cover image The Caretakers

The Caretakers

Eliza Maxwell. Lake Union, $14.95 trade paper (340p) ISBN 978-1-5420-4457-8

Documentary filmmaker Tessa Shepherd, the protagonist of this haunting thriller from Maxwell (The Widow’s Watcher), succeeds in getting convicted murderer Oliver Barlow released from prison after 14 years by exposing that the Bonham, N.Y., police used tainted evidence at Oliver’s trial. More than a year later, Oliver posts a video in which he notifies Bonham police chief Lloyd Winters that he has murdered Lloyd’s daughter, who has gone missing, in retaliation for Lloyd’s mishandling of his case. When the press goes after Tessa for helping Oliver, she’s reminded of a traumatic childhood incident involving her twin sister, from whom she’s been estranged ever since. Tessa retreats to Fallbrook, a rundown estate she unexpectedly inherits. Once there, Tessa becomes fascinated by the story of the Cooke family, former residents who were all murdered. The tension builds as Oliver, who has eluded the police, threatens to come after Tessa. The secrets that slowly emerge about Tessa, the Cookes, and the two elderly caretakers now tending Fallbrook will keep readers turning the pages. Suspense fans will be satisfied. (Apr.)