Before she can find help for her missing child, a woman must first convince the police that she’s on the right side of the law.
Karin Preston’s not eager to send her little girl Haley on her first sleepover at babysitter Melanie Allen’s house. But Melanie’s daughter Jennifer can’t wait to spend time with her best friend. When Karin shows up at Melanie’s to pick up Haley, not only is the house deserted, but a layer of dust implies that no one’s been inside for months. Wary of the police, Karin calls them anyway in hopes of getting an Amber Alert out on her missing child. Ridgewood Police Department Detective Casey Jansen is put on the case, though the state of the supposed crime scene makes it hard for him to believe that Karin even has a child. Karin remains adamant. She can’t produce a photo of Haley, but she’s certain that Jansen will capitulate when he sees Karin and Haley’s own home—that is, until she notices that all the trappings of childhood have been cleared out, making Karin realize that she’s dealing with something bigger than she anticipated. Her nightmare recalls a situation she found herself in years ago, one that explains why she goes by the surname of Preston rather than McGrath. Last time Karin was in peril, she was in it alone, but this time, she has the support of Joe Canan, the former boyfriend who returned from his work in Caracas the second he heard of Haley’s existence.
Uniting past and present mystery, Jorgensen’s book paints the moral dilemmas of her characters with broad strokes, sketching out numerous subplots with uneven results.