In Stevens’ (Those Girls, 2015, etc.) latest, a Canadian woman believes a decade in prison hasn’t lessened her former husband’s obsessive belief that they were meant to be together.
Lindsey was a clerk when she fell for Andrew, a prosperous contractor. Soon she was head over heels in love with him, a man kind enough to give her out-of-work father a job as a foreman. They married. Soon, though, came incidents when Andrew inflicted emotional terror. After daughter Sophie was born, the abuse turned physical. Lindsey feared for her life. She fled, taking Sophie. In pursuit and driving drunk, Andrew killed a young woman, a crime that led to his imprisonment. In the meantime, Lindsey escaped to Dogwood Bay, a small town near Vancouver. Feeling free, she joined a support group where she met Marcus, a reserved man coping with his own tragedy, and found a boyfriend, Greg, a quiet, laid-back delivery driver. Then, sentence complete, Andrew arrived in Dogwood Bay. Andrew was a textbook abuser: charismatic, handsome, possessive, rigid, and violent. There are hints Andrew has reformed, but Lindsey is skeptical, and shadows within the narrative suggest the old Andrew is at work again. Stevens' tale isn’t linear, instead shifting back and forth across 20 years, sometimes a chronicle of misdirection, more often a dissection of obsession and revenge, fear and terror. Most of the chapters are narrated by Lindsey, a haunted character, while at other times Sophie relates the tale, "too young to comprehend obsession," stumbling to reconnect with a father she’s never known. The pace never slackens until a death sends the narrative spinning, hidden dangers lurking even while Lindsey worries that Sophie’s youthful romance displays disturbing parallels to Lindsey’s courtship with Andrew.
Stevens' take on a familiar woman-pursued-by-abuser plot has sparked a fast-paced thriller with a surprise twist.