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July 29, 2005 Newsletter

July 29, 2005

This Week on

What I Read While I Floated --- And Talking Authors Talks to Mary Jane Clark, Author of DANCING IN THE DARK

Beach Bag Of Books: Spotlight on WITH OR WITHOUT YOU by Carole Matthews and Weekly Beach Bag Giveaway

Tony Hillerman Talks to Margaret Coel, Author of EYE OF THE WOLF

Mystery Mayhem: Jacqueline Winspear, Author of PARDONABLE LIES

Our Latest Suspense/Thriller Author: Karin Slaughter, Author of FAITHLESS

Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight: Stephen J. Cannell, Author of COLD HIT

Debut Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight: Elizabeth Becka, Author of TRACE EVIDENCE

Now in Stores: THE WILD GIRL by Jim Fergus

New in Paperback

This Week's Reviews and Features Blog

Poll: Series Books, How Fast is Just Right?
Question of the Week: Favorite Series
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: Harry Now or Later?

Past Question of the Week: What do you love most about the Harry Potter Series?
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
Summer Beach Bag Promotion

What I Read While I Floated --- And Talking Authors

In my own version of, "what I did on my summer vacation," last weekend I floated and read. I set off on my floating chair armed with FAITHLESS by Karin Slaughter, which to me, is her best book to date. Her characters are stronger than ever, I saw the scenes unfolding and I felt the story. She makes Grant County feel very real --- and I quickly fall into the rhythm of the place when I read her books.  FAITHLESS is in stores on August 30th, so mark your calendars now.
It's always a treat to discover a new author --- and enjoy them so much you are glad you will be able to say, I read her first book. TRACE EVIDENCE by Elizabeth Becka was my second pool read. Her writing about a forensic expert from Cleveland shows this side of the business with reality, not television fantasy. Her lead character has both grit -- and style. It's in stores next week, so take note.
You know how much I love listening to authors talk about their work. It's even more fun to read what authors say about their work when they talk to other authors. In this spirit, this week we bring you an interview where the legendary bestselling author Tony Hillerman interviews Margaret Coel about her Wind River Reservation series. You'll want to read as Coel explains how Hillerman inspired her to begin writing mystery novels.
Those of you who love Steve Berry will want to check out a video that he has done about THE THIRD SECRET. You can see it here.
If you missed the movie based on THE DIVE FROM CLAUSEN'S PIER last Monday on Lifetime, note the show is airing again on Sunday at 6PM. And don't forget the five-week series based on Luanne Rice's BEACH GIRLS starts Sunday. We have a review of her new book SUMMER OF ROSES this week for those of you who want more Luanne!
For those who read and float, here is an exercise. I call it the push off. When you reach the side of the pool and come to a stop, you move your foot into position against the wall and push off. If you want to burn more calories, do this with great vigor. Note that if you do this too hard, you will splash and wet the book. Tomorrow I am going to spend the day perfecting my technique reading COLD HIT by Stephen J. Cannell. I also will burn calories doing page turning. Others with reading and floating ideas are welcome to submit them. I happily will share them with other readers.
Carol Fitzgerald ( Talks to Mary Jane Clark, Author of DANCING IN THE DARK Co-Founder Carol Fitzgerald and contributing writer Shannon McKenna interviewed Mary Jane Clark, author of DANCING IN THE DARK. Clark explains the significance of the title, how her background in television news has impacted her fiction writing, the benefits of short chapters in suspense novels, and why she chose Ocean Grove, New Jersey as the setting for this eighth book in the KEY News series.

DANCING IN THE DARK by Mary Jane Clark (Mystery)
Reviewed by Shannon McKenna
New York Times bestselling author Mary Jane Clark turns up the heat with a drop-dead frightening novel about a town where teenage girls are disappearing, where an idyllic beach community is terrorized, and where one reporter must get to the truth to protect her family.

Click here to read our interview with Mary Jane Clark and a review of DANCING IN THE DARK.
See our  Summer Beach Bag of Books feature here.

Beach Bag Of Books: Spotlight on WITH OR WITHOUT YOU by Carole Matthews and Weekly Beach Bag Giveaway

Whether your "beach" is on sand, your backyard deck or a grassy meadow in the country, the summer months mean it's time for "beach reading." is celebrating the lazy days of summer reading with a special feature, Beach Bag of Books.

Every week from May 20th through August 19th a different title will be featured with a review and author interview, as well as a contest prize --- a beach bag stocked with that book, plus summertime essentials that tie in to its theme. Five FABULOUS beach bags will be given away each week, as well as five copies of the book to additional winners.

