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SAVING EMMA

Ambitious, absorbing, and deeply satisfying.

Boady Sanden, former director of the Innocence Project, is persuaded to reopen a case that was closed four years ago. And the clock is ticking.

Ruth Matthews is convinced both that her brother, Elijah, is a prophet who talks with God and that he didn’t kill Jalen Bale, the pastor bashed to death while Elijah was a janitor at the Church of the New Hope, even though he's been locked in a mental hospital since having been found not guilty by reason of insanity. The evidence against Elijah was overwhelming, but the real reason Boady doesn’t want the job is that Elijah’s attorney was Ben Pruitt, Boady’s law partner and best friend, who killed his wife, nearly got away with it, and then, when Boady confronted him with proof of his guilt, committed suicide by cop in Boady’s study as his partner looked on. The good news is that Boady almost immediately starts to find holes in the case against Elijah, who’s more interested in oracular prophecies than answering simple questions. The bad news is that Emma Pruitt, the daughter Boady and his wife, Dee, took in as a ward four years ago without telling her how her father died, has been turned against them by her wealthy, rapacious aunt, Anna Adler, who’s filed papers to replace their guardianship of Emma with her own. Now Boady has two impossible tasks—vindicating Elijah before the hearing that will permit his doctor to scramble his brain with electroconvulsive therapy and persuading Emma to return to his family—and that second one cuts agonizingly close to the bone. Somehow he manages to collect more and more information that exonerates Elijah and throws suspicion elsewhere. But will he be able to rise above his own bias for seeing every conflict in legal terms and convince Emma that he loves her like a father?

Ambitious, absorbing, and deeply satisfying.

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2023

ISBN: 9780316566353

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Mulholland Books/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2023

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HOME IS WHERE THE BODIES ARE

Answers are hard to come by in this twisting tale designed to trick and delight.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

Three siblings on very different paths learn that their family home may be haunted by secrets.

Eldest daughter Beth is alone with her fading mother as she takes her final breath and says something about Beth’s long-departed brother and sister, who may not have disappeared forever. Beth is still reeling from the loss of her mother when her estranged siblings show up. Michael, the youngest, hasn’t been home since their father’s disappearance seven years ago. In the meantime, he’s outgrown his siblings, trading his share of the family troubles for a high-paying job in San Jose. Nicole, the middle child, has been overpowered by addiction and prioritized tuning out reality over any sense of responsibility, much to Beth’s disgust. Though their mother’s death marks an ending for the family, it’s also a beginning, as the three siblings realize when they find a disturbing videotape among their parents’ belongings. The video, from 1999, sheds suspicion on their father’s disappearance, linking it to a long-unsolved neighborhood mystery. Was it just a series of unfortunate circumstances that broke the family apart, or does something more sinister underlie the sadness they’ve all found in life? In chapters that rotate among the family’s first-person narratives, the siblings take turns digging up stories and secrets in their search for solace.

Answers are hard to come by in this twisting tale designed to trick and delight.

Pub Date: April 30, 2024

ISBN: 9798212182843

Page Count: 270

Publisher: Blackstone

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2024

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THE HOUSE ACROSS THE LAKE

A weird, wild ride.

Celebrity scandal and a haunted lake drive the narrative in this bestselling author’s latest serving of subtly ironic suspense.

Sager’s debut, Final Girls (2017), was fun and beautifully crafted. His most recent novels—Home Before Dark (2020) and Survive the Night (2021) —have been fun and a bit rickety. His new novel fits that mold. Narrator Casey Fletcher grew up watching her mother dazzle audiences, and then she became an actor herself. While she never achieves the “America’s sweetheart” status her mother enjoyed, Casey makes a career out of bit parts in movies and on TV and meatier parts onstage. Then the death of her husband sends her into an alcoholic spiral that ends with her getting fired from a Broadway play. When paparazzi document her substance abuse, her mother exiles her to the family retreat in Vermont. Casey has a dry, droll perspective that persists until circumstances overwhelm her, and if you’re getting a Carrie Fisher vibe from Casey Fletcher, that is almost certainly not an accident. Once in Vermont, she passes the time drinking bourbon and watching the former supermodel and the tech mogul who live across the lake through a pair of binoculars. Casey befriends Katherine Royce after rescuing her when she almost drowns and soon concludes that all is not well in Katherine and Tom’s marriage. Then Katherine disappears….It would be unfair to say too much about what happens next, but creepy coincidences start piling up, and eventually, Casey has to face the possibility that maybe some of the eerie legends about Lake Greene might have some truth to them. Sager certainly delivers a lot of twists, and he ventures into what is, for him, new territory. Are there some things that don’t quite add up at the end? Maybe, but asking that question does nothing but spoil a highly entertaining read.

A weird, wild ride.

Pub Date: June 21, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-18319-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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