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A mad bomber is on the loose, and forensic sculptor Eve Duncan and her family are in the cross hairs.

A shadow falls over Eve and her husband Joe Quinn’s idyllic lakeside cabin in Georgia when she receives a box containing a burned skull with a bullet hole. The box also contains two mirrors: one intact and one shattered. Her preternaturally empathetic and articulate 6-year-old son, Michael, gives the skull a name: Sylvie. When Eve completes the reconstruction, the result is a stunningly beautiful young woman. Meanwhile, at New York’s Carnegie Tech, Eve’s ward, 18-year-old violin prodigy Cara Delaney, and her roommate, jaded former child actress Darcy Nichols, are shocked when Cara is attacked in their room one night. She’s injured but OK, and Jock Gavin, the spectacularly attractive former assassin who is Cara's longtime bestie (although Cara yearns for more—cue the sparks), is convinced the attack has something to do with Cara’s possessive grandfather Mafia kingpin Sergai Kaskov. Cara cuts classes short and heads off for a visit with Eve, inviting Darcy along. They arrive at the cabin, and lo and behold, the reconstructed skull is a dead ringer for Darcy. She’s shocked and explains that she has a hidden twin, Sylvia, a physically and mentally disabled girl whose existence their mother insisted Darcy keep secret so it wouldn't cloud her acting career. Could the skull actually belong to Sylvia? Well, sure, anything can happen in Johansen’s universe, and they discover that all clues point to former Irish Republican Army member Rory Norwalk, a psycho who will stop at nothing to hit Eve right where it hurts, including targeting her beloved Michael. When Norwalk’s handiwork results in a horrific tragedy, Eve decides to take action and must ask for help from someone as dangerous as he is. There’s actually a fun plot here, and Darcy is a charming addition, but it’s bogged down by an overabundance of navel-gazing, coincidence, and lots and lots of dialogue, much of it expository, in an obvious effort to catch readers up on the characters’ complicated backgrounds.

Exhausting. Only die-hard fans need apply.

Pub Date: April 24th, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-250-07586-4
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2018


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