cover image A Killer in the Family

A Killer in the Family

Gytha Lodge. Random House, $17 trade paper (416p) ISBN 978-0-593-24294-0

Ancestry searches can bring families together, or reveal long-buried secrets, as Irish single mother Aisling Cooley learns all too well in the riveting latest from Lodge (Little Sister). Aisling hasn’t seen her father, Dara Cooley, since he disappeared more than 30 years ago, leaving behind a note for her and her mother (“I love you deeply, but I can’t keep living this duplicitous life”). As her two sons approach adolescence, Aisling wants them to know their family history—and maybe even their grandfather, if he’s still alive—so she registers with an ancestry site. Her profile catches the attention of Det. Chief Insp. Jonah Sheens in sleepy Southampton, England, as Aisling’s DNA provides a genetic match suggesting a close familial relationship to the so-called “Bonfire Killer,” who’s been affixing local victims to pyres and setting them on fire. Police attempt to track down Dara and begin questioning Aisling’s sons as suspects, forcing her into a moral crisis: if one of her loved ones really is responsible, does she want them caught? Heartfelt family drama and thundering suspense elevate the ripped-from-the-headlines plot. This continues Lodge’s winning streak. (Aug.)