Leotta’s spunky heroine, federal lawyer Anna Curtis, takes on the timely topic of rape on college campuses and discovers an ugly underbelly in the academic system.
Anna moved home to the Detroit area to help her sister, Jody, who now has a baby of her own. The sisters are living with Anna's friend Cooper and his PTSD dog, Sparky, on an urban farm in Detroit. Anna’s conflicted, though, because she’s broken her engagement to handsome federal prosecutor Jack, and she’s not sure of her feelings for Cooper, who was badly wounded while in the service. But she has to put her personal life on hold when college student Emily Shapiro goes missing soon after accusing a fraternity boy, who also happens to be the son of the state's lieutenant governor, of raping her. Dylan Highsmith is both wealthy and without shame when it comes to his exploits with women. When Jack recruits Anna to work on a task force investigating Emily's disappearance, she's reunited with her FBI buddy, Agent Samantha Randazzo. Together, the two women race against the clock to find the missing girl and stop college officials from shoving the issue under the carpet. Anna has become a better-rounded and more interesting character since Leotta (Speak of the Devil, 2013, etc.) moved her back to the Detroit area, and while this book is a timely look at a subject that’s making headlines across the country, it’s a bumpy read. The college boy, Dylan, is almost a parody of a rich bad boy, Emily’s parents are unbelievable in their reactions to their daughter’s disappearance, and former love Jack’s sudden emergence in Detroit come across as contrived. The book is also dotted with information about rape on college campuses that makes it feel like the author’s simply slotting in Internet search results instead of prose.
Billed as “ripped from the headlines,” Leotta’s latest proves entertaining enough but feels more like a book that’s ripped from Google.