cover image The Watcher in the Wall: A Stevens and Windermere Novel

The Watcher in the Wall: A Stevens and Windermere Novel

Owen Laukkanen. Putnam, $26.95 (368p) ISBN 978-0-399-17454-4

A teen’s suicide kick-starts Laukkanen’s subpar fifth novel featuring Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension agent Kirk Stevens and his FBI partner, Carla Windermere (after 2015’s The Stolen Ones). Stevens’s daughter, a high school senior, is distraught after a bullied classmate, Adrian Miller, hangs himself in his bedroom one day after school. When Stevens and Windermere learn that Adrian entered a suicide pact with someone with whom he was in contact online, they begin a desperate search to save the life of his partner. The pair later discover that the online contact persuaded Adrian to film his own death, encouraged others to kill themselves, and may have future victims lined up. The revelation of their adversary’s identity, a sadistic voyeur with the requisite troubled upbringing, sets up a tense cat and mouse game. Windermere, who takes on the one-dimensional villain with what amounts to a personal vendetta, engages in some unlikely heroics at the climax. Author tour. Agent: Stacia Decker, Donald Maass Literary Agency. (Mar.)