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August 28, 2009 Newsletter August 28, 2009
Happy Anniversary to Carolina

Yesterday was the 13th anniversary of the launch of While I got some emails telling me that this means we should have a bar mitzvah, no one mentioned that we are now in our teen years. And you know how feisty teens can be. I think that label very much suits us. I wrote a blog piece where I share a bit of what this experience has been like for the last dozen plus one year and thank the folks who make it happen every week. You can read it here.

When I saw the news of Dominick Dunne's death this week, it brought back a memory from the weeks before the site launched. When we were looking for office space, we would meet in the lobby of the Royalton Hotel, where there was a lovely boardroom table in the front library area that was perfect for our meetings and discussions about the site. Each day at lunch the chic came to eat while we, who were without an expense account, ducked out to get a burger across the street. One day as we were working, the glamorous lunch parade was making its way to their banquettes. Among the diners was Dominick Dunne. He stopped by our makeshift office to ask my business partner, Jesse Kornbluth, what we were up to. Now remember this is 1996, a year when the Internet was a novelty with AOL celebrating something like 6,000,000 members. In other words, we were talking about something that very few people understood.

Jesse gave Dominick an explanation of how we planned to have a combination of reviews and authors interviews where readers could find out more about authors and books. Dominick nodded and walked away. A few moments later he stopped back to the table and asked in a quiet voice, "Would you interview me?" We exchanged looks realizing how very cool it was that Dominick Dunne wanted in. Well, we never got the chance to make that interview happen, but I wanted to acknowledge him for that moment of encouragement when a few dreamers were sitting and planning. That kind of acknowledgement --- that we just might be on to something --- was what we needed that day. Jesse wrote a lovely tribute to Dominick, or as he knew him, Nick, that you can read here. I plan to watch the documentary about
Dominick called "Dominick Dunne: After the Party" to celebrate his life. I have heard it's really great and captures his spirit well.

Tuesday night I went to a screening of Taking Woodstock. I was not at Woodstock. I was a tad too young and, let's be honest, there was no way my mom and dad were going to let me anywhere near even the thought of going to something that wild and cool. That said, I do remember the excitement that surrounded that weekend when all the buzz among those kids older than me was, "Are you going?" Taking Woodstock is fun and funny, and it's based on the book by Elliot Tiber and Tom Monte. Seen through the lens of young Elliot, it gives viewers a look inside the behind the scenes of Woodstock, as the El Monaco Motel is where the organizers of Woodstock set up camp to plan the event. Elliot's parents owned the hotel, and they were days away from losing it all when this deal was struck. Ang Lee of Brokeback Mountain and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon fame found this story when he and Elliot were in the green room for an appearance a few years ago. Elliot handed Lee a copy of his book, and later Ang read it and plotted with James Schamus that if he would write it, he would make it. It's a lovely rollercoaster, and you can read more about the making of the film in the shooting script here. For the record, I would have hated the mud and the rain, but somehow the way that people gathered that weekend and made a memory that big is pretty amazing.

Speaking of events, here's some info on some bookish travel that you want to check out. From September through December the Fairmont Scottsdale Hotel in Scottsdale, Arizona will be hosting six "A Season of Personal Discovery" Weekends at this AAA Five Diamond resort located in the pristine Sonoran Desert. Two of the weekends may be of particular interest to our readers: the literary-themed weekend of October 2-4 when I will be at the Fairmont to join Lisa See, Anita Diamant and Debra Dean as they discuss their work and mingle with guests at what promises to be a fun and informative weekend for readers and book clubs; and the suspense-filled weekend from November 6-8 when Steve Berry, Joseph Finder, David Morrell, Les Standiford and M.J. Rose will share their secrets for keeping readers on the edge of their seats is another themed weekend we think you will enjoy.

Each themed weekend includes a three-day/two-night stay at the resort, exclusive admission to the Friday "Meet the Authors" welcome cocktail reception, Saturday book readings, reminiscences, demonstrations, "Q&A" sessions, a Saturday evening "Mix & Mingle" cocktail reception and gala dinner, a farewell breakfast Sunday morning and a keepsake "Season" gift. You can read more about these events and make reservations here. It's a lovely way to spend a luxurious weekend enjoying the companionship of authors and readers!

