cover image A Breath After Drowning

A Breath After Drowning

Alice Blanchard. Titan, $14.95 trade paper (448p) ISBN 978-1-7856-5641-5

Psychiatrist Kate Wolfe, the heroine of this riveting thriller from Blanchard (The Breathtaker), has a great job in Boston, a fantastic boyfriend, a new condo, and a troubled past. When Kate was 16 years old, Henry Blackwood was convicted of abducting and killing her younger sister, Savannah; Blackwood’s execution date is now approaching. Kate and her longtime boyfriend are supposed to leave on a much-needed vacation, but their plans are cancelled when one of Kate’s troubled patients suddenly commits suicide. The loss sends workaholic Kate into a tailspin, and she focuses her attention on new patient Maddie Ward. Maddie’s mother, Nellie, who unceremoniously dumped her daughter off at the hospital where Kate works, has ulterior motives for doing so. Nellie’s testimony is what put Blackwood behind bars years ago—and now Nellie is changing her story. Investigating the past leads Kate to make painful discoveries about her own family. Blanchard offers three-dimensional, empathetic characters caught up in twisting events, as well as sympathetic views of Kate’s patients. The killer’s identity may strain credibility, but strong pacing and characterization more than compensate. Agent: Jill Marr, Sandra Dijkstra Agency. (Apr.)