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'Wolf' Blitz

Don't open the door for the title baddie of James Patterson's latest suspenser, ''The Big Bad Wolf,'' especially if you're an attractive woman -- after he kidnaps you, he'll sell you into sexual slavery. But Patterson's hero, FBI guy Alex Cross, is on the trail, with enough fans tuned in to make it a No. 2 debut.

FICTION WEEKS ON LIST

1 THE DA VINCI CODE Dan Brown, Doubleday, $24.95 36 2 THE BIG BAD WOLF James Patterson, Little, Brown, $27.95 1 3 THE FIVE PEOPLE YOU MEET IN HEAVEN Mitch Albom, 9 Hyperion, $19.95 4 WOLVES OF THE CALLA: THE DARK TOWER, BOOK V 3 Stephen King, Scribner/Grant, $35 5 SHEPHERDS ABIDING Jan Karon, Viking, $24.95 5 6 BLOW FLY Patricia Cornwell, Putnam, $26.95 6 7 BLOOD CANTICLE Anne Rice, Knopf, $25.95 4 8 BLEACHERS John Grisham, Doubleday, $19.95 11 9 THE HANGED MAN'S SONG John Sandford, Putnam, $25.95 2 10 THE MURDER ROOM P.D. James, Knopf, $25.95 1

NONFICTION WEEKS ON LIST

1 THE SOUTH BEACH DIET Arthur Agatston, M.D., Rodale, $24.95 33 2 THE PURPOSE-DRIVEN LIFE Rick Warren, Zondervan, $19.99 43 3 DUDE, WHERE'S MY COUNTRY? Michael Moore, Warner, $24.95 7 4 THE WORLD ACCORDING TO MISTER ROGERS: IMPORTANT 5 THINGS TO REMEMBER Fred Rogers, Hyperion, $16.95 5 FLYBOYS: A TRUE STORY OF COURAGE 8 James Bradley, Little, Brown, $25.95 6 LIES AND THE LYING LIARS WHO TELL THEM -- A FAIR AND 14 BALANCED LOOK AT THE RIGHT Al Franken, Dutton, $24.95 7 WHO'S LOOKING OUT FOR YOU? Bill O'Reilly, Broadway, $24.95 9 8 A ROYAL DUTY Paul Burrell, Putnam, $25.95 5 9 THE ULTIMATE WEIGHT SOLUTION: THE 7 KEYS TO WEIGHT LOSS 11 FREEDOM Dr. Phil McGraw, Free Press, $26 10 I AM A SOLDIER, TOO: THE JESSICA LYNCH STORY 2 Rick Bragg, Knopf, $23.95

SOURCE: PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, WEEK OF NOV. 17-23, 2003

OPENING ACTS

''Chapin was said to have fired 108 men during his tenure. Even [his boss Joseph] Pulitzer's son was a victim.... The smallest infraction could send one packing -- and create another barroom tale. Among those told regarding Chapin's relish for giving a man the boot was one about a reporter who claimed his lateness was caused by having scalded his foot in the bathtub. When Chapin fired him several days later, he was said to have exclaimed, 'I would have fired you earlier but I wanted to see how long you could keep on faking that limp.''' -- From the first chapter of James McGrath Morris' biography of pioneering newspaperman Charles Chapin, THE ROSE MAN OF SING SING (Fordham, $30)

''I got some new hair installed recently. Row after furrowed row of micrografts, like a curved barley field. Then, inadvisedly, I got it dyed. 'Sable' is what the stylist called the color. It is also known as brown. The dark stuff only took on the top, though, the roots are more of a manila hue. I don't kid myself, it resembles a piece of tiramisu on my head.'' -- From the first chapter of DJ Levien's novel about a pornographer, SWAGBELLY (Plume, $13)

Originally posted Dec 12, 2003 Published in issue #741 Dec 12, 2003 Order article reprints
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