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July 8, 2011 Newsletter July 8, 2011
Thriller Thrills

I am writing this week from ThrillerFest, which is the latest stop on my summer conference tour. Some people go to the beach in June and July; I go to conferences. This conference is like summer camp for authors. Wednesday and Thursday I was at CraftFest, which is a two-day conference taught by masters in the thriller world, including Ken Follett (more on his presentation in a bit), and Friday and Saturday are devoted to panels featuring thriller authors and folks from the business. As always, when authors gather, there are parties and dinners --- food, drink and words all seem to work well together.

But first, a moment of humor. Last year when I stayed in the conference hotel, the Grand Hyatt, my son Greg and I were in the only renovated room in the hotel. You may recall from this newsletter our adventure where we could not get the mood lights behind the beds to go out. Well, flash forward a year and the SAME thing happens. Again we needed to call the front desk as the mood lighting would not turn off. This time we are staying in another room that was just renovated. Again the engineer needed to come around midnight, and he could not figure out what the problem was. But as thriller plots often need a twist, this time something else happened. The lights in the bathroom turned off as I was brushing my teeth. In an effort to “go green,” the hotel has sensors to note to turn the lights out when someone is not in a room. I guess I was not brushing vigorously enough! The hotel here is part of the adventure, and I feel like I am living in a novel staying here.

Back to Ken Follett, whose presence alone was a reason to attend this conference. He spoke to aspiring writers about the craft of writing, addressing four key points: research, characters, the stake and the plot. He talked about how with fiction writing you are creating an imaginary world where you draw readers into the game. With a thriller, the book is about people in danger and you engage a reader quickly by seeing the danger the character is in. A mystery does not have the same kind of danger, but in mysteries there are puzzles and clues.

Throughout his talk, Follett referenced and quoted from books and literary works that he has read through the years. He talked about HAMLET as a psychological thriller much like THE DAY OF THE JACKAL (order from IndieBound or Amazon). Now how many high school students would love to read HAMLET taught based on that idea? When asked about his favorite thriller, he referenced the James Bond novel LIVE AND LET DIE that he read 50 years ago when he was 12. The second line of the book (and I may not have this right as I was writing fast) stuck with him: “In the life of a secret agent there are moments of luxury.” Now I read a lot and I remember plots, but I rarely remember character names, and quoting memorable lines is something I rarely can do. Thus it was impressive when he recalled both this and the shootout two-thirds of the way through, where there was lots of glass and tropical fish, making it a very visual thriller scene.

Another fun part about being here is catching up with author pals. Gayle Lynds shared the happy news that she was married back in April; she now lives in Maine and is loving it. Jon Land was happy to learn that Greg, who has been photographing this event for five years now, is FINALLY legal to have a drink in the bar. (By the way, my line whenever Greg is carded in my presence: I say I can vouch for the fact that he has been around making me crazy for 21 years). Heather Graham and I have been at the same last three conferences and finally had time to catch up here. In conversation I learned she lives in Coral Gables, and our paths should have crossed when I was there in April, but, alas, we are just destined to see each other in other cities.

I caught up with Joseph Finder last night between his appearance on "Morning Joe" on MSNBC (watch here) and Sean Hannity. And then rolled on to dinner in the good author company of Karin Slaughter, Lisa Gardner, Kate White, Douglas Preston, D.P. Lyle and Kathy Antrim, hosted by Laura Lubrano and Cheryl Vawdrey, colleagues at the Los Angeles Times. At one point the waiter added oversized steak knives to the silverware setting, and Doug Lyle immediately picked his up and said, “This is a murder weapon.” And you could see him working a plot. Others did the same, reminding me again that writers see life a bit differently from the rest of us. Amusing, especially since I, the thriller reader, was trying to figure out WHICH of them would note the knives as they were being laid on the table.

