cover image The Midnight Side

The Midnight Side

Natasha Mostert. William Morrow & Company, $24 (256pp) ISBN 978-0-688-17385-2

A telephone call from beyond the grave sets in motion South African writer Mostert's auspicious debut thriller, a gripping tale of obsession and revenge. Alette Temple, psychic to the British elite, senses her life is in danger long before someone tampers with the brakes of her car, sending her skidding to her death on an icy road in London. In her will, she leaves everything to her South African architect cousin, Isa DeWitt, but requires Isa to fulfill a final ruthless request: she must financially destroy the pharmaceutical company belonging to Alette's former husband, Justin Temple, using incriminating information Alette had been hoarding. In London, Isa, not realizing Alette was murdered, carries out her cousin's last wishes by way of anonymous phone calls to stockbrokers and information leaks to leading financial newspapers. As Alette's posthumous plan takes on a life of its own, Isa begins to wonder about her cousin, uncovering Alette's darkest obsessions and secrets. The more Isa probes, the closer she comes to Alette's demented killer, who will stop at nothing to silence his pursuer. African mysticism, paranormal experiences and terrifying dreams set the tone for this eloquently written novel. Though the deus ex machina ending disappoints, Mostert's solid prose and chilling premise should make this a crossover success, satisfying fans of ghost stories as well as readers of mainstream suspense thrillers. Agent, Harvey Klinger. (Jan.)