DIE BEFORE I WAKE
Breton's latest is a terrific, thoroughly modern gothic, complete with a creepy old house and menacing supporting characters. It also has several effective twists that are guaranteed to keep you guessing. Heroine Julie's first-person narrative adds a great deal too.
On a cruise meant for respite, Julie Hanrahan meets her prince, widowed doctor Thomas Larkin. Five days later, they marry in the Caribbean, then set about merging their lives. Relocating from California to Maine is a big shock for Julie -- and there's a catch. Tom's late wife, Beth, committed suicide, and their two daughters are still traumatized by their loss. Tom's mother, who shares their home, is curiously hostile toward Julie, and soon she's wondering if she's made a terrible mistake.
Then Beth's sister implies that Beth may have been murdered -- possibly by Tom. One thing's for sure: Julie's handsome new husband has a temper, and he has no interest in discussing Beth with anyone, especially her. A series of accidents leads Julie to wonder just who the man she married is -- and what he's capable of. (MIRA, Dec., 384 pp., $6.99)