cover image Wicked River

Wicked River

Jenny Milchman. Sourcebooks Landmark, $15.99 trade paper (464p) ISBN 978-1-4926-5899-3

Near the start of this so-so standalone from Mary Higgins Clark Award–winner Milchman (As Night Falls), Doug and Natalie Larson embark on their honeymoon, a canoe trip through the Adirondacks’ six million acres of wilderness. Everything goes swimmingly until Doug loses his GPS unit, causing the couple to lose not only their way but also their supplies. When Doug and Natalie fail to return to New York City the following week, Natalie’s 13-year-old niece, Mia, sounds the alarm, but what she and the search party don’t know is that a lonely psychopath has already found the Larsons and has his own plans for them. The man-versus-nature aspect of Milchman’s tale thrills, but her characters lack verisimilitude. After a strong start, unearned twists propel the plot toward an abrupt and somewhat arbitrary conclusion that’s action-packed but fails to gratify. Fans will hope for a return to form next time. Agent: Julia Kenny, Dunow, Carlson and Lerner Literary Agency. (May)