The abduction of a teenaged girl sends a happily blended family into a tailspin.
It took hard work for widowed Grace Whittington to win the trust of her new husband Carl Peterson’s two children, awkward, bookish Adam and needy, unattractive Lucy. But now the two have come to rely on affectionate Grace, so different from their driven professional mother Mimi. They’ve also bonded with Grace’s daughter Caitlin, treating her as a true sibling. So when Caitlin disappears while waiting for her father, Jake, to pick her up from school, all the members of the household seem equally stricken. But as Rayna Godwin, the newcomer in Paradise Falls’ tiny detective force, starts to investigate, she finds evidence that Adam’s relationship with Caitlin may not have been so innocent—evidence that sets Grace at odds with Carl, who wants only to protect his son. Under pressure from local newspaper columnist Seth Robbins, who repeatedly questions her competence in print, Rayna struggles to connect Caitlin’s disappearance with the murder earlier that year of her schoolmate Karen Holiday. She also struggles with her memories of her own daughter’s murder and with her complicated relationship with Neal Cody, the FBI agent sent to help with what’s beginning to look like the work of a serial killer.
Jacobs (The Next Victim, 2007, etc.) gives her story good bones, then swathes it in layers of brooding introspection and musing on family dynamics that muffle its punch.