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April 28, 2006 Newsletter

April 28, 2006

This Week on

Reading at 35,000 Feet Talks to Steve Berry, Author of THE TEMPLAR LEGACY, and Raymond Khoury, Author of THE LAST TEMPLAR Talks to Naomi Hirahara, Author of SNAKESKIN SHAMISEN Talks to Kelley Armstrong, Author of BROKEN

New Featured Suspense/Thriller Author --- Gayle Lynds, Author of THE LAST SPYMASTER

Featured Suspense/Thriller Author --- Lee Child, Author of THE HARD WAY

Mother's Day Hat Box Contest on

New Featured Chick Lit Author --- Meg Cabot, Author of QUEEN OF BABBLE

New in Paperback for April

VANISHED by Karen Robards

This Week's Reviews and Features Blog

Poll: THE DA VINCI CODE --- Countdown to the Movie.....
Question of the Week: What's the Appeal of THE DA VINCI CODE?
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
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

Reading at 35,000 Feet


I am writing this note on Thursday night. I just got in from the Edgar Awards dinner where the coveted Edgar Allan Poe Awards were given out. The best novel award went to Jess Walter's CITIZEN VINCE while Theresa Schwegel's OFFICER DOWN won best first novel by an American author. It was a fun evening that followed a terrific day yesterday at an all-day mystery symposium. Right now I am writing in between racing around to pack for my L.A. Book Fair trip. I have my clothes in a pile, which I will sort and get into a suitcase. What's getting me stumped is what to take to read. The way I see it, I will have about six hours on a plane on each flight.

Captive time on a plane means I need to have the exact right book or books with me. There's no getting up to pluck another from the shelf if what I am reading is not "right." So while many people would be spending time trying to figure out what shoes to bring or how to pack a smaller suitcase, I instead am consumed tonight with what to read. I read a comment from a librarian last week that humored me. She said one of her patrons had said that they read a book on a plane and it was so good that the library book club needed to read it. None of them liked it, and they decided that perhaps the book got "over-rated" in a desire to just read something while flying. This, of course, has made my decision loom even more. Next week, I'll report back on what happens.

This week we have a very special interview that I have been looking forward to sharing with you featuring bestselling "Templar" authors Steve Berry and Raymond Khoury. After reading both of their books, I thought it would be fun for our suspense/thriller team to interview the two of them about their writing. I am very pleased to share this interview with you, and I thank both authors for indulging this request. We also bring you interviews with Naomi Hirahara and Kelley Armstrong.

This week we announce our latest Suspense/Thriller author, Gayle Lynds, the New York Times bestselling author of THE COIL, MASQUERADE, MOSAIC and MESMERIZED. This week I have been reading her latest tale of intrigue and espionage, THE LAST SPYMASTER, which will be in stores on May 30th, and I am enjoying it. There's great action and it really moves. After my marathon of watching the entire first season of "24" when I was on vacation, I am into high-action in my thrillers. I can see why Lynds is called "The Queen of the International Spy Thriller."

We have 20 Advance Copies of THE LAST SPYMASTER to share with readers who would like to read the book and comment on it. Interested? Then send your name and mailing address to by Friday, May 12th.

We wanted to pass some news about an interesting author event. On May 20th, as part of her Artist of the Year Profile Performance, Laurie R. King will perform the high-wire writing act she calls Writer's Improv: writing a short story based on prompts submitted earlier by members of the public and received by Laurie minutes before she begins to write. The story will be a fantasy-mystery set in south Santa Cruz County, with its main character connected to a middle school or junior high school (student, staff, or family member of one or the other). Contributors of the prompts that are chosen will receive a signed Laurie R. King novel and be thanked in print when the collection containing this story comes out. Interested? Details can be found here: Don't delay as entries are due on May 8th.

Okay, time to finalize my book decisions and get packing. Remember, if you are going to be in L.A. for the Book Fair this weekend, drop me a line at and, if possible, include your cellphone number. I will be at the Awards reception Friday night as well as the ceremony. The rest of my itinerary is not confirmed as there are a number of panels I want to attend and some run concurrently. I have tried to circle back to everyone who wrote this past week to say they would be there, but I could have missed a message --- or two.

Have a great week.....

