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Blog – Posted on Thursday, Jan 28

10 Exciting New Books From Up-and-Coming Authors

Millions of new books hit the market every year — but, truth be told, most will never achieve great fame and fortune. As a result, there remain so many magnificent writers out there that people do not know about: masters of the language with incredible stories to tell.

In an attempt to rectify this imbalance, here are 10 amazing books from up-and-coming authors that are worthy of your consideration and sure to make you feel something. Whether it’s joy or abject despair (sometimes within the same book), these titles will hold you hostage by the beautiful written word.

1. Jersig by J.B. Whitehouse

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This book follows a main character to rival some of the great literary “identity seekers” of our time. Our narrator, “Q”, is a young man of curiosity but limited avenues as to how to escape his mundane life... that is, until a chance brush with Jersig, a wealthy and successful businessman who introduces Q to an entirely new (and not entirely auspicious) way of life. On one level, Jersig is a scintillating cautionary tale about the dangers of fraternizing with strangers — as well as the life-expansive opportunities of doing so. But it’s much more than that: a classic tale of identity and profound introspection, conveyed by a creative and intelligent new voice.

2. The Rage Colony by Shanon Hunt

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Shanon Hunt seems to have this formula down. Bursting onto the literary scene with her 2019 debut The Pain Colony, she’s put her past experience as a pharmaceutical executive to great use and has further penetrated the medical thriller subgenre with a nail-biting sequel. The Rage Colony is another thought-provoking, even more complex thriller highlighting the all-too-real dangers of genetic engineering and manipulation. Hunt has a knack for creating page-turning suspense that’s founded in scientific theory, then subtly overlaying it with dark horror.

3. A Palm Beach Scandal by Susannah Marren

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With just two books, Susannah Marren has cornered the literary market for Palm Beach, the supposed Florida paradise where families face intense pressure to appear “perfect” at all times. Marren herself is a masterful psychological detective and interpreter of hidden feelings — not to mention the consequences of keeping secrets. In A Palm Beach Scandal, she puts her talents to work, digging deep into two sisters’ relationships with each other, their parents, a husband, and a lover. Marren is especially skilled at taking extraordinary situations and feeling out realistic character responses; despite all the drama, this book never feels like it’s jumping the shark.

4. Franklin Rock by Mark E. Klein

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One-part Siddhartha and one-part Forrest Gump, undergraduate student Franklin Rock has been chosen to change the world. In one extraordinary moment, Franklin learns that his life will be an adventure unlike any other: he must travel through time to have a spiritual awakening, discover his destiny, and bestow gifts (the contents of which he knows not) upon humanity. Full of profound sentiments and universal themes, yet relaying it all with a light touch, Franklin Rock is — as New York Times bestselling author Jane Stanton Hitchcock puts it — nothing less than “the New Age Candide.”

5. The Audacity of Sara Grayson by Joani Elliott

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What happens when your mother’s dying wish becomes your worst nightmare? That’s the basis of this debut novel from Joani Elliott, who melds genres in a fascinating way. Our protagonist, Sara Grayson, is a 32-year-old greeting card writer with few other literary ambitions. But that changes when Sara learns that her recently deceased mother — a world-famous author of suspense novels — wanted Sara to complete the final book in her bestselling series. In her attempts to fill her mother’s shoes, Sara stumbles upon family secrets she was never meant to find… secrets that threaten both the book she’s trying to create and her mother’s entire legacy.

6. Walking Among Birds by Matthew Hickson

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A neat and intriguing drama, there’s so much to like about Walking Among Birds: the captivating story, the vibrant cast, the idyllic boarding-school setting and its surrounding nature, a narrator you’d love to have a drink with, and a promising author with the literary chops to pull it all off. Hickson uses dark secrets not only to set up the story, but to advance it — in the compelling vein of The Secret History and If We Were Villains — via a sophisticated mechanism that’s matched only by the prowess of his prose. (One particularly good line, chilling as it is out of context, reads: “Our flesh’s weakness should be no match for our spirit’s perseverance.”)

7. Moments Like This by Anna Gomez and Kristoffer Polaha

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Being able to share universal feelings and offer assurance that things will be all right, if only through the medium of romance novels, means a great deal to Anna Gomez. “The Happily Ever After signifies to me, more than anything, hope. And I think people right now are just looking for hope.” When she met writing partner Kristoffer Polaha, it was a true “meet-cute” of minds. The culmination was Moments Like This: the first book in the From Kona with Love series, which entwines multicultural romance, love, loss, and redemption. Moments Like This kicks off a family saga set in the beautiful islands of Hawaii, focusing first on the couple of Andie and Warren, who embark on a new adventure together in a setting that couldn’t be more delightfully escapist. 

8. EO-N by Dave Mason

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In his review of EO-N, Dennis Hetzel notes, “Mason certainly isn’t the first author to use the horrors of Nazi Germany as scaffolding for an interesting story with relevance for today. What makes EO-N special is how he does it with fresh eyes, an intriguing plot and the deftness of a confident writer.” In this slick piece of writing with an even sharper plot, biotech executive Alison Wiley gets pulled into a 74-year-old mystery that begins beneath the surface of a Norwegian glacier. Mason masterfully connects the dots between Wiley’s grandfather — a cocky Royal Canadian Air Force pilot in 1945 — and the disillusioned Luftwaffe pilot Major Günther Graf, trapped in the unspeakable horrors of Nazi Germany. A tightly woven and gripping journey through past and present.

9. Snatch 2&20 by Luke E. Fellows

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Author Luke Fellows describes himself as the now-retired co-founder of a technology-focused hedge fund. He adds: “The irony is not lost on me that my success in the finance industry gave me the means to spend my time pillorying it.” The result is Snatch 2&20, an edgy satirical take on Wall Street that ponders the questions: Would you sell your soul to a sociopathic hedge fund titan for tens of millions in dirty cash? What about your sexy wife? What if it meant cozying up to a neurotic and lecherous tech entrepreneur while risking your freedom, and maybe even your life? Equal parts Black Mirror and Adam McKay, Snatch 2&20 will have readers laughing one moment and cringing the next at the modern misadventures of its ill-fated protagonist.

10. The Secret Diaries of Juan Luis Vives by Tim Darcy Ellis

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After encountering this book, readers will wonder why they’d never heard the name Juan Luis Vives before. “I actually found Vives by mistake,” says author Tim Darcy Ellis. “He was very important in the 16th century but has been largely forgotten by the mainstream.” In this excellent piece of historical fiction, Ellis vividly resurrects Vives through imagined writings that capture a man who was truly ahead of his time. Ellis spins Vives’s diary with all the raw emotion you’d expect from a man who spent his life running from forces that wanted him dead, but is wise enough to know that “[even if] it’s a cruel world, the only way to change it is to stay in it.”


Guest post by Jim Alkon, Editorial Director of BookTrib was created 16 years ago to serve as the voice of emerging authors, and today is a leading source of book news and reviews.

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