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July 24, 2009 Newsletter July 24, 2009
Greetings from San Diego

Remember postcards that used to say, "I am having a wonderful time. Wish you were here!" Well that's been my reaction to the most recent stop on my cross-country conference tour, San Diego Comic-Con, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Here I have been surrounded by upbeat, happy people celebrating not just comics, but all of pop culture. The first convention was held in 1970 in the U.S. Grant Hotel where I am staying. It had 300 attendees, which is a sharp contrast to the 125,000 people attending this year. It's like a Disneyland for adults with previews of upcoming movies and television programs, as well as what is happening with graphic novels and comics. My BlackBerry has been filled with press releases as I try to figure out what is news and what is hype. There is a BIG difference!

My week has had so many amusing moments. Last Friday night I wrapped up my evening dancing with literally hundreds of women at the Harlequin party (the biggest soiree at the Romance Writers of America Conference) to the song, "It's Raining Men." It was the most requested song of the night. Yesterday I was followed on the show floor at the San Diego Convention Center by someone in full zombie costume who was dragging his leg and leering at me with a bloodstained face. In what may be a sign that I am going with the flow these days, both moments seemed very normal to me. Here you can see a photo with me posed with a character promoting a new Lego product I have yet to identify that was walking the floor beside me. The zombie would have been too scary to share! John Hogan, our Editorial Director for, had spent the last day or so pointing to costumed folks should do that one...or that one? I went with TAME!

People are bringing me to booths saying, "You need to see this." John has been chronicling the show at if you want to keep up with what we are seeing.

Yesterday in their own version of Woodstock, thousands of teenage girls who had been sleeping in their own Tent City outside the convention center jammed the largest hall here to see a preview of the new Twilight movie (New Moon) that will be out in December. What made me smile? From what I could tell they all had read the books! So I saw this not just as a celebration of the movie, but of reading. Enthusiasm like that should be bottled.

This conference has been about catching up with not only my graphic novel friends, but others who happen into town for this convention. Above is a picture of me with Sean Doorly, who was our first producer at when we launched back in 1996. He comes to San Diego for Comic-Con each year and is full of great tips and idea. We had a great time catching up last night. He's now at Warner Brothers working on the websites for the television division, and he and his friend Dan gave me the inside skinny on what's going on in that world. They had spent three hours on line to see a preview of Avatar. What's always fun about conferences is the decompression at the end of the day where you talk about who saw what.

Also, I spent time with Gregg Hurwitz, who was in town for a few panels for both his mystery and comic book work. We ducked out of the insanity and took a walk (seeing outside is something that does not happen enough at these conventions) and caught up about his tour for TRUST NO ONE that has gone very very well. It's a great book, so I am happy to hear this.

I have to get over to the convention center for a panel in an hour, so I am going to give you a bit more news and then get running.

This week's
Beach Bag of Books Contest includes a copy of CHOSEN TO DIE by Lisa Jackson as well as other summertime essentials. CHOSEN TO DIE is the highly anticipated sequel to LEFT TO DIE, which was included in last year's Beach Bag of Books feature. We know we have lots of Lisa Jackson fans on, and you will not be disappointed in this one. Not read Lisa yet? Then now is the time to start. Click here to enter this week's contest.

We received some really nice feedback from our advance readers of THE LIKENESS by Tana French, which is now available in paperback. Click here to read their comments.

I do not have much time for reading when I am at conferences like this (though I ALWAYS carry the aforementioned four books with me just in case), but this trip I have been enjoying Penny Vincenzi's THE BEST OF TIMES. I love her sweeping stories with overlapping characters and story lines. And when I am traveling like this, it's nice to have something big like this to start and end the day with. The characters provide company back in my hotel room.

Spend some time enjoying the great outdoors this weekend. I am enjoying the sun as I walk to and from the convention center, but the rest of my world is pretty flourescent these days. See you next week!

Carol Fitzgerald (


Author Talk: Daniel Silva, Author of THE DEFECTOR
Israeli assassin and art restorer Gabriel Allon returns in Daniel Silva's 12th novel, THE DEFECTOR, once again in pursuit of Russian arms dealer Ivan Kharkov, who was introduced in 2008's MOSCOW RULES. In this interview, Silva dubs his latest work "a heart-stopping, edge-of-your-seat, and sometimes extremely violent love story" and explains why his main character's personal life plays such a prominent role in this installment of the series. He also discusses the 2006 death of former FSB Intelligence Agent Alexander Litvinenko, likens his book to a cautionary tale about Russia's position in the world's current and future political landscape, and muses on what readers find so captivating about his enigmatic protagonist.

