Rayne’s third psychic mystery is less atmospheric but more volatile and unpredictable than her other work, with colorful...



A school celebration is shadowed by a 200-year-old mystery. Can a noted ghostbuster unravel it?

Cresacre School may be tempting fate by building its bicentenary around an unsolved mystery: the disappearance of a group of nuns from the school, then called Cresacre Convent, centuries ago. Not coincidentally, the event is organized by alumna Arabella Tallis, who’s also the ladylove of music historian and sometime psychic investigator Phineas Fox (Chord of Evil, 2017, etc.). Diary entries from the 1790s interspersed with the present-day narrative show the piano prodigy Gina Chandos becoming the amorous target of predatory music master Cesare Chimaera. The school is now haunted by Ginevra, a ghost who’s the subject of much mystery and even more speculation. Ginevra’s also the subject of an opera written by Gustav Tulliver, whose niece Olivia was a classmate of Arabella’s and who’s now pressing the school to make the opera’s performance a centerpiece of the celebration. The school’s leaders aren’t wild about the idea even though the decidedly dotty Olivia has been a generous donor. They’d be even less enthusiastic if they knew about Olivia’s dark secret. Back when she was a student, Olivia brought her frenemy Imogen, a potential opera performer on whom Gustav had romantic designs, to rehearse with him in his basement studio and help him finish the opera. In the middle of a sudden argument, Olivia killed Imogen. As Gina’s relationship with Chimaera advances, Phin takes the measure of the strong-willed Olivia and proceeds accordingly.

Rayne’s third psychic mystery is less atmospheric but more volatile and unpredictable than her other work, with colorful characters and an inexorable threat of violence under the surface.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7278-8814-3

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Severn House

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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


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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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


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

Did you like this book?