cover image Pretty Baby

Pretty Baby

Mary Kubica. Mira, $24.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-7783-1770-8

Kubica follows her acclaimed debut, 2014’s The Good Girl, with a superb psychological thriller. Heidi Wood’s husband, Chris, and 12-year-old daughter, Zoe, are used to her rants about recycling, poverty, and literacy, as well as her endless, depressing stories about the immigrants and refugees she meets through the Chicago nonprofit for which she works. But her family didn’t expect Heidi to invite homeless teen Willow Greer and her infant, Ruby, to live with them. Heidi, whose dreams of a large family ended when she had a hysterectomy to save her life, becomes obsessed with Willow and especially Ruby, even as her marriage frays and she ignores Zoe. Afraid that Willow could be violent, Chris tries to find out her background and whether Ruby is even her baby. A series of flashbacks shift among the points of view of Heidi, Chris, and Willow as this heartbreaking tale about obsession, foster care, and the debilitating effects of unacknowledged grief builds to a stunning conclusion. 10-city author tour. Agent: Rachael Dillon Fried, Greenburger Associates. (Aug.)