cover image The Ancestor

The Ancestor

Danielle Trussoni. Morrow, $27.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-06-291275-6

Trussoni (Angelology) concocts a deliciously creepy tale of a windfall turned nightmare. Twenty-eight-year-old Bert Monte lives in Milton, N.Y., and has recently separated from her husband, Luca, when she receives a surprising letter from Italy informing her that she has inherited the Montebianco estate, including a castle in the Alps and a large sum of money. Her grandmother, Nonna Sophia, explains that Bert’s grandfather shortened their name after they immigrated to the U.S., and shares some tragic family history about seeing her younger brother abducted by a horrific beast that was known to take children near the family castle. Luca agrees to accompany Bert to Turin, where she learns about her inheritance and responsibilities, but the trip is marred by a fight, culminating in Luca telling Bert that “her family is tainted.” She travels alone by helicopter to the isolated, snow-covered Montebianco Castle. After the helicopter does not return within a week as promised, Bert immerses herself in her family history, learning the truth behind the legend of the Beast of Nevenero and hoping to patch things up with Luca. Trussoni plausibly and expertly combines an intense, darkly gothic narrative with elements of mystery, the paranormal, and legendary tales. This odyssey of monsters and family will enrapture readers. Agent: Eric Simonoff, William Morris Endeavor Entertainment. (Apr.)