In McIntire’s (In Rembrandt’s Shadow, 2016, etc.) thriller, a wife fleeing an abusive marriage discovers that she can only move forward by reckoning with her past.
By all outward appearances, Melanie Fletcher has it all. She’s intelligent and accomplished, with a successful career as an accountant and a close circle of friends. Her romantic life, however, is a different story, as she has a history of volatile relationships with unstable men. Her luck seems to change at a charity event when she meets Hunter McCann, who says that he’s a lawyer and amateur artist. Their whirlwind romance culminates in a Las Vegas elopement. Shortly, however, Melanie discovers that Hunter is actually a criminal with a violent streak. She takes documents linking him to illegal activities and heads for tidewater Virginia in her trawler. She plans to hide at a marina owned by her father, Amos; her mother left him because of his alcoholism and abuse, and Melanie realizes that her romantic difficulties are linked to her upbringing. She views her current circumstances as an opportunity to “face this dragon and conquer its power over me.” She establishes a new life in the local community, befriends bike shop owner and writer Cal Brenner, and takes a job cleaning houses. Her new life is soon disrupted by vandalism to her trawler, threatening notes—and finally, Hunter himself. McIntire’s latest novel is a fast-paced and multilayered thriller with well-developed characters and colorful settings. Melanie is a resourceful heroine whose quest to settle the traumas of her childhood takes a number of surprising detours. She’s surrounded by strong supporting players, including Cal, whose flirtation with Melanie slowly develops into something more, and Amos, who’s shown to be a recovering alcoholic who’s struggling to reconnect with his daughter. Most of the action is set in Virginia, and McIntire does a fine job of capturing the rhythm of its small-town life, from the friendliness of local businesses to the calm of quiet nights on the water.
An engaging tale for aficionados of psychological mysteries.