cover image Die Next

Die Next

Jonathan Stone. Grand Central, $16.99 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-1-5387-3322-6

At the start of this smart thriller from Stone (Two for the Show), Zack Yellin, the unemployed son of wealthy parents, sits down on a stool at a New York City coffee shop next to a businessman. Soon afterward, the businessman leaves, taking Zack’s phone by mistake. Zack dials his own phone and informs the businessman of the problem. They agree to meet back at the coffee shop in 20 minutes to switch phones. While waiting, Zack, who noticed the stranger typing in his password, browses through the man’s phone, only to discover photos of dead people violently murdered and photographed up close. The reader now learns that the businessman is professional killer Joey Richter. If Zack returns Joey’s phone, Joey may well fear Zack has seen the photos and feel compelled to do away with Zack. If Zack doesn’t return the phone, Joey has all of Zack’s personal information and can locate Zack, his friends, and his loved ones. Zack’s decision sets off a series of events that will involve danger to his best friend, his girlfriend, and possibly a large group of innocent people. Stone keeps the tension high throughout. This action-packed tale satisfies. Agent: Jill Marr, Sandra Dijkstra Literary. (Apr.)