BY NICO VREELAND

[Find previous installments of JABBIC here. You can suggest covers we should use, or volunteer to write a blurb, by emailing us here.]

JABBIC is kind of like Balderdash with book covers. Based only on the cover at right, four of our contributors made up a one-paragraph premise for this week’s contestant, Shadow Play, by Rajorshi Chakraborti. Can you reverse-engineer their fabrications and pick out the book’s real plot? (The answer will be posted in the comments later today.)

1.) An internationally renowned novelist and commentator has disappeared from public view. What’s worse, the police want to question him about a murder; he was the last person to have met a young journalist who was later discovered dead on her doorstep. Then his editor receives a package of papers in which the writer claims to explain his part in recent events and his reasons for not surfacing. The material includes chapters from his latest work of fiction about a serial killer turned hired assassin. Is the novelist right to believe that he is being hunted, or is it his past that has finally borne down to haunt him?

2.) Professor Hugo Schmidt has discovered an entire society living in the shadows that follow us around every day. Using specially designed goggles he has studied their culture, and come to a shocking conclusion: the “Shadowkind” are preparing to invade our reality. Both a taut thriller and dark meditation on the costs of imperialism, Shadow Play represents the stirring of an exciting new political voice.

3.) Roger Tupman first saw the shadow when he was nine years old. It danced along the side of his family’s summer cottage, mimicking his movements, and taunting him to follow it around the property. For the rest of the summer, the boy and the shadow enjoyed an uneasy friendship; Roger nervous about the shadow’s intent, the shadow mocking and teasing him. As the years pass, Roger decides the shadow was a product of his overactive imagination, but he still can’t help but be nervous when his mother announces that they are returning to the lake house for another vacation. Will the shadow be there, with its twisted games? And how much worse with the games be now that Roger is sixteen?

4.) Cold War-era America has turned Alan Walsh into a paranoid patriot. A proud McCarthyist, Alan spends his days and nights fending off the Red Scare, mostly by chronicling every move his neighbors make. Alan even goes so far as to sift through their trash, looking for any sign of a communist take-over. But what happens when Alan finds a shadowy figure fishing through his own rubbish one damp night? Is he being targeted for his own out-of-the-ordinary antics? Find out in Rajorshi Chakarabori’s suspense-filled Shadow Play.

5.) Three years after municipal clerk Leonardo Forrester goes missing, renovations on his wife’s foreclosed home reveal a secret bomb shelter that leads to an intricate labyrinth of underground alleys—and unearths a conspiracy dating back decades before Forrester’s disappearance. Now detective Paul Sander must learn to play the diabolical games of a civilization of people who only leave their subterranean lair at night.

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