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November 14, 2008 Newsletter

November 14, 2008

This Week on
Miami Talks to John Lutz, Author of NIGHT KILLS

Holiday Basket of Cheer Contest on --- Spotlight on SANTA CLAWED by Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown

Now in Stores: A SINGLE THREAD by Marie Bostwick
Now in Stores: JUST AFTER SUNSET by Stephen King

Now in Stores: DIVINE JUSTICE by David Baldacci

Now in Stores: A MERCY by Toni Morrison

New Featured Suspense/Thriller Authors: Ted Dekker and Erin Healy, Authors of KISS

This Week's Graphic Novel Reviews

What to Give/What to Get Gift Guide: Spotlight on Biography, Memoir & History
What to Give/What to Get Gift Guide: Spotlight on Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
What to Give/What to Get Gift Guide: Spotlight on Accessories for Booklovers
This Week's Reviews

Poll and Question of the Week: Holiday Gift-Giving and Shopping

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

Okay...I need to stop humming the Will Smith song that comes into my head whenever I fly down to Miami. I am sitting on a plane writing this on Wednesday morning on my way to the Miami Book Fair, which I will be attending for the fourth year in a row. I took a later flight than usual this morning and thus had a turkey sandwich instead of Continental's egg/cheese biscuit that I confess I am quite nuts over. I know, I truly need a life. I know I have been flying a lot when once again I saw my favorite flight attendant, Genevieve, and we chat knitting projects and books. She recognizes me by my pink multi-colored poncho...and my clicking needles. I am knitting a sweater and am on the last sleeve. I have ripped both sleeves out twice, which is rather sad, but the proportion would have fit a BAT if I left them the way they were, which is rather pitiful. I joke as I sit on the plane that I am in the last few moments of straight hair before the Miami humidity wreaks havoc and creates waves/frizz/curls. A few years ago I saw Adriana Trigiani when she was on a tour that took her to the south. She told me she had one bag just with hair products in it. I completely commiserated with her.

It's been a terrific week. Monday night I went to the Glamour Women of the Year awards, a truly wonderful ceremony that celebrated women. Though I spent 17 years working for Mademoiselle magazine, I am not a woman who spends a lot of time thinking about woman power. Growing up, I always had more male friends than girlfriends. For a while there a family of three brothers adopted me as the sister they never had. While I had girlfriends it was not until about three years ago that I started to really value those friendships. So sitting in the audience at the Glamour Women of the Year Awards on Monday night was a kind of "rewind" evening for me. It was the first time that I had stepped back into the magazine world that I left back in 1996 to start this company. The audience was full of the fashionable women I had known in my days there. Being immersed in that culture as long as I was means I still think about what I wear whenever I am asked to do anything, before I think about what I am going to say.
The show unfolded as what clearly was the best awards show that I have attended. It was brisk, tight and yet very entertaining. I did not know the award recipients in advance, something I deliberately did explore. I wanted to get there that night and have the show unfold for me as a surprise. The winners were a collection of bright lights, accomplished, articulate women, many of whom accepted their awards with little or no notes, yet spoke eloquently about how this award meant something to them. They included Hillary Clinton, Condoleezza Rice, Nicole Kidman, Misty May-Treanor, Kerri Walsh and others you can read more about here. Yet the woman who won my heart was just a girl, Nujood Ali. Ali, who is from Yemen, was married off at 9 to a 30-year-old man, and though her husband vowed not to touch her until she was older, he did. She was repeatedly physically violated and beaten. At age 10 she took herself to court and asked for a divorce, which was granted with the help of Shada Nasser, the human rights lawyer who took on her cause. She now is in school vowing to help other girls like her. An amazing story.
Last Friday morning I caught Paul Simon on "Good Morning America" talking to Diane Sawyer about his new book, LYRICS 1964-2008. I have been a fan of Simon's music since an English teacher introduced me to "Sounds of Silence" when I was in 7th grade, mostly because I love how he uses words. Sawyer was talking about so many of his quotable lines, and they do so read like poetry and prose. I have a copy of the book on my desk, and while I enjoy thumbing through it, it's also fun to watch people drop by my desk and pick it up leafing through to find their own favorite songs. It's filled with handwritten notes, early musings and even two new songs --- "Love in Hard Times" and "Rewrite." May I suggest this as a terrific holiday gift?

