All six of the fiction debutants are by authors who have enjoyed lots of time on these charts. Since 1996, when David Baldacci published his first thriller, Absolute Power, his books have appeared on the national charts. That first title was also the one with the longest bestseller tenure; it spent 17 weeks on PW's hardcover list and 28 on the mass market side. His latest (#9), Split Second, lands at #3; Warner launched it with a 750,000-copy first printing. Baldacci will be visiting more cities than ever before—21 in all—and in addition to the usual mix of chains, price clubs and independents, he has a gig at the Lake Austin Spa for a book and author luncheon.

Richard Paul Evans is in the midst of a 20-city tour to promote his eighth bestselling novel, A Perfect Day. He began his career a little over 10 years ago when his self-published novel, The Christmas Box, went on to be a #1 national bestseller. Dutton's first printing for the new book is 218,000; two additional trips to press take that number to 237,000.

While Robert B. Parker made his career on his Spenser mysteries (30 since 1971), he is doing mighty fine with his more recent PI, police chief Jesse Stone. Stone Cold, his fourth in the series, lands in the #9 slot with 120,000 copies in print. On the road through October 22, Parker had one stipulation for his bookstore visits. The stores have been advised to keep a TV set warmed up for Parker's appearances—he wants to stay fully apprised of the progress of his home team, the Red Sox.

Putnam lands a second bestseller this week, Blacklist by Sara Paretsky, who introduced private eye V.I. Warshawski 21 years ago in Indemnity Only. The author is on a 17-city tour, and the publisher reports about 103,000 copies in print.

Thespian Steve Martin introduces his third bestseller, The Pleasure of My Company, for which Hyperion has 300,000 copies in print after two trips to press. Martin, who always draws big crowds, attracted more than 1,000 people to his reading at Barnes & Noble's Union Square store in Manhattan (it was the store's largest crowd since that for David Sedaris back in June 2001).

Diana Gabaldon is on tour through November 22 visiting 15 cities to promote her sixth bestseller, Lord John and the Private Matter, launched by Delacorte Press with a first printing of 250,000. Gabaldon returns with this stand-alone featuring Lord John Grey, from her multivolume Outlander Saga series.