cover image With a Kiss We Die

With a Kiss We Die

L.R. Dorn. William Morrow, $30 (336p) ISBN 978-0-06-320509-3

This tantalizing tale of parricide and star-crossed lovers from Dorn (the joint pseudonym of Matt Dorff and Suzanne Dunn, coauthors of Anatomy of Desire) hinges on an effective gimmick: it’s told through the transcripts of The Raines Report, a true-crime podcast hosted by Pittsburgh journalist Ryanna Raines. The podcast kicks off when Ryanna receives a phone call from Jordan De Carlo, a handsome young theater major at UC Santa Barbara. Circumstantial evidence is mounting against Jordan and his girlfriend, Victoria, as authorities investigate the stabbing deaths of Jordan’s wealthy parents in their $5 million San Diego home. To make a case for their innocence, the young couple offers Ryanna exclusive interview access, and she takes them up on it, also interviewing their friends and family to ferret out the truth about the brutal killings. Soon after its first episode is released, The Raines Report becomes an international phenomenon, and Jordan and Victoria become social media fixtures as their case is discussed endlessly online. With each new episode, readers encounter new aspects of the slippery central couple, leaving expectations and suspicions in a constant state of flux. Though the ending is a bit of a letdown, the immediacy and cleverness of the format keep the pages turning. Readers will be rapt. Agent: Paul Bresnick, Bresnick Weil Literary. (July)