Carol Fitzgerald (

List of titles reviewed and featured on April 28th.

List of titles reviewed and featured on April 21st. Talks to Steve Berry, Author of THE TEMPLAR LEGACY, and Raymond Khoury, Author of THE LAST TEMPLAR

Amidst the current popularity of religious-themed fiction, two novels --- THE LAST TEMPLAR and THE TEMPLAR LEGACY --- have both become international bestsellers. The authors of these two books, Raymond Khoury and Steve Berry, spoke with's Carol Fitzgerald, Joe Hartlaub and Wiley Saichek about the appeal of speculative history novels, as well as the sheer coincidence of simultaneously writing and publishing thrillers on similar topics. They also discuss the challenges of researching and accurately portraying the past, and share their thoughts on Dan Brown's recent court case.

Click here to read our interview with Steve Berry and Raymond Khoury. Talks to Naomi Hirahara, Author of SNAKESKIN SHAMISEN's Senior Writer Joe Hartlaub interviewed Naomi Hirahara, author of several nonfiction titles about the Japanese American experience and a fictional mystery series starring Mas Arai. Hirahara discusses the inspiration for the series's latest installment, SNAKESKIN SHAMISEN, as well as its main character's possible real-life counterparts. She also compares and contrasts writing fiction and nonfiction, and reveals what she has in store for her protagonist.

SNAKESKIN SHAMISEN by Naomi Hirahara (Mystery)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
Following the stabbing death of his pal's friend, Mas Arai --- a curmudgeonly L.A. gardener, Hiroshima survivor and inveterate gambler --- reluctantly agrees to follow the trail of a battered snakeskin shamisen (a traditional Okinawan musical instrument) left at the scene of the crime...and suddenly finds himself caught up in a dark mystery that reaches from the islands of Okinawa to the streets of L.A.

Click here to read our interview with Naomi Hirahara and a review of SNAKESKIN SHAMISEN. Talks to Kelley Armstrong, Author of BROKEN

Kelley Armstrong has penned six novels in the paranormal suspense series The Otherworld, including her latest release, BROKEN. In this interview with's contributing writer Steve Hubbard, Armstrong characterizes her protagonist as the embodiment of the struggle between a person's dual natures, and describes the loose plotting process employed with each installment of the series. She also explains why her books are so difficult to categorize and sheds light on why they are told from multiple narrators.

BROKEN by Kelley Armstrong (Fantasy)
Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard
In this thrilling new novel from the author of INDUSTRIAL MAGIC --- a mixture of dark adventure, horror, passion, history and humor --- a pregnant werewolf may have unwittingly unleashed Jack the Ripper on the twenty-first-century...and become his next target.

Click here to read our interview with Kelley Armstrong and a review of BROKEN.


New Featured Suspense/Thriller Author --- Gayle Lynds, Author of THE LAST SPYMASTER

Gayle Lynds, the New York Times bestselling author of THE COIL, MASQUERADE, MOSAIC and MESMERIZED, is our newest featured Suspense/Thriller author. Her latest tale of intrigue and espionage is THE LAST SPYMASTER, which hits shelves May 30th and re-establishes her title of "The Queen of the International Spy Thriller."

We have 20 Advance Copies of THE LAST SPYMASTER to share with readers who would like to read the book and comment on it. Interested? Then send your name and mailing address to by Friday, May 12th.

Charles "Jay" Tice was a spy's spy. The chief of the CIA's elite Clandestine Services, he was a legend throughout the world of international intelligence. But secretly he was also a traitor, reputedly selling information that will seriously compromise the security of the United States for decades to come. Since his treachery was exposed, Tice has been kept under strict surveillance in a maximum security prison.

Then one morning, his cell is discovered empty. Jay Tice has vanished --- without tripping an alarm or leaving any trace of his passing.

Elaine Cunningham is a hunter --- a CIA operative who specializes in finding people who don't want to be found.  Young, gifted and a maverick, she is assigned to track Tice and bring him to ground before he disappears forever. But as she matches wits in a perilous game with one of the greatest spymasters of all time, she discovers there is far more at stake than an old spy's last run for freedom.

