cover image Holly


Stephen King. Scribner, $30 (464p) ISBN 978-1-6680-1613-8

PI Holly Gibney returns after King’s 2020 novella If It Bleeds to face off against a pair of deliciously wicked predators in this lurid if somewhat plodding thriller. It’s July 2021, and the Finders Keepers detective agency is on hiatus, with Holly taking time off to mourn her mother, who recently died of Covid. She’s lured back to work by a series of persuasive calls from a woman named Penny Dahl, whose preteen daughter, Bonnie, disappeared three weeks earlier. As Holly begins to poke around the neighborhood where Bonnie was last seen, residents alert her to the disappearance of 11-year-old Peter “Stinky” Steinman, who vanished from the same area three years ago. Additional conversations point Holly in the direction of former college professors Rodney and Emily Harris, whose veneer of elderly innocence is complicated by rumors that they may be connected to a slew of missing persons cases stretching back nearly a decade. At first, Holly investigates the Harrises as a matter of protocol, but it doesn’t take long for her to realize she’s facing down a pair of cunning foes with far darker secrets than she could’ve imagined. The narrative can dawdle, with things starting to feel especially padded in the middle stretch, but readers are likely to forgive the delay by the time the stomach-turning dénouement comes around. This pitch-black thriller ends on a high note. Agent: Liz Darhansoff, Darhansoff & Verrill. (Sept.)