cover image No Bad Deed

No Bad Deed

Heather Chavez. Morrow, $26.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-293617-2

While driving alone one rainy night, veterinarian Cassie Larkin, the narrator of Chavez’s propulsive debut set in California wine country, spots a large man menacing a young woman in the road. Cassie stops and calls 911, but against the dispatcher’s advice, she gets out of her van and confronts the man, who threatens Cassie before escaping with her car. The next night, which is Halloween, Cassie’s husband, Sam, abandons their six-year-old daughter, Audrey, while trick-or-treating and disappears. Det. Ray Rico, who investigates, suspects that either Cassie or her 15-year-old son, Leo, is involved in Sam’s disappearance. Chavez peoples her tale with credible, flawed individuals, presenting even the multiple antagonists with harrowing backstories and convincing psychological motives. While readers must suspend disbelief at times (as when Cassie fails to check in with Rico and goes rogue), Chavez is in full command of plot and pacing as the connection between Cassie’s roadside confrontation and Sam’s disappearance becomes clear. Domestic thriller fans will be well satisfied. Agent: Peter Steinberg, Foundry Literary + Media. (Feb.)