Which brings me to a theme you are going to be hearing about here --- "A book is the perfect holiday present." Want to know why? Well, we have 45 reasons that we will be sharing with you between now and Christmas Day. The staff and I had a great time coming up with these, and again and again we were reminded that a book can work for anyone on your list...reader or not. Seriously. If you can pair a person with an interest, you have a gift selection that is just perfect. Click here to visit the feature. Stuck on what you might want to buy someone? Then turn to our What to Give/What to Get Holiday Gift Guide that launches today with more than 100 titles in 12 categories, which are perfect for gift giving. We also have one new category called "Great Tools for Readers and Writers: Accessories for Booklovers," which includes book lights, a fashionable tote bag and more.

Want to win a prize that you can also share? Well then get busy and enter our Holiday Basket of Cheer Contest this week, which features SANTA CLAWED by Rita Mae Brown, a holiday-themed murder mystery. This week's basket includes a festive dish and Ghiradelli Hot Chocolate mix among its prize items.

Beginning next week we will be sharing author stories about holiday gift giving and receiving from at least 30 authors, including Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark, Luanne Rice, M.J. Rose and David Morrell.

Our new Suspense/Thriller Author spotlight featuring Ted Dekker and Erin Healy, authors of KISS, begins today. In this new thriller, which will be available in stores on January 7th, a young girl recovering from a serious accident holds the key to a dark truth that could cost her her life. We have 20 copies of KISS 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, November 28th.

We received great responses from our advance readers of A SPOONFUL OF POISION, M. C. Beaton’s newest Agatha Raisin mystery. Click here to read what they had to say.

One more thing....with holiday giving in mind. Are you involved with a book-related holiday charity? If so, we would be interested in hearing more about it, with a goal to select five groups or organizations to receive a holiday gift from us. Our first recipient, who gave us this idea, is Glenda Middleton from the Sand Lake/Nelson Township Library, a branch of the Kent District Library, in Kent County, MI. She wrote in September and told me that her Friends of the Library program is partnering with the local Lions Club and Chamber of Commerce to sponsor a silent auction. The organizations will be raising money for their "Adopt a Family" program, which aims to help 25 families who live in her rural area this Christmas. We will be donating books for this event. If you have an accredited organization and can link us to a website where we can learn more about what you are doing this holiday season, please write Alex Kassl at and share your story.

I am looking forward to the weekend and will be reporting back to you about it on the Blog. My battery is now beeping low power, sending me back to reading Mary and Carol Higgins Clark's new holiday book, DASHING THROUGH THE SNOW. As always, they are amusing me with the exact escape I need. Have a great weekend.

Carol Fitzgerald ( Talks to John Lutz, Author of NIGHT KILLS

Award-winning thriller author John Lutz began writing in 1966 and has since gone on to publish over 40 novels and 200 short stories. His latest work of fiction, NIGHT KILLS, marks the return of homicide detective Frank Quinn, who was featured in the previous works DARKER THAN NIGHT and IN FOR THE KILL. In this interview with's Joe Hartlaub, Lutz elaborates on the dynamic his protagonist shares with two recurring secondary characters and describes his fascination behind what motivates ordinarily cautious people to take unreasonable risks. He also shares details about his writing process and discusses some of his current projects, including a stand-alone caper story and a fourth Quinn novel to be released in 2009.

NIGHT KILLS by John Lutz (Psychological Thriller)
A former NYPD detective is hunting for a madman: someone is shooting young women in the heart, defiling their bodies and only leaving their torsos to be found. No one knows the true motives behind this rampage of cold-blooded murders…or how much more terrifying it’s going to get. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read a review of NIGHT KILLS.
-Click here to read an excerpt from NIGHT KILLLS.

Click here to read our interview with John Lutz.


Holiday Basket of Cheer Contest on --- Spotlight on SANTA CLAWED by Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown

The holiday season is upon us! At it's time for us to share the spirit of the season with our Holiday Basket of Cheer Contest. As you begin your holiday shopping, we want to remind you that books make affordable, personal and wonderful gifts for EVERYONE on your list --- and are a nice way to treat yourself as well!

