From the acclaimed author of Her Every Fear and The Kind Worth Killing comes a diabolically clever tale of obsession, revenge, and cold-blooded murder—a sly and brilliant guessing game of a novel in the vein of Ruth Ware, Paula Hawkins, and Patricia Highsmith.
Harry Ackerson has always considered his stepmother Alice to be sexy and beautiful, in an "otherworldly" way. She has always been kind and attentive, if a little aloof in the last few years.
Days before his college graduation, Alice calls with shocking news. His father is dead and the police think it’s suicide. Devastated, Harry returns to his father’s home in Maine. There, he and Alice will help each other pick up of the pieces of their lives and uncover what happened to his father.
Shortly after he arrives, Harry meets a mysterious young woman named Grace McGowan. Though she claims to be new to the area, Harry begins to suspect that Grace may not be a complete stranger to his family. But she isn’t the only attractive woman taking an interest in Harry. The sensual Alice is also growing closer, coming on to him in an enticing, clearly sexual way.
Mesmerized by these two women, Harry finds himself falling deeper under their spell. Yet the closer he gets to them, the more isolated he feels, disoriented by a growing fear that both women are hiding dangerous—even deadly—secrets . . . and that neither one is telling the truth.
Just before his college graduation, Harry Ackerson, the hero of this uneven psychological thriller from Swanson (Her Every Fear), learns from his stepmother, Alice, that his father, Bill, has apparently committed suicide. When the aimless and grief-stricken Harry visits Kennewick, Maine, where his father ran a bookstore, he is overwhelmed by the attentions of his sensual stepmother, who comes to believe Bill was murdered and suggests possible suspects to the police. Meanwhile, Grace McGowan, a young woman who knew Bill in New York City, where he had another bookstore, arrives in town and begins questioning Alice's role in Bill's death. As Harry's doubts about Alice grow, he finds himself caught between the two women. Only Alice seems to know the answers, but she would prefer the past to stay buried. This tale of seduction, obsession, and murder will resonate with fans of Patricia Highsmith, but the characters' fragmented backstories weigh it down.