A couple of thriller writers told me sotto voce that they have comic book projects pending, showing once again the cross-pollination of graphic novels and thrillers. As this news is unfolding, we have a contest running on for Kim Harrison's BLOOD WORK. Kim is a bestselling author in the paranormal genre who is part of this trend. Click here to learn more about BLOOD WORK and Kim, and enter the contest!

Last weekend I prepped for this week of events by reading three thrillers --- the first, DEFENDING JACOB (pre-order from IndieBound or Amazon), is by William Landay, who wrote one of my favorite books, MISSION FLATS. DEFENDING JACOB will not be out until February 7th, but note it now as it is a book you will want to talk about once you read it. In it, Jacob Barber is a young boy accused of murdering his eighth-grade schoolmate. As the family awaits his trial, they are forced to confront a whole myriad of issues --- guilt, shame and the very real fear that Jacob will be headed to prison. Oh, and Jacob’s father, Andrew, is the Assistant District Attorney in their town, thus Jacob grew up at a dinner table where crimes were part of the dinner discussion --- so he knows just what is hanging in the balance. Really gripping. I got to meeting William last night, and I was a real fan girl talking about the story.

Next up was THE ACCIDENT by Linwood Barclay (pre-order from IndieBound or Amazon), which will be in stores on August 9th. Glen’s wife, Sheila, has been killed in a car accident, and the police report is not in keeping with anything he would think about his wife. There has to be another side of the story, which Glen pursues, but on the way to trying to unlock the truth, he ends up unraveling a number of other secrets. There is a ton of action in illegal markets that were unknown to me, and I look forward to seeing Linwood over the weekend to talk about his research. One of our readers, Madeline in Florida, read an advance copy months ago and has been eager for me to read it!

Finally, you may remember how I enjoyed CRASHERS by Dana Haynes last year. He is back with BREAKING POINT (pre-order from IndieBound and Amazon), which will be in stores November 8th, where Dr. Tommy Tomzak and Kiki Duvall make another appearance. Here the crash scene investigation duo is en route to a conference when their own plane crashes. But it’s not an accident, it’s sabotage. Even as they are victims, they pursue their attackers and the action keeps getting ratcheted up. I saw Dana last night, and he already was talking about his next book, which he has completed a first draft of. All I will share is that there is a character in BREAKING POINT I loved who we are going to get to see a lot more of.

We’re wrapping up three great author spotlights this week --- TURN OF MIND by Alice LaPlante, NEVER KNOWING by Chevy Stevens, and YOU’RE NEXT by Gregg Hurwitz. TURN OF MIND is LaPlante’s debut novel and has been featured in our One to Watch spotlight for the past few weeks. It’s also my latest Bets On selection and was the No. 1 pick from IndieBound for July. It’s a haunting story of a former surgeon suffering from dementia who stands accused of murder. You can read more of my personal thoughts about the book here. Norah Piehl has our review and says, “Constructing a murder mystery around a suspect, or even an investigator with memory loss or brain damage, is nothing new. But one of the unique aspects of TURN OF MIND is the way in which LaPlante uses Jennifer's first-person narration both to build character and advance the plot. She masterfully and effectively utilizes Jennifer's notebook entries as well as conversations to develop plot and elicit empathy for this complicated protagonist.” You can also read Norah’s interview with Alice here. TURN OF MIND is in stores now.

NEVER KNOWING is the second book from Chevy Stevens, whose debut STILL MISSING was a hit last summer. She definitely adds to her reputation as an upcoming suspense/thriller author to watch with NEVER KNOWING, which uses the similar patient-psychiatrist interview narrative as STILL MISSING. A child of adoption goes searching for her birth mother, only to discover she’s the lone survivor of a serial killer who is still at large. Joe Hartlaub has our review and says, “STILL MISSING was one of the smartest thrillers of 2010, and NEVER KNOWING repeats that performance in a much different way. Stevens chooses to eschew graphic violence for a thoughtfully layered psychological study that builds slowly toward a series of startling revelations. It’s almost impossible to guess all of what is ultimately revealed.” You can also read Joe’s interview with Chevy here. NEVER KNOWING is in stores now.

