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October 5, 2007 Newsletter

October 5, 2007

This Week on

Finding The Right Book... Talks to John Hart, Author of DOWN RIVER Talks to Joshua Henkin, Author of MATRIMONY Talks to Shobhan Bantwal, Author of THE DOWRY BRIDE

Now in Stores: CRUSADER GOLD by David Gibbins

Author Talk: Tom Grace, Author of THE SECRET CARDINAL

New Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: John Lutz, Author of IN FOR THE KILL

Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: J.D. Robb Celebrates the Release of the 25th Book in Her In Death Series

Featured One to Watch Author: Peter Pezzelli, Author of ITALIAN LESSONS

Now in Stores: THE CHOICE by Nicholas Sparks

Now in Stores: PLAYING FOR PIZZA by John Grisham

What's New This Month on

This Week's Reviews and Features

Poll and Question of the Week: Audiobooks

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

Historical Fiction Promotion

One to Watch Promotion
Books Into Movies
Bestseller Lists
Coming Soon
New in Paperback

Summer Beach Bag of Books Promotion

Finding The Right Book...

This past month my friend Cathy has been to our house a few times for dinner. We’ve been friends for more than 20 years and live in the same town, but her wickedly intense travel schedule --- she goes to the Orient like I go into the city --- and her homes in a few places around the country keep us from spending much time together. When we get together it’s always memorable, and we catch up like we just were together. One thing we rarely talk about is books. Cathy always tells me she is not much of a reader. Given the amount of time she travels, this always surprises me.

I often think that people who do not read just cannot find books that they enjoy. While we all know the pleasure that a good book can bring, we also know the disappointment when a book --- or a favorite author --- does not measure up and how that makes us a little “book-shy” the next time. Even I, who have a number of books readily at hand, often find myself pausing in front of a stack thinking, "Hmmmmm, which would be the perfect book right now?" after I read something that did not hold my interest.

Spending time with Cathy she mentioned a couple of authors she had liked --- Carl Hiaasen and John Burdett. Using those as a tipping point, I thought about other titles that she might enjoy. Since one of her homes is in Scottsdale near Frank Lloyd Wright’s home, Taliesin West, LOVING FRANK by Nancy Horan was a natural choice. I also know from her comments about Hiaasen and Burdett that she likes clever, sharp prose, so I plucked HOW TO TALK TO A WIDOWER by Jonathan Tropper from my shelf. I handed both to her on Saturday night. Sunday morning she came by the house and told me that she had been up til midnight reading Tropper and really liked it. She had packed LOVING FRANK for the plane. Monday she wrote on her way to the airport and told me she had finished the Horan, again staying up til midnight. She said she wanted to get more book ideas the next time she was in town. I loved this and already am looking at my shelves for more ideas for her.

When friends ask what I do, I tell them that I am a book concierge. When I read comments from our advance readers and on Word of Mouth, I am inspired to keep the books coming. My favorite comment is, “I would have missed this book if you did not tell me about it.” Reading that ALWAYS makes my day. Here’s hoping that this week’s lineup does the same for you.

America’s biggest book concierge, Oprah, announced her latest book club pick, which is LOVE IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Fermina Daza is a beautiful woman of culture and privilege who, in her youth, has a love affair with a young telegraph named Florentino Ariza. However, she surrenders to her father's disapproval of the relationship and goes on to marry a successful doctor. However, when Fermina's husband dies more than 50 years later, Florentino returns to reclaim the only true love he ever knew. In this beautiful story, Marquez demonstrates that true love outlasts sickness, war and decades of rejection.

A news item this week inspired this week's poll. An abridgment/creative adaptation narrated by Stephen Colbert, Amy Sedaris and a dozen others will be available for digital download at midnight on Friday from and iTunes, while Colbert's I AM AMERICA (And So Can You!) comes out next Tuesday. Thus we ask: If a book by one of your FAVORITE authors was available as an audiobook before it was out as a print book, would you buy it?

