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August 5, 2005 Newsletter

August 5, 2005

This Week on

Book Concierge, That's Me Talks to Elizabeth Becka, author of TRACE EVIDENCE

Beach Bag Of Books: Spotlight on THE IMMORTAL HIGHLANDER by Karen Marie Moning and Weekly Beach Bag Giveaway

Our Newest One to Watch Author: Jim Lynch, Author of THE HIGHEST TIDE

Our Latest Mystery Mayhem Author: 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 -- New Guides Available

Authors on the Web Newsletter Prizes

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

Book Concierge, That's Me

Last Friday night I went to Borders and adapted my favorite role --- book concierge. I was standing next to a woman who was looking at a wall of books and I could not help myself. I said, "THE SUMMER GUEST was one of my favorite books." That started up a half hour of conversation about books. The amusing part was about 5 minutes into talking I realized that I knew her. She used to be one of the obstetricians in the practice that I go to. In fact, she was my labor doctor when my older son was born. So here I am handing out bookish advice to the woman who once gave me an epidural. This time we were in new roles: concierge/reader and oh, she was now recommending books to my fifteen-year-old son, who we were anticipating the arrival of last time we saw each other. Yes, sometimes my life is a sitcom.
Last Saturday I armed my floating chair with COLD HIT by Stephen J. Cannell, which will be in stores on August 15th. For the next few hours I completely lost myself in the world of his character, Shane Scully. I love the way he writes police jargon and makes it understandable. He wove in references to former titles that made me want to go back and read his backlist. I could tell he has some terrific back stories.
A few weeks ago I got a note from one of our readers, Jackie Houchin, telling us that Cannell will be winning the Marlowe Award from the Mystery Writers of America (So. Calif. chapter) on Sunday night. She went on to share that Cannell "is a very talented, generous, (shy), and kind man. And he has done wonders considering he has overcome severe dyslexia, and gone on to write hundreds of TV episodes, as well as ten best selling crime novels." Cannell wanted to reach out and speak with readers in a special way, so he has shared this video with us where he talks about COLD HIT. Enjoy watching. One note: If you are an AOL member, we suggest you watch this in a browser outside AOL since it's a bit buggy on some AOL versions.
Sunday I read IMMORAL, a debut thriller from Brian Freeman, which will be in stores in early September. The story takes place in Minnesota and has characters with an enormous amount of depth and a plot that will fling you all around, in a good way. Mark it down. He's being compared to Harlan Coben, Michael Connelly and Dennis Lehane.
Lest you think that all I do is read suspense/thrillers I will share that I finally read THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME. This is a book that people have been telling me about for years. I knew the story was about a young autistic boy who solves the mystery of a dog's death, but reading it I see it's so much more and just so brilliantly done. If you want a peek into the world of someone with autism this story will take you there.
This week we have a wonderful new One To Watch title for you --- THE HIGHEST TIDE by Jim Lynch. I love this book; its protagonist, thirteen-year-old Mike O'Malley, has such a great voice. Lynch is a debut author who has a string of fiction stories and journalism behind him. We look forward to sharing more about this book with you in the weeks to come. We are looking for 10 advance readers who would like to read THE HIGHEST TIDE and comment to us about it. If you are interested, please send a note to with your name and address by Friday, August 12th.
Thanks to the readers who wrote in last week with suggestions for floating. Here are two of my favorites --- "sunblock, sunblock, sunblock" from R. Knapp, and here is an excellent tip from Joan Cady: "As you float, utilize a floating glass holder. I have a blow up pink flamingo just right for one glass. You must tie a string to the neck and attach it to your float so it doesn't float too far away. Then as you lift the glass, alternate your right and left arm to exercise both sides." I like that exercise.
This weekend, no floating. Going to a lacrosse tournament on Long Island tomorrow (may the heat break tonight) and Sunday we are going to the beach for a family reunion as my sister is in town. That does not mean no reading, as I am looking forward to finishing THE HIGHEST TIDE.
Have a great something wonderful.
Carol Fitzgerald ( Talks to Elizabeth Becka, author of TRACE EVIDENCE's Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight Team (Carol Fitzgerald, Joe Hartlaub and Wiley Saichek) interviewed Elizabeth Becka, author of TRACE EVIDENCE. Becka talks about her career as a forensic specialist, its effect on her writing, and the similarities and differences between her day-to-day work and what is glamorized on television. She also explains how she created the characters and settings in her debut novel, and identifies the authors who have impacted her the most.