Our eleventh spotlighted title is WITH OR WITHOUT YOU by Carole Matthews, who, with her distinctively British flair, tells the story of one woman's very literal journey of self-discovery. Trekking the Himalayas may not be Londoner Lyssa Allen's cup of tea, but in a last-ditch effort to win back her husband she straps on a pack and embarks on an uphill climb that brings her unexpected emotional fulfillment and maybe even true love. Our WITH OR WITHOUT YOU Beach Bag prize is a pink bag stocked with all you need this summer to discover your own inner peace. Along with the book --- WITH OR WITHOUT YOU --- winners will find Tazo 'Refresh' tea, a pink and green striped beach towel, a candle and incense to induce well-being and tranquility, and a pink yoga mat. We have five to give away, as well as five additional prizes of copies of WITH OR WITHOUT YOU.  Click here to enter.

Enjoying our summer beach bag contests and want to make sure you don't miss out on the next one? Click here to sign up for our weekly newsletter and we'll alert you when the weekly Beach Bag contest has been updated.

Click here to read more about's Beach Bag of Books feature.


Tony Hillerman Talks to Margaret Coel, Author of EYE OF THE WOLF

Legendary bestselling author Tony Hillerman, whose latest novel is SKELETON MAN, interviewed Margaret Coel, author of EYE OF THE WOLF. This eleventh book in her Wind River Reservation series will be released on September 6th. Coel discusses the influences of Native American culture and natural landscapes on her writing, describes the creation of main characters Father John O'Malley and Vicky Holden, and explains how Hillerman himself inspired her to begin writing mystery novels.

Margaret Coel, author of EYE OF THE WOLF, is our newest featured Mystery Mayhem author. EYE OF THE WOLF is on sale September 6th. Coel demonstrated her ability to combine her expertise in Arapaho Indian history with her skills as a writer in her previous bestseller WIFE OF MOON. Now she gives fans the chance to re-visit a world where history and present-day collide with devastating consequences.

We have 20 advanced reading copies of EYE OF THE WOLF to give away to readers who would like to preview the book and comment about it. A description can be found below. If you are interested, please send your name and mailing address to by Friday, August 5th, 2005.
More about EYE OF THE WOLF (On sale September 6th)
In Margaret Coel's all-new Wind River Reservation mystery, a psychopathic killer has brutally murdered three Shoshone Indians and posed their bodies on a historical battlefield. Is his intent to provoke a civil war between the reservation's Shoshone and Arapaho inhabitants, or is his target actually Father John O'Malley?

Click here to read Tony Hillerman's interview with Margaret Coel and more about EYE OF THE WOLF.

Mystery Mayhem: Jacqueline Winspear, Author of PARDONABLE LIES

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Jacqueline Winspear, author of PARDONABLE LIES, is one of our featured Mystery Mayhem authors. PARDONABLE LIES is on sale August 10th. If you like historical fiction and mysteries this is a series you will want to get caught up on.

New This Week:
-Read an excerpt from PARDONABLE LIES.
-Read critical praise for Jacqueline Winspear.

Previous Weeks:
-See our Advance Copy Winners of PARDONABLE LIES here.
-Read Fast Facts for Jacqueline Winspear.

More about PARDONABLE LIES (on sale August 10th):
In the third installment of this best-selling, award-winning series, London investigator/psychologist Maisie Dobbs faces grave danger as she returns to the site of her most painful memories from the Great War to resolve the mystery surrounding a pilot's death.

Click here to read more about Jacqueline Winspear and PARDONABLE LIES.

Our Latest Suspense/Thriller Author: Karin Slaughter, Author of FAITHLESS

Karin Slaughter, whose newest title FAITHLESS is on sale August 30th, is the latest author spotlighted in our Suspense/Thriller Feature. Karin Slaughter is the internationally bestselling author of BLINDSIGHTED, KISSCUT, A FAINT COLD FEAR, and INDELIBLE.

We have 20 advanced reading copies of FAITHLESS to give away to readers who would like to preview the book and comment about it. If you are interested, please send your name and mailing address to by Friday, August 5th, 2005.

More about FAITHLESS:
The victim was buried alive in the Georgia woods-then killed in a horrifying fashion. When Sara Linton and Jeffrey Tolliver stumble upon the body, both become consumed with finding out who killed the pretty, impeccably dressed young woman. And for Sara and Jeffrey, a harrowing journey begins, one that will test their own turbulent relationship and draw dozens of lives into the case.

Lena Adams is one of them. A Grant County detective for years, she has her own reasons for being drawn to this case and a fierce drive to see justice done. For these three people, who have each seen the darkest side of human nature, the body of the murdered girl is but the first in a series of shocking and sordid revelations.

