Evanovich & Goldberg: They Are On The Case

The Chase, the second in the cleverly named Fox and O’Hare series of thriller novels co-written by Janet Evanovich and television screenwriter /producer/author Lee Goldberg debuts this week at #1 on our Hardcover Fiction list. This time around, the unlikely team of international con man Nicolas Fox and FBI special agent Kate O’Hare go undercover to recover a priceless ancient Chinese artifact that has been stolen from the Smithsonian; a fake has been put in its place by the head of a private security agency who, by the way, once was the White House chief of staff. Fox and O’Hare, aided by O’Hare’s father and a rag-tag crew of other helpers, skip from D.C. to Shanghai, from Scotland to Montreal, always keeping one step ahead of would-be assassins in pursuit, while trying to avert international incidents.

Evanovich, who is best-known for her bestselling Stephanie Plum series of 20 novels, says that she first met Goldberg in the mid-1990s while on tour for either the first or second novel in that series. “We’ve been friends ever since,” she says, recalling that a few years ago, the two agreed that they should write a novel together. Before they wrote, first, The Heist (2013), and second, The Chase, they met up (he lives in L.A., she lives in Florida) with plenty of wine on hand to decide upon a villain and the crime committed. Goldberg writes the first draft, Evanovich says, because he is “fantastic at plots.” She’s “more of a character person.” Evanovich then revises Goldberg’s draft, to “bring it closer to my voice,” she explains. Noting that 80% of the fan mail received focuses upon O’Hare’s father, Evanovich promises that he’ll play a larger role in the next installment, The Job, scheduled for a fall release. “He’s a very funny guy; retired military, and older than the two protagonists. He gives a lot of texture to the series,” she says. Her readers await.—Claire Kirch

Pies to Die For: Joanne Fluke Keeps Serving Up Goodies

Blackberry Pie Murder, Joanne Fluke’s 17th Hannah Swensen mystery with recipes, debuts at #20 on the Hardcover Fiction list. Bakery owner Hannah Swensen of Lake Eden, Minn., finds herself under arrest after she hits an unidentified man while driving on a highway during a summer rainstorm. The victim, it appears, was already dead before the accident—and those stains on his shirt are not blood but blackberry pie. Recipes interspersed throughout the text include Tio Tito’s Sublime Lime Bars, Treasure Chest Cookies, Grandma’s Buttermilk Pie, Caramallow Bar Cookies, and, of course, Fresh Blackberry Pie.

Like her heroine, Fluke was born and raised in a small town in rural Minnesota, but now lives in Southern California. She has baked over 500,000 chocolate chip cookies for fans of her Hannah Swensen mysteries since the series debuted 13 years ago with Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder, not to mention countless pies, cakes, muffins, and other sweets.

Every March, Fluke goes on a national tour, visiting more than 15 cities and doing more than 20 events to celebrate her latest hardcover release. So far she has been through the Pacific Northwest, Arizona, and Texas, and has upcoming events in Tulsa, Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison, Minneapolis, St. Cloud, Minn., and Pasadena, Calif. Of course, with so many cookies to bake and new recipes to try, the author can only do so much traveling.

So that she could share her excitement over the new book with fans she couldn’t meet in person, this year Kensington worked with HouseParty.com to throw 250 Joanne Fluke Culinary Mystery Parties across the country on March 1. Out of over 8,000 applicants, 250 hosts received party kits filled with Fluke goodies, recipes, activities, and a personalized signed letter from the author to help them plan their celebrations. Anyone who didn’t get to go to a Blackberry Pie Murder launch party can visit www.Joanne-FlukeMysteryParty.com for tips on how they can throw their own party, including recipes, dessert toppers, and downloadable Hannah Swensen Book Cover Bingo cards.—Peter Cannon

Artisanal Advice

A Christian faith leader whose church community is long on creativity, crafts his way to #23 on our Nonfiction Hardcover list. The Artisan Soul: Crafting Your Life into a Work of Art by Erwin Raphael McManus (HarperOne) is from yet another pastor whose network has helped propel sales of the book. The Salvadoran-born McManus, who has written almost a dozen books, is founder of MOSAIC, described as a “community of faith” located in Los Angeles, a community well-known for its creativity. MOSAIC is a multi-site church and hub of a network of more than 3,000 like-minded churches. MOSAIC’s 100,000 social media followers have been creating MOSAIC Artisan Soul Book Clubs. McManus held 10 events across the U.S. in five days in support of the book and it “had a lively social media presence due to an extensive social media campaign,” said publicist Cindy Lu. (There’s a picture on McManus’s Twitter feed of him interviewing actor Martin Sheen at an event late last week.) Among media hits, an excerpt from the book was featured at Mariashriver.com.—Marcia Z. Nelson

Moore, Moore, Moore: A Return to Form

Returning to the short-story form where she made her name, Lorrie Moore lands at #15 on our Hardcover Fiction list with her new collection. Bark is her first book of stories since 1998’s Birds of America, which was a New York Times bestseller and the recipient of a number of awards, including the Salon Book Award (the story “People Like That Are the Only People Here” from the collection also won an O. Henry Award). Moore’s third novel, A Gate at the Stairs, was published in 2009; though it met with a mixed critical response, it went on to become her biggest seller, according to Nielsen BookScan, selling just under 200,000 copies in hardcover and trade paper sales combined.

Bark is composed of eight stories (four of which appeared in the New Yorker) written over a decade. Her protagonists are divorcées, often with teenagers, and are struggling with the dating world and holding down jobs. And though Bark bears Moore’s trademark pathos, it also possesses her signature humor, and her many fans will be laughing out loud: in the collection’s final story, “Thank You for Having Me,” the narrator stops her teenage daughter’s onslaught of scorn by undressing, mortifying her into silence.

Knopf, Moore’s longtime publisher, will feature her on a tour throughout March in San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles, Nashville, Seattle, Washington D.C., and Philadelphia, and on March 14, Moore will be in conversation with Emma Straub at New York’s Symphony Space.—Gabe Habash

Rank Title Author Imprint This Week Units
1 Green Eggs and Ham Dr. Seuss Random House 56,678
2 One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish Dr. Seuss Random House 47,907
3 Divergent Veronica Roth HarperCollins/Tegen 47,850
4 The Cat in the Hat Dr. Seuss Random House 37,603
5 The Chance Robyn Carr Mira 33,851
6 Insurgent Veronica Roth HarperCollins/Tegen 33,026
7 The Fault in Our Stars John Green Dutton 31,528
8 The Hit David Baldacci Grand Central 29,047
9 Fox in Socks Dr. Seuss Random House 28,140
10 Allegiant Veronica Roth HarperCollins/Tegen 26,912