THE DEFECTOR by Daniel Silva (Thriller)
Has the Russian defector Gregori Bulganov redefected, or is there foul play afoot, as Gabriel Allon believes? The Israeli agent comes out of near retirement to help find a man who once saved his life, putting his life and loved ones in peril. Is Grigori really worth risking the consequences? Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

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

-Visit Daniel Silva’s official website,
Click here to read an interview with Daniel Silva. Talks to Jeanne Kalogridis, Author of THE DEVIL'S QUEEN
Jeanne Kalogridis's latest work of historical fiction, THE DEVIL'S QUEEN, centers on Catherine de Medici, queen consort of King Henry II of France. In this interview with's Melanie Smith, Kalogridis explains how she first became interested in this 16th-century monarch and elaborates on her attempt to shed light on the events that perhaps unfairly earned her a reputation as the ruthless schemer responsible for the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre. She also discusses some of the fascinating cultural practices of the time she discovered through research, reveals what she found most intriguing about that period in history, and shares details about her next work in progress.

THE DEVIL’S QUEEN: A Novel of Catherine de Medici by Jeanne Kalogridis (Historical Fiction)
Confidante of Nostradamus, scheming mother-in-law to Mary, Queen of Scots, and architect of the bloody St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, Catherine de Medici is one of the most maligned monarchs in history. In her latest historical fiction, Jeanne Kalogridis tells Catherine’s story --- that of a tender young girl, destined to be a pawn in Machiavellian games. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.

-Click here to read a review of THE DEVIL'S QUEEN.
-Click here to read an excerpt from THE DEVIL'S QUEEN.

Click here to read our interview with Jeanne Kalogridis.

Now in Stores: TWENTIES GIRL by Sophie Kinsella

TWENTIES GIRL by Sophie Kinsella (Fiction)
Lara Lington has always had an overactive imagination, but suddenly that imagination seems to be in overdrive. Normal professional twenty-something young women don’t get visited by ghosts. Or do they? Written with all the irrepressible charm and humor that have made Sophie Kinsella’s books beloved by millions, TWENTIES GIRL is also a deeply moving testament to the transcendent bonds of friendship and family. Reviewed by Jamie Layton.

-Click here to read an excerpt from TWENTIES GIRL.


Click here to read a review of TWENTIES GIRL.

Now in Stores: SACRED HEARTS by Sarah Dunant

SACRED HEARTS by Sarah Dunant (Historical Fiction)
You might not expect a novel about a 16th-century convent in Ferrara, Italy, to be ravishing, passionate, or suspenseful. You’d be wrong. This book, from the author of THE BIRTH OF VENUS and IN THE COMPANY OF THE COURTESAN, finds heroines --- strong, gifted, often rebellious --- in the holiest of places. Reviewed by Kathy Weissman.

-Click here to read an excerpt from SACRED HEARTS.

-Click here to read Sarah Dunant’s blog post, “Bringing the Past Alive.”

Click here to read a review of SACRED HEARTS.

Our Summer Beach Bag Contest: Spotlight This Week on CHOSEN TO DIE by Lisa Jackson
Whether your "beach" is on sand, your backyard deck or a grassy meadow in the country, the summer months mean it's time for "beach reading." is celebrating the lazy days of summer reading with our Fifth Annual Beach Bag of Books feature and contests.

During select weeks from May 22nd through September 4th, a different title or collection of titles will be featured with a contest prize --- a beach bag stocked with the featured book(s) and summertime essentials. Five FABULOUS beach bags will be given away each week, as well as five copies of the featured book(s) to additional winners.

This week, we’re spotlighting CHOSEN TO DIE, Lisa Jackson’s highly anticipated sequel to LEFT TO DIE. In a blue and white beach bag, winners will find a striped green and blue towel, an inflatable inner tube for floating while reading, frog-shaped clips to hold your towel in place, a package of freezable shot glasses, H2O+ Lemon Lust Shower and Bath Gel and a triangle-shaped box of tissues, as well as a copy of CHOSEN TO DIE. We have five to give away, as well as five additional prizes of copies of CHOSEN TO DIE.

