Blood Relative

David Thomas. Sterling/SilverOak, $14.95 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-4549-0125-9

This astute psychological thriller is the first from British author Thomas under his own name (as the pseudonymous Tom Cain, he’s written Carver and four other thrillers). York architect Peter Crookham arrives home to find his beautiful German-born wife, Mariana, covered in blood and his reporter brother, Andy, dead from multiple stab wounds. Despite all the evidence suggesting that his wife, now incapable of coherent speech or thought, killed his brother, Peter refuses to accept her guilt. Shock follows shock as Peter discovers that Andy was investigating Mariana, and had even gone to Berlin to look into her childhood. Frightening glimpses of communist East Berlin in the 1970s and 1980s alternate with Peter’s quest for answers. Increasingly violent attempts to make Peter abandon his search, ranging from warnings to assaults, only intensify his need to uncover the truth about his wife’s past and his brother’s murder. Thomas keeps the chills coming right up to the satisfying conclusion. (Sept.)