In My Dreams I Hold a Knife

Ashley Winstead. Sourcebooks Landmark, $26.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-7282-2988-1

Successful if depressed New York City consultant Jessica Miller, the narrator of Winstead’s captivating debut, decides to attend her 10th reunion at North Carolina’s Duquette University, despite the risk of reopening old wounds surrounding the stabbing murder of Heather Shelby, who belonged to a clique known as the East House Seven, which also included Jessica and Jack Carroll, Heather’s ex-boyfriend. Of the seven, only Jack declines to go, as every other member of the clique, except for Jessica, believes he killed Heather (the murder weapon was found in his room), though he wasn’t convicted of the crime. At the reunion, Heather’s brother, Eric Shelby, who works in the alumni office, takes the opportunity to interrogate Jessica and the others, certain one of them is the murderer. Flashbacks to their undergraduate days reveal deceit and disloyalty as well as Jessica’s romantic and financial struggles. The tension rises as Eric refuses to let the group leave until the truth is uncovered. Winstead does an expert job keeping the reader guessing whodunit. Suspense fans will eagerly await her next. Agent: Melissa Edwards, Stonesong. (Aug.)