A sharply drawn fictional hall of mirrors sure to tantalize and occasionally frustrate.


Feedback can be deadly.

Sycophantic fan and aspiring writer Leo charms his way into a friendship with successful author Hannah Tigone through a series of flattering letters. In return, she shares a strange incident that happened in the Boston Public Library, where she’s working on her new novel, an episode that begins with a scream and ends with this provocative sentence: “And so we go to the Map Room to found a friendship, and I have my first coffee with a killer.” This, it turns out, is actually the beginning of Hannah’s new novel, sent in morsels to Leo, who faithfully offers thoughts and encouragement after every chapter. Gentill mines similar metafictional territory as in After She Wrote Him (2020), teasing readers with the challenge of deducing which of two narrative threads presents the author and which his or her story. As the mystery unfolds, the book expands into psychological thriller territory, with Leo becoming increasingly unhinged and describing the world as a rage-filled dystopia. Winifred “Freddie” Kincaid, Hannah's mystery-writer protagonist, is as curious and resourceful as Miss Marple, and Hannah’s buoyant whodunit provides a bracing contrast to Leo’s dark world. Based on their appearances and their behavior in the library, Hannah gives her suspects names like Heroic Chin, Handsome Man, and Freud Girl. Lines blur. Freddie is so caught up in the twists and turns of the puzzle that she feels unable to write. Does Hannah have the same problem? Can Leo help her, does he genuinely want to, and where does he fit into the larger picture?

A sharply drawn fictional hall of mirrors sure to tantalize and occasionally frustrate.

Pub Date: June 7, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-46421-587-2

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Poisoned Pen

Review Posted Online: April 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2022

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The story is sadly familiar, the treatment claustrophobically intense.


Twenty years after Chloe Davis’ father was convicted of killing half a dozen young women, someone seems to be celebrating the anniversary by extending the list.

No one in little Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, was left untouched by Richard Davis’ confession, least of all his family members. His wife, Mona, tried to kill herself and has been incapacitated ever since. His son, Cooper, became so suspicious that even now it’s hard for him to accept pharmaceutical salesman Daniel Briggs, whose sister, Sophie, also vanished 20 years ago, as Chloe’s fiance. And Chloe’s own nightmares, which lead her to rebuff New York Times reporter Aaron Jansen, who wants to interview her for an anniversary story, are redoubled when her newest psychiatric patient, Lacey Deckler, follows the path of high school student Aubrey Gravino by disappearing and then turning up dead. The good news is that Dick Davis, whom Chloe has had no contact with ever since he was imprisoned after his confession, obviously didn’t commit these new crimes. The bad news is that someone else did, someone who knows a great deal about the earlier cases, someone who could be very close to Chloe indeed. First-timer Willingham laces her first-person narrative with a stifling sense of victimhood that extends even to the survivors and a series of climactic revelations, at least some of which are guaranteed to surprise the most hard-bitten readers.

The story is sadly familiar, the treatment claustrophobically intense.

Pub Date: Jan. 11, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-2508-0382-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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A whodunit upstaged at every point by the unforgettably febrile intensity of the heroine’s first-person narrative.


Emerson’s striking debut follows a Navajo police photographer almost literally to hell and back.

Rita Todacheene sees dead people. Since most of her attempts to talk to someone about her special power while she was growing up on the reservation ended in disaster, she’s tried to keep it to herself during her five years with the Albuquerque Police Department. Her precarious peace is shattered by the death of Erma Singleton, manager of a bar owned by Matias Romero, her common-law husband. Although lazy Detective Martin Garcia has ruled that Erma fell from a highway bridge, her body shattered by the truck that hit her on the roadway below, Erma insists that she was pushed from the bridge. “Help me get back to my baby,” she tells Rita, “or I’ll make your life a living hell.” Since Rita, a civilian employee, has few resources for an investigation, Erma opens a portal that unleashes scores of ghosts on her, all clamoring for justice or mercy or a few words with the loved ones they left behind. The nightmare that propels Rita forward, from snapping photos of Judge Harrison Winters and his wife and children and dog, all shot dead in what Garcia calls a murder-suicide, to revelations that link both these deaths and Erma’s to the drug business of the Sinaloa cartel, is interleaved with repeated flashbacks that show the misfit Rita’s early years on her Navajo reservation and in her Catholic grade school as she struggles to come to terms with a gift that feels more like a curse. The appeal of the case as a series kickoff is matched by the challenges Emerson will face in pulling off any sequels.

A whodunit upstaged at every point by the unforgettably febrile intensity of the heroine’s first-person narrative.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-641-29333-4

Page Count: 312

Publisher: Soho Crime

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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