cover image Always the First to Die

Always the First to Die

R.J. Jacobs. Sourcebooks Landmark, $16.99 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-1-7282-5407-4

As a teenager more than 25 years ago, widowed librarian Lexi Kennedy, the narrator of this solid mystery from Jacobs (And Then You Were Gone), had a bit part in Breathless, an iconic horror film directed by Rick Plummer at his Pinecrest Estate in Key West, Fla. Lexi met her future husband, Cam, who was Rick’s son, on the set. The reputation that Breathless gained of being cursed after several people died during filming only added to the movie’s popularity. Now estranged from Rick, whom she blames for Cam’s death, Lexi is appalled because Rick is filming a sequel. Despite Lexi forbidding it, her 17-year-old daughter, Quinn, sneaks away to be in the movie being shot at Rick’s estate. Lexi tears out in the middle of the night to go to Quinn’s rescue. Jacobs makes good use of traditional horror tropes—things that go bump in the night, dark rooms, a creepy mansion, and no phone service—while convincingly showing Florida before and after a category-four hurricane. Horror film buffs will want to check this one out. Agent: Rachel Ekstrom, Folio Literary Management. (Sept.)