cover image A Strange Habit of Mind: A Cameron Winter Crime Story

A Strange Habit of Mind: A Cameron Winter Crime Story

Andrew Klavan. Mysterious, $26.95 (288p) ISBN 978-1-61316-351-1

Edgar winner Klavan’s subpar sequel to 2021’s When Christmas Comes finds Cameron Winter, who once worked for a covert government entity called the Division, now a literature professor at a Midwestern university after blackmailing the dean about “things the dean wanted to keep hidden until the end of the world.” Winter is troubled by the suicide of a former student, Adam Kemp, who jumped from the roof of his San Francisco apartment building right after texting Winter, “Help me.” Winter, who defended Kemp against a date rape charge and is curious why Kemp hadn’t waited a few minutes for a response to the text, travels to California to investigate. Though he accepts the official verdict of suicide, Winter comes to believe that a powerful tech titan, an in-law of Kemp’s girlfriend, played a role in the death. The lead’s special gift—to suddenly understand puzzling motives and actions after he “slipped without warning into a silent state akin to meditation”—isn’t distinctive enough to make the character memorable. Klavan fails to make the conceit of a guilt-ridden intelligence operative turned academic plausible. Agent: Mark Gottlieb, Trident Media Group. (Oct.)