cover image City Under One Roof

City Under One Roof

Iris Yamashita. Berkley, $27 (304p) ISBN 978-0-593-33667-0

Unusual topography plays a major role in screenwriter Yamashita’s atmospherically charged debut, a locked-city mystery. Once a secret military base, the tiny city of Point Mettier, Alaska, is reached by land through a narrow, one-way tunnel. Full-time residents live in one self-sufficient high-rise. During eight months of winter, the temperature reaches −35 °F and “eyelashes could actually freeze.” When 17-year-old Amy Lin and friends discover a severed hand and foot in Hidden Cove, where they retreat to smoke pot, Det. Cara Kennedy comes from Anchorage to investigate. That Cara has hidden personal motives for wanting to be on the case raises the tension. Then a blizzard and avalanche block the tunnel, and harrowing secrets and lingering lies surface along with more body parts. The disappearance of a mother and her two sons prompts a search that leads to a spellbinding, unforgettable climax and an unpredictable resolution. Well-defined secondary characters include a roving gang of ruffians on snowmobiles with their own violent agenda. This distinctively original perspective on a “community of stragglers, oddballs, and recluses” heralds the arrival of a major new talent. Agent: Lucy Carson, Friedrich Agency. (Jan.)