Shelter in Place

St. Martin's. May 2018. 448p. ISBN 9781250161598. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250161611. F
Multiple award winner Roberts's (Year One; Come Sundown) latest stand-alone novel begins with a literal bang as a typical evening in a Maine mall is shattered by a deadly, well-planned shooting. The body count is high and some of the survivors, including college student Reed Quartermaine and 16-year-old Simone Knox, are lauded as heroes for their actions. The guilt and grief they suffer send Simone and Reed off into unexpected yet ultimately rewarding directions: Simone turns her pain into art, and Reed becomes a police officer. The cinematic, big-screen action of the opening smoothly transitions into the intimacy of the survivors doing the hard work of becoming functioning humans, supported by well-conceived secondary characters. When Simone and Reed meet, their attraction is instant and they begin to forge a new life together. But after survivors of the DownEast Mall massacre start turning up dead, Reed begins to suspect someone with close ties to the killers is behind the murders.
VERDICT Roberts lets the sharply outlined characters, including an unusual villain, take center stage in another tautly plotted page-turner that suspense and thriller readers will love.

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