cover image Pretty as a Picture

Pretty as a Picture

Elizabeth Little. Viking, $27 (352p) ISBN 978-0-670-01639-6

When film editor Marissa Dahl, the misfit narrator of this smart, cinematically steeped page-turner from Little (Dear Daughter), agrees to replace the most recent crew member canned by megalomaniacal auteur Tony Rees from the hush-hush true crime mystery he’s shooting on a tiny island off the Delaware coast, she has no idea what she’s in for. But once she arrives on location at the stately hotel where, in 1994, 19-year-old aspiring actor Caitlyn Kelly was found dead on the beach in a case that was never solved, it doesn’t take long for even someone on the autism spectrum like herself to spot alarming danger signals. Then again, it’s tough to miss the explosion of a bank of lights on that set that showers the leading lady with shards of broken glass—in what the editor learns is just the latest in a string of ostensible freak accidents that have plagued the production. The twisty plot becomes overly convoluted, but Little scores with the achingly vulnerable Marissa, whose specific set of skills enables her to see the big picture before anyone else. Psychological thriller fans will be well satisfied. Agent: Kate Garrick, Karpfinger Agency. (Feb.)