In a heart-pounding thriller from one of the most innovative voices in contemporary suspense, a woman unravels the shocking truth about her parents, her past, and a life built upon an unthinkable lie.
At DeRose & Associates Private Investigators in Virginia, Angie DeRose strives to find and rescue endangered runaways–work that stands in stark contrast to her own safe, idyllic childhood. But in the wake of her mother’s sudden death, Angie makes a life-altering discovery. Hidden among the mementos in her parents’ attic is a photograph of a little girl, with a code and a hand-written message on the back: “May God forgive me.”
Angie has no idea what it means or how to explain other questionable items among her mother’s possessions. Her father claims to know nothing. Could Angie have a sister or other relative she was never told about? Bryce Taggart, the US Marshal working with her agency, agrees to help Angie learn the fate of the girl in the photograph. But the lies she and Bryce unearth will bring her past and present together with terrifying force. And everything she cherishes will be threatened by the repercussions of one long-ago choice–and an enemy who will kill to keep a secret hidden forever.
Published: May 31, 2016
Where to begin? I’m still stumbling on exactly what to rate and how to review this one. So I’ll start with a simple statement: The writing is engaging.
For the most part, Angie saw the world as a broken place that could never be properly fixed.
This book is really two distinct storylines. The major component, which is, oddly, not the aspect promoted in the book’s description, intrigued me most. Angie is hired to find a runaway teen girl, Nadine, who turns out to be in serious trouble. For the first three-quarters of the book, this is the main focus. Angie and her team track Nadine and, in the process, uncover the disturbing world of forced prostitution.
Tomorrow, Nadine will be six weeks gone. She could be anywhere. Alive or dead.
Nadine’s character comes to us largely through her journal entries, written as chapters, as her story unfolds. We’re right there with her, in her thoughts, seeing what she sees, and feeling her emotions. I found this aspect compelling.
Whatever was me, the old me, I think has rotted away and now whatever I am is all that’s left.
The overall pace during this first three-quarters of the book is steady, keeping us hooked. We get an excellent feel for how a PI works during this process. The characters are intriguing and their banter makes them all the more realistic.
Angie stayed a good thirty feet away, keeping close to the densest part of the crowd. Nothing about the man’s behavior changed her thinking about his intention. He was prowling for girls, not presents.
Then we get toward the end of the book, when the story moves almost exclusively into the photograph Angie had found early on, and her determination to figure out what her parents have been hiding. This feels like a different story entirely. The pace is rushed. The twists are extreme to the point of being difficult to believe. Angie’s character goes from a methodical, practical, experienced PI to a spoiled child stomping her feet. Despite being told that her investigation was putting people in danger, she continued on with very little caution. All of it felt like too much, too fast. This part would have worked well as a story of its own. But this is written far more as a subtext that suddenly takes over and blows up at the end.
“No,” Gabriel said, with a slight shake of his head. “I can assure you, you’re not prepared for this.”
I have no doubt that many readers will love this explosive ending. For me, though, it felt too disconnected from the main story in which I’d invested so much time.
*I received an advance ebook copy from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review.*
Thanks for reading. 🙂