J.D. Robb Shares the Stage with Some Promising Newcomers: Mystery Previews, Jan. 2024, Pt. 1 | Prepub Alert

Mysterious doings.

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Ailes, Kat. The Expectant Detectives. Minotaur. Jan. 2024. 336p. ISBN 9781250322708. $28. Downloadable. MYSTERY

Excited to have moved to a quaint village with partner Joe and expecting their first child, Alice is upended when a dead body is discovered at her prenatal class and she and her classmates are deemed suspects. So they join forces (along with Alice’s rambunctious dog, Helen) to discover the culprit. Cotswolds-based Ailes, who works in publishing as an editor, was short-listed for the Comedy Women in Print Prize for the opening chapters of this debut; with a 100,000-copy first printing.

Brody, Kate. Rabbit Hole. Soho Crime. Jan. 2024. 384p. ISBN 9781641294874. $25.95. MYSTERY

When Theodora “Teddy” Angstrom’s father dies by suicide, unreconciled to the long-ago disappearance of Teddy’s older sister Angie, Teddy learns that he’s been involved with a Reddit group obsessing over Angie and slides down the same rabbit hole herself. Soon, she’s losing all perspective, fixating on an amateur sleuth who wants to help her solve the case and determined to find Angie no matter what the cost. From debuter Brody.

Collins, Sarah-Jane. Radiant Heat. Berkley. Jan. 2023. 352p. ISBN 9780593550342. $27. MYSTERY

Having survived a forest fire that devastates the southeastern Australian state of Victoria by lying wrapped in wet woolen blankets on her bathroom floor, Alison stumbles outside to find a shiny red car in her driveway with a dead woman inside whose purse contains a crumbled piece of paper with Alison’s name and address. Alison doesn’t know her, but trouble will soon be coming her way. Award-winning Meanjin (Brisbane)–born, New York City–based writer/editor Collins looks promising; the publisher has bought up two of her titles.

Hastings, Anastasia. Of Hoaxes and Homicide. Minotaur. (Dear Miss Hermione, Bk. 2). Jan. 2023. 320p. ISBN 9781250848581. $28. MYSTERY/HISTORICAL

In this follow-up to the nicely received Of Manners and Murder, Violet Manville, who’s taken over a popular Agony Aunt column written under the pseudonym Miss Hermione, receives a letter from a woman whose daughter has vanished into a cult called the Hermetic Order of the Children of Aed. What’s more, the daughter is best friends with Violet’s half-sister Sephora. With rumors of ghosts and human sacrifices and the very real poisoning of one of the cult members, Violet and Sephora get busy. With a 40,000-copy first printing.

Parekh, Nishita. The Night of the Storm. Dutton. Jan. 2024. 336p. ISBN9780593473375. $29. MYSTERY

With Hurricane Harvey sweeping toward Houston, single mom Jia Shah—already wringing her hands over her son’s recent school suspension—reluctantly agrees that they should shelter with her sister Seema and Seema’s overly familiar husband, Vipul, in their big house in upper crust Sugar Land. Vipul’s brother and sister-in-law soon arrive, and with the brothers’ bossy mom there, too, all that’s needed is a dead body to truly raise the stakes. Mumbai-born, Texas-based Parekh offers a debut.

Prose, Nita. The Mystery Guest. Ballantine. (Molly the Maid, Bk, 2). Nov. 2023. 304p. ISBN 9780593356180. $29. MYSTERY/COZY

In 2022, Prose debuted with The Maid, whose protagonist, Molly Gray, a neurodivergent young woman who struggles to read the world around her yet can take pride in her work at the Regency Grand Hotel. It went on to become a No. 1 New York Times best seller that boasted a Ned Kelly award and an Edgar short-listing. Now Molly is back as head maid, determined to solve the murder of celebrated mystery writer J.D. Grimthorpe, who’s tumbled over in the hotel’s sumptuous tearoom.

Robb, J.D. Random in Death. St. Martin’s. (Eve Dallas Novel, Bk. 58). Jan. 2024. 368p. ISBN 9781250289544. $30. MYSTERY/POLICE PROCEDURAL

In a futuristic New York, Jenna has finally made it to a popular club to hear the iconic band Avenue A and maybe give her demo to guitarist Jake Kincade. But moments after he gives her a smile, Jemma stumbles out to the alley, sick and trembling and very soon dead, having been jabbed with a needle that ultimately proves to have contained both toxins and infectious agents. Now Lt. Eve Dallas must figure out whether Jemma was the target or just the random victim of someone who might strike again. With a 750,000-copy first printing.

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Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (bhoffert@mediasourceinc.com, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; winner of ALA's Louis Shores Award for reviewing; and past president, awards chair, and treasurer of the National Book Critics Circle, which awarded her its inaugural Service Award in 2023.

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