cover image Love and Other Conspiracies

Love and Other Conspiracies

Mallory Marlowe. Berkley, $19 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-0-593-64008-1

BuzzFeed Unsolved meets The X-Files in Marlowe’s wonderful rom-com debut. Hallie Barrett, a 25-year-old producer for an L.A.-based multimedia company, finds her confidence shot after a breakup with a toxic coworker. With her job on the line, Hallie needs to win a company-wide competition for best new show. Enter Hayden Hargrove, a handsome cryptozoologist with a huge following, courtesy of his conspiracy theory podcast, The Out There. Hallie reaches out to Hayden and pitches turning his podcast into a web series. But while Hayden is charismatic behind the mic, he feels totally awkward on screen unless someone is interviewing him. When Hallie steps in as his cohost, her skepticism and the pair’s undeniable chemistry catapult the show to the top of the competition. Sparks fly between the cohosts the more they work together, but can Hallie overcome the trauma of her past relationship to embrace new love? Hallie and Hayden both feel heartwarmingly real, and readers will cheer as Hallie learns to trust herself again. Marlowe’s voice is fresh and witty, with the conspiracy theory aspect adding a playful tone to a classic friends-to-lovers story. Skeptics and believers alike—and especially anyone who wanted Mulder and Scully to kiss—will be delighted with this knockout debut. (Aug.)