cover image The Smart One

The Smart One

Drew Yanno. Pellegrino, $14.95 trade paper (318p) ISBN 978-0-692761-72-4

Why would your old family doctor, whom you hadn’t seen in at least 30 years, ask his wife to deliver an envelope, containing a list of apparently unrelated and unfamiliar names to you, after his death? That’s the question confronting the unnamed narrator of this outstanding Hitchcockian thriller from Yanno (In the Matter of Michael Vogel). A highly intelligent man who once had a successful career as an author and professor, he’s now retired and not doing much of anything. This uninspired routine ends when his secretary passes on messages from the widow of Dr. Condon, the narrator’s former pediatrician, advising him of the doctor’s passing and pleading for him to attend the funeral. When he meets her, she gives him a list of 12 names and a note from the dead man telling him that he would know what to do after finding out what the names have in common. His reluctance to comply changes quickly after a dramatic development that has him fleeing for his life. The twists are surprising but plausible, and the spare prose a good match for the fast-moving plot. (BookLife)