Lurking in the shadows are other hidden players with their own lethal agendas and, from Geneva to Washington, Berlin to New York City, a deadly conspiracy is coalescing. With only a few hours to go, and the future of millions in the balance, she must uncover the truth behind the legend of the last spymaster.

With THE LAST SPYMASTER, New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds has created her masterwork --- a compelling thriller of loyalty, betrayal, and the wheels-within-wheels world of modern espionage. Once again, she proves herself to be one of the most original and exciting writers in the field today.

Click here to read more about Gayle Lynds and THE LAST SPYMASTER.


Featured Suspense/Thriller Author --- Lee Child, Author of THE HARD WAY

Lee Child is one of our featured Suspense/Thriller authors. He's already a household name among thriller lovers, and with such page-turners as ONE SHOT, THE ENEMY and PERSUADER, Child has established himself at the forefront of the genre. THE HARD WAY, which comes out on May 16th, is Child at his fast-paced, thrilling best.

-Click here to see our Advance Copy Winners.
-Click here to read an excerpt from THE HARD WAY.
-Click here to read Lee Child's backlist.
-Click here to read Critical Praise for THE HARD WAY.
-Click here to read Author Fast Facts.

More about THE HARD WAY:
In Lee Child's astonishing new thriller, ex-military cop Reacher sees more than most people would...and because of that, he's thrust into an explosive situation that's about to blow up in his face. For the only way to find the truth --- and save two innocent lives --- is to do it the way Jack Reacher does it best: the hard way....

Jack Reacher was alone, the way he liked it, soaking up the hot, electric New York City night, watching a man cross the street to a parked Mercedes and drive it away. The car contained one million dollars in ransom money. And Edward Lane, the man who paid it, will pay even more to get his family back. Lane runs a highly illegal soldiers-for-hire operation. He will use any amount of money and any tool to find his beautiful wife and child. And then he'll turn Jack Reacher loose with a vengeance --- because Reacher is the best man hunter in the world.

On the trail of a vicious kidnapper, Reacher is learning the chilling secrets of his employer's past...and of a horrific drama in the heart of a nasty little war. He's beginning to realize that Edward Lane is hiding something. Something dirty. Something big. But Reacher also knows this: he's already in way too deep to stop now.

Click here to read more about Lee Child and THE HARD WAY.

Mother's Day Hat Box Contest on

From April 21st through May 5th readers will have the chance to win one of five Mother's Day Hat Boxes filled with goodies Mom will just love, as well as ALL SIX of our featured books --- CONFESSIONS OF SUPER MOM by Melanie Lynne Hauser, THE LOST MOTHER by Mary McGarry Morris, RECIPES FOR A PERFECT MARRIAGE by Morag Prunty, SUSANNAH'S GARDEN by Debbie Macomber, THE WOMAN AT THE WASHINGTON ZOO by Marjorie Williams and A YEAR IN THE WORLD by Frances Mayes.

Our Hat Box prizes have a beautiful spring floral pattern and are stocked with charming and indulgent items for Mom. Along with the six books, Mom will be thrilled to find potpourri in a charming mossy heart from Smith and Hawkins, seeds to plant and her own culinary herbs and edible flowers to grow, a soothing pink stargazer lily scented candle from Illuminations, and lemon and coconut lime bath fizzies from Crabtree and Evelyn. And because moms regularly wipe away a lot of tears, we're adding a portable package of spring-colored tissues. You can keep the basket yourself or give it to a special mom you know.

Here's How to Enter:
Tell us your favorite book that your mom read to you, with your name and address or the name and snail mail address of your desired Mother's Day Hat Box recipient if you would like to give it as a gift, to by 11:59AM EST (noon) on Friday, May 5th. (Please note that P.O. Boxes cannot be accepted)

Click here to read official rules and details for our Mother's Day Hat Box Contest.

New Featured Chick Lit Author --- Meg Cabot, Author of QUEEN OF BABBLE

Meg Cabot, author of the bestselling, critically acclaimed and immensely popular Princess Diaries novels, is our newest featured Chick Lit Author. From this New York Times bestselling writer comes QUEEN OF BABBLE, which comes out May 23rd, the charming and witty story of a lovable blabbermouth who can't seem to stay out of trouble....

We have 20 Advance Copies of QUEEN OF BABBLE to share with readers who would like to read the book and comment on it. Interested? Then send your name and mailing address to by Friday, May 5th.

