A serial killer’s wife takes on a copycat murderer.
First-time novelist Floyd staggers unashamedly into movie-of-the-week territory with this undemanding, awkward take on marital terrorism and matriarchal responsibility. A single mother, Leigh Wren, is accosted in her local grocery store by Charles Pritchett, the obsessed father of a girl murdered by Wren’s imprisoned ex-husband, Randall Roberts. A sexually depraved and wildly narcissistic California suburbanite, Roberts made an ugly habit of his compulsions, murdering more than a dozen people and leaving foreign objects lodged in their eyes like calling cards. Thanks to an intervention by his wife, Roberts is ultimately convicted. The back story is delivered in nail-biting snippets by narrator Wren, who now finds herself back in the tabloid press: A new killer has surfaced, and he is exhibiting behavior unique to the original “Cross-Eye Killer.” Understandably protective of her young son, Hayden, Wren forms a bond with a pair of private detectives originally hired to dig into her past. When Hayden’s teacher is executed and he is abducted, Wren is pushed beyond her limits. Floyd delivers a serviceable plot via the cops and private eyes hot on the trail of the Roberts copycat, but the thriller, reminiscent of a poorly written television show, is undone by an unsophisticated premise and cardboard characters.
An uncomplicated, unfulfilling heroine, in a thankless debut.