cover image IN SILENCE


Erica Spindler, . . Mira, $23.95 (384pp) ISBN 978-1-55166-699-0

The old adage, "You can't go home again," doesn't apply to Cypress Springs, La., a picaresque little town that goes to extreme—and sometimes deadly—lengths to keep the outside world and its corrupting influences at bay. The town's outward calm provides an eerie counterpoint to the struggle occurring beneath the surface, which makes it the perfect setting for Spindler's latest thriller (after Dead Run). When investigative reporter Avery Chauvin returns to Cypress Springs to put her father's affairs in order after his apparent suicide, she takes comfort in the familiar attentions of her high school sweetheart, Matt Stevens, and his loving family, who treat her as one of their own. It soon becomes apparent, however, that things aren't as they seem. For starters, the Stevens clan seems uneasy, particularly when she mentions Hunter, Matt's fraternal twin. Then she receives a call that leads her to suspect that her dad was murdered. Her fears are sharpened when a local woman turns up dead, and "outsider" Gwen Lancaster tells Avery about her brother's disappearance. Despite the overwhelming evidence, Avery's investigative instincts take a while to kick in, but once they do, she uncovers clues indicating that a vigilante group has taken it upon itself to police and punish the town's citizens. Most disturbing is the fact that Hunter, with whom Avery becomes romantically involved, fits the killer's profile. While smoothly written, the book's absurdly macabre (and somewhat implausible) denouement will disappoint. Still, once readers get past the sluggish first half, they'll be chilled by the town's creepy Big Brother rhetoric and pulled inexorably onward by the question of whodunit. (June)