cover image Fallout

Fallout

Carrie Stuart Parks. Thomas Nelson, $16.99 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-0-7852-39

This propulsive thriller from Parks (Woman in Shadow) follows a small-town art instructor who must face her past to stop a murderer. Sam Williams is miraculously unscathed after an SUV crashes into the temporary classroom where she teaches art to elementary schoolers in LaCrosse, Wash. An investigation reveals that the driver of the SUV had been shot immediately before the crash and had worked as an art therapist at Clan Firinn, a secretive rehab facility for “first responders suffering from various forms of PTSD.” Mary Thompson, an amateur writer looking into the recent discovery of two skeletons at a nearby construction site owned by Clan Firinn, introduces herself to Sam and the two join forces to get to the bottom of the deaths. The stakes escalate when an SUV forces Sam off the road and into a river, where her prayers to God deliver her to safety. An unexpected development suggests the events might be connected to the deaths of Sam’s parents decades ago, leading Sam to return to her childhood home to face her past. Intricate plot threads combine with fast-paced action to exciting effect, and Sam’s social awkwardness adds some comic moments of levity. This addictive, twisty mystery will keep readers guessing. Agent: Karen Solem, Spencerhill Assoc. (Sept.)