TRACE EVIDENCE by Elizabeth Becka (Suspense)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
Newcomer Elizabeth Becka has written a riveting forensic thriller in the bestselling tradition of Patricia Cornwell and Kathy Reichs. This gripping suspense novel introduces forensic expert Evelyn James as she tries to decipher trace evidence and solve a bizarre crime.

Click here to read our interview with Elizabeth Becka and a review of TRACE EVIDENCE.
See our  Summer Beach Bag of Books feature here.

Beach Bag Of Books: Spotlight on THE IMMORTAL HIGHLANDER by Karen Marie Moning 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 twelfth spotlighted title is THE IMMORTAL HIGHLANDER by Karen Marie Moning, a dark and seductive tale that intertwines the worlds of the dead and the living and tells of a desire unbounded by mortality. Our IMMORTAL HIGHLANDER Beach Bag prize is a Parisian-inspired white and blue striped canvas tote chock full of the books everyone will be talking about this summer, and a few surprises.  Along with a paperback copy of Karen Marie Moning's book --- THE IMMORTAL HIGHLANDER --- you'll find the hardcover of Sophie Kinsella's newest title, THE UNDOMESTIC GODDESS, Luanne Rice's newest paperback, SUMMER'S CHILD, an official Luanne Rice drink cup and a bright yellow 'Undomestic Goddess' apron. We have five to give away, as well as five additional prizes of copies of THE IMMORTAL HIGHLANDER. 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.


Our Newest One to Watch Author: Jim Lynch, Author of THE HIGHEST TIDE

Our latest One to Watch author is Jim Lynch whose debut title THE HIGHEST TIDE goes on sale September 8th. This is a mesmerizing, allegorical, and beautifully wrought first novel about one boy's wonder with the sea during the summer that will change his life, and the lives around him. We have 10 advance copies to share with readers who would like to read and comment on the book. Interested? Then send your name and mailing address to by Friday, August 12th.

One moonlit night, thirteen-year-old Miles O'Malley slips out of his house, packs up his kayak and goes exploring on the flats of Puget Sound. But what begins as an ordinary hunt for starfish, snails, and clams is soon transformed by an astonishing sight: a beached giant squid. As the first person to ever see a giant squid alive, the speed-reading Rachel Carson-obsessed insomniac instantly becomes a local curiosity. When he later finds a rare deepwater fish in the tidal waters by his home, and saves a dog from drowning, he is hailed as a prophet. The media hovers and everyone wants to hear what Miles has to say.

But Miles is really just a teenager on the verge of growing up, infatuated with the girl next door, worried that his bickering parents will divorce, and fearful that everything, even the bay he loves, is shifting away from him. While the sea continues to offer up discoveries from its mysterious depths, Miles struggles to deal with the difficulties that attend the equally mysterious process of growing up. In this mesmerizing, beautifully wrought first novel, we witness the dramatic sea change for both Miles and the coastline that he adores over the course of a summer, one that will culminate with the highest tide in fifty years.

Read more about Jim Lynch and THE HIGHEST TIDE here.


Our Latest Mystery Mayhem Author: Margaret Coel, Author of EYE OF THE WOLF

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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.

Read Tony Hillerman's interview with Margaret Coel here.
See our Advance Copy Winners here.

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 more about Margaret Coel and EYE OF THE WOLF.

