cover image The Disinvited Guest

The Disinvited Guest

Carol Goodman. Morrow, $28.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-06-324899-1

Years after the 2020 pandemic, and ahead of a raging second, even deadlier plague, writer Lucy Harper, the narrator of this unsettling gothic thriller from bestseller Goodman (The Stranger Behind You), and her husband, Reed, escape to Maine’s Fever Island, which Reed and his sister, Liz, have inherited. During the 1850s, the island served as a quarantine site for Irish famine ships overflowing with dying typhus-infected migrants. Despite the dire circumstances, the first days on the island feel almost festive as the couple and their various guests, including Liz, are well supplied with food and drink. But the island begins to cast its spooky spell on everyone, particularly once Lucy, who has been unsuccessfully seeking a subject for her next book, immerses herself in the wrenching journal kept during the typhus onslaught by Reed’s physician ancestor. Things swiftly fall apart as possessions start to disappear, and escalating incidents of sabotage threaten the group’s survival. Never mind Goodman’s stumbles sustaining convincing characters, especially through the fantastic final twists. This smooth cocktail of refreshingly chilly suspense is sure to win her new fans. Agent: Robin Rue, Writers House. (July)