Kelly (Sober Truths, 2013, etc.) presents the story of a woman whose path in life takes an unexpected and vicious turn when she becomes the victim of a brutal crime.
Ellie McKay holds a doctorate in French literature and teaches at a college in Pittsburgh. Her boyfriend, Joel Richardson, is a handsome and well-regarded trauma surgeon. The couple seems an unlikely target for a vicious assault, yet Ellie awakens to find Joel dead and herself beaten and raped by an unknown assailant, and survival suddenly becomes her primary goal in life. At first, Ellie thinks she’s trying to survive only the emotional and physical damage she’s suffered, but soon, it becomes apparent that the psychopath who perpetrated the assault is still tracking her. As more details emerge from a police investigation, Ellie takes to the road to forget about her experience. She goes to Paris, but upon her return, other events force her to leave again. When she travels to New Mexico, she meets Al, a handsome but lonely rancher who proposes as soon as they meet. She accepts, and a new chapter in her life begins—or does it? The person who savaged her in the first place is still out there, somewhere, and it doesn’t look like he’s giving up. Kelly’s heroine is a refreshing 60-year-old woman portrayed as an intelligent, desirable individual, and the men in Ellie’s life are also attractive, mature men; this age bracket is sorely neglected in much of modern literature. Although the title is fairly enigmatic, and there’s the occasional clumsy passage, this is a solid book. Told mostly in alternating chapters that trace the genesis of the crime and Ellie’s flight to New Mexico, as well as her present-day marriage to Al, readers will find Kelly’s work engaging.
Fresh, compelling writing throughout, although the ending seems a bit hurried and contrived.