cover image This Is How We End Things

This Is How We End Things

R.J. Jacobs. Sourcebooks Landmark, $16.99 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-1-728254-10-4

Jacobs follows up Always the First to Die with a nail-biting closed-circle mystery set at a sleepy North Carolina college. Joe Lyons, chair of the psychology department at Dorrance University, is considered a rock star in his field, with published scholarship that’s treated “like an anticipated world premiere.” But his latest experiment—an unauthorized study on dishonesty that necessitates deceiving his subjects—goes awry when one of the trial participants lashes out after he’s falsely informed that his academic standing is at risk. Then one of Lyons’s six graduate research assistants is fatally stabbed and left in his office. Det. Alana Larson is assigned to the case, and shortly after she arrives on campus, a snowstorm confines her and her suspects to its grounds. Before long, another body turns up, and Lyons and Larson become determined to stem further bloodshed. Jacobs keeps readers on their toes, wringing maximum surprise out of the twists and red herrings, and effectively molds his leads into three-dimensional characters. Riley Sager fans will be pleased.Agent: Rachel Ekstrom, Courage Literary. (Sept.)