Picks and Pans Review: Book Buzz

updated 02/17/1997 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/17/1997 01:00AM

>WIVES ALIVE

Goldie, Diane, Bette—call your agents! Olivia Goldsmith, whose 1991 novel First Wives Club was made into a hit movie, signed a $4 million, two-book contract with HarperCollins, a deal that calls for a sequel to Wives titled Date Rage. "What is more universal than women outraged by bad marriages?" asks Goldsmith, 42. "The answer is women outraged by terrible dating behavior."

ASH CASH

Fame came late to Frank McCourt, but at least it brought fortune with it. The 66-year-old author of Angela's Ashes has sold the film rights to his first book—about his impoverished Irish childhood—for a sum in the high six figures. McCourt also demanded, and landed, co-screenwriting credit. "It's my life, my book," he says. "I will stick up for my end."

SERIAL CHILLER A six-book series about evil doings in a fictional New Hampshire town? Although it sounds like a Stephen King project, The Black-stone Chronicles is the creation of horror writer John Saul, who is also hoping to mimic King's success. The first of six monthly installments became a bestseller, while ABC-TV signed a seven-figure deal with Saul to make a 1998 miniseries.

SUDDENLY SEYMOUR

It's the literary equivalent of Haley's comet—new work by J.D. Salinger. The legendary recluse, who last published fiction in 1963, will be coming out with Hapworth 16, 1924, a hush-hush book set to be issued next month by Orchises Press. As for the rarely seen Salinger, now 78, don't expect him to turn up on Oprah.

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