Category Archives: TLC Book Tours

Book Blog Tour of Based on Availability by Alix Strauss


Welcome to the TLC Book Tour of Based on Availability by Alix Strauss!

Based upon Availability: A Novel

Her face brightens when she sees you.  She hugs you first, awkwardly, because of her large belly, which lightly presses up against you.  How can your friend have a child?  You used to get drunk with her.  Crashed fraternity parties.  Crawled out of your second-floor freshman dorm to buy pot and wait for the cookie guy at the front of the building.  She can’t be someone’s mother.  You can’t be thirty-five.  When you look in the mirror, on a good day, you still see a twenty-three-year-old.  An age when it was okay to be single.  Okay to not have the best job in the world.                                                          — Based on Availability by Alix Strauss

The Four Seasons is one of the luxury places that evokes images of Beautiful People – good looking, wealthy, glamorous.    Based on Availability is an unusual novel that tells the stories of seemingly unconnected women who pass through Manhattan’s Four Seasons Hotel.    Here are some of the characters that you meet:

  • Morgan, the hotel manager, is the dominant character in the novel who is somehow linked to many of the main characters.   Glamorous, efficient, and upwardly mobile, few people are aware that Morgan is haunted by the childhood death of her older sister and the extent to which this impacts her every day life.   As the manager of the Four Seasons, Morgan is often asked to comp or discount meals, rooms, drinks and to fix all sorts of emergencies.  She has her own risky ways of handling the disappointments and stresses of her personal life.  But what she really wants is a close female friend, someone to be as close as a sister; 
  • Trish is the daughter of celebrity parents: a writer and an artist.   Her parents have been busy with their careers and social lives all her life.   The breakup with her boyfriend hit her hard, but Trish is most upset about the recent changes to her best friend Olive.  Trish and Olive had been as close as sisters for as long as they could remember.  But now that Olive has found love and lost close to fifty pounds, and has developed a taste for dangerous diversions;
  • Louise, an old rock star who once partied with Mick Jagger, David Bowie and Iggy Pop.  Now, her glamorous friend in PR is helping Louise “dry out” and she’s opting for the Four Seasons because of the staff’s discretion and personal service;
  • Franny is a Southern girl and a recent transplant to Manhattan.  Franny’s job means that she hovers on the fringes of celebrity:  She’s the tv show stand-in who slips into a celebrity’s seat during award shows or TV specials to prevent unsightly “empty seats.”  Franny “participated silently at game shows, asked questions to guests on  morning talk shows, and laughed on command at sitcoms.  She contributed on focus groups, helped paper the house of previewing musicals, and ate at an array of new restaurants.”  While the list of events and places make for good stories and small talk, Franny misses a sense of belonging and friendship — she feels deeply isolated in the Big City.  She hopes to find friends and connections with her neighbors as they share a traumatic experience;
  • Anne is single, lonely, and has an obsessive compulsive disorder.  Things come to a head as she faces deep disappointment in her love life and professional life;
  • Catherine is an only child and married to a After a history of difficult pregnancies and miscarriages, Catherine’s overwhelming desire is for a child of her own.   As this fixation begins to rule her life, it takes a toll on her marriage;
  • Robin is a Manhattan-based realtor and she’s been looking forward to spending time with her self-centered and power-tripping older sister, Vicki.  They spend the day together shopping on Fifth Avenue and luxuriating in the spa,  and Robin realizes something critical about their relationship; and finally,
  • Sheila is a teacher living in one of the coveted rent-controlled apartments in the Upper East Side of Manhattan.   Like many in the City, she has her routine of morning coffee before the start of another day.   Sheila finds unexpected sweetness with a flirtation with a charming stranger.

In Based upon Availability: A Novel, Alix Strauss skillfully incorporates her knowledge as a lifestyle writer as she recreates this world of privilege and luxury.  Some characters are more compelling than others,  I was most sympathetic to Trish.   I could relate to her feeling that life was happening so fast — that the change to the 30s seems so sudden.   And it’s not just that our bodies seem to betray us.  There’s the sadness and anxiety as we find that our professional lives and personal lives haven’t kept up with expectations.  While each of the characters had some particular vulnerability that made them interesting, there were other times when a character’s myopia made me want to shake them.  I’m sure that Strauss had intended this to be so.  How much do you look for likability in the characters that you read about?

Overall, Based on Availability is an interesting glimpse into the lives of beautiful and dissatisfied people in New York.  If you’re fond of New York stories or contemporary women’s literature,  I think you might enjoy Alix Strauss’s Based upon Availability: A Novel.

ISBN-10: 0061845264 – Paperback $13.99
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks (June 8, 2010), 352 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.

About the Author:
Alix Strauss is a lifestyle trend writer who appears on national morning and talk shows.  Her articles have been published in the New York Times, Marie Claire, Time, and Entertainment Weekly, among other publications.  She is the author of The Joy of Funerals, Have I Got a Guy for You, and Death Becomes Them: Unearthing the Suicides of the Brilliant, the Famous and the Notorious.

