12 must-read science fiction and fantasy book releases for a magical July

22 Murders of Madison May by Mazzy Barry. Image courtesy Penguin Random House
22 Murders of Madison May by Mazzy Barry. Image courtesy Penguin Random House /
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22 Murders of Madison May book cover
22 Murders of Madison May by Mazzy Barry. Image courtesy Penguin Random House /

July 2021 release: The 22 Murders of Madison May – Max Berry

From the critically acclaimed author of Jennifer Government and Lexicon comes a mind-bending speculative psychological suspense story about a serial killer pursuing his victim across time and space, and the woman who is determined to stop him, even if it upends her own reality.

A story that combines a serial killer mystery and questions of time travel and parallel dimensions is certainly square in my wheelhouse of interests, is all I’m saying. The story follows two characters: Clayton Hors and Felicity Staples. Hors is obsessed with the titular Madison May, an upcoming actress in his world. When he discovers a way to travel between worlds, he uses this ability to try and track down the Maddie of his fantasies – and murders the ones who disappoint them. (All of them.)

Felicity is a reporter investigating the death of the Madison on her world when she too unwittingly discovers the multiverse – and a chance to save all the Maddies. Traveling through different realities, Felicity uncovers the opportunity–and danger–of living more than one life.

The official synopsis describes the story in greater detail.

"I love you. In every world. Young real estate agent Madison May is shocked when a client at an open house says these words to her. The man, a stranger, seems to know far too much about her, and professes his love–shortly before he murders her. Felicity Staples hates reporting on murders. As a journalist for a midsize New York City paper, she knows she must take on the assignment to research Madison May’s shocking murder, but the crime seems random and the suspect is in the wind. That is, until Felicity spots the killer on the subway, right before he vanishes. Soon, Felicity senses her entire universe has shifted. No one remembers Madison May, or Felicity’s encounter with the mysterious man. And her cat is missing. Felicity realizes that in her pursuit of Madison’s killer, she followed him into a different dimension–one where everything about her existence is slightly altered. At first, she is determined to return to the reality she knows, but when Madison May–in this world, a struggling actress–is murdered again, Felicity decides she must find the killer–and learns that she is not the only one hunting him."

The 22 Murders of Madison May is available on July 6.