cover image The Summoning

The Summoning

J.P. Smith. Poisoned Pen, $16.99 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-7282-4317-7

The husband of Manhattan actor Kit Capriol, the protagonist of this superior thriller from Smith (If She Were Dead), died on 9/11 before learning Kit was pregnant with their first child. The joy of her daughter Zoey’s birth gave Kit a new chance at happiness, but 14 years later, Zoey suddenly collapsed on a subway platform and hit her head. The resulting brain trauma left the girl in a seemingly irreversible coma. Three years after that tragedy, Kit, who’s short on work and has trouble paying the rent and hospital bills, has turned to scouring the obituaries pages for notices marking the anniversary of a death. She then cold calls surviving loved ones and offers to help them connect with the departed. As Kit fakes messages from the beyond, she begins to suspect that she may be getting some real communications from the dead. Meanwhile, her scam attracts the attention of the NYPD, placing her in legal jeopardy. Smith expertly keeps the plot twists coming and maintains uncertainty about exactly what’s going on. Fans of Sarah Waters’s Affinity will be enthralled. Agent: Claire Roberts, Claire Roberts Global Literary. (Sept.)