cover image HIDE YOUR EYES


Alison Gaylin, . . Signet, $5.99 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-451-21448-5

In journalist Gaylin's sharp debut suspense novel, preschool teacher and off-off-Broadway box office staffer Samantha Leiffer is happy with her offbeat life in downtown Manhattan—"the kind of muted happy that you don't notice at the time." Then, sitting on an abandoned pier taking a break from a tough day, she witnesses a couple disposing of an ice chest in the Hudson's chilly waters. Sam realizes that the man has seen her watching—and when the chest turns out to hold the body of a mutilated child, she's drawn into a world of intrigue. Attacks on Sam as well as key friends force her to try to unravel clues to the murder. Her chief ally is policeman John Krull, whose quiet solidity leads her gradually toward love. Though the crime plot overshadows several of Gaylin's most appealing secondary situations late in the book, this is a consistently entertaining evocation of Manhattan's strange and artsy underside, narrated by a heroine with a beautifully judged blend of warmth and wit, independence and edge. Agent, Deborah Schneider. (Mar.)

Forecast: Advance praise from bestsellers Perri O'Shaughnessy and Lisa Gardner will alert their readers to this quality debut.