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Join Austin Author May Cobb for the Launch of Her Sizzling Summer Novel “A Likable Woman”

Local novelist releases her latest, highly-anticipated spine-chilling thriller with a book signing at BookPeople on July 10

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Just in time for pool, lake, and beach season Austin author May Cobb is releasing a new entry in her collection of juicy thrillers. Centered around Texas women, Cobb’s latest novel, “A Likable Woman,” promises to be every bit as steamy and compelling as its stylistic predecessors, “The Hunting Wives” and “My Summer Darlings,” and—like those page turners—”A Likable Woman” is already garnering national attention, making it onto multiple most anticipated summer reads list, including Oprah Daily’s, Buzzfeed’s, and CrimeRead’s. Fans of twisty thrillers will relish reading May Cobb’s works.

Author May Cobb; photo by Jeska Forsyth

A Likable Woman

“A Likable Woman” has features that Cobb fans will recognize, such as the East Texas setting and—ahem—”opinionated” Texas women. However, this novel is also a departure from her others, in that it is a closed circle mystery, AKA a whodunit involving a number of suspects set in an isolated location, with the killer’s identity being anyone’s guess all the way through the story.

The title of the novel is a knowing wink at Cobb’s critics who’ve called her previous east Texas catty females “unlikable” and skews a bit different than her earlier novels. In the new novel, the eponymous likable woman, Kira, returns to her hometown of Longview, Texas under duress to attend an old frenemy’s vow renewal event and to respond to her grandmother’s mysterious texts that indicate Kira’s mother’s death was a murder, not a suicide as reported. Kira intends to make the most of her likely uncomfortable stay by digging deeper into the clues found in her mother’s unpublished memoir that was uncovered by Kira’s grandmother.

Beyond that intriguing plot setup, let’s just say readers can expect a good bit of wine-swilling, backbiting, and a fair dose of romance, along with murder — not necessarily in that order. Fans of Cobb’s are in for another wild ride, if early reviews are any indication.

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Familiar terrain (literally)

Cobb, who grew up in East Texas, has chosen this colorful region as the setting for all four of her novels. East Texas has everything a seductive murder mystery needs—strong, lusty, occasionally backstabbing Texas women, small communities of neighbors who do not mind their own business, and plenty of lakes and heavily wooded areas. The East Texas terrain offers excellent places to hide the bodies or set a suspenseful chase scene, after all.

Cobb agrees, noting that the Piney Woods are perfectly “noir, shrouded in mystery, and palpably creepy.” It’s a setting custom made for the nosy, gossipy environment. The author, who moved back once, uses her intimate knowledge of the geography and culture of the area to create scenarios ripe for torrid hookups, toxic friendships, and seamy murders.

Those East Texas women, though

Cobb’s recurring archetypal characters are Texas women with a penchant for heavy drinking and keeping tabs on their neighbors’ business. These women often have a little too much money and free time and are ripe for lusty adventures. Merely because they’ve known each other their whole lives does not necessarily mean they can trust each other. Or does it?

Cobb keeps her readers guessing as any good thriller writer would. Her characters get into, and try to extricate themselves from, treachery and murder, all while tossing back copious amounts of booze and casually tearing each other down. Cobb admits “It’s a little claustrophobic going back, with a kind of gossipy culture where you can sense a lot of curtain-twitching.” The author is a master at bringing these characters to life in all their frequently sordid and unsavory glory.

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The accidental novelist

Cobb’s origin story as a novelist may come as a surprise. While she has spent a solid 20+ years writing a nonfiction book on the late, jazz great, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, it was the Writers League of Texas Manuscript Contest that gave her the impetus to venture into fiction. She had taken a course on how to finish your book, but in an auspicious twist of fate, she instead wrote the first draft of what later became “Big Woods,” submitted it to the Writers’ League of Texas Manuscript Contest, and won!

She based “Big Woods” on a creepy story her mother (a nurse) told Cobb, based on her experience at a psychiatric ward. “Big Woods” delves into the disappearance of a 10-year old girl, family dynamics, the obsession with satanic cults in the 1980s, and the secrets the Piney Woods of east Texas are ideal for hiding.

Next, on a decidedly lighter—yet still deadly—note, May wrote and sent out about 150 pages of “The Hunting Wives” in search of a new agent. These pages, what she calls her “last roll of the dice” to lean into fiction or not, went to auction to publish, which is quite a feat. This resulted in a two-book deal with Berkley/Penguin Random House. Cobb signed up with her current agent, Victoria Sanders, whom she calls her “warrior champion.”

“The Hunting Wives” has been optioned for film/TV, an exciting indication that Cobb shows no sign of slowing down, and that her star in the firmament of Austin authors will continue to shine brightly. Meanwhile, “A Likable Woman” officially launches on July 11 and is available for pre-orders here or through your favorite book seller.

Photo courtesy of BookPeople

Launch party and Texas book tour

Austinites can join Cobb for a special book signing on July 10 at BookPeople, a free launch event shared with Austin author Scott Von Doviak, who is also releasing his new heist-chase crime adventure novel, “Lowdown Road.” Other Texas towns are next up on her book tour. Catch Cobb at Murder by the Book in Houston on July 11, Interabang Books in Dallas on July 12, and back at Lark & Owl Booksellers in Georgetown on July 25.

Follow her Facebook or Instagram page for more details as they become available.

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