Summer Session

Merry Jones. Severn, $28.95 (240p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8044-4

Jones's promising first in a new series introduces Harper Jennings, a Cornell teaching assistant struggling to overcome the post-traumatic stress disorder incurred during her tour of duty in Iraq. Soon after Harper's husband, Hank, takes a serious accidental fall from the roof of their house, one of Harper's students, Graham Reynolds, dies after intentionally jumping from a classroom window. Harper discovers that Graham had been taking an experimental pharmaceutical created at the same medical center where Hank is now undergoing treatment for brain damage. Harper tries to unravel the suicide's connection to a subsequent string of violent incidents, but is sidetracked by resurgent PTSD symptoms and her troubled marriage. Jones (The Borrowed and Blue Murders and three other mysteries featuring art therapist Zoe Hayes) speeds the plot past some dangerously improbable patches to a conclusion that should leave readers both satisfied and eager for the next installment. (Aug.)