A local author’s third novel is set to be released next month, with characters and themes returning from her second novel, “Errant.”

Mary Jane Bryan of Farmington said her third novel, “Spiral,” is set to release on Jan. 13 from Black Opal Publishers. The book will be available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble Online.

“A detective named Colton has moved to the Denver police force,” Bryan said of the new book’s plot. “Homeless people in Denver start dying, and they eventually realize they’re being killed.”

For those who have read Bryan’s work before, the character of Detective Colton Mitchell will be familiar, as he appeared in Bryan’s second novel “Errant,” a tale of mystery and suspense set in rural Arkansas.

In “Spiral,” Colton begins to realize that the deaths of the homeless people around the city seem to be closing in on him, in more ways than one. Colton embarks on an investigation that threatens his family and brings him face to face with ghosts of his past.

Bryan makes use of places and people that she has encountered in her life, most notably Denver, where she and her husband lived for several years and Midland, Arkansas, near where she was born.

While murder and intrigue are central points of her novels, she says that they are not grotesque, but suspenseful.

Bryan has six more manuscripts waiting to be published by Black Opal, ranging multiple genres and settings. Before landing her deals with the publisher, Bryan said she had queried multiple publishers for years without success.

“‘Errant’ and ‘Spiral’ were written in the late 90s,” she said. “They’ve been sitting on the computer for a long time, in bits and pieces. I probably got back enough rejection slips to wallpaper a bathroom at the time. And you do, but you keep with it. I think perseverance, persistence — you don’t give up on any of your dreams.”

“Spiral” was originally slated to be released after another novel of Bryan’s, called “The Catch of Misee Sue,” but she decided it would be better to release immediately after “Errant,” as the two are connected.

Speaking of Misee Sue, which will be released sometime next year, Bryan said the story is difficult to place in a genre.

“It’s not a romance and it’s not a mystery,” she said. “It’s just what I’d call a good story. I know writers think all of their stories are good, but I really think it is.”

Bryan said she has more stories floating around in her head and on her computer to be sent to her publisher after more of her work is released.

Bryan is planning a book signing for the release of "Spiral" at the Park Hills Public Library on Feb. 3, with more possibly being in the works.

For more information, look for Bryan on Facebook or visit her website at maryjanenovels.wixsite.com/home.

Jacob Scott is a reporter with the Daily Journal. He can be reached at 573-518-3616 or at jscott@dailyjournalonline.com.

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