The book-buying public isn’t taking many chances this summer. Established hits like “Gone Girl,” “Unbroken” and “The Glass Castle” remain lodged on best-seller lists. Readers are still struggling to get through “The Goldfinch.” One of the few new authors to gain a toehold is Robert Galbraith, who has the advantage of having been J. K. Rowling in a previous life. And “The Husband’s Secret” by Liane Moriarty continues to sell briskly in hardcover, even though next week will be the first anniversary of its publication.
But now, Ms. Moriarty’s long-parched fans have something new to dig into. And her publisher would like to indicate, as clearly as possible, that “Big Little Lies” is more of the same. So where “The Husband’s Secret” had cover art depicting an exploding rose, the new book features an exploding lollipop. “The Husband’s Secret” was full of women with ethical and emotional issues, men with possibly criminal ones, and contentious goings-on at a school. “Big Little Lies” has all that and more. Had Agatha Christie written it, it might have been called “The Kindergarten Murder.”