The Midcoast

Adam White. Hogarth, $27 (336p) ISBN 978-0-593-24315-2

A man returns to his small Maine hometown and unravels the dark truth behind its wealthiest family in White’s alluring debut. As a teenager, Andrew worked summers as a dockhand with lobsterman Ed Thatch while dreaming of escaping for school and a new life. But after settling with his wife and two young children in Boston, Andrew decides to move back, thinking it would be cheaper for the family on his teacher and lacrosse coach’s salary. Now, while attending an elaborate reception for the Amherst College lacrosse team at the Thatch home (Ed’s daughter is on the team), he can’t reconcile the new Ed—the town’s wealthy benefactor and owner of several lobster boats—with the humble Ed he knew on the docks. During the party, Andrew finds a folder with photos of a burned-out car and two dead bodies. Stunned, he goes outside, where police cars speed up the driveway. White keeps the nonlinear story on a low boil, gradually hinting at Andrew’s motivation for investigating Ed and the details of his findings, which point to a hidden world of larceny and drug trafficking. An intriguing portrait emerges of the Thatches, as Ed’s wife wishes he would get out of the criminal enterprise, which Ed built to give Steph “the life she deserves,” and their slippery slope ends at a violent conclusion. Readers will be hooked. Agent: Kirby Kim, Janklow & Nesbit Assoc. (June)
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