In Walters’ (The Darkest Place, 2017) somber thriller, a detective edges closer to a serial killer who adds kidnapping to his repertoire.
An unknown man methodically works his way into someone’s house and climbs into the crawl space under the roof. He drills holes in the ceiling and positions cameras to watch the residents below. Katrina Elliot is completely unaware of the stranger hiding in her home while her husband, Stephen, is away on business. But her elderly father, Al Jenner, senses that someone is watching them. When items around the house subsequently disappear or turn up elsewhere, Katrina and Al point fingers at each other. Tensions gradually escalate for all, including 10-year-old Nathan and 7-year-old Paige. Meanwhile, the man above, who’s clearly obsessed with Katrina (“She is perfect,” he thinks), plans on confronting her. Sometime later, Detective Alice Forbes is distraught to hear that the serial killer she’s hunting, who has already murdered five women, has killed again. But there’s a change in his M.O. This time he’s abducted someone. Now more than ever, Alice is determined to stop the murderer and, with luck, save the missing individual. More than half of Walters’ novel passes before the introduction of Alice, who becomes the protagonist. The story’s first portion is an unflinching portrayal of an unhinged killer who constantly monitors the family. The straightforward prose meticulously details the disturbing acts, like setting up a hammock in the crawl space for overnight stays. At the same time, scenes centered on Katrina and the others are unnerving since readers can’t be sure when the killer will attack. Alice’s resolve in thwarting a predator makes her an admirable hero. The narrative shift to Alice also comes with a series of plot turns and insight into the killer, who grows increasingly horrifying.
A stark, grim tale that’s sure to leave readers’ knuckles white.