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July 22, 2011 Newsletter July 22, 2011
Greetings From Comic-Con AKA Costume Land

This week finds me at Comic-Con in San Diego caught up in the complete pop culture swirl of this convention. Want a taste of the kind of creative marketing that happens here? Then look no further than the photo of me on the right! Here’s what I like about this convention --- the clever ideas. From booth to booth, there is a total sensory overload of smart and witty ideas on how to draw you in to look at programming and merchandise, or at least note them. It’s all with the idea of entertaining and making an impact.

As a result, I always say that this is the most intense conference of the year as there is total immersion from the moment you leave your hotel. There is signage throughout the downtown area, and hotels are bathed in scrims announcing upcoming movies --- a Cowboys & Aliens scrim is draped down the side of the Hilton Bayfront. I find myself looking for news everywhere.

By the way, this picture has significance to me. Years ago I met Jeff Lindsay at a convention, and he told me he had his first book coming out and that it had been optioned by Showtime. He said it was about a serial killer who kills serial killers. I thought it sounded interesting and made a mental note. Now options are something that are bought on many books, and most never turn into projects, thus I was pretty skeptical about the screen concept. So imagine my delight when I saw "Dexter" airing for Season One back in 2006. Thus the picture really made me smile since I remembered this when Jeff shared very early excitement about it way back when. Nice when things happen like that. By the way, book six in the Dexter series, DOUBLE DEXTER (pre-order from IndieBound or Amazon), will be out on October 18th. Note that the rights were only bought for the first book, thus the books are not running the same course as the show. So if you like the show, the books are an added story.

I am not in costume, though MANY are, but as my ode to Comic-Con fashion, I picked up some nifty new running shoes accented in my signature color that you see above, which are definitely what one needs to walk ---run --- from place to place here.

I flew in Monday for meetings, and Tuesday I had a couple of hours free and went in search of a pool. What is amusing here is that most of the hotel pools are small. VERY small. Like large hot tubs. I know because I visited three of them as my hotel, the U.S. Grant, while amazing in every other way, does not have a pool. I know it’s California and the ocean is “right there,” but I do wonder where people swim laps! I finally found one deep enough for water aerobics, and I found another via a friend where I can do laps.

Room service stresses me out when I am on a business trip. Not the food, but the planning. You know those forms they leave the night before of what time you will want breakfast? Well, I cannot commit at midnight to what I want to do at 8 the next day nor what I want to eat. And if I call down, they always seem to need 30 minutes. So though it’s convenient on the last couple of trips, I have been stocking the room's mini-fridge with Greek yogurt and fruit (banishing the beer and sodas). Brilliant. But I once again forgot to bring/get a spoon. Here I am eating yogurt with a drink stirrer. Last hotel I used a straw. Note to self: pack spoon in my travel kit.

While here, I am reading Lee Child’s upcoming book, THE AFFAIR (pre-order from IndieBound or Amazon). It’s perfect for convention reading where I manage to read one chapter at a time; he writes short chapters with cliffhangers, and I find myself yelling "Noooooo" as I just want to keep going. It’s a prequel to KILLING FLOOR and gives background on why Reacher left the military. I'm completely enjoying it like a tasty treat between work. By the way, have you heard that Tom Cruise has been signed to play Reacher? “NOOOOOOO” was my response when I heard this. Read more here.

The collision of books and movies is everywhere here. Last week I got to meet Erin Morgenstern, the author of THE NIGHT CIRCUS, which will be in stores on September 13th (pre-order from IndieBound or Amazon), which is one of THE most buzzed-about books of fall. Erin is here doing meetings about it, as this is one very, very hot property with rights already bought! More on THE NIGHT CIRCUS in the weeks to come; it deserves the attention it is getting.

