Skip to main content

October 2, 2009 Newsletter October 2, 2009
My Endless Quest: Bookish Organization

Well, didn't September just zip on by! Whoosh went those 30 days. The other day I was in a store and people were talking about getting ready for the holidays and I felt myself thinking..."noooo, not yet!" I was just beginning to think orange for Halloween.

With all my travel and evenings out for business events, I find that when I am home it's pretty critical that things are organized. Thus these last few weeks have been spent trying to make that happen. Papers are finding their way into folders, and the folders are sliding their way into file cabinets. Yarn is being shelved by color and project. In a moment of absolutely compulsive organization last Sunday afternoon, I put my circular knitting needles into a handy little case and labeled each section by size and length of the needle. In other words, I have been pretty obsessed with getting things cleaned up.

Then there are the books. Books fly into the office in New York and onto my desk at a pretty steady clip. Others find their way to my house. Part of this is because I cannot stop these words from coming out --- "That sounds really good; I would love to take a look at it."

Last spring I bought two bookcases for the bedroom with a plan that those would house the current reading and my all-time favorites like A TRACE OF FOOTPRINTS. Those two bookcases are now filled, and there are four piles of books on the floor. Sure, some of these have been read recently and have not found their way to a) the fiction bookshelves in the family room, b) the nonfiction bookshelves in the living room, c) the ARC bookshelves in the upstairs hallway, d) the graphic novel bookshelves in my home office, e) the cookbook shelf in the kitchen and f) the two collections of coffee table books in the living room and dining room, but others are "to be read."

Later today the plan is to organize the "to be read" by release date, though I have to tell you I am seeing some early copies of books coming next summer that are just calling my name. But there are some that came out this summer that are doing the same thing.

Tomorrow I am headed to Baltimore for the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association's Fall Conference. In addition to getting to see booksellers and talking about books/what's happening/what people are excited about, there is an awards ceremony on Saturday night where three authors whose work I know are being honored: Robert Goolrick (A RELIABLE WIFE), Michael Greenberg (HURRY DOWN SUNSHINE) and Gayle Forman (IF I STAY). Should be a good time.

Wednesday night I went to The Mysterious Bookshop for a standing room only event where Jason Pinter and Reed Farrel Coleman did an appearance together. First, let me comment on this store. Otto Penzler has created a Mystery Lovers paradise here. From the moment you hit the door, you are swept into a very special kind of bookstore. There are tables of signed copies that alert readers how many authors have made stops there. If you are in the city, it's worth a stop to 58 Warren Street. If you do not live here, add this one to the list next time you travel to New York!

We have a review of Jason's latest, THE FURY, here, and Joe Hartlaub was just crazy about it. Reed's latest, TOWER, was written with Ken Bruen, which was an interesting experience since they lived 3,000 miles away from each other as Ken is across "the Pond." Reed wrote the second half, keeping the story consistent but moving forward from Ken's part.

October is National Reading Group Month, and with that in mind we have two lists that you might want to check out. The first, The Fall 2009/Winter 2010 Indie Next List for Reading Groups, has been pulled together by the independent bookseller folks at, and you will see that many of their favorites are titles that we have featured here. Also, we have a list from Women's National Book Association (WNBA), who are hosting a series of events across the country to celebrate the third annual National Reading Group Month. Click here to read more about this!

The National Reading Group Month signature event is being held at the Nashville Public Library Downtown on Saturday, October 10th, as part of the Southern Festival of Books. Featured authors at the breakfast and book signing are Marie Brenner (APPLES AND ORANGES: My Brother and Me, Lost and Found), Holly Goddard Jones (GIRL TROUBLE: Stories), Perri Klass (THE MERCY RULE), Inman Majors (THE MILLIONAIRES) and Kathryn Stockett (THE HELP). You can read more about all 10 of these events here.

October is also National Breast Cancer Awareness Month --- and thus there are many things pink all over town. Years ago I heard Kristin Hannah give a talk about how she had started writing back when her mom was ill with breast cancer while Kristin was in her third year of law school. They collaborated on what she called "the worst, most clichéd historical romance ever written." After her mom's death, she went on to become a lawyer and did not start writing until years later when she was pregnant with her son and confined to bed rest. She realized that her mom had been right all along; she was destined to be a writer. She walked away from her law career and started writing.

