cover image The Beauty of the End

The Beauty of the End

Debbie Howells. Kensington, $25 (320p) ISBN 978-1-4967-0598-3

This overly complicated psychological thriller from British author Howells falls short of the high standard set by her 2015 debut, The Bones of You. Accredited solicitor Noah Callaway has been leading an extremely solitary life in Devon as a crime writer when he learns that his former fiancée, the compelling but erratic April Moon, is comatose and the primary suspect in a murder in Kent. Convinced the woman he has been infatuated with ever since their teens is incapable of the crime, Noah offers to represent her. Dr. Will Farrington, a friend from whom Noah has been estranged for 15 years due to a conflict over April, initiates Noah’s involvement. Noah’s efforts and memories alternate with the accounts of a 15-year-old girl’s visits to her therapist, the significance of which isn’t at first clear. Though Howell has a knack for conveying authentic emotion, readers are likely to become frustrated with the pacing, especially the slow reveal of certain past actions of Noah, who displays an almost obdurate lack of perception. Agent: Juliet Mushens, Agency Group (U.K.). (July)