cover image Invisible Girl

Invisible Girl

Lisa Jewell. Atria, $28 (368p) ISBN 978-1-9821-3733-5

Facile plotting, underdeveloped characters, and unconvincing stakes mar this disappointing domestic thriller from bestseller Jewell (The Family Upstairs). Owen Pick, a 33-year-old computer science teacher, gets suspended from his London college when female students allege sexism in the classroom and misconduct at a Christmas party. While awaiting the results of the school’s investigation, Owen—a virgin who lives with his aunt—begins frequenting rage-filled “incel” web forums. Across the street, 52-year-old Cate Fours—a stay-at-home mom to two teenagers—grows suspicious of Owen after a masked man starts assaulting local women. Meanwhile, troubled 17-year-old Saffyre Maddox, whom Cate’s husband, child psychologist Roan, recently discharged from treatment for self-harm, decides to follow Roan, because, after three years of therapy, she misses his stabilizing presence. To Saffyre’s regret, her surveillance reveals that Roan isn’t the upstanding man she believed him to be. Though Jewell neatly entwines her protagonists’ story lines, a too-pat conclusion fails to gratify. Fans will hope for a future return to form. Agent: Deborah Schneider, ICM Partners/Gelfman Schneider Literary. (Oct.)