Our latest Suspense/Thriller author is John Lutz, whose new book, IN FOR THE KILL, will be in stores on November 6th. This one grabbed me at the first chapter. Detective Frank Quinn, who first appeared in Lutz's DARKER THAN NIGHT, returns to face his toughest case yet. As he hunts down a psychopath terrorizing the city’s women, he soon realizes that the killer is testing him as never before. We have 20 copies to give away to those who would like to read it and share their comments. Enter by filling out this form by Friday, October 19th. And don't still have until Friday, October 12th to be one of 20 readers who will read and comment on CREATION IN DEATH, the 25th installment in J.D. Robb's In Death series. You can enter by filling out this form.

Two of our previously featured authors respond to readers' questions this week: Emily Benedek, author of RED SEA, and Markus Zusak, author of THE BOOK THIEF. Also, we have advance readers' comments for David Gibbins, author of CRUSADER GOLD.

Two media notes of interest: "The Women's Murder Club," based on the books by James Patterson, premieres on ABC on October 12th at 9 ET. And the opening of The Kite Runner film is being delayed by six weeks to December 14th, as the filmmakers are concerned about the safety of their actors and want to get them out of the country.

For those of you who, like me, hate seeing the leaves fall from the trees, may our Quote of the Day today from Albert Camus comfort you: "Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower." My older son has the SATs tomorrow at 8. Memo to the testing board: Teenagers need sleep on the weekends to catch up on sleep lost all week. Scheduling this for something like noon might ensure that the kids are awake enough to do their best. We are taking off Monday for Columbus Day, which is much-needed as I have bookshelves at the house to organize. Since it's still warm here, swimming is on the agenda. Each day I do extra laps thinking, "THIS could be the last day I swim!" Here's wishing you all a great week --- and I hope you find "the right book" below.

Carol Fitzgerald ( Talks to John Hart, Author of DOWN RIVER

John Hart is the author of the acclaimed bestseller THE KING OF LIES, as well as the newly released DOWN RIVER. In this interview with's Joe Hartlaub, Hart explains why he chose to set both of his books in Rowan County, North Carolina, and describes how the plots of his novels are dictated by the characters and their emotional issues. He also discusses his unusual career path, speculates on the rich literary history of the South and shares his experiences in overcoming writer's block.

DOWN RIVER by John Hart (Thriller)
John Hart’s debut, THE KING OF LIES, was compelling and lyrical, with Janet Maslin of The New York Times declaring, “There hasn’t been a thriller as showily literate since Scott Turow came along.” Now, in DOWN RIVER, Hart makes a scorching return to Rowan County, where he drives his characters to the edge, explores the dark side of human nature and questions the fundamental power of forgiveness. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read a review of DOWN RIVER.
-Click here to read an excerpt from DOWN RIVER.

Click here to read our interview with John Hart. Talks to Joshua Henkin, Author of MATRIMONY

It’s been 10 years since writing instructor Joshua Henkin published his debut novel, SWIMMING ACROSS THE HUDSON, but MATRIMONY proves to readers that it was worth the wait. His sophomore effort tackles the complex relationships of marriage, friendship and parents and children over the course of more than a decade. In this interview,’s Cindy Crosby talks with Henkin about his latest book, what he believes is his most important task as a novelist, why he doesn’t recommend that young writers live in New York City and the one thing he hopes no one ever leaves on his pillow.

MATRIMONY by Joshua Henkin (Fiction)
In his second novel, Joshua Henkin explores marriage, friendship and the way we love and hurt each other, while charting the course of the lives of two married couples through two decades. MATRIMONY also looks at the relationship between mothers and daughters, and how this bond influences every aspect of a daughter’s choices. Reviewed by Cindy Crosby.

-Click here to read a review of MATRIMONY.
-Click here to read an excerpt from MATRIMONY.


Click here to read our interview with Joshua Henkin. Talks to Shobhan Bantwal, Author of THE DOWRY BRIDE

Sometimes fiction illuminates a problem so shocking that it’s almost difficult to believe. This is the case with debut novelist Shobhan Bantwal’s THE DOWRY BRIDE, which explores the darker side of marriage in her native country of India. Bantwal’s story, which follows the arranged nuptials of a young girl whose new family plots to murder her when her dowry isn’t paid, is based on the horrific practice of bride-burning, bride abuse and the dowry system as still practiced in India. In this interview,’s Cindy Crosby talks with Bantwal about the problems of the dowry system, the role of astrology and horoscopes in her life and in her fiction, and her own arranged marriage, which has lasted for nearly 34 years.

