cover image Foxglove Copse

Foxglove Copse

Alex Beecroft. Riptide, $17.99 trade paper (249p) ISBN 978-1-62649-547-0

Beecroft’s latest ably handles suspense but is light on romance. Inexplicably, after British financier Sam Atkins suffers a debilitating panic attack at work and his family reacts with cruelty, he decides that living as an unemployed nomad in a van is preferable to living in a permanent dwelling and working. While wandering throughout the British countryside, he stumbles over a horrific scene, a ritualistically killed sheep—and not far behind are the sheep’s tough-as-nails owner, Jennifer, and her handsome, grounded nephew, Ruan Gwynn. At first they think a terrified Sam had something to do with the death of the sheep, but then they return with Sam to his van and find a bag of bloody entrails where Sam’s laptop used to be. Since they suspect that it’s unlikely that the culprit would bother to keep the entrails, they believe Sam’s innocence. Soon, Ruan’s headstrong teenage niece, Tegan, confides another mystery: an internet troll is driving local schoolgirls to suicide and threatens death to the rest of the victims if they tell. Unless Sam and Ruan can get to the bottom of both mysteries, others are in danger. Beecroft (Angels of Istanbul) expertly characterizes Sam’s panic, Ruan’s calming presence, human evil, and sustaining love. This is an appealing, heartfelt tale. (Sept.)