cover image Bliss House

Bliss House

Laura Benedict. Pegasus Crime (Norton, dist.), $25.95 (448p) ISBN 978-1-60598-572-5

Bliss House, with its blood-stained history of madness and murder, would scare off most potential buyers, but not interior decorator Rainey Bliss Adams, in Benedict’s creepy, solidly crafted supernatural suspense novel. In the wake of the gas explosion in St. Louis that killed her husband and left her 14-year-old daughter, Ariel, badly burned, Rainey moves to Virginia’s Blue Ridge foothills to buy the ancestral home that she fell in love with as a child. For Ariel, the nightmare begins in the wee hours after the housewarming party, when she groggily sees what appears to be a spectral young woman fall to her death from the third-floor balcony; the next morning, there’s a very real body. Lines between fact and fantastic, past and present, increasingly blur, as Benedict (Calling Mr. Lonely Hearts) interweaves the ensuing murder investigation with the chilling story of a young woman kept as a sex slave within Bliss House’s walls a generation earlier. The final revelation hits horrifyingly close to home for Rainey. [em]Agent: Susan Raihofer, David Black Agency. (June) [/em]