We are launching three new spotlight features this week, which means you can enter to win one of 30 advance copies we will be giving away. Our first is for Nevada Barr, whose new thriller, 13 1/2, will be in stores on September 29th. We have 10 copies 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, September 11th.

Next up, we are pleased to introduce you to R.J. Ellory, whose internationally acclaimed novel, A QUIET BELIEF IN ANGELS, is being released in the U.S. on September 8th.
We have 10 copies 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, September 11th.

Last, but certainly not least, we are launching a feature for Michael Walsh. His newest thriller, HOSTILE INTENT, will take readers on an intense ride. It will be in stores on September 1st. We have 10 copies 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, September 11th.

We received some nice feedback from our advance readers of NO MERCY by John Gilstrap. Please click here to read their comments. And for those of you who still are looking for summer reading, may we suggest our Summer Beach Bag of Books titles?

When I write the newsletter opener, I snack on something crunchy. My favorite newsletter opener snack food is pretzels. Snyder's big Sourdough hard pretzels. Thus each time I get stuck on what I want to say, I march downstairs from my office at the house (I work home on Fridays) and grab a pretzel. Some weeks there are many more pretzels than others. This week was a two-pretzel week, which is not bad.

Next week we are taking our annual summer hiatus. We take the week before Labor Day off to give the editorial team some time to relax, so our next update will be on Friday, September 11th. A few books to note that are releasing next Tuesday: EVIL AT HEART by Chelsea Cain (there is a great book trailer here); HEAVEN'S KEEP by William Kent Krueger (you can see some videos where I interview Kent here), THE PROMISED WORLD by Lisa Tucker, SPARTAN GOLD: A Fargo Adventure by Clive Cussler with Grant Blackwood, THE SPIRE by Richard North Patterson and CATCHING FIRE, the sequel to Suzanne Collins's amazing young adult novel, THE HUNGER GAMES.

I am headed to the Outer Banks to read...and relax. I stopped counting when I had packed 14 books in my bag for the seven-day trip. Now I wonder --- if my job is to read --- if this is really just a working vacation! On a summer vacation reading note, this week the White House press staff released President Obama's vacation reading list. Now, to be honest, the cynic in me here thinks that they created and released this list just to get the expected response, everyone commenting on it. And okay, when asked I did comment about it to USA Today. You can see what I had to say here. For the record, I am not releasing my list. Rather, when I get back, I will share what I read. I do not want anyone analyzing in advance.

I am noting that, as we drive south tonight, we will be driving right into the path of Tropical Storm Danny, which I think should be called by the more formal Daniel if it is going to wreak any kind of havoc. This will not be the first time that I drove into a tropical storm on my way to a vacation. I also remember waiting for Ernesto on the Outer Banks like he was the houseguest who was lost in traffic.

For those who are wondering, the cliffhanger about the microwave and television in my son's dorm apartment has not yet been resolved. He HAS moved in, and I visited to check out the digs the other night. I can tell you that if you are going to spend somewhere between $10,000-$12,000 on a dorm room, a three-bedroom, two-bath on West 60th Street in New York City seems like a bargain. Location location location.

Enjoy these next two weeks...there's lots to read and enjoy, so keep reading. I was especially humored by the passion in Lourdes Orive's review of THE WEIGHT OF SILENCE. As you know, it's my current Bets On pick. Love it when a reader writes and loves a book like this. It's a magical moment. I'll see you in September.

Carol Fitzgerald (

Click here to learn more about the "Season of Personal Discovery" Weekends and how you can participate.

Now in Stores: 206 BONES by Kathy Reichs
206 BONES by Kathy Reichs (Thriller)
At the start of her 12th novel featuring forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan, bestselling author Kathy Reichs’s protagonist finds herself bound and injured in an underground tomb. In flashbacks, Reichs fills in how and why Tempe got herself into this deadly predicament. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

-Click here to read an excerpt from 206 BONES.

Click here to read a review of 206 BONES. Talks to Brandon Massey, Author of CORNERED
Brandon Massey is the author of 11 books, which range in genre from short stories and suspense thrillers to horror and supernatural fiction. In this A TARGET="_blank" HREF="">interview with's Joe Hartlaub, Massey discusses what separates his latest thriller, CORNERED, from his previous efforts and elaborates on one of the recurring themes of his work. He also explains why he chose to return to his "day" job, names his personal and professional influences, and reveals the most difficult aspect of his writing process.