To enter, fill out this form and answer the following question by Thursday, August 6th at 11:59PM. You can find the answer by reading the excerpt here.

Where does Regan work?

CHOSEN TO DIE by Lisa Jackson (Thriller)
The Star Crossed Killer is a brutal and intelligent hunter, a deft serial killer who has eluded the dogged investigation of Montana detective Regan Pescoli. The tables turn in shocking fashion, the madman enslaves her during a well-devised ambush, and Regan must stay alive long enough for those looking for her to unravel the mystery. Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard.

-Read more about Lisa Jackson and CHOSEN TO DIE here.
-Click here to watch a trailer for CHOSEN TO DIE.

Click here to read all the details of our Summer Beach Bag Contest. Bets On...: Books We're Betting You'll Love
With thousands of books published each year and much attention paid to the works of bestselling and well-known authors, it is inevitable that some titles worthy of praise and discussion may not get the attention we think they deserve. Thus throughout 2009, we will be spotlighting books written by debut or up-and-coming authors that immediately struck a chord with us and made us say “just read this.” Our plan is to alert our readers about these titles as soon as they’re released so you can discover them for yourselves and recommend them to your family and friends.

Here is our latest featured title:

HOW SHALL I TELL THE DOG?: And Other Final Musings by Miles Kington (July 7th): HOW SHALL I TELL THE DOG?: And Other Final Musings, by Miles Kington, is snappy, witty and thought-provoking. Kington was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and in this memoir writes about the thoughts that come to him along the way as he muses his exit from this world. It's written as letters to his longtime agent, Gill Coleridge, who shared her thoughts on both Miles and his writing the book in a blog post for us here. It's not somber, but rather uplifting. Kington does not cling to false hope, but rather seems ready to exit the world thinking of life with humor, on his own terms. I have long held a theory of making every day matter as I lost a good friend when I was in my 30s who made me look long and hard at what matters in life. This book affirmed my commitment to that with a lot of nods and smiles.

As a side note, Kington had always wanted to write a bestseller, and he got his wish posthumously when this book hit the charts in the UK shortly after publication. Also, Kington never told his employer, The Independent, that he was ill, and in fact turned in a column on the day he died. It's truly inspirational.

-Click here to read a review of HOW SHALL I TELL THE DOG?
-Click here to read a blog post from Gill Coleridge, Miles Kington’s literary agent and friend.

Click here to see all the titles we're betting you'll love.

Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Linwood Barclay, Author of FEAR THE WORST

Linwood Barclay is the author of several critically acclaimed novels, including TOO CLOSE TO HOME and NO TIME FOR GOODBYE, a #1 bestseller in Britain. In FEAR THE WORST, his gripping new thriller releasing on August 11th, a father's search for his missing daughter leads him into a dark world of corruption, exploitation and murder.

-Click here to read an excerpt from FEAR THE WORST.
-Click here to read Linwood Barclay's bio.
-Click here to see Linwood Barclay's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for FEAR THE WORST.
-Visit Linwood Barclay's official website,
-Visit Bantam Dell's Suspense Book Club page,
-Click here to see our finished copy winners.

More about FEAR THE WORST:
Your daughter doesn't come home from her summer job. You go there looking for her. No one's seen here --- no one's ever seen her. So where has she been going every day? And where is she now?

In Linwood Barclay's riveting new thriller, an ordinary man's desperate search for his daughter leads him into a dark world of corruption, exploitation and murder. Sometimes the people you think you know best are the ones harboring the biggest secrets.


Click here to read more about Linwood Barclay and FEAR THE WORST.

Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Mary Jane Clark, Author of DYING FOR MERCY

New York Times bestselling author Mary Jane Clark has written 12 novels, all set in the high-stakes world of broadcast journalism. Her new novel, DYING FOR MERCY, will be available in stores on July 28th. When death shatters the serenity of a wealthy town, the co-host of the country's premier morning television show is on the scene. As she begins searching for the truth, it becomes apparent that someone has conceived a plan to expose the sins of the past involving some of the town's most revered citizens.

-Click here to read an excerpt from DYING FOR MERCY.
-Click here to read Mary Jane Clark's bio.
-Click here to see Mary Jane Clark's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for DYING FOR MERCY.
-Visit Mary Jane Clark's official website,
-Click here to watch a trailer for DYING FOR MERCY.
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

When death shatters the serenity of the exclusive moneyed enclave of Tuxedo Park, New York, Eliza Blake, co-host of a television show, is on the scene. While attending a lavish gala at her friends' estate, Pentimento, Eliza's host is found dead.

