cover image Safe House

Safe House

Jo Jakeman. Berkley, $16 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-1-9848-0209-5

After Charlie Miller, the heroine of this uneven psychological thriller from British author Jakeman (The Exes’ Revenge), serves prison time for providing her serial killer ex-boyfriend, Lee Fisher, a false alibi, she flees to a Cornish village, where, with a new name and appearance, she hopes to hide from her past. Charlie plans to use the plastering and woodwork courses she took in prison to renovate a crumbling cottage, but maintaining a low profile is difficult. She becomes friends with four local women and her octogenarian neighbor, and despite the sense of community and acceptance Charlie feels, she’s reluctant to let her guard down, still haunted by the threatening letters she received in prison and the family members of Lee’s victims who blame her for the murders. When Charlie falls off a ladder because of a faulty latch, she suspects sabotage. More mishaps confirm her worst fear—she’s not safe. Flashbacks initially make for confusing reading, and at times the tension feels forced, but the story smooths out to a dramatic conclusion. Despite the flaws, readers will look forward to Jakeman’s next. Agent: Imogen Pelham, Marjacq Scripts (U.K.). (Mar.)