Other participating sites:

Tuesday, June 8th: nomadreader
Wednesday, June 9th: Raging Bibliomania
Thursday, June 10th: Book Addiction
Monday, June 14th: Dolce Bellezza
Tuesday, June 22nd: Heart 2 Heart
Wednesday, June 23rd: Reading on a Rainy Day
Thursday, June 24th: As Usual, I Need More Bookshelves
Tuesday, June 29th: Booksie’s Blog
Wednesday, June 30th: Starting Fresh
Date TBD: Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’?

Thank you to Trish and TLC Book Tours for this review opportunity!

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Book Blog Tour of The Killing of Mindi Quintana by Jeffrey A. Cohen


Welcome  to the TLC Book Tour of The Killing of Mindi Quintana by Jeffrey A. Cohen

The Killing of Mindi Quintana
I’m particularly excited to welcome the author here today.    Let me fill you in on the book and the author and then we’ll settle in for a chat with Jeffrey A. Cohen.

The blurb:
Freddy Builder is certain he is meant for more.  More than his life in corporate America bondage.  More than selling china to bluebloods in Philadelphia’s landmark department store, Chanet’s.  Meant for more, meant for better, and lacking only, only an occasion to rise to.

And now that occasion is murder — of Mindi Qunitana, an old college flame wanting simply to stay in his past.

Freddy’s crime is major news from the start.  Mindi is the beautiful daughter of a renowned Philadelphia businessman whose dramatic fall a few years back captivated the city.  A televised trial for Freddy is in the offing.  Meanwhile, he is writing the book about his relationship with Mindi — a remorseless rewrite of her life, his own, and their miserably thin involvement.

As excerpts of the book are published to acclaim, he gives articulate, sympathetic jailhouse interviews, publishes ghostwritten articles on prison issues, and coverage goes national.  A new celebrity murderer is taking the stage — a killer with a book, a jailhouse literary sensation.

Freddy’s defense attorney, Philip, watches in disgust as his client builds his fame with the bones of his victim.  As a career public defender, Philip thought he’d seen evil in all its incarnations.  He’d lost his outrage, his passion for the law, and his marriage along the way.  But as Freddy’s case is a turning point for him — the public’s sympathy for the poet-murderer, the rebel, the killer as great soul — stirs something dormant in Philip.

To stop Freddy, and to vindicate Mindi, Philip will have to violate his oath, even break the law.  But with the help of Mindi’s best friend Lisa, he gives Mindi back the truth of her life and her death.  And he’ll deliver a comeuppance to a killer with a book.

Review:
The Killing of Mindi Quintana drew me in from the start.  The first scenes and much of the novel is told from Freddy Builder’s point of view.  We’re privy to his thoughts, grievances, and fears as he plods through his workday.   He is unhappy, quick tempered, emotionally sensitive and callous at the same time.   It is clear that Mindi Quintana had represented a bright spot in his college life and he often relives the time they’d had together.

When a chance encounter brings Mindi and Freddy together, he is desperate not to lose her this time.  Freddy’s perception of her interest and his own determination  keep him from seeing Mindi’s disinterest.   The disconnect between what Mindi is feeling and Freddy’s excitement and expectations added another level of tension and was artfully done. 


The Killing of Mindi Quintana is not the usual legal thriller – in a good way.  Although Jeffrey Cohen incorporates the tension and uncertainty that makes a suspense thriller,  certain facts are known to us early on.  We get to know Freddy,  hear his thoughts and understand what drives him.  Even before Mindi Quintana is killed we see the tension build up and know that the confrontation is inevitable — it’s just the timing and the manner of the violence that is a surprise.   Jeffrey Cohen delves into the legal maneuvering, manipulation of public opinion and the politics that affect the district attorney’s office – these details are usually glossed over in most thrillers.  The courtroom scenes are also authentically crafted.   If you’re looking for a legal thriller with a strong procedural bent, I highly recommend Jeffrey Cohen’s The Killing of Mindi Quintana.

ISBN-10: 1566499585 – Hardcover $24.99
Publisher: Welcome Rain Publishers (May 16, 2010), 288 pages.
Review copy provided by the author and TLC Book Tours.


About the Author:
Jeffrey Cohen is a writer, trial attorney and technology entrepreneur residing in Philadelphia.  He has written on legal issues, including short stories and articles such as “The Black-White Disconnect: A Conversation with Author David Bradley,” on the O.J. Simpson trial, and “Eight Days a Week,” on legal ethics.

Until April 2008, he served as CEO of Teleperformance Interactive, the automated technologies company he sold to Teleperformance in 2004.  Teleperformance is the world’s leading customer relations management company with more than 80,000 employees.

A 1988 graduate of the Law School of the University of Pennsylvania, Mr. Cohen specialized in appellate, class action and mass tort litigation before entering the business world.  He has sold four of his companies to publicly traded entities since 1996 and now writes full time.  He is currently at work on his second novel, A Plea for Leniency.

Website: www.JeffreyACohenBooks.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/jeffacohen
Linked-In: www.linkedin.com/in/jeffreyacohen

 oOo

Jeffrey A. Cohen has taken the time to answer a few questions about the book and his own writing process.  Please welome, Jeffrey Cohen!

Q:  What inspired you to write the Killing of Mindi Quintana?

JC: Years ago while in law school, I became interested in America’s fascination with our violent criminals; this tendency we have to attribute to them special qualities and talents, charisma and charm, and to make them folk heroes and sympathetic antiheroes. Among our iconic killers like Jesse James, Bonnie & Clyde, and Gary Gilmore, is Jack Henry Abbott, and his story in particular captivated me. Abbott was the convicted murderer who became a cultural icon and literary shooting star when his book of letters to Norman Mailer, In the Belly of the Beast, was published in 1981. 

One irony of the Abbott case is that this evil man’s letters, irrationally justifying his lifetime of violent crime, resulted in public sympathy, literary acclaim, and even his parole. Another irony, tragic, is that within six weeks of his release Abbott killed again, the night before a laudatory review of his book would appear in the New York Times. And a final irony—the one that got me writing—is that the man he stabbed in the heart, Richard Adan, 22, a night-shift waiter who refused Abbott the use of an employees-only restroom, was by day pursuing his dream of becoming a writer himself. 

This is the spark behind The Killing of Mindi Quintana. In my novel, Freddy Builder kills Mindi Quintana and is writing the book about their relationship everybody wants.  It’s a lying rewrite of Mindi’s life and his own, and of his miserably thin involvement with her. As he awaits trial, excerpts of his book appear to praise, and interest grows in the case.  His own lawyer, Philip, watches with disgust as Freddy builds his acclaim from the bones of his victim.  And as a new celebrity killer takes the stage.

Q:How were you able to balance your law practice with writing.  Did you write everyday? Could you tell us more about your writing routine?

JC: The truth is that it was very difficult to balance practicing law, and later running companies, with writing.  Law and business are both all encompassing—just as writing is.  My solution, finally, was to write full time. The Killing of Mindi Quintana is the first result of that decision.

Q: What are you currently working on?

JC: I’m currently working on my second novel, A Plea for Leniency, in which white-shoe criminal defense attorney, Frank Batiste, has just lost his case defending a major corporate America CEO. Convinced he’s failed an innocent man, A Plea for Leniency is his unorthodox request of the prosecutor for compassion in recommending sentence. It is the truth about his client Frank could not tell in court. The novel takes us from Wall Street to the mountain slums of Rio de Janeiro; and from astounding business success to ruin, and in some ways back. We come to see that Franks pleads for compassion not only for his client, but for himself. And we find reasons for mercy.

Q: What do you enjoy reading? What are you reading now?

JC: There are so many kinds of books I love to read, so I’ll keep my answer to what I’ve read recently—actually, reread. I’ve just been rereading The Executioner’s Song by Norman Mailer and In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. Both are seminal portrayals of true-life, iconic American killers, and I thought a lot about them in writing of The Killing of Mindi Quintana.

Q: Do you have any advice for young writers?

JC: Just to let yourself play in your first draft—write the book you really want to write.  Some of the best things you’ll write come to you in doing that—playing, exploring, going on tangents.  To be sure, you’ll have to cut a lot of things out.  But something you wrote on one of your tangents may form the kernel of your book.  Your many subsequent drafts are for development, and imposing order and assuring that everything serves the whole.  It’s here you home in on what the story really is, develop it, cut what doesn’t serve the whole. It’s just my opinion, but I think if you’re too inhibited in the first draft, are too businesslike or bashful or hard on yourself, you may never find your book

Q: Is there a question that you wish you had been asked in a previous interview?

JC: Yes.  I’d like to have been asked, “Is your novel solely about America’s fascination with ‘the man or woman outside the law,’ the achievement of fame and acclaim through the backdoor of murder?  Is there more?”  The answer is there is.  My novel is also about the interplay of talent, hard work, and passion for what you choose do in life. Each of my main characters exemplifies a different mix of these, enjoying or suffering the consequences.  Except Mindi—she has all of her possibilities stolen from her.
oOo


 Thank you so much for taking the time to chat, Jeffrey!  Congratulations on the book and thanks again for this review opportunity!   Thanks also to Lisa and TLC Book Tours for the chance to participate!

Want to read more about Jeffrey A. Cohen and The Killing of Mindi Quintana?

