Blackout

Erin Flanagan. Thomas & Mercer, $15.95 trade paper (334p) ISBN 978-1-5420-3989-5

This gripping psychological thriller from PW reviewer Flanagan (Deer Season) centers on Maris Heilman, a sociology professor at Glenn State in Dayton, Ohio, who has been doing well since she gave up drinking seven months earlier. Then several professors threaten to block her from gaining tenure, one of whom criticizes her in a New York Times op-ed piece for writing about a local boy from a privileged family accused of rape. Meanwhile, a rift arises between her and both her teenage daughter, Cody, and her ER doctor husband, Noel Hiser: Cody because Maris has given Cody insufficient attention, Noel because she’s keeping secrets from him. Maris begins having blackouts, one causing her to wind up in the hospital after she totaled her car with no memory of what happened. Cody and Noel suspect Maris is drinking again, but it turns out several other women have also been experiencing similar blackouts. The stakes rise as Maris tries to discover what exactly is happening, who is responsible, and what links her to the other women. Flanagan keeps the reader guessing to the surprising climax. She remains a writer to watch. Agent: Jill Marr, Dijkstra Agency. (July)
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