Short Takes – Suspense: Line of Blood – Ben McPerson and Everything She Forgot – Lisa Ballantyne

Already a hit in England, this is the kind of psychological suspense that’s so hot these days—each of the three main characters in the family at the center of this story is a suspect. As the narrator susses things out from his limited—and necessarily biased—perspective, the suspense just keeps ramping up.

“Surely an unspoken fear of parents is that they will discover that their child has some dark secret, that their normal, well-adjusted, happy child is hiding something. McPherson introduces us to just such a family in a whodunit with many layers of psychological intrigue, secrets, and unspoken emotion. Alex and Millicent and their son, Max, find themselves in the middle of a murder investigation and what was once taken for granted begins to unravel around them. This is a must-read for anyone who loves being in the clutches of a brilliant thriller with anything but a straight line to the conclusion.”
— Linda Schaefer, The Learned Owl Book Shop, Hudson, OH

“McPherson’s mystery is carefully constructed, a literary house of cards. Layer upon layer of revelation increases the tension.”
   — Kirkus Reviews

“McPherson’s debut prolongs suspense until the dreadful truth becomes undeniable, raising the questions of how these well-drawn characters will survive and how justice is best served.”
— Library Journal

“An impressive slice of domestic suspense… McPherson is a dab hand at creating realistically flawed characters to whom one just about manages to give the benefit of the doubt, and the ending… is still shocking.”
   — The Guardian

A Line of Blood (9780062406101) by Ben McPherson. $25.99 hardcover. 9/29/15 on sale.


Also publishing into the hot psychological suspense category is Ballantyne’s second thriller. Last year’s The Guilty One arrived with an Indie Next pick, great sales and several laurels: It was chosen for the UK’s Richard and Judy 2012 Autumn Book Club (an Oprah-equivalent) and was an Edgar Award nominee for Best Paperback Original.

“When school teacher Margaret Holloway, the heroine of this absorbing psychological thriller…gets caught in a horrific traffic accident on a London motorway during a blizzard in December 2013, a mysterious disfigured man rescues her from her car. Increasingly obsessed about a dark time in her childhood that she seems to have blocked out, Margaret soon discovers that the man who rescued her is now in a coma, and her growing unease is beginning to affect her family and her teaching career. In flashbacks…Ballantyne weaves a fine tale of family drama, dark secrets, and the past’s effect on the present. The threads seamlessly come together in a heart-wrenching, yet hopeful, finale.”
 — Publishers Weekly

“A sweet novel of love, redemption, and loss that chronicles one family’s struggle with a difficult past.”
   — Kirkus Reviews

Everything She Forgot (9780062391483) Lisa Ballantyne. $14.99 trade paper original. 10/6/15 on sale.


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