You Never Know What Lies Beneath: Twisty Thrillers

Twisty Thrillers

redstarBarton, Fiona. The Child. Berkley. Jun. 2017. 384p. ISBN 9781101990483. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781101990506. F
the childThe skeleton of a baby is found at a building site outside London. Journalist Kate Waters (introduced in Barton’s debut, The Widow) persuades her editor to let her write the story. Her investigation uncovers connections to a decades-old unsolved case of a newborn stolen from a local hospital. The child’s still-grieving parents jump at the possibility that the skeleton might be their lost daughter. Kate’s search of the neighborhood for clues brings her in touch with both present and former residents, among them three young women, each of whom harbors secrets that might lead to a shocking development that could break the case and boost Kate’s career. But she is caught between helping the police and exposing the identity of her journalistic sources. VERDICT Barton’s second well-plotted outing, with its sustained tension and believable characters, is an excellent addition to the popular psychological thriller genre. Readers who liked Barton’s first novel, Paula Hawkins’s The Girl On a Train, and Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl will love this. [See Prepub Alert, 1/8/17.]Susan ­Clifford Braun, Bainbridge Island, WA

redstarGardiner, Meg. UNSUB. Dutton. Jun. 2017. 384p. ISBN 9781101985526. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781101985533. F
UNSUBThe Prophet, a serial killer who terrorized the San Francisco area for five years in the 1990s, is back. Law enforcement authorities turn first to retired detective Mack Hendrix, who led the old case and whose partner was the last of the Prophet’s 11 victims. Mack was so consumed and damaged by the Prophet case that he’s now mentally unstable, but his daughter Caitlin, a narcotics detective with the sheriff’s department, wants in on the new case. A newbie in homicide who has to learn to keep her thoughts to herself, Caitlin is the one who puzzles out the Prophet’s chilling grand plan and takes the lead in the final operation that threatens those nearest and dearest to her. This skillfully plotted story, replete with graphic violence (a nail gun figures prominently) ratchets up suspense to its cliff-hanging epilog that begs for a sequel. VERDICT Edgar Award–winning author Gardiner, long praised for developing full-bodied characters while spinning intense psychological thrillers, does herself proud here. Think Thomas Harris at his most frightening, and hope to see more of Caitlin Hendrix. [See Prepub Alert, 1/8/17.]Michele Leber, Arlington, VA

Hawkins, Paula. Into the Water. Riverhead. May 2017. 400p. ISBN 9780735211209. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780735211216. F
into the waterJules Abbott receives word that her sister Nel has drowned and returns to her hometown. Since she and Nel were estranged for decades, Jules had never met her teenage niece, who responds to her visit with rancor and mistrust. There is speculation surrounding Nel’s death, with some calling it accidental and others suspecting suicide. Rumors swirl among the townspeople, linking Nel to the long history of women who have drowned over the years, this sinister sisterhood lost to the Drowning Pool. As the police conduct their investigation, Jules mounts her own informal one. Piecing together clues from the townspeople, Jules unearths decades-old mysteries and finds secrets from her own past bubbling to the surface. In the popular tradition of her best-selling debut, The Girl on the Train, Hawkins guides readers through a muddled labyrinth of twists and turns, secrets and lies, and misdirections that will ultimately reveal the sordid details of three deaths before its surprising conclusion. Verdict A must-have for fans of twisty thrillers. [See Prepub Alert, 12/5/16; “Editors’ Spring Picks,” LJ 2/15/17.]Mary Todd Chesnut, Northern Kentucky Univ. Lib., Highland Heights

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