From November 7th through January 5th we will spotlight a different title or collection of titles, and readers will have the chance to win one of five holiday baskets filled with winter-themed items as well as two copies of the featured book. Why two? One is to keep, of course, and one is for someone on your holiday gift list. We will also include festive wrapping paper to make the gift-giving hassle-free.

This week we’re spotlighting SANTA CLAWED by Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown, a holiday mystery in which Mary Minor “Harry” Haristeen and her furry companions must save the season from a killjoy who is gifting the small town with murder. Our Holiday Basket of Cheer is a woven basket stocked with holiday-themed items. Along with two copies of SANTA CLAWED and green-and-tan checkered wrapping paper, winners will receive a cinnamon holly-scented Illuminations candle, Ghirardelli Hot Chocolate mix, gourmet hand-cut vanilla marshmallows, plush red socks from Crabtree & Evelyn, a box of Celestial Seasonings Nutcracker Sweet Holiday Tea, a box of Candy Cane Taffy and a festive green snowman plate.

To enter, fill out this form and answer the following question by Thursday, November 20th at 11:59PM. You can find the answer by reading the excerpt here. 

How old is Aunt Phillipa?

SANTA CLAWED: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery by Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown (Mystery)
New York Times bestselling authors Rita Mae Brown and her feline partner, Sneaky Pie Brown, are back for the holidays in a new mystery featuring Mary Minor “Harry” Haristeen, the sleuthing cats Mrs. Murphy and Pewter, and corgi Tee Tucker. Can they save the season from a killjoy who has decided to gift the festive little town…with murder? Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

-Click here to read a review of SANTA CLAWED.
-Read more about Rita Mae Brown and

Click here to read all the details of our Holiday Basket of Cheer feature.

Now in Stores: A SINGLE THREAD by Marie Bostwick

A SINGLE THREAD by Marie Bostwick (Fiction)
It’s a long way from Fort Worth, Texas, to New Bern, Connecticut, yet it only takes a day in the charming Yankee town to make Evelyn Dixon realize she has found her new home. The abrupt end of her marriage was Evelyn’s wake-up call to get busy chasing her dream of opening a quilt shop. Finding a storefront is easy enough; starting a new life isn’t. Little does Evelyn imagine it will bring a trio like Abigail Burgess, her niece Liza and Margot Matthews through her door. Reviewed by Jennifer McCord.

-Click here to read an excerpt from A SINGLE THREAD.


Click here to read a review of A SINGLE THREAD.

Now in Stores: JUST AFTER SUNSET by Stephen King
JUST AFTER SUNSET: Stories by Stephen King (Fiction/Short Stories)
Gather around the campfire and prepare to lose all track of time and place, as you become immersed in these 13 gripping tales from Stephen King, who has published his first short story collection since EVERYTHING’S EVENTUAL six years ago. With this winning combination of suspense, horror, magical realism, ghost stories and more, “13” appears to be our lucky number. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

-Click here to read an excerpt from JUST AFTER SUNSET.


Click here to read a review of JUST AFTER SUNSET.


Now in Stores: DIVINE JUSTICE by David Baldacci

DIVINE JUSTICE by David Baldacci (Thriller)
Two bodies are discovered at the same time that former covert agent Oliver Stone goes missing. His friends, self-named the Camel Club, won’t sit still until they find him. Nor will agent John Knox. The stakes are too high for some people to let Stone remain at large. With time running out, it will be a battle to see who ends up on top. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

-Click here to read an excerpt from DIVINE JUSTICE.


Click here to read a review of DIVINE JUSTICE.

Now in Stores: A MERCY by Toni Morrison
A MERCY by Toni Morrison (Fiction)
Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison probes deep into the ugly history of American slavery in A MERCY. This brief and devastating novel offers a glimpse into her powerful literary style and keen insights into issues of race, violence, sex, history, identity and community while also demonstrating her brilliance and maturity as a writer. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

-Click here to read an excerpt from A MERCY.

Click here to read a review of A MERCY.


New Featured Suspense/Thriller Authors: Ted Dekker and Erin Healy, Authors of KISS

Ted Dekker is known for novels that combine adrenaline-laced stories with unexpected plot twists, unforgettable characters and incredible confrontations between good and evil. In KISS, releasing on January 7th, Dekker teams up with editor and debut novelist Erin Healy to weave a suspenseful tale in which a young woman’s memory makes her the target of a group trying to hide a very dark truth.

