cover image The Disappearing

The Disappearing

Lori Roy. Dutton, $27 (352p) ISBN 978-1-524-74193-8

Lane Fielding, the protagonist of this sinuous slow burn from Edgar-winner Roy (Let Me Die in His Footsteps), never wanted to return to her hometown of Waddell, Fla., but after her divorce, the unemployed single mother had no choice. Now she and her daughters, Annalee and Talley, live with Lane’s elderly parents, Neil and Erma, in the historic Fielding Mansion. Next door is the shuttered reform school where former headmaster Neil is rumored to have savagely beaten and possibly killed numerous students long ago—an allegation he denies. When a Florida State student who volunteers at the mansion goes missing, locals fear that a serial killer is stalking the region, but then Annalee disappears, too, causing Lane to worry that someone is exacting revenge for her father’s supposed sins. Though Roy’s characters are vividly sketched, their actions and intentions don’t always ring true, which undercuts some of the plot’s most shocking twists. Still, evocative writing and a tense, kaleidoscopic narrative conspire to create a tale that thrills and chills, even if it doesn’t fully satisfy. Agent: Jenny Bent, Bent Agency. (July)