What's an American girl with a big mouth but an equally big heart to do?

Lizzie Nichols has a problem, and it isn't that she doesn't have the slightest idea what she's going to do with her life or that she's blowing what should be her down payment on a cute little Manhattan apartment on a trip to London to visit her long-distance boyfriend, Andrew. But what's the point of planning for the future when she's done it again? See, Lizzie can't keep her mouth shut. And it's not just that she can't keep her own secrets, she can't keep anything to herself.

Unless she can figure out a way to use that big mouth of hers to save the day.

Click here to read more about Meg Cabot and QUEEN OF BABBLE.


New in Paperback for April

April's roundup of New in Paperback titles includes TRUE BELIEVER, Nicholas Sparks's bestseller about a science journalist who falls hopelessly in love while trying to debunk the supernatural; FALLS THE SHADOW, a riveting legal thriller from William Lashner featuring criminal defense attorney Victor Carl; YA-YAS IN BLOOM, Rebecca Wells's emotionally charged sequel to DIVINE SECRETS OF THE YA-YA SISTERHOOD; THE TWELFTH CARD by Jeffery Deaver, which marks the return of quadriplegic detective Lincoln Rhyme and his protégée Amelia Sachs; ROCOCO, Adriana Trigiani's funny and heartfelt novel about a small Italian American town poised for a makeover; THE UNDOMESTIC GODDESS, in which Sophie Kinsella introduces readers to workaholic attorney turned housekeeper Samantha Sweeting; and EATS, SHOOTS & LEAVES, Lynne Truss's "Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation."

Click here to read our New in Paperback feature.


VANISHED by Karen Robards

VANISHED by Karen Robards (Thriller)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
Ten years ago, Sarah Mason's six-year-old daughter vanished; despite a furious search, little Lexie was never found. Then, on one hot July night, Sarah picks up her ringing telephone --- and to her utter shock, she hears a child's terrified voice whisper, "Mommy, help, come and get me..."

Karen Robards's website,, has all the details about VANISHED, as well as her previous novel SUPERSTITION, which comes out in paperback on May 30th. Click here to visit Karen Robards's website.

-Click here to read an excerpt from VANISHED.

Click here to read a review of VANISHED.


This Week's Reviews and Features

PROMISE ME by Harlan Coben (Suspense)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
It has been six years since entertainment agent Myron Bolitar last played superhero. In six years he hasn't thrown a punch, held a gun, or called his friend Win --- still the scariest man he knows --- to back him up or get him out of trouble. But all that is about to change...because of a promise.

-Click here to read an excerpt from PROMISE ME.

THE JESUS PAPERS: Exposing the Greatest Cover-Up in History by Michael Baigent (Nonfiction)
Reviewed by Pauline Finch
Despite --- or rather because of --- all the celebration and veneration that have surrounded the figure of Jesus for centuries, Michael Baigent asserts that Jesus and the circumstances leading to his death have been heavily mythologized. THE JESUS PAPERS is a fascinating journey that goes beyond populist theology and makes even its unanswered questions interesting.

CLEMENTE: The Passion and Grace of Baseball's Last Hero by David Maraniss (Biography)
Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman
On New Year's Eve 1972, following 18 magnificent seasons in the major leagues, Roberto Clemente died a hero's death, killed in a plane crash as he attempted to deliver food and medical supplies to Nicaragua after a devastating earthquake. David Maraniss now brings the great baseball player brilliantly back to life in this first-rate biography.

HIGH LONESOME: Selected Stories 1966 -2006 by Joyce Carol Oates (Fiction/Short Stories)
Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller
In her latest and most comprehensive collection to date, Joyce Carol Oates demonstrates exactly why she is one of the most important fiction writers working today. HIGH LONESOME gathers stories from Oates's seminal collections, including THE WHEEL OF LOVE, MARRIAGES AND INFIDELITIES and HEAT, arranged by decade.

FIELD NOTES FROM A CATASTROPHE by Elizabeth Kolbert (Environment/Politics)
Reviewed by Ron Kaplan
Known for her insightful and thought-provoking journalism, New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert now tackles the controversial subject of global warming. She travels to the Arctic, interviews researchers and environmentalists, explains the science and the studies, and presents the personal tales of those who are being affected most.