We have 20 copies of KISS 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, November 28th.

-Click here to read Ted Dekker’s bio.
-Click here to read Erin Healy’s bio.
-Visit Ted Dekker’s official website,
-Visit Erin Healy’s official website,

More about KISS:
After a car accident puts Shauna McAllister in a coma and wipes out six months of her memory, she returns to her childhood home to recover, but her arrival is fraught with confusion. Leaning on Wayne Spade, a forgotten but hopeful lover who stays by her side, Shauna tries to sort out what happened that night by jarring her memory to life. Instead, she acquires a mysterious mental ability that will either lead her to the truth or get her killed by the people trying to hide it.

Click here to read more about Ted Dekker, Erin Healy and KISS.


This Week's Graphic Novel Reviews

BAT-MANGA!: The Secret History of Batman in Japan by Chip Kidd
Forty years after appearing as a yearlong serial comic, Japanese stories starring Batman and Robin have been brought back to the States. Straddling a fine line between campy fun and exuberant superheroics, BAT-MANGA! has a new, modern design and a broader appeal than you might expect. Reviewed by John Hogan.

BOURBON ISLAND 1730 by Appollo and Lewis Trondheim
A team of ornithologists tries to catalog bird species on an island off the coast of Madagascar, but instead they get caught up in a surprising pirate tale. Perhaps most surprising is the clever use of animal protagonists. Reviewed by John Hogan.

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

What to Give/What to Get Gift Guide: Spotlight on Biography, Memoir & History

Headed out to do some holiday shopping? Before you go, check out our What to Give/What to Get feature with ideas in 13 categories.

We are spotlighting the various categories in the newsletter this week and in upcoming weeks. This week we're featuring Faces & Places, Mystery Madness & Thrilling Reads, and Great Tools for Readers and Writers. First up --- Faces & Places.

Have a memoir-lover on your list? We have some great suggestions on our Faces & Places list for those who are fascinated by people and the lives they live.

Our featured titles in this category are:

1,000 DOLLARS AND AN IDEA: Entrepreneur to Billionaire by Sam Wyly
BUFFALO GAL by Laura Pedersen
DARK WATER: Flood and Redemption in the City of Masterpieces by Robert Clark
THE GEOGRAPHY OF BLISS: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World by Eric Weiner
MEASURE OF THE HEART: A Father's Alzheimer's, A Daughter's Return by Mary Ellen Geist
QUEEN OF THE ROAD: The True Tale of 47 States, 22,000 Miles, 200 Shoes, 2 Cats, 1 Poodle, a Husband, and a Bus With a Will of Its Own by Doreen Orion
SEARCHING FOR SCHINDLER: A Memoir by Thomas Keneally
SIXTYFIVE ROSES: A Sister's Memoir by Heather Summerhayes Cariou
THAMES: The Biography by Peter Ackroyd
TRAITOR TO HIS CLASS: The Privileged Life and Radical Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt by H.W. Brands

Click here to see our Faces & Places category.

What to Give/What to Get Gift Guide: Spotlight on Mystery, Thriller & Suspense

Have a mystery or thriller fan on your list? Be sure to check out our Mystery Madness & Thrilling Reads category, created specifically for suspense-lovers.

Our featured titles in this category are:

BURN OUT by Marcia Muller
THE DARKER SIDE by Cody McFadyen
FIRST DAUGHTER by Eric Van Lustbader
THE GATE HOUSE by Nelson DeMille
GUILTY by Karen Robards
KIDNAPPED by Dee Henderson
LITTLE FACE by Sophie Hannah
THE MAP THIEF by Heather Terrell
MOSCOW RULES by Daniel Silva
VANISH by Tom Pawlik


Click here to see our Mystery Madness and Thrilling Reads category.

What to Give/What to Get Gift Guide: Spotlight on Accessories for Booklovers
Our Great Tools for Readers and Writers category has some unique gift ideas for the booklovers in your life, including book lights, a beautiful tote bag and more!

Our featured items in this category are:

Amazon Gift Card
LightWedge Original Book Light
Shop IndieBound
Spike Light Book Light
Vertical Bridle Tote and Book Bag

Click here to see our Great Tools for Readers and Writers category.

