cover image Love Bomb

Love Bomb

Lisa Zeidner. FSG/Sarah Crichton, $26 (272p) ISBN 978-0-374-19271-6

Zeidner’s newest (after Layover) is a quirky and surreal tale of love gone very wrong. Helen Burns is hosting her daughter Tess’s wedding at Helen’s quiet, unremarkable home in suburban New Jersey. But the festivities are cut short when an armed woman—wedding gowned, clown socked, and gas masked—takes the group hostage. But what she’s after, no one knows. Tess and Gabriel, both altruistic folks who met while working for Doctors Without Borders, are unlikely targets, but a few guests suspect their African friends of playing a part. Or maybe the woman’s a crazed fan after Gabriel’s sister’s famous boyfriend. One by one, guests wrack their brains for possible offenses and confess their sins to their captor. But only Helen, a psychotherapist, makes progress, and as the SWAT team prepares to storm the house, she might be the only one who can get the masked woman to disclose her secrets and release the guests. Zeidner packs in too many characters in this zany Bel Canto, and the hostage-taker’s big reveal isn’t earth-shattering, but the author’s gallows humor ably carries the story. Agent: Ellen Levine, Trident Media Group. (Sept.)