CORNERED by Brandon Massey (Thriller)
Corey Webb is living the American dream; he’s a happily married father and successful Atlanta businessman, until he runs into a friend he hasn't seen in over 15 years, Leon Sharpe. Leon is charismatic, fiercely intelligent...and a ruthless psychopath. When Corey refuses to share the wealth, Leon kidnaps Corey's wife and hearing-impaired daughter for ransom. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

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

Click here to read our interview with Brandon Massey.

Author Talk: Heather Gudenkauf, Author of THE WEIGHT OF SILENCE
In this interview, Heather Gudenkauf explains how her years teaching elementary school inspired her to write her debut novel, THE WEIGHT OF SILENCE, and shares what she hoped to convey in this profound story about two children who mysteriously disappear from their small Iowa town. She also describes her unique writing process, lists some of her favorite writers, and shares details about her current project, tentatively called THE FOUNDLING WHEEL.

THE WEIGHT OF SILENCE by Heather Gudenkauf (Fiction)
It happens quietly one August morning. As dawn’s shimmering light drenches the humid Iowa air, two families awaken to find their little girls have gone missing in the night. Masterfully written and beautifully told, Heather Gudenkauf’s debut is a stunning novel of family devotion, honesty and regret that will linger long after the last page is turned. Reviewed by Lourdes Orive.

-Click here to read a review of THE WEIGHT OF SILENCE.
-Click here to read an excerpt from THE WEIGHT OF SILENCE.
-Click here to see the reading group guide for THE WEIGHT OF SILENCE.
-Click here to read Heather Gudenkauf’s blog post, “Nature and Novels.”

Click here to read an interview with Heather Gudenkauf.

New Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Nevada Barr, Author of 13 1/2
Nevada Barr is the New York Times bestselling author of the award-winning Anna Pigeon novels. In 13 1/2, Barr weaves a terrifying stand-alone thriller in which a respected professor of literature begins suspecting that there might be a connection between her beau and a series of gruesome murders that occurred decades earlier. 13 1/2 will be available in stores on September 29th.

We have 10 advance copies of 13 1/2 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, September 11th.

-Click here to read Nevada Barr’s bio.
-Visit Nevada Barr’s official website,

More about 13 1/2:
With 13 1/2, Nevada Barr, New York Times bestselling author of the award-winning Anna Pigeon novels, has written a taut and terrifying psychological thriller. It carries the reader from the horrifying 1970s murder spree of a child --- dubbed “Butcher Boy” by a shocked public --- in Rochester, Minnesota, to Polly, the abused daughter of Mississippi “trailer trash,” to post-Katrina New Orleans. Bestselling Jeffery Deaver raves that 13 ½ "is a hands-down winner!”

Click here to read more about Nevada Barr and 13 1/2.

New Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: R.J. Ellory, Author of A QUIET BELIEF IN ANGELS
R.J. Ellory is the author of five novels being released in the U.S. by Overlook Press. A QUIET BELIEF IN ANGELS, which has earned international acclaim, was a Richard & Judy Book Club selection in 2008 and was shortlisted for the American Barry Award for Best British Crime Fiction. In A QUIET BELIEF IN ANGELS, which will be available on September 8th, Ellory blends literary style into a mesmerizing and haunting crime story.

We have 10 advance copies of A QUIET BELIEF IN ANGELS 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, September 11th.

-Click here to read R.J. Ellory’s bio.
-Visit R.J. Ellory’s official website,
-Visit the official website for the book,
-Click here to watch a video in which R.J. Ellory discusses A QUIET BELIEF IN ANGELS.

Growing up in rural Georgia during the 1940s, Joseph Vaughan finds himself at the center of a series of mutilations and killings of young girls. The killers are never caught, and Joseph, an aspiring writer, continues to be haunted by the murders. Years later he sets out to forge a new life in New York. But even there the past won’t leave him alone --- for it seems that the murderer still lives and is killing again, and that the secret to his identity lies in Joseph’s own history.

Click here to read more about R.J. Ellory and A QUIET BELIEF IN ANGELS.

New Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Michael Walsh, Author of HOSTILE INTENT
Born on the United States Marine Corps base, Michael Walsh comes from a long line of American servicemen. His debut novel, ÉXCHANGE ALLEY, was a Book-of-the-Month Club alternate selection upon its publication in 1997 and still a cult favorite today. It was followed by AS TIME GOES BY, the controversial sequel to the movie Casablanca, which has been translated into 22 languages. In HOSTILE INTENT, his new novel releasing on September 1st, someone is trying to draw a covert government agent out of the shadows through acts of terror.