Visit the other sites on this book tour:

Monday, May 3rd:  Jen’s Book Thoughts
Tuesday, May 4th:  Life of a Busy Wife
Wednesday, May 5th:  Rundpinne
Thursday, May 6th:  Musings of a Bookish Kitty
Monday, May 10th:  Rough Edges
Wednesday, May 12th:  Luxury Reading
Thursday, May 13th:  Novel Whore
Friday, May 14th:  Beth Fish Reads
Monday, May 17th:  Book Dilettante
Tuesday, May 18th:  My Two Blessings
Wednesday, May 19th:  Dan’s Journal
Thursday, May 20th:  The Book Faery Reviews
Monday, May 24th:  Starting Fresh
Wednesday, May 26th:  Book Junkie
Monday, June 7th:  The Betty and Boo Chronicles

Book Blog Tour of The Killing of Mindi Quintana by Jeffrey A. Cohen


Welcome  to the TLC Book Tour of The Killing of Mindi Quintana by Jeffrey A. Cohen

The Killing of Mindi Quintana
I’m particularly excited to welcome the author here today.    Let me fill you in on the book and the author and then we’ll settle in for a chat with Jeffrey A. Cohen.

The blurb:
Freddy Builder is certain he is meant for more.  More than his life in corporate America bondage.  More than selling china to bluebloods in Philadelphia’s landmark department store, Chanet’s.  Meant for more, meant for better, and lacking only, only an occasion to rise to.

And now that occasion is murder — of Mindi Qunitana, an old college flame wanting simply to stay in his past.

Freddy’s crime is major news from the start.  Mindi is the beautiful daughter of a renowned Philadelphia businessman whose dramatic fall a few years back captivated the city.  A televised trial for Freddy is in the offing.  Meanwhile, he is writing the book about his relationship with Mindi — a remorseless rewrite of her life, his own, and their miserably thin involvement.

As excerpts of the book are published to acclaim, he gives articulate, sympathetic jailhouse interviews, publishes ghostwritten articles on prison issues, and coverage goes national.  A new celebrity murderer is taking the stage — a killer with a book, a jailhouse literary sensation.

Freddy’s defense attorney, Philip, watches in disgust as his client builds his fame with the bones of his victim.  As a career public defender, Philip thought he’d seen evil in all its incarnations.  He’d lost his outrage, his passion for the law, and his marriage along the way.  But as Freddy’s case is a turning point for him — the public’s sympathy for the poet-murderer, the rebel, the killer as great soul — stirs something dormant in Philip.

To stop Freddy, and to vindicate Mindi, Philip will have to violate his oath, even break the law.  But with the help of Mindi’s best friend Lisa, he gives Mindi back the truth of her life and her death.  And he’ll deliver a comeuppance to a killer with a book.

Review:
The Killing of Mindi Quintana drew me in from the start.  The first scenes and much of the novel is told from Freddy Builder’s point of view.  We’re privy to his thoughts, grievances, and fears as he plods through his workday.   He is unhappy, quick tempered, emotionally sensitive and callous at the same time.   It is clear that Mindi Quintana had represented a bright spot in his college life and he often relives the time they’d had together.

When a chance encounter brings Mindi and Freddy together, he is desperate not to lose her this time.  Freddy’s perception of her interest and his own determination  keep him from seeing Mindi’s disinterest.   The disconnect between what Mindi is feeling and Freddy’s excitement and expectations added another level of tension and was artfully done. 


The Killing of Mindi Quintana is not the usual legal thriller – in a good way.  Although Jeffrey Cohen incorporates the tension and uncertainty that makes a suspense thriller,  certain facts are known to us early on.  We get to know Freddy,  hear his thoughts and understand what drives him.  Even before Mindi Quintana is killed we see the tension build up and know that the confrontation is inevitable — it’s just the timing and the manner of the violence that is a surprise.   Jeffrey Cohen delves into the legal maneuvering, manipulation of public opinion and the politics that affect the district attorney’s office – these details are usually glossed over in most thrillers.  The courtroom scenes are also authentically crafted.   If you’re looking for a legal thriller with a strong procedural bent, I highly recommend Jeffrey Cohen’s The Killing of Mindi Quintana.

ISBN-10: 1566499585 – Hardcover $24.99
Publisher: Welcome Rain Publishers (May 16, 2010), 288 pages.
Review copy provided by the author and TLC Book Tours.


About the Author:
Jeffrey Cohen is a writer, trial attorney and technology entrepreneur residing in Philadelphia.  He has written on legal issues, including short stories and articles such as “The Black-White Disconnect: A Conversation with Author David Bradley,” on the O.J. Simpson trial, and “Eight Days a Week,” on legal ethics.

Until April 2008, he served as CEO of Teleperformance Interactive, the automated technologies company he sold to Teleperformance in 2004.  Teleperformance is the world’s leading customer relations management company with more than 80,000 employees.

A 1988 graduate of the Law School of the University of Pennsylvania, Mr. Cohen specialized in appellate, class action and mass tort litigation before entering the business world.  He has sold four of his companies to publicly traded entities since 1996 and now writes full time.  He is currently at work on his second novel, A Plea for Leniency.

Website: www.JeffreyACohenBooks.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/jeffacohen
Linked-In: www.linkedin.com/in/jeffreyacohen

 oOo

Jeffrey A. Cohen has taken the time to answer a few questions about the book and his own writing process.  Please welome, Jeffrey Cohen!

Q:  What inspired you to write the Killing of Mindi Quintana?

