cover image Under My Skin

Under My Skin

Lisa Unger. Park Row, $26.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-7783-6978-3

Grief leads to self-destructive behavior in this searing psychological thriller from bestseller Unger (The Red Hunter). After Jack Lang is beaten to death while jogging in Manhattan’s Riverside Park early one morning, his widow, Poppy, has a nervous breakdown. A year later, Poppy is getting back to work at the couple’s boutique photography agency, but she still suffers from hallucinations and nightmares. She’s also haunted by a reoccurring vision of a man in a hood that could be related to Jack’s murder. She feels both comforted and suffocated by her mother and her best friend, Layla Van Santen, who worry because she continues to self-medicate with drugs and disappears for days, sometimes with strangers she meets online. Poppy’s search for Jack’s killer is the one thing that gives her focus. Though Poppy’s visions and flashbacks to the Langs’ life together occasionally become repetitious, the fully realized characters keep the plot from lagging. Readers will feel both empathy and sympathy for the driven Poppy. Agent: Amy Berkower, Writers House. (Oct.)