cover image Mister Tender’s Girl

Mister Tender’s Girl

Carter Wilson. Sourcebooks Landmark, $15.99 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-1-4926-5650-0

Alice Hill, the narrator of this taut, complex thriller from Wilson (Revelation), was 14 and living in London when two classmates of hers—twin sisters—lured her into a park one night. There the sisters stabbed her five times as a sacrifice to Mister Tender, a “part human, part demon” bartender who was then a popular graphic novel character created by her father. Fourteen years later, her father is dead, and Alice, who wears long sleeves even on hot days to hide the scars on her arms, is living in Manchester, N.H., along with her overly anxious mother and chronically ill brother. Alice appears to have overcome her problems and to be doing well other than having developed a knife phobia. Her life, however, starts to fall apart when unsavory people from her past—including an incarnation of Mister Tender—find her. Alice must revisit her past to find out who’s behind the resurrection of Mister Tender and the terror that follows in his wake. Only some distracting actions by secondary characters mar this creepy, unsettling tale. Agent: Pamela Ahearn, Ahearn Agency. (Feb.)