cover image The Only One Left

The Only One Left

Riley Sager. Dutton, $28 (400p) ISBN 978-0-593183-22-9

Sager (The House Across the Lake) again creatively toys with thriller mainstays in this gothic riff on the sinister caretaker trope. It’s 1983, and home health aide Kit McDeere is desperate for work after her previous client overdosed on fentanyl from a bottle Kit left within reach. While McDeere avoided prosecution, she’s still suspected by many—including the police—of having deliberately killed the woman. Broke, Kit has no choice but to accept a new assignment that her boss warns is especially difficult: serving as the caregiver for the paralyzed 71-year-old Lenora Hope. Like Kit, Lenora is considered a murderer by many in their small Maine community: when she was 17, Lenora’s parents and sister were killed in the family’s mansion, leaving her as the sole survivor. As Kit bonds with Lenora, she becomes obsessed with uncovering the truth about her family’s deaths, and increasingly unsure of her client’s innocence. Sager offers his usual array of jaw-dropping twists, which startle despite being fairly clued. Fans of Daphne du Maurier will enjoy this superior nail-biter. Agent: Michelle Brower, Trellis Literary. (June)