cover image What Comes Next

What Comes Next

John Katzenbach. Grove/Atlantic/Mysterious, $27 (464p) ISBN 978-0-8021-2611-5

Set in a small western Massachusetts college town, bestseller Katzenbach’s impressively powerful and emotional thriller delves into dementia, teenage angst, and Internet voyeurism. After receiving a diagnosis of degenerative dementia, a slow but sure death sentence, Adrian Thomas, a retired professor alone in the world who has “spent much of his academic life studying fear,” decides to go home and shoot himself, but fate intervenes. When Adrian pulls into his driveway, he witnesses a man and a woman in an unmarked van kidnap 16-year-old Jennifer Riggins, who’s running away from home. The couple have seized Jennifer to star in, a Web site where viewers watch the girl’s torture in real time. Despite his failing mind, Adrian is able to use the psychological insights he gleaned as a professor to hunt for Jennifer. The tense plot smoothly shifts between Adrian, who teams with a skeptical, compassionate detective, and the captive girl. Katzenbach (The Wrong Man) avoids the clichés of dementia, while deftly showing the inner resolve that Adrian and Jennifer each discover in themselves. Agent: Moses Cardona, John Hawkins & Associates. (June)