Joe also reviews Gregg Hurwitz’s YOU’RE NEXT and says, “The book is pitch-perfect from beginning to end, a wild summer night’s ride that starts with a tragic event and concludes with a pair of climaxes --- one cataclysmic and the other heart-rending --- with a bunch of heart-stopping scenarios along the way.” I always enjoy Gregg’s books and know he will deliver a quick jolt of energy to my reading schedule; he never disappoints. YOU’RE NEXT has a husband and father doing all he can to protect his family after some suspicious characters from his past reemerge and begin making serious threats. Joe also interviewed Gregg, which you can read here. YOU’RE NEXT is in stores now. Gregg is on tour this weekend, and thus he is not here at ThrillerFest. He is missed!

YOU’RE NEXT was also one of our featured prize titles in our Summer Reading feature this week. Just a few more weeks remain in our daily contests, but it’s never too late to subscribe to our special daily emails here. You can either check the site every Monday through Thursday for the day’s prize title, or get them sent directly to you. We’re also planning something new with a similar feature for fall titles, which you can sign up for here, or click the image above. We’re still a few weeks away from unveiling those titles, but it’s going to get you ready for the next season of great books!

Also this week we have our review of SMOKIN’ SEVENTEEN by Janet Evanovich. Regular readers will remember the burglary ordeal that reviewer Roz Shea had to endure before getting time to read and write her review, but we finally have it. We think having the UPS driver thwart cat burglars in your house definitely qualifies for an extension. Roz says, “SMOKIN’ SEVENTEEN is another romp through the impossible world of Stephanie Plum and her Merry Band of Unconventionals.”

We also have a review of THE SILENT GIRL by Tess Gerritsen, the latest in her Rizzoli & Isles series. Tess was one of the participating authors in the Romantic Writers of America Literary Signing last week, and her line was one of the longest. I got a few moments to catch up with her and to talk about her great success with the Rizzoli & Isles books and the show on TNT, which starts its second season on Monday, July 11th. Joe Hartlaub says, “THE SILENT GIRL is a pivotal installment in the series, one that raises a number of issues that surely will be played out in future novels. Gerritsen has demonstrated before that she is not adverse to changing not only the players on the board but also the colors of the squares.”

This essay was making the rounds earlier this week, and it raises a great point. One of the little joys of being a reader is checking out what other people are reading, whether you’re on a plane, train, at the park or beach. We’ve all stolen glances at other people’s choices and maybe even bonded over the books in question. All those new eReaders and tablets make it really hard to have that experience, make that connection, or learn about a new book. She makes a great point! Click here to read the essay.

In between conference events, I am reading THE END OF EVERYTHING by Megan Abbott (order from IndieBound or Amazon), which there has been a lot of buzz about. People keep telling me to read faster so we can talk about it! We will have our review next week.

Here’s wishing you a thrilling week of reading.

Carol Fitzgerald ( Talks to Alice LaPlante, Author of TURN OF MIND

While TURN OF MIND is Alice LaPlante’s first novel, she has 20 years of experience as a writer and writing teacher, having earned the titles of award-winning journalist, corporate editorial consultant, writing coach, and university-level instructor. But she admits that fiction is her "true love."’s Norah Piehl spoke with LaPlante about her compelling literary thriller and the personal reasons for creating her 64-year-old protagonist, Jennifer White, who has Alzheimer’s. She discusses the challenges of delving into the mind of such a character and the crucial storytelling decisions that make it possible to follow Jennifer's thoughts all the way through her dementia.

