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I have what you might call a road rage problem. This girl who normally will do just about anything to avoid confrontation somehow morphs into Lady Hulk Smash when ensconced behind the wheel of my Subaru. Rude, inattentive, and unsafe drivers are everywhere! (I want to add, “And it’s getting worse all the time!” but I’m aware how old and crotchety that makes me sound, so I’ll sneak it in here in a parenthetical so I can pretend like I’m not saying it.) I keep telling myself I need to stop being so surprised when other drivers are jerks, because a large percentage of my indignation stems from my disbelief that people can actually be so awful. If I just accepted that the vast majority of people, if given the choice, will act selfishly instead of unselfishly, then maybe I could release some of this anger. On the road, I aspire to weary resignation. At least then I could stop grinding my teeth.

One of the ways I attempt to make my commute less soul-sucking is by listening to audio books in the car. The Last Days of Emily Lindsey distracted me so well, I reached a state mellow enough that I didn’t even mind pulling up to that one really long stoplight right as it turned from yellow to red. Who cares if I had to sit there an extra three minutes (not that I’ve ever timed that light or have any knowledge of how much time I lose if I have to wait through an entire cycle)? That just meant I’d be three extra minutes closer to finding out what the heck was going on with the case.

And the case is super strange! Alternating timelines can be tough to pull off, but this is one of the most effective uses I’ve seen. In the present, Steve is a cop who has struggled with nightmares and visions his entire life. Of course he has to keep them secret so he can stay on the job, but it’s tough to keep your problems quiet if you start blacking out at crime scenes. Steve and his partner are investigating a strange attack on an infamous gossip blogger named Emily Lindsey. She is found at her home, nearly catatonic and covered in someone else’s blood. She won’t respond to questioning, so Steve is on his own to try to figure out what happened to her. In the other (even weirder) timeline, a group of kids in a strange communal living situation hatch a plan to escape their rooms one night to uncover the truth about the odd place where they live. And eventually, yes, these two off-the-wall storylines come together, but not exactly how I expected, which was a fun surprise.

If you like super suspenseful, edge-of-your-seat reads, I can’t think of a better book for you. It might even cure your road rage.

Find it at your library!

We all have topics we can’t pass up, that consistently hook our interest, and for me, Mormon fundamentalists are near the top of that list. Ever since I read Jon Krakauer’s Under the Banner of Heaven, I’ve been fascinated with this secretive sect, the ways leaders manipulate and coerce their followers, and how they clash with governing authorities outside their own twisted hierarchy. So when I read about Daredevils, a novel about a teenage girl running away from a polygamous marriage in the 1970s, I put it right at the top of my list.

Loretta is only fifteen when her parents force her to marry Dean, a middle-aged man who already has one wife and more than a handful of children. They cite her rebellious nature as their reasoning, as Loretta has been sneaking out of the house to meet her non-Mormon boyfriend. The rest of the novel follows her attempt to escape her new “family” in the company of Dean’s nephew, Jason, a teenage boy obsessed with Evel Knievel and his death-defying stunts.

References to Knievel make some level of sense in that they establish the time period, but the frequent interludes between chapters in Knievel’s voice feel a bit jarring and untethered from the rest of the plot. Vestal attempts to bring everything together by raising the possibility late in the novel that Knievel might be an actual character, involved in the action, but the two very distinct threads didn’t quite mesh for me. It might have made more sense if Knievel had been Loretta’s fixation, as she feels much more like a central character than Jason does. Instead, we get a lot of Jason-and-Knievel interplay, while Loretta remains too much an enigma—which is a shame, because she was the one I was curious about. Still, if you find fundamentalist Mormon culture and history interesting, Daredevils would be a good addition to your shelf.

With regards to Penguin Press and NetGalley for the review copy. On sale now!