Last of the February Chillers: Feb. 2023, Pt. 5 | Prepub Alert

Including Bret Easton Ellis, Walter Mosley, and Jeri Westerson. 

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Ellis , Bret Easton. The Shards. Knopf. Jan. 2023. 608p. ISBN 9780593535608. $30. THRILLER

In this quasi-autobiographical novel, set in 1981 Los Angeles, Bret is a senior at the elite Buckley prep school and fascinated with a new student who has arrived like a lightning bolt even as Bret’s wider group of friends focus unhealthily on a serial killer called the Trawler who suddenly seems to be circling them. As Bret wonders whether he can trust anyone (himself included), the blazing writer-to-be starts emerging.

Harrod-Eagles, Cynthia. Before I Sleep. Severn House. (Bill Slider, Bk. 23). NAp. ISBN 9781448306190. $28.99. MYSTERY

A beautiful and quietly self-assured older woman named Felicity Holland fails to return home after a pottery class, and her husband is convinced that she’s been abducted. But without evidence of foul play—or any reason for it—DCI Bill Slider of London's Shepherd’s Bush murder squad, doesn’t know where to start looking. Next in a durable series after the well-received Dying Fall.

Holmes, Rupert. Murder Your Employer: The McMasters Guide to Homicide. Avid Reader: S. & S. Feb. 2023. 400p. ISBN 9781451648218. $28. MYSTERY

Ever heard of the McMasters Conservatory? At this specialized school, its location unknown even to those who study there, students learn how to kill for what they consider ethical reasons: they want to get rid of someone they consider a blight on the universe. From the two-time Edgar-winning Holmes, a multiple Tony and Drama Desk Awards award winner for mystery musicals that include The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

Malliet, G.M. Invitation to a Killer. Severn House. (Augusta Hawke Mystery, Bk. 2). Feb. 2023. NAp. ISBN 9781448306640. $28.99. MYSTERY

In this second in a new series from the Agatha Award–winning Malliet, crime writer Augusta Hawke has agreed to ghostwrite the memoirs of ambitious Callie Morgan, who’s aiming for a diplomatic posting. After a suspicious death at a dinner party thrown by Callie, Augusta organizes a writers’ retreat loaded with suspects that gets tension-provokingly snowed in.

Mosley, Walter. Every Man a King: A King Oliver Novel. Mulholland: Little, Brown. Feb. 2023. 336p. ISBN 9780316460217. $28. CD/downloadable. MYSTERY

In this sequel to the Edgar award–winning Down the River Unto the Sea,  Joe King Oliver is asked by uncommonly rich family friend Roger Ferris to determine whether white nationalist Alfred Xavier Quiller was set up when he is accused of murder and of selling sensitive information to the Russians. Assisted by unorthodox bodyguard/mercenary Oliya Ruez, Oliver struggles to grasp the breadth of Quiller’s various business dealings while wondering why Ferris is so concerned. With a 100,000-copy first printing.

Westerson, Jeri. Courting Dragons. Severn House. Feb. 2023. ISBN 9781448309870. NAp. $28.99. MYSTERY

Author of the fabulous medieval noir series starring Crispin Guest, Westerson launched a new series with Will Somers as King Henry VIII’s jester. Will, who also serves as the king’s ear-to-the-ground adviser, is blackmailed when he finds the corpse of Spanish count Don Gonzalo while walking in the courtyard gardens.

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Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @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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