cover image The Man She Married

The Man She Married

Cathy Lamb. Kensington, $15.95 trade paper (480p) ISBN 978-1-4967-0983-7

Lamb (No Place I’d Rather Be) opens her magnetic novel with a tantalizing glimpse of a mystery, a dreadful car wreck, and a feisty heroine to root for. Natalie Fox Shelton feels blessed: she’s married to the love of her life, Zach; runs an accounting firm in Portland, Ore., with one of her best friends, Justine; and has a loving father—until the car crash puts her in a coma. Trapped inside her own body, Natalie can hear everything: the suggestions from “Dr. Doom” and “Dr. Hopeless” that Zach and Natalie’s father pull the plug on the machines keeping her alive, the evil stranger whose demented Barbie-doll calling card freaks out the staff, her father’s heartfelt singing. Against all odds, Natalie fights her way out of the coma, regains consciousness, and enters traumatic brain injury therapy with a colorful, lovable group and tries to put her life back together. But it’s soon clear that someone is after Natalie—and that those efforts are tied to her husband’s shadowy past. Lamb’s deeply nuanced characters, particularly Natalie’s insufferable yet damaged mother, Chick, as well as her rehab buddies, lend depth and resonance. Add that to a fast-moving plot and a rewarding ending, and Lamb has crafted a charmer fit for many keepers’ shelves. (Nov.)