Eric Boss reviews THE DEAD GIRL IN 2A

The Dead Girl in 2A by Carter Wilson
ON SALE JULY 2, 2019

From the author of Mister Tender’s Girl, which a starred Booklist review declared to be “mesmerizing”, comes a genuine keep-you-up-at-night thriller. On par with any current bestselling chiller writer, Wilson is clearly a master at coaxing a shiver in the spine and a twitch in the nerves from any attentive reader. The level of suspense is maintained at a high pitch throughout as more information bleeds into the story richening the brew in measured stages. The writing is bright and clear even as the tale becomes murkier and more menacing. Clever plotting, careful character development and superior phrasing and tone provide a compelling read.

Jake is a ghostwriter of memoirs who struggles with the guilt of having injured his daughter in an auto accident. He has accepted a commission from an enigmatic character who declares money to be no object, a strong inducement to a father who needs to pay for expensive rehabilitation treatments needed by his child. Clara is a middle-school teacher without a firm life goal who has become a recluse and is sinking into a depressed state from which she can see no escape. They are orphans mutually suffering from memory loss, neither one having any recollection of their childhood or adolescence. Both have become engaged with a program that promises to show them the way to a better, or at least a more meaningful, life. They find themselves in adjoining seats on a flight to Denver, in seats 2A and 2B. After embarking in an awkward conversation each one senses that they’ve known the other but can’t remember from where or when.

Told in chapters alternating between the voices of the characters, a dark tale emerges bit by bit, revealing a truly sinister past linked to an abandoned and discredited national security experiment in psychology turned into a scheme to create children with superior qualities. Equally baffling and seductive, the story journeys into the shadows of the human soul. The author keeps the reader guessing about who’s wearing the white hats and who the black with great skill. If you like psychological thrillers, this is your meat.

Shelf Talker: High anxiety suspense and edge-of-the-chair thrills are in store with this skillful psychological chiller. Written with the care of a craftsman, the engaging characters and creepy stage settings of this excellent exploration of the dark corners of the human soul is not to be missed, if you want to be pleasantly scared silly.