cover image I Did It for You

I Did It for You

Amy Engel. Dutton, $28 (280p) ISBN 978-0-593187-39-5

In this stellar standalone from Engel (The Familiar Dark), the murder of teenagers Eliza Dunning and Travis Pratt is a settled matter for most people in Ludlow, Kans. Fourteen years ago, the pair was gunned down while they were making out in a car, and authorities later found the murder weapon, a .44 Magnum, under the mattress of 18-year-old Roy Matthews. Despite the lack of a clear motive, Roy was convicted and executed for the crimes, but his death didn’t satisfy Eliza’s younger sister, Greer, who’s long been convinced there’s more to the story. When two more teens are murdered under identical circumstances, Greer takes leave from her job in Chicago and returns to Ludlow. Officials chalk up the killings to a copycat, but Greer is certain they’re more closely tied to her sister’s murder and sets off on her own investigation, casting suspicion on old friends and enemies alike, even as she fears becoming a target herself. Engel elevates the already tantalizing mystery with an uncommonly raw portrayal of Greer’s grief—her palpable inner struggles form the backbone of the novel. Mysteries don’t come much better than this. Agent: Jodi Reamer, Writers House. (July)