cover image Gaslight


Miles Joris-Peyrafitte and Sara Shepard. Blackstone, $26.99 (340p) ISBN 979-8-212-18922-4

A former cult member confronts her past when an old acquaintance shows up on her doorstep in this patchy collaboration between filmmaker Joris-Peyrafitte and YA author Shepard (the Pretty Little Liars series). Rebecca Williams lives a quiet life in Carson City, Nev., with her husband, Tom, and their two children. Tom doesn’t know that, eight years earlier, Rebecca was a devoted member of the Infinite Spiritual Being Community, a cult led by charismatic manipulator Ben Rahm. After an emaciated young woman named Danny turns up at the couple’s home and says she knows Rebecca, flashbacks reveal how Rebecca and Danny were first drawn into ISB by Ben’s persuasive messages of self-reliance. In the present, Danny claims she needs Rebecca’s help to break from Ben and his followers. Can Rebecca trust her? Or has Danny been sent to draw Rebecca back into Ben’s malevolent orbit? The dual timelines contribute to the narrative’s jerky pacing, and the authors’ characterizations are thin, but the sections on Rebecca’s life in ISB are chilling. It’s a mixed bag. Agent: Anna Worrall, Gernert Co. (Sept.)