Review by Booklist Review
Harry Ackerson rushes to his childhood home in Kennewick, Maine, after learning that his father has died from a fall off of his favorite cliff walk. In Kennewick, Harry becomes the crutch for his femme-fatale stepmother, Alice, whose grief takes the uncomfortable form of sexual attraction toward Harry. When Bill Ackerson's autopsy reveals the death was a homicide, Alice insists that Bill was killed by a woman she's certain was Bill's mistress. But Harry questions her story after meeting Grace, a mysterious young woman from New York who reveals that she and Bill were in love. When Harry finds Grace's body and realizes that she and his father were killed in the same manner, he becomes convinced that a killer is stalking people connected to his father. But why? An alternating narrative in Alice's voice provides fruit for suspicion, but Swanson guards the killer's identity and motives until the bitter end. Swanson's fourth psychological thriller is a gripping exploration of delusion and deceit; sure to please readers of Laura Lippman's stand-alones.--Tran, Christine Copyright 2018 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Just before his college graduation, Harry Ackerson, the hero of this uneven psychological thriller from Swanson (Her Every Fear), learns from his stepmother, Alice, that his father, Bill, has apparently committed suicide. When the aimless and grief-stricken Harry visits Kennewick, Maine, where his father ran a bookstore, he is overwhelmed by the attentions of his sensual stepmother, who comes to believe Bill was murdered and suggests possible suspects to the police. Meanwhile, Grace McGowan, a young woman who knew Bill in New York City, where he had another bookstore, arrives in town and begins questioning Alice's role in Bill's death. As Harry's doubts about Alice grow, he finds himself caught between the two women. Only Alice seems to know the answers, but she would prefer the past to stay buried. This tale of seduction, obsession, and murder will resonate with fans of Patricia Highsmith, but the characters' fragmented backstories weigh it down. Agent: Nat Sobel, Sobel Weber Associates. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review
When graduating college student Harry Ackerson learns that his father has apparently committed suicide, he returns home to help settle his affairs. Harry quickly suspects foul play and initiates an inquiry into his father's death. His search uncovers a chain of secrets, leading him to doubt all that he believes about his father. The nearer Harry gets to his attractive stepmother, Alice, who is much closer to Harry's age than his father's, the more he questions her motives. The novel alternates between two stories that ultimately intersect: one in the present with Harry, and one that follows Alice's life since young adulthood. Both stories reveal how quickly lies can escalate and wreak havoc as innocent people become collateral in a reckless game of immorality and deception. In his fourth novel (after Her Every Fear), Swanson successfully constructs a teetering house of cards precariously stacked with lies, which threatens to topple at any moment. VERDICT Suspense lovers will devour this deliciously duplicitous read, which is chock-full of twists, turns, lust, greed, and dishonesty. [See Prepub Alert, 10/22/17.]-Mary Todd Chesnut, Northern Kentucky Univ. Lib., Highland Heights © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
Swanson's (Her Every Fear, 2017, etc.) fourth suspense novel once again offers a bleakly idyllic setting, an intricate plot, and, la Patricia Highsmith, remorseless sociopathic villainy.Just before college graduation, Harry Ackerson is summoned home abruptly. His father, not quite 50, has died, presumably from a fall during a cliffside walk. Harry arrives in coastal Maine, where he's consoled and fussed over by his young stepmother, who, at 35, is exactly halfway between Harry's age and his father's. Harry isn't sure what to make of Alice, an "otherworldly" beauty whom he doesn't know well; his father, a secondhand bookseller, left New York to open a second location here just a few years ago, and he married his realtor. Soon the police tell Harry they think his father might have been murdered, and the enigmatic Alice, whose clear seductive interest Harry finds both provocative and suspicious, points toward the husband of a female bookstore employee who was, she reports, carrying on an affair with her husband. Meanwhile, at the funeral, Harry spots a lovely young woman he can't place. She claims at first, not persuasively, to have impulsively moved to Maine from Manhattan, where she lived near the elder Ackerson's shop, but Harryagain, both skeptical and smittenrecognizes that she's more entangled with his father than she's let on. Pinched between two women he desires but can't trust, Harry tries to unravel the mystery. Swanson neatly intercuts chapters that fill in Alice's troubled and troubling youth, but he too insistently invokes Lolita, a dangerous point of comparison not only because he can't match Nabokov's magisterial prose, but because it's impossible to take on the notorious psychopathy at that book's heart without having something of its author's command of tone and empathy.Swanson's novel has the twisty plot and page-eating pace one expects from him, but it lacks the finesse and psychological acuity required to make its villains quite believable. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.