A Dolly Parton thriller and 4 other books to put on your reading list

Editor’s note: The books linked here are independently chosen by the CNN+ press team. CNN+ may receive a commission for any purchases made through these links. The following is an excerpt from this week’s “Jake Tapper’s Book Club” newsletter:



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A note from CNN’s Jake Tapper: When I started this project, I didn’t expect a collaboration between Dolly Parton and James Patterson to be part of our premiere. The country music icon is known for her incredible songwriting, with a roster that includes timeless hits like ‘Jolene’, ‘Light of a Clear Blue Morning’ and ‘I Will Always Love You’.

In the literary world, she not only wrote a fantastic memoir that I highly recommend – “Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics” – she made her mark with her non-profit organization which sends hundreds of millions books to children in rural areas and poor communities around the world.

Parton hadn’t dabbled in fiction, however, until she got a call from one of the world’s most popular bestselling authors, James Patterson. You may know Patterson from the thrillers he brought to life, with iconic characters like Alex Cross, Michael Bennett and those from the ‘Women’s Murder Club’ series.

Patterson had just co-written with former President Bill Clinton a bestselling thriller that relied on Clinton’s insider knowledge of being president. Along with Parton, Patterson crafted a plot for a thriller about a young woman trying to make it in the country music business.

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Their unexpected collaboration resulted in “Run, Rose, Run,” which tells the story of AnnieLee Keyes as she tries to escape her past to become a famous country music singer.

The book is filled with the kind of details that can only come from someone who has lived through it. Parton also contributed a companion album that brings music to the book’s lyrics – a unique and fun package for everyone.

For our first episode of Book Club, I flew to Nashville to hang out with the co-writers to discuss the genesis of this one-of-a-kind novel/album. Parton also arranged a cool tour of his studio. What a treat.

Lots more to come from all sorts of genres, authors and backgrounds. Hope you enjoy and welcome to the club.

My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

Doubleday Books

Nigerian-British novelist Oyinkan Braithwaite tells the story of sisters Korede and Ayoola. After Ayoola’s third boyfriend dies, Korede steps in to help her sister, but she must count how far she’s willing to go to protect her family.


Purchase ‘My Sister, the Serial Killer’ via Bookshop.org here

‘Madame Secretary: A Memoir’ by Madeleine Albright

Perennial harpist

Albright, a diplomatic force in President Clinton’s administration and the first female U.S. secretary of state, died last week at the age of 84. His 2003 autobiographical memoir skillfully recounts his childhood in Europe through the years of his long career in international affairs.

Purchase ‘Madam Secretary: A Memoir’ via Bookshop.org here

“When the Stars Go Out” by Paula McLain

Ballantine, Bantam, Dell

When seasoned missing persons detective Anna Hart faces tragedy in her own life, she leaves San Francisco for the Northern California village of Mendocino. But when Hart arrives, she hears about a missing teenage girl whose case seems eerily familiar to an unsolved murder of another young girl.

Buy ‘When the Stars Go Dark’ via Bookshop.org here.

‘Moon Witch, Spider King’ by Marlon James

Riverhead Books

In ‘Moon Witch, Spider King’, the sequel to James’ award-winning 2019 novel ‘Black Leopard, Red Wolf’, the story of a boy’s mysterious disappearance is told through the eyes of the 177-year-old witch .

Purchase “Moon Witch, Spider King” via Bookshop.org here.

One of the goals of Jake Tapper’s Book Club is to promote independent bookstores across the country. This week the team salutes one of our favourites, Politics and Prose in Washington, D.C.

Not only does P&P have a wide selection, but they’re also hosting several live events and book talks (many of which have been virtual since the pandemic began).

Do you have a favorite bookstore? Tweet @JakeTapper with your choice and we may feature it in a future newsletter.

  • April 3 – Jake interviews Jean Chen Ho, whose first book is a collection of short stories about the friendship of two Taiwanese-American women.
  • April 10 – Jake sits down with comedian Judd Apatow, author of a new book of conversations Apatow has conducted with artists and celebrities.
  • April 17 – Jake chats with Elizabeth Alexander, the author of a poignant new book, ‘The Trayvon Generation’, in which she examines the impact of the past decade of uprisings for racial justice on black youth across the art.

About Joey J. Hott

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