cover image Where They Wait

Where They Wait

Scott Carson. Atria/Bestler, $27 (400p) ISBN 978-1-9821-0462-7

Journalist Nick Bishop, the narrator of this uber-creepy horror thriller from Carson (The Chill), has fallen on hard times after being laid off. So, despite experience that includes a stint embedded in Afghanistan, he considers a job that would ordinarily be beneath him—writing a puff piece for his alma mater’s magazine. A classmate who runs the PR department for Maine’s Hammel College offers Bishop $5,000 to profile alum Bryce Lermond, who’s developed a new app that’s able to shape dreams. Lured by the payday and a chance to visit his mother, a dementia patient who was once “one of the nation’s preeminent scholars in the field of memory research,” Bishop, who says he never dreams, agrees. Lermond persuades Bishop to beta test the app, Clarity, which plays an ominous song before Bishop loses consciousness. His investigative reporter senses go on even higher alert after Lermond’s No. 2 at his company, an old friend of Bishop’s, warns him never to use Clarity. Superior prose (“The elevator doors sealed across her like gravedigger’s dirt”) enhances a craftily twisted plot, which sticks its landing. Peter Straub fans will hope for more from Carson. Agent: Richard Pine, InkWell Management. (Oct.)