In Ison’s debut thriller, a woman hunts for her long-missing biological father, who may simply be in hiding to avoid a trial.
Sarah Bradley has just learned some appalling truths about her origins. Her mother, Anne, admitted on her deathbed that Sarah’s father, Lee, had been wrongfully convicted years ago for robbery. Anne got a job during Lee’s incarceration, and her new boss, Dr. Roger Evans, stopped by her apartment one night and raped her, and she discovered later that she was pregnant. She refused to get an abortion, and she was too afraid to report the doctor; later, while expecting, she barely survived an attack—likely by Roger, as Anne recognized his fleeing shoes. Soon, she gave birth to a daughter: Sarah. Anne pieced together enough evidence to get Lee’s conviction overturned, but Roger vanished after an attempt to kidnap her baby. After Anne dies, Sarah gets more details from her aunt and uncle, including that cops suspected foul play in Roger’s disappearance after finding blood at his apartment and on a tarp in Lee’s car. Sarah soon uncovers clues that Roger may simply be hiding. However, there’s certainly no shortage of people who want him dead, including ex-business partners and another woman he allegedly raped. This novel has its share of surprising twists, but it isn’t frugal with its sense of drama; Anne, for example, is genuinely concerned that Lee will be upset that she “managed to get herself pregnant by another man,” as she wants to keep the baby. Occasionally, though, characters’ behavior can be baffling; for example, it’s understandable that Anne doesn’t trust the authorities, but after Roger threatens her and her unborn child, she waits months before telling her sister and brother about it. The author makes sure that Sarah is in danger herself by the final act, as, among other things, her investigation threatens to expose police corruption or a possible cover-up.
Secrets and an unsavory villain make for an often sizzling tale.