Determined to find out the truth, Eliza and her colleagues discover that Pentimento holds the key. It becomes clear that no amount of wealth or privilege will keep the residents of Tuxedo Park safe.


Click here to read more about Mary Jane Clark and DYING FOR MERCY.

Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Christopher Reich, Author of RULES OF VENGEANCE

Christopher Reich is the New York Times bestselling author of many acclaimed novels, including THE PATRIOTS CLUB, which won the International Thriller Writers Award for Best Novel in 2006. In RULES OF VENGEANCE, Reich’s highly anticipated sequel to RULES OF DECEPTION, Dr. Jonathan Ransom finds himself at the center of a deadly game of nations in which only one will emerge victorious and truth is the ultimate victim. RULES OF VENGEANCE will be available in stores on August 4th.

-Click here to read an excerpt from RULES OF VENGEANCE.
-Click here to read Christopher Reich’s bio.
-Click here to see Christopher Reich's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for RULES OF VENGEANCE.
-Visit Christopher Reich’s official website,
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

Months after foiling an attack on a commercial jetliner, Doctors Without Borders physician Jonathan Ransom is working under an assumed name in a remote corner of Africa, while his newly revealed spy wife, Emma, desperate to escape the wrath of Division, the secret American intelligence agency she betrayed, has vanished into the netherworld of international espionage. Both look forward to sharing a stolen weekend in London --- until an ambush on a convoy of limousines turns their romantic rendezvous into a terrorist bloodbath.


Click here to read more about Christopher Reich and RULES OF VENGEANCE.

Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Karin Slaughter, Author of UNDONE

Karin Slaughter is the New York Times bestselling author of eight thrillers, including BEYOND REACH and A FAINT COLD FEAR, which was named an International Book of the Month selection. In UNDONE, her new novel now available in stores, Slaughter weaves together the moving, powerful human stories of characters as real as they are complex and unforgettable.

-Click here to read a review of UNDONE.

-Click here to read an excerpt from UNDONE.

-Click here to read our interview with Karin Slaughter.
-Click here to read Karin Slaughter’s bio.
-Click here to see Karin Slaughter's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for Karin Slaughter and UNDONE.
-Visit Karin Slaughter’s official website,
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

More about UNDONE:
In the trauma center of Atlanta’s busiest hospital, Sara Linton treats the poor, wounded and unlucky --- and finds refuge from the tragedy that rocked her life in rural Grant County. But in an instant, Sara is thrust into a frantic police investigation that will take her right back to Grant County. In UNDONE, three unforgettable characters from Karin Slaughter’s bestselling novels FAITHLESS and FRACTURED collide for the first time, entering an electrifying race against the clock.


Click here to read more about Karin Slaughter and UNDONE.
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Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: John Gilstrap, Author of NO MERCY

John GilstrapA> is the acclaimed author of six thrillers, and his novels have been translated into more than 20 languages. He has also adapted several books for film, including Thomas Harris’s RED DRAGON (uncredited). In NO MERCY, Gilstrap’s new novel now available in stores, a specialist in covert rescues finds himself the target of someone who wants to control a devastating secret.

-Click here to read a second excerpt from NO MERCY.
-Click here to read John Gilstrap’s bio.
-Click here to see John Gilstrap's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for NO MERCY.
-Visit John Gilstrap’s official website,
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

More about NO MERCY:
Deep inside the dangerous world of rescue operations, one anonymous hero pays no ransom, takes no prisoners, and breaks every rule. Meet Jonathan NO MERCY. New York Times bestselling author John Gilstrap delivers a page-turning, action-packed thriller filled with “rocket-paced suspense.” --Jeffery Deaver

Click here to read more about John Gilstrap and NO MERCY.

What's New on
San Diego Comic-Con, the largest event of its kind in the United States, is in full swing. In honor of the big celebration, be sure to catch up on all the latest graphic novels and manga worth reading, see the new comics news, and read interviews with top talents. Our newest update features interviews with C. Tyler (YOU’LL NEVER KNOW) and Rachel Renée Russell (DORK DIARIES), a special report on Anime Expo 2009, release dates for upcoming titles, an exclusive roundtable discussion featuring middle-school librarians, and much more. Check out what’s going on in the world of graphic novels!
Click here to visit

This Week's Reviews
GET REAL: A Dortmunder Novel by Donald E. Westlake (Mystery)
GET REAL, by the late bestselling author Donald E. Westlake, is the final installment of the long-running comic crime series about burglar John Dortmunder and his associates. This time, the gang enters the world of reality television where things are not quite real. Reviewed by Tom Callahan.

