cover image What Strange Creatures

What Strange Creatures

Emily Arsenault. Morrow, $14.99 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-0-06-228323-8

At the start of this captivating mystery from Arsenault (Miss Me When I’m Gone), Theresa Battle—who has a houseful of pets in Thompsonville, Mass., and a dissertation she might never complete—agrees to dog-sit for her brother Jeff’s new girlfriend, waitress Kim Graber. Then Kim’s body is discovered, the police arrest Jeff for the murder, and Theresa sets out to prove his innocence. Kim was obsessed with discrediting a local politician with whom she shared an unpleasant history, but Theresa learns the investigation has unearthed other people’s dark secrets, too. Arsenault deftly blends pet humor and laugh-out-loud moments with the unfolding portrait of complex, multilayered Kim. Only Theresa’s romantic entanglements with an English department colleague and one of Kim’s coworkers, who both have information that could help Jeff, ring a false note. Still, Theresa’s self-deprecating honesty and anecdotes about her dissertation subject, medieval mystic Margery Kempe, are as engaging as her loyalty to her brother and willingness to face unsavory truths about him and herself. Agent: Laura Langlie, Laura Langlie Agency. (July)