cover image The Lighthouse Witches

The Lighthouse Witches

C.J. Cooke. Berkley, $17 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-0-593-33423-2

Cooke (The Nesting) fuses mystery with horror in this atmospheric thriller. In 1998, artist Olivia Stay and her daughters—Sapphire, 15; Luna, 10; and Clover, seven—move to Lòn Haven, a Scottish isle, after Liv is hired to paint a strange mural inside the Longing, a 100-year-old lighthouse built on the site of a prison for alleged witches. Liv scoffs at rumors regarding a curse, but then tragedy strikes. Flash forward to 2021 when all Luna remembers about living on Lòn Haven is that after her sisters went missing, Olivia abandoned Luna and vanished. Luna is elated when the Scottish police report that Clover has finally been found and taken to an Inverness hospital, but upon arriving at Clover’s bedside, Luna finds not the 29-year-old she expects, but a child for whom no time has passed. Cooke skillfully intercuts the two timelines, maximizing tension, while occasional passages from a 1662 grimoire provide history and context. Nebulous plotting abounds, but breathless pacing, evocative prose, and a hopeful denouement leave readers feeling gratified. Supernatural suspense fans will be well pleased. Agent: Deborah Schneider, Gelfman Schneider Literary/ICM Partners. (Oct.)