Thursday, March 04, 2010

We’ve Got Your Number: “212”

ConIt’s astounding to see what authors--even well-known and best-selling authors--must do these days to promote themselves. I received a note yesterday from Alafair Burke, a former Oregon deputy district attorney and now a professor of law in New York City, whose new Detective Ellie Hatcher novel, 212, will be released by Harper on March 23. In that note, she directed me to a Web page that tells all about a “surprise gift” promotion, available to purchasers of her latest book. As Burke explains:
To thank you for your early support, I will send you a mystery gift for every hardback copy of 212 that you purchase prior to midnight on March 22. You can find your favorite booksellers here to order. Just e-mail a copy of your receipt to
(Unfortunately, it seems that this offer is limited to copies of 212 purchased in the United States.)

While Burke doesn’t reveal what her “mystery gift” is (for then it wouldn’t be a mystery, right?), she does say that it’s “small but special, I designed it myself, and I’m pretty sure you’ll like it.”

All that sounds good--but wait (as the pitchmen declare on television), there’s more! Publisher Harper has agreed to send a free hardcover copy of 212 to one lucky Rap Sheet reader. To win it, you need only demonstrate your reasoning--or guessing--skills.

Since I had so much fun recently with a meme that asked bloggers to post a series of outrageous truths and lies about themselves, I invited the brilliant Ms. Burke to try her hand at the same challenge. Herewith, she presents six facts about herself, plus one wholly untrue statement. Can you tell which is which?

1. I once spotted Adam Ant in front of me at a hot dog cart in Central Park. I muttered, “Don’t drink, don’t smoke, but apparently you do eat hot dogs.”

2. I once wandered au naturel from a gym locker room into
the free weight area.

3. I initially named my dog Stacy Keach, but my husband vetoed the decision.

4. I once went to the gym during a trial recess, had my blouse stolen from the locker room, and returned in front of the same jury, minus the shirt I’d been wearing under my suit
that morning.

5. I once reached for a magic marker in my jacket pocket during closing argument and instead pulled out a similarly shaped object I had purchased from a machine in the
ladies’ restroom.

6. Bill Clinton once called me to say he liked my books.

7. I once played the lion in The Wizard of Oz.
If you think you know which one of these statements is a bald-faced lie, type your answer in an e-mail note and send it (along with your mailing address) to Please write “Alafair Burke Contest” in the subject line. You can make only one guess, and you have to make it by next Wednesday, March 10. At that time, I’ll collect all of the right answers (presuming anyone gets it right), and randomly choose one person to receive a free copy of 212.

Good luck!

(Author photograph by Douglas Mott)

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