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LIT PICKS

Putnam’s buys into Onassis bio

G.P. Putnam’s Sons has picked up the publishing rights to a book by Kiki Feoudi Moutsatsos, the longtime personal secretary of Aristotle Onassis.

The untitled tome — slated for publication in 1998 — will detail the seven most important women in Onassis’ life, including Jackie O. and Maria Callas.

As Onassis’ personal secretary, Moutsatsos was treated as a member of his family and was involved in almost every area of his personal and professional affairs. According to Putnam, Moutsatsos felt free to write the book only because most of the key figures have died. She is writing the book with the cooperation of many Onassis family members.

The author was repped on the deal by Boston lit agent Helen Rees.

Parker forging ‘Night Passage’

Putnam also inked a two-book deal with Robert B. Parker for a new crime fiction series.

The first novel, “Night Passage,” will be published in hardcover in September, with the paperback version set to appear next year from Berkley Books. The second novel in the series will be published in hardcover in 1998.

The new series features a 35-year-old former L.A. homicide detective who, after quitting the force in L.A. when his marriage crumbles and his drinking problem escalates, is hired as the police chief in a small Massachusetts town.

He quickly finds that beneath the surface of the quiet New England town is a cabal of political and moral corruption that he sets out to dismantle. Parker is a bestselling author of 30 books — 24 of which are part of the Spenser series he began in 1974 with “The Godwulf Manuscript.”

Hotchkiss hawking ‘After Midnight’

In addition to the 30-page sampling of the World War II-era “Earth, Rings and Fire,” which was making its way around town last week, lit agent Jody Hotchkiss of Gotham’s Sterling Lord Literistic represents the film rights to “After Midnight: The Brad Davis Story.”

The book, penned by Davis’ widow, Susan Bluestein Davis, with Hilary de Vries, provides an account of the actor’s meteoric rise — marked by his starring role in the 1978 Oscar-winner “Midnight Express” — to the depths of his silent struggle with AIDS, ending with his death in 1991. Pocket Books will publish “After Midnight” in April.

Industry-related books

“Are You Anybody?: An Actor’s Life”

Bradford Dillman, foreword by Suzy Parker (Fithian) Pub. date: March

The title question is often asked of second bananas and featured performers when they are recognized by fans. Dillman is an archetype: He has performed on Broadway, in 67 films and on many TV shows. His memoirs comprise a collection of showbiz anecdotes, centered on such topics as critics, survival as a thespian and working with stars, famed directors, agents and producers.

Helmer/producer Steven Soderbergh (“sex, lies and videotape,” “King of the Hill”) is penning a book for Faber & Faber about Richard Lester, the director of “A Hard Day’s Night,” “The Three Musketeers” and “The Four Musketeers.”

Soderbergh cites Lester and Luis Bunuel as the inspirations behind his upcoming film “Schizopolis,” which the Louisiana native wrote, helmed and stars in.

Faber & Faber also will publish the working script of “Schizopolis.”

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