Be Ready for the Lightning

Grace O'Connell's novel follows a woman caught up in an unpredictable hostage situation after moving to New York.

Grace O'Connell

On the surface, Veda's life in Vancouver seems to be going just fine — at nearly 30, she has a good job, lifelong friends and a close bond with her brother, Conrad. But Conrad's violent behaviour, a problem since he was a teen, is getting more and more serious, and Veda's ongoing commitment to watch out for him is pushing her to a breaking point.

When Veda is injured as a bystander during one of Conrad's many fights, she knows it's time to leave Vancouver for a fresh start. She heads to New York, staying in the Manhattan apartment of old friends Al and Marie. Exploring the city, she swings between feeling hopeful and lost — until one day the bus she's on is hijacked by a sweet-faced gun-toting man named Peter. He instructs Veda and the other passengers to spray paint the bus windows black, and what ensues is a gripping and unpredictable hostage situation, the outcome of which will make Veda question everything she knows about herself and the nature of fear. (From Random House Canada)