From Publishers Weekly
One April morning in a near-future Washington, D.C., Claire Frayn and her brother, Steven, leave for George Washington University, where she is a biology Ph.D. student (and mother of three-month-old Asa), Steven is a law student with a penchant for writing op-eds and their father is a professor of medicine; aunt Faith works nearby in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice. They leave their parents and extended family arguing over Steven's latest piece: this one bashes the DOJ's enforcement of the Freedom for Democracy Act. It is a salvo in the "civil war" (as Claire describes it) that churns as U.S. homeland security tightens, and paranoia reigns. Steven is shot dead on the library steps; that same morning, Faith is fired. Claire, steps from Steven when he dies, slowly resumes daily life and metamorphoses like the insects that fascinated her since childhood. With Asa's father out of the picture, she slips into a cloak-and-dagger scheme with an alluring stranger to coax Steven's killer back to town. Shreve, author of 12 novels and more than two score children's books, is parsimonious with the opening plot points, but once the momentum shifts forward, just try to put this book down. (On sale May 4)
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Her affinity for biology prompted her mother to call her a "student of living things," although Claire Frayn had no qualms about scrutinizing the dead. Not that this enables her to cope with her brother's death, especially since she was standing beside him on the library steps when he was shot. Claire and Steven had been living at home in a Washington, D.C., suburb while attending graduate school. Bombings and other terrorist acts have become commonplace in a grim nearfuture, and it is against this malevolent backdrop that the politically outspoken Steven is assassinated. The Frayns--an eccentric extended family of survivors of many atrocities and sorrows sensitively and charmingly portrayed--are unaware of the danger Claire is in as she is drawn to an enigmatic man who claims to have been Steven's friend. Shreve's novels are always elegant in their blend of restraint and intensity, and this is an exquisite hybrid, a poetic and resonant story of grief, family bonds, risk, and love that is as propulsive and unpredictable as a first-class thriller. Donna SeamanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved