Acclaimed novelist Laura Lippman is a master of mystery and psychological suspense, and can prove it.
Her titles sell in the millions worldwide, and she holds most of the A-list mystery awards the Anthony, Edgar, Shamus and Agatha among them.
Good news for fans: Lippman is coming to Sacramento to appear for The Bee Book Club on Aug. 16.
The New York Times best-selling author is well known for her 11-title Tess Monaghan series. Like her "accidental" private-eye heroine, Lippman is a former newspaper reporter who lives in Baltimore.
Lippman's stand-alone novels are best-sellers as well ("What the Dead Know," "The Most Dangerous Thing" and five more).
Her new stand-alone thriller "And When She Was Good" received a starred review from Publishers Weekly magazine. In part, it said, "Lippman delivers an intense character study about a strong, complex woman whose love for her son compels her to make some desperate choices."
"And When She Was Good" is the spinoff of a novella that introduced the character of Heloise Lewis. The suburban-Maryland soccer mom leads a double life as a lobbyist and, under the radar, owner of an escort service. But secrets are revealed, her past catches up with her, her world turns, and murderous evil comes knocking.
Lippman will give a presentation, answer questions and autograph books at 6 p.m. Aug. 16 at the Tsakopoulos Library Galleria, 828 I St., Sacramento.
Barnes & Noble will be there to sell the book for 30 percent off the retail price (William Morrow, $26.99, 314 pages). Other books by Lippman also will be available, at full price. Visit the author at www.lauralippman.net.
Through Aug. 16, these stores will offer a 30 percent discount on the title: Barnes & Noble, Avid Reader at the Tower in Sacramento, Avid Reader in Davis, Time Tested Books, Underground Books, Carol's Books, Hornet Bookstore at California State University, Sacramento, the UC Davis Bookstore and the Bookseller in Grass Valley.
For information on the Bee Book Club: (916) 321-1128
The Brain Quest challenge
"It's fun to be smart!" is the motto of "Brain Quest," the series of flashcards that quiz children (and adults) on numerous subjects (www.brainquest.com).
"Brain Quest" has turned 20, reason enough to visit three revised and updated "Brain Quest" titles from Workman Publishing ($12): "For the Car," "America" and "Presidents."
This sampling is aimed at ages 7 "and up."
By what nickname is Johnny Chapman better known?"
Louisiana is known as the "Gulf State." Which state is called the "Bay State"?
Massachusetts, "originally part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony."
Did Andrew Jackson keep mules or racehorses in the White House stable?
Racehorses. "He entered them in races under his secretary's name."
Harry Potter online
When J.K. Rowling was creating her first "Harry Potter" book in the 1990s, on welfare and writing in cafes in her hometown of Edinburgh, Scotland, she had no idea of the fantasy tsunami she would launch.
The latest is the online Harry Potter Reading Club http://hpread.scholastic.com/, sponsored by her American publisher, Scholastic. The site is aimed mostly at educators, librarians and parents but includes monthly themed activities for young fans.
The highlight is the sign-up sheet for a "virtual visit" with Rowling via live webcast, Oct. 11 from Edinburgh. Included are tips for teachers on how to prepare their classrooms for the Big Event.
More summer reading
More readers share their summer-reading lists (and listening lists, via audiobooks), always an eclectic experience for those looking on.
"I'm up to my eyeballs in great summer reading," emailed Pam Flohr of Carmichael. "Just finished 'The Good War: An Oral History of World War II' by the incomparable Studs Turkel. I thought I knew about the war (my father was a Navy pilot), but this book blew me away.
"Just finished 'Instant Egghead Guide: Physics' by Brian Clegg and 'Partner in Crime' by J.A. Jance. I am currently on 'Blessed Unrest' by Paul Hawkin and 'Julia's Kitchen Wisdom' by Julia Child.
"Next are 'Bill Moyers Journal,' 'Mockingbird' by Charles J. Shields (a biography of Harper Lee), 'Seeing Voices' by Oliver Sacks, 'Galileo's Daughter' by Dava Sobel, 'Romeo and Juliet' by Shakespeare (I'm going to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland in October) and 'With Bold Knife and Fork' by M.F.K. Fisher (she is my dessert). Now on to plan some cool-weather books!"
"I read 50 books last year and 30 so far this year," said Barbara Zwankhuizen of Carmichael, on the phone Tuesday. "I usually think of summer reads as 'beach reads,' but they are not my style. I rate these as diverse and outstanding." They are:
"1493" by Charles Mann
"The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind" by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer
"The Grapes of Wrath" by John Steinbeck
"Blood and Thunder" by Hampton Sides
"The New Jim Crow" by Michelle Alexander and Cornel West .
Information-technology specialist Jack Keaton of Sacramento offers this selection of audiobooks:
"Johnny Got His Gun" by Dalton Trumbo
"Me the People: One Man's Selfless Quest to Rewrite the Constitution" by Kevin Bleyer
"Moby Dick" by Herman Melville
"War Is a Racket" by Smedley D. Butler and Adam Parfrey
"Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy" by Christopher Hayes.