THE DOWRY BRIDE by Shobhan Bantwal (Fiction)
In her intriguing debut novel, Shobhan Bantwal mingles romance and suspense as she explores the abuse of “dowry brides” in modern-day India. She also portrays the dilemma of a contemporary Hindu Brahmin woman who desires love and an advanced education yet wants to please her parents as well. Reviewed by Cindy Crosby.

-Click here to read a review of THE DOWRY BRIDE.
-Click here to read an excerpt from THE DOWRY BRIDE.


Click here to read our interview with Shobhan Bantwal.

Now in Stores: CRUSADER GOLD by David Gibbins
CRUSADER GOLD by David Gibbins (Fiction/Action & Adventure)
From the fall of the Roman Empire to the last days of Nazi power, marine archaeologist Jack Howard and his team of adventurers are hot on the trail of history’s most elusive and desired treasure: the lost golden menorah of Jerusalem. And what they discover could change the world forever… Reviewed by Colleen Quinn.

-Click here to read an excerpt from CRUSADER GOLD.
-Click here to see advance readers' comments for CRUSADER GOLD.


Click here to read a review of CRUSADER GOLD.


Author Talk: Tom Grace, Author of THE SECRET CARDINAL

Tom Grace is the author of five novels featuring Nolan Kilkenny, an ex-Navy SEAL turned scientist, computer expert and venture capitalist. In his most recent adventure, THE SECRET CARDINAL, Kilkenny finds himself enmeshed in the little-known conflicts between the Vatican and the Chinese government regarding the country's underground Catholic Church. In this interview, Grace discusses the true events that inspired this plot, as well as various elements found in his previous works of fiction --- such as the underground Arctic lakes in TWISTED WEB and the illegal supercomputers in SPYDER WEB. He also describes how he turned to writing after a successful career in architecture, compares plotting novels to designing buildings and shares some background information on his complex protagonist.

by Tom Grace
Tom Grace’s fifth novel is a high-tech, high-speed thriller that takes ex-Navy Seal Nolan Kilkenny from the inner circle of the Vatican in Rome to a life-or-death mission to rescue a Jesuit priest from a heavily-fortified Chinese prison. The priest’s life is in danger after Chinese officials learn that he has been named a secret cardinal “in pectore” (in the heart) of Pope Leo XIV. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

-Click here to read a review of THE SECRET CARDINAL.
-Click here to read an excerpt from THE SECRET CARDINAL.
-Visit Tom Grace's official website,


Click here to read an interview with Tom Grace.

New Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: John Lutz, Author of IN FOR THE KILL

Edgar and Shamus Award-winning author John Lutz has written over 40 books, including SWF SEEKS SAME, which became the film Single White Female, and THE EX, a critically acclaimed feature for HBO. Lutz's newest thriller, IN FOR THE KILL, is set to release on November 6th. After making his first appearance in DARKER THAN NIGHT, Detective Frank Quinn returns to face his toughest --- and most personal --- case yet. Hunting down killers is what he does best. But this time, Quinn is up against a psychopath who will test him as never before.

We have 20 copies of IN FOR THE KILL to give away to readers who would like to preview the book and comment about it. If you are interested, please fill out this form by Friday, October 19th.

-Click here to read John Lutz’s bio.

More about IN FOR THE KILL:
A madman is stalking women in the city. By the time his victims are found, they’ve been dismembered with careful precision. Accustomed to working on the most grisly homicides, detective Frank Quinn’s nerves don’t rattle easily. But when the last names of a serial killer’s victims spell out “Q-u-i-n-n,” the veteran cop feels a chill run down his spine. When one of the victims is linked to a woman he desires, Quinn realizes that he will be tested as never before.


Click here to read more about John Lutz and IN FOR THE KILL.


Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: J.D. Robb Celebrates the Release of the 25th Book in Her In Death Series

J.D. Robb, aka Nora Roberts, has written over 100 books in her illustrious career. On November 6th, CREATION IN DEATH, the 25th installment in her bestselling In Death series, will be released. As Eve Dallas --- a lieutenant in the New York Police and Security Department --- hunts for a killer known as “The Groom,” who plagued the city nine years earlier, she realizes that this new wave of attacks is becoming alarmingly personal.

