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DEEP BENEATH US

A tense, beautifully written page-turner with a truly unsettling denouement.

The murder of her cousin moves a Scottish woman to explore her past.

When her husband divorced her, Tabitha Lawson lost not only her marriage but her job, since he anonymously told her employer about a schizophrenia diagnosis she hadn’t revealed to them. Her son chose to live with his father; Tabitha moved in with her mother, Zelda, whose dark paintings give her nightmares. So do the dark waters of the loch she’s lived nearby most of her life. Her cousin Davey Muir, a coder and collector, and his friend Gordo spend a lot of time with Barrett, a divorced gardener with two teen girls, picking up litter near the loch. It’s all very routine until Gordo reports a mysterious underwater explosion at the loch, which is set to be drained and turned into parkland. When Davey doesn’t answer his door, Tabitha gets the police to investigate just as Barrett and Gordo arrive to find Davey dead. Although he’s left what looks like a suicide note, his friends can’t believe he’d kill himself. Neither can Tabitha, who’s inherited everything he owned. When she, Barrett, and Gordo clean out his house, which is packed to the rafters with junk, they start uncovering long-hidden family secrets. Tabitha and her sister, Jocasta, and Davey and his brother, Johnny, all grew up together, children of a pair of brothers who both died by suicide. The marriage of Jo and Johnny puts even more pressure on the turbulent family dynamics. Tabitha, Davey’s friends, and their teenage children launch an investigation that will reveal that everything Tabitha thought she knew about her childhood is based on false memories.

A tense, beautifully written page-turner with a truly unsettling denouement.

Pub Date: June 4, 2024

ISBN: 9781448312078

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Severn House

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2024

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MIND GAMES

A touching story of love and grief ends in an epic battle of good versus evil.

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Roberts’ latest may move you to tears, or joy, or dread, or all three.

Every summer, John and Cora Fox visit Cora’s mother, Lucy Lannigan, in Redbud Hollow, Kentucky, leaving their children, 12-year-old Thea and 10-year-old Rem, for a two-week taste of heaven. The children love Grammie Lucy far more than John’s snooty family, which looks down on Cora. Lucy, a healer with deep Appalachian roots, loves animals, cooks the best meals, plays musical instruments, and makes soap and candles for her thriving business. Thea—who’s inherited the psychic abilities passed down through the women of Lucy’s family—has vivid magical dreams, one of which becomes a living nightmare when a psychopath robs and murders John and Cora as Thea watches helplessly. Thea’s description of the killer and her ability to see him in real time help the skeptical police catch Ray Riggs, who goes to prison for life. Although Thea and Rem go on to have a wonderful childhood with Grammie, Thea constantly wages a mental battle with Riggs, who tries to use his own psychic abilities to get into her mind. Over the years, Thea uses her imagination to become a game designer while the more business-minded Rem helps manage her career. Thea eventually builds a house near Lucy, where a newly arrived neighbor is her teen crush, singer-songwriter Tyler Brennan. Tyler has his own issues and is protective of his young son but slowly builds a loving relationship with Thea, whose silence about her abilities leads to a devastating misunderstanding. At first Thea tries to keep Riggs locked out of her mind. As her powers grow, she torments him. Finally, she realizes that she must win this battle and destroy him if she’s ever to have peace.

A touching story of love and grief ends in an epic battle of good versus evil.

Pub Date: May 21, 2024

ISBN: 9781250289698

Page Count: 432

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: March 23, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2024

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THE SILENT PATIENT

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

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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. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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