cover image Hunting Annabelle

Hunting Annabelle

Wendy Heard. Mira, $16.99 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-0-7783-6934-9

The troubled life of diagnosed schizophrenic Sean Suh, the 23-year-old narrator of Heard’s suspenseful if contrived debut, turns nightmarish when Annabelle Callaghan, the bewitching medical student who has unaccountably chosen to hang out with him at the Austin, Tex., amusement park where he spends his days sketching, is apparently abducted right in front of him. To the dismay of Sean’s neurosurgeon mother, who has relocated them from San Francisco for a fresh start following his release a year earlier from court-ordered psychiatric confinement, Sean feels such an intense connection to the missing woman that, despite the fog of his medications, he scrambles to solve the puzzle of her disappearance. But the deeper he digs, reawakening both a purposefulness and violent impulses long blunted by psychotropic drugs, the murkier the mystery becomes—as does the character of Annabelle herself. Heard hooks readers with her intriguing premise and complex protagonist, but stumbles during the final third of the book with a dizzying series of unbelievable plot twists. Still, fans of psychological thrillers will be curious to see what she comes up with next. Agent: Lauren Spieller, Triada US Literary. (Dec.)