It's not often that bestselling crime novelist Patricia Cornwell takes time out of her schedule to blurb a book. But she's doing a lot more than that for James L. Swanson's Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer from Morrow, which lands on February 7 with a 100,000-copy printing. In addition to hailing the book for providing medical, investigative and historical details of Lincoln's assassination that "make you feel as if you were there," she's promoting it on www.patriciacornwell.com, with a link to Amazon. Cornwell is also sponsoring a "trailer" for the book on her Web site.
Over in the U.K., there's tremendous advance buzz for The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne, which will be published here next fall by David Fickling's imprint at Random. A clever ad campaign (and even the flap copy) has been careful not to give away much, if any, of the plot: against his wishes, a nine-year-old boy moves east with his family to a desolate house, and it is gradually revealed that his father is the commander at Auschwitz. Already sold in 11 languages, the book was recently shortlisted for the Ottakar's Prize for best new children's novel.
Josh Kilmer-Purcell's comic memoir of drugs and drag, I Am Not Myself These Days, looks like it may be Harper Perennial's first hit since the recently revamped imprint began issuing paperback originals backed with a full marketing campaign. Strong orders for the February release, along with endorsements from James Frey and Clive Barker, prompted Perennial to up its printing from 20,000 to 100,000.
When booksellers like the Tattered Cover's Margaret Maupinand R.J. Julia's Nancy Brown recommended that Houghton Mifflin rush the publication of The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl so it would be out in time for the holidays, the house gave it a December 14 release. The oral history by New York Timescorrespondent Timothy Egan, which received a starred PW review for its "visceral" portraits of the immigrants who settled the Plains, has a first printing of 25,000. Excerpts appeared in the December 4 issues of the Denver Post, the Rocky Mountain Newsand the Kansas City Star, and Egan will tour to Seattle, Wash.; Portland, Ore.; Boulder and Denver, Colo.; and San Francisco.