cover image The House Guests

The House Guests

Emilie Richards. Mira, $16.99 trade paper (432p) ISBN 978-0-7783-3186-5

In this serpentine thriller from Richards (the Ministry Is Murder series), Cassie Costas moves from Manhattan to Tarpon Springs, Fla., her hometown, with her 15-year-old stepdaughter, Savannah Westmore, after her husband’s death. Savannah detests the place and manifests her unhappiness by making friends with the wrong crowd. When the girl finds a handmade purse containing $800 in a parking lot, she lets her friends persuade her that the money should be spent on a party to be held at her house while Cassie is out of town. On returning to her now trashed home, Cassie discovers the distinctive purse among the rubble and determines its true owner: Amber Blair, the single mother of a 16-year-old son. As a result of losing the money, the pair have been evicted from their humble apartment. Deciding to right Savannah’s wrong, Cassie invites them to live with her until Amber can get on her feet. Both women are hiding dangerous secrets that will alter their lives. The carefully constructed entwining of Cassie and Amber’s stories offers some genuine surprises. This is pure soap opera of the best sort. Agent: Steven J. Axelrod, Axelrod Agency. (June)