Dunlap’s creation of occupations for side characters that seem to exist solely to help her heroine (Switchback, 2015, etc.)...

OUT OF NOWHERE

A stunt double and Zen student adds sleuthing to her resume as she asks what might have driven her brother out of town.

In spite of her job as a stunt double, Darcy Lott’s life doesn’t seem all that interesting. Maybe it’s because she’s been absorbing all the mellow energy from her Zen teacher, Leo Garson, or because her long-lost brother, Mike, has finally returned to San Francisco. Whatever the reason, events seem to pick up, even though her interest may not. Darcy discovers that Mike’s twice been sideswiped by a car and is convinced that someone’s after him. After sharing some enigmatic bits of noninformation about whom that might be, Mike disappears, but not before telling Darcy that he can handle it. Darcy, who’s not so convinced, tries to figure out who might want to attack Mike, though she’s working at a disadvantage given her limited knowledge of his life. She’s got help, after a fashion, in the form of some of her siblings, whose descriptions read like career day at a grade school: John the cop, Gary the lawyer, Grace the epidemiologist. Though her siblings want to lend a hand, they don’t have much more insight than Darcy does, and she ultimately has to depend on her own cunning tempered by her Zen take on what Leo might say. Darcy’s investigation is thrown into overdrive when she begins to suspect that her siblings may also be targets. Is the mystery about Mike, or is something bigger afoot?

Dunlap’s creation of occupations for side characters that seem to exist solely to help her heroine (Switchback, 2015, etc.) makes sense given that her writing focuses more on ends and means than enjoying the journey.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7278-8601-9

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Severn House

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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This anxiety-fueled stand-alone from Edgar nominee Gaylin (What Remains of Me, 2016, etc.) takes the gulf that naturally...

IF I DIE TONIGHT

After a hit-and-run kills a high school student, the court of public opinion convicts a lonely outcast.

When Jackie Reed hears her 17-year-old son, Wade, sneaking out the night before the SATs, she knows she should stop him; instead, she pops a Xanax and returns to bed. At 4 a.m., Jackie’s 13-year-old, Connor, wakes to find a rain-soaked Wade hiding something in his closet; he considers tattling but promises to keep quiet. These seemingly innocuous decisions come back to haunt Jackie and Connor the next morning. While Officer Pearl Maze was working the graveyard shift at the Havenkill, New York, police department, Amy Nathanson burst through the door claiming to have been carjacked. According to Amy, her screams summoned 17-year-old Liam Miller, whom the thief ran over during his escape. The cops canvass the neighborhood for witnesses, and the Reeds are stunned to realize that Wade matches the suspect’s description. Evidence mounts against him, and the community ostracizes his family, but still Wade refuses to divulge his whereabouts at the time of the accident. The book opens with Wade’s suicide note, then flashes back five days and unfolds from the perspectives of Jackie, Connor, Pearl, and Amy. This narrative shift maximizes suspense by forcing readers to guess at Wade’s thoughts and actions, allowing Gaylin to insightfully explore the crime’s ripple effects.

This anxiety-fueled stand-alone from Edgar nominee Gaylin (What Remains of Me, 2016, etc.) takes the gulf that naturally develops between teenagers and their families and stocks it with sharks.

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-264111-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 12, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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Proficient but eminently predictable. Amid all the time shifts and embedded backstories, the most surprising feature is how...

THE A LIST

A convicted killer’s list of five people he wants dead runs the gamut from the wife he’s already had murdered to franchise heroine Ali Reynolds.

Back in the day, women came from all over to consult Santa Clarita fertility specialist Dr. Edward Gilchrist. Many of them left his care happily pregnant, never dreaming that the father of the babies they carried was none other than the physician himself, who donated his own sperm rather than that of the handsome, athletic, disease-free men pictured in his scrapbook. When Alexandra Munsey’s son, Evan, is laid low by the kidney disease he’s inherited from his biological father and she returns to Gilchrist in search of the donor’s medical records, the roof begins to fall in on him. By the time it’s done falling, he’s serving a life sentence in Folsom Prison for commissioning the death of his wife, Dawn, the former nurse and sometime egg donor who’d turned on him. With nothing left to lose, Gilchrist tattoos himself with the initials of five people he blames for his fall: Dawn; Leo Manuel Aurelio, the hit man he’d hired to dispose of her; Kaitlyn Todd, the nurse/receptionist who took Dawn’s place; Alex Munsey, whose search for records upset his apple cart; and Ali Reynolds, the TV reporter who’d helped put Alex in touch with the dozen other women who formed the Progeny Project because their children looked just like hers. No matter that Ali’s been out of both California and the news business for years; Gilchrist and his enablers know that revenge can’t possibly be served too cold. Wonder how far down that list they’ll get before Ali, aided once more by Frigg, the methodical but loose-cannon AI first introduced in Duel to the Death (2018), turns on them?

Proficient but eminently predictable. Amid all the time shifts and embedded backstories, the most surprising feature is how little the boundary-challenged AI, who gets into the case more or less inadvertently, differs from your standard human sidekick with issues.

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5101-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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