RED BLOODED MURDER: An Izzy McNeil Novel by Laura Caldwell (Mystery)
When Jane Augustine is murdered in a crime of passion by an obsessive lover in RED BLOODED MURDER, the police suspect Izzy McNeil, who is the beneficiary of Jane’s news anchor position and boyfriend. Avant garde women will connect with Izzy’s independence and revel in Chicago’s nightlife. Bed hopping can be intoxicating, but it can also get you killed. Reviewed by Hillary Wagy.

EASY ON THE EYES by Jane Porter (Fiction)
Tiana Tomlinson, the thirty-something host of an entertainment news show, is feeling the pressure of her youth-obsessed industry when her boss gives her a not-so-subtle ultimatum: she must get plastic surgery or step aside for her younger protégé. Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller.

STRANGERS by Anita Brookner (Fiction)
A stately new retiree, Paul Sturgis has settled into the solitude of his prominent London flat. Love has not been kind to him over the years, passing him by and consigning him to a forlorn life based on habit and disappointment. Paul has learned to depend on shallow conversations with strangers to sustain him, but hopeful encounters with two women help him find the insight and courage he needs to break free from habit and find his spirit. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.

BELOW ZERO: A Joe Pickett Novel by C.J. Box (Thriller)
BELOW ZERO begins with an unassuming phone message: “Tell Sherry April called.” But Sherry --- Joe Pickett’s oldest daughter --- and the Pickett family are shaken to the core. April, Pickett’s foster daughter, was killed in a horrific murder and arson spree six years prior. To Joe, it doesn’t seem even remotely possible that April could have survived the massacre described in WINTERKILL. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

SHADOW OF BETRAYAL: A Jonathan Quinn Novel by Brett Battles (Thriller)
For Jonathan Quinn --- a freelance operative and professional “cleaner” --- the job was only to observe. If his cleanup skills were needed, it would mean things had gone horribly wrong. But an assassin hidden in a tree assured just that. And suddenly Quinn had four dead bodies to dispose of and one astounding clue --- to a mystery that is about to spin wildly out of control. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

BAD THINGS HAPPEN by Harry Dolan (Mystery)
David Loogan just wanted to escape his troubles when he moved to Ann Arbor. But then he did a favor for a friend, and put himself in more danger than ever. Luck comes his way when he finds an ally in Detective Elizabeth Waishkey, without whom he’d be in jail --- or worse. Still, it’s a run for his life. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

DEAD MAN’S DUST by Matt Hilton (Thriller)
Joe Hunter solves problems. And as a former military operative and ex-CIA agent, he's good at what he does. But when he's told that his brother --- with whom he hasn't been on the best of terms --- has disappeared, he learns that everything he's faced before is child's play compared to what's coming. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

Read this week's reviews here.

Poll, Question and Word of Mouth


Do you read more during the summer?

Not sure

-Click here to answer our poll.


What has been your favorite book this summer? (You can name up to three since we know it may be tough to pick just one.)

-Click here to answer our question.

Word of Mouth:

Tell us what books YOU are reading and loving --- or even those you don't.

This week we have three great prizes: FIVE readers each will win a copy of THE BEST OF TIMES by Penny Vincenzi, JERICHO’S FALL by Stephen L. Carter and SACRED HEARTS by Sarah Dunant. Tell us what you are reading and rate the titles 1-5 by noon on July 31st to ensure that you are in the running to win these books.


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 July 31, 2009 automatically are entered in our Monthly Newsletter Contest. This month, one winner will be selected to win the following five books: THE BEST OF TIMES by Penny Vincenzi, BLACK HILLS by Nora Roberts, THE DEFECTOR by Daniel Silva, LABOR DAY by Joyce Maynard and TWENTIES GIRL by Sophie Kinsella. Raina from Gardner, NY was last month's newsletter winner. She won THE ANGEL’S GAME by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, THE BOURNE DECEPTION by Eric Van Lustbader, THE FIXER UPPER by Mary Kay Andrews, KILLER SUMMER by Ridley Pearson and THE STRAIN by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan.

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

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