Mystery Mayhem: Jacqueline Winspear, Author of PARDONABLE LIES

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 Advance Reader Comments for PARDONABLE LIES here

Previous Weeks:
-Read critical praise for Jacqueline Winspear
-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.

New This Week: 
-Read an excerpt from FAITHLESS here.
-See our Advance Copy Winners here.
-Read Karin Slaughter's Backlist here.
-Read Critical Praise for FAITHLESS here.

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.

New This Week:
-See a video clip for COLD HIT here.

Previous Weeks:
-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. -- New Guides Available

The following reading group guides were just added to We now have more than 1710 discussion guides there:

Above the Thunder by Renee Manfredi
Bold Spirit by Linda Lawrence Hunt
Borgia Bride by Jeanne Kalogridis
The Epicure's Lament by Kate Christensen
Fire Point by John Smolens
God Without Religion by Sankara Saranam
Heart's Desire by Laura Pedersen
Hot Number by Carly Phillips
Hottentot Venus by Barbara Chase-Riboud
How to Breathe Underwater by Julie Orringer
Jane Austen in Boca by Paula Marantz Cohen
The Laughing Jesus by Timothy Freke and
Peter Gandy
Learning to Drive by Mary Hays
Living a Life that Matters by Harold S. Kushner
Living to Tell the Tale by Gabriel
García Márquez
Lucky Me by Debra Borden
The Madonna of Las Vegas by Gregory
Blake Smith
The Murder Room by P. D. James
One Last Look by Susanna Moore
The Preservationist by David Maine
The Rapture Exposed by Barbara R. Rossing
Reunion by Alan Lightman
Rorey's Secret by Leisha Kelly
Saul and Patsy by Charles Baxter
Snow by Orhan Pamuk
Snowed In by Christina Bartolomeo
Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin
The Spiral Staircase by Karen Armstrong
The Storyteller's Daughter by Saira Shah
A Sudden Country by Karen Fisher
Summer Lovin' by Carly Phillips
The Sunday Philosophy Club by Alexander
McCall Smith
The Swallows of Kabul by Yasmina Khadra
Train by Pete Dexter
Up from Orchard Street by Eleanor Widmer
Ursula, Under by Ingrid Hill
A Venetian Affair by Andrea Di Robilant
Walking Into the Night by Olaf Olafsson
When Bad Things Happen to Good People by
Harold S. Kushner
The Wild Girl by Jim Fergus
With or Without You by Carole Matthews
Zipporah by Marek Halter

Click here to visit


Authors on the Web Newsletter Prizes

Sign up for the following author newsletters and be eligible to win prizes.

Nelson DeMille - Sign up by September 30th to be entered in a random drawing to win one of five signed copies of PLUM ISLAND. Click here to sign up.

Daniel Silva - Sign up by August 31st to be entered to win a signed copy of PRINCE OF FIRE. Click here to sign up.

Joseph Finder - Sign up by August 31st to be entered to win a signed copy of COMPANY MAN. Click here to sign up.

Linda Lael Miller - Sign up by Wednesday, August 17th to be eligible to win this month's contest Grand Prize: a rustic wire basket, terra cotta votive holder and candle, Arizona spa products, a pair of Linda Lael Miller "look book" sunglasses and a signed copy of the first book in the series, DON'T LOOK NOW. Click here to sign up.
Kate White - Sign up by August 31st to win a contest prize of a Beauty Basket and signed copies of OVER HER DEAD BODY and 'TIL DEATH DO US PART. Click here to sign up.

Kristin Hannah - Sign up by September 30th to win a copy of the paperback of THE THINGS WE DO FOR LOVE. Click here to sign up.

Marcia Muller - Sign up by September 30th to win one of 5 signed copies of CYANIDE WELLS. Click here to sign up.

Visit here.


