"This book started to sell right off the shelf, so I think the jacket has a good deal to do with its success." So said Random House publicity director Tom Perry about Matthew Pearl's The Dante Club, a first novel that's been generating a buzz ever since PW noted its genesis back in 2000 (Hot Deals, Apr. 17). Perry added, "We've had reviews just about everywhere you'd want them, and this seems to be one of those rare instances where reviews are actually selling books." Pearl, a 1997 summa cum laude Harvard grad, wrote the first draft of The Dante Club while attending Yale Law School. His seven-city tour began on February 20 with an SRO reading at Barnes & Noble's Astor Place location in N.Y.C.; in addition, a crew from The News Hour with Jim Lehrer followed Pearl around Gotham for a forthcoming feature, "Making a Bestseller." Among other media to come are an AP feature and an EW story on Yale writers. For more info, check out www.TheDanteClub.com.

With reporting by Dick Donahue