STARRED REVIEW
July 2015

Spotlight: Psychological thrills

How well can you really know someone? Can you comprehend the hidden desires harbored by your neighbor, your fiancé, your best friend or your daughter? Or do you only see the fiction they present to the world?
STARRED REVIEW

Spotlight: Psychological thrills

July 2015
How well can you really know someone? Can you comprehend the hidden desires harbored by your neighbor, your fiancé, your best friend or your daughter? Or do you only see the fiction they present to the world?
STARRED REVIEW
July 2015

Spotlight: Psychological thrills

July 2015
How well can you really know someone? Can you comprehend the hidden desires harbored by your neighbor, your fiancé, your best friend or your daughter? Or do you only see the fiction they present to the world?
STARRED REVIEW
July 2015

Spotlight: Psychological thrills

How well can you really know someone? Can you comprehend the hidden desires harbored by your neighbor, your fiancé, your best friend or your daughter? Or do you only see the fiction they present to the world?
STARRED REVIEW
July 2015

Spotlight: Psychological thrills

How well can you really know someone? Can you comprehend the hidden desires harbored by your neighbor, your fiancé, your best friend or your daughter? Or do you only see the fiction they present to the world?
July 2015

Spotlight: Psychological thrills

How well can you really know someone? Can you comprehend the hidden desires harbored by your neighbor, your fiancé, your best friend or your daughter? Or do you only see the fiction they present to the world?
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How well can you really know someone? Can you comprehend the hidden desires harbored by your neighbor, your fiancé, your best friend or your daughter? Or do you only see the fiction they present to the world? 

These two probing psychological thrillers reveal what can happen when the perfect facade crumbles, leaving the innocent among the ruins.

In her skillfully plotted debut, The Bones of You, Debbie Howells uses two narrators to get at the truth of what happened on the day 18-year-old Rosie was brutally killed in an otherwise quiet English village. Rosie haunts these pages with flashbacks to her troubled life and terrible death, and possesses an oracle-like knowledge of others’ emotional states and motives, recalling the afterlife narrator of Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones. Most of the story, however, comes from kindhearted Kate, a neighbor and mother to her own 18-year-old daughter, who befriends Rosie’s mother, Jo Anderson. Though she’s just lost her daughter and has another one to protect, Jo’s focus seems to be on decorating her perfect home and attending awards dinners with her internationally acclaimed journalist husband, Neal. At first Kate puts this down to the peculiarities of grief, but when Neal becomes a suspect and anonymous messages begin appearing at Kate’s door, she has to wonder what’s really happening at the Anderson house. Howells leads us down a winding path to the truth, where each character reveals just enough of his or her secrets to drive suspense skyward and keep readers from guessing who was really responsible for Rosie’s death until the strangely satisfying truth is revealed.

Appearances are similarly deceiving for Morgan Prager, the Brooklyn college student at the heart of The Hand That Feeds You, by Amy Hempel and Jill Ciment, writing together for the first time as A.J. Rich. An altruistic woman with a weakness for rescue dogs—her small apartment holds a Great Pyrenees and two pit bulls—Morgan is engaged to the charming Bennett and almost finished with her thesis on victim psychology. All is right in her world—until she arrives home to find bloody paw prints on the floor and her fiancé’s mauled body on her bed. Morgan’s grief and guilt overwhelm her as she tries to understand how she could have been so wrong about her sweet dogs. Then she discovers she was wrong about Bennett as well, who had several other “fiancées” waiting in the wings. Some have died suspicious deaths, and others are still waiting for their beloved’s return. The writing is fast-paced yet psychologically nuanced as Morgan chases down the truth, questions her own research and faces her traumatic past, all the while fighting to get her dogs back. The final twist is creepy and unexpected, and the action-packed last pages fly by as we fight alongside Morgan to understand who can be trusted in this world.

 

This article was originally published in the July 2015 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

Get the Books

The Bones of You

The Bones of You

By Debbie Howells
Kensington
ISBN 9781617737664
The Hand That Feeds You

The Hand That Feeds You

By A.J. Rich
Scribner
ISBN 9781476774589

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