I love reader mail as you often share a take on something that I may have missed noting to our readers. As an example, last week we announced Lisa Genova’s LEFT NEGLECTED as our latest Paperback Spotlight title. The paperback version hits stores on July 28th, and I truly hope you will check it out as it’s one of my favorites. Lisa is actually one of only two authors (Juliette Fay is the other) to be featured twice in my Bets On picks as her first novel, STILL ALICE, was excellent as well. During the weekend, I received a wonderful note from Bobbie in Boca Raton, Florida, who could truly relate to LEFT NEGLECTED. Bobbie’s granddaughter has mild cerebral palsy yet participates in a special ski program at Ski Wyndham like the one mentioned in the book, which has allowed her to travel, train, and compete in ski racing in Colorado. Other members of Bobbie’s family have gotten involved on the training and volunteering level, and it sounds like this ski program has brought the family closer together. I love getting notes like these and love that books like LEFT NEGLECTED can help shed light on brain conditions --- and ways to adapt to them.

I was saddened to see the closing of the Borders stores across the country. While as someone in the industry called this “the longest goodbye” as we have all seen it coming for a while now, the finality of it brings the realization that there are hundreds of fewer places to buy books. For us, it means that our office on 57th Street lost its neighborhood bookstore at Columbus Circle, where we frequently popped over for events in the evening or at lunchtime, as well as browsing to see how the books we featured looked in stores. Late last year, we lost the Barnes and Noble at Lincoln Triangle. I think now the closest store is in the 80s on the West Side, which does not sound like a big deal unless you think that just seven months ago I could walk two blocks and get to stores. At home we lost two bookstores, each within 15 minutes of my house.

News like this has me again encouraging you to support your local bookstores. If you typically purchase online, consider stopping by your local bookseller for a purchase. You WILL miss bookstores if they are not around. Trust me on this!

In June’s edition of the Newsletter for Registered Readers, I asked readers what they thought about independent stores charging admission for author-speaking events. The question was inspired by an article that ran in the New York Times recently, and it triggered a variety of responses from readers all over the country. Some were all for paying an admission fee as a way of showing support to their local store, as well as offsetting the cost of hosting the event as many stores need to transform their space or even close to the public for the event. Some readers were opposed to the practice. Many times at author events I’m not purchasing a book related to an event as I’ve usually received a review copy from an author or publisher. But I am using the store for my entertainment purposes, thus I try to buy another book while I am in stores. You can read your responses here.

Speaking of events, Erin and Eric from our staff went downtown to see Daniel Silva at his standing room-only event the other evening. Erin reported that once again he was an engaging and entertaining speaker as he shared with readers PORTRAIT OF A SPY, the latest book in his Gabriel Allon series. You can see a clip of him talking about it on the "Today Show" here. In this book, Gabriel teams up with the daughter of one of his dispatched foes to thwart an extremist cell.

You can read our review by Kate Ayers here, where she says, "Daniel Silva seems to have an uncanny understanding of the extremist mindset. His novels can serve as much more than entertainment; they can be looked at as wake-up calls. We know we have an enemy in our midst who has a fanatical wish to kill us and is unmindful of his own survival, as he cares not for this world. The promise is in the next one. It makes a story like PORTRAIT OF A SPY a must-read. Scary, intelligent and paced with the speed of a bullet, Silva’s latest Allon installment is a blockbuster."

We have our review of Megan Abbott’s THE END OF EVERYTHING. I was hearing so many good things about it that I bumped it to the top of my stack a couple weekends ago. It’s a gripping mystery about two teenage girls who are best friends until one goes missing and panic spreads throughout the town. Reviewer Terry Miller Shannon says, “Set in the 1980s in a placid Midwestern suburb, THE END OF EVERYTHING looks unflinchingly at obsession, as well as the nature of friendship and the sometimes dark but always complicated underpinnings of families. These revelations can feel disconcertingly private and personal; it’s not always comfortable to read, but it never fails to be fascinating. Megan Abbott’s latest is an urgent, dark and dream-like suspense tale that I found nearly impossible to put down.”

Karen Robards’s latest, JUSTICE, is now in stores. It’s about a criminal attorney who’s under protection from the Secret Service after witnessing the First Lady’s murder years ago. However, the media attention surrounding her latest verdict makes it hard for her to keep a low profile and gives some bad people from her past help in tracking her down. Amie Taylor has our review and says, "JUSTICE is a riveting novel and continues the story that began with Karen Robards's previous effort, PURSUIT. While the former can be read easily as a stand-alone, you'll probably want to pick up the latter as well, if you haven't already. You'll be able to enjoy the string of events that brought Mark and Jess to this point and extend your time with this fun, passionate couple."

