cover image Gretchen


Shannon Kirk. Thomas & Mercer, $15.95 trade paper (364p) ISBN 978-1-5420-4134-8

Lucy, the 15-year-old heroine of this brilliantly constructed novel from Kirk (In the Vines), doesn’t know why she and her mom have been on the run for the last 13 years. Having lived in 10 different states, they are now headed for New Hampshire, where they find the perfect rental, a small furnished house just down the hill from the mansion owned by their future landlords, the Sabins: Jerry and his daughter, Gretchen, who’s Lucy’s age. Though Lucy feels there’s something not quite right about Gretchen’s feverish enthusiasm and joyously overwhelming declaration of friendship, she hides her feelings from her mother. As she says, “I cannot tell Mom. She’d make us run. And I’m not ready to run again.” Who are the villains and who are the victims remain tantalizingly unclear. The pieces of the characters’ broken lives finally slip into place in a truly thrilling climax. Kirk draws the reader into a fascinating world of shifting truths whose details are by turns grotesque, funny, creepy, thoughtful, and exhilarating. [em]Agent: Kimberley Cameron, Kimberley Cameron & Assoc. (July) [/em]