cover image Shelter


Catherine Jinks. Text, $15.95 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-1-922330-46-8

In this assured, unsettling psychological thriller, Australian author Jinks (Shepherd) pushes hard on the tension between reasonable caution and paranoia. Megan trusts the women’s network that brings anxious Nerine and her two young daughters to Megan’s isolated homestead to hide from Nerine’s violent ex, Duncan. Megan does her best to comfort the family, despite her own worries about continued harassment by her own ex, Keith, and the reminders that Nerine’s situation brings up about the experience of raising her now-estranged adult daughter, Emily, with an abusive father, especially after Nerine changes her look to resemble Emily’s. Megan supports Nerine when she insists her children practice hiding, despite the stress this causes the girls, and when she decides to get a gun because Duncan is smart enough to track her down. But as strange happenings around the house increase, and little things about Nerine’s behavior begin to feel off, Megan fears her safe space may not be safe after all. The finale surprises, despite the clues being well set in place. Jinks’s sensitive exploration of the theme of trust between women who share similar trauma will resonate with many. (Oct.)