cover image One of the Good Guys

One of the Good Guys

Araminta Hall. Zando/Flynn, $28 (288p) ISBN 978-1-63893-061-7

At the start of this unsettling psychological suspense novel from Hall (Hidden Depths), Cole Simmonds is trying to rebuild his life after a nasty split from his wife, Mel Connelly. He leaves his office job in London to work as a wildlife ranger along the southern coast of England, where he immediately becomes enchanted with Leonora Baxter, an artist who lives in a neighboring cottage. While the two get to know each other, feminist activists Molly Patterson and Phoebe Canton, who are livestreaming their hike along the coast as part of a domestic violence fundraiser, vanish. Cole becomes the prime suspect when a strand of Molly’s hair is found in his outhouse. Hall then shifts the story to Mel’s perspective. Chronicling the downfall of her and Cole’s marriage, Mel recounts her fertility struggles and alludes to unsettling truths about her former husband. Soon, the hikers’ disappearance captures public attention, with newscasters and social media sleuths alike weighing in on Cole’s involvement in Molly and Phoebe’s fates. From there, Hall begins to tie each of her story threads together with a series of twists about the disappearances and Cole and Mel’s marriage. Her plot and themes don’t exactly break new ground, but Hall keeps things moving at a brisk clip, and the thought-provoking conclusion will prompt readers to ask difficult questions about bad male behavior. Fans of Megan Abbott will want to check this out. Agent: Lizzy Kremer, David Higham Assoc. (Jan.)