FICTION

Mister Tender's Girl

Sourcebooks Landmark. Feb. 2018. 400p. ISBN 9781492656500. pap. $15.99; ebk. ISBN 9781492656517. F
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Alice Hill's father earned a living from writing graphic novels featuring Mister Tender, a bartender who convinces people to do evil in return for fulfilling their utmost wish. Ten years ago, Alice was nearly stabbed to death by two classmates who had taken the books' message as truth and Mister Tender as their master. After surviving the brutal crime, the trial, her parents' divorce, a move to America, and a spiral into drugs, Alice feels like she can finally live her life. She opens and runs a small coffee shop and controls her anxiety through intense workout sessions. It may be lonely, but it's working. Then a package containing an unpublished Mister Tender novel arrives and Alice's world is turned upside down again, as she races to identify Tender before it's too late. Wilson (Revelation) does a bang-up job of transforming a real news story (the 2014 Slender Man stabbing) into a can't-put-down thriller that will reverberate with readers. The characters are well drawn, the plot hums, the creepiness level is high, and you won't see the ending coming.
VERDICT Fans of psychological suspense shouldn't miss this great thrill ride.

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