cover image The Bad Daughter

The Bad Daughter

Joy Fielding. Ballantine, $27 (368p) ISBN 978-0-399-18152-8

Los Angeles therapist Robin Davis, the star of this suspenseful if workmanlike thriller from bestseller Fielding (She’s Not There), hasn’t been in touch with most of her family for years—until someone shoots her father, autocratic property developer Greg Davis; Greg’s much-younger second wife, Tara, who’s also Robin’s former best friend and her brother Alec’s onetime fiancée; and Tara’s 12-year-old daughter, Cassidy, in an apparently botched robbery at their house in Red Bluff, Calif. All are in critical condition at the local hospital, and upon returning home, Robin finds the situation worse than she could have imagined. Perpetually angry big sister Melanie, mother of an 18-year-old autistic son, has turned even more caustic; the townspeople regard the tragedy as the most riveting spectator sport outside of the annual rodeo; and Alec, the only relative to whom Robin remains attached, seems to be the sheriff’s prime suspect. Though few of the characters transcend soap opera quality, Fielding throws in enough twists to keep the reader turning the pages until the bombshell final shocker. Agent: Tracy Fisher, WME Entertainment. (Feb.)