cover image A Shot in the Dark

A Shot in the Dark

Victoria Lee. Dell, $17 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-0-593-50051-4

Lee (A Lesson in Vengeance) spins a profoundly emotional love story that takes its themes of addiction, faith, and art as seriously as it does its romantic arc. Bisexual artist Elisheva Cohen, four years sober, is optimistic about her return to New York City, the site of some young adult trauma, to study with the illustrious trans photographer Wyatt Cole, but when her amazing hookup the night before school starts turns out to be the professor himself, things get complicated. (“This is literally TV-drama behavior, without the benefits,” muses the delightfully genre savvy Ely. “I’m pretty sure this is the plot of the first episode of Grey’s Anatomy.”) Their lingering attraction is disallowed but undeniable—and it’s indelibly entangled with artistic mentorship and mutual support around trauma and recovery. Ely’s capstone project exploring Jewish spiritual expression leaves her vulnerable as she engages with the abandoned rituals of her youth; meanwhile, an opportunity for Wyatt to reconnect with estranged family leaves him in need of an understanding confidant. As the pair faces these individual struggles, they learn to rely on each other. The hot and satisfying sex scenes feel simultaneously mainstream and wonderfully queer, grounded by the protagonists’ genuine connection. Exploring the courage required to take a chance on another person, this resonant romance cuts deep. Agent: Holly Root, Root Literary. (Sept.)