Now, as Jeffrey and Sara narrow the field of suspects, they must confront their own doubts and indiscretions, while Lena Adams sees herself reflected in the frightened eyes of a battered woman who may be the key figure in the case. As Faithless builds to a stunning and unforgettable climax, Karin Slaughter masterfully brings together strands of interlocking lives, family secrets, and hidden passions with one astounding truth: the identity of a killer who is more evil and dangerous than anyone could have guessed.

Click here to read more about Karin Slaughter and FAITHLESS.

Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight: Stephen J. Cannell, Author of COLD HIT

Stephen J. Cannell, whose newest title COLD HIT is on sale August 15th, is one of our featured Suspense/Thriller authors. You may recognize this Emmy-Winning television writer as has featured his titles: VERTICAL COFFIN, HOLLYWOOD TOUGH, and THE TIN COLLECTORS.

-See our Advance Copy Winners of COLD HIT here.
-Read Fast Facts about Stephen J. Cannell.
-Read Critical Praise for Stephen J. Cannell.

Read more about COLD HIT here:
Detective Shane Scully suspects that the regional boss of the Department of Homeland Security is thwarting a major murder investigation. But why?

Robert Allen Virtue can act without oversight or accountability. There's no way to question him; there's no way to way to check up on him; there's no way to find out if he's exceeding his authority. Virtually at will, he can bug anyone he considers a threat to national security, take over criminal investigations, and jail cops. Even if he is breaking the law, there's no way to know it. There's nothing to rely on but his integrity. His professional commitment. His good name. Virtue.

That may be a very big mistake.

Shane and his partner are investigating "the Fingertip Killer," a serial murderer preying on homeless Vietnam vets in Los Angeles. But there's a problem: Robert Allen Virtue wants him taken off it.

To solve the cop's murder, and possibly the Fingertip case, Scully must go behind the powerful bureaucrat's back and deep undercover -- where he will begin unraveling a deadly far-reaching conspiracy that threatens to destroy everything he loves: his career, his freedom, and his family.

Click here to read more about Stephen J. Cannell and COLD HIT.


Debut Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight: Elizabeth Becka, Author of TRACE EVIDENCE






Elizabeth Becka, whose debut title TRACE EVIDENCE hits shelves August 3rd, is the latest author in our Debut Suspense/Thriller Feature. is excited to introduce Becka, a forensics specialist whose riveting thriller recalls the novels of Patricia Cornwell and Kathy Reichs.

-Read an excerpt from TRACE EVIDENCE.
-Read Critical Praise for TRACE EVIDENCE.
-See our Advance Copy Winners of TRACE EVIDENCE.

Read more about TRACE EVIDENCE here:
A gripping suspense novel, TRACE EVIDENCE introduces us to forensic expert Evelyn James as she tries to decipher trace evidence and solve a bizarre crime.

It's a cold Cleveland November day when forensic trace evidence expert Evelyn James is summoned to the scene of a bizarre crime. A young woman has been forcibly drowned, her feet chained and sunk in cement. When a second young victim is connected to a prominent family, all hell breaks loose, and the police -- and Evelyn -- are up against it to find the murderer. Evelyn just wants to get the job done, but is pulled into a web of conflicting loyalties, unexpected relationships, and professional betrayal. When Evelyn suspects that her own teenage daughter has become a pawn in the killer's plans, she must remain true to herself and her skills and follow the evidence to the murderer's door.




For more information about Elizabeth Becka and TRACE EVIDENCE, click here.


Now in Stores: THE WILD GIRL by Jim Fergus

THE WILD GIRL: The Notebooks of Ned Giles, 1932 by Jim Fergus (Fiction)
Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon
From the author of ONE THOUSAND WHITE WOMEN  comes a new novel, THE WILD GIRL. Seventeen-year-old orphan Ned Giles joins an elaborate expedition to 1932 Mexico on a quest to rescue a kidnapped boy from the Apaches. His life intersects with a wild Apache girl in a most unexpected way as he encounters danger, friendship, and love in this engrossing adventure.

See the Reading Group Guide here.

Click here to read our review of THE WILD GIRL by Jim Fergus.


New in Paperback

July's roundup of New in Paperback titles includes the bestselling novel THE RULE OF FOUR by Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason, in which an Ivy League murder, a mysterious coded manuscript, and the secrets of a Renaissance prince collide; Barbara Delinsky's THE SUMMER I DARED, the emotionally charged story of three people whose lives are forever altered by a tragic boating accident; BAIT, a gripping suspense novel from Karen Robards about the mind games between an innocent woman and the unstoppable killer she's forced to outwit and outrun; ALL FISHERMEN ARE LIARS, Linda Greenlaw's riveting and highly entertaining collection of tales involving fishing and adventures at sea; and the psychological thriller THE HALO EFFECT by M. J. Rose, which is the first book in her Dr. Morgan Snow series and is now available in mass market paperback.

