cover image The Trouble with Charlie

The Trouble with Charlie

Merry Jones. Oceanview (Midpoint, dist.), $25.95 (288p) ISBN 978-1-60809-074-7

Jones makes the most of her plot twists in this solid stand-alone featuring Philadelphia elementary schoolteacher Elle Brooks. Elle’s marriage to Charlie Harrison is at an end, their divorce waiting to be finalized. On returning home after a night out with her girlfriends, Elle is unsettled by indications that Charlie, despite having moved out, is in the townhouse with her, including what feels like a light kiss on the back of her neck and a long-stemmed rose lying on the kitchen floor. She grabs a knife to protect herself, only to find Charlie dead, stabbed in the back. As the obvious suspect, Elle finds that clearing her name is complicated by frequent, unexplainable gaps in her memory that have even Elle doubting her own innocence. Not much depth, but the brisk prose keeps the pages turning. Agent: Rebecca Strauss, McIntosh & Otis. (Feb.)