Wilson turns the creep factor up to 11, balancing his prose on a knife's edge. A highly satisfying high-tension thriller.

READ REVIEW

MISTER TENDER'S GIRL

After Alice spends years working to get over her tragic past, her life is about to become as terrifying as the graphic novels her father used to write featuring a demonic bartender called Mister Tender.

Twenty-eight-year-old Alice Gray loves her life in Manchester, New Hampshire. She owns a coffee shop called Stone Rose and a nice house, and though she needs to have an upstairs tenant to help pay the mortgage, Richard, a nurse, is quiet and friendly. Alice wasn’t always Alice Gray, though. She grew up in England as Alice Hill and has a tragic claim to fame: when she was 14, twins Melinda and Sylvia Glassin, who had befriended her, stabbed her nearly to death after claiming to receive letters ordering them to do so by Mister Tender, the main character in a graphic novel series drawn and written by Alice’s father. To her horror, Alice now receives a package containing what seems to be an unpublished book called Mister Tender: Last Call with a message in her father’s handwriting—but her father was murdered three years ago in London, and his killer was never caught. Also included is a website address, where she discovers that photos and details from her life have been posted by someone called Mr. Interested. When he sends a blast from her troubled past to terrorize her, she decides she’s finished with being a victim. Her quest takes her to London—the home of the newly paroled Glassin twins—and back, with the promise of violence at every turn. Alice also has to worry about the health of her vulnerable, bipolar 24-year-old brother, Thomas, who is putty in the hands of their domineering mother. Wilson (Revelation, 2016, etc.) puts Alice through the wringer, but she’s a very capable woman. A blazing fast pace and spine-tingling set pieces make the book hum, but it’s the character of damaged yet indomitable Alice that drives this razor-sharp thriller.

Wilson turns the creep factor up to 11, balancing his prose on a knife's edge. A highly satisfying high-tension thriller.

Pub Date: Feb. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4926-5650-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

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Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

THEN SHE WAS GONE

Ten years after her teenage daughter went missing, a mother begins a new relationship only to discover she can't truly move on until she answers lingering questions about the past.

Laurel Mack’s life stopped in many ways the day her 15-year-old daughter, Ellie, left the house to study at the library and never returned. She drifted away from her other two children, Hanna and Jake, and eventually she and her husband, Paul, divorced. Ten years later, Ellie’s remains and her backpack are found, though the police are unable to determine the reasons for her disappearance and death. After Ellie’s funeral, Laurel begins a relationship with Floyd, a man she meets in a cafe. She's disarmed by Floyd’s charm, but when she meets his young daughter, Poppy, Laurel is startled by her resemblance to Ellie. As the novel progresses, Laurel becomes increasingly determined to learn what happened to Ellie, especially after discovering an odd connection between Poppy’s mother and her daughter even as her relationship with Floyd is becoming more serious. Jewell’s (I Found You, 2017, etc.) latest thriller moves at a brisk pace even as she plays with narrative structure: The book is split into three sections, including a first one which alternates chapters between the time of Ellie’s disappearance and the present and a second section that begins as Laurel and Floyd meet. Both of these sections primarily focus on Laurel. In the third section, Jewell alternates narrators and moments in time: The narrator switches to alternating first-person points of view (told by Poppy’s mother and Floyd) interspersed with third-person narration of Ellie’s experiences and Laurel’s discoveries in the present. All of these devices serve to build palpable tension, but the structure also contributes to how deeply disturbing the story becomes. At times, the characters and the emotional core of the events are almost obscured by such quick maneuvering through the weighty plot.

Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5464-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

THE SILENT PATIENT

A woman accused of shooting her husband six times in the face refuses to speak.

"Alicia Berenson was thirty-three years old when she killed her husband. They had been married for seven years. They were both artists—Alicia was a painter, and Gabriel was a well-known fashion photographer." Michaelides' debut is narrated in the voice of psychotherapist Theo Faber, who applies for a job at the institution where Alicia is incarcerated because he's fascinated with her case and believes he will be able to get her to talk. The narration of the increasingly unrealistic events that follow is interwoven with excerpts from Alicia's diary. Ah, yes, the old interwoven diary trick. When you read Alicia's diary you'll conclude the woman could well have been a novelist instead of a painter because it contains page after page of detailed dialogue, scenes, and conversations quite unlike those in any journal you've ever seen. " 'What's the matter?' 'I can't talk about it on the phone, I need to see you.' 'It's just—I'm not sure I can make it up to Cambridge at the minute.' 'I'll come to you. This afternoon. Okay?' Something in Paul's voice made me agree without thinking about it. He sounded desperate. 'Okay. Are you sure you can't tell me about it now?' 'I'll see you later.' Paul hung up." Wouldn't all this appear in a diary as "Paul wouldn't tell me what was wrong"? An even more improbable entry is the one that pins the tail on the killer. While much of the book is clumsy, contrived, and silly, it is while reading passages of the diary that one may actually find oneself laughing out loud.

Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-30169-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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