Read our New in Paperback feature here.


This Week's Reviews and Features

HEART'S DESIRE by Laura Pedersen (Fiction)
Reviewed by Joni Rendon
It's impossible not to fall for the winningly eccentric cast of characters in Laura Pedersen's laugh-out-loud sequel to her acclaimed novel BEGINNER'S LUCK. But underneath its witty repartee and humorous goings-on, Pedersen's current work of fiction poses more serious questions of the heart that everyone can relate to: "What does your heart desire?" and "How do you know when someone is 'the one'"?

Read the Reading Group Guide here.
For more about Laura Pedersen, go to

SUMMER OF ROSES by Luanne Rice (Fiction)
Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon
In this warmhearted sequel to SUMMER'S CHILD, incognito abused wife Lily must return home to help her grandmother regain her health, knowing full well that she will encounter her terrifying ex-husband. Can she keep their daughter's existence a secret from him?

LIFEGUARD by James Patterson & Andrew Gross (Suspense)
Reviewed by Amie Taylor
Lots of people are looking for their lucky break --- financial security in a one-shot deal. Ned Kelly thought he had found it --- but now everyone he is close to is turning up dead and all eyes are on him. What is a lifeguard to do?

THE BIG OVER EASY: A Nursery Crime by Jasper Fforde (Mystery)
Reviewed by Andi Shechter
Detective Inspector Jack Spratt of the Reading Police Department's Nursery Crime Division and his assistant, Mary Mary, investigate the demise of Humpty Stuyvesant Van Dumpty III, who was found shattered to death beneath a wall in a shabby area of town. Was it suicide? Did he fall, or was he pushed?

DEARLY DEVOTED DEXTER by Jeff Lindsay (Suspense)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
Jeff Lindsay's sequel to DARKLY DREAMING DEXTER marks the return of Dexter Morgan, a blood splatter analyst for the Miami-Dade County Police Department who takes it upon himself to rid the streets of bad people. This is a multileveled novel filled with grim humor and dark characterization, riding on a finely articulated story that excites, stimulates and entertains.

DEATH'S LITTLE HELPERS by Peter Spiegelman (Thriller)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
From Peter Spiegelman, author of the award-winning BLACK MAPS, comes a relentlessly exciting, masterfully written new thriller featuring New York City private investigator John March. This time March has been hired to find Wall Street analyst Gregory Danes. But what appears to be a straightforward missing persons case quickly becomes something much more deadly.

ENVY by Kathryn Harrison (Fiction)
Reviewed by Norah Piehl
Novelist and memoirist Kathryn Harrison offers another novel of psychosexual tension with ENVY, a deeply disturbing but nonetheless emotionally riveting account of the unraveling of one man's life, family, and sense of himself.

FREDDY AND FREDERICKA by Mark Helprin (Fiction)
Reviewed by H.V. Cordry
In this vast, sprawling book of Homeric proportions and design about a most peculiar British royal family, Mark Helprin exploits to the fullest his powers of invention as well as a lesser-known talent for comedy.

HOMESICK CREEK by Diane Hammond (Fiction)
Reviewed by Kate Ayers
Two childhood friends grow up in a small Oregon coastal town. Neither one left and their friendship never wavered, but their lives took widely divergent paths. Now, nearing midlife, they're facing a number of personal crises.

BEING MRS. ALCOTT by Nancy Geary (Fiction)
Reviewed by Carole Turner
A middle-aged woman reaches a major turning point in her life as she deals with losing her beloved Cape Cod home and coping with a serious health problem. She must find the courage to confront her husband and family, come to terms with the choices she has made, and salvage what she holds dear.


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

Remember When Amazon Was Only A River
More Random Musings
Library Memories
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. Browse our author bibliographies by clicking here. Sign up for Author Newsletters here.
Poll: Series Books, How Fast is Just Right?
A couple of publishers have been publishing their suspense/thriller titles on an accelerated schedule with more than one book by an author coming out in a year, which inspires our poll questions.
Do you have more of an incentive to read a new book if you know another one by that author will be available quickly?
I never thought about this.
I do not read series books.
When you read a series, do you like to read books in order?
All of the time
Some of the time
It does not matter to me.
I do not read series books.
Answer the Poll here.

Question of the Week: Favorite Series

What is your favorite series? As we know you are voracious readers, you can name up to three.

Please note: Our question of the week will update August 12th.

Answer the Question of the Week 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 WHITE by Christopher Whitcomb and THE PATRIOTS CLUB by Christopher Reich. Please note that our next Word of Mouth update will be on August 12th. 

Need more details about Word of Mouth? Click here.


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--- Carol Fitzgerald (

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