Also out this week is ROBERT LUDLUM’S THE BOURNE DOMINION by Eric Van Lustbader. It’s great to see this popular series about the amnesiac former spy keep going and appealing to longtime fans and new readers alike. I think it’s safe to say that the late, great Robert Ludlum’s estate is in good hands with Eric Van Lustbader. L. Dean Murphy has the review and says, “Current events and stealth make this installment seem more fact than fiction. The Tooth Fairy delivers Bourne a bountiful reward. A wealth of information flows as smoothly as a swallow of single malt scotch.”

Other notable books we're reviewing include THE DEVIL COLONY by James Rollins and EYES WIDE OPEN by Andrew Gross. You can read more about James Rollins and the latest installment of his Sigma Force series in this interview. Next week we bring you our review of George R. R. Martin’s A DANCE WITH DRAGONS, which we learned was delivered to the wrong address in our reviewer’s neighborhood, thus he got the book three days late. Maddening but true.

Work continues on the re-launch…and MANY thanks to those of you who were beta-testers. GREAT feedback and we are now tweaking. I continue to use the four-letter word “soon” to describe the launch.

Well, I am off to lace up my running shoes and head out on my walking beat. Much more to come about Comic-Con next week. And for all of you suffering from the mega heat wave racing across the country, may there be relief soon. Channel thoughts of our equally brutally cold winter for a contrast. Have a great week of reading --- an exercise that works indoor or out, or even floating in tiny pools!

Carol Fitzgerald (


Now in Stores: PORTRAIT OF A SPY by Daniel Silva

PORTRAIT OF A SPY by Daniel Silva (Thriller)
Two suicide bombers have claimed victims in two different cities within minutes of one another. Israeli agent Gabriel Allon has spotted a third, but just before he can stop him, he is grabbed and neutralized. Now he has vowed to dismantle the terrorist network responsible, but this job may prove to be his most challenging yet. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

-Click here to read an excerpt from PORTRAIT OF A SPY.
-Visit Daniel Silva's official website,


Click here to read a review of PORTRAIT OF A SPY.

Now in Stores: ROBERT LUDLUM’S THE BOURNE DOMINION by Eric Van Lustbader

ROBERT LUDLUM’S THE BOURNE DOMINION by Eric Van Lustbader (Thriller)
Jason Bourne is searching for an elusive cadre of terrorists planning to destroy America's most strategic natural resources --- and needs the help of his longtime friend, General Boris Karpov, the newly appointed head of Russia's most feared spy agency. But Karpov has made a deal with the devil. In order to remain the head of FSB-2, he must hunt down and kill Bourne. Reviewed by L. Dean Murphy.

-Visit Eric Van Lustbader’s official website,

Click here to read a review of THE BOURNE DOMINION.

Now in Stores: JUSTICE by Karen Robards

JUSTICE by Karen Robards (Romantic Suspense)
After surviving the suspicious car crash that killed the First Lady, Jessica Ford has recreated her life and her identity. But when it becomes obvious that someone wants to tie up the loose ends connected with the crime, Jessica is on the run again with the one man she's done everything to avoid: sexy Secret Service agent Mark Ryan. Reviewed by Amie Taylor.

-Visit Karen Robards’s official website,

Click here to read a review of JUSTICE.

Now in Stores: BURNT MOUNTAIN by Anne Rivers Siddons

BURNT MOUNTAIN by Anne Rivers Siddons (Fiction)
Growing up, the only place tomboy Thayer Wentworth felt at home was her summer camp in the North Carolina Mountains. It was there that she met Nick Abrams, her first love…and first heartbreak. Years later, she marries an Irish professor and they settle down only miles from Camp Edgewood. Thayer must confront dark secrets --- about her mother, first love, and, most devastating of all, her husband. Reviewed by Marge Fletcher.


Click here to read a review of BURNT MOUNTAIN.

