This week the niches and trends in Fiction on the Best Seller Charts are showing a decided preference for Thriller and Science Fiction eBooks. From idols of the genre to new favourites, there is plenty to choose from and even more for us to pick apart.
Shooting to the top of the charts is Liane Moriarty’s (author of Big Little Lies) new thriller, Nine Perfect Strangers. A tale of a washed up novelist’s dream trip to a spa vacation that turns into a nightmare. This novel is a good example of how thrillers and suspense novels can be written featuring characters that are not the usual Detective or Forensic Scientist, and how new settings can be used. This book also promises a lot of character work, since the protagonist is described as being intrigued by her fellow guests to the spa, so if that’s your preferred style of writing, go for it! Also in the thriller genre, An Anonymous Girl, by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen, follows a young woman into a terrifying psychological study, underlining the trend for edge of your seat, wondering what could possibly happen next, suspense over horror. Interestingly, these books deal with ordinary people being put into terrifying situations, rather than people for whom the role of detective is their job.
Mysteries start being solved by detectives and policing professionals in the books by J. D Robb (Time of Death), Mike Omer (A Killer’s Mind), and Gregg Olsen (Lying Next to Me). All three feature missing or dead women, with some incredibly visceral or horrifying descriptions. These books are filled with lies, subterfuge, murder, and double crosses. Lies about marital fidelity are especially common, with settings mixed between the wide open spaces of forests and mountains, to the streets of Chicago.
Hitting high on the charts this week is the new Amazon Collection, Disorder, which is a book series dealing with themes of psychological suspense. These short, bite size really, novellas are doing especially well given the fact that only a few of the books in the 6 book series are getting good reviews. Min Jin Lee and Lauren Beukes, however, avoid this and are receiving good reviews for their female focused thrillers. However, as to the others, I feel it is only fair to point out that the bad reviews they are receiving seem to be written in bad faith, with the reviewer actively choosing to review a book badly for its clearly stated themes. And I do mean, “Reviewer” as while I am not able to tell for certain, the language style in all of the negative review appears quite similar. So, that is something for people to keep in mind, and a good reason to ensure that you have sent some ARCs out early.
Moving away from Thrillers and Mystery Novels, Science Fiction seems to be drawing a crowd this week. Several books up for Hugo and Nebula Awards, or which have already won them, are in the charts. Cixin Liu’s, Three Body Problem, is hitting high, while Poul Anderson’s, The Boat of a Million Years, is also doing well. However A. G. Riddle’s The Solar War is the only book still on the chart, and only just, which is quite the drop since last week’s near monopoly. These Science Fiction novels, while all different in their own ways, are all on the more explosive side of the spectrum, full of conspiracies, space ships, and strange creatures. Which is an interesting change from the trend towards magical realism and near future science fiction which was happening last week.
In Women’s Fiction, there are tales of romance and damaged people coming together to path up their cracks and broken parts. Tracey Garvis Graves’, The Girl He Used to Know, is a romance set at a university between two social outcasts, while Debbie Macomber’s, Cottage by the Sea, borrows from the old cliche of a woman hurt by the world finding a place to find herself again. These books focus on the heart warming elements, while building their protagonists out until the reader feels familiar with their wants and needs.
A newly translated historical novel telling the story of a chef who escaped Franco’s Spain to make a new life in the US is also selling well, the Author, Martí Gironell, and the translator, Adrian Nathan West, of Stars in His Eyes, have also concentrated on a warmth of character and a vibrancy of setting. This also plays into last week’s popular trend of Twentieth Century fiction, so perhaps that trend will hang on into this week.
In Romance this week, stand alone novels seem particularly popular, with a concentrated push on Brooding Bad Boys, Friends to Lovers, or in one case Friends to Enemies to Lovers (The Baby Bargain, Crystal Kaswell), Feisty Female Characters, and Relationships of Convenience.
There are also a host of books repeating their place in the charts from last week, from classics like The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood, to Romantic Comedies, like Accidental Knight, by Nicole Snow. But of the points of change in the novels on offer this week it seems clear that a more cerebral suspense novel is wanted, while romantic comedies are on the up.