This riveting story has turns no one will see coming. At first the narrative seems languid — it’s just two people having a conversation over drinks, after all — but Cook is a master of psychological suspense. Before long, as more information comes to light, everything starts to look sinister, a potential threat lurking within, even something as innocent as a potted plant, or a crisp snowfall. Every hair on the back of your neck will be standing straight up as you reach the end of the book.

Lucas Paige escaped from the small town of Glenville, Ala., went to Harvard, became a historian, and dreamed of writing epic, physical, tactile histories of American life while actually writing fairly mediocre history books instead. On a visit to St. Louis to deliver a poorly attended lecture for his latest book, he finds that one of the attendees is someone he once knew in Glenville: Lola Faye Gilroy, the woman he believes was his father’s mistress, and the reason he was murdered. Lola Faye convinces Lucas to join her for a drink after the lecture. As they reminisce about the not-so-good old days, Lucas comes to find that his interpretation of events is vastly different from hers, and that there’s much he didn’t know about the time before and after his father’s death. Lola Faye’s grip on him tightens as the night goes on, her words becoming more and more ominous and threatening, as she leads Lucas down a memory lane that he’s been resisting traveling for decades. (HARCOURT, Aug., 288 pp., $25.00)
Reviewed by: 
Michelle Wiener