book DEAR ZOE will be in stores March 24th.

New This Week:
-Read a second excerpt from DEAR ZOE.

Here's more about DEAR ZOE:
Beard's stunning debut is an epistolary novel written from 15-year-old Tess DeNunzio to her little sister Zoe. After Zoe's accidental death on September 11, 2001--a day so many others died--Tess's family is numbed by their personal tragedy. Not since THE LOVELY BONES has there been a study of grief, adolescence, and healing that rings as true as DEAR ZOE.

Read more about Philip Beard and DEAR ZOE here.


One to Watch: Alicia Erian, Author of TOWELHEAD

Alicia Erian's book, TOWELHEAD, which will be in stores on April 1st, is set during the first Gulf War. A young woman is being raised by her Lebanese dad in Texas in a story that crosses traditions with new values and innocence with budding sexuality.

New This Week: See our list of advance reader winners.
Read an Excerpt.

More about TOWELHEAD:
Painfully funny, tender, and sexually charged, TOWELHEAD is that rare thing: a gloriously readable novel unafraid to take risks. The story of a girl failed by her parents and by a conflicted America, TOWELHEAD is an ultimately redemptive and moving work that none of us can afford to ignore.


Click here to read more about Alicia Erian and TOWELHEAD.


This Week's Reviews and Features

KAFKA ON THE SHORE by Haruki Murakami (Fiction)
Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman
Haruki Murakami's magnificent new novel introduces two remarkable characters --- Kafka Tamura, a teenage boy, and an aging simpleton named Nakata. It is not only fun and interesting to read, but thoughtful and challenging as well.

THE OTHER WOMAN by Jane Green (Fiction)
Reviewed by Marie Hashima Lofton
The "other woman" in Jane Green's hilarious yet touching novel happens to be the mother-in-law! This is the story of Ellie Black's trials and tribulations as she deals with the most feared and irritating woman in her life.

COLD SERVICE by Robert B. Parker (Mystery)
Reviewed by Tom Callahan
Spenser's closest ally, Hawk, is brutally injured and left for dead while protecting a small-time bookie. The Boston sleuth quickly learns that the Ukrainian mob is responsible for the hit, but finding a way into their tightly knit circle is not nearly so simple.

MR. LUCKY by James Swain (Suspense)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
Ricky Smith is an extremely lucky gambler who seemingly cannot lose. Hired by a desperate casino to find out why this is happening, Tony Valentine starts prying into Ricky's past. Meanwhile, Valentine's son Gerry is set to interview a professional card shark who Smith soundly defeated in a poker game. Their efforts to uncover the truth prove dangerous --- and perhaps even deadly.

MARCH by Geraldine Brooks (Historical Fiction)
Reviewed by Kathy Weissman
If you loved LITTLE WOMEN, you'll be intrigued by MARCH. Historical novelist Geraldine Brooks (YEAR OF WONDERS) gives us the untold story of the father of Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy --- a stirring, richly researched tale that takes readers from the antebellum South to the Civil War.

THE SIGN OF THE BOOK by John Dunning (Mystery)
Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman
In John Dunning's fourth Bookman novel, book dealer and ex-cop Cliff Janeway travels to the tiny community of Paradise, Colorado to investigate the murder of Bobby Marshall, a book collector who was romantically involved at one time with Erin D'Angelo, Janeway's business partner and love interest.

THE POSITION by Meg Wolitzer (Fiction)
Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon
Roz and Paul Mellow publish an illustrated book starring themselves enjoying sex in every imaginable position. That event and the accompanying fame impact the lives of their four children over a period of thirty years in this thoughtful and thought-provoking novel.

THE HEARTBREAK LOUNGE by Wallace Stroby (Suspense)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
While Harry Rane is doing some investigative work for a friend's agency, the ex-state trooper meets Nikki Ellis, whose ex-husband, Johnny Harrow, has just been released from prison. Harrow has some old scores to settle and plans to take the baby who Nikki put up for adoption after he went away. Ellis retains the agency for protection, an act that puts Rane and Harrow on a collision course.

Reviewed by Jamie Layton
From the bestselling author of THE ELEGANT GATHERING OF WHITE SNOWS comes a refreshingly liberating story about one woman whose life takes an unexpected turn. This novel is the perfect accompaniment to any woman going through a mid-life crisis, just getting over one, or planning one in the near future.

Click here to read this week's review and features. Blog

What Cable News Means
The Soundtrack and the Outtakes
Author You Might Miss, But Shouldn't

Note: You can read past blogs here as well.
Sign up here to get notified each time this blog is updated.
Click here to read the blog.
Read a list of upcoming books here. Read our Book Awards feature here. Sign up for Author Newsletters here.
Poll: Where do you buy most of your books?

Where do you buy most of your books?

Chain Bookstore: (Barnes & Noble, Borders, Booksamillion, etc)
Local Independent Bookstore
Mass Stores: (Wal-Mart, Target, etc)
Warehouse Clubs: (Costco, BJs, etc)
Online Bookstore - (Amazon,, etc)
Mail Order Book Club (Book of the Month Club, etc)
I do not buy books, but rather use my local library.
I do not buy books.

When you shop, how many books do you typically buy?
7 or more
I do not buy books.

Answer the Poll here.

Question of the Week

Question: Name one author or book that you discovered on

Please note: Our next question update will be on March 18th.

Answer the Question of the Week here.

Read more about ME & EMMA here. Read more about  MISSING PERSONS 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 ME & EMMA by Elizabeth Flock and MISSING PERSONS by Stephen White. Please note that our next Word of Mouth update will be on March 18th.

Need more details about Word of Mouth? Click here.


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--- Carol Fitzgerald (

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