cover image The Sea of Lost Girls

The Sea of Lost Girls

Carol Goodman. Morrow, $16.99 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-285202-1

Tess, the unreliable narrator of this exciting, if flawed, psychological thriller from Mary Higgins Clark Award–winner Goodman (The Night Visitors), teaches English at Haywood, a prestigious boarding school on the Maine coast, where her 17-year-old son, Rudy, is a student. Early one morning, Rudy texts Tess asking her to pick him up near the beach. Tess finds Rudy in a bloodstained sweatshirt, and he reveals that he had a fight with his bright, go-getter fellow classmate and girlfriend, Lila. A few hours later, Tess receives a phone call from Haywood’s headmistress informing her that Lila’s body has been found on the beach. With a history of aggression, Rudy is a person of interest in Lila’s murder, and his overbearing mother is desperate to protect him, even if it involves lying to the police and exposing dark secrets about her past concerning Rudy’s father. Unfortunately, most of the characters, including the irritating Tess, grate, and the culprit’s identity comes as no surprise. Still, readers will have a hard time putting this one down thanks to Goodman’s storytelling powers. Agent: Robin Rue, Writers House. (Mar.)