A Hitchcock-ian thriller from a new voice worth noting.

THE OTHER MRS. MILLER

When Phoebe Miller spots a mysterious vehicle parking on her Chicagoland street every day, the silhouette of the driver sitting there for hours at a time, she has no idea the mayhem that's about to be set loose.

After all, Phoebe already has enough to worry about. Her late father, the infamous Daniel Noble, may have left her financially set for life, but he also saddled her with his notoriety. Exposed as a womanizer and rapist, he’s left her little choice but to hunker down inside her mansion to escape the glare of public shame. Her husband, Wyatt, with his incessant harping on babies—whether gotten by fertility treatments or adoption—isn’t helping. Phoebe can barely wait for him to leave for work each day. What’s an heiress to do but drink away her days? That is, until the new neighbors arrive, offering distractions. Despite her volatile and alcoholic husband, Vicki Napier may turn out to be Phoebe’s new best friend. But Phoebe isn’t just an overly privileged woman who likes her cabernet sauvignon a little too much: Like her father, she gets what she wants when she wants it. And Vicki’s 18-year-old hunk of a son, Jake, catches Phoebe’s sensual attentions immediately. Soon, the little cul-de-sac at the end of a Lake Forest road is writhing with passion and intrigue—all ominously surveilled by the driver of the mysterious car. Dickson’s debut novel swoops and swirls through startling plot twists and multiple perspectives, opening doors into the dark secrets lurking in her characters’ pasts. Adept at crafting unlikable characters who make despicable decisions, Dickson also manages to make us care about these potential villains, because they, too, have been wronged. So when someone ends up murdered, fingers point in multiple directions, and every suspect has reason to chill our bones or break our hearts.

A Hitchcock-ian thriller from a new voice worth noting.

Pub Date: July 16, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-53924-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The perfect gift for well-read mystery mavens who complain that they don’t write them like they used to.

EIGHT PERFECT MURDERS

A ghoulish killer brings a Boston bookseller’s list of perfect fictional murders to life—that is, to repeated, emphatic death.

The Red House Mystery, Malice Aforethought, The A.B.C. Murders, Double Indemnity, Strangers on a Train, The Drowner, Deathtrap, The Secret History: They may not be the best mysteries, reflects Malcolm Kershaw, but they feature the most undetectable murders, as he wrote on a little-read blog post when he was first hired at Old Devils Bookstore. Now that he owns the store with mostly silent partner Brian Murray, a semifamous mystery writer, that post has come back to haunt him. FBI agent Gwen Mulvey has observed at least three unsolved murders, maybe more, that seem to take their cues from the stories on Mal’s list. What does he think about possible links among them? she wonders. The most interesting thing he thinks is something he’s not going to share with her: He’s hiding a secret that would tie him even more closely to that list than she imagines. And while Mal is fretting about what he can do to help stop the violence without tipping his own hand, the killer, clearly untrammeled by any such scruples, continues down the list of fictional blueprints for perfect murders. Swanson (Before She Knew Him, 2019, etc.) jumps the shark early from genre thrills to metafictional puzzles, but despite a triple helping of cleverness that might seem like a fatal overdose, the pleasures of following, and trying to anticipate, a narrator who’s constantly second- and third-guessing himself and everyone around him are authentic and intense. If the final revelations are anticlimactic, that’s only because you wish the mounting complications, like a magician’s showiest routine, could go on forever.

The perfect gift for well-read mystery mavens who complain that they don’t write them like they used to.

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-283820-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

A CONSPIRACY OF BONES

Another sweltering month in Charlotte, another boatload of mysteries past and present for overworked, overstressed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan.

A week after the night she chases but fails to catch a mysterious trespasser outside her town house, some unknown party texts Tempe four images of a corpse that looks as if it’s been chewed by wild hogs, because it has been. Showboat Medical Examiner Margot Heavner makes it clear that, breaking with her department’s earlier practice (The Bone Collection, 2016, etc.), she has no intention of calling in Tempe as a consultant and promptly identifies the faceless body herself as that of a young Asian man. Nettled by several errors in Heavner’s analysis, and even more by her willingness to share the gory details at a press conference, Tempe launches her own investigation, which is not so much off the books as against the books. Heavner isn’t exactly mollified when Tempe, aided by retired police detective Skinny Slidell and a host of experts, puts a name to the dead man. But the hints of other crimes Tempe’s identification uncovers, particularly crimes against children, spur her on to redouble her efforts despite the new M.E.’s splenetic outbursts. Before he died, it seems, Felix Vodyanov was linked to a passenger ferry that sank in 1994, an even earlier U.S. government project to research biological agents that could control human behavior, the hinky spiritual retreat Sparkling Waters, the dark web site DeepUnder, and the disappearances of at least four schoolchildren, two of whom have also turned up dead. And why on earth was Vodyanov carrying Tempe’s own contact information? The mounting evidence of ever more and ever worse skulduggery will pull Tempe deeper and deeper down what even she sees as a rabbit hole before she confronts a ringleader implicated in “Drugs. Fraud. Breaking and entering. Arson. Kidnapping. How does attempted murder sound?”

Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9821-3888-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

more