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Jack Getze BIG MONEY WORLD TOUR #3

We are delighted to welcome Jack Getze back to Reviewed by Liz. Jack is hitting the road again to promote his second book, BIG MONEY. We read, loved, and reviewed BIG MONEY and you can read our review here. If you missed the BIG NUMERS World Tour, check out the category on the right of the same name. Jack entertained us with stories from the road as he traveled to exotic destinations, survived wardrobe malfunctions, signed books, and endured a hailstorm of frogs. Yes, frogs. Read it and find out.

With his latest adventure from the road, Here’s Jack!

LOS ANGELES — Celebrities are easy to spot in Southern California if you know what you’re looking for–specifically, handsome people in baseball hats and sunglasses.

“That’s Ted Turner in front of us,” a stranger says to me.

“Hard to tell with that hat,” I say, “but the woman with him is definitely not Jane Fonda.”

“Jane Fonda? Oh, honey, they haven’t been together for ages. Where have you been?”

Good question. Let’s see. I started the year in Florida, studying fiction and doing radio interviews between classes. Then it was Denver, Washington, Pittsburgh, Houston, Dallas, Providence, South Pasadena, Whittier, and finally, Los Angeles, home to Book Expo 2008, where the stranger and I spot Ted Turner on the escalator.

“I’ll bet he’s here promoting his new book,” the stranger says.

“Aren’t we all.”

* * *

“Hey! Have you heard about Mouse Puzzles? It’s the next Sudoku. Come on over, let me show you.”

It’s the guy in the booth next to mine. He’s a math whiz, and not a bad hawker. He came up with an idea for a new puzzle, published game books on his own, and now offers them to each and every passerby.

“Do you ever read mysteries?”

That’s my pitch. Everybody with a booth has one. That’s what Book Expo is–about one-thousand pitchmen behind banners and displays and sample material. Mostly it’s books, but there’s lots of other stuff. Candy, office equipment, library cataloging systems. Everybody’s selling something.

“Do you ever read mysteries?” I say to a middle-aged man.

He approaches. “No, but I know who does. Do you have a public relations program?”

Oops. Seems like not all the pitchmen are behind booths.

* * *

I gave away over 100 books at this year’s Book Expo. Can’t say what good it’ll do me, if any, but last year, Book Expo people took 85 copies of Big Numbers and I developed half a dozen book signings and library appearances from those contacts. I’d like to think I found some new readers, too, people who may have bought Big Money since then.

The way I look at it, mystery writers who make money on their first few books are rare. They may not even exist. The idea is to build readership with each new book in the series, finally reaching mystery stardom after, say, five or six books.

Hey, I can dream, can’t I?

* * *

“Let me ask you something, okay?”

It’s the guy on the other side of me, one of two online publishing partners from Singapore. They don’t have much of a pitch, but they don’t care about selling books either. They say they are in Los Angeles to meet women.

“If the street is named Rodeo Drive, why do people here say ‘row-DAY-o.’”

“I have no clue,” I say. “And I grew up here. I think you probably want to ask the next woman walking by in sunglasses and a baseball hat.”

Check out Jack’s web site at www.jackgetze.com.

Get your copy of Big Money from Amazon

Mystery Book Reviews by Liz at http://reviewedbyliz.com (c)2008

What ever happened to Liz?

Yes, we are alive! It has been a while since we posted and we apologize for the absence of new material. But sometimes life interferes with blogging…

One of our good friends has written a play and Liz is playing one of the major roles in it. She has the part of a loud, outspoken, and sarcastic woman – it was practically written for her! She is rehearsing four nights a week and hasn’t had the time to write any reviews. But she has been reading and will write them up in the next few weeks as the play wraps up. Right now she is looking for the perfect purse to use onstage. Something that will accommodate a bowling ball and coordinate with all four of the costumes she appears in. You would think this was the search for the Holy Grail.

I do know that she is very excited about the boxes arriving from SOHO Press. Their new Constable line of books is delighting her. She found time to buzz through the new Donna Andrews, and she practically danced when the Neil Plakcy book arrived. It is terrible when she misses her cues while reading backstage during rehearsals.

