DARK PLACES, by Gillian Flynn (Shaye Areheart Books; June)
Gillian Flynn, I'm told, is a calm and respectable Chicago resident who is the chief TV critic for Entertainment Weekly. As a writer of thrillers, however, she's something quite different: one scary momma.
Dark Places is narrated by Libby Day, who 24 years ago was the only survivor of what newspapers called the “Prarie Massacre,” when her older brother killed her mother and two older sisters in what seemed to be a satanic ritual. Flynn's writing is strong and pared down to the bone. She never gives in to sentimentality. This one is already high up on my year's best list.
DARKNESS AT THE STROKE OF NOON, by Dennis Richard Murphy (HarperCollins; July)
As the great Sarah Weinman says, "What a shame that Murphy did not live to see his one and only novel published, and that he was robbed of writing more. His evocation of Canada's most frozen north is strong enough to chill the bones, and his ability to merge multiple mysteries together in seamless fashion is on par with writers of lengthy series backlists."