A Very Hot ‘Mistress’: James Patterson and Coauthor Ellis Hit Top Spot in Fiction

A new number should be created just for James Patterson. How many times can his books hit #1 before he goes the way of old King Midas? To keep it interesting, though, he does take along cowriters, and Mistress, which jumped on our list from #35 to #1 this week, was written with David Ellis. It edged out last week’s top seller with a small margin, less than 3,000 books, but #1 is #1, and sales of 35,318 put Patterson (and Ellis) on top again. Mistress is a standalone thriller, his 30th, and while Patterson is read for his Alex Cross and Michael Bennett series, his standalones are standouts. This latest features an obsessive protagonist, Ben Casper, who struggles with paranoia and his longing for a woman found dead outside her apartment, after falling from her sixth-floor balcony. There’s action and, for sure, sex. In the opening chapter, we’re treated to a closet of Chanel and Manolo with a hidden section of whips, chains, and “a long yellow feather.” Patterson certainly knows how to hold them: and truly, isn’t it refreshing to know that someone can accumulate a fortune of over $300 million by writing books? David Ellis, a lawyer, who writes his own books (nine of them) and won an Edgar Allan Poe award for his debut novel, teamed up with Patterson for the first time with 2012’s Guilty Wives. Readers can download the first 15 chapters of Mistress for free with a “like” on Facebook (Patterson has over a million likes). And to promote reading and bookstores, Patterson, according to Caroline Henley of Little, Brown, is hosting a Summer Book Bucks sweepstakes through the end of August. Kids who pledge to read four books have a chance to win books in the form of gift certificates to their favorite indie bookstores. For the college crowd, Patterson recently announced the winners of his scholarships that award up to $1,000 for books at local indies. Thanks, James!—Louisa Ermelino

Butterworth & Son: W.E.B. Griffin’s Writing Team Visits Philly in a Thriller

The Last Witness, W.E.B. Griffin’s 11th Badge of Honor novel, coauthored with son William E. Butterworth IV, debuts at #7 on the Hardcover Fiction list. The novel features Philadelphia homicide detective Matt Payne investigating a young woman’s murder in a Society Hill home invasion, which uncovers an ugly underworld in which the Mexican drug cartels and the Russian mob collide.

Griffin (the pen name of William E. Butterworth III) has been writing military fiction series for Putnam since the late 1980s: the Corps, Men at War, Brotherhood of War, Honor Bound, and Presidential Agent. For the past several years, Griffin has been cowriting his novels with his son.

Griffin served in Korea in 1952–1953 as a combat correspondent assigned to the 223rd Infantry Regiment, 40th Division, as well as at Headquarters, 10th Corps, as an information officer based at Kwandae-ri. On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Korean War’s end, on July 25, Griffin wrote a piece about some incidents he witnessed while on duty there. In that piece he commented, “I have many memories of my service in Korea, few of which reflect favorably on our society today.” This vignette, which was published on the BlackFive Web site in late July, concludes: “With rare and notable exceptions—Vice President Joe Biden’s and Senator Jim Webb’s sons leap to mind—the sons of the politically powerful and the alumni of the Ivy League seem now to feel that picking up a rifle and going off to fight for the United States is something best left to the untermensch.”—Peter Cannon

Readers Can Devour ‘Jabba’ in Angleberger’s Latest: Origami Yoda Entry Debuts at #1 Spot in Children’s Frontlist Fiction

Tom Angleberger has been traveling at light speed in recent days, having wrapped up a Midwestern tour for The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppett (Abrams/Amulet), the new addition to his Star Wars and origami–themed Origami Yoda series. Over the course of five days, Angleberger (joined by a Jabba puppet) visited eight states and 10 bookstores, beginning with launch events on August 6 at a pair of Tennessee stores: Barnes & Noble in Knoxville and Hastings in Murfreesboro. Also while in Tennessee, Angleberger paid his respects to Elvis at Graceland, and (as seen at left) Jabba now has a home on the mansion wall. The author also made stops in Arkansas, Illinois, Ohio, and Kentucky, among other states.

The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppett is the fourth novel in the series, though an activity book, Art2-D2’s Guide to Folding and Doodling, was released in March, and also hit PW’s bestseller list. Amulet announced a 500,000-copy first printing for Jabba, bringing the series total to more than 4.1 million copies in print. In other Origami Yoda news, the previous novel, The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee, was just selected by the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association as its 2013 Book of the Year in the Middle Readers category.—John A. Sellers

What Makes a Pro Athlete: A Science Writer from ‘Sports Illustrated’ Looks at Genes

Debuting at #12 on our Hardcover Nonfiction list is The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance, in which author David Epstein utilizes the science of human genome sequencing to explore ability and success in athletics. In the book, Epstein addresses issues of race and gender, as well as the controversial testing of genetics in young athletes.

The book was excerpted in Sports Illustrated, where Epstein is a senior writer covering sports, science, and medicine. The book received glowing reviews in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, and the author appeared on Fresh Air, Good Morning America, and WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show.

“The book has resonated well with a general audience,” says Jacquelynn Burke, a publicist at Penguin imprint Current. “And Epstein is working to connect with more science and sports lovers who would enjoy the book.”

“We’re thrilled that the first Current bestseller introduces not only our young imprint, but also an extraordinary new writer,” says Adrian Zackheim, the imprint’s publisher.—Mark Rotella