TURN OF MIND by Alice LaPlante (Fiction)
Dr. Jennifer White’s best friend has been killed, with four fingers surgically removed from her hand. Dr. White is the prime suspect, and she herself doesn’t know if she did it or not. As the investigation deepens and her relationships with her caretaker and two grown children intensify, a chilling question lingers: Is White’s shattered memory preventing her from revealing the truth or helping her hide it? Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

-Click here to read a review of TURN OF MIND.
-Click here to read an excerpt from TURN OF MIND.
-Click here to read critical praise for TURN OF MIND.
-Click here to read Alice LaPlante’s bio.
-Click here to see the 20 winners selected to read and comment on TURN OF MIND.
-Click here to see our One to Watch Author Spotlight feature for Alice LaPlante and TURN OF MIND.


Click here to read our interview with Alice LaPlante. Talks to Chevy Stevens, Author of NEVER KNOWING

Chevy Stevens, who burst onto the thriller scene last year with STILL MISSING, introduces readers to Sara Gallagher in NEVER KNOWING. Adopted at birth, Sara has always wondered about her biological parents --- until she discovers that her father is a serial killer.’s Joe Hartlaub spoke with Stevens about her research into the psychology of serial killers and their effect upon others, as well as her choice of narrative structure (both books are written in first-person monologues as the protagonist undergoes sessions with her therapist). She also discusses adoption rights, nature vs. nurture, and providing just a tiny bit of realistic empathy for the bad guy.

NEVER KNOWING by Chevy Stevens (Psychological Thriller)
Sara Gallagher has always wondered about her birth parents and why she was given up for adoption. But after months of research, she discovers the devastating truth: her mother was the only victim to escape a killer who has been hunting women for decades. Soon, Sara realizes the only thing worse than finding out about her serial-killing father is him finding out about her. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read a review of NEVER KNOWING.
-Click here to read an excerpt from NEVER KNOWING.
-Click here to read critical praise for NEVER KNOWING.
-Click here to read Chevy Stevens’s bio.
-Click here to see Chevy Stevens’s backlist.
-Visit Chevy Stevens’s official website,
-Click here to see the 20 winners selected to read and comment on NEVER KNOWING.
-Click here to see our Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight feature for Chevy Stevens and NEVER KNOWING.


Click here to read our interview with Chevy Stevens. Talks to Gregg Hurwitz, Author of YOU’RE NEXT

Bestselling author Gregg Hurwitz’s 11th novel, YOU’RE NEXT, is about a man named Mike Wingate who, as a boy, was abandoned by his father. Not only did this shape his development as a person, it’s now putting him and his family under attack.’s Joe Hartlaub talked to Hurwitz about his unique plot and the various dilemmas facing Mike, who himself is harboring a secret. He also discusses other creative projects he’s worked on, such as comic books and the television show “V”, and sheds light on both his writing lifestyle and how he views his multifaceted career.

YOU’RE NEXT by Gregg Hurwitz (Thriller)
Mike Wingate, abandoned by his father at four and raised in foster care, is finally living the happy family life he always dreamed of. But then something from his past --- a past he doesn’t even remember --- comes back to visit terror upon him. He must do whatever it takes to protect his family against the hidden men behind the terrifying warning: “You’re Next.” Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read a review of YOU’RE NEXT.
-Click here to read an excerpt from YOU’RE NEXT.
-Click here to read critical praise for YOU’RE NEXT.
-Click here to read Gregg Hurwitz’s bio.
-Click here to see Gregg Hurwitz’s backlist.
-Visit Gregg Hurwitz’s official website,
-Click here to see the 20 winners selected to read and comment on YOU'RE NEXT.
-Click here to see our Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight feature for Gregg Hurwitz and YOU'RE NEXT.


Click here to read our interview with Gregg Hurwitz.

Now in Stores: THE SILENT GIRL by Tess Gerritsen

THE SILENT GIRL: A Rizzoli & Isles Novel by Tess Gerritsen (Medical Thriller)
In an alley lies a female’s severed hand. On the tenement rooftop above is the corpse belonging to that hand: a red-haired woman dressed all in black, her head nearly severed. Two strands of silver hair --- not human --- cling to her body. Cracking a crime resonating with bone-chilling echoes of an ancient Chinese legend, Rizzoli and Isles must outwit an unseen enemy with centuries of cunning --- and a swift, avenging blade. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE SILENT GIRL.