JC: Years ago while in law school, I became interested in America’s fascination with our violent criminals; this tendency we have to attribute to them special qualities and talents, charisma and charm, and to make them folk heroes and sympathetic antiheroes. Among our iconic killers like Jesse James, Bonnie & Clyde, and Gary Gilmore, is Jack Henry Abbott, and his story in particular captivated me. Abbott was the convicted murderer who became a cultural icon and literary shooting star when his book of letters to Norman Mailer, In the Belly of the Beast, was published in 1981. 

One irony of the Abbott case is that this evil man’s letters, irrationally justifying his lifetime of violent crime, resulted in public sympathy, literary acclaim, and even his parole. Another irony, tragic, is that within six weeks of his release Abbott killed again, the night before a laudatory review of his book would appear in the New York Times. And a final irony—the one that got me writing—is that the man he stabbed in the heart, Richard Adan, 22, a night-shift waiter who refused Abbott the use of an employees-only restroom, was by day pursuing his dream of becoming a writer himself. 

This is the spark behind The Killing of Mindi Quintana. In my novel, Freddy Builder kills Mindi Quintana and is writing the book about their relationship everybody wants.  It’s a lying rewrite of Mindi’s life and his own, and of his miserably thin involvement with her. As he awaits trial, excerpts of his book appear to praise, and interest grows in the case.  His own lawyer, Philip, watches with disgust as Freddy builds his acclaim from the bones of his victim.  And as a new celebrity killer takes the stage.

Q:How were you able to balance your law practice with writing.  Did you write everyday? Could you tell us more about your writing routine?

JC: The truth is that it was very difficult to balance practicing law, and later running companies, with writing.  Law and business are both all encompassing—just as writing is.  My solution, finally, was to write full time. The Killing of Mindi Quintana is the first result of that decision.

Q: What are you currently working on?

JC: I’m currently working on my second novel, A Plea for Leniency, in which white-shoe criminal defense attorney, Frank Batiste, has just lost his case defending a major corporate America CEO. Convinced he’s failed an innocent man, A Plea for Leniency is his unorthodox request of the prosecutor for compassion in recommending sentence. It is the truth about his client Frank could not tell in court. The novel takes us from Wall Street to the mountain slums of Rio de Janeiro; and from astounding business success to ruin, and in some ways back. We come to see that Franks pleads for compassion not only for his client, but for himself. And we find reasons for mercy.

Q: What do you enjoy reading? What are you reading now?

JC: There are so many kinds of books I love to read, so I’ll keep my answer to what I’ve read recently—actually, reread. I’ve just been rereading The Executioner’s Song by Norman Mailer and In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. Both are seminal portrayals of true-life, iconic American killers, and I thought a lot about them in writing of The Killing of Mindi Quintana.

Q: Do you have any advice for young writers?

JC: Just to let yourself play in your first draft—write the book you really want to write.  Some of the best things you’ll write come to you in doing that—playing, exploring, going on tangents.  To be sure, you’ll have to cut a lot of things out.  But something you wrote on one of your tangents may form the kernel of your book.  Your many subsequent drafts are for development, and imposing order and assuring that everything serves the whole.  It’s here you home in on what the story really is, develop it, cut what doesn’t serve the whole. It’s just my opinion, but I think if you’re too inhibited in the first draft, are too businesslike or bashful or hard on yourself, you may never find your book

Q: Is there a question that you wish you had been asked in a previous interview?

JC: Yes.  I’d like to have been asked, “Is your novel solely about America’s fascination with ‘the man or woman outside the law,’ the achievement of fame and acclaim through the backdoor of murder?  Is there more?”  The answer is there is.  My novel is also about the interplay of talent, hard work, and passion for what you choose do in life. Each of my main characters exemplifies a different mix of these, enjoying or suffering the consequences.  Except Mindi—she has all of her possibilities stolen from her.
oOo


 Thank you so much for taking the time to chat, Jeffrey!  Congratulations on the book and thanks again for this review opportunity!   Thanks also to Lisa and TLC Book Tours for the chance to participate!

Want to read more about Jeffrey A. Cohen and The Killing of Mindi Quintana?

Visit the other sites on this book tour:

Monday, May 3rd:  Jen’s Book Thoughts
Tuesday, May 4th:  Life of a Busy Wife
Wednesday, May 5th:  Rundpinne
Thursday, May 6th:  Musings of a Bookish Kitty
Monday, May 10th:  Rough Edges
Wednesday, May 12th:  Luxury Reading
Thursday, May 13th:  Novel Whore
Friday, May 14th:  Beth Fish Reads
Monday, May 17th:  Book Dilettante
Tuesday, May 18th:  My Two Blessings
Wednesday, May 19th:  Dan’s Journal
Thursday, May 20th:  The Book Faery Reviews
Monday, May 24th:  Starting Fresh
Wednesday, May 26th:  Book Junkie
Monday, June 7th:  The Betty and Boo Chronicles

Days of Prey Blog Tour: Sudden Prey by John Sanford


To celebrate the release of John Sanford‘s 20th Prey novel, Storm Prey, on May 18, 2010, TLC Book Tours organized this special book tour that covers all of the earlier Prey novels starring Detective Lucas Davenport.