An Interview with James Rollins, Author of THE DEVIL COLONY

The heroes and villains in James Rollins’s thrillers frequently embark on adventures across the globe. His Sigma Force novels, especially, reveal global secrets about society, history, science and medicine, while offering readers the ride of their lives. The latest installment in the series, THE DEVIL COLONY, dares to answer a frightening question at the heart of America: Could the founding of the United States be based on a fundamental lie? In this interview, Rollins explains the roots of this high-concept story, including his immense research and preparation. He also discusses Mormons, Thomas Jefferson, nanoparticles, and Operation Thriller --- a life-altering experience he will always cherish.

THE DEVIL COLONY: A Sigma Force Novel by James Rollins (Thriller)
Could the founding of the United States of America be based on a fundamental lie? The shocking truth lies hidden within the ruins of impossibility --- a lost colony of the Americas vanished in time and cursed into oblivion. Sigma Force must unravel the secret of the Devil Colony and save the world from cataclysm. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

-Click here to read a review of THE DEVIL COLONY.

Click here to read an interview with James Rollins.

Now in Stores: DREAMS OF THE DEAD by Perri O'Shaughnessy

DREAMS OF THE DEAD by Perri O'Shaughnessy (Thriller)
Attorney Nina O’Reilly is about to relive a nightmare as her own past comes back to haunt her in DREAMS OF THE DEAD, whereby the notorious killer who was responsible for her husband’s murder may have come back from the dead and is on the loose again. Reviewed by Ray Palen.


Click here to read a review of DREAMS OF THE DEAD.

Now in Stores: THE END OF EVERYTHING by Megan Abbott

THE END OF EVERYTHING by Megan Abbott (Psychological Thriller)
Lizzie and her best friend, Evie, are 13 years old and inseparable --- until the day Evie disappears. Lizzie is frantic to puzzle out the mystery behind the disappearance and to bring Evie home. Her desperate quest is entwined with her own coming-of-age story, in an intense and gripping tale of obsession, friendship and family. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.


Click here to read a review of THE END OF EVERYTHING.

Paperback Spotlight: LEFT NEGLECTED by Lisa Genova

LEFT NEGLECTED by Lisa Genova (Fiction)
Sarah Nickerson, like any other working mom, is busy trying to have it all. One morning while racing to work and distracted by her cell phone, she looks away from the road for one second too long. In that blink of an eye, all the rapidly moving parts of her over-scheduled life come to a screeching halt. After a brain injury steals her awareness of everything on her left side, Sarah must retrain her mind to perceive the world as a whole. In so doing, she also learns how to pay attention to the people and parts of her life that matter most.

-Click here to read a review of LEFT NEGLECTED.
-Click here to read a second excerpt from LEFT NEGLECTED.
-Click here to read critical praise for LEFT NEGLECTED.
-Click here to read more about LEFT NEGLECTED in our Bets On feature.
-Click here to read Lisa Genova’s bio.
-Click here to see Lisa Genova’s backlist.
-Visit Lisa Genova’s official website,
-Click here to see the winners of LEFT NEGLECTED.


Click here to see our Paperback Spotlight feature for LEFT NEGLECTED.'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 25th 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 Fall Preview Contest Alerts

Fall will be here before you know it! At, this means it's time for us to share some great fall book picks with our Fall Preview Feature and Contest. We will spotlight a different title or two on select days beginning August 1st and ending August 31st, so you will have to check the site each day to see the featured prize book and enter. You can check out all our featured titles when we unveil them on Friday, July 29th. We also will be sending a special daily newsletter to announce the day's title. You can sign up here to receive the daily newsletter.

Click here to sign up for's Fall Preview newsletters.

This Week’s Reviews

ONCE UPON A RIVER by Bonnie Jo Campbell (Fiction)
Margo Crane is just 14 years old when her world begins to unravel, starting with the death of her beloved grandfather. When the unimaginable happens, 16-year-old Margo takes a rifle and hits the Stark River in her rowboat. In search of her mother, she discovers much more, in this enthralling page-turner. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

EYES WIDE OPEN by Andrew Gross (Thriller)
Jay Erlich's nephew has been found at the bottom of a cliff at Morrow Bay. It's all just a tragic suicide --- until secrets from the past begin to rear up again. Did a notorious killer, jailed for many decades, have his hand in this? With eyes wide open, Jay puts his life at risk to uncover the truth. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE GAP YEAR by Sarah Bird (Fiction)
Cam's daughter, Aubrey, has been the center of her life since her husband left to join a cult when Aubrey was a toddler. Aubrey's senior year brought wrenching changes, though. As Cam suffers the resulting disconnection with her daughter, Aubrey also narrates her perspective of the year that changed everything. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

-Click here to see the reading group guide for THE GAP YEAR.

