• Paperback: 448 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reissue edition (April 11, 2017)
In the tradition of Ira Levin’s A Kiss Before Dying and Donna Tartt’s The Secret History comes a suspenseful thriller from the international bestselling author of The Bronze Horseman—an utterly captivating story about four Ivy League students whose bizarre friendship leads to a twisted maze of secrets, lies, betrayal, and murder.
As the star player of Dartmouth College’s women’s basketball team, Kristina Kim is beautiful, intelligent, and fearless. But though she’s just 21, Kristina has already had her share of heartache, loss, and dark secrets that haunt her. She’s best friends with Conni, Albert, and Jim, but the only one who seems to really know her is Albert. With long dark hair, tattoos, and a rebellious streak, Albert doesn’t fit in with the rest of the clean-cut Ivy Leaguers. Like Kristina, he has his share of secrets—secrets that are beginning to unravel this intimate circle of friends.
One wintry Thanksgiving weekend tragedy strikes…
When Detective Spencer O’Malley goes to investigate something suspicious at the foot of a steep hill on Dartmouth’s campus, he doesn’t expect that the frozen, naked body found in deep snow would belong to Kristina Kim—the remarkable young woman he met recently who entranced him. Now Spencer will never know if the chemistry he had with her was real. All he can do is find her killer.
Spencer is pulled into the strange, complex web of the surviving friends. Many important questions about Kristina’s murder cannot be answered, such as: why did none of them report her missing for nine days before her body was discovered? The more Spencer digs, the more clear it becomes that each of the three has a motive for killing Kristina. And as Spencer, seeking justice for a dead girl, is led down a labyrinth of deceit, every new revelation proves more shocking than the last….and more dangerous.
“Simons handles her characters and setting with a certain skill, creating mystery from the ordinary, protected lives of these Ivy League kids, slowly peeling away their deceptions to reveal denial, cowardice, and chilling indifference…an engrossing story.”—Publishers Weekly
With gems like this, it’s easy to see why readers love Simons so much:
“College was the great suppressor, the warm blanket that covered them all and made them safe. How could you not fall in love in college?”
As soon as I thought I had everything figured out, she pulled the rug out from under me. I love a book that keeps me guessing, thus reading, til the end or close to it! I haven’t read her other work, but judging by the subject alone I’d say this is rather different from some of her previous novels.
It’s great to see more fantasy authors become well-rounded writers and this book shows that Simons is versatile, not stale. I’d certainly read more contemporary from her, and now have a bit more interest in some of her previous series which til now, I’ve been hesitant to read due to mixed reviews.
If you enjoy books that oscillate between lulling prose and gripping suspense, you’ll enjoy Red Leaves.
My thanks to William Morrow/Harper Collins and TLC Book tours for the review opportunity!
About Paullina Simons
Paullina Simons is an internationally bestselling author whose novels include Bellagrand and The Bronze Horseman was born in Leningrad in 1963. As a child she immigrated to Queens, New York, and attended colleges in Long Island. Then she moved to England and attended Essex University, before returning to America. She lives in New York with her husband and children.