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October 10, 2008 Newsletter

October 10, 2008

This Week on

Greetings from Baltimore Talks to James Villas, Author of DANCING IN THE LOWCOUNTRY

Now in Stores: HARDLY KNEW HER: Stories by Laura Lippman

Now in Stores: BETWEEN HERE AND APRIL by Deborah Copaken Kogan
New Featured Mystery Mayhem Author: M. C. Beaton, Author of A SPOONFUL OF POISON

Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: M.J. Rose, Author of THE MEMORIST

Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Katherine Neville, Author of THE FIRE

Featured Romantic Suspense Author: Carla Neggers, Author of COLD PURSUIT

Featured Mystery Mayhem Author: Christopher Fowler, Author of THE VICTORIA VANISHES

This Week's Graphic Novel Reviews
Books into Movies/Books into Movies on DVD for October
What's New This Month on
This Week's Reviews

Poll and Question of the Week: Cookbooks

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

Greetings from Baltimore

I drove down to Baltimore for Bouchercon on Wednesday night. I love long car drives --- always have. As I got in the car I felt like I was doing a flight check as I plugged in my iPod, check... BlackBerry, check... phone, check... headset, check... Tom Tom GPS, check. The sound system in the car rocks (okay I sound 16, but I tell you, I feel 16 driving with music cranked up). I opened the sunroof and loved that drive. Funny thing; I just learned last weekend that the car does not have a six-CD changer. It has a single CD slot and then I can play a CD in the DVD. I still have XM, which I love, and I now can program 36 channels and it has a handy dandy iPod hookup. All is taking some adapting and programming. I am glad that the boys get a charge out of figuring this stuff out. I would prefer that everything just stayed the same, but I know life is not like that.
Bouchercon is great. I heard a report that there are 1,400 people here! It's been great fun seeing author and publishing friends. Last year this conference was in Anchorage and many of us did not make the trip, thus this event has become a lot more fun since it's a real catchup. Yesterday I had lunch with David Hewson, Linwood Barclay (whose new book TOO CLOSE TO HOME Joe Hartlaub gives a RAVE to this week) and Sheldon Siegel. We chatted about books, television shows (Linwood and I both love "24"), movies, politics (interesting to hear a Canadian and a Brit weigh in), kids, college and life over crabcake sandwiches.
As I mentioned last week, Laura Lippman is the honoree this year, and as she lives in Baltimore it's making this event even more special as she welcomes us to her town. This morning, she, Mark Billingham, Karin Slaughter, John Connolly and Chris Mooney did a terrific panel called "Would I Lie to You?" They all told stories about their lives, and the audience was allowed to guess whether they were telling the truth or lying. If they were telling the truth, the audience member needed to put $2 in a bucket. If they were caught in a lie, it cost them $10. All for charity.
In the end we raised $334. With categories such as "What weapon have you carried?," "What is the worst article of clothing you have worn?" and other such themed questions, it was very amusing. I have seen panels with this group on them before, and they always are the highlight of the conference. They all know each other well and play off each other with their banter. I look forward to the rest of the conference (there are some great panels lined up) and the rounds of parties that are scheduled for tonight.

We are launching a new feature for M. C. Beaton and her latest Agatha Raisin mystery to hit the shelves, A SPOONFUL OF POISON. In this story, Agatha and her team of detectives are asked to investigate when a community festival turns deadly. We have 10 copies of A SPOONFUL OF POISON 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 17th.

We have also received some great responses from our advance readers on COLD HEARTED by Beverly Barton, which you can read here.
I am just about finished reading THE DAWN PATROL, a thriller from Don Winslow. As I spent a few weeks in Southern California this past summer, I am appreciating not just Winslow's plotting and character development, which are excellent, but also his rendering of the history of the California coast and surf culture. It is fun reading and makes me want to go back and visit some of these places again. Last week, I asked if there were any towns in which people living on different sides of the street also resided in different time zones. The answer is YES. Ann from Niceville, FL wrote in and explained that in College Corner Ohio/Indiana, the state line runs through the center of the town. Ohio is on EST and Indiana is on CST. Thanks so much for sharing, Ann. Next week, on Wednesday night, I am looking forward to attending an advance screening of The Secret Life of Bees. More on that next week!
Oh, for humor, my older son is taking a train to Montreal this weekend. You will love this one: he's doing it to study for midterms. He always has wanted to see Montreal, and he thinks that the 12-hour train ride each way will give him time to concentrate on his studying. I remain amused. See, I think that somewhere in my past I had a similar idea and made it happen. I know I love cross-country plane trips for just the same reason. Six hours of concentrated time with no interruptions. Who said, it's not life that's tough; it's the interruptions?
Next week, he has me actually excited about his Thursday plans for seeing off the QE2 for her last trip out of New York. His friends from all over the world are gathering to meet up before this historic event. Should be a lot of fun. I know some of them became readers, which is quite nice.
Speaking of traveling, are any of you headed out to San Jose for Book Group Expo on October 25th and 26th? If so, let me know. I would love to meet up with you. By the way, after moderating that panel with Dionne Warwick a few weeks ago and pondering the San Jose trip, I got one of her CDs...hey, themed travel music. It's perfect!
Well, I am headed back to the conference. Here's to a nice long weekend for many of us. Our office is closed on Monday...more time for great reading.