Click here to read a review of THE SILENT GIRL.

Now in Stores: ESCAPE by Barbara Delinsky

ESCAPE by Barbara Delinsky (Fiction)
Lawyer Emily Aulenbach is overwhelmed by her frantic life in Manhattan. She finds herself working for a company she doesn't believe in; her marriage is suffering a major disconnection; and her entire existence is tied to her technological gadgets. Finally she can't take it anymore and runs away. Is there any hope of getting her previous life back on track? Or must she abandon the whole thing? Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

-Click here to read an excerpt from ESCAPE.

Click here to read a review of ESCAPE.

Now in Stores: SMOKIN’ SEVENTEEN by Janet Evanovich

SMOKIN’ SEVENTEEN: A Stephanie Plum Novel by Janet Evanovich (Mystery)
Dead bodies are showing up in shallow graves. No one is sure who the killer is, or why the victims have been offed, but what’s clear is that Stephanie Plum’s name is on the killer’s list. With a cold-blooded murderer after her, a handful of hot men, and a capture list that includes a dancing bear and a senior citizen vampire, Stephanie’s life looks like it’s about to go up in smoke. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

-Click here to read an excerpt from SMOKIN’ SEVENTEEN.

Click here to read a review of SMOKIN’ SEVENTEEN. Bets On: THE SOLDIER’S WIFE by Margaret Leroy
THE SOLDIER’S WIFE by Margaret Leroy (Historical Fiction)
When we think about war, we think about everything in black and white. There are two sides. One is good, and the other is evil. There are allies and enemies, and never should the two meet. Or so we think. But THE SOLDIER'S WIFE throws all that to the wind. Author Margaret Leroy places Vivienne de la Mare in a challenging situation. She is at home on the island of Guernsey with her two young daughters and her elderly mother-in-law as her husband is off fighting the Germans. Rumors of war are swirling around, though life for the moment is safe. Some residents of Guernsey are evacuating to England while others continue living their lives at home in peace, or in as much peace as one can have when war is everywhere.

Then one day, the Germans arrive and set up camp in the house next door to Vivienne's home. Thus the enemy becomes a neighbor. Things become more gray, and out of this grayness comes an attraction and then love for a German soldier. Vivienne finds herself balancing two worlds on a very slippery slope as she learns there is a concentration camp on the island of Guernsey, and thus their idyllic world is shattered in ways she never imagined. Can she continue to love this soldier? Can she cope with the risks that she's taking?

Questions of bravery and courage come into play, along with a lot of "what ifs."

I love it when an author describes a character so vividly that I can picture her as I am reading a book, and then when I think back on the story later, I continue to envision the character in her world. That is what happened for me reading THE SOLDIER'S WIFE. Leroy leaves lots of room for conversation, discussion and an examination of the controversy surrounding the story. I loved it, and it was an easy choice to make it a Bets On selection.

-Click here to read a review of THE SOLDIER'S WIFE.
-Click here to read an excerpt from THE SOLDIER'S WIFE.
-Click here to read our interview with Margaret Leroy.

Click here to see all the titles we’re betting you’ll love.'s Summer Reading Contests and Features

Summer is upon us! At, this means it's time for us to share some great summer book picks with our Summer Reading Contests and Features. We will be spotlighting a different title or two on select days from Tuesday, May 31st through Wednesday, July 27th, so you will have to check the site each day to see the featured prize book(s) and enter. Some days may even feature special bonus prizes, including beach items, a beach tote stocked with goodies, and additional books. We also will be sending a special daily newsletter to announce the day's title(s), which you can sign up for here.

Our next prize book will be announced on Monday, July 11th at noon ET.

-Click here to see this year's featured titles.
-Click here to receive our special newsletter announcing each day’s prize book.


Click here to read all the details of's Summer Reading Contests and Features.

