cover image As Night Falls

As Night Falls

Jenny Milchman. Ballantine, $26 (384p) ISBN 978-0-553-39481-8

Sandy Tremont, the heroine of this gripping but flawed thriller from Mary Higgins Clark Award–winner Milchman (Cover of Snow), has a fulfilling career, a loving husband, a beautiful house, and a troubled teenage daughter. She also has a dark secret. One night, two escaped convicts invade Sandy’s Adirondacks home, demanding supplies and directions so they can trek to Canada. As snow begins to fall, trapping the men with Sandy and her family, she recognizes one as Nick, the sociopathic brother whose existence she has denied for 20 years. Her husband and daughter are furious and feel betrayed when they learn his identity, but as Nick becomes increasingly volatile, their survival may depend on their ability to trust Sandy. Flashbacks show Nick’s progression from spoiled child to killer, but both he and his doting mother, who pampers him while ignoring Sandy, remain one-dimensional and clichéd. Still, Milchman effectively builds suspense in a fast-paced tale that should keep readers eagerly turning pages. Agent: Julia Kenny, Dunow, Carlson and Lerner Literary Agency. (July)