cover image If I Die Tonight

If I Die Tonight

Alison Gaylin. Morrow, $16.99 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-264109-0

A violent carjacking sends shock waves through sleepy Havenkill, N.Y., in this moving character-driven standalone from Edgar-finalist Gaylin (What Remains of Me). The incident leaves high school football star Liam Miller, who was run over while apparently trying to stop the thief, fighting for his life. Police officer Pearl Maze takes the initial report from badly shaken former pop star Amy Nathanson, a resident of nearby Woodstock, for whom the stolen vintage Jag is the only vestige of her ’80s glory days as a one-hit wonder. Some of the details in Amy’s account, such as having her window rolled down at a stop sign on a freezing cold night, strike Pearl as unlikely. As for the culprit, suspicion falls on high school pariah Wade Reed, who’s rumored to be a Satanist, after finger-pointing from Liam’s friends on social media. What really happened that night will take Pearl’s considerable detective prowess—and courage—to figure out. Though the fast-paced plot takes a few implausible final twists, the novel’s lasting impact comes from its indelible portrait of people in crisis. Agent: Deborah Schneider, Gelfman Schneider Literary Agents. (Mar.)