Ten years after her childhood escape from a homicidal rapist, a star-crossed teenager is in deep trouble once more.
Maybe that should be “even deeper trouble,” since Jacqueline Garza has never been trouble-free since the day she chewed through her bonds and ran away from the isolated cabin where cab driver Victor Cope was keeping her and another girl captive. Jacqi’s father is in prison. She’s never gotten along with her useless mother, Nina, or her older brother, Richie, back in Rio Mirada, California. And she hasn’t exactly bonded with Lonnie Bachmann, who runs the rehab center for prostitutes where she’s been staying. When Jacqi takes off again, Lonnie calls her friend Phelan Tierney, an ex-lawyer who’s been tutoring the girl, in the hope that he can find her and persuade her to return. But Jacqi’s resumed her life on the streets, pinning her future hopes on the closest thing to a friend in her life: Michael Verrazzo, the widely reviled former head of the firefighters’ union, the repeat client who’s asked her to come away with him. The pair has barely climbed into his car when Verrazzo is killed under the eyes of Jacqi and dozens of other kids from the neighborhood. Since none of the witnesses will stick around long enough to be identified, much less testify, Detective Jordan Skellenger, who first met Jacqi after her more successful escape 10 years ago, seeks her again under even more menacing circumstances.
Corbett (Blood of Paradise, 2007, etc.) doesn’t stint on either narrative or psychological complications, and readers who can stick with Jacqi and Tierney and Skellenger will feel that they’ve been expertly put through a particularly foul-smelling wringer.