Red Hands

Christopher Golden. St. Martin’s, $27.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-250-24630-1

Golden’s third supernatural thriller featuring Dr. Ben Walker (after The Pandora Room) is almost as good as its predecessors. In the chilling opening scene, a July 4 celebration in Jericho Falls, N.H., turns hellish after a car plows into a crowd. The driver, who is riddled with bullet wounds, emerges from his crashed BMW to kill even more people, this time by touching them with his hands, which appear red and cause death on contact. Only Maeve Sinclair survives the fatal touch—but the killer’s power transfers to her. As a shadowy group in black coats arrives and takes charge of the crime scene, a horrified Maeve flees to the mountains. News of the incident disrupts Ben Walker’s plans to spend some much-needed time with his 12-year-old son, as Alena Boudreau, Walker’s new boss at of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, orders him to New Hampshire to investigate—and to find Maeve before either the police or the “blackcoats” can get to her. Golden again maintains engagement by making even secondary characters feel real and well-rounded. Series fans will be pleased by this solid installment. (Dec.)