cover image Cloudland


Joseph Olshan. Minotaur, $24.99 (418p) ISBN 978-1-250-00017-0

Olshan (The Conversion), known for his literary fiction, delivers a crime novel more likely to satisfy mainstream than genre readers. Catherine Winslow, a former investigative journalist and college professor, gets drawn into the hunt for a serial killer after finding the frozen body of a missing nurse in an orchard near her rural Vermont home. Conveniently, her neighbor on isolated Cloudland Road, Anthony Waite, is a forensic psychiatrist. Waite assists Det. Marco Prozzo in the police investigation, though it’s never clear why they hold so much stock in Catherine’s opinions. Catherine tries to draw literary connections between the murders and the plot of an unfinished Wilkie Collins novel, all while worrying about the reappearance of her former lover, Matthew Blake. Seventh Day Adventist literature found near several of the corpses suggests a religious motive. Though the crimes are based on real events, the lack of suspense and an unsympathetic heroine (Catherine once had a romance with a student that ended in violence) make for a less than satisfying mystery. Author tour. Agent: Mitchell Waters, Curtis Brown. (Apr.)