Through the years, when I have spoken with Kristin, she had shared stories about her mom, and it was clear she really missed her. To honor her mom --- and all the other women who have lost their lives to breast cancer --- Kristin has created a tribute wall on her website --- and the Firefly Fund to which you can donate will go towards The Fight against inflammatory breast cancer (IBC). You can see more details further down the page in this newsletter. There's a great backstory as to how The Firefly Fund got its name. Readers really can make a special community.

This week we're launching a new Author Spotlight feature for John Lutz. Our readers really enjoyed his two previous titles. In URGE TO KILL, homicide detective Frank Quinn returns to face a relentless murderer. 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, October 9th.

Speaking of authors our readers enjoy, we received very nice feedback for Beverly Barton's SILENT KILLER and Alan Jacobson's CRUSH. Click on the authors' names to read the comments.

We have lots of reviews, including those for R.J. Ellory's A QUIET BELIEF IN ANGELS, which I loved (and there's a great interview too), DEXTER BY DESIGN by Jeff Lindsay (by the way...I like the TV series, though I think the season opener could have been sharper) and the very smashing SMASH CUT by Sandra Brown, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Okay, I am headed back to organizing. My books are calling. And also to the conversation about making homemade pizza. Cory is rallying his friends, but I have been instructed not to start making the dough until he calls to confirm that pizza is happening here tonight. Have a great week...happy reading.

Carol Fitzgerald ( Talks to Nevada Barr, Author of 13 ½
A departure from her bestselling Anna Pigeon series, Nevada Barr's latest novel, 13 ½, is a stand-alone thriller that connects a string of murders by an 11-year-old child in 1971 Minnesota to the marital troubles of a literature professor in present-day Louisiana. In this interview with's Roz Shea, Barr describes her most recent work as a process 20 years in the making and discusses her reason for setting the book in post-Katrina New Orleans. She also characterizes her famous park ranger protagonist as an idealized alter ego of herself and explains why she chose to let Anna Pigeon sit out this particular adventure.

13 ½ by Nevada Barr (Psychological Thriller)
With 13 ½ 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. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

-Click here to read a review of
13 ½.
-Click here to read an excerpt from 13 ½.
Click here to read our interview with Nevada Barr. Talks to R.J. Ellory, Author of A QUIET BELIEF IN ANGELS
R.J. Ellory is the author of seven novels --- including CANDLEMOTH, GHOSTHEART and CITY OF LIES --- that have been published in Britain and are now being released in the U.S. by Overlook Press. He recently spoke with's L. Dean Murphy about his fifth book, A QUIET BELIEF IN ANGELS, and explains how events from his own life have informed his works of fiction. He also discusses John Steinbeck's influence on his writing, touches upon the racial inequities amongst his characters, and shares details about upcoming projects due out over the next few years.

A QUIET BELIEF IN ANGELS by R.J. Ellory (Thriller)
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. Reviewed by L. Dean Murphy.

-Click here to read a review of A QUIET BELIEF IN ANGELS.
-Click here to read an excerpt from A QUIET BELIEF IN ANGELS.

Click here to read our interview with R.J. Ellory. Talks to Michael Walsh, Author of HOSTILE INTENT
Michael Walsh is the bestselling author of four novels: EXCHANGE ALLEY, AS TIME GOES BY, AND ALL THE SAINTS, and the newly released HOSTILE INTENT. In this interview with's Joe Hartlaub, Walsh discusses the origins of Devlin --- his government-op protagonist --- and elaborates on his writing process, including his unusual work hours and choice of background music. He also gives his two cents on the probability of the U.S. being attacked by terrorists again in the future, explains how --- if given the opportunity --- he would restructure the country's intelligence operations, and gives advice to readers considering careers in writing.

HOSTILE INTENT by Michael Walsh (Thriller)
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. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

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

Click here to read our interview with Michael Walsh.

Now in Stores: HER FEARFUL SYMMETRY by Audrey Niffenegger
HER FEARFUL SYMMETRY by Audrey Niffenegger (Fiction)
Audrey Niffenegger’s highly anticipated second novel (following THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE) begins with a death. Elspeth Noblin dies of cancer, leaving her London apartment to her estranged sister's twin daughters, Julia and Valentina. Wanting to be free of their staid life, the young ladies leave for London unaware of the dark secret that has kept their mother and aunt apart for decades. Reviewed by Amy Gwiazdowski.

-Click here to read an excerpt from HER FEARFUL SYMMETRY.

