When an artist and his wife are shot dead in their bed, a sleepwalker fears she pulled the trigger.
Nora Glasser and renowned painter Hugh Walker were lovers for 11 years before they decided to marry and have a child. Eighteen months and two failed fertility treatments later, Nora discovered that graduate student Helene Westing was carrying Hugh’s baby and filed for divorce. To escape the paparazzi, Nora decamped to Long Island’s north shore, where she got a job writing for the local paper. She’s finally putting the past behind her when Hugh and Helene relocate to her new hometown of Pequod. The move sets Nora reeling, but she keeps her anger in check—or so she thinks. Then someone kills the couple. Not only does all evidence point to Nora, but unbeknownst to the police, she has a long history of armed somnambulism. Nora vows to solve the crime and prays that in doing so, she’ll confirm her innocence. Nora’s nighttime strolls are a clever complication, but the weapon-wielding angle, though convenient, feels contrived. A subplot involving the locals’ antipathy for Pequod’s wealthy summer residents (complete with newspaper columns and letters to the editor) is clumsily incorporated; the swoony romance that blossoms between Nora and her brooding boss is tonally jarring and unearned; and while the tale’s denouement is both nail-biting and action-packed, the ending is too pat to fully satisfy.
Shafransky’s debut is an entertaining if flawed fusion of traditional mystery and psychological thriller.