Baldacci Hits the Target: Assassin Tale Lands in Top Spot

David Baldacci’s The Target, his third thriller featuring CIA hit man Will Robie, debuts at #1 on our Hardcover Fiction list this week.

The President of the United States knows it’s a perilous, high-risk assignment. If he gives the order, he has the opportunity to take down a global menace, once and for all. If the mission fails, he will face certain impeachment, and the threats against the nation would multiply. So the president turns to the one team that can pull off the impossible: Will Robie and his partner, Jessica Reel. Meanwhile, an unknown and unlikely assassin, a woman who has trained her entire life to kill, has her own list of targets—a list that includes Will Robie and Jessica Reel.

Baldacci’s first novel, Absolute Power (1996), was adapted as a major motion picture, with Clint Eastwood as its director and star. Another non-series novel, Wish You Well (2000), was turned into a feature film starring Ellen Burstyn and Josh Lucas. In total, Baldacci has published 27 novels, all of which have been national and international bestsellers. His books have been translated into more than 45 languages and sold in more than 80 countries; more than 110 million copies are in print worldwide. His fantasy novel for younger readers, The Finisher, has been optioned for film by Sony Pictures.

As part of the marketing campaign, Grand Central published electronically a short story, “Bullseye,” a Robie and Camel Club crossover, which helped drive pre-sales of The Target. An extended free preview—eight chapters—went live on the Web on March 18. The “Baldacci-sized” ad campaign has included TV, print, radio, and digital; new was digital display advertising in Grand Central Terminal.—Peter Cannon

A Few Words from the Gentlewoman from Massachusetts: Elizabeth Warren Mixes “Memoir and Policy”

Whether it’s a matter of counting book sales or ballots, freshman Senator Elizabeth Warren’s numbers prove triumphant. Her memoir A Fighting Chance debuts on our Hardcover Nonfiction list at #3 in its first week of publication. Yet in both politics and book publishing, there’s always the question of whether quantity signifies quality. This is especially true when the two worlds collide. While it’s certainly not uncommon for a politician’s name to appear on the bestseller list, it’s rare when the book is this good. In recent years, political memoirs—an increasingly popular subgenre—seem to have taken a forward-looking turn, more geared toward ensuring a career than reflecting on it. Warren’s book stays humbly rooted in her past. Our starred review noted the way “[Warren] displays a down-home charm and an effortless rapport with everyday people that makes her story more engaging than the average political tome.” The New York Times called the book “a potent mix of memoir and policy.” As for the book tour, Warren made full use of Congress’s April recess, with numerous TV appearances on PBS, MSNBC, and Comedy Central—to name a few. Anyone still wondering about the 2016 presidential election, her answer is no, but maybe if we keep asking, she’ll change her mind.—Annie Coreno

Bridge to Bestsellerdom: Love and Trouble in 1950s Hollywood

Romance novelist Francine Rivers’s Bridge to Haven (Tyndale House) debuts on our Hardcover Fiction list at #6. Her own work bridges the divide between the readers who like clean romances and those who revel in the infinite variations on boy-meets-girl themes. Bridge to Haven tells the story of Abra Matthews, who is lured to Hollywood in the 1950s and becomes hot starlet Lena Scott, even as she quickly comes to realize that the luster of Tinseltown is all garish glitter. Publisher Tyndale House used social media in a variety of ways to reach the author’s sizeable fan base; Rivers has been writing since 1976 and is a member of the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame. The publisher did a cover reveal on Rivers’s Facebook page and Web site that got almost 400,000 views. A “Raid Abra’s closet” giveaway got 600 entries and gave away a ’50s red-and-white polka-dotted scarf like the one featured on the book’s cover, along with sunglasses and a vintage handbag. Pinterest pins were used to spread the word about various giveaways. Publicity has netted lots of reviews in both the Christian and general markets; PW said “Rivers has the writing ability to reel in (those) who enjoy a well-told tale of redemption.”—Marcia Z. Nelson

Liberty, Fraternity, Income Inequality: A French Economist Storms the List

A specter is haunting Europe, Japan, and the U.S.—the specter of income inequality. So says 42-year-old French economist Thomas Piketty in Capital in the 21st Century, which jumped to #7 on our Hardcover Nonfiction list this week (up from #37 last week), and which, at the time of this writing, is the top-selling book on Amazon. Capital in the 21st Century was originally published in French last year; the English translation was released by the Belknap Press imprint of Harvard University Press in March. In it, Piketty sets out to examine the relationship between economic growth and the distribution of wealth in society (does a rising tide lift all boats, or only the QE2?) by sifting through mountains of historical data. Clocking in at nearly 700 pages, with almost 100 graphs, and endnotes that rival those of any David Foster Wallace novel, Capital in the 21st Century is an unlikely bestseller. But since its publication, seemingly countless articles have appeared about Piketty and his book in the New York Times, and the author has garnered comparisons with everyone from Christopher Lasch to John Maynard Keynes. HUP says that it’s shipped 100,000 copies of the title in the two weeks since it was released, and is going back to press six times (two each in Europe, India, and the U.S.). Piketty is currently on tour in support of the book, and he recently met with U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew in Washington, held a public discussion in New York with economist and Times columnist Paul Krugman and Joseph Stigletz, and gave talks at the IMF and UN. Whether Capital in the 21st Century will have the staying power of its namesake is anyone’s guess, but there’s no doubt that Piketty is the French intellectual de jour.—Daniel Berchenko

Top 10 Overall

Rank Title Author Imprint This Week Units
1 Smart Money Smart Kids Dave Ramsey Lampo Press 75,207
2 The Target David Baldacci Grand Central 58,318
3 The Fault in Our Stars John Green Penguin/Speak 41,468
4 Insurgent Veronica Roth HarperCollins/Tegen 41,348
5 Divergent Veronica Roth HarperCollins/Tegen 38,057
6 Allegiant Veronica Roth HarperCollins/Tegen 37,088
7 Heaven Is for Real (movie tie-in) Todd Burpo Thomas Nelson 34,219
8 Heaven Is for Real Todd Burpo Thomas Nelson 31,423
9 Gone Girl Gillian Flynn Broadway Books 26,804
10 Never Go Back Lee Child Dell 26,482