We have 10 advance copies of HOSTILE INTENT 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, September 11th.

-Click here to read Michael Walsh’s bio.

It starts with the unthinkable --- the most horrific act of violence ever committed on American soil --- and only one man can stop them.

Michael Walsh --- New York Times bestselling author of AS TIME GOES BY --- is back with his first military thriller about an ultra-top secret US Government-Op, whose real identity is known only by a select few in the highest echelons of Washington, D.C. Someone is trying to draw him out by putting America’s citizens in the crosshairs --- and they will continue the slaughter until they get what they want.

Click here to read more about Michael Walsh and HOSTILE INTENT.

Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Joseph Finder, Author of VANISHED
Joseph Finder is the author of many highly acclaimed thrillers, most recently POWER PLAY, KILLER INSTINCT and COMPANY MAN. In VANISHED, which is now a New York Times bestseller, Finder launches a four-book series featuring corporate security specialist Nick Heller. Trained in the Special Forces, Nick is a high-powered intelligence investigator --- exposing secrets that powerful people would rather keep hidden.

-Click here to read a review of VANISHED.
-Click here to read an excerpt from VANISHED.
-Click here to read our interview with Joseph Finder.
-Click here to read Joseph Finder’s bio.
-Click here to see Joseph Finder's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for VANISHED.
-Visit Joseph Finder’s official website,
-Click here to watch a video in which Joseph Finder discusses VANISHED.
-Visit to watch additional videos.
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

More about VANISHED:
Nick Heller is tough, smart and stubborn. And in his line of work, it's essential. Nick is a high-powered intelligence investigator --- exposing secrets that powerful people would rather keep hidden.

When Nick’s brother disappears without a trace --- and Nick’s favorite nephew pleads for his help --- Nick’s search sets him on a collision course with one of the most powerful corporations in the world --- and they will stop at nothing to protect their secrets.

Click here to read more about Joseph Finder and VANISHED.

Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Alan Jacobson, Author of CRUSH
Alan Jacobson is the national bestselling author of the critically acclaimed thriller THE 7th VICTIM, which was named to Library Journal’s “Best Books of the Year” list for 2008. With CRUSH, Jacobson again delivers an enthralling novel in which Karen Vail, the memorable heroine of THE 7th VICTIM, faces the most evil serial killer of her career. CRUSH will be available in stores on September 22nd.

-Click here to read an excerpt from CRUSH.
-Click here to read Alan Jacobson’s bio.
-Click here to see Alan Jacobson's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for CRUSH.
-Visit Alan Jacobson’s official website,
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

More about CRUSH:
Fresh off the most challenging case of her career, THE 7th VICTIM heroine and renowned FBI profiler Karen Vail returns in an explosive thriller set against the backdrop of California’s wine country. Meticulously researched during years of work with the FBI profiling unit and extensive interviews with wine industry professionals, bestselling author Alan Jacobson delivers a high-velocity thriller featuring the kind of edge of-your-seat ending that inspired Nelson DeMille to call him “a hell of a writer.”

Click here to read more about Alan Jacobson and CRUSH.

Featured Romantic Suspense Author: Beverly Barton, Author of SILENT KILLER
New York Times bestselling author Beverly Barton has written over 50 contemporary romance novels and is a two-time Maggie Award winner, a two-time National Readers’ Choice Award winner and the recipient of a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for Series Romantic Adventure. In SILENT KILLER, her new romantic suspense novel now in stores, an Alabama town becomes the target of a serial killer on a quest for vengeance.

-Click here to read an excerpt from SILENT KILLER.
-Click here to read Beverly Barton’s bio.
-Click here to see Beverly Barton's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for SILENT KILLER.
-Visit Beverly Barton’s official website,
-Click here to watch a trailer for SILENT KILLER.
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

SILENT KILLER is the searing new thriller from award-winning and national bestselling author Beverly Barton. A serial killer is at work --- one whose rage grows more vicious each day --- and in a town full of secrets, trusting the wrong person could be deadly.

Click here to visit our Beach Bag of Books feature.

