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A terrifying psychological thriller about a small US town where nothing is quite what it seems...

About the Author

CARSTEN STROUD is a New York Times bestselling writer of fiction and nonfiction. His novels include Sniper's Moon, Lizard Skin, Black WaterTransit, Cuba Straight and Cobraville. He lives in Toronto with his wife.


Thriller author Stroud (Close Pursuit) begins this shoot 'em up meets supernatural thriller with a high-speed chase between cops, a getaway car, and a news chopper that is gruesomely cut short by a conspiring sniper. The bloodbath sets in motion a three-day flurry of dimly related events, including a standoff between an accused pedophile and a SWAT team, a father caught taping his daughters in the shower, and the takedown of an anonymous tipster for his own heinous crimes. As the entangled story unravels, "random stranger abductions" continue across the small Southern town of Niceville. After a missing boy is found alive in a fresh grave, clues surface about who-or what-is behind it all. In this unnecessarily convoluted mind-bender, Stroud introduces key players without sufficient backstory, making differentiation difficult. The genre jargon-thick prose can be campy ("Coker felt that line-of-duty death was like the jalapenos on a chimichanga; it added spice to patrol work that could be pretty damn boring most of the time") and some plot twists, while intriguing, clutter rather than clarify. The ending leaves mysteries unsolved, but a pending follow-up book may provide answers, if readers are willing to return to Niceville. 100,000 announced first printing. Agent: Barney Karpfinger. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

The small Southern town of Niceville is anything but nice. Strange things happen after a young boy named Rainey Teague suddenly vanishes while looking into a mirror displayed in a store window-and is later found alive in a grave that hasn't been opened in years. Over the next 36 hours, four police officers are murdered following a bank robbery. Then a wealthy widow and her elderly handyman vanish mysteriously. Police officer and troubled veteran Nick Kavanaugh has a personal connection to the crimes as his wife, Kate, is Rainey's legal guardian, and his father-in-law, who has been investigating the town's mysterious past, also soon disappears without an obvious cause. What Nick finds will draw him and Kate into an old family feud and desire for retribution that has extended from beyond the grave. VERDICT Stroud effectively combines elements of police procedural and ghost story to create an absolutely riveting novel that goes beyond genre fiction as it explores the nature of evil, both human and supernatural.-Lawrence Rungren, Merrimack Valley Lib. Consortium, Andover, MA (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

"A compelling work that grabs your attention from page one" * Karin Slaughter *
"Reminds me of Peter Straub at his finest - sends a shiver down the spine" * Daily Mail *
"Terrific dialogue and wild story make this a great read" * Elmore Leonard *
"An unfolding tale about every kind of wickedness... Somehow it manages to get tighter, nastier, and more delightful as it rolls toward its lovely and completely black-hearted final pages" * Peter Straub *

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