cover image Paranoid


Lisa Jackson. Kensington, $27 (480p) ISBN 978-1-4967-2246-1

Bestseller Jackson (Liar, Liar) gradually builds up the layers of this slow-moving, tangled psychological thriller, leading to a stunning finale. As a teen, Rachel Gaston accidentally kills her brother, Luke Hollander, during a fake shoot-out with her friends after someone replaces her toy gun with a real one. Twenty years later, Rachel is jobless, single, and struggling to manage her two rebellious teenagers, Harper and Dylan. After Rachel’s high school friend Violet is found dead, Rachel receives strange text messages and someone vandalizes her front door. Rachel’s ex-husband, police officer Cade Ryder, offers to help Rachel and the case detective, while Rachel tries to keep her kids nearby and safe. When Harper finds the next victim and Cade tracks down a possible suspect, Rachel fears someone is targeting her and the people she cares about. In a romantic subplot that’s secondary to the suspense, Rachel and Cade slowly repair their relationship. The ending delivers more than just the murderer as the secrets behind Luke and his death are revealed. Jackson leaves no thread untied as she expertly pieces together a series of surprise twists. While the pacing lags at times, the balance of tension and intricate family drama wins out. Jackson knows just how to keep readers guessing, and glued to the page. Agent: Robin Rue, Writers House. (July)