Lee Child Reaches the Top Spot: Latest Jack Reacher Tale Finds Quick Favor Among Readers

Never Go Back is Lee Child’s 18th Jack Reacher novel, and it debuts at #1 on the Hardcover Fiction list this week. As for the plot: in the wilds of South Dakota, Reacher was struck by the voice—and the person with the voice—of Army major Susan Turner, who was introduced in 61 Hours (2010). Since “meeting” her from afar, Reacher has slowly but surely been working his way east, and in Never Go Back, he finally arrives in Washington, D.C. But instead of walking into her Pentagon office and meeting Susan face-to-face, Reacher walks into something even he couldn’t anticipate—he’s told he’s been drafted back into the Army.

Lee Child’s first Jack Reacher novel, Killing Floor (1997), won both the Anthony and the Barry awards for Best First Mystery, and The Enemy won both the Barry and Nero awards for Best Novel. Foreign rights in the Reacher series have sold in more than 40 territories and there are more than 80 million copies of the Reacher novels in print worldwide. All titles have been optioned for major motion pictures, the first of which—Jack Reacher—was released in December 2012, starring Tom Cruise.

For launch week Child was on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, and Janet Maslin ran a rave review in the New York Times to spread the word right out of the gate. The Times also featured Child in a Sept. 1 “What I Love” column titled “Lee Child and the Macho of Minimalism,” in which he talks about his apartment in Manhattan’s Flat Iron district. —Peter Cannon

Our Margaret Atwood: Conclusion of Her Trilogy Finds Her Big Fan Base

Margaret Atwood is Canadian, but, Stateside, we might easily forget that fact because we are just so crazy for her writing. As Nan Talese, who has been Atwood’s publisher in the U.S. for 37 years, says, “She has expanded my mind with each of her works.” Indeed. Along the way, Atwood seems to have built an expansive readership for her novels and her nonfiction work.

The Blind Assassin (2000), her Booker Prize–winning novel, sold over half a million copies. This week, the conclusion to her futuristic trilogy, MaddAddam, shows up on our Hardcover Fiction list at #9 with over 7,000 copies sold in its debut week. The first book, Oryx & Crake, published in 2003, and the second, The Year of the Flood (2009), together sold close to 400,000 copies. Fans will revel in the return of the characters they first became attached to 10 years ago, while first-timers have a lot to look forward to. Talese in her editor’s note calls Atwood “ a veritable promotion machine” who has “legions of Twitter fans.” Atwood started promoting MaddAddam in the U.K. this August and will appear in Ireland, the Netherlands, the U.S., and Canada through December. The elements of The Handmaid’s Tale, which seemed fantastical when it debuted in 1985, are now more fact than fiction. Should we be contemplating a post-apocalyptic world of Crakers and pigoons? Relax: in our starred review, we summed up Atwood’s vision “as affirming as it is cautionary, and the conclusion of this remarkable trilogy leaves us not with a sense of despair at mankind’s failings but with a sense of awe at humanity’s barely explored potential to evolve.” —Louis Ermelino

Amish Rule, Jah: Beverly Lewis Revisits Her First Series

It’s no secret why The Secret Keeper by Beverly Lewis (Bethany House) debuts at #1 in trade paper. The novel is an Amish romance, written by the mamm of this vigorous fiction niche. Lewis, whose family heritage includes Old Order Mennonites, has sold more than 17 million books, and the first printing for her latest is 240,000. The Secret Keeper uses the characters and setting of her first series of Amish novels, providing an extra hook for committed fans. Lewis just finished a scheduled 10-day tour of bookstores and libraries in Kentucky and Indiana. Her social media presence includes a Web site that features Amish recipes and heartfelt statements from readers; her Facebook page has 23,000 “likes.” The Secret Keeper is about a young Englisch (non-Amish) woman who wants to join the Amish world; it may serve as guidebook—or warning—for Lewis’s most fervent fans. —Marcia Z. Nelson

Hunting Treasure with James Patterson

The prolific James Patterson has been busy at his keyboard. This month he debuts a middle-grade adventure series with Treasure Hunters, written with Chris Grabenstein and Mark Shulman. Confessions: The Private School Murders, coauthored by Maxine Paetro and the sequel to 2012’s Confessions of a Murder Suspect, pubs on October 7. And I Even Funnier, volume two of Patterson’s middle-grade I Funny series with Grabenstein, which spotlights an aspiring young comedian, has a December 9 release date; all of his titles are with Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. Patterson, whose children’s books have sold more than 25 million copies, wrapped up his eight-book Maximum Ride series last year, and his Witch & Wizard, Middle School, and Daniel X series are ongoing. Treasure Hunters takes Patterson in a new comedic action-adventure direction; it follows four globetrotting siblings as they search for a shipwreck full of gold, long-lost artifacts, world-famous paintings—and their missing parents. “I wanted to create an adventure that is both exciting and funny, and I’m not aware of too many books that do both successfully,” Patterson told PW. “I also wanted to touch on the importance of kids’ taking responsibility for their own actions, and get kids thinking about that when they read this book.” —Sally Lodge

Paranormal Author Lands in Third

“Great Heroes Are Never Born. They Are Forged.” Thus begins the strikingly dramatic video trailer heralding Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Styxx, the 22nd novel in her megaselling Dark-Hunter series. The author’s latest paranormal lands on today’s Hardcover Fiction list at #3—already in its third printing—with 17,657 sales to date. The first of the series, Night Pleasures, was published in 2002 and was followed by Night Embrace, and Dance with the Devil. According to Kenyon’s publicist, Styxx is the sequel to 2008’s Acheron, her best-selling Dark-Hunter book ever, and fans have flocked to it in astonishing numbers. Her books have an international following with over 35 million copies in print in some 100 countries.

Kenyon launched the latest book with the 30,000 attendees at the recent Atlanta DragonCon (Aug. 30–Sept. 2), throwing a raucous Aug. 29 party for 1,000+ fans, which included a costume contest (the author’s fans love to dress up as her outré characters), a photo booth, and the live-streamed premiere of the novel’s dramatic video trailer. Kenyon also hosted a live online Google+ chat on Sept. 4, answering questions and visiting with fans from around the world. From there she jetted off for a European tour—through the U.K and France, after which she flies back to Columbus, Ohio, for a Sept. 16 event at Thurber House. —Dick Donahue