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The Early Word: New Books for the Week of July 6, 2009

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                     THE EARLY WORD:


This week finds fiction once again king. But this time around, the details are in the devils. Read on…

The Devil's Punchbowl
by Greg Iles

Call it steamy, swampy summer reading, Southern Gothic style with a twist, replete with such Mississippi modern sins as legalized gambling, drugs, underage prostitution, white slavery, and dogfighting picking up the slack. Penn Cage, protagonist of two previous thrillers by Greg Iles, is now mayor of Natchez, his hometown, and, after something of a midlife crisis involving both widowhood and a career change, reconnects with a childhood friend, Tim Jessup, who brings him word of events happening down in the Devil's Punchbowl, a hollow off the Mississippi River where nefarious elements have long disposed of their victims. Before Jessup can substantiate his allegations, however, he's tortured and killed. Convinced Jessup managed to pass on the evidence to the mayor, Jessup's boss confronts and threatens Cage. Daniel Kelly, an old friend working for a private security organization, lends his help and steals away to safety Cage's 11-year-old daughter. With a believable premise, strong characters, and sustained suspense, The Devil’s Playground carries on to fulfill its promises as a page-turning read.

The Devil's Company (Benjamin Weaver Series #3)
by David Liss 

With his trademark suspense and meticulous period research, Edgar-winner David Liss’ third thriller to feature 18th-century London "thieftaker" Benjamin Weaver finds him reluctantly working for mysterious gentleman Jerome Cobb. On Cobb's orders, Weaver takes employment as a security man at the British East India Company's headquarters, where he tries to obtain information about the death of the enigmatic Absalom Pepper. To keep Weaver in a cooperative frame of mind, Cobb has blackmailed Weaver's friend Moses Franco, associate Elias Gordon, and his beloved uncle Miguel. As usual, several beautiful women play roles in the complicated plot, which also involves a labyrinth of hidden agendas, daring enemies, and unexpected allies. And which all adds up to an involving if complex read with The Devil’s Company you’re keeping.


Greedy Bones
by Carolyn Haines

The Castaways
by Elin Hilderbrand

by Linda Howard

Cherry Bomb
by J. A. Konrath

Black Hills
by Nora Roberts

Six Suspects
by Vikas Swarup

By Heresies Distressed (Safehold Series #3)
by David Weber

The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder
by Rebecca Wells


Late Edition
by Bob Greene

Pill Head: The Secret Life of a Painkiller Addict
by Joshua Lyon

The Lady in Red: An Eighteenth-Century Tale of Sex, Scandal, and Divorce
by Hallie Rubenhold  

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About Gordon Hauptfleisch