With Regrets

A dinner party turns apocalyptic in Lee Kelly's With Regrets, a locked-room suburban drama that deftly balances the danger outside with the interpersonal disasters inside. The story is told in alternating chapters by four women at a party, allowing Kelly (A Criminal Magic) to keep information from readers as she develops intersecting plots. Recent New York City transplant and survival-fiction author Liz doesn't want to attend insufferable Britta's excessively planned "Sunday Soiree," but her husband insists they go so that they can mingle with their new neighbors. Britta's husband, Spencer, is tired of her obsession with living and documenting an Instagram-perfect life--and of hiding. New mother Padma is exhausted, overwhelmed, and depressed. And Mabel's attempts to keep her marriage together with church counseling and sheer determination are failing. The dinner party is already awkward and forced, but then "glimmering" murder clouds arrive. The deadly clouds floating around the planet are so odd they could almost be funny, except for the way they kill everyone exposed. As the clouds travel, they knock out wireless communications, dead animals fill the streets, and humans full of wriggling light fall dead.

With Regrets is as much about the secrets and resentments growing between spouses and neighbors as it is about the parents' fears for their children. Will Liz be able to get home to her children? Will the tension between Spencer and Britta boil over? Is that a gun? This sharply observed survival drama--imagine that Liane Moriarty wrote The Stand--is urgent, biting, and surprisingly optimistic. --Suzanne Krohn, librarian and freelance reviewer

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