cover image Catch Her When She Falls

Catch Her When She Falls

Allison Buccola. Random House, $27 (368p) ISBN 978-0-593-23129-6

Micah Wilkes, the narrator of Buccola’s promising if uneven debut, remains imprisoned by the past a decade after she helped convict her high school boyfriend, Alex Swift, of killing her best friend, Emily Winters, with whom he’d secretly been cheating. Now 27, Micah is living in her insular hometown of Calvary, Pa., running a coffee shop, dating one of Alex’s closest buds from high school, and having increasingly triggering run-ins with Alex’s current girlfriend, Julia Reynolds, an unprepossessing legal secretary spearheading the campaign to overturn his conviction. Initially dismissing this effort as Julia’s ploy to make herself indispensable to Alex, Micah comes to have unsettling doubts after reading online discussions citing such deficiencies in the case as the absence of forensic evidence and the perfunctory police investigation—enough that she starts digging herself. Though Emily and Alex are underdeveloped, and the novel bogs down at times in the minutiae of Micah’s day-to-day, some startling twists and troubling questions concerning guilt and justice await those who stay the course. Psychological thriller fans will be curious to see what Buccola does next. Agent: Julia Kenny, Dunow, Carlson & Lerner Literary. (Feb.)