Rothman and Hicks (Kate and the Kid, 2013, etc.) follow New York attorney Eve Petersen, who struggles to find connections among a disturbed female client with a mysterious past, the untimely deaths of many associated with the case and a serial rapist with a chilling M.O.
Eve, a corporate attorney, somewhat reluctantly takes over her dead mother’s messy legal cases; she had been a lawyer, too. She finds herself out of her depth when she agrees to represent Susan Clymer, a vulnerable young amnesiac who has recently come into a considerable inheritance. Having agreed to help the girl discover the truth about her parents and the early part of her childhood, Petersen soon discovers that, to keep the girl’s past a secret, someone is willing to kill. Meanwhile, both women become the target of a serial rapist calling himself The Gentleman Rapist, who thrives on dominating and humiliating independent, strong-willed victims. Things take an even stranger turn as Susan begins to experience recollections of a past life as a servant girl indentured to a Colonial master during the Revolutionary War. Eve attempts to guard Susan from all those who seem to take an unhealthy interest in her, such as high-profile psychic Madame Rosa, who encourages Susan’s fantastical past life regressions through hypnosis. As Eve gets closer to the truth, the body count rises, and The Gentleman Rapist continues to strike closer and closer to home. Eve is a complex, dynamic character, especially considering her relationship to her recently deceased mother, who had made a point in her own legal practice of pursuing justice for low-income and marginalized clients. Eve becomes increasingly intriguing as she moves further out of her comfort zone as a corporate lawyer to involve herself with the personal, dramatic and often ugly cases she once avoided. However, Rothman and Hicks’ busy and highly detailed subplots, such as those involving local political races or Colonial history, have a tendency to drag things down, while sudden and unlikely plot twists abound.
An engrossing, suspense-filled thriller with an intriguing protagonist.