Featured One to Watch Author: Shandi Mitchell, Author of UNDER THIS UNBROKEN SKY

Shandi Mitchell is an award-winning Canadian filmmaker and screenwriter. In her remarkable debut, UNDER THIS UNBROKEN SKY, she crafts a boldly imagined, powerful novel of one family’s struggle to survive. This title will be available in stores on September 8th.

-Click here to read a third excerpt from UNDER THIS UNBROKEN SKY.
-Click here to read Shandi Mitchell’s bio.
-Click here to read critical praise for UNDER THIS UNBROKEN SKY.
-Click here to read more about Shandi Mitchell at
-Click here to watch a video in which Shandi Mitchell discusses UNDER THIS UNBROKEN SKY.
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

Building to an unforgettable climax, this is the story of a 1930s immigrant family trying to survive the harsh Canadian prairies, where small and innocent acts have enormous and catastrophic consequences. From a passionate new voice in the world of literary fiction, UNDER THIS UNBROKEN SKY is a tribute to the resiliency of the human spirit told with great sensitivity and cinematic aplomb.


Click here to read more about Shandi Mitchell and UNDER THIS UNBROKEN SKY.

Now Available in Paperback: A LION AMONG MEN by Gregory Maguire
A LION AMONG MEN: Volume Three in the Wicked Years by Gregory Maguire (Fiction)
Since WICKED was first published in 1995, millions of readers have discovered Gregory Maguire's fantastically encyclopedic Oz, a world filled with characters both familiar and new, darkly conceived and daringly reimagined. In the much-anticipated third volume of the Wicked Years, we return to Oz, seen now through the eyes of the Cowardly Lion --- the once tiny cub defended by Elphaba in WICKED.

-Click here to read a review of A LION AMONG MEN.
-Click here to Browse Inside A LION AMONG MEN.
Click here to read more about Gregory Maguire and A LION AMONG MEN.

New in Paperback for August

August's roundup of New in Paperback fiction titles includes THE FIRE, the long-anticipated sequel to Katherine Neville's THE EIGHT, a novel steeped in stunning history, enchanted settings, baffling riddles and unforgettable characters; A MOST WANTED MAN, a fiercely compelling work of fiction from John le Carré in which an unlikely alliance is formed and a triangle of impossible loves is born; THE LUCKY ONE by Nicholas Sparks, the story of a man whose brushes with death lead him to the love of his life; THE BRASS VERDICT, a Michael Connelly legal thriller that brings criminal defense attorney Mickey Haller, the protagonist of THE LINCOLN LAWYER, into a case that has caught LAPD Detective Harry Bosch's interest; and A LION AMONG MEN, the third volume of Gregory Maguire's Wicked Years that marks a return to Oz, seen now through the eyes of the Cowardly Lion.

Among our nonfiction highlights are FREAKONOMICS, a groundbreaking collaboration between Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, who take a quirky look at all sorts of everyday activities that seem to have unsuspected subtle connections --- but only when you know what sort of questions to ask; THE NECKLACE by Cheryl Jarvis, which tells the story of 13 women in California who all share a very expensive diamond necklace that they purchased together --- something none of them could afford on their own; and Glenda Burgess's memoir THE GEOGRAPHY OF LOVE, a poignant exploration of the depths of the human heart and our ability to love and to trust no matter the obstacles.


Click here to see our New in Paperback feature for August.

This Week's Reviews
A BIG LITTLE LIFE: Memoir of a Joyful Dog by Dean Koontz (Memoir)
Dean Koontz thought he had everything he needed, both in his professional and personal lives. Then along came Trixie. Koontz had always wanted a dog and had even written several books in which dogs were featured. But not until Trixie was he truly open to the change that such a beautiful creature could bring about in him. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

BLINDMAN'S BLUFF: A Decker and Lazarus Novel by Faye Kellerman (Mystery)
Someone has broken into the exclusive Coyote Ranch compound of billionaire developer Guy Kaffey and viciously gunned him down, along with his wife and four employees. LAPD homicide detective Peter Decker and his wife, Rina Lazarus, must solve this brutal multiple murder, which will have repercussions for their own lives. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

THE LAW OF NINES by Terry Goodkind (Thriller)
Alex saves a beautiful woman from being run over by a truck. She vanishes from his life but mysteriously shows up again, insisting that he can save her world from doom. His mother, locked away in a mental institution, insists that people watch her through mirrors, and his grandfather warns that trouble will find him. And they're all right. Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard.