And Liz is also thinking about her next round of library talks. She did a series of six at local libraries about some less well-known mystery authors this spring and they were very well received. The far-ranging discussions ran so long after her talks that the librarians were practically pushing the groups out the door at closing time. She has been asked to prepare another presentation on Michigan mystery authors for the fall, so if you have some to recommend – or mysteries set in Michigan by out of state authors – be sure to let us know.

We had intended to host another Summer Mystery Reading Challenge until Liz took this role in the play, but we realized that we wouldn’t be able to kick it off in time. I am helping with rehearsals and publicity and Emily is on the stage crew, so we are all living at the theater during these final weeks. We hope that you will adopt the spirit of the challenge on your own and discover some “new to you” mystery authors. This blog and the interaction we have had with both readers and authors on the internet has exposed us to so many new and wonderful books and we hope you have benefited from the experience, too. When the final curtain falls, we will be back with a new round of reviews and we will get everything caught up then. In the meantime, tell us what you have been reading in the last few weeks. There are a bunch of new books coming out this summer – what are you looking forward to? Or are you discovering some classic mysteries for the first time? Leave a comment below so we know what to read next!

Bob

Chris Grabenstein – The Crossroads – New Book Release 5/27/08

ISBN 0375846972
Random House Books for Young Readers – Hardcover

THE CROSSROADS – Chris Grabenstein’s first book for younger readers is filled with the same humorous and spinetingling storytelling that has made him a fast favorite with adults. Zack, his dad, and new stepmother have just moved back to his father’s hometown in Connecticut, not knowing that their new house has a dark history. Fifty years ago, a crazed killer caused an accident at the nearby crossroads that took forty innocent lives. He died when his car hit a tree in a fiery crash, and his malevolent spirit has inhabited the tree ever since. During a huge storm, lightning hits the tree, releasing the spirit, who decides his evil spree isn’t over, and Zack is directly in his sights!

Chris Grabenstein did improvisational comedy (with Bruce Willis) in New York before James Patterson hired him at the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency. His Anthony Award-winning debut John Ceepak mystery TILT A WHIRL was followed by MAD MOUSE and WHACK A MOLE. Look for HELL HOLE from St. Martin’s Minotaur in August. Chris has also written two thrillers: SLAY RIDE and HELL FOR THE HOLIDAYS. Random House will publish his Middle Grades ghost story THE CROSSROADS this May. His dog has better credits: he once starred on Broadway in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Check out Chris’s web site at www.ChrisGrabenstein.com.

Available at Amazon

New book releases are a feature provided for our readers by reviewedbyliz, but are not written by us. Where available, the descriptions of the books are those provided by the Author or publisher.

Sample Chapter Sunday – 5/25/08

Sample Chapter Sunday is the cure for the boring Sunday afternoons when you have no new reading material. You can swing by here and find links to sample chapters of mysteries by favorite authors and authors you haven’t read before.

Any mystery author is welcome to put a link to their online sample chapter by leaving a comment on this post. Hopefully, they will also give us their name, title of the book, and a brief description or synopsis to pique our interest. Tell your friends to come read and your favorite authors to come show off their sample chapters!

To see the access the sample chapters that the authors have posted links to, click on the COMMENTS link below (if you are an author, this is also the place you add a comment and post your book description and sample chapter links).

Donna Leon – The Girl of His Dreams – New Book Release – 5/13/08


ISBN: 0871139804

Atlantic Monthly Press
Hardcover – 5/13/08

THE GIRL OF HIS DREAMS – A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery – Donna Leon’s seventeenth novel starring Venetian Commissario Guido Brunetti, the “warmhearted detective [who takes] what solace he can from the beauty of his city and the homely domestic rituals that give him the strength to go on” ( The New York Times Book Review). 

Donna Leon’s Commissario Guido Brunetti mysteries have won legions of fans for their evocative portraits of Venetian life. In her novels, homecooked food, family, renaissance art, Italian history, and local politics play as central a role as an unsolved crime. Her latest, The Girl of His Dreams, opens with a major event in Brunetti’s family, and keeps the theme of family close to the fore. When a friend of Brunetti’s brother, a priest recently returned from years of missionary work in Africa, calls on the Commissario with a request, he suspects the man has motives. A new, American-style Protestant sect has begun to meet in private homes in the city, and it’s possible the priest is merely apprehensive of the competition. But the preacher could also be fleecing his growing flock, so Brunetti and his wife, Paola, along with Inspector Vianello and his wife, go undercover. 