We have 20 copies of CREATION IN DEATH to give away to readers who would like to preview the book and comment about it. If you are interested, please fill out this form by Friday, October 12th.

-Click here to read J.D. Robb’s bio.
-Visit the author’s official website,

NYPSD Lieutenant Eve Dallas keeps the streets of a near-future New York City safe in this extraordinary series. But even she makes mistakes, and is haunted by those she couldn't save --- and the killers she couldn't capture. When the body of a young brunette is found in East River Park, artfully positioned and marked by signs of prolonged and painful torture, Eve is catapulted back to a case nine years earlier. When it becomes apparent that a gruesome killer known as “The Groom” has returned, Eve is determined to finish him once and for all.


Click here to read more about J.D. Robb and CREATION IN DEATH.


Featured One to Watch Author: Peter Pezzelli, Author of ITALIAN LESSONS

Peter Pezzelli's first book, HOME TO ITALY, was a Book Sense pick in 2004. With his trademark warmth, humor and wisdom, Pezzelli's new novel, ITALIAN LESSONS (which is now in stores), weaves an unforgettable tale of Italian-American life and family, hope and heartbreak, lessons learned and lessons deferred, and a love that can heal time's greatest wounds.

-Click here to read a third excerpt from ITALIAN LESSONS.
-Click here to read Peter Pezzelli's bio.

-Click here to see Peter Pezzelli's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for ITALIAN LESSONS.
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

Fresh out of college, Carter Quinn has returned to his home in North Providence, Rhode Island, unsure of just about everything except his plans to go to Italy and pursue the woman of his dreams. To do that, he needs to learn to speak Italian, and only one man is right for the job --- Giancarlo Rosa...if Carter can survive him.


Click here to read more about Peter Pezzelli and ITALIAN LESSONS.


Now in Stores: THE CHOICE by Nicholas Sparks

THE CHOICE by Nicholas Sparks (Fiction)
New York Times bestselling author Nicholas Sparks continues to capture readers with his latest heartrending novel. THE CHOICE, his 13th book, will bring you face to face with situations you hope never to be in and with choices you wish you will never have to make. Reviewed by Maggie Harding.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE CHOICE.


Click here to read a review of THE CHOICE.


Now in Stores: PLAYING FOR PIZZA by John Grisham

PLAYING FOR PIZZA by John Grisham (Fiction)
John Grisham’s PLAYING FOR PIZZA is a major departure from the courtroom novels that have made him an internationally known author. The scene for his latest book is Italy and the subject is football. Rick Dockery, a journeyman professional, finds himself the starting quarterback for the Parma Panthers, a squad of Italians who prefer Football Americano to their own soccer. In addition to football, Grisham provides readers with a travelogue of Italy --- from opera to churches to wine. Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman.

-Click here to read an excerpt from PLAYING FOR PIZZA.


Click here to read a review of PLAYING FOR PIZZA.


What's New This Month on

With more than 2,000 discussion guides now available, is the leading place for book clubs to find all the resources they need on the web. Here is a list of recently added guides.

The following guides are now available on

AFTER THIS by Alice McDermott
BRIDGE OF SIGHS by Richard Russo
CASPIAN RAIN by Gina B. Nahai
MATRIMONY by Joshua Henkin
MENDING FENCES by Sherryl Woods
MYSTERIES OF THE LIFE FORCE: My Apprenticeship with a Chi Kung Master by Peter Meech
OUTSIDE IN by Courtney Thorne-Smith
PAINT IT BLACK by Janet Fitch
THE REST OF HER LIFE by Laura Moriarty
TRESPASS by Valerie Martin
WATERCOLOR PEARLS by Stacy Hawkins Adams
WOMEN'S RITES OF PASSAGE: How to Embrace Change and Celebrate Life by Abigail Brenner, MD

Please note that these titles, for which we already had the guides when they appeared in hardcover, are now available in paperback:

KABBALAH: A Love Story by Rabbi Lawrence Kushner
SHOOTING WATER by Devyani Saltzman
THE THIRTEENTH TALE by Diane Setterfield

We have the following new guides for Christian book groups:

PRICED TO MOVE by Ginny Aiken
A PROMISE TO REMEMBER by Kathryn Cushman
THE SCRIBE: Sons of Encouragement #5 by Francine Rivers


