In the aftermath of a horrific crime, a woman makes herself over into a powerful protector—or perhaps an avenger.
Pinter (The Castle, 2019, etc.) already has the Henry Parker thriller series under his belt. In this book he introduces another potential series character, Rachel Marin. The story opens with a warm domestic scene of a young woman making dinner for her husband and two kids when a shattering (but undescribed) discovery intervenes. Jump ahead seven years, and single mom Rachel is living in another town several states away. When a mugger jumps her as she’s walking home from work, she leaves him bleeding in the street and hurries home to her bookish son, Eric, and sweet little daughter, Megan. Keeping them safe is her mission in life. But when she sees a news report about a body found on the ice beneath a nearby bridge, she’s riveted. The cops assigned to the case, detectives John Serrano and Leslie Tally, are shocked to discover the body is that of the town’s disgraced former mayor, Constance Wright. They’re even more shocked when Rachel, whom they don’t know, sends Serrano a message that the death was no suicide: “Constance Wright was murdered. And I can prove it.” When Serrano and Tally go to question Wright’s sketchy ex-husband, Rachel shows up at the same time, and they don’t know whether to order her away or be grateful for her help. Pinter builds a complex plot on the dual mysteries of Constance’s murder and Rachel’s transformation from suburban mom to crack investigator and lethal streetfighter. But the story has so many subplots and timelines that it can feel overstuffed, and some crucial questions asked early on are answered so late the reader might be surprised to be reminded of them. Pinter creates engaging characters, though, and keeps the suspense taut.
Determined to shield her family from violence, a woman becomes a fierce freelance crime fighter in this mostly satisfying thriller.