But the investigation has to be put aside when, one cold and rainy morning, a body is found floating in a canal. It is a child, a gypsy girl. Brunetti suspects she fell off a nearby roof while fleeing an apartment she had robbed. He has to inform the distrustful parents, encamped on the mainland, and soon finds himself haunted by the crime—and the girl. 

The Girl of His Dreams, like a number of Leon’s previous novels, explores the people and cultures at the margins of Italian life, in this case the tens of thousands of Romani people who exist both inside and outside of society. Thoughtprovoking, eye-opening, and profoundly moving, The Girl of His Dreams is classic Donna Leon, a spectacular, heart-wrenching addition to the series. 

Donna Leon has lived in Venice for over twenty-five years and previously lived in Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, Iran and China, where she worked as a teacher. Her previous novels featuring Commissario Brunetti have all been highly acclaimed; most recently Friends in High Places, which won the CWA Macallan Silver Dagger for Fiction, Wilful Behaviour, Doctored Evidence, Blood From A Stone, Through A Glass, Darkly, Suffer the Little Children and The Girl of His dreams

Check out Donna’s home on the web at www.groveatlantic.com/grove/leon/leon.htm
.

Available at Amazon

New book releases are a feature provided for our readers by reviewedbyliz, but are not written by us. Where available, the descriptions of the books are those provided by the Author or publisher.

Steven Saylor – The Triumph of Caesar – New Book Release – 5/13/08


ISBN: 0312359837

St. Martin’s Minotaur – 5/13/08

THE TRIUMPH OD CAESAR – A ROMA SUB ROSA Mystery – The Roman civil war has come to its conclusion – Pompey is dead, Egypt is firmly under the control of Cleopatra (with the help of Rome’s legions), and for the first time in many years Julius Caesar has returned to Rome itself. Appointed by the Senate as Dictator, the city abounds with rumors asserting that Caesar wishes to be made King – the first such that Rome has had in centuries. And that not all of his opposition has been crushed.

Gordianus, recently returned from Egypt with his wife Bethesda, is essentially retired from his previous profession of ‘Finder’ but even he cannot refuse the call of Calpurnia, Caesar’s wife. Troubled  by dreams foretelling disaster and fearing a conspiracy against the life of Caesar, she had hired someone to investigate the rumors. But that person, a close friend of Gordianus, has just turned up dead – murdered — on her doorstep. With four successive Triumphs for Caesar’s military victories scheduled for the coming days, and Caesar more exposed to danger than ever before, Calpurnia wants Gordianus to uncover the truth behind the rumored conspiracies — to protect Caesar’s life, before it is too late. No fan of Caesar’s, Gordianus agrees to help – but only to find the murderer who killed his friend. But once an investigation is begun, there’s no controlling what it will turn up, who it will put in danger, and where it will end.

STEVEN SAYLOR is the author of the ROMA SUB ROSA series of historical mysteries featuring Gordianus the Finder and set in the ancient Rome of Cicero and Caesar.
Steven has been a newspaper and magazine editor, and a literary agent (most notably for Lars Eighner’s memoir of homelessness, TRAVELS WITH LIZBETH, a New York Times Notable Book, and also for erotic author Aaron Travis). Steven is not much given to autobiography, but the late, great editor John Preston coaxed him into writing three very personal essays included in Preston’s ground-breaking anthologies. In HOMETOWNS, Steven wrote about his small Texas hometown; in A MEMBER OF THE FAMILY, he wrote about the death of his mother; in FRIENDS AND LOVERS, he wrote about his relationship with Rick Solomon, his partner since 1976.
Steven was born in Texas in 1956 and graduated with high honors from the University of Texas at Austin, where he studied history and Classics. He divides his time between homes in Berkeley, California, and Austin, Texas.

Check out Steven’s web site at www.stevensaylor.com.

Available at Amazon

New book releases are a feature provided for our readers by reviewedbyliz, but are not written by us. Where available, the descriptions of the books are those provided by the Author or publisher.

