January 22, 1999 at 05:00 AM EST

The book industry in ’99 is not only flirting with infidelity — but wining it, dining it, and letting it bring a toothbrush. Besides Miss Monica’s risky tell-all, due from St. Martin’s in February, there are a slew of tomes, fiction and non, that will stew over what happens when good spouses go bad. And we have our leaders to thank for thrusting illicit trysts into the spotlight: ”I’m crediting it to Clinton,” says Catherine Texier, author of last year’s searing betrayal memoir Breakup. ”It’s being talked about. The subject’s out of the closet.”

Among the parade of bluntly titled nonfiction books designed to soothe wounded hearts once clandestine booty calls are brought to light:

Debbie Then’s Women Who Stay With Men Who Stray (Hyperion), which is already generating buzz with its case studies on such wronged celebrity women as Hillary Rodham Clinton and Princess Diana.

The stern advice tome When Your Lover Is a Liar (HarperCollins) includes practical tips for exposing the ”range of lying lovers…benign to the lethal.”

On the memoir/fiction side, novelist Sue Margolis’ Neurotica (Bantam) spins the tale of a married tabloid reporter who embarks on a string of affairs while researching a story on loveless sex. Author Tim Parks ruminates on intimate relations in the essay collection Adultery and Other Diversions (Arcade). And John Taylor details his crumbling relationship with his wife in the aptly titled Falling: The Story of One Marriage (Random House).

Finally, paying homage to the man who started it all, there’s Uncovering Clinton by Michael Isikoff (Crown), Leland H. Gregory III’s Presidential Indiscretions (Dell), and George Stephanopoulos’ All Too Human (Little, Brown).

So, after being saturated with real-life pulp in ’98, will the reading public still be interested in all this freaky-ass immorality? ”The way I look at it,” says John McNally, editor of a prescient 1997 adultery-themed short-story collection, High Infidelity, ”everyone’s either been cheated on, or they’ve cheated, or they’ve at least thought about cheating. So it does tap into a universal experience.” Hester Prynne’s ears must be burning.

You May Like