cover image The Drowning

The Drowning

J.P. Smith. Sourcebooks Landmark, $15.99 trade paper (332p) ISBN 978-1-4926-6900-5

An overbearing alpha male gets his comeuppance in this smart, creepy thriller from Smith (Airtight). One summer day, when Alex Mason was an arrogant swimming counselor at Camp Waukeelo in the Berkshires, he left timid eight-year-old Joey Proctor behind on a raft in the middle of a lake. Joey inexplicably vanished, but Alex lied well enough to avoid blame. Twenty-one years later, he’s a famous New York real estate developer with a lovely family and a glamorous lifestyle. Then increasingly serious intrusions from his guilty past suggest that someone—or something—remembers Joey’s panic and wants Alex to share it. As it turns out, the immature, violent side of Alex’s nature doesn’t need much prodding to reveal itself. Smith nicely balances the borderline-supernatural events with Alex’s mundane struggles as his blustering defenses crumble. Sharp, clear prose is a plus. This is a remarkably adept performance. [em]Agent: Claire Roberts, Trident Media Group. (Jan.) [/em]