Just like Home

Sarah Gailey. Tor, $26.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-250-17472-7

Vera Crowder, the protagonist of this superior novel of psychological suspense from Gailey (The Echo Wife), returns to her childhood home, Crowder House, after 12 years to reunite with her dying mother, a fraught visit that reawakens dark memories. It gradually emerges that Vera’s father, who frequently reassured her as a child that there were neither monsters nor murderers under her bed, and told her their basement was off-limits, was himself a murderer. (Bodies were found buried in the basement.) Years after her father’s arrest, Vera still believes the house has secrets to reveal, a belief supported by the chance discoveries of fragments from his journal. Suggestive prose (“The stairs that led from the entryway to the second level of the house always seemed to have too many shadows”) enhances the twisty plot as Vera tries to better understand the killings her father was accused of. The counterintuitive choice to have flashbacks recounted in present tense, while using past tense for present-day events, along with ominous foreshadowing (“Three years from now, when there are policemen at the door, she will feel afraid”) helps to create an unsettling atmosphere. Minette Walters fans will be captivated. (July)
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