THE THIRD WAVE: A Volunteer Story by Alison Thompson (Memoir)
Australian filmmaker Alison Thompson's gripping story of volunteering at the front lines of disasters --- Ground Zero during and after 9/11, Sri Lanka's devastating tsunami of 2004, and Haiti after the 2010 earthquake --- makes for riveting reading. Reviewed by Carole Turner

AMONG THE MISSING by Morag Joss (Mystery)
Three lives collide in the wake of an unforeseeable tragedy. When a bridge collapses in the Highlands of Scotland, dozens of commuters vanish into the freezing river below, swept by the currents toward the sea. Only an amateur video and the bridge’s security camera record their last moments. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

KILLER MOVE by Michael Marshall (Thriller)
Bill Moore already has a lot, but he wants more. Much more. One morning, he arrives at work to find a card waiting for him, with no indication who it's from or why it was sent. Its message is just one word: modified. From that moment on, Bill's life begins to change. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE GREATEST GAME EVER PITCHED: Juan Marichal, Warren Spahn, and the Pitching Duel of the Century by Jim Kaplan (Sports)
Taking the mound at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park one summer night in 1963 were 42-year-old Warren Spahn and 25-year-old Juan Marichal. As one scoreless inning followed another en route to a 16th-inning climax, fans began to sense they were watching a pitching duel for the ages. Reviewed by Ron Kaplan.


Click here to read this week's reviews.

Young Adult Books You Won’t Want to Miss
As you may or may not know, our company, The Book Report Network, has a number of websites about books and authors in addition to Throughout the year, features adult books on, our site for young adult readers, that we think will have definite appeal to a teen audience. In the spirit of sharing, we are now spotlighting a selection of titles each month from that we believe are great reads that you might enjoy.

Here are our latest featured titles:

THE HIDDEN CORONET: Relic Master, Book Three by Catherine Fisher (Fantasy)
Anara is in trouble; its climate has become unstable, and its seven moons are slowly falling out of orbit. A golden coronet is rumored to be the only thing that can stop the destruction that's occurring in Anara. But the coronet is the stuff of legends, lost for centuries. Raffi and Galen must find it before the Watch does, if it exists at all. Reviewed by Sarah A. Wood.

WELCOME TO BORDERTOWN edited by Holly Black and Ellen Kushner (Urban Fantasy)
Bordertown: a city on the border between our human world and the elfin realm. Runaway teens come from both sides of the border to find adventure. Elves play in rock bands and race down the street on spell-powered motorbikes. Human kids recreate themselves in the squats and clubs and artists' studios of Soho. In this volume of all-new work, the original writers of the Bordertown series are joined by a new generation. Reviewed by Sarah Hannah Gómez.

THE DEAD by Charlie Higson (Horror)
THE DEAD is the second book in Charlie Higson's terrifying and action-packed horror series, in which everyone over the age of 16 has been infected with a disease that turns them into flesh-eating monsters. Set one year before the events that occur in THE ENEMY, it fulfills the promise Higson made in his interview with last year: "More zombies! More blood! More flesh-eating!" Reviewed by Sarah A. Wood.

IMAGINARY GIRLS by Nova Ren Suma (Mystery)
Chloe's adored older sister, Ruby, retrieves Chloe from Chloe's father's house, where she went to live after discovering a dead girl at the town reservoir. Back in her hometown two years later, Chloe is stunned to see that very same girl --- the one whose dead body once floated in the reservoir --- attending parties, dating boys, and hanging out with Ruby. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

MERCY by Rebecca Lim (Supernatural Mystery/Romance)
Mercy is a fallen angel haunted by her past. With skin "pale like milk," she never gets sunburned or feels cold, no matter whose body she occupies. When she wakes up in the body of 16-year-old Carmen, a talented singer unsure of her gift, Mercy must discover why she's been dispatched to her new host. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

Click here to see all the young adult books you won’t want to miss.