Gerber (Fudging the Books, 2015, etc.) offers a dark suspense novel filled with desperation and cat-and-mouse games.
Chessa Paxton is keeping it together but only just. On the one hand, she has a wonderful husband, Zach, a blossoming career as a costume designer, and a beautiful Lake Tahoe home. On the other, she must contend with her controlling, conniving stepfather; the fact of her biological father’s incarceration; and the trauma of her mother’s death a year ago. But when Zach is murdered, she has to marshal all her considerable skill and resilience. She was drugged the night of his death and can recall only flashes of what happened; most of the events are a blur of blood, terror, and fairy-tale characters, because the murder took place after a charity costume ball that Chessa had organized. With no one to trust, she has nothing but her wits, her fragmented memories, and her costuming skills to keep her one step ahead of the savvy Detective Newman and the people who killed her husband and framed her. Soon she must uncover the secrets behind Zach’s false passports, her mother’s death, and her father’s alleged crimes. Gerber keeps the tension high from the beginning, and Chessa’s confusion becomes more and more relatable as the narration proceeds. For example, when police begin to consider Chessa the prime suspect, it’s easy to understand her tunnel-vision determination, and when she flees the crime scene in terror, it seems like the only choice she could make. Overall, the novel’s plot is thick, and the prose is more than rich enough to sustain it. Its shifting perspectives will give readers an even greater sense of excitement as the many pieces of the puzzle fall into place.
Readers will be shocked by this exciting, fast-paced thriller’s twists and turns.