cover image Granite Harbor

Granite Harbor

Peter Nichols. Celadon, $29 (320p) ISBN 978-1-250894-81-6

A spate of gruesome killings rocks a coastal Maine town in Nichols’s disquieting latest (after The Rocks). When teenager Shane Carter is found mutilated and hanging from a crossbeam in sleepy Granite Harbor’s only museum, shock reverberates through the community. Untested police detective Alex Brangwen—a failed British novelist who’s begrudgingly shelved his literary ambitions for the promise of a steady paycheck—starts investigating, only to find that his familiarity with and affection for his neighbors is clouding his judgment. At his boss’s request, the FBI provides assistance, and digs up a possible link to a 16-year-old cold case. Then another teenager is murdered, ratcheting up panic across town and lighting a fire under Alex to catch the culprit. He teams up with single mom Isabel Dorr, whose children were friends with both victims, to ferret out answers, and their inquiry brings them face-to-face with a terrifying killer hiding in plain sight. While the pacing in the first third can be erratic, Nichols makes up for it when he unveils his bone-chilling antagonist via a lengthy, hair-raising backstory. The result is a grisly and fiendishly inventive murder mystery that will rattle even seasoned genre fans. Agent: Patrick E. Walsh, PEW Literary. (Apr.)