Carol Fitzgerald ( Talks to James Villas, Author of DANCING IN THE LOWCOUNTRY

James Villas, the former food and wine editor of Town & Country magazine as well as the author of several cookbooks, recently published his first work of fiction, DANCING IN THE LOWCOUNTRY. In this interview with's Lourdes Orive, Villas explains his personal connection with the South Carolina coast, where the story takes place, and discusses the real-life inspirations behind its characters and settings. He also elaborates on the importance of food in his work, creates the perfect menu for a Southern meal over which book clubs can discuss the novel, and shares details about what he is working on next.

DANCING IN THE LOWCOUNTRY by James Villas (Fiction)
Ella Dubose is a Southern lady of a certain age --- an age at which memories of youth can rush in at every turn and overwhelm the present. But while Ella’s two younger children are concerned for her health and want to limit her independence, Ella --- elegant, unconventional and unrepentantly willful --- has very different ideas. And she’s not about to be controlled by anyone, not when there are tasks she needs to complete and loose ends that must be tied. Reviewed by Lourdes Orive.

-Click here to read a review of DANCING IN THE LOWCOUNTRY.
-Click here to read an excerpt from DANCING IN THE LOWCOUNTRY.

Click here to read our interview with James Villas.


Now in Stores: HARDLY KNEW HER: Stories by Laura Lippman

HARDLY KNEW HER: Stories by Laura Lippman (Fiction/Short Stories)
Dark, smart and violent, bestselling author Laura Lippman's first collection of short stories have a fascinating and sinister edge. HARDLY KNEW HER contains 16 tales and one novella, most told from the perspective of desperate and depressed women who find their sexuality to be both a liberating source of power and a confining detriment. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

-Click here to read an excerpt from HARDLY KNEW HER.


Click here to read a review of HARDLY KNEW HER.

Now in Stores: BETWEEN HERE AND APRIL by Deborah Copaken Kogan

BETWEEN HERE AND APRIL by Deborah Copaken Kogan (Fiction)
When a deep-rooted memory suddenly surfaces, Elizabeth Burns becomes obsessed with the long-ago disappearance of her childhood friend, April Cassidy. Deborah Copaken Kogan, author of a riveting war memoir titled SHUTTERBABE, explores another kind of war in her first novel: the battles women and mothers secretly --- and sometimes tragically --- wage with themselves. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

-Click here to read an excerpt from BETWEEN HERE AND APRIL.


Click here to read a review of BETWEEN HERE AND APRIL.

New Featured Mystery Mayhem Author: M. C. Beaton, Author of A SPOONFUL OF POISON
M. C. Beaton is the New York Times bestselling author of the Agatha Raisin mysteries as well as the Hamish Macbeth series. In A SPOONFUL OF POISON, Beaton’s latest installment in the Agatha Raisin series now available in stores, Agatha and her team of private detectives are called to duty when a festive family event becomes the scene of two murders.

We have 10 copies of A SPOONFUL OF POISON 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 17th.

-Click here to read M. C. Beaton’s bio.

When Agatha Raisin goes to the remote hamlet of Comfrey Magna to politely turn down a public relations job, she encounters the stunning green eyes of handsome widower George Selby, and promptly agrees to do whatever PR work the village needs. But as events in Agatha’s new adventure A SPOONFUL OF POISON unfold, the rural festival Agatha is promoting soon takes a deadly turn, and Agatha must investigate the toxic spiking of some local preserves.


Click here to read more about M. C. Beaton and A SPOONFUL OF POISON.


Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: M.J. Rose, Author of THE MEMORIST

M.J. Rose is the international bestselling author of 10 novels, including THE REINCARNATIONIST and three titles in the Butterfield Institute series: THE HALO EFFECT, THE DELILAH COMPLEX and THE VENUS FIX. In THE MEMORIST, Rose's riveting follow-up to THE REINCARNATIONIST, a strange letter sets a woman on a journey to unlock the mystery of who she once was. THE MEMORIST will be available in stores on October 28th.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE MEMORIST.
-Click here to read M.J. Rose’s bio.
-Click here to see M.J. Rose's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for THE MEMORIST.
-Visit M.J. Rose's official website,
-Visit M.J. Rose's two blogs, Buzz, Balls & Hype and Backstory.
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

More about THE MEMORIST:
As a child, Meers Logan was haunted by memories of another time and place, always accompanied by the faint strains of elusive music. Now the hand of the past has reached out again. Determined to unlock the mystery of who she once was, Meers travels to Vienna. With each step, she comes closer to remembering the connections between a clandestine reincarnationist society; the lost Memory Flute linked to Ludwig van Beethoven and rumored to open the door to the past; and to David Weiss, a journalist who knows all too well how the past affects the future.


Click here to read more about M.J. Rose and THE MEMORIST.

Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Katherine Neville, Author of THE FIRE
Twenty years ago, Katherine Neville’s groundbreaking bestseller THE EIGHT rewrote the rules of international suspense. Now a thrilling new chapter of this riveting saga begins in THE FIRE, which will be available on October 14th. Steeped in stunning history, enchanted settings, baffling riddles and unforgettable characters, THE FIRE presents a multilayered puzzle of infinite complexity and global importance.

-Click here to read a third excerpt from THE FIRE.
-Click here to read Katherine Neville’s bio.
-Click here to see Katherine Neville's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for THE FIRE.
-Visit Katherine Neville's official website,
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

More about THE FIRE:
Katherine Neville’s groundbreaking novel, THE EIGHT, dazzled audiences more than 20 years ago and set the literary stage for the epic thriller. A quest for a mystical chess service that once belonged to Charlemagne, it spans two centuries and three continents, and intertwines historic and modern plots, archaeological treasure hunts, esoteric riddles and puzzles encrypted with clues from the ancient past. Now the electrifying global adventure continues, in Neville’s long anticipated sequel: THE FIRE.


Click here to read more about Katherine Neville and THE FIRE.


Featured Romantic Suspense Author: Carla Neggers, Author of COLD PURSUIT

Carla Neggers is the New York Times bestselling author of more than a dozen novels, including THE ANGEL and TEMPTING FATE. In COLD PURSUIT, her new romantic suspense title releasing on October 28th, a Secret Service agent and a recovering Special Forces soldier must put aside their mutual qualms when they are asked to locate a missing teenager.

-Click here to read an excerpt from COLD PURSUIT.
-Click here to read Carla Neggers’s bio.
-Click here to see Carla Neggers's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for COLD PURSUIT.
-Visit Carla Neggers’s official website,
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

More about COLD PURSUIT:
A number of prominent figures have been killed under mysterious circumstances in the past year. All unconnected. But when an esteemed U.S. ambassador is slain in a questionable hit-and-run in Washington, D.C. and his stepdaughter vanishes mere hours later in the mountains of northern New England, suspicions are raised by a Secret Service agent and a recovering Special Forces soldier.

Click here to read more about Carla Neggers and COLD PURSUIT.


Featured Mystery Mayhem Author: Christopher Fowler, Author of THE VICTORIA VANISHES

Christopher Fowler is the acclaimed author of the award-winning FULL DARK HOUSE and WHITE CORRIDOR, among other novels. In THE VICTORIA VANISHES, his newest Peculiar Crimes Unit mystery releasing on October 28th, detectives Arthur Bryant and John May must stop a lonely hearts killer targeting middle-aged women at some of England’s most well-known pubs.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE VICTORIA VANISHES.
-Click here to read Christopher Fowler’s bio.
-Click here to see Christopher Fowler's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for THE VICTORIA VANISHES.
-Visit Christopher Fowler’s official website,
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

A lonely hearts killer is targeting middle-aged women at some of England’s most well-known pubs --- including one torn down 80 years ago. What’s more, Detective Arthur Bryant happened to see one of the victims only moments before her death at the pub that doesn’t exist. Now, with the public on the verge of panic and their superiors determined to shut the Peculiar Crimes Unit down for good, Detectives Bryant and May must rise to the occasion.

Click here to read more about Christopher Fowler and THE VICTORIA VANISHES.

