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Why you must read Marina Raydun’s Joe After Maya


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This is a story of Joe, told over the course of the first week after his wife’s murder.

Used and underestimated by all those around him, Joe is now quite lost and alone; Maya (his late wife) was what centered him, what grounded him, so it’s only natural that he wants to figure out who killed her and why. Along the way, however, Joe has no choice but to take a step back and acknowledge and accept himself for who he is.

So is this a thriller? A crime caper? Romance?
In part, it’s a murder-mystery/suspense-crime drama, but there is a little more to it than that. A reviewer once said of my previous work that I write about “relationships with a twist.” I believe this to be an accurate description of this novel as well. The backdrop is that of a murder-mystery, sure, but instead of a classic thriller, “Joe After Maya” explores the psyche of Joe. There is a definite “whodunit” component to this novel, but it’s not its main artery.

We’re definitely intrigued. Who else should be?
I’d like to believe that it will appeal to pretty much anyone who enjoys a suspense story with an emphasis on the characters’ psyche. An open-minded reader who likes his characters to be not necessarily entirely black or white should find this an enjoyable read.

Tell us about those characters.
There are 3 main characters here—Joe, Maya, and Alex.

Joe is in his early thirties. He is a rather attractive gentleman who is aware of his physical attributes. He’s been coerced by his own family to seek out and marry a daughter of a very rich New York family, a task at which he succeeds rather easily, albeit at a cost to himself. Now that Maya (his wife) is gone, he finds himself lost. Be it out of guilt or out of subconscious need to reconnect with himself, Joe tries to find who killed his wife.

Maya…well, Maya is dead. We learn about her mostly through a series of flashbacks, e-mails, and an apparition that is really a figment of Joe’s imagination. She comes from a wealthy, protective family, but due to a family tragedy, finds herself vulnerable to Joe’s less than genuine advances. Given the timing, she seeks to lose herself in a hasty engagement and marriage, much to Joe’s family’s betterment. It is not until the two are married that Maya begins to understand her husband and his family’s opportunism, but by then it is too late.

And who is Alex?
Alex tries to be there for Joe after Maya’s body is found, so we see quite a bit of him. He is a man Joe considers to be his best friend, though Maya never trusted him. Even though this isn’t technically much of a spoiler, I should probably stop here.

We think we can guess what the spoiler is but we’ll change the subject so we don’t spoil anyone’s enjoyment.
We interviewed you about another book. Tell our readers about it.
Yes, last year I published two novellas together in a compilation.

One Year in Berlin” is a story of a young woman who grew up in a family of Holocaust survivors and finds herself having to move to Berlin, Germany for a year. Once there, she slowly grows unhinged—she is haunted by nightmares and visions as she tries to connect her family’s past to her present.

Foreign Bride” is a story of a middle-aged Englishman seeking a bride in Russia. He isn’t entirely sold on the process, but when a young translator catches his eye, he takes the plunge. The woman, though fluent in English and gorgeous, does come with a bit of her own baggage. Mutual distrust and insecurities plague the couple. We watch them trying to make their marriage work as they all but destroy each other in the process.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a New Yorker, but I am also an immigrant (well, I immigrated to the United States at the age of 11, along with my family). I am a music lover, a passionate singer, an avid reader. I am a law school graduate. I am a baker, a knitter. I am a dreamer.

Do you have a website where we can keep up with your work?

How can we follow you on Twitter and/or Facebook?
That’s actually the best way to keep in touch with me.


Twitter: @Author_MRaydun

What’s next?
I am currently mulling over a few ideas for my next project. It’s looking like it may pan out to be a two-part series that is part “coming of age,” part romance…part my signature “relationship with a twist” piece. It is too early to try to contain my brainstorming and drafting into one paragraph, but I am excited.

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