Lighting Out for Big Sky Country with Robicheaux: James Lee Burke Hits List in First Week

Light of the World, James Lee Burke’s 20th Dave Robicheaux novel, debuts at #8 on the Hardcover Fiction list.

What should have been a peaceful vacation in Montana’s Big Sky country for Louisiana sheriff’s detective Robicheaux and his best friend, ex-cop Clete Purcel, turns out otherwise after an arrow shot at Dave’s daughter, Alafair, nearly kills her on a morning hike. Soon after the arrow incident, Alafair swears that Asa Surrette, a convicted serial killer, is on the loose and out for revenge.
Surrette narrowly escaped the death penalty for the string of heinous murders he committed while capital punishment was outlawed in Kansas. Years earlier, Alafair, a lawyer and novelist, interviewed Surrette in prison and went on to write a series of damning articles aiming to prove him guilty of other crimes and bring him to justice. Recently, a prison transport van carrying Surrette crashed and he’s believed to be dead, but Alafair has her doubts.

Burke is the author of 32 novels and two short story collections. His work has twice been awarded an Edgar for Best Crime Novel of the Year; in 2009, the Mystery Writers of America named him a Grand Master. He has also been a recipient of Breadloaf and Guggenheim fellowships and an NEA grant. A resident of Missoula, Mont., he is the father of Alafair Burke, a lawyer and the author of the Samantha Kincaid and the Ellie Hatcher crime series as well as two stand-alones, Long Gone and If You Were Here.

The promotional campaign for the book kicked off with a major national print and online ad campaign and an extensive online pre-order campaign. Light of the World also received strong reviews from Associated Press, the Washington Post, and an on-air endorsement from Bill O’Reilly, who called Burke “the best fiction writer alive today,” according to Simon & Schuster.—Peter Cannon

Not That Innocent: An Academy Award–Winning Actress Debunks Her Wholesome Image

Debuting at #14 on the Hardcover Nonfiction list is Shirley Jones: A Memoir, written by the famed star of Oklahoma!, Carousel, The Music Man, and, of course, The Partridge Family. Though Jones fans may not associate the Rogers and Hammerstein songbird with carnality, readers will learn about her tumultuous marriage to actor Jack Cassidy, and details about infidelities, costar crushes, and sexual experimentation. In addition to discussing her relationship with stepson David Cassidy and her second marriage to comedian and producer Marty Ingels, the actress shares stories about Warren Beatty, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Burt Lancaster (whom she deems the world’s best kisser), and Sammy Davis Jr. The book has launched strong, with Jones appearing on Good Morning America, Katie, Fox & Friends, Access Hollywood, and Extra, and sitting for an hour-long interview on the Diane Rehm Show on NPR. Jones has also been featured in Entertainment Weekly, People, and in an interview with the Associated Press that was picked up nationally. In support of the book, she has appeared at Bookends in Ridgewood, N.J., and at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. (where she was interviewed by Washington Post film critic Ann Hornaday), and the National Press club. Jones recently participated in a screening of Carousel with a q&a and book signing afterward at Santa Monica’s Aero Theater. Upcoming events include appearances in L.A.—at Barnes & Noble (the Grove), Costco in Westlake Village, and Vroman’s.

A late-breaking cease-and-desist order (as reported by TMZ), from none other than Joan Collins, 80 (Jones is 79), protesting a scene in which Jones, Cassidy, Collins, and hubby Anthony Newley planned to “swing,” emerged at PW’s press time. Jones was reported to have acquiesced, agreeing to remove the offending passage from all digital editions and new printings—making a run on the current printing a strong possibility.—Jessamine Chan

The Sky’s the Limit: Amano’s Stylish Final Fantasy

Video-game fans aren’t just into guns and explosions—occasionally they also like looking at the concept art behind their favorite games. Publisher Dark Horse had a massive hit at Christmas with an art book for The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia, and they’ve hit the Hardcover Nonfiction chart at #11 this week with The Sky: The Art of Final Fantasy. The massive (more than 500 pages) three-volume slip-cased edition collects an out-of-print and much-coveted earlier release in three separate volumes. What’s got fans so interested? The gorgeous work of concept artist Yoshitako Amano, whose style—fusing manga, traditional Japanese brush painting, and Pre-Raphaelite art—helped make Final Fantasy one of the most memorable and evocative video games ever. The Sky collects Amano’s concepts, cover illustrations, and other work associated with the game, which he worked on through FFX.

Unsurprisingly, Dark Horse has plans for more video-game art books. It’ll have a hard time matching this one for sheer spectacle, however.—Heidi MacDonald

Rowling Rolling Under Two Names...And On Two Lists

J.K. Rowling, with the help of her Robert Galbraith pseudonym, had the two top-selling books for the week ended July 28 at outlets that report their print sales to Nielsen BookScan. The Cuckoo’s Calling was #1 overall, with about 66,000 copies sold for Little, Brown, while the trade paperback edition of The Casual Vacancy, also from Little, Brown, sold approximately 28,000 copies at BookScan outlets, and was by far the bestselling trade paperback book of the week.—Jim Milliot

Don’t ‘Quit’ Now: Daywalt and Jeffers Give Star Turns to Crayons

Debut picture book author Drew Daywalt hit the jackpot when Michael Green at Philomel not-so-casually left the manuscript for Daywalt’s The Day the Crayons Quit on his desk, in clear view of prolific author-illustrator Oliver Jeffers, who was visiting that day. Jeffers, who had never illustrated a picture book for another author, told PW, “I wasn’t sure I wanted to open a can of worms, illustrating someone else’s words, but I knew I’d be kicking myself if I didn’t.” He couldn’t have known, of course, that the collaboration would end up on our Picture Books list for five weeks (and counting) in a row. Since its June 27 release, Crayons has sold nearly 24,000 copies through the outlets tracked by Nielsen BookScan. For Daywalt, this means the book’s cheekily delivered message—that you don’t have to, and in fact shouldn’t, accept your prescribed role in life—is getting out to more kids. “It’s important for us to encourage them to think so far outside the box that there is no longer any box at all,” he said. This fall, Daywalt’s taking that message on the road, with an appearance at October’s Southern Festival of Books in Nashville, Tenn.; a few weeks prior, Jeffers will be at the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C.—Carolyn Juris