cover image Tripping Arcadia

Tripping Arcadia

Kit Mayquist. Dutton, $26 (368p) ISBN 978-0-593-18520-9

When Boston med school dropout Lena Gereghty, the narrator of Mayquist’s seductive if flawed fever dream of a debut, arrives at the Verdeau family’s imposing Back Bay mansion to start her badly needed new job, she has no inkling of the depravity and danger that await her. Hired to assist the family’s full-time physician, Lena expects to focus on Byronically handsome Jonathan Verdeau, the favorite of his billionaire father, Martin, and reluctant heir apparent to the clan’s corporate empire. Jonathan’s issues beyond excessive drinking remain mysterious. Meanwhile, Lena would prefer to spend time with Jonathan’s coolly glamorous sister, Audrey, who makes her own pulse quicken. Lena begins to grasp what a Faustian bargain she’s struck after working her first bacchanal at the family’s secluded country estate in the Berkshires, where she winds up treating myriad roofied revelers who have unwittingly OD’d. When she learns that Martin’s takeover of her father’s employer precipitated his firing, she begins plotting revenge. Ingenious plot twists abound, though Mayquist struggles to tie up everything convincingly. The louche flair the author displays, however, suggests he’s capable of an even more satisfying second act. Agent: Emmy Nordstrom Higdon, Westwood Creative Artists. (Feb.)