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Dateline: Midair, May 18

05/21/2006

Will someone tell me what the “One World Alliance” is?

Is it the final revelation of a Robert Ludlum thriller, in which the hero learns that everyone, but everyone, is involved in the Big Conspiracy?

And if it’s not – why is American Airlines a member of the One World Alliance?

I’m on a flight to Washington D.C. – the BEA (Book Expo America), the big annual book industry trade show, begins tomorrow. I’m doing CNBC’s “Squawk Box” tomorrow morning, then doing a signing at the BEA, and on Saturday I’m on a panel with George Pelecanos, Mark Bowden and Jim Belushi. (I don’t get the connection either.)
But right now I’m on an American Eagle plane that’s only slightly bigger than an extra large toothpaste tube.

The book tour got off to a good start in New York today. I’ve already forgotten most of what happened, but I stopped by The Mysterious Bookshop, signed a bunch of books, and said hello to the proprietor, Otto Penzler, a major force in the mystery book world. This is one of the best mystery bookshops in New York – oh, hell, since it’s the only one that always insists I stop in and sign books, they must be the best, right? Last year it was located farther uptown, but after many years they moved to TriBeCa – probably a better, more street-traffic friendly location. But Otto no longer has the best office in the world, which he had at the old place – twelve-foot ceilings, floor to ceiling bookshelves. It looked like Henry Higgins’ library in “My Fair Lady.” (If you want signed copies of Killer Instinct, e-mail his store: info@mysteriousbookshop.com)

Just before the Borders signing began, the skies opened up and the rains came down in torrents. But despite it all, a great turnout, a very enthusiastic crowd. Some of them are regulars by now, some I know just because they e-mail me fairly often – Randy R., Seth T., Rudy, and others.

The winner of the plasma screen was someone who’s just discovered my books, a very nice guy named Richard who, as it turned out, knows a lot about the plasma/LCD industry. But he didn’t have a flat-screen TV – until that night.