by Catriona McPherson
Publishers Weekly In this improbable tale of suspense from McPherson (As She Left It), heroine Jessica Constable's chance encounter with a stranger begins a journey that makes her phobia-induced nightmares seem tame by comparison. Constable works at a charity shop in Dumfries, Scotland, and struggles with an unusual affliction: pteronophobia, the fear of feathers. In an act of kindness, she gives a ride home to a shocked and distraught customer, Gus King, who has just learned his wife, Becky, has left him. News arrives that Becky died in a car crash shortly after hitting the road, and Constable finds herself spending increasing amounts of time with Gus and his children, Ruby and Dillon. Eventually, she moves into their cottage, despite repeated warning signals that something is amiss. As in a poor slasher film, Constable ignores imminent danger until it's almost too late. Agent: Lisa Moylett, Coombs Moylett Literary Agency. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Kirkus A chance meeting in the Marks and Spencer food hall puts a deeply troubled young woman in a dangerous position. While she works part-time in a charity shop, Jessie Constable must deal every day with her disabling phobiaa fear of feathers. Shopping in the food court, she spots a big red-haired man she'd seen before. In fact, she'd once even offered to buy a cake for Ruby, his little girl. Sitting with his head in his hands while Ruby looks on, sculptor Gus King suddenly tells Jessie that his wife, Becky, has left him. Since he's obviously in shock, Jessie drives him home, making the long trip from Dumfries out to a country cottage on the water. Soon afterward, the police arrive to tell Gus that Becky has died in what looks like a suicidal car crash. Somehow Jessie gets roped into staying to help care for Ruby and her baby brother, Dillon. As she does her best to learn the household's routine, she notices that not everything she learns about the family makes sense. Even though Becky's best friend Ros had apparently left for Poland, a young Pole Jessie meets hanging around the caravan site next door tries to tell her in his very limited English that Ros would never have done that. Jessie and Gus quickly become lovers, and he gradually draws the story of her feather phobia out of her. Each telling, she acknowledges, is different, and years of therapy have allowed her to lead only a semi-normal life. For his part, Gus maintains that Becky would never have killed herself. All the pieces of the puzzle add up to more confusion for Jessie, who no longer knows whom to believe. McPherson's second stand-alone (As She Left It, 2013, etc.) is a tour de force, a creepy psychological thriller that will leave you breathless.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Library Journal When Gus King has a meltdown at a Marks & Spencer grocery story in Dumfries, Scotland, saying his wife has left him, bystander Jessie Constable offers to drive him and his child home. Somehow, she gets suckered into staying in a remote cottage and caring for Gus's daughter and infant son. Readers will be on high alert, but Jessie's distorted logic makes it seem appropriate. When news comes that Gus's wife died in a car-crash suicide, Jessie worries about her two young charges. Then she meets frightened Polish immigrant neighbors who are searching desperately for the dead woman's best friend, who has recently gone missing. Jessie is psychologically damaged by her own childhood demons, and Gus's confusing jumble of explanations keeps her and readers off guard. A chill overtakes us all. -VERDICT Keep the lights on and batten down the hatches, for McPherson's psychologically terrifying stand-alone demands to be read all night. Miles away from her witty and award-winning historical cozy series (Dandy Gilver and the Proper Treatment of Bloodstains), Scottish author McPherson has written a top-notch tale of modern gothic suspense that is sure to please Charlotte Bronte and Daphne du Maurier fans. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.