Click here to read a review of HER FEARFUL SYMMETRY.

New Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: John Lutz, Author of URGE TO KILL
Award-winning thriller author John LutzA> began writing in 1966 and has since gone on to publish over 40 novels and 200 short stories. His work includes SWF SEEKS SAME, which became the film Single White Female, and THE EX, a critically acclaimed feature for HBO. In URGE TO KILL, veteran homicide detective Frank Quinn returns in a desperate hunt for a murdering madman. URGE TO KILL is now available in stores.

We have 10 advance copies of URGE TO KILL to give away to readers who would like to preview the book and comment about it. If you are interested, please fill out this form by Friday, October 9th.

-Click here to read John Lutz’s bio.
-Visit John Lutz’s official website,

More about URGE TO KILL:
Homicide detective Frank Quinn can’t stay retired when there’s a new breed of murdering madman on the prowl. In a city terrorized by bloody brutality, Det. Quinn and his team hunt a psychopath who lures beautiful women into a night of unbridled passion, then wakes them to a vicious, drawn-out death. Stumbling over a trail of horribly defiled bodies, Quinn can’t catch the killer --- because the killer’s about to catch him.

The terrifying new thriller URGE TO KILL from New York Times bestselling author John Lutz is a gruesome, page-turning psychological serial killer crime novel that’s both frightening and fascinating. For a killer, once is never enough.

Click here to read more about John Lutz and URGE TO KILL.

Featured Women’s Fiction Author: Penny Vincenzi, Author of WINDFALL
Penny Vincenzi is the author of many acclaimed novels, including THE BEST OF TIMES, AN OUTRAGEOUS AFFAIR and NO ANGEL. WINDFALL, which is being released in the United States on October 1st, is full of the signatures that make Vincenzi’s books irresistible to devoted fans and newcomers alike: a sharp eye for detail, an assortment of loveable and despicable characters, and a titillating, suspenseful plot.

-Click here to read an excerpt from WINDFALL.
-Click here to read Penny Vincenzi’s bio.
-Click here to see Penny Vincenzi’s backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for WINDFALL.
-Visit Penny Vincenzi’s official website,
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

More about WINDFALL:
WINDFALL is an addictively dramatic family saga from one of the hottest female writers today. Penny Vincenzi takes us behind closed doors of the glamorous and scandalous English aristocracy. The dutiful doctor’s wife, Cassia Fallon, has just inherited a large fortune from her godmother. Newly empowered, Cassia sheds her domestic burdens and re-forms old relationships --- one of them of a most dangerous kind. Too soon the windfall has become a corrupting force --- one that Cassia cannot resist.

Click here to read more about Penny Vincenzi and WINDFALL.

Now in Stores: FEEL THE HEAT by Cindy Gerard
FEEL THE HEAT by Cindy Gerard (Romantic Suspense)

A race for survival...
turns into a pulse-pounding adventure...
...and ignites a passionate fire.

A deadly deception among ruthless killers brings Black Ops., Inc. operative Raphael Mendoza and DIA officer B.J. Chase together... and too close to ignore the smoldering heat between them as they race the clock to foil an international plot already counting down toward a national catastrophe....

-Join Cindy Gerard’s mailing list for a chance to win a $100 Barnes & Noble gift certificate and free books! Click here for more details.

Click here to read more about Cindy Gerard and FEEL THE HEAT.

Special Feature and Contest on A SLOW BURN Giveaway

On we are celebrating the release of A SLOW BURN --- the second title in Mary E. DeMuth’s suspenseful Texas Defiance Trilogy --- with a special contest. In December, three Grand Prize winners will receive a fresh, seasonal bouquet of flowers from the "Flower of the Month Club" as well as a finished copy of the first two books in the Defiance Texas Trilogy, DAISY CHAIN and A SLOW BURN. The winners will also receive a new bouquet in January and February. In addition, 15 runners-up will receive a finished copy of DAISY CHAIN and A SLOW BURN.

A SLOW BURN: Defiance Texas Trilogy, Book 2 by Mary E. DeMuth (Mystery)
Emory Chance needs to find who killed her daughter Daisy and unravel the mystery behind a sickening premonition --- a man with a snake tattoo. The second book in the Defiance Texas Trilogy, A SLOW BURN, is a suspenseful story about courageous love, the power of forgiveness and the bonds that never break.