STRENGTH IN WHAT REMAINS: A Journey of Remembrance and Forgiveness by Tracy Kidder (Biography)
The latest work from Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Tracy Kidder is a stirring account of one man’s remarkable flight from terror in his homeland of Burundi to the United States and then back home to confront the burdens of memory and forgiveness. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.

EVEN MONEY by Dick Francis and Felix Francis (Mystery)
Bookmakers beware: Dick Francis and Felix Francis are providing lots of inside information about your operations. There is even a chart of bookmakers’ odds as used on British racecourses. This dynamic writing team has hit the big money yet again with EVEN MONEY, their new quick-paced read. Reviewed by Marge Fletcher.

HELL’S GATE by Stephen Frey (Thriller)
When 35-year-old lawyer Hunter Lee decides to turn his back on the New York City rat race that has made him rich but cost him his marriage, he takes his brother's advice and sets out to build a new life in the beautiful but isolated town of Fort Mason, Montana. However, escape is hardly what he finds there. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

NEW TRICKS by David Rosenfelt (Mystery)
Andy Carpenter, lawyer to the dogs, finds himself with yet another canine client in David Rosenfelt’s seventh episode of this enjoyable courtroom series starring the dog-loving attorney. A wise-cracking, irreverent legal wizard who can afford to pick and choose his cases can be a match for any prosecutor and judge. Andy is clearly that, as he battles to defend Steven Timmerman, charged with the murder of his father and stepmother. Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman.

AFTER YOU by Julie Buxbaum (Fiction)
Julie Buxbaum gives us this mesmerizing tale of love, healing and forgiveness. Ellie Lerner’s best friend was murdered as she walked her daughter to school. Now Ellie is trying to pick up the pieces and make everyone’s lives better. But at the cost of her own? Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

THE WILDERNESS WARRIOR: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America by Douglas Brinkley (History)
Fresh from his triumph with THE GREAT DELUGE, a brilliant account of Hurricane Katrina, Douglas Brinkley has now tackled a human hurricane --- Theodore Roosevelt, that rampant bundle of energy and enthusiasm who served as U.S. President just over a century ago. Reviewed by Robert Finn.

A DUTY TO THE DEAD: A Bess Crawford Mystery by Charles Todd (Historical Mystery)
The mother-son team that comprises author Charles Todd has released the first book in a new series featuring WWI British nurse Bess Crawford. Bess delivers a dying soldier’s last wish to his family only to find herself in the middle of a dark and deadly mystery that the family has kept hidden for years. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

BREATHING WATER: A Bangkok Thriller by Timothy Hallinan (Thriller)
For American ex-pat writer Poke Rafferty, a late-night poker game delivers an unexpected prize: an "opportunity" to write the biography of Khun Pan, a flamboyant, vulgar, self-made billionaire with a criminal past and far-reaching political ambitions. The win seems like a stroke of luck, but as with so many things in Bangkok, the allure of appearances masks something much darker. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE LOCUST AND THE BIRD: My Mother’s Story by Hanan Al-Shaykh (Memoir)
Enter 1930s Beruit to witness a young girl obsessed with the cinema who has a cinematic tale of her own --- one of poverty, an arranged marriage, and a secret lover --- breathtakingly told by the daughter she left behind. Reviewed by Shannon Luders-Manuel.

Read this week's reviews here.

Poll, Question and Word of Mouth


What is the most books you have read in week since you were an adult?

7 or more
I am not sure.

-Click here to answer our poll.


What do you think will be remembered as the book of summer for 2009?

-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 EVIL AT HEART by Chelsea Cain,
THE GUINEA PIG DIARIES: My Life as an Experiment by A. J. Jacobs and HEAVEN'S KEEP by William Kent Krueger. Tell us what you are reading and rate the titles 1-5 by noon on September 11th 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 August 31, 2009 automatically are entered in our Monthly Newsletter Contest. This month, one winner will be selected to win the following five books: RHINO RANCH by Larry McMurtry, SMASH CUT by Sandra Brown, THAT OLD CAPE MAGIC by Richard Russo, THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU by Jonathan Tropper and VANISHED by Joseph Finder. Patricia from Yuba City, CA was last month's newsletter winner. She won 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.

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

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