Parking legally on New York's streets is almost impossible. But mild-mannered, hardworking Murray Tepper seems to have found the secret to finding a good spot.
Other drivers want to know that secret. They also want to know if the parked, newspaper-reading Tepper will be leaving his plum spot any time soon. Meanwhile, Tepper is arousing the ire of Mayor Ducavelli, who considers the law-abiding parker a public nuisance.
Get some coins for the meter, slip behind the wheel, and read all about it in "Tepper Isn't Going Out" (Random House).
Calvin Trillin's comic novel is among the latest hardcover books, which include fiction by some writers with three names -- Joyce Carol Oates, Jayne Ann Krentz and Robert Olen Butler -- and nonfiction by Ralph Nader, Ann Rule and actor Kirk Douglas.
The zillionth-or-so book by the prolific Oates is the novella "Beasts" (Carroll & Graf). The setting is 1970s New England, where a bright, talented college junior becomes obsessed with her poetry professor and everything about him: his bohemian lifestyle, his secluded cottage, and his exotic wife, a sculptor who has the community up in arms about her huge wooden totems depicting bestiality.
Another prolific writer is Krentz, with more than 120 books to her credit and several pen names to boot. Her latest is "Smoke in Mirrors" (Putnam), a romantic thriller in which a career scam artist who is about to die tells a friend where to find a fortune she recently "acquired." The friend wants no part of the dirty money, and her quest to prove her good intentions gets her involved in the search for a killer and with the man helping her look.
In Butler's 10th novel "Fair Warning" (Atlantic Monthly), love finally arrives for 40-ish Amy, star employee at a New York auction house. But while she is being wooed by her new boss, a suave, handsome, wealthy Frenchman, she is distracted by longtime family problems: a smothering mother, a sister whose marriage Amy cannot respect, and guilt about having abandoned the family business.
Consumer advocate and presidential candidate Nader describes his 2000 bid for the White House in "Crashing the Party" (St. Martin's). Nader, who received nearly 3 million votes as a Green Party candidate, describes the problems of running against the two major parties and divulges what he considers the reasons he was not allowed to participate in the presidential debates.
Rule, a former Seattle police officer, offers a true-crime tale in "Every Breath You Take" (Free Press). She chronicles the savage murder of Sheila Bellush, found in a pool of blood in her Florida home, and subsequent attempts by law enforcement to link her former husband to the crime. Rule draws upon interviews with the victim's friends, family and neighbors, and with detectives and prosecutors involved in the case.
In "My Stroke of Luck" (Morrow), Douglas, veteran of 83 films and nine plays, offers his eighth book, a memoir about the stroke he suffered in 1996. He describes the physical, mental and emotional toll, and tells how the "great adventure" of a stroke changed him for the better. Douglas, 84, reminisces about his childhood and family, and about prominent figures in his life, including Ronald Reagan, Frank Sinatra, Burt Lancaster and John Wayne.
In Karen Robards' novel "To Trust a Stranger" (Pocket), Julie Carlson suspects that her wealthy husband Sid is having an affair. She hires private eye Mac McQuarry, who not only falls for the gorgeous Julie, but has another incentive: revenge. Sid was influential in the shakedown of the Charleston, S.C., police department that cost McQuarry his job as an officer.
A memoir, a love story, and a wine tutorial are wrapped up in one: "Love by the Glass" (Villard) by Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher. The authors write "Tastings," the weekly wine column in The Wall Street Journal, frequently appear on television's "Martha Stewart Living," and created "Open That Bottle Night" to encourage wine lovers to finally enjoy that bottle they've been saving.
In February, Queen Elizabeth II celebrates 50 years on England's throne. In "The Monarchy" (Broadway), Deborah Hart Strober and Gerald S. Strober offer an oral history of Elizabeth, with contributions by more than 100 friends and associates of the royal family -- John Eisenhower, Lady Pamela Hicks, Nelson Mandela, Mohamed al Fayed, and even Alfonso, a limousine driver.
More new books:
-- "Rebekah" (Shadow Mountain), Orson Scott Card's fictionalized biography of the biblical wife of Isaac and mother of Jacob and Esau.
-- "Sharpe's Prey" (HarperCollins), No. 18 in Bernard Cornwell's series about British soldier Richard Sharpe, whose latest mission is to protect neutral Denmark from Napoleon.
-- "The Siege" (Grove) by Helen Dunmore, about a Russian family's struggles during Nazi Germany's siege of Leningrad in 1941.
-- "Under Fire" (Putnam), W.E.B. Griffin's ninth in "The Corps" series, places the U.S. Marines in the Korean War.
-- "Captain Saturday" (Little, Brown) by Robert Inman, about a TV weatherman whose life turns cloudy when he loses his job.
-- "Eden Burning" (Morrow), Elizabeth Lowell's reworking of her 1986 novel "Fires of Eden," is about a newly single man who meets a beautiful dancer in Hawaii.
-- "Wetware" (Shaye Areheart-Crown), Craig Nova's near-future sci-fi about robots on the loose with a virus deadly to humans.
-- "The Passion of Artemisia" (Viking), Susan Vreeland's novel based on the life of post-Renaissance Italian painter Artemisia Gentileschi.
-- "Fear Less" (Little, Brown), Gavin de Becker's guide to dealing with risk, safety and fear in times of terrorism.
-- "Shouting Fire" (Little, Brown), essays about the rights of individuals, by Harvard law professor Alan M. Dershowitz.
-- "Mars and Venus in the Workplace" (HarperCollins), John Gray's "Mars and Venus" relationship guidance for office situations.
-- "Tobacco" (Grove) by Iain Gately profiles the seductive plant's role in history, while "Salt" (Walker) by Mark Kurlansky chronicles "the only rock we eat."
-- "The Cat From Hue" (Public Affairs), former TV journalist John Laurence's memoir about covering the Vietnam War.
-- "The Power of Babel" (Times), the evolution of the world's 6,000 languages by linguistics professor John McWhorter.
-- "A Convenient Spy" (Simon & Schuster) by Dan Stober and Ian Hoffman profiles Wen Ho Lee, the American scientist accused of providing China with nuclear secrets.
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