From May 3 until May 18, bloggers answer a few questions about each of the earlier Lucas Davenport novels for leading up to Storm Prey‘s release. To celebrate Storm Prey‘s release, the publisher is sponsoring a giveaway of the book that I’m focusing on today, Sudden Prey, & an advanced reader’s copy of the soon to be released Storm Prey! Every blog participating in this tour will be giving away one of the earlier Prey novels and an ARC of the latest Storm Prey. So head over to Penguin’s Days of Prey site at www.penguin.com/stormprey where you can learn more about John Sanford, Detective Lucas Davenport, read excerpt of the 19 Prey novels, and link to the participating blogs to read reviews and join book contests.

Today, at Starting Fresh, we’re focusing on Sudden Prey, the 8th book in the Lucas Davenport series.

Sudden Prey (Lucas Davenport, #8)
Title and series number of the book:
Sudden Prey, #8 in the Lucas Davenport series
ISBN-10: 0425157539

Year published: 1997
genre: detective mystery/thriller

About Lucas Davenport

What is Lucas doing when he first appears in the book? Set up the scene.
We hear about Lucas Davenport before he appears on the scene. In downtown Minneapolis, men are shadowing a 30-something blond woman who seems to be aimlessly window shopping during the Christmas rush. The woman’s movements have the men on alert and man suddenly says that it’s time to call in Lucas Davenport. Davenport arrives, dons a bulletproof vest, makes small talk as he scopes out the area.

Give us a sense of time and place.
The story opens in Minneapolis, during the holiday season, in the 1990s.

What is Lucas’s occupation or professional role?
A deputy chief and political appointee.
His sideline software business makes him independently wealthy.

Lucas’s personal status (single, dating, married)
In a serious relationship with Weather Karkinnen.

Lucas Davenport is a known clothes horse – did you notice any special fashion references?
“He was wearing a blue wool suit, a white shirt with a long soft collar and what looked like an Hermes necktie — one of the anal numbers with eight million little horses prancing around.”

Let’s talk about the mystery. Avoiding spoilers, what was the crime/case being solved?
Lucas Davenport and his colleagues are desperately trying to find the escapee and his companions to prevent the spread of violence. The gang are specifically trying to kill policemen — they’re heavily armed, unhinged, and unafraid of the consequences.

Does the title of your book relate to the crime?
Sudden Prey refers to how the tables turn in this book. Several cops stopped violent criminals in a shootout. The cops involved in the shootout are now being hunted by the criminals’ associates. The police have become the prey in this novel and the hunters are well versed in violence.

Who was your favorite supporting character, good or evil?

Two characters stood out for me:

Sloan, a detective who works closely with Lucas Davenport. Sloan comes across as a nice guy, normal, easy to talk to – but his mind is sharp. He has the gift of eliciting important information from people by getting them to feel at ease.

AND

Sandy Darling – sister-in-law to LaChaise, Sandy had taken a different path from her sister. Sandy has a small horse ranch that she worked hard to set up, she works hard and stays out of trouble. Her sister and brother-in-law call on her for help and she’s somehow dragged into their mess. Sandy has a strong bullshit meter, is smart, and usually isn’t afraid to call people on their lies.

What was your favorite scene or quote?
There are two again:

First: The trail of illegal cigarette smoke followed Marie Roux down the darkened marble halls from the chief’s office to Homicide. The chief was a large woman, getting larger, her face going hound-dog with the pressure of the job and the passing of the years. She stopped outside of homicide, took a drag on the cigarette, and blew smoke.

Second:
“Hey, I just showed up with a gun. What happened after that, that was their choice. Not mine.”

Finally, how do you envision Lucas Davenport? If he were to be portrayed in a movie, which celebrity would play him?

Josh Charles (who plays Will Gardner in The Good Wife) OR Kevin McKidd (from Rome & Grey’s Anatomy). Both actors combine smart, good looks, and physicality.

Final thoughts
I’m glad to have discovered the Prey novels — the characters and plot are carefully crafted and don’t follow predictable lines. Sudden Prey is very much a detective thriller but it gives you a little something more, something extra. I’m looking forward to reading the others in this series.

Review copy provided by TLC Book Tours and the publisher.

CONTEST DETAILS:

To enter, please (1) visit Penguin’s Days of Prey website and choose which Prey novel you’d like to read most.

CLARIFICATION: Although the contest task is to choose which Prey novel you’d like to read most, I’m only authorized to give away a copy of Sudden Prey (book 8) and an ARC of the upcoming release Storm Prey.

Rules:
1. Please include your email address, so that I can contact you if you win. No email address, no entry.
2. You must be a follower to join the contest.

The contest is limited to US and Canada only. No P.O. boxes. The contest ends at noon on May 30, 2010.

Thank you so much to Lisa, TLC Book Tours and Penguin for this review opportunity!

