cover image Such Pretty Flowers

Such Pretty Flowers

K.L. Cerra. Bantam, $17 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-0-593-50025-5

With the death of 22-year-old artist Dane ruled a suicide (unsurprising in view of his dramatic psychotic breakdown during the preceding months), it falls to Dane’s distraught sister Holly—who can’t forgive herself for ignoring his disturbing final text—to dig for answers, in Cerra’s beguiling if flawed debut. Holly focuses on Dane’s girlfriend, seductive young society florist Maura. Initially disarmed by the elfin beauty’s seeming vulnerability, librarian Holly, who has been apartment hunting, accepts Maura’s offer to temporarily move into her gargoyle-guarded Savannah, Ga., townhouse. But even as she finds herself surprisingly attracted to her new housemate, Holly can’t ignore the sinister discoveries she’s starting to make, especially concerning the florist’s apparently formidable prowess as an herbal apothecary. Cerra brews up an atmospheric fever dream of a tale, as dark as Maura’s signature midnight-hued roses—until increasingly implausible twists and a protagonist who proves hollow at the core snap the spell. Still, hardcore fans of Southern gothic will want to have a look. Agent: Chelsey Emmelhainz, Copps Literary Services. (Feb.)