-Click here to read more about A SLOW BURN.
-Click here to read an excerpt from A SLOW BURN.
-Click here to read Mary E. DeMuth’s bio.
-Click here to read an interview with Mary E. DeMuth.
-Click here to read more about DAISY CHAIN.


Click here for more details about the contest and how to enter.

Join Kristin Hannah in the Fight Against Breast Cancer
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. New York Times bestselling author Kristin Hannah was a law student when she lost her mother to breast cancer. In the years between then and now, she has been touched by the disease many more times. You can read her full story here.

As a way to give back, Hannah joined with breast cancer survivor Trish May and her wonderful team at Athena Partners and created the Firefly Fund. The fund will be used to educate women about inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) and to support women in outlying areas who are battling the disease. We encourage women to join Hannah in this endeavor by making a donation. Anything you can do, no matter how small it may seem, will make a difference in another woman’s life.

Click here to learn more about the Firefly Fund and what you can do to help in the fight against breast cancer.

New in Paperback for October

October’s roundup of New in Paperback titles includes Jamie Ford’s debut novel, HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET, a love story about two people who come from totally different worlds and a cultural examination set against the backdrop of Japanese internment during World War II; WHILE MY SISTER SLEEPS by Barbara Delinsky, in which the life of a woman is turned upside down and inside out when her sister suffers a heart attack and ends up in a coma; BURN OUT, Marcia Muller’s 26th Sharon McCone mystery that finds the San Francisco PI drawn into the plight of a troubled, highly secretive Native American lady and her dysfunctional family; BLOOD AND BONE, William Lashner’s first stand-alone thriller and an introduction to a young man whose aloofness is seriously challenged when he’s drawn into a murder investigation; and THE LONGEST TRIP HOME, a coming-of-age memoir from MARLEY & ME author John Grogan about growing up in the 1960s and his struggle to find himself despite his family's conflicting values.

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

Books into Movies/Books into Movies on DVD for October
October's Books into Movies feature is certainly doling out more treats than tricks so close to Halloween, with a mixed bag of six films of the more lighthearted variety for all tastes and ages. For the kids are the wildly imaginative Where the Wild Things Are, a live-action adaptation of Maurice Sendak's beloved children's book, and The Vampire's Assistant, based on the first installment in Darren Shan's YA series, Cirque du Freak. Older audiences looking to satisfy their cravings for quirky comedies chock full of sarcastic quips and a bit of crude humor need to look no further than Drew Barrymore's coming-of-age Roller Derby extravaganza, Whip It, and The Hangover-esque bachelor-party "bromance" I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell. And those of you craving something more dramatic and thought-provoking shouldn't miss The Private Lives of Pippa Lee --- directed by Rebecca Miller and based on her novel about self-discovery in middle age --- and the period romance Chéri, out on DVD October 20th.
Click here to read more details about October's films.

This Week's Reviews
AN ECHO IN THE BONE by Diana Gabaldon (Historical Fantasy)
The time-traveling Scots are back! After a four-year wait, Diana Gabaldon’s bestselling and award-winning Outlander series continues with another incurably romantic, historically twisted saga that veers dizzily between the 18th and 20th centuries. Reviewed by Kathy Weissman.

-Click here to read an excerpt from AN ECHO IN THE BONE.

SMASH CUT by Sandra Brown (Romantic Suspense)
When a prominent Atlanta businessman is shot and killed during an armed robbery, it appears to be a situation of wrong place, wrong time. But his friend Julie Rutledge believes differently and sets out to prove that it was murder, orchestrated by the victim's nephew, Creighton Wheeler. Representing him is famed defense lawyer Derek Mitchell, who soon realizes that his client is as depraved as Julie claims. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read an excerpt from SMASH CUT.

JULIET, NAKED by Nick Hornby (Fiction)
In his sixth novel, Nick Hornby returns to the world of pop music, telling the story of a collection of “Hornbyesque” characters, as frustrating as they are likable in their struggles to navigate the shoals of ordinary life. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.

-Click here to read an excerpt from JULIET, NAKED.

