In Zambia, Kuyeya—a teenage girl with Down syndrome—is raped, and American human rights lawyer Zoe Fleming dedicates herself to finding the attacker and bringing him to justice.
Zoe was sexually assaulted as a teenager herself, by the son of a crony of her father, Jack Fleming, now a senator seeking the nomination for president. She inherited a love of Africa from her late mother. Because Kuyeya's attacker is the son of a former cabinet minister, Zoe and her fellow attorneys must get past all manner of obstacles orchestrated by the corrupt system in order to pursue their case. The closer Zoe gets to the girl, whose trauma she eases by playing Johnny Cash songs, the more driven and fearless she becomes. Her investigation reveals complicated ties between the attacker's family and that of Kuyeya, whose mother was a prostitute who died of AIDS. Zoe also becomes close to the local police investigator—who has his own secret to conceal. The novel is part mystery, part courtroom drama, part family saga and part political polemic—in boldly opposing her father's plan to cut AIDS funding for Africa, Zoe stands to hurt his campaign—while managing to form a cohesive whole. Addison is out of his element with the thug who threatens Zoe—a hulking stock character the author ultimately doesn't know what to do with—but that's the only false note.
Addison's second novel (A Walk Across the Sun, 2013) is both an affecting tale of a tragically abused girl and a convincing plea for humanitarian support in Africa.