This Week's Reviews
HOT, FLAT, AND CROWDED: Why We Need a Green Revolution -- and How It Can Renew America by Thomas L. Friedman (Current Affairs)
What a timely book! Following an election in which the future of the planet was hotly debated, the market is ripe for this accessible yet information-packed treatise on the perilous state of the environment, how we got here and how we must proceed if we are to avoid catastrophe. Reviewed by Eileen Zimmerman Nicol.

THE WORDY SHIPMATES by Sarah Vowell (History)
Sarah Vowell brings her trademark wit and snark to the tale of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. THE WORDY SHIPMATES is her exploration of the Puritans and their journey to America to become the people of John Winthrop’s “city upon a hill” --- a shining example, a “city that cannot be hid.” Reviewed by Jonathan Snowden.

ENDER IN EXILE by Orson Scott Card (Science Fiction)
What happened during the years between ENDER’S GAME and SPEAKER FOR THE DEAD? What did Ender go through from the ages of 12 through 35? Taking place 3,000 years before he finally receives his chance at redemption in SPEAKER FOR THE DEAD, this is the long-lost story of Ender. Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard.

THE SEALED LETTER by Emma Donoghue (Fiction)
Scandalous charges, shocking countercharges, stained dresses, sealed letters --- this is the stuff of 20th-century sex scandals like the Clinton/Lewinsky affair, right? Not so, proves Emma Donoghue in THE SEALED LETTER, a novel set in the Victorian era, centered on a highly publicized divorce case that ruined lives and riveted an entire country. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

LEATHER MAIDEN by Joe R. Lansdale (Thriller)
Gulf War veteran and Pulitzer Prize–nominated journalist Cason Statler returns home to the small east Texas town of Camp Rapture following a scandalous affair. He takes a job at the local paper and stumbles across his predecessor’s notes on a cold case murder file. The further he digs into the case, the more certain he is that the unsolved crime is connected to a series of eerie, inexplicable events that have recently occurred in town. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

GIANTS: The Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln by John Stauffer (History)
With the hindsight that makes for history filled out and fully viewed, we can make linkages that, in their time, might not have been apparent or apropos. Such is the case with GIANTS, the linkage between two great men whose contemporaneous lives filled the stage with action, philosophy and legacy, but who, in their lifetimes, were neither close friends nor fellow travelers. Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott.

-Visit the publisher’s official website,

THE PRICE OF BUTCHER’S MEAT: A Dalziel and Pascoe Mystery by Reginald Hill (Mystery)
After a close encounter with a bomb, Detective Superintendent Andy Dalziel recuperates at the Avalon Clinic in the quaint seaside resort of Sandytown. But soon he begins to suspect that those outside the convalescent home have just as many problems as the residents. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

SOUTH OF HELL by P. J. Parrish (Mystery)
With one phone call from a man he barely recalls meeting years ago, South Florida detective Louis Kincaid heads to the Michigan town of his college days to reopen a disturbing cold case and finds himself confronting his own painful past secrets --- secrets that risk his future with the woman he loves, detective Joe Frye. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

Read this week's reviews here.


Poll and Question of the Week: Holiday Gift-Giving and Shopping


Are you giving books this holiday season?

Not sure
Have you started shopping yet?

Yes, I am done.
Yes, I started.
I am thinking about it.
No, I start after Thanksgiving.
No, my idea of shopping starts Christmas Eve.
I am not sure.

-Click here to answer our poll.


What book did you love so much that you would want to give multiple copies of it this holiday season?

-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 DASHING THROUGH THE SNOW by Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark and JUST AFTER SUNSET: Stories by Stephen King. Tell us what you are reading and rate the titles 1-5 by noon on December 5th to ensure that you are in the running to win these books.

Please note that our next Word of Mouth update will be on December 5th.
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 November 30, 2008 automatically are entered in our Monthly Newsletter Contest. This month one winner will be selected to win the following five books: DASHING THROUGH THE SNOW by Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark, THE HOUR I FIRST BELIEVED by Wally Lamb, JUST AFTER SUNSET: Stories by Stephen King, SALVATION IN DEATH by J.D. Robb and YOUR HEART BELONGS TO ME by Dean Koontz. Diana from Pasadena, TX
was last month's newsletter winner. She won 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.

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

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