Sign Up for’s “On Sale This Week” Newsletter

While’s Coming Soon feature has been on the site for many years, we have received requests from readers asking for weekly email notifications when books are released. Now we’re happy to announce our latest project,’s “On Sale This Week” newsletter.

Inside this weekly newsletter you will get a listing of hardcover and paperback titles releasing that week and the next, along with a brief description. It's printer friendly for you to take right to the store or post on a bulletin board in your library or store.

Interested in subscribing? Please fill out our form here to subscribe.


Click here to subscribe to's "On Sale This Week" newsletter.'s Fifth Annual Beach Bag of Books Contest

On, we're entering the final week of our fifth annual Beach Bag of Books contest and feature. Through Monday, July 18th, teens can enter to win a " Beach Bag of Books." Five winners each will receive a beach bag that includes 15 books: BEASTLY MOVIE TIE-IN EDITION by Alex Flinn, BEAUTY QUEENS by Libba Bray, CLARITY by Kim Harrington, DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth, HEREAFTER by Tara Hudson, THE IRON QUEEN by Julie Kagawa, LOST VOICES by Sarah Porter, A NEED SO BEAUTIFUL by Suzanne Young, NIGHTSPELL by Leah Cypess, PROM AND PREJUDICE by Elizabeth Eulberg, RUBY RED by Kerstin Gier, SHIVER by Maggie Stiefvater, STARCROSSED by Josephine Angelini, SUPERNATURALLY by Kiersten White, and TEN THINGS WE DID (AND PROBABLY SHOULDN’T HAVE) by Sarah Mlynowski.

Along with the books, winners will find their striped canvas beach bag stocked with an assortment of summer goodies: a blue polka-dot beach towel, a Mega Fling Toss Game, a deck of invisible cards, an inflatable beach ball, Coppertone Sport Sunblock, H2O+ Mineral Spa Shower Gel, Crystal Light Drink Mix, a metallic sports bottle to keep your drink cool, and a terrific cap that turns any can into a bottle to prevent sand and bees from finding their way into your drink.

-Click here to read more about our featured titles.


Click here to read all the contest details.

What’s New This Month on

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

-Deborah Cloyed: THE SUMMER WE CAME TO LIFE -- Part I
-Deborah Cloyed: THE SUMMER WE CAME TO LIFE -- Part II
-Ann Patchett: How to Love a Dog
-Talia Carner: Unveiling the Jerusalem Maiden

For those of you who use RSS feeds to keep track of your favorite blogs, you can now add the Blog to your list by clicking this link. Also, receive updates by email here. The blog is also shared on the Facebook page.

The following guides are now available on

CONQUISTADORA/A> by Esmeralda Santiago
by Kate Kerrigan
ESCAPE by Barbara Delinsky
THE GAP YEAR by Sarah Bird
HASSIE CALHOUN: A Las Vegas Novel of Innocence by Pamela Cory
THE HYPNOTIST by Lars Kepler
A STRANGER LIKE YOU by Elizabeth Brundage
SUMMER FRIENDS by Holly Chamberlin

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

LOVE IN MID AIR by Kim Wright
PERFECT READER by Maggie Pouncey
THE WIFE'S TALE by Lori Lansens

The following new guides are now available for Christian book groups:

THE BLESSED by Ann H. Gabhart
CHASING SUNSETS: A Cedar Key Novel by Eva Marie Everson
THE PROTECTOR: Families of Honor, Book 2 by Shelley Shepard Gray

Click here to visit

Last Week’s Reviews
Here are the books we reviewed in the July 1st newsletter. We'll return with new reviews on Friday, July 15th.

THE SOLDIER’S WIFE by Margaret Leroy
(Historical Fiction)

For fans of historical romance, there can be no more exciting tale than the tender love story told in THE SOLDIER’S WIFE, set on the island of Guernsey during the summer of 1940 and spanning the following five years. This place of beauty and contemplation becomes a safe haven for a while, within a continent that is already being ravaged by war. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE SOLDIER'S WIFE.
-Click here to read our interview with Margaret Leroy.

