cover image Vera Kelly: Lost and Found

Vera Kelly: Lost and Found

Rosalie Knecht. Tin House, $15.95 trade paper (228p) ISBN 978-1-953534-16-3

Set in 1971, Sue Grafton Award winner Knecht’s excellent third mystery featuring CIA operative-turned-PI Vera Kelly (after 2020’s Vera Kelly Is Not a Mystery) finds Vera and her girlfriend, Max Comstock, quietly enjoying their life together in Brooklyn when Max receives a letter begging her to return to her estranged family because her parents are getting divorced. Vera supports Max by accompanying her to Los Angeles, but she quickly discovers how little she knows about the ultra-wealthy family that cut Max off without a cent because of her sexuality seven years earlier when she was 22. When Max vanishes after an acrimonious family dinner, Vera must rescue the woman she loves by mapping a perilous course through the underbelly of California cults. Knecht’s scathing picture of the mental health “cures” of the 1970s is at once bitterly humorous and horrifying. Filled with well-drawn, quirky characters, the novel captures both the hidden pleasures and not so hidden dangers of a closeted existence. This nuanced portrait of gay life in the aftermath of the Stonewall Riots thoroughly satisfies. Agent: Soumeya Roberts, HG Literary. (June)