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29

THURSDAY

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The cover of Paul Jaskunas’ Hidden features a woman kneeling beside a tranquil lake, her dripping-wet white nightgown clinging to her buttocks. The story’s premise is equally brazen: After waking from a coma, Maggie Duke put her husband in jail by testifying that it was he who had tried to kill her. But when a stranger later confesses to the attack, Maggie’s husband is freed, and she must confront everything she has held to be true. The thriller—Jaskunas’ debut—winds through the Indiana landscape and into Maggie’s troubled mind. Although he’s far from subtle, Jaskunas is at his best when tracking the Midwestern quotidian: an early marriage, a deer hunt, the hustle-bustle of a small-town newsroom. The violence arching across Maggie’s life seems to arise inevitably, like the book jacket’s lake, rather than luridly, like its prominently featured bum. Jaskunas reads at 7 p.m. at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919. (Bidisha Banerjee)