cover image Every Last Fear

Every Last Fear

Alex Finlay. Minotaur, $26.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-250-26882-2

In the pseudonymous Finlay’s solid debut, NYU student Matt Pine learns that his parents, Evan and Olivia, and younger siblings, 17-year-old Maggie and six-year-old Tommy, died while vacationing in Tulum, Mexico. The Pines’ oldest son, Danny, is seven years into a life sentence for murdering his pregnant high school girlfriend—a controversial conviction that was the subject of a TV documentary—so Matt must travel solo to claim the bodies. Local authorities believe the family succumbed to a gas leak, but FBI agent Sarah Keller has doubts. Not only was the recently fired Evan’s former employer laundering money for a Mexican cartel, but evidence suggests the Pines were chasing a lead that could exonerate Danny. When a series of near misses suggest Matt is also in danger, Sarah redoubles her efforts to uncover the truth. Though elements of the plot strain credulity and the denouement feels formulaic, Finlay imparts nuance via a prismatic narrative that jumps back and forth in time, examining both tragedies from multiple angles. Those who favor character-driven crime novels will find much to admire. [em]Agent: Lisa Erbach Vance, Aaron Priest Literary. (Mar.) [/em]