SUNSET BRIDGE by Emilie Richards (Fiction)
Former socialite Tracy Deloche has nothing to her name but five ramshackle beach cottages and the unlikely friendships she's formed with her tenants. But as a tropical storm brews, the wind carries surprises and secrets over the bridge to Happiness Key. Now, more than ever, five friends will discover just how much they need one another. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

-Click here to read an excerpt from SUNSET BRIDGE.
-Click here to read our interview with Emilie Richards.

THE BELLS by Richard Harvell (Fiction)
Moses Froben was born in a belfry high in the Swiss Alps where his deaf mother served as the keeper of the loudest bells in the land. Shaped by the bells’ glorious music, Moses possessed an extraordinary gift for sound. When he is cast out of his village as a boy, with only his ears to guide him, Moses discovers his singing voice. It is this gift, however, that will cause his greatest misfortune. Reviewed by Usha Rao.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE BELLS.
-Click here to read an interview with Richard Harvell.

NOW YOU SEE HER by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge (Thriller)
A successful lawyer and loving mother, Nina Bloom would do anything to protect the life she's built in New York --- including lying to everyone, even her daughter, about her past. But when an innocent man is framed for murder, she knows that she can't let him pay for the real killer's crimes. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read an excerpt from NOW YOU SEE HER.

UNTOLD STORY by Monica Ali (Fiction)
As what-if novels go, this sensitive thriller --- a highly marketable offering from a Booker Prize-shortlisted author --- is a bombshell...a blonde bombshell. It features a royal personage with a strong resemblance to Diana, Princess of Wales, who fakes her own death and takes up ordinary life in small-town America. Reviewed by Kathy Weissman.

-Click here to read an excerpt from UNTOLD STORY.

THE KINGDOM: A Fargo Adventure by Clive Cussler with Grant Blackwood (Thriller/Action & Adventure)
On a journey that takes them to Tibet, Nepal, Bulgaria, India and China, Sam and Remi Fargo find themselves embroiled with black-market fossils, a centuries-old puzzle chest, the ancient Tibetan kingdom of Mustang, a balloon aircraft, and a skeleton that could turn human evolution on its head. Reviewed by Judy Gigstad.

LONG GONE by Alafair Burke (Thriller)
After a layoff, Alice Humphrey finally lands her dream job managing a new art gallery in Manhattan’s trendy Meatpacking District. Everything is perfect until the morning Alice arrives at work to find the space stripped bare and the owner’s dead body on the floor. Overnight, Alice’s dream job has vanished, and she finds herself at the center of police attention with nothing to prove her innocence. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

BREAKING SILENCE by Linda Castillo (Thriller)
The Slabaugh family are model Amish farmers, but when the parents and an uncle are found dead in their barn, the autopsy indicates foul play. Who would want to make orphans of the Slabaughs' children? Having grown up Amish, Kate is determined to bring the killer to justice. She searches for the link between the mounting Amish crimes and uncovers a dark secret at work beneath the placid surface of this idyllic community. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

TIGERLILY’S ORCHIDS by Ruth Rendell (Psychological Thriller)
When Stuart Font decides to throw a housewarming party in his new flat, he invites all the people in his building. As it turns out, the party will be one everybody remembers. Living in a townhouse opposite Stuart’s building, in reclusive isolation, is a young, beautiful Asian woman known as Tigerlily. As though from some strange urban fairy tale, she emerges infrequently to exert a terrible spell. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

BRIGHT’S PASSAGE by Josh Ritter (Fiction)
Singer-songwriter Josh Ritter’s debut novel tells the story of Henry Bright, a World War I veteran and West Virginia farmer, fleeing the demons of his wartime experience and the wrath of a vengeful enemy. Though not without its flaws, BRIGHT’S PASSAGE is a promising start on a transition into a new artistic field. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.

