In McAneny’s debut thriller, a smart, snarky archaeologist digs up clues surrounding her mother’s death.
When Kyra Collette changed her name to Zoey Kincaid to elude an obsessed college friend, she had no idea that, a decade later, a far more dangerous man would pursue her with deadly intent. In love, pregnant and rather pleased with herself for her detached and sardonic outlook on life, Zoey is blindsided to learn that her mother’s fatal stroke had been caused by a sexual assault. When the family attorney directs her to a safe-deposit box in Virginia, she finds only a letter—but one that predicts her death by the hand of the same rapist, Corbin Black, whom Zoey fears may be her real father. A falling out with her fiancé sets her on a solo quest to unearth the truth about and origins of her mother’s premonition, with only the amiable detective Farnham on her side. Ignorant to the details of her own history, Zoey tracks down her mother’s confidants and estranged sister—all while keeping one step ahead of Black and college stalker Cesar Descutner, the latter tormented by his own psychic tendencies. The swift pacing and tight unfolding of clues makes the book an enjoyable and involving read, particularly as the point of view shifts from Zoey to Corbin to Cesar, keeping readers apprised of each character’s progress and chilling intentions. The shifting perspective of the narrative is less effective when it jumps erratically to minor characters, and a few tangential revelations could have been better placed. However, the distraction is minimal. Although an overly long explanation of the story’s red herring takes some bite off the ending, the buildup to the denouement brings satisfaction. A fresh, snappy thriller that doesn’t dig too deeply for subtext.
Will appeal especially to readers who like a pinch of the paranormal with their suspense.