This Week's Graphic Novel Reviews
THE ALCOHOLIC by Jonathan Ames and Dean Haspiel
In one of the best graphic novels of the year, a man offers his entire life story as a way of explaining how and why he turned to alcohol to solve his problems. As a series of painful events takes place, he gets mired deeper and deeper in his disease, yet he still manages to retain a remarkable warmth and humor, telling a story that is as witty as it is sad. Reviewed by John Hogan.

After several unsuccessful attempts to quit smoking, a middle-aged man agrees to be hypnotized to overcome his addiction. However, the treatment isn’t exactly what he expected: He wakes up as a 15-year-old who has never smoked. But is that a blessing or a curse? Reviewed by John Hogan.

Click here to see all our graphic novel reviews and features.

Books into Movies/Books into Movies on DVD for October
Book-loving cinephiles are in for quite a busy month, with eight films gracing October's Books into Movies feature. With a little something for everyone, from over-the-top comedies like Sex Drive and How to Lose Friends and Alienate People to heavy dramas like CIA action thriller Body of Lies and the inspiring biopic The Express, there will be no shortage of reasons to catch your old and new favorites brought to life on the big screen.

Two of this month's buzziest movies are based on YA bestsellers. City of Ember, adapted from Jeanne DuPrau's sci-fi/fantasy series about a mysterious, crumbling underground city lit entirely by floodlamps, is sure to be a hit for the all-ages crowd, while Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist aims for a slightly older audience, as it follows two teens nursing heartbreak and the need for a live-music fix over the course of one fateful night.

Also garnering plenty of attention with their A-list casts and thought-provoking subject matter are the guaranteed tearjerker The Secret Life of Bees, based on Sue Monk Kidd's poignant novel that reexamines the meaning of family, and the star-studded Hollywood satire What Just Happened, about an aging producer on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

Also, new on DVD this month are Gus Van Sant's Paranoid Park and Lifetime Network's The Memory Keeper's Daughter, as well as the family-friendly films Journey to the Center of the Earth 3-D and Kit Kittredge: An American Girl.

-See upcoming theatrical releases for November and December.

Click here for more details about October's films.

What's New This Month on
With more than 2,400 discussion guides now available, continues to be the leading place for book clubs to find all the resources they need on the web.

Our Blog continues to be a big hit among our readers. Throughout the month we are sharing postings from regular contributors --- including authors, librarians, book club facilitators, booksellers and experts in the publishing industry --- as well as special guests. The latest blog can be found here, and here are quick links to some recent posts:

-The Power of Book Club Buzz
-Baltimore Book Festival
-Looking Ahead...
-National Reading Group Month
-Elizabeth Strout: All About OLIVE KITTERIDGE
-Book Club Makeover: Our First Group of Winners
-Nancy Pearl On Book Clubs
-Great Group Reads for Fall
-Book Club Girl Loves Banned Books
-Annie Barrows: Going to Guernsey
-Books Into Movies
-Book Club Makeovers
-Book Profiling

The following guides are now available on

THE 7th VICTIM by Alan Jacobson
CARRY ME HOME by Sandra Kring
THE COMMON BOND by Donigan Merritt
DEAD BOYS: Stories by Richard Lange
GOLDENGROVE by Francine Prose
THE LETTERS by Luanne Rice and Joseph Monninger
LULU IN MARRAKECH by Diane Johnson
OLIVE KITTERIDGE by Elizabeth Strout
ONE PERFECT DAY by Lauraine Snelling
SEA OF POPPIES by Amitav Ghosh
SEAL WOMAN by Solveig Eggerz
A SILENT OCEAN AWAY: Colette's Dominion by DeVa Gantt
SINFUL TOO by Victor McGlothin
TESTIMONY by Anita Shreve
A WEEK IN OCTOBER by Elizabeth Subercaseaux

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

TRESPASS by Valerie Martin

We have the following new guides for Christian book groups:

A CUT ABOVE: Shop-Til-U-Drop, Book 3 by Ginny Aiken
HOME ANOTHER WAY by Christa Parrish
JOHN 3:16 by Nancy Moser
LONGINGS OF THE HEART: Sydney Cove Series, Book 2 by Bonnie Leon
MY SISTER DILLY by Maureen Lang
OUT OF HER HANDS by Megan DiMaria
RHAPSODY IN RED by Donn Taylor

Click here to visit

This Week's Reviews
CALLED OUT OF DARKNESS: A Spiritual Confession by Anne Rice (Memoir)
Anne Rice has written magnificent tales of otherworldly beings: novels that explore the realms of good and evil, love and alienation, pageantry and ritual, each a reflection of her own moral journey. Now, in CALLED OUT OF DARKNESS --- her first work of nonfiction --- she talks about her life as a Catholic. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

-Click here to read an excerpt from CALLED OUT OF DARKNESS.

