Mister Tender's Girl

Alice Hill, a 20-something owner of a coffee shop in Manchester, N.H., is friendly but cautious. That's because she is also Alice Gray, the victim of an infamous attack in her native England. At the age of 14, Alice was lured and viciously stabbed by twin sisters who were "commanded" by Mister Tender, a character from a graphic novel. And Mister Tender was the creation of Alice's father, who was killed on the streets of London just a few years ago.

So begins Mister Tender's Girl, a thriller made more chilling by its true-life inspiration, the Slender Man trial. Alice is a survivor, but hanging by a thread. She's consumed by debilitating panic attacks and struggles to maintain a relationship with her mother and brother, who are locked in a destructive reliance on each other. When Alice receives a copy of Mister Tender: Last Call in the mail, she discovers that someone is out to finish both the novel and Alice herself, once and for all. "Everything seems endlessly connected," Alice says at one point, "yet I can't figure a single thing out." How will Alice confront the past to ensure that she still has a future?

Mister Tender's Girl is a first-rate novel of suspense that doesn't rely on its ripped-from-the-headlines origins for cheap thrills. Not only will readers want to find out who's taunting Alice, they'll want her to be at peace in a world that fetishizes violence in all its lurid detail. With its fierce heroine and surprises at every turn, Mister Tender's Girl is a thriller to devour. --Frank Brasile, librarian

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