cover image Bright Objects

Bright Objects

Ruby Todd. Simon & Schuster, $28.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-6680-5321-8

A young widow, a mysterious astronomer, and a doomsday cult collide as the arrival of a once-in-a-lifetime comet transforms tiny Jericho, New South Wales, into a global hot spot in Todd’s intoxicating debut. As grieving and guilt-stricken narrator Sylvia Knight approaches the second anniversary of the car crash that killed her husband, Christopher, and left Sylvia seriously injured, the only thing keeping her afloat is finding the hit-and-run driver who shattered their lives. But a seemingly chance encounter with Theo St. John, the charismatic American discoverer of the impending comet, at the funeral home where she works, surprises Sylvia by stirring her interest in him—and perhaps even her attraction. She has little bandwidth, however, to dwell on those feelings between planning the grand funeral mystic Joseph Evans wants for his late mother and doggedly pursuing her hit-and-run investigation with the help of Christopher’s cop friend. When Sylvia and her mother-in-law, Sandy, attend a meditation group Joseph runs, she discovers that Danny Ward, the only witness to the crash, is among Joseph’s inner circle. Sensing a lead, Sylvia encourages Sandy to continue joining her at the frequent, increasingly intense sessions, despite strong warnings to the contrary from Theo. As Sandy is sucked into Joseph’s orbit and her own feelings for Theo grow, Todd skillfully ratchets up the suspense on the way toward a stunning climax. The result is a lyrical and inventive literary mystery from an author whom readers will hope returns far sooner than any visiting comet. Agent: Janet Silver, Aevitas Creative Management. (July)