WHEN WILL THERE BE GOOD NEWS? by Kate Atkinson (Mystery)
With CASE HISTORIES, the first novel featuring detective Jackson Brodie, Kate Atkinson took her well-established skill at exploring characters and relationships and applied it to the mystery genre. Since then, with ONE GOOD TURN and now with WHEN WILL THERE BE GOOD NEWS?, she continues writing intricate, suspenseful character studies that are bound to appeal even to literary purists who swear they would never read a mystery novel in their lives. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

DOWNTOWN OWL by Chuck Klosterman (Fiction)
Owl, North Dakota is a very small town. Just six months before a devastating storm hits this sleepy burg, readers of Chuck Klosterman's wonderful debut work of fiction are introduced to three Owl citizens: Mitch, Julia and Horace. Despite the apparent lack of excitement in Owl, these individuals, and their friends and family, lead interesting and compelling lives, deftly rendered by Klosterman. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

TOO CLOSE TO HOME by Linwood Barclay (Thriller)
Promise Falls isn’t the kind of community where a family is shot to death in their own home. But that is exactly what happened to the Langleys one sweltering summer night, and no one in this small upstate New York town is more shocked than their next-door neighbors, Jim and Ellen Cutter. Linwood Barclay, critically acclaimed author of NO TIME FOR GOODBYE, brings terror closer than ever before in a thriller where murder strikes in the place we feel safest of all. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

BREAKING COVER by J. D. Rhoades (Thriller)
From the Shamus Award-nominated author of the critically-acclaimed Jack Keller southern crime series comes an explosive stand-alone thriller about an undercover federal agent, a chameleon whose specialty is assaulting criminal organizations from within. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE SACRED BOOK OF THE WEREWOLF by Victor Pelevin strong>(Fiction)
Victor Pelevin’s new novel, his first in six years, is both a supernatural love story and a satirical portrait of modern Russia. It concerns the adventures of a hardworking 15-year-old Moscow prostitute named A. Huli, who in reality is a 2,000-year-old werefox who seduces men in order to absorb their life force. Reviewed by Max Falkowitz.

SLEEPING ARRANGEMENTS by Madeleine Wickham (Fiction)
It's the perfect weeklong getaway. Get your friend to lend you his villa in Spain, take your family along, and enjoy some free time with your kids and your husband, trying to remember why you've been together this long in the first place. Too bad that's the plan for both Chloe and Philip's family and Hugh and Amanda's. They've been double-booked. Reviewed by Sarah Hannah Gómez.

by Jancee Dunn
At 38, Lillian Curtis is content with her life. She enjoys her routine as a producer for a talk show in New York City starring showbiz veteran Vi Barbour, a spirited senior. Lillian’s relationship with her husband is pleasant if no longer exciting. Most nights she is more than happy to come home to her apartment and crawl into her pajamas. Then she is hit with a piece of shocking news: Her husband wants a divorce. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

Read this week's reviews here.


Poll and Question of the Week: Cookbooks


Do you use cookbooks when you are preparing meals?

Some of the time
Only on holidays

On average, how many nights a week do you prepare dinner?

Every night

-Click here to answer our poll.


What is your favorite cookbook?

-Click here to answer our question.


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 THE BRASS VERDICT by Michael Connelly and HARDLY KNEW HER: Stories by Laura Lippman. Tell us what you are reading and rate the titles 1-5 by noon on October 17th to ensure that you are in the running to win these books.

/font>Please note that our next Word of Mouth update will be on October 17th.

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, 2008 automatically are entered in our Monthly Newsletter Contest. This month one winner will be selected to win the following five books: THE BRASS VERDICT by Michael Connelly, BURN OUT by Marcia Muller, THE GATE HOUSE by Nelson DeMille, A MOST WANTED MAN by John le Carre and TESTIMONY by Anita Shreve. Holly from Dartmouth, MA
was last month's newsletter winner. She won AMERICAN WIFE by Curtis Sittenfeld, THE BOOK OF LIES by Brad Meltzer, FIRST DAUGHTER by Eric Van Lustbader, THE GIVEN DAY by Dennis Lehane and THE LUCKY ONE by Nicholas Sparks.

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

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