cover image Winter Break: A Harper Jennings Mystery

Winter Break: A Harper Jennings Mystery

Merry Jones. Severn, $28.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8220-2

In Jones’s uneven third Harper Jennings mystery (after 2012’s Behind the Walls), four-months pregnant Harper, an Iraq war veteran and now a Cornell graduate student, looks out her window one winter night and spots a naked man running out of the snowy woods into the light of her driveway’s motion sensors. Another figure follows, tackles the first, then carries him back into the woods. When Harper reports what she saw to the police, her flighty, irritating mother, who’s staying with her while husband Hank is away, suggests Harper’s PTSD or hormones caused her to hallucinate. The only people taking her seriously are students Evan Lourd and Sty, who live at the fraternity next door. As Evan and Sty ingratiate themselves with her household, Baby Mozart and Harper’s thesis on pre-Columbian symbolism become secondary to a search for the truth—and her survival. A leisurely setup abruptly jolts into unlikely revelations and violent confrontations. Agent: Rebecca Strauss, McIntosh & Otis. (Feb.)