Days of Prey Blog Tour: Sudden Prey by John Sanford


To celebrate the release of John Sanford‘s 20th Prey novel, Storm Prey, on May 18, 2010, TLC Book Tours organized this special book tour that covers all of the earlier Prey novels starring Detective Lucas Davenport.

From May 3 until May 18, bloggers answer a few questions about each of the earlier Lucas Davenport novels for leading up to Storm Prey‘s release. To celebrate Storm Prey‘s release, the publisher is sponsoring a giveaway of the book that I’m focusing on today, Sudden Prey, & an advanced reader’s copy of the soon to be released Storm Prey! Every blog participating in this tour will be giving away one of the earlier Prey novels and an ARC of the latest Storm Prey. So head over to Penguin’s Days of Prey site at www.penguin.com/stormprey where you can learn more about John Sanford, Detective Lucas Davenport, read excerpt of the 19 Prey novels, and link to the participating blogs to read reviews and join book contests.

Today, at Starting Fresh, we’re focusing on Sudden Prey, the 8th book in the Lucas Davenport series.

Sudden Prey (Lucas Davenport, #8)
Title and series number of the book:
Sudden Prey, #8 in the Lucas Davenport series
ISBN-10: 0425157539

Year published: 1997
genre: detective mystery/thriller

About Lucas Davenport

What is Lucas doing when he first appears in the book? Set up the scene.
We hear about Lucas Davenport before he appears on the scene. In downtown Minneapolis, men are shadowing a 30-something blond woman who seems to be aimlessly window shopping during the Christmas rush. The woman’s movements have the men on alert and man suddenly says that it’s time to call in Lucas Davenport. Davenport arrives, dons a bulletproof vest, makes small talk as he scopes out the area.

Give us a sense of time and place.
The story opens in Minneapolis, during the holiday season, in the 1990s.

What is Lucas’s occupation or professional role?
A deputy chief and political appointee.
His sideline software business makes him independently wealthy.

Lucas’s personal status (single, dating, married)
In a serious relationship with Weather Karkinnen.

Lucas Davenport is a known clothes horse – did you notice any special fashion references?
“He was wearing a blue wool suit, a white shirt with a long soft collar and what looked like an Hermes necktie — one of the anal numbers with eight million little horses prancing around.”

Let’s talk about the mystery. Avoiding spoilers, what was the crime/case being solved?
Lucas Davenport and his colleagues are desperately trying to find the escapee and his companions to prevent the spread of violence. The gang are specifically trying to kill policemen — they’re heavily armed, unhinged, and unafraid of the consequences.

Does the title of your book relate to the crime?
Sudden Prey refers to how the tables turn in this book. Several cops stopped violent criminals in a shootout. The cops involved in the shootout are now being hunted by the criminals’ associates. The police have become the prey in this novel and the hunters are well versed in violence.

Who was your favorite supporting character, good or evil?

Two characters stood out for me:

Sloan, a detective who works closely with Lucas Davenport. Sloan comes across as a nice guy, normal, easy to talk to – but his mind is sharp. He has the gift of eliciting important information from people by getting them to feel at ease.

AND

Sandy Darling – sister-in-law to LaChaise, Sandy had taken a different path from her sister. Sandy has a small horse ranch that she worked hard to set up, she works hard and stays out of trouble. Her sister and brother-in-law call on her for help and she’s somehow dragged into their mess. Sandy has a strong bullshit meter, is smart, and usually isn’t afraid to call people on their lies.

What was your favorite scene or quote?
There are two again:

First: The trail of illegal cigarette smoke followed Marie Roux down the darkened marble halls from the chief’s office to Homicide. The chief was a large woman, getting larger, her face going hound-dog with the pressure of the job and the passing of the years. She stopped outside of homicide, took a drag on the cigarette, and blew smoke.

Second:
“Hey, I just showed up with a gun. What happened after that, that was their choice. Not mine.”

Finally, how do you envision Lucas Davenport? If he were to be portrayed in a movie, which celebrity would play him?

Josh Charles (who plays Will Gardner in The Good Wife) OR Kevin McKidd (from Rome & Grey’s Anatomy). Both actors combine smart, good looks, and physicality.

Final thoughts
I’m glad to have discovered the Prey novels — the characters and plot are carefully crafted and don’t follow predictable lines. Sudden Prey is very much a detective thriller but it gives you a little something more, something extra. I’m looking forward to reading the others in this series.

Review copy provided by TLC Book Tours and the publisher.

CONTEST DETAILS:

To enter, please (1) visit Penguin’s Days of Prey website and choose which Prey novel you’d like to read most.

CLARIFICATION: Although the contest task is to choose which Prey novel you’d like to read most, I’m only authorized to give away a copy of Sudden Prey (book 8) and an ARC of the upcoming release Storm Prey.

Rules:
1. Please include your email address, so that I can contact you if you win. No email address, no entry.
2. You must be a follower to join the contest.

The contest is limited to US and Canada only. No P.O. boxes. The contest ends at noon on May 30, 2010.