THE FURY by Jason Pinter (Thriller)
The brother who journalist Henry Parker never knew has been shot point-blank in a rat-hole apartment, wasted by hunger and heroin. Stephen Gaines was a man with whom Henry shared nothing --- except a father. Now Henry is forced to question everything he ever knew...and figure out why this man was murdered in cold blood. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE FURY.
-Visit Jason Pinter’s official website,

DEXTER BY DESIGN by Jeff Lindsay (Thriller)
After his surprisingly glorious honeymoon in Paris, life is almost normal for Dexter Morgan. But the discovery of a corpse (artfully displayed as a sunbather relaxing on a Miami beach chair) naturally piques Dexter’s curiosity, and Miami’s finest realize they have a terrifying new serial killer on the loose. And Dexter, of course, is back in business. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

LITTLE BIRD OF HEAVEN by Joyce Carol Oates (Fiction)
Joyce Carol Oates recounts a spiraling cycle of failure, despair and violence, played out in a dead-end Rust Belt town, in LITTLE BIRD OF HEAVEN, a powerful portrait of a town, and a people, in perpetual decay. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

CAPITOL OFFENSE by William Bernhardt (Legal Thriller)
A man, driven to the brink of madness, is accused of killing a cop. It might not look quite so bad if he hadn’t gone to a lawyer beforehand to learn how to get away with it. Now he and his attorney have to convince a jury to let him off. But the stakes are high for the DA, who can’t afford to let him win on an insanity defense. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

THE CAVALIER IN THE YELLOW DOUBLET by Arturo Perez-Reverte (Fiction/Action & Adventure)
Captain Alatriste begins an affair with the famous --- and famously beautiful --- actress María de Castro, and discovers that the competition for her favors may be much more dangerous than he'd bargained for, especially when Alatriste and his protégé, Íñigo, become unwilling participants in a court conspiracy that could lead them both to the gallows. Reviewed by Curtis Edmonds.

ANNE FRANK: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife by Francine Prose (Literary Criticism)
In June 1942, Anne Frank received a red-and-white checked diary for her 13th birthday, just weeks before she and her family went into hiding from the Nazis in an Amsterdam attic. For two years, with ever-increasing maturity, Anne crafted a memoir that has become one of the most compelling, intimate and important documents of modern history. But the diary of Anne Frank, argues Francine Prose, is as much a work of art as an historical record. Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott.

STARDUST by Joseph Kanon (Historical Mystery)
Hollywood is in its heyday, having survived the Second World War, but emotions run high and people do odd things in such times. Ben Collier’s brother took a high dive out of a window. Rumor has it that he might have been involved in some shady business and suddenly the guilt got to him. But Ben thinks something --- or somebody --- else got to him. Reviewed by Kate Ayers

THE LOST THRONE by Chris Kuzneski (Thriller)
Seven monks are brutally murdered at a monastery on a mountain top in Greece. An American treasure hunter is struck down in Russia. While Interpol Homicide Detective Nick Dial investigates the grizzly murders in Greece, former Special Forces operatives Jonathon Payne and D. J. Jones embark on a mission to discover who is behind the death in Russia. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

Read this week's reviews here.

Poll and Question of the Week: Book Festivals

This is the time of year when a number of book festivals are taking place across the country. Would you make a special trip to see your favorite authors at one of these events?

It would depend on the festival’s location.
I am not sure.

-Click here to answer our poll.


Name up to five authors you would like to see at a book festival who would make it "worth the trip."

-Click here to answer our question.

Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading --- and You Can Win THREE Books!
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 EVIDENCE: An Alex Delaware Novel by Jonathan Kellerman, HAVE A LITTLE FAITH: A True Story by Mitch Albom and HER FEARFUL SYMMETRY by Audrey Niffenegger. Tell us what you are reading and rate the titles 1-5 by noon on October 9th 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 October 31, 2009 automatically are entered in our Monthly Newsletter Contest. This month, one winner will be selected to win the following five books: 9 DRAGONS by Michael Connelly, LAST NIGHT IN A TWISTED RIVER by John Irving, LOCKED IN: A Sharon McCone Mystery by Marcia Muller, PURSUIT OF HONOR by Vince Flynn and TRUE BLUE by David Baldacci. Terri from Jacksonville, FL was last month's newsletter winner. She won AN ECHO IN THE BONE by Diana Gabaldon, HAVE A LITTLE FAITH: A True Story by Mitch Albom, HER FEARFUL SYMMETRY by Audrey Niffenegger, THE LAST SONG by Nicholas Sparks and THE PROMISED WORLD by Lisa Tucker./font>

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

The Book Report Network
250 W. 57th Street - Suite 1228
New York, New York 10107