cover image We Were Never Here

We Were Never Here

Andrea Bartz. Ballantine, $27 (320p) ISBN 978-1-9848-2046-4

Milwaukee resident Emily Donovan, the narrator of this riveting psychological thriller from Bartz (The Herd), and her best friend, Kristen Czarnecki, who left Milwaukee 18 months earlier for a job in Australia, reunite in Chile for their annual vacation. The trip turns deadly when Kristen kills a backpacker in self-defense. A similar fatal encounter occurred during an earlier trip to Cambodia, only then Kristen killed to defend Emily. Emily decides she needs to distance herself from Kristen, but the more she tries to do so, the more Kristen tries to stay connected. Kristen moves back to Milwaukee, where she soon starts popping up in places she doesn’t belong—such as Emily’s yoga studio and therapist’s office—constantly reminding Emily of the secrets they share and how they need each other. Bartz does a good job dramatizing the increasingly creepy relationship between the two women as the twisty plot builds to a slightly confusing conclusion. Suspense fans will look forward to seeing more from this talented author. Agent: Alexandra Machinist, ICM Partners. (Aug.)