Thank you so much to Lisa, TLC Book Tours and Penguin for this review opportunity!

Book Blog Tour of Watermark: A Novel of the Middle Ages by Vanitha Sankaran



Welcome to the Book Blog Tour of Watermark: A Novel of the Middle Ages by Vanitha Sankaran.

The blurb:
Watermark is an atmospheric and compelling debut novel about the search for identity, the power of self-expression, and the value of the written word.

The daughter of a papermaker in 1320s France, Auda has an ability to read and write that comes from a place of need. Silenced, she finds hope and opportunity in the intricacies of her father’s craft. But the powerful forces of the ruling parties in France form a nearly insurmountable obstacle.
In time when new ideas were subject to accusations of heresy, Auda dares to defy the status quo. Born albino, believed to be cursed, and rendered mute before she’d ever spoken, her very survival is a testament to the strength of her spirit. As Auda grows into womanhood, she reclaims her heritage in a quest for love and a sense of self.

Review:
Watermark: A Novel of the Middle Ages opens with the event of Auda’s birth, her welcome to the world, and a glimpse of the superstition that she faces throughout her life. By the time Auda is grown, she has learned her father’s craft and has learned to express herself clearly in her writing. Few of the people around her are literate, but Auda has fashioned a life for herself.

Between assisting in the papermaking, serving as a scribe, and hiding her albino features, Auda has learned to move around in her world. Despite the danger to her person, Auda is not one to trade freedom for safety or independence for marriage. Though with the spread of the Inquisition’s power, Medieval Europe is fraught with danger for anyone who seems different – and Auda knows that she can never blend in.

When Auda obtains the job of scribe in the castle, she flourishes. Her skills and writing bring her the respect and appreciation of powerful women. But her writing and beliefs also bring danger and loss.

Watermark is a carefully crafted and fascinating work of historical fiction. It’s a story of love, fear and superstition, and of the struggle to keep one’s identity.

ISBN-10: 0061849278 – Paperback $14.99
Publisher: Avon A (April 13, 2010), 368 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher and TLC Book Tours.


About the Author:
Vanitha Sankaran holds an MFA in creative writing from Antioch University. In addition, her short stories have been published in numerous journals, such as Mindprints, Futures, Prose Ax, and The Midnight Mind. She is at work on her second novel, which is about printmaking in Italy during the High Renaissance. Read more on Vanitha Sankaran’s website.

To check out other participating sites, head over to TLC Book Tours’s Watermark page!

Thank you so much to Vanitha, Harper Collins, Trish and TLC Book Tours for this review opportunity!

Book Blog Tour of Watermark: A Novel of the Middle Ages by Vanitha Sankaran



Welcome to the Book Blog Tour of Watermark: A Novel of the Middle Ages by Vanitha Sankaran.

The blurb:
Watermark is an atmospheric and compelling debut novel about the search for identity, the power of self-expression, and the value of the written word.

The daughter of a papermaker in 1320s France, Auda has an ability to read and write that comes from a place of need. Silenced, she finds hope and opportunity in the intricacies of her father’s craft. But the powerful forces of the ruling parties in France form a nearly insurmountable obstacle.
In time when new ideas were subject to accusations of heresy, Auda dares to defy the status quo. Born albino, believed to be cursed, and rendered mute before she’d ever spoken, her very survival is a testament to the strength of her spirit. As Auda grows into womanhood, she reclaims her heritage in a quest for love and a sense of self.

Review:
Watermark: A Novel of the Middle Ages opens with the event of Auda’s birth, her welcome to the world, and a glimpse of the superstition that she faces throughout her life. By the time Auda is grown, she has learned her father’s craft and has learned to express herself clearly in her writing. Few of the people around her are literate, but Auda has fashioned a life for herself.

Between assisting in the papermaking, serving as a scribe, and hiding her albino features, Auda has learned to move around in her world. Despite the danger to her person, Auda is not one to trade freedom for safety or independence for marriage. Though with the spread of the Inquisition’s power, Medieval Europe is fraught with danger for anyone who seems different – and Auda knows that she can never blend in.

When Auda obtains the job of scribe in the castle, she flourishes. Her skills and writing bring her the respect and appreciation of powerful women. But her writing and beliefs also bring danger and loss.

Watermark is a carefully crafted and fascinating work of historical fiction. It’s a story of love, fear and superstition, and of the struggle to keep one’s identity.

ISBN-10: 0061849278 – Paperback $14.99
Publisher: Avon A (April 13, 2010), 368 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher and TLC Book Tours.


About the Author:
Vanitha Sankaran holds an MFA in creative writing from Antioch University. In addition, her short stories have been published in numerous journals, such as Mindprints, Futures, Prose Ax, and The Midnight Mind. She is at work on her second novel, which is about printmaking in Italy during the High Renaissance. Read more on Vanitha Sankaran’s website.

To check out other participating sites, head over to TLC Book Tours’s Watermark page!

Thank you so much to Vanitha, Harper Collins, Trish and TLC Book Tours for this review opportunity!