"A story whose hero and villain are the same, a young man with the tragic flaw of greed; a story whose suspense arises not from physical threat but moral turmoil." Doesn't sound much like a John Grisham précis, you say? Well, you'd be wrong: those lines are from PW's boxed and starred review of his latest, The King of Torts, released by Doubleday on February 4. With a typically whopping 2.8 million first printing (the number of choice for his last five books), it seems almost superfluous to note that the novel grabbed today's top spot on our fiction list. As always, Grisham's first-week numbers at the three national chains (Barnes & Noble, Borders and Waldenbooks) are nothing to sneeze at, although the new book's figure (about 93,000) represents a 15% drop from last February's The Summons (110,000). It's up significantly, however, from The Painted House (2001), whose first-week figure was approximately 79,000. During pub week, Grisham appeared on Today and was interviewed by Scott Simon (NPR's Weekend Edition) and in the Wall Street Journal. In addition, he's continuing his "Southern Loyalty Tour," visiting six bookstores annually.
In a first for any author, reports the publisher, promotion for King of Torts is extending to moviedom, with signed copies of books and trips to Washington, D.C. (the novel's locale), being offered among the prizes in Loew's "Watch and Win" sweepstakes. Participants choose Oscar winners and register for the sweepstakes on the Loews Web site (www.loewscineplex.com). From now until Oscar night (March 23), slides of Grisham's book and lobby posters will be on display in the chain's 162 theaters (representing 1,532 screens). And there's more. As with some earlier Grisham tomes, Doubleday marketing director John Pitts will be doing radio and TV promotions around the country this month, with books and (still more) trips to D.C. on the prize list.
With reporting by Dick Donahue