The Power of a Woman

Janet Evanovich not only has Stephanie Plum, New Jersey bounty hunter, take on the mob in her latest keep-you-up-all-night thriller, Takedown Twenty, Evanovich also takes over the #1 spot on our Hardcover Fiction list, tumbling John Grisham down the list. This is Plum’s 20th outing and, as she searches for mob boss Salvatore Sunucchi, wanted for murder and on the lam, she comes up against the ancient code of omerta, with cops (including her on-again off-again boyfriend Joe Morelli, who happens to be Sunucchi’s godson) and grandmas alike keeping their lips buttoned. On the first page of Takedown Twenty, Plum’s wheelman, Lula, a former streetwalker turned office clerk, buys a “hot” handbag from the trunk of a car in downtown Trenton as a giraffe lopes by. Hooked yet? No surprise that sales topped 100,000 copies its first week out and, according to Bantam’s director of publicity Susan Corcoran, Takedown Twenty has almost 800,000 copies in print after two printings. The book debuted on Tuesday, November 19, and Corcoran shared that, two days later, Evanovich greeted more than 900 fans at the Sacramento Bee Book Club celebration. Next day was a Google hangout, “straight from the Googleplex in Mountain View, Calif.” But no rest for the weary: in February, Bantam will publish a new adventure from Evanovich—this time “on a global scale”—The Chase, written with Lee Goldberg. —Louisa Ermelino

An Agent’s Guilt: Five Days 50 Years Ago

Clint Hill was part of the Secret Service attachment assigned to guard J.F.K. on that fateful trip through Dallas in 1963. Snapshots (and the Zapruder film) taken just after the president and Gov. Connolly were shot show Jackie Kennedy reaching across the trunk of their convertible to an agent attempting to climb into the vehicle. That agent was Hill, whose Five Days in November (written with Lisa McCubbin) traces the immediate period before and after the assassination while offering the rarely-seen perspective of a Secret Service agent. The book lands at #16 on our Hardcover Nonfiction list this week, having sold more than 10,000 copies in its first week, likely due to the array of photographs Hill presents, many of which are rare and haven’t been seen before by the general public, as well as his moving appearances on television. Though Hill now is at peace with his actions on that day, he suffered for many years with a sense of guilt about not having turned one way rather than the other to save the president from the third shot.—Alex Crowley

He Is Ron Burgundy?

Man of poetry, fine scotch, and world-class news, Ron Burgundy lands at the #14 spot on our Hardcover Nonfiction list with his biography Let Me Off at the Top! The over-the-top memoir pulls the curtain back on Burgundy’s illustrious career as a news anchorman, providing inside stories about the Channel 4 News team (San Diego’s finest) on top of the numerous escapades—a fight with Norman Mailer, his steamy week with Barbara Walters. This movie tie-in comes in the lead-up to the December 20 release of Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, the highly anticipated sequel to 2004’s Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. In the decade since the world met Burgundy, his legend seems only to have grown. Beyond the press interviews and talk-show cameos, Burgundy has an exhibit running at D.C.’s news and journalism museum, Newseum, has a pile of TV spots plugging Chrysler’s Dodge Durango, and even announced last night’s Canadian Curling Olympic Trials in Winnipeg for TSN. Burgundy has high expectations for his biography: “This book deserves a real shot at a Pulitzer Prize. In fact if it doesn’t win one then we will finally have proof that the Pulitzer is rigged.” And why should he? The numbers don’t lie. Since Chrysler started running the Anchorman’s commercials, sales for the Durango have reportedly gone up 59%. “You stay classy, Planet Earth.”—Seth Satterlee

A Superstar Survivor’s Words to Live By

Currently a judge on Fox’s singing competition show X-Factor, 21-year-old performer Demi Lovato, a multi-platinum–selling recording artist and actress, enters the Nonfiction Hardcover list at #11 with Staying Strong: 365 Days a Year. This book of daily affirmations is the first offering from Lovato’s two-book deal with Macmillan imprint Feiwel and Friends. A Spanish edition, titled Se Fuerte: 365 Dias Al Ano, will be released on December 3, followed at a later date by a memoir. Taking a refreshingly honest approach, especially for a former teen star, Lovato has shared her struggle with addiction and depression in interviews, song lyrics, and messages to her 17 million Twitter followers. The book is in part based on her tweets, and includes inspirational quotes, personal reflections, and goals. In a statement about the book, Lovato said: “It is my hope that these affirmations will help readers to remain strong and hopeful, even when that seems impossible. An advocate for young people, who speaks out against bullying and other issues, Lovato has a recurring role on Fox’s hit show Glee. Her career is on the upswing, with the lead single (“Heart Attack”) from her fourth album, Demi, earning platinum status just 10 weeks after its launch. Media appearances during the book’s launch week included appearances on Good Morning America, Katie Couric, Jimmy Kimmel, E! News, as well as interviews in Entertainment Weekly, People, and USA Today. She served as a guest host for The View that week, and launched her book at L.A.’s Barnes & Noble The Grove on November 23. Hopes are high that Lovato’s fans will remain loyal as she establishes herself as an author.—Jessamine Chan

Baldacci’s Timely Surveillance Thriller Hits Its Mark

The plot of David Baldacci’s sixth thriller featuring two former Secret Service agents turned private investigators is practically ripped from today’s headlines, what with the ongoing controversy over Edward Snowden’s disclosures concerning the National Security Agency’s widespread monitoring of digital communications, as well as the conflicting reports of what actually happened during the attack on a U.S. post in Bengazi. King and Maxwell debuts on PW’s Hardcover Fiction list at #2 this week.

Sean King and Michelle Maxwell’s latest adventure begins on a dark and stormy night, when the pair almost run over a teenage boy, Tyler Wingo, who’s out in the rain after receiving the news that his father, a soldier, has been killed in action in Afghanistan. But Tyler has received a carefully worded e-mail from his father that was sent after his supposed death. And the government refuses to release the body to the family. Even though King and Maxwell know all too well how slowly the wheels of government bureaucracy turn, especially when it concerns incidents on the other side of the world, they take on a case that revolves around how technology can be used for surveillance purposes, such as the monitoring of civilian communications for military intelligence.

This is Baldacci’s 27th novel for adults since his debut, Absolute Power, was published in 1996. A lawyer for a Washington, D.C., law firm at the time, Baldacci had written short stories and screenplays for years, but not even his closest friends and colleagues knew that he’d spent three years writing a novel before his agent sold Absolute Power. Baldacci disclosed in a recent television interview that he keeps copies of his first royalty checks to this day to remind him of how far he’s come, with more than 110 million copies of his books in print worldwide.—Claire Kirch