In mainstream fiction this month several of the stories we are featuring contain an element of mystery. And whether you’re reading books on the beach or just trying to fit some you-time into a busy day, we think all readers will agree that sometimes a little bit of “whodunnit?” (or in some cases “whathappened?”) makes a story that much more difficult to put down. But if mysteries aren’t your style, never fear. We also have on tap a new read with some magical elements. Plus don’t miss the news about several newly-announced projects, including one from the incomparable Jodi Picoult!
MAINSTREAM THEME: MYSTERY
If you’re itching to play the armchair sleuth while still reading a story focused on people’s relationships, this month you’ve got several options when it comes to new releases. Rising star Heather Gudenkauf returns this month with her third novel, One Breath Away. When a gunman holds an elementary school class hostage, the question of the terrorists' identity — and who will survive the horrible ordeal — will keep readers flipping the pages of this suspenseful story quickly. But if you’re looking for a book that comes with a bit more mystery, RT Reviewer Debbie says that J.D. Mason’s Beautiful, Dirty, Rich is, “a captivating story with so many twists and turns that the reader may feel dizzy.” Heroine Desi has spent time in prison, accused of murdering a man in cold blood. But when it turns out the victim is her biological father, a millionaire who has left her his fortune, everyone is hunting for answers — including what really happened on that fateful night. And the third book of unclear motives and unexpected revelations is All The Truth by Laura Brodie. Teenage heroine Maggie is haunted by memories of an incident between her mother and several college students that took place a long time ago. But when Maggie’s new math teacher becomes too interested in the teen, the young woman must figure out what really happened. RT Reviewer Leah praises this mainstream read saying, “[An] excellent use of foreshadowing makes the puzzle all the more intriguing. Yet instead of a sense of urgency, the story unfolds more slowly, allowing readers to savor vivid details throughout.”
TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT
If you want a story that will make you laugh and cry, then this month we suggest you check out The After Wife by Gigi Levangie Grazer. This novel has paranormal elements, but won’t overwhelm readers with the “woo woo” aspects. Instead, RT reviewer B. Nakia says that Grazer has written a story about a ghostly grief counseling group that seems downright “plausible.” When Hannah Bernal’s husband dies unexpectedly, she is suddenly able to see ghosts — including his! But will they be able to help her cope with her new role as a widow? B. Nakia calls this funny-bone tickler “wry, dry and reminiscent of a really good situational comedy.” High praise for a story about widows, grieving and the afterlife.
GENRE NEWS: A MAINSTREAM AUTHOR BRANCHES OUT
Jodi Picoult is one of the undisputed queens of mainstream fiction. From Perfect Match to My Sister’s Keeper and beyond, this author is a household name. But she’s just embarked on an adventure that takes her to not one, but two new frontiers. Picoult will be co-writing a novel with her teenage daughter Samantha van Leer — and to do so the author is genre-jumping to YA novels. Together the pair have released Between the Lines, a novel about what happens to fictional characters when they no longer want to play the part that’s assigned to them in the plot. In Between the Lines, teen heroine Delilah falls for the perfect hero - Prince Oliver, who actually only exists in storybooks. But when Oliver is somehow able to reach beyond his book to communicate with Delilah, there is no telling where this unusual relationships will go. Picoult and van Leer's novel is out now.
LOOKING AHEAD: DEBUT AUTHORS
There have been several book deals that have us excited about some new faces in the mainstream genre. Here is just a taste of what readers can expect on bookshelves soon:
Deborah Meyler will introduce readers to The Bookstore and the unusual cast of characters that congregate there. In this debut novel, we the author will introduce us to an innocent British heroine, her American love interest that is “deeply damaged” and the group of regulars who keep the shoestring operation going. Don’t be surprised if this read makes you want to eschew big box bookstores stores and spend your money at indie and used bookstores instead.
If you’ve ever wished that you could re-live moments of your life over again, you’ve got that in common with Andrea Lochen’s heroine. But unlike you, this intensive care nurse actually gets a year long "do over". However, will she be able to take back the moments that she regrets in her career and relationships — or will everything she does end up with the same results? You can find out in The Repeat Year which will soon be released by Berkley.
Meanwhile, the heroine in newcomer Taylor Jenkins Reid’s first outing is struggling with the grief of losing her husband after only nine days of marriage — and suddenly having a mother-in-law to contend with on top of her own turbulent emotions. We expect that The Marriage Certificate will have us reaching for the tissues!