This Week's Reviews and Features

THE PATRIOTS CLUB by Christopher Reich (Thriller)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
Thomas Bolden has managed to put his troubled past behind him, find the woman he wants to share his life with, and carve out a successful career on Wall Street. But Bolden's world is turned upside down in the blink of an eye, as a bizarre kidnapping sends him fleeing for his life and a violent, shadowy organization is framing him for crimes he did not commit.

BLOOD OF ANGELS by Reed Arvin (Thriller)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
Thomas Dennehy, senior prosecutor in Davidson County, Tennessee, is prosecuting Moses Bol, a Sudanese refugee who faces the death penalty for killing a white woman. Bol's conviction seems certain until two events occur that rock both the District Attorney's office and Dennehy to the core.

TWO TRAINS RUNNING by Andrew Vachss (Thriller)
Reviewed by Bob Rhubart
Fans of Andrew Vachss will find in TWO TRAINS RUNNING the danger, menace and violence they have come to expect. But this latest effort also offers an exploration of some disturbing truths: that history is written by the victors, that the victors are not necessarily the good guys, and that they get away with it because few people are willing to ask the tough questions.

72 HOUR HOLD by Bebe Moore Campbell (Fiction)
Reviewed by Bernadette Davis
In this novel of family and redemption, a mother struggles to save her eighteen-year-old daughter from the devastating consequences of mental illness by forcing her to deal with her bipolar disorder. New York Times bestselling author Bebe Moore Campbell draws on her own powerful emotions and African-American roots to pen this poignant story of heartbreak and healing.

MAN CAMP by Adrienne Brodeur (Fiction)
Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon
Best friends Lucy Stone and Martha McKenna set up a camp on a farm owned by Lucy's buddy Cooper Tuckington in order to masculinize city guys. Lucy experiences mixed feelings as Martha and Cooper become an item, and her own boyfriend is one of the needy campers.

THE EVERY BOY by Dana Adam Shapiro (Fiction)
Reviewed by Jennifer Krieger and Sarah Rachel Egelman
A fifteen-year-old boy dies mysteriously, leaving behind a secret ledger filled with his darkly comic confessions. Alone now in their suburban house, his father pores over the journal in a final attempt to connect with the boy he never really knew --- and, more urgently, to figure out how he died.

EUDORA WELTY: A Biography by Suzanne Marrs (Biography)
Reviewed by Tony Leuzzi
Suzanne Marrs traces the emotional and active life of Eudora Welty, from her roots in Jackson, Mississippi to her rise to international stature, in this engaging and well-researched biography --- a must-read for any self-respecting Americanist and Welty scholar.

THE BRADBURY CHRONICLES: The Life of Ray Bradbury by Sam Weller (Biography)
Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard
Award-winning journalist Sam Weller was granted unparalleled access to Ray Bradbury's private archives and spent hundreds of hours interviewing longtime friends, family members, colleagues, and the author himself. As a result, Weller gives readers an amazing look at the moments that built the framework of Bradbury's creativity.

THE PERFECT MANHATTAN by Leanne Shear and Tracey Toomey (Fiction)
Reviewed by Hillary Wagy
When Cassie accepts a summer gig bartending in the Hamptons, she finds herself catapulted into a whirlwind of dazzling celebrity and over-the-top wealth unlike anything she's ever seen. But as the summer progresses, she soon wonders if playing the ersatz socialite --- while actually trying to make a living --- is more than she bargained for.

KILLING YOURSELF TO LIVE: 85% of a True Story by Chuck Klosterman (Pop Culture/Music)
Reviewed by Judy Gigstad
At the request of his editor at Spin magazine, Chuck Klosterman sets out on a journey that will take him from New York City to Seattle in nineteen days. His objective is to draft an article for Spin about punk rockers who died, either by their own hand or by tragic accident.

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

Remember When Amazon Was Only A River
More Random Musings
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Note: You can read past blogs here as well.
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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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Happy reading! Don't forget to forward this newsletter to a friend or to visit our other websites from,,,,, and

--- Carol Fitzgerald (

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