CONFESSIONS OF A WALL STREET ANALYST: A True Story of Inside Information and Corruption in the Stock Market by Dan Reingold with Jennifer Reingold (Memoir)
Reviewed by Marge Fletcher
Dan Reingold was a top Wall Street analyst for 14 years and Salomon Smith Barney analyst Jack Grubman's chief competitor in the red-hot sector of telecom. But in this action-packed, highly personal memoir, Reingold describes how his enthusiasm gave way to disgust as he learned how deeply corrupted Wall Street and much of corporate America had become during the roaring stock market bubble of the 1990s.

THE HOUSEKEEPER by Melanie Wallace (Mystery)
Reviewed by Kate Ayers
In this chilling, literary novel that's also a page-turning thriller, a young woman untangles a boy tied to a tree, unleashing a Pandora's box, for the boy may not be sane but he's relentless. And he does not view being set free as a good-hearted gesture.

Reviewed by Norah Piehl
Infused with the culture, music and fashion of 1950s London, THE LOST ART OF KEEPING SECRETS is a modern comedy of manners with a distinctly vintage feel. The novel centers on Penelope, the wide-eyed daughter of a legendary beauty who's unable to move beyond the loss of her charmed husband to the war.

PILGRIM ON THE GREAT BIRD CONTINENT: The Importance of Everything and Other Lessons from Darwin's Lost Notebooks by Lyanda Lynn Haupt (Natural History)
Reviewed by Robert Finn
In this slim and gracefully written volume, seasoned birdwatcher Lyanda Lynn Haupt takes a highly personal and idiosyncratic look into the mind of Charles Darwin, as reflected in his diaries, personal notebooks, letters, post-Beagle musings and life in general.

Click here to read our reviews and features. Blog

Bookish in Virginia

March 24th Entry:
Thrilling Ride

March 10th Entry:
Spring Break - In Reading Style

Note: You can read past blogs here as well.
Sign up here to get notified each time this blog is updated.
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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: THE DA VINCI CODE --- Countdown to the Movie.....
Have you read THE DA VINCI CODE?

No, but I want to.
No, and I do not want to.

Do you plan to see The Da Vinci Code movie?

Yes, as soon as it opens.
Yes, but not rushing to get there.
I will wait for the DVD.
I am not interested in seeing this movie.

Which of the following books on codes and speculative history have you read or plan to read? (Please check as many as apply.)

HOLY BLOOD, HOLY GRAIL by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln
THE JESUS PAPERS by Michael Baigent
LABYRINTH by Kate Mosse
THE LAST CATO by Matilde Asensi
THE LAST TEMPLAR by Raymond Khoury
THE MESSIANIC LEGACY by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln
THE RULE OF FOUR by Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason
THE SECRET SUPPER by Javier Sierra
None of the above
Answer the Poll here.

Question of the Week: What's the Appeal of THE DA VINCI CODE?

What do you think is the appeal of THE DA VINCI CODE? Why did so many people read it?

Please note: Our question of the week will update on May 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 two great prizes: FIVE readers each will win a copy of ANYBODY OUT THERE? by Marian Keyes and CAGE OF STARS by Jacquelyn Mitchard

Please note that our next Word of Mouth update will be on May 12th.


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.

Those of you who wish to send mail to, please see the form on the Write to Us page.  If you would like to reach me, please write Writing any of the respond buttons below will not get to us.

Those who are subscribed to the newsletter by April 30th, 2006 automatically are entered in our Monthly Newsletter Contest. This month one winner will be selected to win the following five books: BLUE SHOES AND HAPPINESS by Alexander McCall Smith, MY LATEST GRIEVANCE by Elinor Lipman, SAVANNAH BREEZE by Mary Kay Andrews, VANISHED by Karen Robards and WE ARE ALL WELCOME HERE by Elizabeth Berg. Last month's winner was Dan from Fayetteville, GA who won CIRCLE OF QUILTERS by Jennifer Chiaverini, DARK ASSASSIN by Anne Perry, FALSE IMPRESSION by Jeffrey Archer, GONE by Jonathan Kellerman and THE TENTH CIRCLE by Jodi Picoult.

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