The Mother Next Door

Tara Laskowski. Graydon, $16.99 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-5258-0470-0
After too many lean, lonely years as a single parent in Philadelphia, journalist Theresa Pressley, the protagonist of this atmospheric if flimsily plotted thriller from Agatha Award finalist Laskowski (One Night Gone), is plunging headfirst into the opportunities awaiting her and her teen daughter in Ivy Woods, an affluent, seemingly idyllic Washington, D.C., suburb, where her new husband just became high school principal. But what Theresa will discover only gradually about her formidably polished neighbors, locally famous for the Halloween block party they stage each year, is that Kendra McCaul, nicknamed Queen Bee, and her court may be hiding skeletons far scarier than those swaying from the cul-de-sac’s trees. And as suggested by their response to the anonymous threats that Kendra and crew begin receiving weeks before the Woods’ big night, there’s little the “Ivy Hive” would balk at to keep them buried. The suspense builds as Theresa’s curiosity, coupled with some explosive secrets of her own, increasingly put her and her family in jeopardy, but several subsequent twists prove unconvincing. Hopefully, Laskowski will return to form next time. Agent: Michelle Richter, Foreword Literary. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 07/15/2021
Release date: 10/12/2021
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
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