cover image The 22 Murders of Madison May

The 22 Murders of Madison May

Max Barry. Putnam, $27 (320p) ISBN 978-0-593-08520-2

At the start of this middling SF thriller from Barry (Providence), Madison May, a 22-year-old New York City real estate agent, shows a prospective client, creepy college dropout Clayton Hors, a dilapidated house in Queens. Hors tells Madison, “I’m not from this world,” before fatally stabbing her. New York Daily News reporter Felicity Staples, who’s assigned the story of Madison’s murder, notes a resemblance between an image at the crime scene and a logo on the hat of a man she saw outside the house for sale, later identifying that logo as belonging to a juice company. Before Felicity can learn more, she encounters the bystander on a subway platform, only to have him push her onto the tracks. Felicity survives, but she’s somehow shifted to an alternate world slightly different from her own. After finding out that Madison was killed in this world as well, Felicity embarks on a desperate quest to return to her own reality and stop future murders of Madison in multiple parallel universes. The characterizations are uninspired, and Barry fails to make Felicity’s response to her mind-bending situation psychologically plausible. Hopefully, this talented author will return to form next time. [em]Agent: Luke Janklow, Janklow & Nesbit. (July) [/em]