cover image You Kill Me

You Kill Me

Alison Gaylin, . . Signet, $6.99 (294pp) ISBN 978-0-451-21722-6

Post-9/11 Manhattan is the ominous setting for Gaylin's deliciously chilling second thriller (after Hide Your Eyes ), in which preschool teacher Samantha Leiffer is still recovering from her brush with a murderer a year earlier. Her live-in cop boyfriend, John Krull, has suddenly gone emotionally (and sometimes physically) AWOL, so after a mysterious visitor leaves Samantha a series of warning notes about her safety, she's forced to grapple alone with what they could mean, if anything at all. As if on cue, people around Samantha start to die, beginning with the woman who lived in Samantha's old apartment, gorily murdered. If the signs point where Samantha thinks they're pointing, maybe she'd rather be in the dark. Though the novel has some trappings of generic chick lit—a loudmouth mother, a gay best friend and kooky secondary characters—Gaylin casts them all in a fresh light. Sparing use of clever inner monologue paints Samantha as the hero we all hope we'd be. (Dec.)