Click here to go to


This Week's Reviews and Features

ROBERT LUDLUM’S THE ARCTIC EVENT: A Covert-One Novel by James H. Cobb (Thriller)
On a remote island in the Canadian Arctic, researchers discover the wreckage of a mysterious World War II-era aircraft, which turns out to be a Soviet strategic bomber that disappeared with its crew more than 50 years ago while carrying two metric tons of weaponized anthrax. Desperate to prevent a political and diplomatic firestorm, the U.S. president dispatches a Covert-One team led by Lieutenant Colonel Jon Smith to the crash site. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

SWEET REVENGE by Diane Mott Davidson (Mystery)
Goldy Schulz is thrilled to be catering a holiday breakfast feast for the staff of the Aspen Meadow Library. But little does she know that on the menu, alongside the Great Expectations Grapefruit, Chuzzlewit Cheese Pie and Bleak House Bars, is a large helping of murder. Reviewed by Marge Fletcher.

THE ZOOKEEPER’S WIFE: A War Story by Diane Ackerman (History)
Prolific author Diane Ackerman has written the amazing true story of the keepers of the Warsaw Zoo, Jan and Antonina Zabinski. During World War II, Jan played a vital role in the Resistance movement, and his wife, an unassuming young woman of courage and conviction, opened their home to over 300 “Guests” (Jews and Resistance activists seeking asylum). Reviewed by Carole Turner.

THE 47th SAMURAI: A Bob Lee Swagger Novel by Stephen Hunter (Thriller)
Bob Lee Swagger and Philip Yano are bound together by a single moment at Iwo Jima, 1945, when their fathers, two brave fighters on opposite sides, met in the bloody and chaotic battle for the island. Only Earl Swagger survived. More than 60 years later, Yano comes to America to honor the legacy of his heroic father by recovering the sword he used in the battle. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

ENGLEBY by Sebastian Faulks (Psychological Thriller)
Bestselling British author Sebastian Faulks moves away from historical fiction to focus on a psychological thriller in his new literary novel ENGLEBY, which explores memory, truth, obsession and sanity in the voice of an unreliable narrator. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

2012: The War for Souls by Whitley Strieber (Science Fiction/Horror)
December 21, 2012, may be one of the most watched dates in history. Every 26,000 years, earth lines up with the exact center of our galaxy. At 11:11 on December 21, 2012, this event happens again, and the ancient Maya calculated that it would mark the end, not only of this age, but of human consciousness as we know it. But what will actually happen? Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard.

THE GODMOTHER by Carrie Adams (Fiction)
Watch your backs, ladies. Newcomer Carrie Adams hits the ground running with THE GODMOTHER, a debut novel with an unforgettable heroine and her dynamic friends, sexy lovers and many, many godchildren. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.


Read this week's reviews and features here.


Poll and Question of the Week: Audiobooks


If a book by one of your FAVORITE authors was available as an audiobook before it was out as a print book, would you buy it?

Yes, I would buy the audiobook.
Yes, I would buy the audiobook and then later buy the print book.
I would just wait for the print book as I do not listen to audiobooks.
I am not sure what I would do.

-Click here to answer our poll.


What was the last audiobook that you listened to?

-Click here to answer our question of the week.


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
EXIT GHOST by Philip Roth and WORLD WITHOUT END by Ken Follett. Tell us what you are reading and rate the titles 1-5 by noon on October 19th to ensure that you are in the running to win these books.

Please note that our next Word of Mouth update will be on October 19th.


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 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 October 31, 2007 automatically are entered in our Monthly Newsletter Contest. This month one winner will be selected to win the following five books: BOOK OF THE DEAD by Patricia Cornwell, EXIT GHOST by Philip Roth, NOW AND THEN: A Spenser Novel by Robert B. Parker, PANDORA'S DAUGHTER by Iris Johansen and PROTECT AND DEFEND by Vince Flynn
. Jo from Makakilo, HI was last month's newsletter winner. She won THE BONE GARDEN by Tess Gerritsen, THE CHOICE by Nicholas Sparks, PLAYING FOR PIZZA by John Grisham, RUN by Ann Patchett and YOU'VE BEEN WARNED by James Patterson and Howard Roughan.

Happy reading! Don't forget to forward this newsletter to a friend or to visit our other websites from,,,,, and

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