cover image A Talent for Murder

A Talent for Murder

Peter Swanson. Morrow, $30 (272p) ISBN 978-0-06-320503-1

Bestseller Swanson’s brilliant latest (following The Kind Worth Saving) revolves around a newlywed’s suspicions that her husband might be a murderer. Maine librarian Martha Ratliff is feeling uneasy about her recent marriage to traveling salesman Alan Peralta. Her fear that she doesn’t truly know Alan is exacerbated when he returns from a trip to Connecticut in an unusually severe mood. When Martha searches online for details about his trip, she turns up a news story about the supposed suicide of a young woman named Josie Nixon at the same art conference Alan visited. Soon, Martha starts drawing connections between Alan’s past trips and nearby homicides. For guidance, she turns to Lily Kintner, her old friend from graduate school (and a character from Swanson’s previous novels). Together, the women stage a meeting between Lily and Alan, which only serves to illuminate that little is as it seems when it comes to Josie’s death. Swanson’s gift for well-earned yet seismic reveals is on full display, and he fortifies them with unexpected heart through the story of Lily and Martha’s friendship. This is a masterpiece of misdirection. Agent: Nat Sobel, Sobel Weber Assoc. (June)