cover image End of Story

End of Story

A.J. Finn. Morrow, $30 (416p) ISBN 978-0-06-267845-4

From its gothic opening image of a woman facedown in a koi pond to its stunning cliffside climax, this spellbinder surpasses the high bar set by Finn’s bestselling debut, The Woman in the Window. Readers are immediately plunged into the world of Sebastian Trapp, a reclusive novelist made rich by a long-running detective series and notorious by personal tragedy. On New Year’s Eve 20 years earlier, Sebastian’s first wife and teenaged son disappeared from separate locations, and Sebastian remains, in the public eye, the primary person of interest. Recently diagnosed with kidney failure and given months to live, Sebastian invites—to the consternation of his second wife, Diana, and adult daughter, Madeleine—Manhattan crime fiction critic Nicky Hunter to move into his Victorian San Francisco mansion while interviewing him for a private memoir. From there, a cat-and-mouse game unfolds as Nicky and Sebastian, both charming but perhaps equally unreliable, chase each other through the labyrinth of Sebastian’s life toward the secrets at its core. Meanwhile, Madeleine receives unsettling texts from someone purporting to be her long-lost younger sibling. Given the grand surroundings and rich array of eccentric characters, comparisons to the Knives Out film franchise will be inevitable, but Finn cuts much deeper. More than a mere puzzle, this elegant symphony of ghosts and fog concerns the nature of storytelling itself—and the crucial art of crafting one’s own narrative. It’s a tour de force. (Feb.)