Son of Destruction, by Kit Reed, Severn House, RRP£19.99, 240 pages
Dan Carteret travels to Fort Jude, Florida, where his late mother grew up. As a journalist, Dan is intrigued by the number of spontaneous human combustion cases the town has seen, but, in reality, he is searching for his biological father, a man his mother has told him nothing about and has forbidden him from meeting.
Dan’s intrusion into Wasp-ish Florida society stirs up old secrets concerning a terrible night many years ago when a girl was assaulted by a group of drunken jocks. He also discovers that some legacies are transferred through the generations by blood rather than nurture.
Reed’s writing is pithy, poignant and never less than gripping. No one escapes her eye for mercilessly dissecting human failings. Son of Destruction is about the toxicity of buried truths. It is also about psychic powers, although to the very last line the reader is kept guessing as to whether these actually exist in the world of this novel – or are merely the product of coincidence.