Tasha Alexander – A Fatal Waltz – New Book Release – 5/20/08


ISBN: 006117422X

William Morrow
Hardcover – 5/20/08

A FATAL WALTZ – A Lady Emily Ashton Mystery – At her friend Ivy’s behest, Lady Emily Ashton reluctantly agrees to attend a house party at the country estate of Lord Basil Fortescue, a man she finds as personally odious as he is politically powerful.  But if she was expecting Lord Fortescue to be the greatest of her problems, she was wrong.  Her host has also included Kristiana von Lange among the guests, an Austrian countess who had once been linked romantically with Emily’s fiancé, Colin Hargreaves.  Both Lord Fortescue and the countess take great delight in tormenting Emily, but petty malice turns deadly serious when Lord Fortescue is found murdered, and his protégé, Robert Brandon – Ivy’s husband – is arrested for the crime.
Emily’s efforts to clear Robert’s name take her to Vienna.  Glittering balls, sordid back streets, chic cafes, and even the Imperial palace yield fragmentary clues, but not until Emily engages a notorious anarchist in a game of wits does the shocking truth begin to emerge:  The price of exonerating Robert can only be paid by placing Colin in deadly peril.  And the one way Emily can ensure his safety is to strike an unthinkable bargain with her nemesis, the Countess von Lange.

Tasha Alexander attended the University of Notre Dame, where she signed on as an English major in order to have a legitimate excuse for spending all her time reading. Following graduation, she played nomad for several years, eventually settling with her family in Tennessee. When not reading, she can be found hard at work on her next book.

Check out Tasha’s web site at www.tashaalexander.com.

Available at Amazon

New book releases are a feature provided for our readers by reviewedbyliz, but are not written by us. Where available, the descriptions of the books are those provided by the Author or publisher.

Nicola Upson – An Expert in Murder – New Book Release – 5/20/08


ISBN: 0061451533

Harper
Hardcover – 5/20/08

AN EXPERT IN MURDER – A Josephine Tey Mystery – An Expert in Murder is the first in a new series which features crime writer Josephine Tey as its lead character.
It’s March, 1934, and Tey is travelling from Scotland to London for the final week of her celebrated play, Richard of Bordeaux – but joy turns to horror when her arrival coincides with murder.

Detective Inspector Archie Penrose is convinced that the killing is connected to the play. Richard of Bordeaux has been the surprise hit of the season, with pacifist themes which strike a chord in a world still haunted by war, but now it seems that Josephine Tey could become the victim of her own success, as her reputation – and even her life – are put at risk.
A second murder confirms Penrose’s suspicions that somewhere amongst this flamboyant theatre set is a ruthless and spiteful killer. As his investigations lead him from the romance of the West End to the stark reality of the trenches, he and Tey must confront their own ghosts in a search for someone who will stop at nothing to right the wrongs of a past generation
Cleverly blending elements of the Golden Age author’s real life with a fictional murder mystery, An Expert in Murder is both a tribute to one of the most enduringly popular writers of crime and a richly atmospheric detective novel in its own right

Nicola Upson was born in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, and read English at Downing College, Cambridge. She has worked in theatre and as a freelance journalist, and is the author of two non-fiction works, and the recipient of an Escalator Award from Arts Council England.
Since discovering the work of Golden Age author Josephine Tey/Gordon Daviot, she has developed a passion for the theatre and literature of the period, and an admiration for those who wrote and performed between the wars. Her research has included many conversations with people who remember the time and who knew Josephine Tey, including Sir John Gielgud and Margaret Harris, one of the design team ‘Motley‘.
She lives with her partner and splits her time between Cambridge and Cornwall, where the next novel in the series is set.

Check out Nicola’s web site at www. nicolaupson.com.

Available at Amazon

New book releases are a feature provided for our readers by reviewedbyliz, but are not written by us. Where available, the descriptions of the books are those provided by the Author or publisher.

Vicki Lane – In a Dark Season – New Book Release – 5/20/08


ISBN: 0440243602

Bantam Dell
Paperback – 5/20/08

IN A DARK SEASON – An Elizabeth Goodweather mystery – Crouched on its ledge above the historic Drovers’ Road, the house at Gudger’s Stand has witnessed many a dark and bitter deed. When a new friend of Elizabeth Goodweather leaps from the upper story of the old building, Elizabeth and Phillip, already tangled in the problems of their own off-and-on relationship, are drawn into a web of long-kept family secrets. Brooding madness, mountain magic, and a tale of bewitchment and betrayal in a by-gone time all come together in the best Goodweather novel yet!

When we asked Vicki to tell us about herself, this is what she had to say: I’m a relative newcomer to the mountains of North Carolina, having only lived here since 1975, but I’ve paid attention to the stories I’ve been told and am proud to say that native born mountain folk tell me I’ve gotten it right. The Appalachians are so rich in history that I’ve been compelled to add a historical subplot to each of my novels. In this, the fourth Elizabeth Goodweather mystery, the subplot is from 1860 and takes place on the Drovers’ Road — which ran very near to my farm. It’s my delight to share with my readers the wealth of lore, history, flora, fauna, and folk that comprise my adopted home.

Check out Vicki’s web site at www.vickilanemysteries.com.

Available at Amazon

New book releases are a feature provided for our readers by reviewedbyliz, but are not written by us. Where available, the descriptions of the books are those provided by the Author or publisher.

Jack Getze BIG MONEY WORLD TOUR #2

We are delighted to welcome Jack Getze back to Reviewed by Liz. Jack is hitting the road again to promote his second book, BIG MONEY. We read, loved, and reviewed BIG MONEY and you can read our review here. If you missed the BIG NUMERS World Tour, check out the category on the right of the same name. Jack entertained us with stories from the road as he traveled to exotic destinations, survived wardrobe malfunctions, signed books, and endured a hailstorm of frogs. Yes, frogs. Read it and find out.

With his latest adventure from the road, Here’s Jack!

HOUSTON, TEXAS — Beside me is a friend, a writing chum, but I’m still nervous, apprehensive. Murder by the Book on Bissonnet Street here is rated one of America’s top mystery book stores. EVERYbody comes here. Michael Connelly, Carolyn Hart, Janet Evanovich, James Patterson, Anne Perry, and–today only–Jack Getze. Gulp.

Thanks to some fancy gab by PJ my PR Lady, I am talking today about my new novel at the center of American Mystery Fiction. Well…it’s a big, famous store, anyway. And The Big Stage is certainly what it feels like, shaking hands with storeowner David Thompson, and my co-author at today’s event, Baron Birtcher.

“Tell me you had Chinese for lunch,” Baron says. “Because if that’s not a noodle on your beard, I don’t want to know.”

My gaze finds an intimidatingly large stack of books David has pre-ordered for this event. A fine sheen of moisture dampens my collar. Hopefully, I’ll sell a few books for the store, get a few new readers for myself. My business plan calls for early round losses. I’m not worried about making money yet.

Good thing.

I wander toward the table where Baron and I will blab about our new releases. First time ever, there are more than 10 people gathered. Baron must be a hit.

“I loved your first book, Big Numbers,” a man in the front row says to me. Baron and I aren’t even seated. “I can’t wait to read this new one. Big Money. It’s a great series.”

I swoon. The store’s floor-to-ceiling racks of multicolored books swirl in a blurred jumble. The floor rolls like a Jersey Shore amusement ride. Baron has to grab my shoulder.

“It’s a fan, dude,” Baron says.

When it’s over, I’ve sold and signed more books than I’ve ever sold in a bookstore. Ever sold anywhere, really, except for the kickoff I threw, where purchase of the book was the price of admission to a cruise ship, with steak and lobster dinner, all-you-can-drink open bar, and a live concert by Madonna.

I did well at Murder by the Book, but I didn’t entirely deplete that stack of pre-ordered books.

“Sign what’s left and send me some bookmarks,” David says. “Why don’t you have bookmarks?”

“I thought they were like, for collectors. Not much good, really, there being so many other bookmarks around.”

He hands me the book I’ve just purchased, Megan Abbott’s Edgar winner, QUEENPIN. “Look inside,” he says.

Oops. Now I get it. Bookmarks with enticing blurbs about Megan Abbott’s other two books are stuffed between the pages. Duh! Bookmarks are a great form of one-on-one advertising–for the bookstore, AND the author.

“When a customer buys a book by another funny mystery author, I’ll stick one of your bookmarks inside,” David says.

My knees tremble. I almost pass out for the second time in an hour. “Expect a box next week.”

Check out Jack’s web site at www.jackgetze.com.

Get your copy of Big Money from Amazon

Mystery Book Reviews by Liz at http://reviewedbyliz.com (c)2008