cover image Half Moon Bay

Half Moon Bay

Alice LaPlante. Scribner, $26 (288p) ISBN 978-1-5011-9088-9

In this well-crafted novel of psychological suspense from bestseller LaPlante (Coming of Age at the End of Days), 39-year-old Jane O’Malley moves from San Francisco to a village on the California coast near Half Moon Bay, where she works with plants at Smithson’s Nursery in an effort to get over the death of her 16-year-old daughter, Angela, in a car accident and her divorce from husband Rick, which was a consequence of that tragedy. Then, five-year-old Heidi McCready disappears, and her body turns up carefully wrapped in a blanket left in a field eight days later. More children go missing, much to the consternation of the members of the little community. Jane feels empathy for the bereaved parents, but her erratic behavior causes the FBI to consider her a suspect. The seductive Edward Stanton, an environmental activist, and his beautiful companion, Alma Godwin, who happen to know about Jane’s losses, challenge her to move beyond her pain as a surprising climax approaches. This complex character study will appeal as much to mainstream fiction readers as genre fans. Agent: Victoria Skurnick, Levine Greenburg Literary. (July)