KINDRED SPIRITS by Sarah Strohmeyer (Fiction)
When Lynne passes away, she leaves behind one simple request: that her old friends sort through her belongings. Reluctantly, three women reunite to rummage through her closets. Buried deep within Lynne's lingerie drawer is an envelope addressed to them. Inside, they find a letter that reveals a shocking secret, and a final wish that will send them on a life-changing journey. Reviewed by Marie Hashima Lofton.

BLOOD OF THE REICH by William Dietrich (Thriller)
With World War II about to explode across Europe, SS Officer Kurt Raeder leads a team to Tibet to discover an energy source to help the Nazis conquer the world. Standing in his way is wealthy American zoologist Benjamin Hood. Decades later, Rominy Pickett is the key to saving the world from the ultimate evil forces. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

FROM BARCELONA, WITH LOVE by Elizabeth Adler (Romantic Suspense)
Adventure follows Mac Reilly and Sunny Alvarez wherever they travel --- St. Tropez, Paris, Monte Carlo, Barcelona --- but their desire for each other always leads them back into each other’s arms and Mac’s Malibu beach house. Their lifestyle is casual, their friends internationally celebrated, their love passionate. Make FROM BARCELONA, WITH LOVE your summer indulgence. Reviewed by Hillary Wagy.

PIE TOWN by Lynne Hinton (Fiction)
Pie Town, New Mexico, was once legendary for its extraordinary pies. But it's been a while since these desserts graced the local diner. The townspeople like to think of themselves as family, especially when it comes to caring for a disabled boy being raised by his grandparents. But Pie Town's fortunes are about to take a major turn --- due to the arrival of a new priest and a young hitchhiker Trina, who some townsfolk just know is trouble. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

THE MAP OF TIME by Felix J. Palma (Historical Fantasy)
Three love stories set in Victorian England are held together by one person: H.G. Wells and his book, THE TIME MACHINE. Wells is called upon to investigate and help perpetuate incidents of time travel. But he finds himself pondering questions about the future and whether it’s possible to change not only the future but also our lives in the process. Reviewed by Amy Gwiazdowski.

THE BEGINNERS by Rebecca Wolff (Fiction)
Theo and Raquel Motherwell are the only newcomers to the sleepy town of Wick in 15-year-old Ginger Pritt's memory. Hampered by a lingering innocence while her best friend becomes embroiled with boys, Ginger is attracted to the worldliness and sophistication of this dashing couple. But the Motherwells may be more than they seem. As Ginger's imagination takes up the seductive mystery of their past, she also draws closer to her town's dark history. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

Click here to read last week's reviews.

Poll and Question of the Week: Thrilling --- and Beachy --- Summer Reads

Which of the following suspense/thrillers releasing this summer are you most looking forward to reading? Please check as many as apply.

BURIED SECRETS: A Nick Heller Novel, by Joseph Finder
COLD VENGEANCE by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
THE CUT by George Pelecanos
FALLEN by Karin Slaughter
FLASH AND BONES by Kathy Reichs
JUSTICE by Karen Robards
KILL ME IF YOU CAN by James Patterson and Marshall Karp
NORTHWEST ANGLE by William Kent Krueger
PORTRAIT OF A SPY by Daniel Silva
QUINN by Iris Johansen
THE SILENT GIRL: A Rizzoli & Isles Novel, by Tess Gerritsen
SMOKIN' SEVENTEEN: A Stephanie Plum Novel, by Janet Evanovich
None of the above

-Click here to answer our poll.


Name up to five of your favorite books that you would label as beach reads.

-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 JUSTICE by Karen Robards, PORTRAIT OF A SPY by Daniel Silva and ROBERT LUDLUM'S ™ THE BOURNE DOMINION by Eric Van Lustbader. Tell us what you are reading here and rate the titles 1-5 by noon ET on Friday, July 15th to ensure that you are in the running to win these books.


Click here for more details about Word of Mouth.


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