cover image The Only Survivors

The Only Survivors

Megan Miranda. Scribner/Rucci, $28 (352p) ISBN 978-1-6680-1041-9

At the start of this tempestuous, emotionally wrenching tale of courage, betrayal, guilt, and just maybe forgiveness from bestseller Miranda (The Last to Vanish), Cassidy Bent is reluctantly preparing for an annual ritual: the weeklong reunion at a secluded beach house on North Carolina’s Outer Banks of what were initially nine survivors of a horrific accident a decade earlier when they were high school seniors and a dozen students and teachers died after the two vans carrying them home in rain-lashed darkness from a service trip in Tennessee plunged into a river. The former classmates are about the last people any of them want to see at this point—as well as the only ones who share the secrets of what they did to walk out of the woods alive. And now their number has shrunk to seven after the apparent death by suicide of a onetime close friend of Cassidy, the second such death. The suspense and danger escalate as the narrative alternates between the present and the night of the tragedy, even if the final shocker may strike some readers as contrived. Though not among Miranda’s best, this remains an evocative excursion into darkness. Agent: Jennifer Joel, ICM Partners. (Apr.)